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The Earl of Onslow: That is exactly the question I did not ask. I asked what happens if exactly the opposite happens. I did not ask what happens if suddenly the whole world is full of smiling people and everyone walks gently down the Champs-Elysees with a malacca cane and a top hat as opposed to being daubed in war paint with a lager can in their left ear. I asked what happens if it does not work. Do the Government say that it does not work but we must still have it, or do they say, "Oops, we have made a booboo"? That is the simple question that I asked.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: If the legislation is not as successful as we would wish, we shall have to consider other measures. No doubt the noble Earl would make some excellent proposals.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: To summarise this short debate I should say that Amendment No. 10 has had a mixed reception. My noble friend Lord Onslow wanted to reduce the period to three months; some thought that six months was about right, but some thought that it was too short. We have learnt much about future national features to be held in the six-month period and about an unknown number of club fixtures to be held during that period. Nevertheless, I shall not pursue the six-month proposal further because of the way in which it has been received.

I shall not pursue the one-year proposal this evening. The noble Lord, Lord McNally, made the useful suggestion that we should think further about Amendment No. 12. The Minister said that there had been discussion over some years leading up to the measure. I accept that there has been a certain amount of discussion of the first three proposals in the Bill. However, the sunset clause applies only to new Sections 14B, 21A and 21B, which I believe is how it should apply.

We are all trying to balance the restriction on civil liberties in the Bill with the necessity to deal with the problem as best we can. We need to reflect on the matter a little more. However, in the meanwhile, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 11 and 12 not moved.]

Lord Cope of Berkeley moved Amendment No. 13:



(b) the arrangements in force in Scotland and Northern Ireland for ensuring the proper working of the provisions of this Act,").

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The noble Lord said: The Bill provides that before an order is laid to extend the powers in the Bill beyond the initial period--whatever that turns out to be--the Secretary of State shall report on the working of the Act before each House of Parliament. That is a helpful measure. The amendment seeks to ensure that the report also covers the arrangements in force in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As we discussed at Second Reading--I said a great deal then which I shall not repeat now--there is a large loophole in the Bill with regard to the position in Scotland and Northern Ireland. At the moment there appears to be no intention for any action to be taken by the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Parliament to close the loophole from that end. There is not a great deal that can be done at this end to close that loophole. Nevertheless I believe that more consideration will need to be given as to the extent that the loophole may be used by fans to avoid the legislation and as to whether something more effective can be done if greater thought is given to it.

I understand that the report will be compiled by an independent person--we presume that that will be a senior lawyer. We want the report to cover not only how the arrangements will work in England and Wales but also in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Amendment No. 14 goes to an entirely different point. I shall leave the noble Earl to speak to that, at least at this stage. I beg to move.

12.45 a.m.

Earl Russell: My Lords, we on these Benches can offer one cheer to Amendment No. 13; it is a sensible idea. I do not think that it fully addresses the depth of the problem of the relationship between this Bill and the devolved jurisdictions. I am not sure that my amendment addresses the whole of it either; we may need to go further.

My amendment seeks to delete subsection (2) of Clause 6, which states:


    "But the amendment or repeal by this Act of an enactment extending to Scotland or Northern Ireland also extends to Scotland or, as the case may be, Northern Ireland".

It may be an exaggeration to say that that drives a coach and horses through the principle of devolution, but it does at least make a significant dent in it.

I should like to know, first, what consultation has taken place about this; whether there has been any with the Northern Ireland Executive, with the Northern Ireland Assembly or with the Scottish Executive; and whether I am right in believing that it was not possible to consult the Scottish Parliament because it is not at present in session.

It seems a rather unfortunate moment to invoke the reserved power in the Scotland Act. I admit that the reserved power allows Westminster to legislate for Scotland, even in a devolved matter. It was one which always caused a certain misgiving north of the Border. It was thought that one could say about that what they used to say about the Royal Prerogative: that it was to be used as God does his omnipotence, upon

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extraordinary occasion. I am not quite sure that this will appear to be a sufficiently extraordinary occasion north of the Border.

It also does not seem to me to be particularly wise to inject this into the period of the Scottish National Party leadership election. It is a period when the Scottish Nationalists will be arguing among themselves how far they are prepared to live with devolution.

There also seem to be some quite unexpected consequences of applying this legislation in a devolved context. I cannot quote specifically from speeches in another place. I shall therefore direct the Minister to the reference from which I intend to draw material. In another place on 17th July (Commons Hansard, col. 127) my honourable friend Sir Robert Smith asked the Home Secretary whether under the powers in the Bill it was possible to prevent a Scot in England returning to his home in Scotland. The Home Secretary answered "Yes".

Before the Minister signed the certificate of ECHR compatibility with the Bill, did he take advice on the question of how far it was compatible with Article 8 of the European convention (respect for privacy and family life)? I cannot think of precedents anywhere in recent times of people being restrained from returning to their own homes within the British Isles when no serious charge is being brought against them and in circumstances where one wonders whether there may be anything against them at all.

I do not see how the Bill will be made to work with the devolved jurisdictions, especially when one takes account of the porousness of the modern Irish Border. Once people have got there, they can get out of British jurisdiction without causing any further trouble at all.

There is a great deal that has not been thought through. If the Minister can convince me that I am mistaken in that belief, I shall be extremely relieved.

Lord Lucas: There is another delightful aspect to the question raised by the noble Earl, Lord Russell: under proposed new Section 14B, you can be got only if you are a resident of England or Wales. Under proposed new Sections 21A and 21B, you can be picked up if you are a Brit. So a constable can come along to a Scotsman and chuck him in the brig for four or six hours; but he cannot then do anything with him because the power in new Section 21B(4) refers to,


    "the appropriate chief officer of police to the court in question".

For a Scot there is no such person. He cannot then actually charge him with anything. What the Bill gives at the moment is a power to pick up Scots and put them in chokey with no prospect of a prosecution for anything at all. That does not seem to be a way to spread happiness between ourselves and our colleagues north of the Border. I hope that that and the other points the noble Earl has raised will be taken seriously into consideration.

Lord Bach: Amendment No. 13 seeks to give the Bill an extent which it cannot have. The Football Spectators Act, which the Bill amends, extends only to

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England and Wales. It is not clear what arrangements the proposers of the amendment have in mind. Formal arrangements to prevent departures from Scotland and Northern Ireland cannot be forced on the Scottish Executive, which has devolved responsibility for the matter. Indeed, the Scottish Executive, which has been consulted, has made it clear that in the near future, at least, no such formal arrangements will be put in place beyond police co-operation. There is no evidence to suggest that the measures need cover departure from Northern Ireland. The Executive has not been consulted. I am conscious that no parallel arrangements could be put in place in respect of the Republic of Ireland, which provides better routes to many places in Europe.

Clearly, the report to be submitted to Parliament on the workings of the Bill will need to assess the impact of the current arrangements and whether or not there is evidence to suggest that suspects are evading our controls via that route. On the basis of that assurance I hope the noble Lord, Lord Cope of Berkeley, will agree to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Goodhart: Before the noble Lord sits down, is it not a fact that the question of whether it is possible to evade the requirements of passport surrender is almost entirely irrelevant because the effective power is the power to order someone to turn up at a police station at a specified time? That will prevent him from going abroad because, if he does not comply with that, he will go to prison. So the business of evading orders about surrendered passports is irrelevant.


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