Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Lord Lucas: I understand what the noble Lord says. However, I still feel uncomfortable about the inclusion of deportation, particularly as it invites people to look at the people who are deported from Belgium as if they are prima facie guilty of something. Deportation without any court or tribunal decision behind it is an administrative exercise and has been used recently--as the noble Lord said--as a street cleaning exercise. It seems to me that it is undesirable that that should be

24 Jul 2000 : Column 245

taken into account. I rather go along with the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, on that point.

Perhaps the noble Lord can satisfy my curiosity on subsection (4)(e). Does that wording override the wording of what used to be Clauses 16 and 17 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill? I am sorry to return to such a recent, beloved memory. Does the term "by any other means" mean that we are looking at a situation where interception evidence could be brought into court, or does the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill take precedence?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: On the first point, I understand the nervousness that people feel about deportation, particularly in the light of events that occurred in Belgium. However, there have also been occasions--I think that the noble Lord would concede that point--where other jurisdictions have simply deported people because they consider it to be the quickest way of dealing with disorder, and with those who have been involved in disorder. In those circumstances, deportation has perhaps been seen by that jurisdiction as a punishment. It is something that would need to be considered by a court, but not considered on its own. I hope that I made that plain in my earlier comments. If not, that is exactly what I was trying to make clear.

As to the noble Lord's second point about proposed new Section 14C(4)(e), it would be unwise to speculate about the application of the RIP Bill in this respect. The noble Lord was being a little mischievous in trying to put me up to it. The quality of the material gathered under the RIP Bill is not what we are seeking here; we are seeking to establish a reasonable means of securing evidence in the ordinary way. It is as simple as that.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: I am not quite sure whether "mischievous" counts as an insulting word for the purposes of the previous clause. I shall let that pass. In the light of the Minister's response, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 43:


    Page 6, leave out lines 13 and 14.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 44 and 45 not moved.]

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 46:


    Page 6, line 21, leave out ("But") and insert--


("In determining whether to make such an order--
(a) the magistrates' court may not take into account anything done by the respondent before the beginning of the period of ten years ending with the application under section 14B(1) above, except circumstances ancillary to a conviction,
(b)")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

24 Jul 2000 : Column 246

[Amendment No. 47 not moved.]

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 48:


    Page 6, line 25, at end insert--


("and in this subsection "circumstances ancillary to a conviction" has the same meaning as it has for the purposes of section 4 of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (effect of rehabilitation).
(6) Subsection (5) does not prejudice anything in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Goodhart moved Amendment No. 49:


    Page 6, leave out lines 45 to 51.

The noble Lord said: It is very unfortunate that at 3.35 a.m. we come to one of the most important groups of amendments. Amendments Nos. 49 and 53A seek to leave out of the Bill the requirement to surrender a passport. I am afraid that, in our hurry, we failed to propose leaving out paragraph (c) of Clause 1(1), which is a necessary paving amendment. Amendment No. 50 was left in by mistake; it formed part of an earlier draft but was cancelled before we tabled our amendments and should not have been left in.

There are two problems with a requirement to surrender. First, it may have inappropriate consequences; it is a serious interference with freedom to travel. Assuming that it is legitimate--as I believe it is--to prevent hooligans travelling with intent to cause trouble at football matches, it still cannot be legitimate to prevent travel for unrelated purposes for people who live abroad; or who need to go abroad because of their jobs; or who need to go abroad for family reasons, such as a wedding, a funeral or a family illness; or even for people who have booked a holiday in Florida, far from the nearest regulated match. There would be entirely random bans on their travel. As soon as the control period begins they will have to hand their passports in, and they will not get them back until the control period ends.

They can of course apply for an exemption under Section 20 of the 1989 Act, but, as it stands, it is much too broad. It is not enough to say that they can get an exemption; we need a much more targeted way of hitting the people whose only purpose in travelling abroad is to go to a regulated football match or to take part in potentially violent activities around it.

There is a second problem with the requirement which is perhaps more fundamental--that is, why do passports need to be surrendered at all? After all, the primary power is to order the subject to report to a police station at specified times; those times, of course, are naturally the times of matches. If the subject of the order does not turn up at the police station, that is just as much an offence as not surrendering his passport. Subjects of banning orders are unlikely to go abroad if they know that they will go to gaol when they get back.

We have now been told that the German rules do not require passport surrender except in the most serious crimes. They rely mainly, as I think that we should, on the reporting obligation. They rely also on a stamp in a passport; that is a passport stamp which restricts

24 Jul 2000 : Column 247

travel to countries where matches are about to be played. Plainly, that is less restrictive than a requirement to surrender a passport. But the Government have not considered the possibility of a stamp which would, of course, operate as an obvious warning to immigration authorities at the other end not to allow people with a stamped passport to enter.

The requirement to surrender a passport is a serious restriction on freedom of movement which is protected under EU law. The passport surrender requirement goes far beyond legitimate control of potential football hooligans. It is disproportionate to the problem. A power to order attendance at match times is perfectly adequate. It would save a great deal of trouble if we were to rely on that alone. I beg to move.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Brougham and Vaux): I have to inform the Committee that if Amendment No. 44 is agreed to, I cannot call Amendment No. 50.

Lord Lucas: I should like to support at least the spirit in which these amendments have been moved. My concern is not so much that it might not be right under particular circumstances for a person's passport to be taken away, but that there must be an ability to make exceptions. These banning orders are long term. They are not just for the immediate future. Let us suppose that some six months after having imposed on him a five-year banning order someone obtains employment in Germany. Under new Section 14E(2) he will have to pop back to England every time there is a football match. There is no discretion on the court to do anything about that. Presumably he will also have to surrender his passport because that will be in the banning order imposed before he took up his employment in Germany. Therefore, he will have to surrender his passport, come back to England and sit around not earning any wages. He may lose his job if he has to go through these hoops.

For someone who has taken employment elsewhere in the Community, there must be flexibility under the terms of the banning order. The court may say, "No, we do not believe that you have real employment out there. We shall not let you off the banning order". But the court must have discretion to let someone off the banning order if he is employed elsewhere in the EU. The Bill will run into considerable trouble under EU law if it does not.

I have not spotted the word "must" in new Section 14E(2). That need is the irrevocable requirement which will cause considerable problems. An exception is probably needed in the same way as there is provision in new Section 14E(3) to give the court some flexibility to make an order which can deal with overseas employment. Indeed, there must be flexibility for someone subject to a banning order who has to be hauled back from the middle of a holiday in South America because of some unexpected football match.

24 Jul 2000 : Column 248

The matter must be able to be dealt with rationally by a court. I do not feel that this absolutism is the right way to go about the matter.

Earl Russell: I shall not press further at this moment our obligations under the Treaty of Rome. Before we come back to this tomorrow, can the Minister undertake to obtain legal advice on whether there is a need for exemptions to ensure our compliance with the Treaty of Rome?


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page