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Lord Bach: Turning to Amendment No. 14, standing in the name of the noble Earl, Lord Russell, the amendment, if passed, would mean that measures which are repealed or amended for England and Wales by the Bill will not be similarly amended for Scotland. The only UK-wide enactment which is affected is the Police Act 1997 provision which prevents NCIS from sharing information with non-law enforcement bodies. That provision is amended by Clause 2 of the Bill. It makes no sense, since NCIS is a national body, to create a different set of legal obligations north and south of the Border. The suggestion made in the amendment is one which the Government do not consider to be practical.
The noble Earl asked whether consultation had taken place. He knows that consultation has now taken place with the Scottish Executive. He knows that it has not taken place with the Northern Ireland Executive.
So far as concerns Article 8, I cannot answer the noble Earl's question specifically. But he will of course know that both in another place and in this House the respective Ministers have signed the necessary form to suggest that in their opinions the Bill before the Committee is one which satisfies the Human Rights Act.
Earl Russell: I thank the Minister for that careful and considered reply. His point about NCIS sharing information is a serious, practical one. It is not the kind of point on which anyone needs to go to the wall. However, on the more general question, he said that we have not put forward a scheme for how the Bill should cope with the problem of devolved powers. I must plead guilty to that charge; first, because I did not lay the Bill before Parliament; and, secondly, because I do not, purely individually, have the expertise on devolved powers that is needed. It would need a consultation with quite a number of people to get that right. At present I am not convinced that there is any right answer to this problem.
I hear what the Minister says about past restriction on movement between England and Scotland. I did not hear him quote any case of a person being restrained from returning to what remains his domicile. In domestic violence cases, I can understand that there may be a restriction on returning to what was one's former domicile. But being restrained from returning to one's present domicile is a more serious matter. It would take quite an effort to convince me that that was a serious practical proposal. If the Government can think any further about finding a solution to how the Bill will mesh in with the devolved powers, it will make their task easier. But I admit that they cannot find something that is not there.
Lord Cope of Berkeley: The noble Earl, Lord Russell, said that my amendment does not solve the whole problem. I did not say that it solved the whole problem. I just hoped that it made a contribution to solving the problem.
In a newspaper report the other day, the Prime Minister's official spokesman was quoted as saying that Tony Blair was determined to plug any loophole in the proposals with regard to Scotland. The report stated:
The Scottish loophole does exist and will go on existing. It is clear, as the Minister said, that the Scottish Executive and Parliament do not propose to do anything about it. It would be a good thing for whoever makes the report on the legislation to cover the loophole. The Minister seemed to confirm that that
The noble Lord said: Amendments Nos. 15 to 17 are motivated solely by my usual desire to be helpful to the Government. I strongly believe that something has gone seriously wrong with the drafting of the Bill and that that will produce unintended consequences. That is best explained by means of an example. It is helpful to look at new Section 14 of the 1989 Act on page 4 of the Bill. Let us assume that Manchester United, who will be playing in the European Champions Cup, has an away match at the beginning of the group stage which the Secretary of State decides should become a prescribed match. That Manchester United match will therefore become a regulated match and, as a consequence under the provisions in new Section 14(3), the European Champions Cup will become an external tournament.
If one turns to see what would be the control period, it is clear that it will begin five days before the prescribed, regulated Manchester United away match, but will not end until after the final of the European Champions Cup. I understand that the group stages begin relatively early, possibly at the end of October. Thus the control period will last continuously for a period of six months.
If one turns to new Section 19, it is clear that that will mean that someone who has been required to surrender his passport at the beginning of the control period would not be able to get it back until the end of the six-month period as laid down in new Section 19(6), whether or not Manchester United remains in the competition. Frankly, that would be intolerable. Furthermore, I cannot believe that it is something which the Government intended to achieve.
For that reason, I have proposed Amendment No. 15, which would mean that an external tournament would not arise automatically because it included a regulated football match outside England and Wales; it would also have to be a prescribed tournament.
I can see that what the draftsman may have had in mind was a tournament like Euro 2000, which was played continuously over a period of three weeks. In that case it is perfectly understandable that the Secretary of State might decide to prescribe the whole tournament.
Lord Bach: I hope that the noble Lord will forgive me. He has spoken so eloquently about this matter that we are more than half persuaded that a valid point has been made. Perhaps I may suggest that he withdraws his amendment tonight. We shall return on Report tomorrow with something which, it is hoped, will meet his needs. We shall be able to discuss the matter when that amendment is put before the House.
Amendment No. 17 is intended to shorten possible control periods where an England team or club is knocked out at some time before the final stage of the tournament. It proposes that the control period should end when the last "regulated" football match outside England and Wales which is included in the tournament has finished or is cancelled. That would mean that if under paragraph 14(2), for example, the Secretary of State had decided in relation to Euro 2000 that a prescribed match was any match in which the England team was involved, the control period would come to an end when England was knocked out of the competition; therefore, so far as concerns England, the tournament would have finished. I should have thought that there was no reason why, once England was out of a tournament, a control period should continue up until the final.
Lord Lyell: The noble Lord, Lord Bach, may be able to advise me on one point. He gave encouraging news which cleared my mind, but what is the present arrangement for "prescribed" matches? I understood, probably wrongly, that matches were "prescribed" at every round in club tournaments. The noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, said that matches start in October. So far as I can remember, they are starting fairly soon--certainly so far as concerns Scottish clubs, which have not had great success in recent years. I believe that Manchester United will be playing in the European championship fairly soon.
My thinking was that the prescribed period would be five days for each match where the Secretary of State believed that there was a problem. I did not think that he classified the games as "regulated" or "prescribed" under the 1989 Act, as the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, explained--in other words, right through until the end of May. I thought that where there was a likelihood of problems occurring, the Minister could designate a match and say that it would be regulated or prescribed. Presumably that would cover matches involving English clubs. There is just a chance that it might cover other matches where English clubs were not involved.
The noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, was right about Euro 2000, and about the World Cup to be played in 2006, which may last three weeks or a month. But am I right in thinking that a "prescribed" match in European football would mean a control period starting five days before the match, and that the period would stop when the match was over, at midnight or early next morning? Someone who had a problem over his passport could go in the intervening time.
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