§ 9. Mr. Colvin
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in the light of the Taylor report, he will introduce legislation as soon as possible to create new public order offences at sports grounds; and if he will make a statement.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Peter Lloyd)
We are looking positively and quickly at the report's recommendations for new offences.
§ Mr. Colvin
Does my hon. Friend accept that, as the Taylor report indicated, existing legislation is insufficient to deal with trouble and hooliganism at sporting events? Will he therefore support the introduction of three new offences to deal with, first, the throwing of missiles, secondly, the chanting of obscene and racist abuse, and thirdly, the invasion of pitches without good reason? Are not those reforms particularly important in view of the Government's second thoughts on the ID card scheme?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I am grateful for my hon. Friend's encouragement, but before a final decision is made we need to discuss the recommendations of the report with the police and the Crown prosecution service to ensure that they are enforceable and that they add effectively to the sanctions already available.
§ Mr. Randall
Notwithstanding that response, is the Minister aware that there is concern that the noises coming from the Government on the Taylor report have been almost entirely limited to the question of all-seater stadiums? When will the Minister tell the country what specific action the Government intend to take in response to Taylor? Why is the Minister so slow off the mark in responding to this urgent matter?
§ Mr. Lloyd
The hon. Gentleman is very much mistaken. We were so quick off the mark that he obviously missed it. We accepted all the safety recommendations in the Taylor report and we are considering speedily and carefully the three recommendations for criminal legislation, so the hon. Gentleman is quite wrong.
§ Sir Nicholas Bonsor
When my hon. Friend considers the proposals for new legislation, will he bear in mind that many sporting events in this country take place not at sports grounds but throughout the countryside? At the moment, people innocently pursuing their lawful pastimes are inadequately protected from those who seek to disrupt them. Will my hon. Friend please bear that strongly in mind when considering new legislation?