HC Deb 12 July 2004 vol 423 c1109
1. Vera Baird (Redcar) (Lab)

What steps he is taking to implement the recommendations of the Law Commission on reforming the law of provocation; and if he will make a statement. [183084]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Paul Goggins)

The Law Commission's provisional proposals would mean a major change from the way the law works at present. We will want to look at the final report and recommendations carefully before we consider taking any action.

Vera Baird

The provisional proposals are not expected to change and they have been greeted with unusual unanimity among the senior judiciary, the academic world and many organisations that deal with domestic violence. Can my hon. Friend undertake that, if the proposals continue to meet with widespread favour, an early legislative vehicle for them will be sought?

Paul Goggins

May I begin by acknowledging my hon. and learned Friend's substantial contribution on this issue and the campaign against domestic violence generally? She was able to share many of her experiences and insights in Committee when the Bill was debated, for which I pay tribute to her. We have debated the issue on a number of occasions recently and I can tell her that we will consider carefully the Law Commission's final report.

It was because we know that this is a difficult area that we asked the Law Commission to carry out its report. Based on the provisional proposals, we know the intended consequences, but we need to consider very carefully whether there might be some unwanted and unintended consequences, such as gangland killers being able to cite provocation in their defence or perhaps problems with honour killings, which we debated in Committee. I beg my hon. and learned Friend to be patient and I give her the assurance that we will consider the issues very carefully indeed.