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Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, the noble Baroness asked many questions. I start with the final point about the inspection of schools. We are talking to Her Majesty's Chief Inspector about a lighter touch as regards inspections, particularly in those schools that have demonstrated success over a sustained period of time, and about trying to reduce the bureaucracy of inspections. As regards shortages of teachers in some

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of the subjects which are covered by specialist schools, the Government are not complacent about the shortages.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: My Lords, my remarks were addressed to the national curriculum; that is, the bits of the education system that children are supposed to have to do well in.

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I am sorry if I misunderstood the noble Baroness. I believe that she also made reference to the fact that these are the very subjects that are taught in specialist schools. It is absolutely true that we must have more well qualified teachers in these fundamental subjects that have to be taught to all pupils under the national curriculum. However, the document is full of proposals to try to overcome the shortages that the Government readily accept exist in these subjects. Some of the figures that the noble Baroness has just given are not altogether accurate. There are currently 7,000 more teachers in our schools than there were in 1998. This year I believe that there has been a 12 per cent increase in the number of applicants wishing to take a PGCE. The noble Baroness suggested that--

Baroness Sharp of Guildford: My Lords, does the Minister accept that the increase is in primary rather than secondary teachers?

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, the noble Baroness is a Front Bench spokesman and has already had her turn. It is not right for her to ask further questions when it is the turn of Back-Benchers.

The Liberal Democrats can always come up with proposals for paying trainee teachers 15,000 a year because they never have to do the sums that one has to do when in government. I do not think that 15,000 a year is a realistic figure to pay those who are literally training rather than people who are based in schools under a rather different kind of programme and who are paid more than the 6,000 training salary that we provide for those undertaking a PGCE course.

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe: My Lords, may I welcome this further imaginative instalment of the Government's programme and perhaps suggest to my noble friend that the biggest danger she faces is being undermined by the actions of some local education authorities? I give just one example of this educational vandalism. In the most deprived area of Bristol it is proposed to close Whitehouse Primary and Gay Elms Primary, Gay Elms containing the only specialist autistic unit for children in the whole of Bristol. Will she be vigilant that this sort of outrage cannot be slipped past her because it will only undermine the very excellent efforts which have been pronounced?

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I cannot comment on my noble friend's question about the closure of two schools in a local education authority. The Government want to continue to work in a constructive way with LEAs right across the country. That is what we are doing.

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Baroness Seccombe: My Lords, the Minister has not answered the question about bog standard schools. Does she agree after four years in office with Downing Street's statement that our comprehensive schools are bog standard? Can she tell the House how schools select by aptitude given that all parents think that their children have aptitude? How can one select on that basis?

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, comprehensive schools are diverse and we wish to make them more so. There will be many different kinds of comprehensive school, some of which will specialise and others which will not. The Government wish to widen the autonomy of our comprehensive schools and make sure that all of them have the opportunities to excel in some areas. On the issue of whether all parents think that their children have aptitude, I do not think that that is entirely true. It is rather unfair to parents. I believe that all parents want to support their children. Speaking as a parent, I never thought that one of my children had an aptitude for modern languages. He found them extremely difficult. I would never have made that claim. However, I believe that teachers are able to identify children who demonstrate an aptitude for modern languages. They might want to encourage those children to go to an appropriate specialist secondary school.

International Criminal Court Bill [H.L.]

5.17 p.m.

House again in Committee.

Schedule 2 [Delivery up of persons subject to criminal proceedings, &c.]:

Lord Howell of Guildford moved Amendment No. 75:

    Page 43, line 35, at end insert ("and shall advise the Scottish Ministers of the result of such consultation.

(4) The Scottish Ministers may direct that the criminal proceedings shall be discontinued.
(5) Where the Scottish Ministers direct that the criminal proceedings shall be discontinued, the court before which the proceedings are pending, or in progress, shall?
(a) order their discontinuance, and
(b) make any other order necessary to enable the delivery order to be executed (including any necessary order as to the custody of the person concerned).
(6) The discontinuance of criminal proceedings under this paragraph in respect of an offence does not prevent the institution of fresh proceedings in respect of the offence.").

The noble Lord said: We turn from the rather wider issues of the previous discussion to some detailed amendments concerning the Scottish jurisdiction.

Amendment No. 75 ensures that the same provisions in relation to the discontinuance of criminal proceedings in a domestic court apply in Scotland as in England and Wales. As currently drafted, the provisions in relation to criminal proceedings in

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Scotland make no reference to the fact that Scottish Ministers may direct the discontinuance of proceedings which are pending or in progress.

Amendment No. 76 ensures that the same provisions in relation to the discontinuance of extradition proceedings in a domestic court apply in Scotland as in England and Wales. Amendment No. 77 has the same effect in relation to the discontinuance of delivery proceedings in a domestic court and ensures that they apply in Scotland in the same way as in England or Wales. The reasoning behind the amendments is similar. I beg to move.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Howell, for his explanation. It is not a necessary amendment for the following reason. In England and Wales there are a number of possible prosecuting authorities and therefore one needs to specify that the Secretary of State may direct discontinuance. In Scotland it is only the Lord Advocate or the procurator fiscal acting in his name who may prosecute. If there were a requirement to discontinue, the Lord Advocate would direct the procurator fiscal to desert the proceedings, pro loco et tempore, in accordance with the well established Scottish tradition. That is, therefore, the reason for the omission; not oversight.

Lord Howell of Guildford: I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord. In the light of his view that the amendment is not necessary to meet the problem, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 76 and 77 not moved.]

Schedule 2 agreed to.

Clause 25 agreed to.

Clause 26 [Meaning of "appropriate judicial officer" and "competent court"]:

[Amendments Nos. 78 and 79 not moved.]

Lord Kingsland moved Amendment No. 80:

    Page 14, line 16, leave out ("the Sheriff of Lothian and Borders")") and insert ("in Scotland, a sheriff").

The noble Lord said: The amendment ensures that all sheriffs in Scotland, and not only those sitting in the sheriffdom of Lothian and Borders, can act as an appropriate judicial officer under the Bill.

We agree that the appropriate judicial officer in the Scottish context should be the sheriff and the competent court the sheriff's court. However, we can see no justification for restricting this function to sheriffs sitting in Lothian and Borders. Sheriffs all over Scotland have experience of endorsing warrants from foreign jurisdictions and implementing similar provisions in other statutes. It would seem appropriate to amend the section to enable all sheriffs to act as appropriate judicial officers.

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As currently drafted, the Bill makes no distinction as to who would be regarded as an appropriate judicial officer in England and Wales. The amendment seeks to clarify the definition of the term as it relates to Scotland. I beg to move.

Lord Monson: Perhaps I may again trouble the noble and learned Lord the Attorney-General about the constitutional position regarding Scotland. The amendment touches on Scotland.

On 15th January at Second Reading the noble Baroness, Lady Scotland, told us that,

    "the Scottish Parliament will be considering the ICC Bill in parallel. But certain provisions of our Bill also apply to devolved matters. The consent of the Scottish Parliament to these matters is being sought by the Scottish Executive".--[Official Report, 15/1/01; col. 928.]

It will be argued that in practice it is more than 99 per cent certain that the Scottish Parliament will do what is recommended to it. However, in constitutional law it is not obliged to do so. It can say, "No, we shall have nothing to do with this. We shall not play ball. We don't like the Bill for one reason or another and we refuse to pass either a parallel Bill or to deal with the ancillary provisions referred to by the noble Baroness, Lady Scotland, on 15th January". What happens in those circumstances? Does it render the Bill inoperable? How does it affect the United Kingdom's international treaty obligations? This is a possible, unintended consequence of devolution. The Scottish Parliament can do what it likes, but this could adversely affect the United Kingdom as a whole.

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