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Lord Crickhowell moved Amendment No. 277:

"(5A) No order may be made under sub-paragraph (5) modifying sub-paragraph (2) unless the order relates to a conclusion contained in a report published under section 332(6)."

The noble Lord said: I am not grateful to the Government for giving me the last amendment of the evening to move, but I am grateful to them for deciding not to take two very important sets of amendments at this hour in the middle of the night. I add only one other comment in that connection. I hope that we shall not make a general practice of sitting long after 10 o'clock, which is what the House decided in its wisdom and after proper debate earlier in the year. However, in the light of the circumstances tonight, sensible arrangements have been made and I, for one, am grateful for that.

I can be quite brief. This is a very simple amendment which takes up a recommendation of the Joint Committee to connect this sub-paragraph with what is now Clause 332(6). The amendment draws attention to the fact that the Secretary of State may by order alter the public service remit of S4C, but the earlier Clause 332(6) gives the Secretary of State the right to review the performance of the Welsh Authority in dealing with these matters and then to produce a report.

It seems strange to have a clause that allows the Secretary of State to produce a change in the remit without requiring a reference to the publication of the previous report. My amendment seeks to bring those two matters together.

Baroness Buscombe: We support my noble friend's amendment.

Lord McNally: As do we.

Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: The point has been made that the amendment is intended to bring the Secretary of State's power to amend S4C's public

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service remit into line with her order-making powers relating to the remits of the other public service channels laid out in Clause 267. We feel that this is to pursue the wrong analogy. The correct analogy is with the BBC. Like the BBC, S4C is both a public service broadcaster and an independent broadcasting authority funded by government grant. It is therefore quite different from the other licensed public service broadcasters referred to in Clause 267. Just as for the BBC, we do not consider it appropriate to link in the legislation a former review mechanism to any change to the remit. As we said when the pre-legislative scrutiny committee first recommended the change, an amendment to the remit may arise from a range of factors—not least a request from the authority itself.

If the concern behind the amendment is that the Secretary of State has too much power, under Schedule 12(3)(8) no change to the remit can be made without the approval of both Houses.

The review in Clause 332 is essentially permissive. It may happen but it does not have to happen. If it does not happen, any subsequent review must be at least five years later, if at all. It is very much a backstop power for the Secretary of State.

The reviews under Clause 260, by contrast, will include an examination of the fulfilment of S4C's public service remit. They will be presented to the Secretary of State and must happen at least every five years—more frequently if Ofcom believes that is appropriate or necessary.

I hope that the Committee feels reassured that S4C's remit will be changed only as a result of appropriate consultation. The Government believe that it is better to recognise the status of S4C that way, so I hope that the noble Lord will withdraw his amendment.

Lord Crickhowell: For once, I do not intend to say that I want to consider the Minister's reply carefully and might want to return to the matter. On this occasion, the noble Lord has given a convincing and reassuring explanation. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 278 and 279 not moved.]

Schedule 12 agreed to.

Clauses 332 to 338 agreed to.

Schedule 13 agreed to.

Clause 339 agreed to.

Lord Grocott: I beg to move that the House do now resume.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

        House adjourned at twenty-two minutes before one o'clock.

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Official Report of the Grand Committee on the

Extradition Bill

(First Day) Tuesday, 3rd June 2003.

The Committee met at half past three of the clock.

[The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Tordoff) in the Chair.]

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Tordoff): Before I put the Question that the Title be postponed, it may be helpful to remind your Lordships of the procedure for today's Committee stage. Except in one important respect, our proceedings will be exactly as in a normal Committee of the Whole House. We shall go through the Bill clause by clause; noble Lords will speak standing; all noble Lords are free to attend and participate; and the proceedings will be recorded in Hansard. The one difference is that the House has agreed that there shall be no Divisions in the Grand Committee. Any issue on which agreement cannot be reached should be considered again at the Report stage when, if necessary, a Division may be called. Unless, therefore, an amendment is likely to be agreed to, it should be withdrawn.

I should explain what will happen if there is a Division in the Chamber while we are sitting. The Committee will adjourn as soon as the Division Bells are rung and will resume after 10 minutes.

Title postponed.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts moved Amendment No. 1:

    Before Clause 1, insert the following new clause—

The purpose of this Act is to make provision about extradition and to give effect to the Council Framework Decision of 13th June 2002, on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States."

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 1 would introduce a new purpose clause and, in doing so, make clearer what the Government intend by the proposals in the Bill.

I do not wish to plunge the Committee into a heated debate about the rights and wrongs of the process by which we signed up to the framework decision, the degree of scrutiny that it received or the subsequent obligation on our national Parliament to abide by the decision. Those concerns were expressed by many noble Lords—some did so with considerable vehemence—at Second Reading. In his letter to us dated 12th May, the Minister kindly answered some of those points by saying:

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    "Let me make it quite clear that if Parliament amends the Bill in such a way as to make it incompatible with the Framework Decision—though I hope it won't—it will be the Bill as enacted by Parliament and not the Framework Decision that will govern how our extradition system operates".

I shall set the amendment in context by briefly reiterating the Conservative Party's overall position on the Bill. First, we agree that our extradition procedures need improving. There are too many opportunities for delay by the malevolent. However, secondly and importantly, we do not think that Part 1 of the Bill is necessary to achieve that. The changes proposed in Part 2 will achieve a sufficient speeding-up of the extradition process. Most importantly, they will achieve it without the reduction in the safeguards for the liberty of UK citizens that is implicit in an acceptance of the proposals in Part 1. Thirdly and finally, we understand that there is considerable public concern about terrorism, post-Twin Towers, post-Bali, post-Iraq and post-Morocco, and we can see arguments for Part 1, if it were to be restricted to terrorism alone. That is our broad position—away with Part 1.

I am aware that that approach has not—so far, at least—commended itself to the Government. However, if there is to be a Part 1, we should, at least, be open about it and about its consequences for every citizen in the United Kingdom. The Government are not being candid: they are being coy. In his opening speech at Second Reading, the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, rightly reminded us that,

    "Extradition is a classic balancing act. The rights and protections to those who are the subject of extradition requests must be set against the needs of society and of victims of crime to see justice done and done swiftly and effectively".—[Official Report, 1/5/03; col. 858.]

No one could disagree with those sentiments, but the Minister did not then examine in detail what was in the scales of that balance. On the one side, in the last year for which records are available—2000—there were 47 extraditions and only 78 requests. On the other side—the down side—there is, as many noble Lords pointed out at Second Reading, a significant diminution of the safeguards available to the 55 million people who live in the UK.

The point of proposing the new purpose clause is to make the Government lay their cards on the table about what is intended in the Bill. What is called the Long Title of the Bill is, ironically and erroneously, short. Before us, we have a Bill to "make provision about extradition". At Second Reading, the Minister spoke about the cumbersome and convoluted extradition procedures currently employed in this country. He spoke about delays and about appeals that cost the taxpayer money and allowed criminals to evade justice.

However, it would be misleading—to put it no higher—to present the Bill merely as a tool to speed up the extradition process and make it more efficient. In the implementation of the European arrest warrant, we have a fundamental change in the way in which we conduct extradition. We are relinquishing many of the key safeguards enshrined in our criminal justice system.

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The Bill refers rather nonchalantly to Part 1 and Part 2 warrants, and it is not until Clause 63 that we learn about the celebrated—or infamous, depending on one's point of view—European framework list, with its 32 generic offences. Although Part 2 makes provision for improved extradition, Part 1 has an altogether different aim. Paragraph 5 of the preamble to the framework decision states:

    "The objective set for the Union to become an area of freedom, security and justice leads to abolishing"—

"abolishing", my Lords—

    "extradition between Member States and replacing it by a system of surrender"—

"surrender", my Lords—

    "between judicial authorities".

The reality is that the European arrest warrant is one step in the process of abolishing extradition altogether. It is strange, then, that we do not hear of the framework decision until Clause 63, and stranger still that there is no mention of that aspect in the purpose clause. The Government seem to be trying to pass it all off as the simplification of a complicated extradition process, although the actual aim is to abolish extradition and replace it with surrender for category 1 countries.

For that reason, I tried to amend the title to reflect the reality of the changes proposed in the Bill. My original idea was that we should have a new title: "The Surrender and Extradition Bill". Unfortunately for me, the kind members of staff of the Public Bill Office informed me that the title of the Bill could be changed only if the substance of the Bill were altered. Nor was I allowed to amend the existing purpose clause. Presumably, there is something undesirably contradictory about a Bill that makes provision for new extradition procedures, on the one hand, but aims, on the other hand, to abolish extradition and replace it with surrender.

I need not labour the point that the concept of surrender is the fundamental change. Surrender is the final goal envisaged in paragraph 5 of the preamble to the framework decision, implemented in Part 1 of the Bill. The European arrest warrant is the first step towards achieving that goal. Having been stumped in my attempts to enshrine the change in the title or in the existing purpose clause, I opted for another purpose clause that had the advantage of setting out from the start and on the face of the Bill the fact that the law makes fundamental changes to our extradition procedures, in line with the Council framework decision.

No doubt, the briefing notes elegantly prepared by officials for the Minister could have words to the effect that the amendment reflected the reality of Government policy and should be accepted. Somehow, I doubt that they will. Why? Because the Government are scared of the word "surrender". The use of the word "surrender" will highlight to our fellow citizens the fact that some important changes are afoot. The Government will use every endeavour to

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keep the word "surrender" out of the Bill, so as to make it easier to slide the significant consequences of the Bill past the country.

In truth, the amendment is innocuous. The Government should not be shy of admitting the role that the framework decision plays in the proposed changes to our extradition procedures that are laid out in the Bill. I beg to move.

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