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Lord Tomlinson: My Lords, does my noble friend agree that the essential difference between the Government's policy and the policy of noble Lords opposite is that the Government will trust the British people with a decision when the time is right whereas they would keep the decision to themselves by ruling out, in all circumstances, the possibility of joining the euro in the next Parliament?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, my noble friend is right. It has been the consistent policy of the Government since 1997 that when the economic conditions were right we would make a recommendation to Parliament and then to the people of this country. I have heard no such suggestion from the Opposition.

Tributes to the late Lord McConnell

3.7 p.m.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I should like to say how sorry I am that Lord McConnell died yesterday. Had he not died, I am sure that he would have been with us today in his customary place on the Cross Benches, taking a close interest in all Northern Ireland matters and contributing to public life as he has done for the past 50 years.

Lord Glentoran: My Lords, I am grateful to have this opportunity to pay a short tribute to Lord McConnell, who was known as Brian to his friends. It is particularly pertinent for me because he was a link with the old past. He was a friend of my grandfather; he served in the Stormont Parliament with my father; and ever since I have been in the House he was of unfailing good company, help and assistance in trying to keep me "on the right way of it", as we would say in Northern Ireland affairs. He will be remembered by his

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friends as a man of great warmth with his own special brand of humour; a man who gave his life to the service of the people of Northern Ireland.

Lord Smith of Clifton: My Lords, the Liberal Democrats associate themselves with the tribute paid by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, to the late Lord McConnell. When I entered the House three years ago, I got to know him well while flying across from Belfast to London. I appreciated both his initial welcome and his companionship thereafter. He was a diligent Member of your Lordships' House right up to the end of his life. He will be missed by many on all sides of the Chamber.

The Lord Bishop of Lincoln: My Lords, I had the privilege of sitting next to Lord McConnell at lunch in the Members' Dining Room yesterday. We had a gracious and perceptive talk not only about the place of bishops in your Lordships' House but about the situation in Northern Ireland. We on the Bishops' Benches associate ourselves with the remarks and tribute of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer.

Lord Molyneaux of Killead: My Lords, may I, on behalf of what one might call the Northern Ireland contingent, express sincere thanks to those noble Lords who have paid tribute to our late colleague. As we all know, he showed great courage in fighting a battle against ill health. He will be sadly missed by all of us.

Police (Northern Ireland) Bill

3.9 p.m.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee on the Bill.

Moved, That the House do now again resolve itself into Committee.--(Lord Falconer of Thoroton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.


Clause 48 [Service by members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland Reserve with other police services]:

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 172:

    Page 24, line 42, leave from first ("the") to end of line 43 and insert ("Police Service of Northern Ireland of references to the Police Service of Northern Ireland Reserve").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 48, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 49 [Registration of associations]:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): In calling Amendment No. 172A, I must tell the Committee that if it is agreed to, I cannot call Amendments Nos. 173 to 177.

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Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 172A:

    Page 25, line 3, leave out from second ("a") to end of line 16 and insert ("notifiable membership if membership of the organisation in question might reasonably be regarded as affecting the officer's ability to discharge his duties effectively and impartially.

(1A) The Chief Constable may give guidance to police officers in connection with notifiable memberships.
(1B) Before issuing any guidance under subsection (1A), the Chief Constable shall consult--
(a) the Board;
(b) the Secretary of State; and
(c) the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.").

The noble and learned Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 172A, I shall speak also to other amendments to Clause 49 standing in my name. Before doing so I apologise on behalf of the Government for the late tabling of this group of amendments which significantly alter the Government's approach to Clause 49. In summary, they replace the current list of specified "registrable associations" with a generic reference to "notifiable membership" and enable the Chief Constable to issue guidance to police officers in this connection.

The Government have received many representations from all sides about the listing of various organisations. There was a uniform reaction from those associated with listed bodies which saw the listing as pejorative, although it was not intended to be. This reaction is, admittedly, unsurprising, but the Government have found themselves with the almost impossible task of having to come up with a definitive list of organisations which might affect an officer's ability to discharge his duties.

The Government's conclusion is that we must place the burden of responsibility in the hands of the organisation most affected--the police. The new provisions put greater emphasis on the judgment of individual officers, with assistance from guidance issued by the Chief Constable. In turn the Chief Constable will be assisted by an obligation to consult the board, the Secretary of State and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

I turn to the details. Amendments Nos. 177A, 177D, 178A and 184B are consequential on Amendment No. 172A, replacing references throughout Clause 49 to "registrable association" with references to "notifiable membership". Amendment No. 184D removes a reference later in the clause to the listed organisations.

Amendments Nos. 177B, 177C and 177E substitute references to "belief" in the context of an officer's notifiable membership of an organisation for existing references to "fact". This is also a consequence of the removal of the specific list of organisations.

Amendment No. 184C is, again, made in consequence of the main change to Clause 49. It removes subsection (11)(b) which requires the Chief Constable's annual report to contain an assessment of the extent to which officers have complied with the duty to register their associations. This is a less appropriate requirement given the removal of a cut and dried list.

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Amendment No. 177F removes the offence of knowingly giving false information. Regardless of other changes, the Government have concluded that this is heavy handed and that the appropriate sanction lies in disciplinary arrangements. We do not need to provide for this in the primary legislation.

Amendments Nos. 179A, 181A and 182A clarify the provisions relating to disclosure. Amendment No. 179A makes it clear that only those who are entitled to make disclosure can do so and only for the purposes specified in subsection (7). Amendments Nos. 181A and 182A define more clearly, in relation to police support staff and the board and its staff, who is caught by subsection (7). Amendment No. 179B removes the proviso whereby only information relating to a senior officer may be disclosed to the board. If we did not make this amendment there would be potential conflict with the board's power to obtain reports. However, the Government do not envisage that the board would require reports about individuals' membership and certainly not lists of such membership. Amendments Nos. 183A and 184A correct drafting errors.

I invite the Committee to accept the amendments. They obviously have a substantial effect on amendments tabled by other noble Lords in relation to this matter. I hope that in the light of what I have said there will be no need to move any of the associated amendments. I beg to move.

3.15 p.m.

Lord Molyneaux of Killead: Perhaps I may comment on what the noble and learned Lord said and refer also to Amendment No. 173. We welcome the Government's concession contained in the Minister's statement. He has greatly increased the standing of your Lordships' House by setting aside the truly ridiculous form of words which stood as a formula in Clause 49. Amendment No. 173 resembles very closely what the Minister said. We fully appreciate that the Minister cannot be held accountable for such clumsy drafting. I am sure he has identified those objectionable sections which are referred to in our amendment.

The Independent Loyal Orange Institution should never have been on the list. It is an evangelical body devoid of any political connection whatever. The other mysterious reference is to "the Masonic Lodge". I myself, unfortunately, am not a member of the Masonic order. Clause 49(1)(e) refers to "the Masonic Lodge", I should like to ask to which Masonic lodge throughout the civilised world does that refer? It is not "a Masonic Lodge"; the wording says "the Masonic Lodge".

I can speak with slightly greater authority on Clause 49(1)(h)--the Royal Black Preceptory--because I had the honour to be the worldwide leader of that institution for a good many years. The term "the Preceptory" could mean my own preceptory, no. 274, which has 33 members. It is one of 733 preceptories throughout the Commonwealth, the United States, where the members pay their allegiance to the head of

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that state, Ghana, and Togo, where the members respect their president. I cannot understand how such ridiculous phrases crept into the clause. I do not know whether the draftsman was unsupervised or given free rein, but it would be doing a disservice not to heed the lesson of this draftmanship and ensure, for the sake of all of us--Government particularly--that there is no repetition.

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