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I hope that your Lordships will welcome and agree to the government amendments. I am grateful to the noble Baroness for tabling Amendment No. 5, which is concerned with the designation of territories under Part 1. However, I believe that in the light of the additional protection and scrutiny offered by the government amendments, Amendment No. 5 will not be necessary or appropriate.
The group is the first of a number of groups of government amendments which we will discuss today. I hope that it will set the tone for those to come, as I imagine it will be welcome to your Lordships. The amendments, like many to come, respond to points raised in Grand Committee. We have gone away and considered many of the points raised, and in many cases have been able to come forward with government amendments designed to meet the concerns.
In this case, we are dealing with an issue that was raised not only by noble Lords in Grand Committee, but by the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform. That committee recommended that orders designating countries as extradition partners should be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure, even though that represents a much higher level of parliamentary scrutiny than we have at the moment. We have taken those comments to heart.
The main purpose of the amendments is therefore to provide that, henceforth, the designation of the United Kingdom's extradition partners will be by the affirmative resolution procedure. For the avoidance of doubt, I should also put on record that any orders to disapply the prima facie evidential requirement for any country, and any orders to vary the period within which a Part 2 country has to supply full papers following provisional arrest, are also subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. Again, that is in line with the recommendation of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee.
I should explain why in a number of places in the Bill we are changing Orders in Council to Secretary of State orders. Simply, there is no reason why designation orders should be Orders in Council. They are at the moment, but that is a legacy of the Extradition Act 1870, passed when the world was a very different place and we legislated in a very different way. Using Orders in Council makes life much more difficult, not least because timing is very much constrained by the timetable of Privy Council meetings. The key pointI should stress itis that making the change has absolutely no impact on the level of parliamentary scrutiny that the orders receive. That is determined by the rest of the Bill and, as I have just explained, we are providing for all designation orders to be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.
Amendment No. 5 would restrict the countries which could be designated under Part 1 to those which had signed the framework decision on the EAW, which are the member states of the EU, Norway and Iceland. The issue was debated at some length in Grand Committee. On 3rd June, the Grand Committee's first sitting, my noble friend Lord Filkin explained the Government's thinking on which countries would be in Part 1. Having considered the matter further, our position is unchanged. We remain of the view that it is not desirable to limit the countries which could be designated under Part 1 to those countries which had signed the framework decision on the EAW.
However, we do not believe that we should limit the room for manoeuvre of our successors if they decide that they want to put a non-European country into Part 1. On previous occasions, we have discussed the possibilityI must stress that it is only a possibilityof putting a Commonwealth country such as Australia, New Zealand or Canada into Part 1. Those are countries with established democracies, where the rule of law is respected, and it does not strike us as impossible that there may be a strong case for putting them in Part 1 at some point in future. I therefore believe that the Bill needs to retain a modicum of flexibility to cope with the situation.
I know that the noble Baroness has concerns about what criteria would be used to determine whether a country might be added to Part 1. As I have indicated, the Government have no plans to designate any non-European countries in Part 1. That being so, we do not believe it appropriate to set out the criteria now for the designation of a country which may or may not
Therefore, if at the appropriate time it is deemed desirable to add a non-European country to Part 1, we have made sure there will be an opportunity for Members of both Houses to consider the basis of that proposal and whether the designation is justified. The affirmative resolution procedure is an important procedural safeguard and gives the appropriate level of parliamentary scrutiny. Once that is in place, I suggest that it would not be appropriate to limit the flexibility of Part 1 any further.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, I welcome this group of government amendments. They respond properly and fully to the objections put first in another place by my honourable friends and subsequently by me in this House where I was supported by the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart. Indeed, the Minister is right to refer to the excellent report of the Delegated Powers Committee.
I am grateful to the Minister for addressing my concerns in Amendment No. 5: what happens if any government want to extend the list? I find comfort in some of her earlier comments because she said that the Government would expect the extension to be those of an established democracy where the rule of law was respected. That is just what we want to hear.
I shall not press the matter to a Division today. I want merely to put on the record our concern that we are leaving to uncertaintyalbeit an affirmative statutory instrumentthe extension of a system of surrender extradition, which will be a swift and powerful weapon. We have made that point and are grateful for the Government's recognition of the importance of these orders. They have rightly changed them from an Order in Council to a statutory instrument, which reflects what happens in the real world.
I have a question of which I was unable to give the Minister notice, but I do not believe that it will trouble her too much. It relates to the further report issued today by e-mail by the hard-working Delegated Powers Committee. I commend the committee on the expedition with which it has done so. It makes another recommendation relating to negative instruments being changed to affirmative onesand that is the Government's Amendment No. 313 to Clause 315. For the convenience of the House, is the noble Baroness in a position to indicate whether by Monday, the second day on Report, the Government will be able to table an amendment which will meet the point of view expressed by the Delegated Powers Committeea point of view which we fully support?
Viscount Bledisloe: My Lords, I hope that that was the Minister answering the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, before she sat down rather than her closing speech, otherwise I shall be debarred from speaking. Taking it as such, I, too, welcome the fact that the Government have moved to this sensible solution.
I share the Minister's view that it renders Amendment No. 5 unnecessary, but I want to ask a question about the criteria which will be used for designation. Is it the Government's intention to designate a country only if it has a system of extradition which is reciprocal to the system in Part 1 or at least is moving rapidly towards that? I hope that we shall not see a situation in which we are extraditing under a Part 1 system to a country which is not giving us the equivalent reciprocal powers.
Baroness Carnegy of Lour: My Lords, I was a member of the Delegated Powers Committee and I took part in Grand Committee and I, too, welcome the amendments that the Minister has made. Without wanting in any way to be ungracious, I believe that the House should remember what the Government once thought was the right way of proceeding. They believed that additions to the list of countries to which a United Kingdom citizen could be surrenderedcould be sent backunprotected by the existing extradition procedure could be decided by Parliament without discussion or agreement in both Houses.
The Government have changed their mind, but they believed that until now. It illustrates that they have convinced themselves that they are simply tweaking the extradition laws, which was borne out by the noble Baroness, and doing no more. It is a great deal more than that and it is having a big effect on the liberty of the citizen. It is interesting that the Government needed a push to make the change.
I do not want to be ungracious, but we should put that on the record. As we proceed through the Bill, we must ensure that we are looking carefully at the effect of, in particular, Part 1 on the liberty and freedom of United Kingdom citizens.
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