HL Deb 03 April 2003 vol 646 cc1495-8

17 Page 12, line 3, after "information", insert "is. —

  1. (a) information the disclosure of which would be likely to put an individual in danger, or
  2. (b) information which"

Lord Williams of Mostyn

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 17. I have already spoken to this amendment with Amendment No. 4. I believe that now is the brief opportunity for the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 17. —(Lord Williams of Mostyn.)

[Amendment to Commons Amendment No. 17]

17A Line 3, at end insert— (aa) information the disclosure of which would, or would be likely to, prejudice the prevention or detection of crime or the apprehension or prosecution of offenders,

Lord Glentoran

My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 17A as an amendment to Commons Amendment No. 17.

Moved, That the House do agree with Amendment No. 17A, as an amendment to Commons Amendment No. 17. —(Lord Glentoran.)

Lord Rogan

My Lords, there is no need for me to spend too long reiterating the arguments expressed often in this House and in another place. The Government have yet to provide an acceptable justification for the removal of the fourth ground of appeal—Section 59(3)(d) of the 2000 Act. We are concerned that this will not only undermine the operational capacity of the Chief Constable, but the board's requests could torpedo an expensive and lengthy investigation and could be used as a device to disrupt or defeat ongoing investigation. This amendment therefore simply seeks to reinstate this fourth ground of appeal.

Amendments Nos. 18 to 21 are concerned with the establishment of a "special purposes committee". The whole concept of the committee is wrong. The committee will be created to handle sensitive information that should not be before the board in the first place. There is concern about confidentiality. We do not want a situation where criminal proceedings could be jeopardised or undermined by the premature disclosure of such information to the board. I therefore support Amendment No. 17A.

Baroness Park of Monmouth

My Lords, I am not perfectly clear. Perhaps we may take a hypothetical case. Supposing that there were present upon the board—as it is evidently hoped that there will be—representatives of Sinn Fein/IRA and there is an ongoing case/investigation/event in which members of that organisation are concerned, would they be, in any way, excluded from participation or would they have to be part of it as members of the committee and, therefore, necessarily, have access which could have serious consequences?

Lord Williams of Mostyn

My Lords, the answer is that they would not automatically be excluded nor would they automatically be included. It would be a matter for the judgment of the board. I take the noble Baroness's point referring to a continuing investigation and it should not be overlooked. However, there is the safeguard that the board and the Chief Constable may agree the timetable. One has got those safeguards. The Chief Constable will have to come to his decision. I hope that if we are setting up a board it will be on the basis that it is capable of being trusted to carry out public functions. We all want, I hope, Sinn Fein to go on to the board—a number of your Lordships have been urging them to do so for some time on the necessary basis that one can only be a member of such a board if committed absolutely to the rule of law and the right of police investigations.

Therefore, the safeguards are there. I do not gloss over the difficulties. The comfort that I derive is what my honourable friend Jane Kennedy said in another place—namely, that the Chief Constable has been closely involved and has come to the conclusion that he is content. The noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, is right. We have gone a significant way from the moment when the noble Baroness and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mayhew of Twysden, first raised these issues.

Lord Glentoran

My Lords, I wish to test the opinion of the House on Amendment No. 17A.

5 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 17A), as an amendment to Commons Amendment No. 17, shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 65; Not-Contents, 132.

Division No. 3
Anelay of St Johns, B. Baker of Dorking, L.
Ashcroft, L. Biffen, L.
Astor, V. Blaker, L.
Astor of Hever, L. Blatch,B.
Bridgeman, V. Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L. Monro of Langholm, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Monson, L.
Burnham,L. Montrose, D.
Byford, B. Moynihan, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L. Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L. Newton of Braintree, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller] Noakes, B.
Denham, L. Norton of Louth, L.
Dixon-Smith, L. O'Cathain, B.
Elles, B. Onslow, E.
Elliott of Morpeth, L. Park of Monmouth, B.
Elton, L. Peel, E.
Ferrers, E. Perry of Southwark, B.
Glentoran, L. Plumb, L.
Hanham, B. Quinton, L.
Hanningfield, L. Rees, L.
Ren ton, L.
Howe. E. Roberts of Conwy, L.
Howe of Aberavon, L. Rogan, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L. Ryder of Wensum, L.
Laird, L. Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Luke, L. Selborne, E.
McColl of Dulwich, L. Shaw of Northstead, L.
Maginnis of Drumglass, L. Skelmersdale, L.
Mancroft, L, Strathclyde, L.
Marlesford, L. Swinfen, L.
Marsh, L. Wakeham, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L. Wilcox, B.
Acton. L. Goodhart, L.
Addington, L. Goudie, B.
Ahmed, L. Gould of Potternewton, B.
Alli,L. Graham of Edmonton, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L. Grocott, L. [Teller]
Andrews, B. Hamwee, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L. Hardy of Wath,L.
Ashley of Stoke, L. Harris of Richmond, B.
Ashton of Upholland, B. Harrison, L.
Barker, B. Haskel,L.
Bassam of Brighton, L. Hayman, B.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L. Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Bradshaw, L. Hollick,L.
Brennan, L. Hollis of Heigham, B.
Brett, L. Howarth of Breckland, B.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L. Howells of St. Davids, B.
Brookman, L. Hoyle, L.
Burlison, L. Hylton, L.
Campbell-Savours, L. Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord
Carter, L. Chancellor)
Christopher, L. Janner of Braunstone, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L. Jay of Paddington, B.
Cohen of Pimlico, B. Jones, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L. King of West Bromwich, L.
Crawley, B. Lipsey, L.
Dahrendorf, L. Livsey of Talgarth, L.
David, B. Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
Davies of Coity, L. McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B. MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Desai, L. Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Dixon, L. McNally, L.
Donoughue, L. Maddock, B.
Dormand of Easington, L. Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Elder, L. Mishcon, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L. Morgan of Huyton, B.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B. Morris of Aberavon, L.
Faulkner of Worcester, L. Newby, L.
Gale, B. Nicol, B.
Gavron, L. Northover, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B. Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Gilbert, L. Ouseley, L.
Golding, B. Patel, L.
Goldsmith, L. Patel of Blackburn, L.
Pendry, L. Stone of Blackheath, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L. Strabolgi, L.
Pitkeathley, B. Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Prys-Davies, L. Taverne, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B. Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Rea,L. Temple-Morris, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B. Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Rennard, L. Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Richard, L. Turnberg, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L. Turner of Camden, B.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L. Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L. Walmsley, B.
Rooker, L. Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Roper, L. Whitaker, B.
Russell, E. Whitty, L.
Sawyer, L. Wilkins, B.
Scott of Needham Market, B. Williams of Crosby, B.
Sewel, L. Williams of Elvel, L.
Sheldon, L. Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord
Shutt of Greetland, L. Privy Seal)
Simon, V. Winston, L.
Smith of Clifton, L. Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Smith of Leigh, L. Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

On Question, commons Amendment No17 agree to.

5.10 p.m.