HL Deb 17 March 2003 vol 646 cc42-65

Read a third time.

Clause 1 [service of Overseas process]:

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 1: Page 2, line 2, leave out from "proceedings" to end to line 3.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the amendments alter the drafting of the references to "administrative proceedings" in Clauses 1 and 14. We have discussed administrative proceedings at length. In Grand Committee, my noble and learned friend the Attorney-General agreed, in response to a question from the noble Lord, Lord Carlisle, that we would look further at the drafting of Clause 14. Since then, we have considered carefully whether it enables us to assist as required by the MLAC.

On reflection, we were not satisfied that Clauses 1 and 14 were exactly in line with our obligations to assist under the MLAC in relation to administrative proceedings. The explanatory report to the MLAC states that we are obliged to assist at the investigation stage of such proceedings, as well as at the latter stage when the decision has actually led to a proceeding before the criminal court. It states that, assistance can be requested … not only for investigations in criminal matters but also for investigations of conduct that is subject to certain administrative sanctions". The current drafting of Clause 14 limits assistance to the appeal stage only. The second amendment therefore extends that. As revised, Clause 14(1)(a) and (b) will refer to criminal proceedings or a criminal investigation, and administrative proceedings or an investigation into an act punishable in such proceedings. That makes the circumstances in which we may assist much clearer. The first amendment makes a minor amendment to Clause 1 along the same lines, allowing any document made by an administrative authority relating to administrative proceedings to be served, not just those recording decisions of the administrative authority.

The third amendment ensures that the same safeguards will apply to requests relating to administrative proceedings as apply to requests relating to criminal proceedings. Those safeguards are that in order to assist in obtaining evidence in the UK, the territorial authority in the UK—the Secretary of State for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the Lord Advocate for Scotland—is to be satisfied that an offence has been committed or there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that it has, and that proceedings have been instituted or there is an investigation into it. The fourth amendment ensures that references to an "offence" in subsection (2) will cover both criminal offences and acts punishable in administrative proceedings.

We consider that the amendments to Clause 14 will enable us to provide assistance in administrative proceedings in the way required by the MLAC, and acknowledge with appreciation the intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Carlisle, in the measures. I beg to move.

Lord Renton

My Lords, the Minister has taken a great deal of trouble over the amendments, which are mainly drafting amendments. Indeed, he takes a great deal of trouble all the time.

I have one question. which I know was raised in Grand Committee. Amendment No. 4 will insert at the end of page 9, line 9: "An offence"—that means a criminal offence— includes an act punishable in administrative proceedings". There may technically be some good reason for inserting that in a Bill with such international implications and effect. However, it is very unusual—in fact, I do not have an example in my recollection—that any administrative proceedings in themselves give rise to a criminal act in such a way. I would be grateful if the Minister would explain that.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

My Lords, I thank the Minister for tabling the amendments. which clarify the position with regard to administrative proceedings. My noble friend Lord Renton reminds us that we have debated administrative proceedings both in Grand Committee and on Report, when we probed the Government as to what "administrative proceedings" cover. They do not exist in this country as such, nor in all other countries in the European Union.

It is important that the Government make the clarification that they have done today. I would be grateful if the Minister would respond to my noble friend. The Minister was very helpful in responding to one of my own amendments on Report, and he gave a fuller answer to the question raised by the noble Lord, Lord Renton, than he may be able to give today at Third Reading.

Lord Filkin

My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, for her broad recognition of what we have done in this respect.

With regard to the question raised by the noble Lord, Lord Renton, concerning administrative proceedings, to begin with, in the UK administrative proceedings do not lead to a criminal offence but in other countries they do. As the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, explained, my noble and learned friend Lord Goldsmith gave a full answer to that point on Report.

In essence, the matter goes to the heart of the Government's, and I believe the Official Opposition's, stance in that we see the cornerstone of our cooperation with other European Union member states as being built on the principle of mutual recognition rather than on an expectation that there will ever be exact harmonisation of criminal law because we feel that that would take us into directions that we do not wish to follow.

Perhaps I may quote my noble and learned friend Lord Goldsmith speaking on Report on this part of the Bill concerning the relationship between the proceedings on an appeal against a decision in administrative proceedings and the proceedings themselves. He signalled that we would consider that matter carefully. I am searching, without a great deal of success, to find the exact words that my noble and learned friend used when he went into full detail about that on Report.

However, at heart, although we do not have an exact equivalence in our own jurisdiction, nevertheless we consider it right that we should be able to co-operate with member states rather than go into harmonisation. I suspect that, with a little further devilling, I shall be able to bring to mind the explicit reference of my noble and learned friend Lord Goldsmith on Report. If it would be helpful. I shall drop a note to the noble Lord setting out the fuller detail.

Lord Renton

My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, when the Bill goes to another place, it will have to consider it in detail, just as we have done. Perhaps I may suggest that some kind of explanation would be relevant for those who are to be involved in the implementation of the Bill in real life. Perhaps it could be explained that administrative proceedings are those which arise through what happens in other countries rather than just here. I do want to make that suggestion.

Lord Filkin

My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Renton, has pointed out that I have not yet sat down, I accept his point that we may be able to give some guidance on that matter. I turn to what my noble and learned friend Lord Goldsmith said on Report. Administrative proceedings are those which relate to an administrative offence. That much is self-evident. They concern something that we might well regard as a criminal offence here. It is tried as an administrative offence but there is an appeal to a court and a penalty is imposed.

Clemency proceedings are quite distinct. They are a form of procedure not known to us specifically but they may well include what we might think of as an appeal for a reduction in a sentence imposed on the conviction of the criminal offence. My noble and learned friend said: I do not know whether it is theoretically possible to have a clemency proceeding against the finding of guilt on an administrative offence. That is not the point. They are distinct issues".—[Official Report, 23/1/03; col. GC 71.] Perhaps I may take the spirit of what the noble Lord., Lord Renton, said and see whether we can make it absolutely clear what the offences might be and why they are necessary in the Bill. That may help to bring some economy to the proceedings in another place.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 14 [Powers to arrange for evidence to be obtained]:

Lord Filkin moved Amendments Nos. 2 to 4: Page 8, line 38, leave out from "proceedings" to end of line 40 and insert "or a criminal investigation, being carried on outside the United Kingdom,

  1. (b) administrative proceedings, or an investigation into an act punishable in such proceedings, being carried on there"
Page 9, line 1, leave out from beginning to ", the" and insert "In a case within subsection (1)(a) or (b) Page 9, line 9, at end insert— An offence includes an act punishable in administrative proceedings.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 82 [Foreign surveillance operations]:

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 5: Page 55, line 40, at end insert— ( ) A foreign police or customs officer conducting relevant surveillance in the United Kingdom under this section shall be prohibited from challenging a person under surveillance.

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 5, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 6, which is grouped with it. Amendment No. 5 would make it clear on the face of the Bill that when foreign police or customs officers are in the United Kingdom carrying out covert surveillance under the provisions of the Bill, in those circumstances they must not challenge a person here in the UK.

I raised this matter in Grand Committee as part of a wider amendment that. also sought to prohibit the officer from entering private property and arresting the person under surveillance. At that stage, the Government maintained that all these matters could be dealt with by secondary legislation. I was grateful to the Government for changing their mind with regard to entry to private property. On Report, we all agreed to a government amendment that dealt with that issue.

However, the Government have still not changed their mind on the matter of arrest and challenge. After discussions with the Minister, I am prepared to accept that it should be clear enough that the officer cannot arrest a person when he is carrying out covert surveillance. In this country, we all understand what "arrest" means. It is clearly set out in our law. But will the Minister take the opportunity today to confirm that it would be against UK law for a foreign officer—either a customs or a police officer—to arrest a person whom he has under covert surveillance?

That still leaves the issue of the lack of clarity with regard to the matter of challenge. I have used the word "challenge" in Amendment No. 5 because that is the word in the Schengen handbook. But, so far as I am aware, as I said previously, there is no concept of that in our law. The Minister was kind enough to write to me after the Report stage to clarify the Government's position on what is meant by the word "challenge". But I am afraid that his valiant efforts at clarification only helped to worry me even more about the drafting of the clause.

In his letter of 11th March, the Minister acknowledged that, so far as he is aware, the word "challenge" is, indeed, not defined in English law. He went on to say that the Government construe the references in the convention as preventing officers from questioning or stopping a suspect or from asking him to explain or justify his actions or to identify himself. Perhaps I may say at this point that I believe that is a very practical and proper interpretation of the word "challenge". It goes far broader than what I had originally considered to be meant by "challenge", whereby a policeman would simply say, "Oi, you there. Stop". Therefore, it is a far broader definition.

As a result of that helpful—at least, helpful to me—letter from the Minister, I then tabled a further amendment—Amendment No. 6 on today's grouping list—to include the Minister's interpretation on the face of the Bill. However, at present the problem is simply that there is no clarification in the Bill as to what we mean by the word "challenge".

I believe that in this case a mention in the Schengen handbook is simply not good enough, especially as we now know that the Government have interpreted the word "challenge" to mean that people should not be stopped or questioned. I believe that that clarity and that assurance should be on the face of the Bill and not left to the vagaries of the original definition of the word "challenge" in the Schengen handbook. Perhaps I may take the Minister into my confidence. I do not carry the Schengen handbook around with me as prescribed reading. I suspect that members of the public do not do so either, nor those who advise them at first instance if they find themselves challenged by a foreign officer from either the police or customs. I give way to the noble Lord.

Lord Clinton-Davis

My Lord, does the noble Baroness carry around with her Archbold?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

My Lords, my answer would be longer if I did. I have a copy on my desk upstairs. It is a year out of date because the up-to-date one is at home. But the noble Lord is absolutely right to point out that lawyers do not always carry around every single reference book. However, with regard to this definition, I could save the problem of Archbold and the Schengen handbook. Here I have a solution for the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis—a simple short amendment on the face of the Bill. I beg to move.

Lord Clinton-Davis

My Lords, I find the amendment singularly unhelpful. I believe it is very important that there should be a similarity of practice so far as concerns the various member states. That is, above all, the most important point. I do not believe that it is sensible for a foreign officer to stop any person whom he suspects. The danger is that he will be put at risk. That is not a sensible idea. The noble Baroness offered no views on that.

5.30 p.m.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

My Lords, it may be helpful if I intervene to make clear that Amendment Nos. 5 and 6 are in the alternative. I tabled Amendment No. 6 only after the Minister's response to me. Both would prohibit foreign officers from carrying out any such activity. The intention is to insert a clear prohibition on the face of the Bill. At present the reference in the Schengen handbook is somewhat unclear.

Lord Clinton-Davis

My Lords, I am obliged to the noble Baroness but I do not think that there is any point to either amendment. She has not added to or subtracted from the present law in any way whatever. At present, no foreign officer can stop and question a subject. That is a vitally important point. If he were to do so, he would be in the arena of difficulty and subject to retribution and retaliation by the miscreants. At present, before any action is taken by the home officers, the foreign officers can advise, talk to the people concerned, and offer an opinion but that is all. I believe that the law should remain as it is.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

My Lords, I support the amendment. I jumped the gun on Report, saying that I was in favour of such an amendment when my noble friend had not moved it. When I read Hansard I found that the Minister was extremely kind and glossed over the matter, for which I am grateful.

Clarity on this issue is important. I do not have in front of me of the Minister's letter to my noble friend a copy of which he kindly sent me. However, I think that he said that a police officer in hot pursuit could not challenge the person he was pursuing because if he did so he would not be undertaking surveillance any more. I did not understand that. It seemed an academic point which did not soothe my concern that the public should be protected from being stopped and searched, or challenged—whichever we take the word to mean—by the person. Perhaps the noble Lord can clarify that. I prefer Amendment No. 6. I do not think that there is anything wrong with putting that provision on the face of the Bill. It would clarify matters for the public, give them confidence and fit in with the other changes which the Minister has wisely made in response to our discussions on this part of the Bill.

Lord Monson

My Lords, whether or not the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, is right in his interpretation, in order to dot the "i"s and cross the "t"s is there any reason why Amendment No. 5 or 6 could not be included? Like the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy, I prefer Amendment No. 6. It would give the public confidence. That is all important in these matters.

Lord Goodhart

My Lords, I support the amendment. It seems to me that the word "challenge" would not have got into the Schengen convention document unless in some of mainland European systems it or the equivalent word in the national language had some specific meaning. "Challenge" is not a term of art recognised in United Kingdom law— certainly not in English law. Nor is it entirely self-evident from the context what the word "challenge" means here. It would be helpful if we had an explanation in the Bill. I prefer Amendment No. 6 to Amendment No. 5 which simply puts "challenge" on to the face of the Bill without any explanation as to its meaning. Amendment No. 6 may or may not be accurate but it gives an explanation which would be more readily understandable in this country as to what is meant by "challenge".

Lord Filkin

My Lords, there is probably a dire lesson for me on these amendments: it never pays to be helpful. I shall not rush to that conclusion. We have sought to be as reasonable as we could as regards putting entry into private property on the face of the Bill. For reasons I shall do my best to explain, we do not think that this further crossing of "t"s and dotting of "i"s is necessary.

We understand that the amendments probe the meaning of "challenge", seeking to put beyond doubt that the public have nothing to fear in this respect. I am happy to make that utterly clear on the record. As part of that endeavour, I wrote to the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, on 10th March responding to a number of questions raised in the House during Report. As I noted then, the word "challenge" is not defined in English law. We interpret it, therefore, according to its natural meaning and construe the references in the convention as preventing the officers from questioning or stopping the suspect or from asking him to explain or justify his actions or to identify himself. Clearly, if such action were to be taken, the foreign officers would no longer be carrying out surveillance and new Section 76A would no longer apply, meaning—perhaps I may address the question of the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy—that they will not be acting within the authority that the Bill gives; they will be acting outwith that authority. Moreover, the officers could be putting themselves in danger since they would be unsupported by UK officers and would, in our judgment, be most unlikely to take the risk of challenging the suspect.

The Schengen handbook outlines all the conditions to which police officers from Schengen states are subject when undertaking cross-border surveillance. In the English version of the handbook the reference to "challenge" has been listed as "stopped and questioned" and this interpretation is mirrored in all the other language versions. We have checked with colleagues and confirmed that the different language versions are drafted centrally by the secretariat maintaining the handbook and the different language drafts are put to the jurist linguists to ensure that the same terms are referred to in each of the translations. So we are confident that the Schengen handbook which affects officers coming for surveillance into this country in the narrow sense, as described in the Bill, and United Kingdom police officers going abroad applies.

Lord Clinton-Davis

My Lords, will the Minister confirm or deny that the practice pursued by the various members of the Schengen agreement is exactly the same; and that is what he has in mind on this issue?

Lord Filkin

My Lords, that is exactly the thrust of my remarks. We are interpreting exactly what the agreement says. The Schengen handbook records that in exactly the same way. I am not aware of any problems which have arisen as a consequence of the operation of the Schengen handbook and the Schengen convention which other European member states have been undertaking for some years.

We fully expect that foreign officers who are acting under the clause will comply with the convention and the provisions in the Schengen handbook and so will not have any contact with the target while conducting urgent cross-border surveillance in the UK. Any contact between foreign officers and the suspect has the potential to lead to conflict and would be inconsistent with the premise of covert surveillance. That is why member states, when discussing and negotiating this framework agreement, were of the clear view that it should not happen. UK officers operating abroad will be instructed to behave in exactly the same way.

Moreover, placing such a prohibition on the face of the Bill through this amendment is meaningless. Foreign officers acting under this clause have no powers under UK law to stop and question anyone. Accordingly, the amendment is ineffectual in so far as it is an attempt to remove any such legal power. Those powers do not exist. Attempting to remove them is nugatory. Further, it seems to create a prohibition without any sanction.

Therefore the point of the amendment is not to change the position legally; it is to make clear to foreign officers that they should not challenge the target. That message is already clearly made by the convention and by the Schengen handbook. I am not persuaded of the argument that foreign officers coming to this country might read the Bill when they would not read the handbook. That is an implausible set of circumstances. Foreign officers undertaking close surveillance of this type would be expected to have read the handbook. If they were in doubt, when they telephoned NCIS for permission to proceed they would be given clear advice in that respect.

It is a basic point. Our practice is no different from any other European Union member state; to whit, if you go across the border you are acting only in a surveillance role; there is no power of arrest, challenge or entry. For those reasons, putting what is already not legal on to the face of the Bill is nugatory and would have no impact in practice on what happens.

The noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, also asked me to confirm the powers of arrest. Foreign officers have no powers of arrest. Holding a person without powers is an offence. Foreign officers will be in contact with people who possess the Schengen handbook. I hope I have explained to the satisfaction of the House that, while we were pleased to put beyond doubt the issue of entry into premises, there is no reason to put that on to the face of the Bill as the issue is without doubt or risk.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

My Lords, before the Minister sits down, perhaps I may say that he has just made a legal argument. But to be practical, what would happen if a foreign officer conducting surveillance stopped somebody and questioned them?

Lord Filkin

My Lords, he would be acting without authority; he would be acting outwith the law. Therefore he would be in breach of the convention and the Schengen handbook. At a very practical level—I believe that is what the noble Baroness is thrusting towards—a serious issue would be raised between NCIS and the country from which the foreign officer came. That officer would have breached a fundamental term of the framework agreement.

The framework agreement operates at heart on the basis of mutual respect of the convention agreement. That would not be elevated to the greatest of issues between other member states, but it would certainly be seen as a significant breach of the agreement, the protocol and of our law.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for his response, and for the support of my noble friend Lady Carnegy and the noble Lords, Lord Monson and Lord Goodhart.

The Minister began ironically by saying that perhaps it does not pay to be helpful. Perhaps I may reinforce the fact that it most certainly does from his point of view. As I recall, the fact that he listened so carefully in Grand Committee meant that we were able seriously to foreshorten both Report stage and Third Reading. So the Government change of mind on certain matters was most welcome and helpful to all Members of this House.

But the Minister seeks to persuade me that I should not pursue these amendments because, on his argument, they are nugatory; that one does not need to withdraw a power which does not exist. But the Minister himself said that the Government accepted that there was a need for clarity with regard to the issue of not going into private property.

I accept the Government's argument with regard to "arrest". That provision should not be on the face of the Bill because there is clarity as to what "arrest" means. But there is the matter of the meaning of "challenge". I do not expect every member of foreign police forces or customs services to carry a copy of the Bill with them. I hope that they will be sufficiently well trained to know what it contains and what the Schengen handbook contains. My duty as a Member of Her Majesty's Opposition is to ensure that there is clarity in our legislation for members of the public in the United Kingdom. That is what I seek.

I listened to the points made by noble Lords, who prefer Amendment No. 6 to Amendment No. 5. I agree. Amendment No. 6 has greater clarity. It also has the advantage that it seeks to put on the face of the Bill the Government's interpretation. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment. by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 6: Page 55, line 40, at end insert— ( ) A foreign police officer or customs officer conducting relevant surveillance in the United Kingdom under this section shall be prohibited from stopping or questioning a person under surveillance.

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I beg to move.

5.46 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 6) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 122; Not-Contents, 117.

Division No. 4
Addington, L. Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L. Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Ampthill, L. Lucas, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B. Luke, L.
Astor, V. Lyell, L.
Astor of Hever, L. McColl of Dulwich, L.
Baker of Dorking, L. MacGregor of Pulham Market,
Barker, B. L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Mackie of Benshie, L.
Blaker, L. McNally, L.
Blatch, B. Maddock, B.
Bradshaw, L. Marlesford, L.
Bridgeman, V. Masham of Ilton, B.
Bridges, L. Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L. Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Brookeborough, V. Monro of Langholm, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Monson, L.
Burnham, L, Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Buscombe, B. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Butterworth, L. Moynihan, L.
Byford, B. Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L. Nicholson of Winterbourne, B.
Carnegy of Lour, B. Noakes, B.
Cavendish of Furness, L. Northesk, E.
Chadlington, L. Northover, B.
Clement-Jones, L. Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller] O'Cathain, B.
Cox, B. Onslow, E.
Craigavon, V. Palmer, L.
Crickhowell, L. Park of Monmouth, B.
Dean of Harptree, L. Parkinson, L.
Denham, L. Perry of Southwark, B.
Elis-Thomas, L. Rawlings, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L. Redesdale, L.
Elton, L. Rees, L.
Ezra, L. Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, L.
Falkland, V. Renton, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Fearn, L. Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Feldman, L. Rogan, L.
Fookes, B. Roper, L.
Fowler, L. Russell, E.
Gardner of Parkes, B. Sandberg, L.
Geddes, L. Sandwich, E.
Glentoran, L. Scott of Needham Market, B.
Goodhart, L. Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Gray of Contin, L. Sharp of Guildford, B.
Greenway, L. Shutt of Greetland, L.
Hamwee, B. Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Hanham, B. Skelmersdale, L.
Hanningfield, L. Thomas of Gresford, L.
Henley, L. Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L. Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Hogg, B. Tope, L.
Howarth of Breckland, B. Tordoff, L.
Howe, E. Vivian, L.
Howe of Aberavon, L. Waddington, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B. Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L. Walmsley, B.
James of Holland Park, B. Warnock, B.
Jopling, L. Weatherill. L.
Lang of Monkton, L. Windlesham, L.
Acton, L. Barnett, L.
Ahmed, L. Bassam of Brighton, L.
Amos, B. Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Andrews, B. Bhatia, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L. Blackstone, B.
Ashton of Upholland, B. Borrie, L.
Bach, L. Bragg, L.
Brett, L. Jannerof Braunstone, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L. Jones, L.
Brookman, L. Jordan, L.
Bruce of Donington, L. King of West Bromwich, L.
Campbell-Savours, L. Kirkhill, L.
Carter, L. Layard, L.
Christopher, L. Lea of Crondall, L.
Clark of Windermere, L. Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L. Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
Clinton-Davis, L. McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B. [Teller]
Corbett of Castle Vale, L. MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Craig of Radley, L. Mallalieu, B.
Crawley, B. Mason of Barnsley, L.
David, B. Merlyn-Rees, L.
Davies of Coity, L. Milner of Leeds, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B. Mitchell, L.
Desai, L. Morris of Aberavon, L.
Dixon, L. Morris of Aberavon, L.
Donoughue, L. Morris of Manchester, L.
Dormand of Easington, L. Orme, L.
Dubs, L. Parekh, L.
Eatwell, L. Patel of Blackburn, L.
Elder, L. Pendry, L.
Evans of Parkside, L. Pitkeathley, B.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L. Plant of Highfield, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B. Prys-Davies, L.
Faulkner of Worcester, L. Puttnam, L.
Filkin. L. Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Finlay of Llandaff, B. Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L. Rendell of Babergh, B.
Gale, B. Richard, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B. Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Golding, B. Sawyer, L.
Goudie, B. Sheldon, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B. Simon, V.
Grabiner, L. Stone of Blackheath, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L. Strabolgi, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller] Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Hardy of Wath, L. Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Harris of Haringey, L, Temple-Morris, L.
Harrison, L. Thornton, B.
Haskel, L. Thronton, B.
Hayman, B. Turner of Camden, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B. Walker of Doncaster, L.
Hogg of Cumbernauld. L. Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Hollis of Hcigham, B. Whitaker, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B. Wilkins,B.
Hoyle, L. Williams of Elvel, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L. Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord
Hunt of Kings Heath, L. Privy Seal)
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Winston, L.
Chancellor) Woolmer of Leeds, L.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

5.56 p.m.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 7: Page 56, line 43, at end insert— (12) The Secretary of State shall lay before both Houses of Parliament at least once in every 12 months a report on the working of this section." The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I did not move a similar amendment on Report because I wanted to give full consideration to the helpful and detailed response that the Minister gave to my amendments to Clause 82. the clause which introduces powers of hot surveillance for overseas police and customs officers, to which we referred in a previous amendment.

The Government have sought to reassure us throughout that these powers will be used only on rare occasions. I certainly hope that they are right and that that proves to be the case. But regardless of whether the Minister is right or wrong, I am convinced that it is vital that these novel and significant powers should be subject to some form of scrutiny and evaluation in future years.

Will the Home Office, NCIS or individual police forces monitor how foreign authorities are using these provisions? If so, will the results be available for scrutiny by Parliament? Will the operation of what will become Section 76A of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 be reviewed under the arrangements for scrutinising the operation of that Act?

As I said in Grand Committee in relation to another part of the Bill, it is important that when new provisions are introduced into the United Kingdom's domestic law, particularly those which depend upon the actions of authorities in other countries, they are kept under scrutiny in order to ensure that they are operating effectively in the fight against crime and for the benefit of the United Kingdom and its citizens.

I believe that these novel provisions are significant enough to warrant a proper form of scrutiny. My amendment seeks to impose an annual reporting system. I am certainly open to suggestions from the Minister for finding another route. I do not seek to impose a "Bassam special" upon the House necessarily on this occasion. I hope that the Minister will give sufficient assurances that I shall not perhaps need to press the amendment. I beg to move.

Lord Clinton-Davis

My Lords, it is not beyond the powers of the noble Baroness or anyone in this House to ask in a written or oral Question what are the powers and how they are being used. But there are so many powers and so many statutory mechanisms in force for consideration of that issue that we should not be bemused. In particular. I believe that the National Crime Squad and the National Criminal Intelligence Service should be able to monitor how the provisions are working. Perhaps my noble friend will illuminate the House by saying what progress has been made in that regard.

Above all, I stress the importance of preparing thoroughly for questions that may arise out of the changing scenario. To ask my noble friend to return to the House whenever is rather stupid. It is important that this matter is kept under review by the best people authorised to do that. Is my noble friend satisfied that the right questions have been asked by the Home Office in that regard? It is important that we should see that the matter works out well in practice. That is all. To say that the Secretary of State should return to the House is to put forward a solution by which no questions would be asked. I ask the noble Baroness to think carefully about this matter. Is she more concerned with the device or with the practice? In my view the practice is all important. I hope that my noble friend can give the House some assurances in that regard.

6 p.m.

Lord Renton

My Lords, the noble Lord agrees that the public and Parliament should have the right to be made aware of what is happening under the new Bill. However, I suggest to him that instead of leaving the matter to chance, with an obscure Member of either House tabling a question from time to time, there should be an obligation on the Government to let us know how such an important Bill, which breaks new ground, is working out.

Lord Clinton-Davis

My Lords, the noble Lord refers to an obscure Member, but it may not always be such a Member. From time to time even the noble Lord asks questions and he is by no means an obscure Member.

Lord Renton

My Lords, it could be one of the most important Members, dare I say, like the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, himself, but I believe that that is leaving too much to chance. All other legislation dealing with criminal matters enacted in the past 100 years or so has either amended it or amplified it, but this Bill breaks new ground; it brings in the responsibility of the police in various countries that have signed the Schengen convention. This is an important new development. I suggest that the Government would not be disadvantaged by being asked by Parliament—as we shall do—to report on how matters are proceeding. It would not be merely an obligation, but a great advantage to them to be able to keep us all informed. Therefore, I most warmly support my noble friend's amendment.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

My Lords, I too support the amendment. It limits itself to the clause concerning surveillance. That is a novel matter for the public. We cannot tell how the public will react to realising that there may be foreign officers snooping about for five hours, looking for someone in their midst. That will arouse misgivings among the public should it happen in areas outside big cities. I can imagine the reaction in different communities that I know once they discover that someone has been conducting surveillance in their midst. I do not know whether the amendment is the right way in which to solve the problem but the Minister must accept that there should be continual update on how the matter is proceeding—whether the arrangements put in place under Schengen and begun in other countries are working out. I hope that the Minister can give the House a good answer.

Lord Filkin

My Lords, I shall do my best. While the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, will not be surprised to hear me say that I shall not accept the amendment as drafted, I shall try to talk about the heart of it as a number of noble Lords on the Benches opposite have spoken in its support.

The first question that I was asked was whether the Home Office will monitor the article thoroughly. Yes, the Home Office has already agreed with NCS and NCIS that implementation will be closely monitored so that the effectiveness of the new arrangements can be assessed and any operational improvements made as part of it.

The Government do not support the specific form of the amendment, because we consider that there will be satisfactory review mechanisms in place. I shall explain the review process that will apply to the new arrangements. Article 40(3)(g) of the Schengen convention requires each instance of urgent surveillance to be the subject of a report to the UK authorities; that is, to the National Criminal Intelligence Service.

All surveillance operations under Part II of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) are covered by the oversight of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner whose annual reports to the Prime Minister are laid before Parliament. RIPA provides that all paperwork relating to RIPA Part II, which will include the reports into urgent operations required by Schengen Article 40 that are taken over by UK officers, will be open for inspection by the Chief Surveillance Commissioner.

Surveillance carried out in the five-hour period before a RIPA authorisation is obtained, or the surveillance ceases, will not be subject to the oversight of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner because there is no decision to review. That surveillance is either automatically lawful or it is not. However, in each case the foreign officers will be required to ask the UK authorities to take over the surveillance under RIPA. Where that happens and the surveillance continues under a RIPA authorisation, the new arrangements will fall under the existing responsibilities of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner. It will be captured at that point.

In addition, the National Crime Squad and the National Criminal Intelligence Service have agreed with the Home Office that they will monitor how the new provisions are working in practice. The exact details of the information that will be collected have yet to be settled. I envisage that it will include all the information that existing members of Schengen currently collect such as the name of the requesting country, the offence concerned, whether or not the surveillance was authorised, the reasons for any refusal, any conditions attached to the approval, the duration of the operation, the outcome and any particular problems or issues. I am very willing to make it absolutely clear to the House as a matter of public policy that we shall provide noble Lords with a summary report of that information after the first year of operation.

The NCIS annual report is the responsibility of the director general, and must cover the whole range of their operational activity. As I have pointed out before, the provisions of the Bill deal very much with exceptional circumstances; we do not expect urgent cross-border surveillance to form a significant part of NCIS's core business. So while we may expect it to allude in this report to cross-border surveillance, as part of the functions of the Sirene Bureau, we would not anticipate that there would be massive detail on that.

I appreciate that those are new arrangements and it is quite right for the House to wish to provide for a degree of parliamentary oversight into their functioning. As I have explained, there will be arrangements to keep those provisions under review and to make the information available to Parliament in the form that I have described. I do not believe that it will be necessary or appropriate to have a requirement for an annual report in perpetuity. I did not think that the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay of St Johns was arguing that.

I would like to deal with one more point before I conclude. Schedule 5 amends RIPA to extend the role of the independent investigatory powers tribunal to cover the new arrangements under new Section 76A. So the tribunal will be able to consider any complaints from any person who is aggrieved by any conduct under the new arrangements. So there is an avenue of redress.

I have already said that we will provide noble Lords with a summary report of how the process is working. It will cover the points that I have indicated. In that first year, it might appear that we were still in—how shall I put it—early teething stages. There may have been only one or two such cases, or it might be slightly early to come to a settled view. I do not want to create needless work, but there is a balance to be struck between utter repetition of annual reports, and trying to ensure that the thrust of noble Lords' concerns is adequately addressed.

So I will go further than saying that we will simply provide a report to the House after the first 12 months. If, in the light of operational experience, it does not seem that that has been conclusive, because of its early stage, we would be happy to provide a further report. That could happen after perhaps two or three years, if that would give a better basis of understanding about how these important powers are operating. It would at least give the clearest opportunity for the House to inquire about those powers. I hope that with those assurances, it has been helpful to the House to ensure that there will be both close monitoring and an adequate opportunity for parliamentary scrutiny of the early operation of the measures.

Lord Renton

My Lords, how often, and covering what period, would such a report be used?

Lord Filkin

My Lords, I was signalling that we were not in favour of an annual report. These measures could be on the statute book for the next 30 or 40 years. An annual report on something that is obviously working would be a waste of time and public money. I have gone further than I originally intended. Although we will perhaps not give a full report, as there are some operational matters that one cannot fully go in to, I will seek an adequate report after the first 12 months of operation. I was going further than that. If it was felt that it was still early days at the end of the first 12 months, or there had been an insufficient number of cases to have a settled view, I would ensure that the Home Office and respective other bodies provided a further report. In other words this would ensure that the House would have an opportunity to see how the measures were operating after the early settling-in period had been completed.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

My Lords, I am grateful for the support given by my noble friends Lord Renton and Lady Carnegy of Lour. They are correct to call this matter a novel procedure. I am grateful for what the Minister said in response to this amendment, and the assurances that he has put on the record. I will not be pressing this amendment. He is right to say that I was trying to obtain those kind of assurances. I am grateful to him for offering to put a summary report before the House at the end of the year's operation. I am particularly grateful to him for thinking beyond that. If that period did not conclusively show whether these new powers were working satisfactorily, then he would consider a later report so that there could be a better sample of cases.

I should refer to the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis. He has said before that Written and Starred Questions could be relied on, instead of annual reports. I stress that I am a fervent user of both methods when appropriate. However, I am aware of their limitations. When I was responding for the Opposition on matters relating to the Dome, I recall having one hit when the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, answered a Written Question, which he subsequently found was not correct. He came to the House to apologise. There were many other occasions when we simply did not get answers. For example, the Department of Health has refused to answer a Written Question asking specifically which hospitals still have mixed sex wards. So I support the proper use of Written and Starred Questions, but they have their limitations.

However, I do not need to press this amendment, because the Minister has given a much fairer and better resolution to the issue of obtaining information than having to have an annual report. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 8 not moved.]

6.15 p.m.

Clause 92 [Supplementary and consequential provision]:

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 9: Page 61, line 36, at end insert— (9) Subject to subsection (10) this section shall cease to have effect at the expiry of three years, starting with the date that the Act is given Royal Assent. (10) Subsection (9) shall not apply if, before the expiry of the three years, the Secretary of State provides by order made by statutory instrument that the section shall continue in force. (11) An order may not be made under subsection (10) unless a draft of the order has first been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this is a sunset provision for Clause 92, which gives the Government the opportunity to amend or repeal primary legislation by statutory instrument, either with or without parliamentary scrutiny.

We have had some debate on these matters at earlier stages, but this is the first time they have been debated in this particular form. I wish to make it clear right from the beginning that I have decided it would not be appropriate to press this amendment. I wish to use Third Reading to obtain further clarification. There may be other Bills upon which I wish to press such an amendment. As the Minister knows, I have no liking for Henry VIII clauses. That is despite the fact that he will remind me that when my party was in office, on very rare occasions it used them. However, they are like a gathering storm at the moment in the hands of this Government. We are seeing them far too frequently. I note with great approbation that the next Bill to be handled by the Minister, the Extradition Bill, has not yet fallen foul of such a clause—I am relieved to say.

What further clarification do I require to this Henry VIII clause? It relates to a response made by the Minister at our last stage—and in Grand Committee. On Report, at column 691 of Hansard of 3rd March he said that the Government would not want a sunset clause on the Henry VIII powers on every Bill. I agree with the Government on that. I do not think that every Henry VIII clause is so abhorrent that a sunset clause should be added to it. Some of them are.

The Minister also said at column 691 that the Government would continue on their present course of putting Henry VIII clauses into Bills, until the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee objected in a particular case. If the Minister's argument was taken to its extreme, it would be that nobody should table an amendment unless it was first proposed by that committee. I invite the Minister to rebut that, and say that he was perhaps only thinking of extreme circumstances where he would want that committee to propose an amendment first. Although we take extremely seriously what the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee says—it is a strong guide to us on specific powers—we can think of a whole raft of amendments which would not be considered first by the committee. Even if they were, and the committee decided that it would not be proper to recommend the House to object to something that the Government had done, there would still be an opportunity for the House to come forward with its own amendments.

The Government's present position appears to be that they are going to carry on with their bad behaviour until the committee catches them out. If anybody else catches them out their attitude is that they need pay no attention. I hope the Minister will robustly say that that is not the case, and that he would welcome a reasoned argument in future on why Henry VIII clauses should be curtailed by sunset clauses. I beg to move.

Lord Goodhart

My Lords, I have some sympathy with what the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, has said but, on this occasion, I do not feel able to support the amendment. I served for some years as a member of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, although I am not currently a member. The question of whether sunset clauses should be attached, either on a regular or occasional basis, to Henry VIII powers relating to transitional and consequential amendments and so on should be considered by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee.

A number of difficult questions need to be considered. For example, we now know from a Written Answer to a Question that I tabled that these clauses have been used on a considerable number of occasions and, in a number of cases, more than three years after the enactment of the Act. Rather than go into this matter on an ad hoc basis, it would be helpful if the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee could issue a special report on whether or not it was appropriate that a time limit should be imposed on some or all of such clauses. In the mean time, I am not minded to support the proposal that the sunset clause should be included in this case.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

My Lords, I am a member of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, which is taking a great interest in the number of Henry VIII clauses proposed by the Government. They seem to have become a habit. On this occasion, the Government are suggesting to the Scots Parliament that it should develop the habit of behaving like Henry VIII.

When we last discussed the issue, the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, suggested that perhaps Henry VIII clauses in the Scots Parliament should be called "Macbeth" clauses. I have reflected on that matter and I do not believe that that is the right name for them. I suspect—although I have not yet had an opportunity to discuss it north of the Border—that there was nothing more unattractive to Scots than the way in which Henry VIII behaved south of the Border. However, he was not their king in this respect and I am not sure that the Scots will mind referring to them as Henry VIII clauses.

I hope that the Scots Parliament will not develop the habit of using them too often because it does not have a House of Lords or a Select Committee to question them. I trust that the Government will be careful about inflicting this habit on the Scottish Parliament, although it is not for this House to say.

My noble friend is making the limited suggestion that a sunset clause should apply if the government of the day do not come forward with proposals. The amendment seeks merely to hold the Government to account, within three years, for the way in which the Bill has operated.

I, too, shall be interested in what the Minister has to say. I hope that he will take the matter seriously because I believe that the Government are developing an unfortunate habit in relation to such clauses. I hope that we shall not see too many of them.

Lord Renton

My Lords, the Government have nothing to fear from the amendment because it gives them the last word. It merely suggests that after three years the Government should consider whether the Bill should continue or be discontinued. The new subsection (10) would enable the Secretary of State to provide by order that the section shall continue in force. As the Government have the last word, I should have thought they would welcome the amendment.

Lord Filkin

My Lords, let me remind the House of the purpose of the powers in Clause 92. The clause does not grant the Government sweeping powers to amend legislation at will without Parliament having a chance to glance at what they are doing. We all know that, in practice, that is not the case. The powers concern only incidental and consequential provisions which fall within the scope of the Bill, and no wider. It would be ultra tires to use the power in another way and we have no intention of doing so.

I challenge the use of the term "bad behaviour". That is not the case. When the Bill has eventually passed through both Houses and received Royal Assent, in essence it will become the Act that this House and another place want to place into legislation and want to make work. All that these powers seek to do—limited and defined in the way that I have described—is to ensure that the will of the House can be exercised in practice; that it does not fall foul of some unforeseen and potentially unforeseeable circumstance which comes to light subsequently and identifies a glitch or an incongruity between this Bill and other powers.

As Members of the House are aware, the Government have already responded to the concerns held by certain noble Lords that the order-making powers were not subject to sufficient scrutiny. We therefore tabled amendments to ensure that any future amendments to primary legislation would be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure, while any amendments to secondary legislation would be subject to the negative resolution procedure. These amendments were in line with the recommendations of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. The committee welcomed the Government's constructive approach to its recommendations.

As to the comments made by the noble Baroness, Lady, Anelay, in regard to the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, I said: The committee has proved itself to be a wise counsellor for the House on these matters, and I believe that we should continue to rely on its wisdom in the future".—[Official Report, 3/3/03; col. 691.] What I implied or intended by the word "rely" was that the committee gives the House good advice and that we should consider that advice before we form our views. I was clearly not implying that the Government would always agree, word for word, with the committee, or the reverse. There will be occasions when, for good reasons of public policy, we would not necessarily follow the committee's advice. But we will always want to hear what it has to say before we come to a conclusive answer.

The Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee did not recommend a sunset provision and the Government do not believe that it would be appropriate. Although we will make every effort to "get our act together" and introduce all necessary consequential amendments without delay, it is always possible that circumstances will arise beyond the three-year period. Schedule 5 runs to 11 pages, which demonstrates the highly technical nature of some of the law involved in the Bill.

The noble Baroness's amendment provides the Government with a chance to resurrect the powers of the clause beyond the three-year period. But that would require further parliamentary business and we question whether that is necessary.

On Report, the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, commented that the sunsetting of such clauses, should be referred to the Delegated Powers Committee for further study rather than introducing it as part of a Bill at this stage, before implications have been fully thought through".—[Official Report, 3/3/03; col. 690.] On this occasion, as on others, I am inclined to agree with the noble Lord in this respect.

On Report, the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy, raised questions about the powers of Scottish Ministers. If she would find it helpful, I shall speak briefly to that issue at this point.

We have consulted the Scottish Executive and Scottish officials closely on these issues. There is good liaison and consultation between the Scottish Executive and the UK Government and a long history of judicial co-operation. It is correct that Scottish Ministers should have order-making powers for those matters that are within their devolved competence. It is indeed possible that there may be certain variations north and south of the Border, but this would be only where a specific point of law in either jurisdiction required that. The overall purpose and effect of the orders would be the same.

This is because the subject matter of the Bill—the implementation of international obligations— imposes exactly the same obligations in both Scotland and England and there is no reason to think that either set of Ministers would not be diligent in endeavouring to see that they were implemented effectively and that they were compliant with international obligations as a consequence. In circumstances of dispute, the joint ministerial committee can be used to resolve matters. Furthermore, Section 58 provides a legislative mechanism to solve problems of this kind, which no doubt one would hope would be entirely theoretical. So there is no need to provide for this afresh in every subsequent piece of legislation.

I shall not delay the House by going into more detail, but I should be happy to talk to the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy, on this important but perhaps rather specialised point of Scottish intersection.


Baroness Carnegy of Lour

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for giving way. Perhaps I may say, with the leave of the House, that he has done extremely well during the passage of the Bill in his co-operation with the Scottish Executive. It has involved a great deal of interlinking of ways of working. Bringing the Schengen agreement into Scots law has been a big operation in itself. I was not criticising that, I was merely saying that the Government requiring the Scottish Executive to use Henry VIII powers was new and that I hoped the habit would not develop too much. I was only referring to Henry VIII powers.

Lord Filkin

My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy, for that helpful clarification.

In conclusion, we hope that we will not need to use these powers after three years. But, in reality, no one can be certain of that. The argument for throwing them away or for arguing that one has to continually come back to Parliament for their renewal is akin to saying that because an event might have a low level of risk one does not require insurance and one can therefore afford to throw away one's insurance policy. I do not think that that is what the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, is arguing. But it could be implied from the view that one does not need the powers to make incidental and consequential amendments to ensure that Parliament has the ability to keep its legislation in the form when and if it passes it. I hope that that is a satisfactory explanation.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for his assurances and particularly for his explanation of what he meant at col. 691 on Report. There he referred to his reliance upon the work of the Delegated Powers Committee and how that fitted into the general approach as to how the Government might draft Bills. That was most helpful.

I accept the fact that this particular Henry VIII power deals only with incidental and consequential amendments. I am not trying to criticise those who are drafting the Bill. Far from it. I am trying to ginger up Ministers so that they might think a little more ahead as to the drafting of their Bills. In that way we would not have to go through several stages of drafting after a Bill has passed through both Houses in order to ensure that it is tidied up appropriately.

I agree entirely with the Minister that on occasions Henry VIII powers are required so that one can properly implement the original policy intention which may have been agreed to by all in both Houses. That does not always happen with such clauses. As I mentioned at the beginning, I certainly do not intend to press the matter. I agree entirely with other noble Lords about the importance of this matter being considered again by the Select Committee. I hope that it has a second report. In saying that, of course, one cannot then give up the idea that such a sunset clause may be unnecessary in the future. What if the Select Committee did not report? What if that report were not acceptable to the House? There still may be a need for sunset clauses and Henry VIII powers. But at this stage in this Bill, I certainly do not intend to press the issue. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 4 [Terrorist property: freezing orders]:

[Amendments Nos. 10 to 12 not moved.]

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 13: Page 79. line 3, leave out from "45." to "which" in line 5 and insert "at the end of paragraph (c) of the definition of "restraint order" there is inserted "or an order

The noble Lord said: My Lords, Amendments Nos. 13 and 14 are purely technical, and I hope that the House sees them as such. Paragraph 9 amends the definition of "restraint order" for the purpose of the insolvency provisions of Schedule 4 to the Terrorism Act 2000. The intention is to include within that definition overseas freezing orders so that the same insolvency rules apply to such orders as apply to domestic restraint orders. Unfortunately, as paragraph 9 stands, it will include external forfeiture orders within the definition of "restraint order". That is a mistake. The amendments correct it. I beg to move.

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 14: Page 79, line 6, leave out third "or

[Amendment No. 15 not moved.]

Lord Filkin

My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill do now pass. In doing so, I should like to thank the Opposition Front Benches for their constructive approach to the Bill. I felt that it worked well in Grand Committee and that the probing enabled us to identify one or two lacunas. I am still smarting from the vicious defeat inflicted on the Government today, so I cannot say that we shall not see the Bill again. Just in case we do not, I should also like to thank my noble and learned friend Lord Goldsmith and my noble friends Lord Bassam and Lord Clinton-Davis, and the officials, who have been assiduous in serving both the Government and co-operating with the House on this legislation.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(Lord Filkin.)

Lord Renton

My Lords, perhaps I may say a few words. I speak as a rusty old lawyer who became a barrister 70 years ago. I am full of admiration for the way in which this massive, rather difficult Bill, which breaks new ground, has been handled by two Members of this House who are not lawyers—the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, speaking on behalf of the Government and my noble friend Lady Anelay of St Johns for all she has done on behalf of the Opposition. What they have achieved is a very great credit to both of them.

Lord Clinton-Davis

My Lords, I do not always agree with the noble Lord, Lord Renton, but I do on this occasion. My noble friend Lord Filkin and the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, have cast a ray of light over this complicated Bill. Although I do not always agree with the noble Baroness, she is always very polite. The principal praise I give is to my noble friend Lord Filkin. He has tackled the issue with humanity and understanding. I associate myself with the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Renton.

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