HL Deb 27 March 1980 vol 407 cc957-73

Read 3a, with the amendments.

Clause 1 [Suspect or potential witness may be required by constable to identify himself]:

3.25 p.m.

The MINISTER of STATE, SCOTTISH OFFICE (The Earl of Mansfield) moved Amendment No. l:

Page 2, line 4, leave out subsection (4) and insert— (" (4) A constable shall inform a person, when making a requirement of that person under—

  1. (a) paragraph (a) of subsection (1) above, of his suspicion and of the general nature of the offence which he suspects that the person has committed or is committing;
  2. (b) paragraph (b) of subsection (1) above, of his suspicion, of the general nature of the offence which he suspects has been or is being committed and that the reason for the requirement is that he believes the person has information relating to the offence;
  3. (c) subsection (2) above, of why the person is being required to remain with him;
  4. 958
  5. (d) either of the said subsections, that failure to comply with the requirement may constitute an offence.").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, this amendment replaces the existing requirement in Clause 1(4) for a constable, in exercising the powers conferred by Clause 1, to give certain information to a suspect and a witness with more detailed requirements.

The amendment has been tabled in fulfillment of an undertaking which I gave at the Report stage to the noble Lord, Lord Foot. In essence, the noble Lord proposed that a police officer who required a witness to give his name and address under Clause 1 should be obliged to inform the witness of the reasons for the request and to tell him that failure to give his proper name and address constituted an offence. The amendment gives effect to that proposal, and goes beyond it to provide that a suspect should also be informed that if he fails to give his proper name and address, or fails to remain if required to do so, he will be guilty of an offence under subsection (5) of the clause. It seemed to us only equitable that the witness and the suspect should be accorded similar treatment in terms of their entitlement to information. I beg to move.


My Lords, I should like to say only that I am very much obliged to the noble Earl for having inserted this amendment, which expresses very much better than my original amendment what we both have in mind. It is entirely in accord with the way in which the amendments proposed throughout the passage of this Bill have been received by the Front Bench. This is yet another example of the admirable and very satisfactory way in which the Government have listened to the arguments which have been raised, and I am very much obliged.


My Lords, I should like to mention just one little word, and that is "of" which appears in paragraph (c). I wonder whether that really is appropriate in that particular place?


My Lords, I shall look into the matter and if necessary it can be rectified in another place.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 2 [Detention and questioning at police station]:

The Earl of MANSFIELD moved Amendment No. 2:

Page 3, line 19, leave out ("therefrom") and insert ("from the police station or other premises")

The noble Earl said: My Lords, this is a drafting amendment, consequential upon an amendment which was agreed on Report. That amendment inserted paragraph (d) into Clause 2(4), and had the incidental effect of distancing the word "therefrom" in paragraph (e) from its antecedent in paragraph (c). This amendment replaces the word "therefrom" by a more explicit phrase. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 6 [Judicial examination]:

The LORD ADVOCATE (Lord Mackay of Clashfern) moved Amendment No. 3:

Page 5, line 32, after ("solicitor.") insert— (" (3C) Any proceedings before the sheriff in examination or further examination shall be conducted in chambers.").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, this amendment seeks to provide explicitly that judicial examination or further examination shall be conducted in Chambers and fulfills an undertaking which I gave in response to a similar amendment tabled by my noble friend Lord Selkirk. I am very glad that we have been able to meet my noble friend's wishes in this way. I beg to move.

The Earl of SELKIRK

My Lords, I thank my noble and learned friend for putting in the clarification which I think is desirable.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

3.30 p.m.

Lord MACKAY of CLASHFERN moved Amendment No. 4:

Page 7, line 4, leave out ("any such declination") and insert ("his having so declined").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, this is purely a drafting amendment in response to a point raised during our discussion at Report stage by the noble Lord, Lord Foot. I think that the noble Lord was a little discouraged by our use of the word "declination". The word "declinature", which he kindly suggested as an alternative, has some technical uses in Scots law, and we have thought it best to try to re-word the clause. I hope that what we have done meets with the point that he raised. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 9 [Citation of defence witness for precognition]:

Lord MACKAY of CLASHFERN moved Amendment No. 5:

Page 9, line 7, after ("sheriff") insert ("in chambers").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, in effect, this amendment is the same as the one I mentioned a moment ago responding to a point raised by my noble friend Lord Selkirk. I beg to move.

The Earl of SELKIRK

My Lords, again I thank my noble and learned friend for this clarification.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 40 [Restriction on passing sentence of imprisonment or detention on person not legally represented]:

Lord MACKAY of CLASHFERN moved Amendment No. 6:

Page 31, line 7, at end insert ("or detention in a young offenders centre").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, this is a drafting amendment to take account of the possibility that a sentence of detention might include a sentence of detention in a young offenders centre in Northern Ireland. It is right that that should be taken into account, and this amendment seeks to do so. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 2 [Solemn appeals]:

Lord MACKAY of CLASHFERN moved Amendment No. 7:

Page 57, line 1, leave out from ("words") to (" "from") in line 3.

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, this is a purely drafting amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 8 [Repeals]:

Lord MACKAY of CLASHFERN moved Amendment No. 8:

Page 94, line 2, column 3, leave out from ("words") to (" "from") in line 6.

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, again this amendment is a consequential drafting amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord MACKAY of CLASHFERN moved Amendment No. 9:

Page 95, column 3, leave out lines 23 to 25 and insert ("Section 411(2).").

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, once again this is a consequential drafting amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to. An amendment (privilege) made.

3.35 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill do now pass. I should like to take this opportunity to restate, if that is the correct word, the Government's position so far as this Bill is concerned. Outside this House I think I am right and justified in saying that there has been a vociferous and, at times, ill-informed campaign of opposition on the grounds that the Bill seriously diminished civil rights. We reject that charge. We believe that the supreme civil right is the freedom to go about one's business without fear of assault on person or property. We believe deeply, fundamentally, in the citizen's right to expect that he will be protected from the activities of the criminally-inclined and the violently-disposed. We believe that regrettably that freedom has been seriously eroded in recent years. We are concerned to reverse that trend; to halt the ever-increasing incidence of crime, particularly violent crime; and we are convinced that such reversal will not be achieved without giving adequate powers to our law enforcement agencies.

However, we accept unreservedly that these powers must be precisely and carefully defined, and their exercise effectively monitored. We believe that the provisions of this Bill as it now stands achieve the right balance. The Bill seeks to confer the necessary powers, but it defines them in a way which leaves neither the policeman nor the citizen with whom he is dealing in any doubt about what their respective rights and obligations are. It includes many measures designed to assist the person accused, if he is innocent, to establish that innocence. It regulates the police power of detention which, as the Thomson Committee pointed out, has hitherto rested for its effectiveness on the average suspect's ignorance of his rights in the matter. It attempts to do something about the increasing and undesirable habit of carrying weapons. It tries to grapple with the problem of alcohol-related offences at major sporting events. It seeks to curb the growth in offences of vandalism. Of course, it will not halt these various forms of criminal activities overnight. No measure that we could devise would do that. But we believe that it is an important step towards reversing the rising trend, and it will do it in a balanced and sensible way. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(The Earl of Mansfield.)


My Lords, may I respond to what the noble Earl, Lord Mansfield, has just said by acknowledging the courtesy at all times, and the occasional flexibility, of the Ministers who supported this Bill in this House. In particular may I single out the noble Lord, Lord Lyell, who is not, I am afraid, in his place today, but who was thrown at least on one occasion, and perhaps on two, into the frontline on a difficult issue, and defended the indefensible with his customary good humour, tenacity and charm. If I seemed rather harsh at the time, I hope that he will accept my apology. I was incensed at the Government's obduracy, not at his presentation of the indefensible case.

I would hope that the Government's flexibility displayed in at least some of the matters before your Lordships will be continued in another place. Indeed it must be, because I would predict a difficult passage for this Bill in another place. My own doubts about the wisdom of and the necessity for certain parts of this Bill have grown as I have studied them, and, indeed, studied the debates here. Thus I still question the value of Clause 4, which is the one relating to "search for offensive weapons". It is unfortunate that when talking about the need for effective monitoring of the Bill, the noble Earl did not earlier on accept the proposal that Part I should be introduced for an experimental period.

I also doubt whether Clause 6 will add anything of value to our criminal procedure in Scotland. Indeed, I think that it will add nothing, except possibly delay, expense and technicality. Part V, to which the noble Earl referred, deals with the control of alcohol at sporting events. I am sure that the idea is sound, but I fear that the provisions in Part V are not properly digested. I hope that in another place the Government will take account of the criticisms that were made of these particular provisions in the course of the Committee stage and the Report stage.

I am sorry that the Government have not yet acknowledged their moral defeat when the vote was 92–92 at Report stage on what is now Clause 69. I hope that they will look at that again in another place. In a way it is a pity that so many useful technical reforms in Part II of the Bill have been lost sight of in the debate about police powers in Part I. The noble Earl has just referred to another matter. He described the opposition outside this House as being "vociferous and ill-informed". Some of the opposition to Part 1 of the Bill has been slow to manifest itself; although it has been slow to manifest itself, certainly there has been a good deal of public interest in it in Scotland. But that does not render the criticisms that have been made any the less valid. Reasoned argument ought to be assessed on its own merits and not be lightly dismissed as vociferous, too late, too soft or ill-informed.

The Bill's critics, whether inside or outside the House, are, I believe, all concerned with the same ends—the promotion of the public interest and the improvement of relations between the public and the police. It is not too late to stop confronting the Bill's critics and try to meet them halfway. I urge the Government to do that in the course of the next few months before the Bill returns to this House.

3.39 p.m.


My Lords, it would be a pity if this Bill went on its way to another place without some comment on another part of the Bill, which has not been mentioned, and which gives effect to proposals made in the Third Report of the Committee under the chairmanship of the noble Lord, Lord Thomson, which dealt with criminal appeals in Scotland. Clause 32 and Schedule 2 deal with solemn appeals, about which we had some discussion, although not very much, during the previous stages of the Bill. In Clause 33 and Schedule 3 the Bill proposes amendments to the law relating to criminal appeal under summary procedure. Of these proposals there has been very little discussion so far. At the time when the Thomson Committee were reviewing the present procedure for summary appeals, it came under some criticism in your Lordships' House in relation to a particular case—that of David Anderson at Ayr Sheriff Court. Indeed, the report itself refers specifically to the debate which took place on that case in this House on 21st January, 1976.

The criticism was not that the summary procedure laid down in the existing legislation had not been adhered to, but that that procedure itself was defective. The criticism was mainly directed against three aspects of the procedure. First of all, there is at present no provision for an appeal on the facts found by the sheriff. This was a matter which was regarded by some English Peers at any rate with astonishment. As the report indicates, in Scotland the trial judge has always been the final arbiter of fact. Lord Thomson made no proposal for change, for these reasons: in Scotland there is a higher requirement as to sufficiency of evidence than in England, and as to corroboration; secondly, in Scotland the prosecution is under the control of a public prosecutor in the person of the procurator fiscal, who represents the Lord Advocate; thirdly, a rehearing along the lines of that afforded in England by the Crown Court, with a Crown Court judge sitting with from two to four magistrates, would require an additional tier in the Scottish court system which does not exist at present, and that would mean a totally new judicial system. There was said to be no demand for such a reform in Scotland.

I would not myself have found these reasons wholly convincing but for one additional point mentioned elsewhere in the report. If I have understood it aright—and I hope that my noble friend will confirm this—the question of sufficiency of evidence is a matter of law, and therefore can form the basis of an appeal to the High Court by way of stated case. The content of the stated case by the sheriff is thus of vital importance, and that is what Schedule 3 is mainly about. The Committee concluded: In our view the only valid criticism of our summary appeal procedure relates to the inadequacies of the present appeal by stated case". I turn now to those inadequacies and the way in which the Bill proposes to rectify them in Schedule 3. There is no provision at present for the form of appeal. This appears to be rectified in accordance with the committee's proposal by amending Section 444 of the 1975 Act so as to require the application for a stated case to contain a full statement of all the matters which the appellant desires to bring under review"— a statement which, within the specified period, may be amended or added to.

The most important criticism related to the preparation of the stated case for the High Court. Under the present provisions the appellant's counsel may propose adjustments to it, and the judge must examine them but may reject any or all of them without hearing the parties. This is what happened in the Anderson case. The committee proposed that: (i) a hearing on adjustments should be mandatory. (ii) where adjustments incorporate new findings in fact or other matters not covered in the draft [stated case] and the judge proposes to reject them…he should state not only the fact of his rejection but his reasons therefor. Similarly, if a particular finding in fact is challenged as being unsupported by the evidence, the judge should be obliged to state the evidence on which the finding is based. Any proposed adjustments which are not withdrawn by a party but are rejected by the judge should be included in the minute of proceedings". These proposals are incorporated in Schedule 3 as amendments to Section 448 of the 1975 Act, and appear in subsections (2C) and (2D) in paragraph 7.

I should like to emphasise that these changes represent notable improvements in the stated case procedure. Those of your Lordships who attended the two debates on the Anderson case on 21st January 1976 and 4th July 1978 will recall that defence counsel submitted 10 pages of adjustments he proposed should be made in the draft stated case, and that the sheriff rejected all but one minor one without a hearing (though he might have held one) and without, so far as I know, having seen the unofficial shorthand transcript of the proceedings. Again this is not so much a criticism of the sheriff as of the existing procedure which this Bill is rectifying. There is no doubt the sheriff was entitled to do what he did. In consequence of this defective procedure, the High Court was not judicially aware of the adjustments relating to facts challenged and the inferences which the defence considered not justified by the evidence.

May I just conclude by saying this: a great many people both inside and outside Scotland, including Justice and many lawyers and other folk, strongly believe that the proceedings leading up to the appeal in the case of David Anderson tended to bring Scottish justice into disrepute, since justice was not clearly seen to be done. The amendments in this Bill to the 1975 Act in relation to summary appeals go a long way to removing the grounds of criticism and to restoring that reputation. They certainly deserve, in my view, the backing of your Lordships, and, indeed, I give my full support to the Bill as a whole.

3.48 p.m.


My Lords, I do not think that this is the time to go into the question of David Anderson, certainly at this stage of this Bill where this matter has been raised for the first time. I was Secretary of State and involved in a debate as well in another place. I also happen to live in the place where the offence took place. I think that the sheriff to whom the noble Lord referred is now dead. There is one thing clear: so far as certain of the procedures are concerned in relation to the examination of cases both in the sheriff court and the High Court, there has been a considerable improvement as a result of this Bill; and that has been further improved during the course of the consideration of the Bill.

I was surprised on Sunday when I thought I was going to get a religious programme on the BBC, to hear a certain number of lawyers saying how difficult it was to get law reform for Scotland through the Westminster Parliament. Since I came to this place we seem to have been doing nothing else. I think we have had three Bills. There was the Bail Bill; I think there was a miscellaneous Bill as well, and now this one. Strangely enough, one of the people who was on this inquiry—and none of them seemed to know anything about parliamentary procedure and what was now happening—had been writing to us about this Bill. I hope that people appreciate the time that is given, and rightly given, to Scottish legislation in both Houses.

I hope that none of your Lordships will object to any time that I take up here. You all wanted the Scots to be here, so here we are, and you will just need to listen to us with our rather crude way of putting things.

Having said some pleasant things, I shall now no doubt proceed to say some unpleasant things. First, I am sure that the Lord Advocate will be very glad that he is in this Chamber, because if the Government were to go to the other place with a Bill of this importance based upon a report—the Thomson Report—and did not print that report so that people would know exactly what it was about, then they would be subject to all of the condemnation that they deserved. That is the first complaint about the conduct of this Bill: not a single copy of the most important report on which this Bill was based was available to us, and I am not satisfied about that.

I am glad that in the earlier clauses we made some changes in respect of the position of witnesses. From that point of view, I think we have done quite well and I am grateful to the Lord Advocate for the way in which he allowed himself to be persuaded in that respect. On the question of the powers of search by the police, I was pressed in particular by the police in what was then Glasgow, not Strathclyde, and I took the view that to tip the balance in favour of the police in this particular way and give them the statutory power would not lead to cooperation between the police and the public. As Secretary of State, one receives not just letters from policemen or police authorities asking for additional powers; one has letters from people and from parents complaining of the activities of the police. I have known several cases where it was very doubtful whether what had been done should have been done.

I think that at one time during consideration of the Bill we were told that what we were doing in relation to Clause 1 was only legalising what the police were already doing. It is a dangerous thing to give them new powers while at the same time we are being told that powers they already have they have been abusing. I am not entirely satisfied that that was correct.

The clauses in relation to football offences all relate to buses and to drunkenness. Many people ask why we cannot do something. One has to be sure that one does the right thing. It is no good passing a law unless it is enforceable, and the idea of an international match between Scotland and England taking place and all the people travelling there not having on them a single drop of whisky, lager or beer, passes comprehension. How many policemen is it going to take to search everyone going into the ground to ensure that they have not got with them a hip flask or a small bottle of some kind—I think the new phrase is "control container"?

In relation to buses, we already have legislation. It was not initially introduced in regard to football. It was just in relation to people moving away for the day and descending on small towns. I do not think that that has been at all effective. Until one deals with the question of the supply of drink, and stopping it being taking away, particularly in the area where a football match is being held, there will be trouble of some kind because one will not be able to enforce this legislation as the Government seem to expect. I have asked how many policemen it would take to attend a cup-tie, a cup final or an international game, or even an inter-Celtic game. I hope the Minister will appreciate that at the present time the football clubs in Scotland are very much concerned about the cost to them. They have to pay for the cost of the additional police who are employed during a football match. I assure your Lordships that that cost is for some of the small clubs very heavy indeed. If this legislation is to be enforced, it will place a very much heavier burden on someone. I want to know whether the burden is to fall on the ratepayers or on the football clubs. I hope that the Government have thought about this, because as far as I understand it there have already been approaches to try and ease the burden on some of the smaller clubs in respect of the cost of police at games.

I am disappointed in the Lord Advocate. He is a man in whom I had placed my hopes. He came here with a very good reputation. He built that reputation by the way in which he handled the clauses, especially when he accepted some suggestions put forward by me. After all these years I had discovered a Lord Advocate who knew good sense when he heard it. But we still have Clause 69, where responsibility is placed on the driver of a bus for the alcoholic condition of the people who are in it or, if one small bottle is discovered there, it is the driver who is responsible and he has to stop the bus, deal with the matter or take those concerned to a police station. Really, it is crazy, and I hope that before the Bill goes through all its proceedings in the other place they will take this clause out. It is not fair; it is asking too much to require the bus driver to become the supervisor of the drink question in relation to every person who boards his bus. Also when these people go on the bus he has to see that there is no drink on them and to supervise their behaviour there. If they stop somewhere along the road, if they come from a place of refreshment or where they have had a drink, once again he has to see that they have not concealed any drink on them. It is quite crazy. It will just go by the board.

Then we are left with the question of how people will behave inside the grounds. Like everyone else, I want to see better conducted football matches and crowds, but this whole provision has to do with buses. Since this Bill has been going through your Lordships' House, we have not had a case involving buses, but we have had cases involving railway trains. How many noble Lords have suggested that one has to deal with British Rail as well? I think it was in relation to a match between Aberdeen and one of the Dundee teams that a tremendous amount of damage was done. People were injured, and indeed terrified, by what happened on an ordinary railway train. Admittedly we have tried to deal with football special trains, and we received the answer that everything was all right. The McElhone Committee were told by British Rail and by everyone else that everything was looked after very well. This is the one area in which it is said it is not necessary to do anything, but this is where the trouble really starts. Therefore, may I ask that during the passage of this Bill we look again at this aspect? I am not going to raise the question that Murrayfield is all right but Hampden is all wrong, although I am glad to say that the results have been better at Hampden than at Murrayfield in the last few weeks. Last night it was 4:1.

Now I come to the "Taylor memorial clause", Clause 78. There has been vociferous objection not just by the people interested in civil liberties but by the Law Society of Scotland who have declared that this clause is quite unnecessary. If one is troubled with the crime, one changes the name and that solves the problem! It really is nonsense to create a new crime of vandalism. It is malicious damage at the present time. It could be three or four different things, all accumulated, even attracting bigger penalty than the new offence of vandalism. But this is the Government carrying out their manifesto commitment. Shall I whisper again to them that their manifesto commitments did not get them very far in Scotland? There are 44 Labour Members and 24 Conservative Members.


My Lords, it is the quality that counts.


Ask Southend about that in a few years' time. The man who led them, the man who went on about law and order and vandalism, was defeated, and here is the solution—we are to create a new offence and it is to be called vandalism. What nonsense! I hope the Government will think again about this. After all, he is no longer a Scottish Member, and I suggest that noble Lords opposite should quietly forget about this one. It will not solve any problem.

I hope the Bill has a fair passage in another place. I am looking forward to watching how the Solicitor-General defends himself, especially in respect of that clause which he said would be unheard of in the annals of Scottish law if it were included in a Bill. He has to defend the fact that he actually voted against it when it was in another Bill. It will be quite amusing and I shall spend a lot of time "keeping my hand in" on the Bill when it is in another place.


My Lords, I shall be brief and I wish to refer only to Clause 9(3), about which I am uneasy. It refers to: Any person who, having been duly cited to attend for precognition under subsection (1) above, attends but— (i) refuses to give information within his knowledge". I am wondering how we can establish that he has knowledge and is refusing to give it. In another place and even in your Lordships' House one hears Ministers indicating they have no knowledge of something, yet quite a number of us know they have such knowledge. As I say, how does one establish the position? In this case, he is not even known to be a witness because, according to subsection (1), he is only alleged to be a witness. That an accused person wishes him to be precognised means that he must attend when required and give his precognition on oath. Perhaps we could be told when the Minister replies how, when an alleged witness—he may not even have been a witness—is called and refuses, on somebody's statement, to say he had knowledge and says,"I know nothing about it ", we are to establish the position.

4.3 p.m.


My Lords, I shall respond to some of the points that have been made at this final stage of the Bill, at least for the moment. I confirm at once to my noble friend Lord Drumalbyn that sufficiency of evidence is a matter of law which may be considered on appeal, and I hope that will satisfy him. Nobody knows better than I do the sustained efforts he has made in a case which gave rise to much misgiving. The proposals in Schedule 3, as he stated, are a notable improvement in the stated case procedure.

The noble Lord, Lord Ross of Marnock, made a number of complaints. So far as what I might call the "football offences" are concerned, I am sure he will recall that these were drafted on the basis of a report and recommendations of the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary with responsibility for sport, Mr. McElhone, who was a Member of the last Government. It seemed to the last Government, and it has seemed to us, that much of what his Committee decided after due deliberation made sense, and it was in those circumstances that these provisions were written into the law.

The noble Lord apparently does not contemplate his attendance at least at a football match without the consumption of alcoholic refreshment. At the last Scotland v. England match at Murray-field I was sitting among the faithful supporters of the Perthshire Rugby Club. We have five brands of whiskey which are made in Perth. On my left was the owner of one such brand and on my right was the owner of a second, and they were passing round, for free, miniatures of their respective products and inviting all —particularly when Scotland scored, which was not frequently enough—to sample the product. I managed to refuse because I intended to drive my motor car back to Perth. But it did not play any particular part in my life that I was depriving myself of alcohol on that particular occasion.

The noble Lord rightly said that this was the third measure of legal reform introduced into your Lordships' House in the short time this Parliament has been in existence. Far more than that: it is the first major piece of Scottish criminal justice legislation for many years. I should like to record that, and I am sure it will be seen as a landmark in the reform of our legal system. I take this opportunity to express the appreciation of myself and my colleagues on this Bench for the careful attention noble Lords have given to the Bill. As I have made plain on a number of occasions, the Government have been willing to consider all reasonable points of view and constructive suggestions put forward to improve the Bill, and I would make particular mention of the noble Lord, Lord Foot, who put forward several constructive improvements which the Government were happy to accept.

On the last occasion when the Bill was before your Lordships' House, I paid tribute to the noble and learned Lord, Lord McCluskey, with what I hoped were kind words. It is remarkable that at every stage of the Bill in your Lordships' House he has said that it was positively his last appearance. But like some aging but still attractive music-hall artist, the next time the Bill comes to your Lordships' attention, once more he springs to the centre of the stage. I particularly welcome the nice things he said about my noble friend Lord Lyell.

I am confident that the Bill leaves this House a clearer and strengthened measure and I believe that most noble Lords, including, I hope, the noble Lord, Lord Foot, accept the Bill as it now stands as balanced and fair. We have been accused on some sides of introducing a vicious measure of oppression, while on others the proposal is now seen to have become emasculated and enfeebled. Some parts of the popular Press have alleged both points of view. The truth is that people on both extremes of opinion will never be satisfied, but we believe that the vast majority of people in Scotland welcome the Bill and appreciate that it provides a fair balance between the powers of the police and the safeguarding of the rights of the individual. It seeks to protect the ordinary citizen against crime, and the effect of the Bill will be to justify and enhance continued public confidence in the Scottish criminal justice system.

I must pay a final tribute to the noble and learned Lords, the Law Lords, who played a considerable part in our deliberations. They were always constructive, even if not always to the joy of the Government. As the Bill passes into law, it will, I believe, be received as a major landmark in our legal system. We now send it on its way to the other place—where, incidentally, there will be plenty of copies of the Thomson Report for their perusal—and on behalf of my noble and learned friend and myself, I thank noble Lords in all parts of the House generally for the help they have given us.

On Question, Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.