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Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, the legalthough not, I hope, over-legalisticanswer to the last question is that 1441 is in a different legal category, pursuant to the United Nations Charter. It falls in Chapter 7, not Chapter 6. Whatever criticisms can be levelled against Israeland many of them have
My noble friend Lord Stoddart asked whether the Statement was the decisive reason. Have we abandoned moral duty or regime change? I should have answered this earlier, when I was asked by the noble Baroness, Lady Williams. If the Prime Minister is challenged on the moral case against war, he is right to answer with the moral case for war. If he is asked, "Would you be happier, would you be more contented discharging your burdens on behalf of the United Kingdom if there were a different regime?", of course he is going to say "Yes". However, 1441 is the basis of this Government's policy. If as an advantageous consequence that brutal, cruel, wicked man is removed, so much the better. There has been no change. The Prime Minister responds to questions appropriately and rightly.
The noble Lord asked why have we done nothing, and why action is necessary now. Since the inspectors left in 1998I paraphrase the Statementthere is no serious international observer who does not believe that Saddam has been developing his weapons of mass destruction. It is possible, though it would take a more innocent mind than mine, to think that he is developing them just to make a point. He is not. He is developing them to use them. He has used them already. He murdered 5,000 innocent people in a village called Halabja, because they were Kurds who objected to his brutality.
Lord Renton: My Lords, is not a further answer to that which the noble and learned Lord has just given to his noble friends, that the events in the United States on 11th September 2001 alerted the whole world to the possibility of the spread of terrorism? Saddam Hussein is one of those who are qualified to spread it. The Government and the United States are justified for that reason, among others, in being cautious in trying to prevent a further spread of terrorism in that way.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, plainly the noble Lord is right in that we are dealing with a context, post- September 11th, which none of us could have contemplated, even in our wildest imaginations. The United Kingdom Government's policy is to uphold the status of 1441, and to do our utmost to seek a peaceful outcome. That is in Saddam's own hands.
Lord Roberts of Conwy: My Lords, will the noble and learned Lord take this opportunity to comment on the widely held view that the consequences of a war against Iraq may well be worse than the consequences of trying to contain Saddam Hussein?
Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, as always, the noble Lord makes a perfectly valid point. These are difficult political, and international geopolitical questions. Those are the judgments that the Prime Minister has to make. They are anxious decisions indeed. I am sure that point was deployed when Abyssinia was invaded, and when a small country far away, of which we knew nothing, was invaded.
The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 1, I speak also to Amendments Nos. 2 to 7. I hope that it is convenient that I take three groups in one. It gives me an opportunity to explain the general approach that we have taken on these Benches to the amendments on Report. In so doing, I hope to save us a substantial amount of time later.
There can be no doubt about the importance of international co-operation on the exchange of information on criminal matters, especially on terrorism. The discussions that we have just had on the Statement show that to be especially important now. The Government have said that many provisions in the Bill must be adopted because they are part of international agreements that have already been reached and been subject to parliamentary scrutiny through the EU Select Committees of both Houses. It is a nightmare for all of us, but particularly for those outwith the House, to track down the various comments on the various parts of this Bill in the mountain of paperwork that those committees have so assiduously produced.
While debating the Bill, it has been important to ensure that Parliament has helped by having clarity about how the Bill will be effected when put into practice. We need to know what the real impact of the changes will be and to ensure appropriate safeguards against the misuse of systems that we are setting up under the Bill. The underlying issue is the question of trust in other judicial and police systems throughout the world.
I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, for his willingness to discuss his views between Committee and Report. I particularly welcome the Government's response to the work that we did in the Grand Committee by tabling significant amendments, which will be introduced by the Minister later today and next week. The Government have gone a long way to meet the concerns expressed from these Benches and the Liberal Democrat Benches in Grand Committee. In moving those amendments, the Minister will contribute to reducing the time that we need to take on the Bill at this stage.
I turn to the amendments, which seek clarification as to the administrative proceedings that are referred to in the Bill, and what type of documents may be served under Clause 1. After all, we do not have administrative proceedings, as such, in this country, and some other European Union countries also lack them.
Amendments Nos. 1, 5 and 7 look rather odd, as they merely insert the word "or", but they give the Minister an opportunity to say why he believes that the subsection has sufficient clarity. I tabled the amendments because of questions asked him in Committee. My noble friend Lady Carnegy asked whether,
Amendments Nos. 2 and 6 go to the heart of the question: what are the administrative proceedings covered by the subsection? My noble friend Lord Carlisle of Bucklow particularly probed that point. We had a useful debate in Committee, which I would not dare to repeat on Report. The noble Lord, Lord Filkin, offered to write to noble Lords, which he did; in his letter he addressed that question and others, too. I hope that he will take the opportunity, in responding to the amendments, to put on record at the Dispatch Box the Government's view on these matters and give further clarification.
Will the Minister confirm that the key requirement is that there must be a judicial phase of the proceedings, but mutual legal assistance may be sought at an earlier stage of proceedings, provided that it may at a later
Finally, in the helpful letter sent by the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, on 6th February, he said that the Government were still trying to obtain further concrete examples of proceedings brought by administrative authorities that were covered by the Mutual Legal Assistance Convention 2000. He said that they would let us know if they received any further information. Have they received any information, and which countries did they approach for it? I beg to move.
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