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FOOTBALL SPECTATORS BILL [Lords] (ALLOCATION OF TIME) Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 80 (Allocation of time to Bills) ,

That the Report [18 October] of the Business Committee be now considered.-- [Mr. Garel-Jones.]

Question agreed to .

Resolved ,


(1) The order in which proceedings on Consideration are taken shall be amendments to Clauses 1 to 7, Schedule 1, Clause 8, Schedule 2, Clauses 9 to 13, New Clauses relating to Part I of the Bill, New Schedules relating to Part I of the Bill amendments to Clauses 14 to 22, New Clauses relating to Part II of the Bill, New Schedules relating to Part II of the Bill, remaining New Clauses, amendments to Clauses 23 to 26 and remaining New Schedules.

(2) On the allotted day which under the Order [17th July] is be be given to the proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading, the proceedings on Consideration shall be allotted in the manner shown in the Table set out below and, subject to the provisions of that Order, each part of those proceedings shall be brought to a conclusion at the time specified in the second column of that Table.



Amendments up to the end of Clause 13, New                      

Clauses relating to Part I of the Bill, and new                 

Schedules relating to Part I of the Bill        | 9 p.m.        


Remaining proceedings on Consideration          |10 p.m.        

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Orders of the Day

Football Spectators Bill [Lords]

[Allotted Day]

As amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.

Clause 1

Scope and Interpretation of this Part

3.32 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Colin Moynihan) : I beg to move amendment No. 1, in page 1, line 14,at end insert--

( ) The Secretary of State shall not make a designation under subsection (2) above without giving the Football Membership Authority an opportuniy to make representations about the proposed designation, and taking any representations he receives into account.'. This is the first of many amendments which carry forward undertakings which I gave in Committee. The House will be discussing several Government amendments today, many of them tabled in response to points raised by hon. Members in Committee. Other Government amendments are designed to clarify the drafting of the Bill and to spell out rather more of the workings of the Football Licensing Authority than we had time to do in Committee. I hope that the House will regard them as helpful. Amendment No. 1 is in response to a proposal made by the Opposition.

When the Standing Committee discussed the Secretary of State's designation of matches to which the provisions of the Bill would apply, I promised to consider tabling an amendment on report which would ensure that discussions with the Football Membership Authority would take place before any such designation was made. Amendment No. 1 gives effect to that undertaking. It requires the Secretary of State, before designating any matches, to provide the FMA with the opportunity to make representations about the proposed designation. The amendment also makes it clear that any views expressed by the FMA must be taken into account by the Secretary of State before he makes a designation order in accordance with clause 2(1).

I am sure that the House will agree that the advice of the FMA should be available to the Secretary of State to assist him in reaching such decisions. The amendment ensures that that will be the case, and I commend it to the House.

Mr. Denis Howell (Birmingham, Small Heath) : Both in this and in other amendments the Minister has sought to meet points that were made in Committee, and we thank him for doing so. It gives me an opportunity to ask the Minister about a statement that appeared on the tapes in the late morning to the effect that the Secretary of State has agreed that there should be pilot schemes with one club in each division, and that they should last for 12 months. I should like to know whether that statement is correct. Can the Minister confirm that he will be taking that line of action and recommending it to the House during the afternoon?

Mr. Moynihan : I am more than happy to assist the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell)

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on that point. If the right hon. Gentleman has accurately outlined it, and I am sure he has, and if it is as he has stated it, the statement is totally without foundation and inaccurate. There will be an opportunity to discuss other amendments relating to the phasing in of the technology, but the position remains as was stated by me in Committee and as it was placed on record last Friday. Whatever the source, I can categorically state that the statement is inaccurate.

Mr. Howell : I shall not detain the House on that point. I am sorry that that is not the case, as we should have welcomed it. Since every other Minister of independence in the Government has declared his independence this weekend, I am sorry to find that the Minister for Sport intends to be the last poodle in the Government.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Moynihan : I beg to move amendment No. 25, in page 1, line 15, after above' insert-- (a)'.

Mr. Speaker : With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 26 to 30.

Mr. Moynihan : The amendments relate to the application of the national membership scheme to international matches and to matches between Football League and non-league clubs. The question how best to treat these matches was considered at length in Committee. The Government have made it clear that their intention is that matches played at Wembley and matches between league and non-league teams played at a league ground should be designated and that the scheme should apply to them. However, we have always emphasised that, when it comes to how the scheme should be applied to such matches, special arrangements will be necessary.

It would be unreasonable to expect, say, Italian supporters making a one- off trip to Wembley to see their national team play England to be members of the scheme. Similarly with supporters of a non-league team who do not attend Football League matches but who wish to see their team in what may be their only game against league opposition. There must be special arrangements for these categories of spectators so that they can be authorised to attend designated matches without being members of the scheme.

As I explained in Committee, this is where the Football Licensing Authority has an important role to play. The amendments will enable the Secretary of State, when designating a match or matches, to provide that spectators admitted to a ground are authorised spectators, subject to special conditions, and that they should be treated as part of the licence.

No doubt the Football Licensing Authority will wish to discuss with the local police, with the club or, in the case of Wembley, with the Wembley authorities just what the special arrangements for the matches should be. They will be able to take full account of the circumstances of the individual match and of the ground and decide the most appropriate arrangements under which a particular game can be played. They may wish to make different arrangements at different matches and for different parts of the ground. It is important that they must be free to

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decide what is best in any particular case--a point put very strongly by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell) in Committee.

Therefore, I commend the amendments to the House. I hope that it will share my view about the importance of the FLA being able to decide, in consultation with the interested parties locally, the most appropriate arrangements under which a particular match in these categories should be played. It is important that appropriate measures to minimise the threat of violence at these matches are put in place. The amendments mean that the FLA will be able to achieve that in the most appropriate way.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made : No. 26, in page 1, line 17, at end insert ; and

(b) may provide, in relation to the match or description of match designated by the order or any description of match falling withint the designation, that spectators admitted to the ground shall be authorised spectators to the extent, and subject to any restrictions or condidtions, determined in pursuance of the order by the licensing authority under this Part of this Act.'.

No. 27, in page 2, line 2, after if', insert


No. 28, in page 2, line 4, after match', insert

; or

(b) he is an authorised spectator by virtue of subsection (3)(b) above,'.

Clause 2

Offences relating to unauthorised attendance at designated football matches

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Peter Lloyd) : I beg to move amendment No. 31, in page 2, line 40 at end insert--

( ) Where a person is charged under subsection (1) above with an offence of entering or remaining on premises, and was at the time of the alleged offence not disqualified from being a member of the national football membership scheme, it shall be a defence to prove that he was allowed to enter the premises as a spectator by a person reasonably appearing to him to have lawful authority to do so.'.

Mr. Speaker : With this it will be convenient to take the following: Government amendments Nos. 32, 33, and 34.

Amendment No. 55, in page 5, line 29, at end insert

(2A) In case of serious emergency or the failure of computer equipment the senior officers of police attending premises at which a designated football match is being or is intended to be played shall have power to direct that the national football membership scheme shall be temporarily suspended in its application to those premises and to that match and, where a direction is given under this section, section 2 and 7 of this Act shall be of no effect during the period of suspension.'.

Mr. Lloyd : Amendments Nos. 31 to 34 provide in one form or another for emergency admission to grounds. Considerable thought was given in Committee to whether it was right for the offence of unlawful entry in clause 2(1) to be absolute--that is, to have no defence provided in the Bill.

The Government have reflected further in the light of these debates and believe it right to provide a defence, which amendment No. 31 achieves. Hon. Members were rightly troubled by the possibility of a dangerous crush developing outside grounds, despite everything that we are

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doing to try to avoid that, and it becoming essential to reduce the risk of serious injury or loss of life for those outside the ground to be admitted quickly and safely without proper checks on membership.

In such circumstances it would be impractical to distinguish properly between members and non-members of the scheme. We therefore feel it right to exempt from the offence innocent people who were not members of the scheme--those who had perhaps joined the queue unaware of the requirement for a card or who were unintentionally caught up in the crowd.

There is one important qualification to this defence. The House will agree that it would be nonsense to extend the new defence to persons disqualified from the scheme. That would create an incentive for the very hooligans whom the scheme would seek to exclude to kick up enough trouble outside the grounds for the club and the police to let them in. They may indeed try that on, but with the defence as proposed here they could not be let in free of the criminal offence of unlawful entry ; and if they were not seeking admission, it would be difficult to justify their presence in the midst of a crowd queuing at the turnstiles for that purpose.

Mr. Stanley Orme (Salford, East) : The Minister suggests that someone be let in without a card because of possible problems outside, but how will anyone know that such a person is disqualified--since he will not have a card, or will claim not to have one?

Mr. Lloyd : That is right. The whole purpose of the amendment is to permit clubs not to be in breach of their licence in an emergency by letting in such people, since there will be no opportunity to check, but the person who has come in and is disqualified can be prosecuted if it becomes apparent at some stage that he is disqualified. But the law cannot be used against the club.

The Government have consistently maintained that any provision for adapting admission procedures in an emergency will not be covered in the Bill because the aim of the Bill is to ensure that the licence is the means whereby the detailed requirements are made. So amendment No. 32 introduces the mandatory requirement for the scheme so to provide. Amendment No. 33 qualifies the offence in clause 9(1) of admitting spectators to unlicensed premises by the new defence that the responsible person did so in an emergency.

Amendment No. 34 requires the licensing authority to consider arrangements to deal with emergencies when granting a licence to admit spectators. Implicitly, that puts within the scope of a licence the provision to admit spectators in an emergency, safeguarding the licensee from an offence under clause 10(10) in such circumstances. I should explain two additional points to make the new arrangements clear. I mentioned that the new defence of acting on lawful authority would not and should not apply to those disqualified from the scheme, and I am sure that that is right. However, the same is not necessary in respect of offences by the club, which could not be expected to discriminate between disqualified persons and others in an emergency. The offences in clauses 9 and 10 should reflect that, as provided by amendments Nos. 33 and 34.

My other point is about the practical meaning of the term "emergency". The Bill does not explicitly define the term and I suspect that the search for a precise definition would prove fruitless. There are many degrees of

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emergency, and in my perception they all carry a genuine risk of injury or loss of life, whether actual or potential. The term is not a convenient form of shorthand simply for an operating delay or incovenience. The various provisions for emergencies in the Bill and, in due course, in the scheme, will come into play at a football ground only when such a risk actually arises. The Bill does not set out who should declare whether an emergency exists. It is the club's responsibility to get that right, since it is the club's licence that is at stake and it is the club which would risk committing an offence under clauses 9 or 10.

3.45 pm

Mr. John Carlisle (Luton, North) : Will my hon. Friend confirm that an emergency means just that, and that in terms of the spirit of the Bill such a situation arises only at the last minute? Does he agree that the Government view the events in Stockholm and the decision by the police there to let in people without tickets to that rather sad game as totally exceptional? Will he confirm that the main thrust of his argument and of the Bill is that such an occasion would be very rare and would be discouraged by the Government?

Mr. Lloyd : My hon. Friend well understands the Government's position. It is not our perception that the solution to problems that arise is to let people in whether or not they are members or whether membership cards are inspected. The club authorities and the police will have to take sensible and responsible decisions about what to do in an emergency when it has materialised, or when it looks as if one is about to occur.

Mr. Stuart Randall (Kingston upon Hull, West) : Perhaps the Minister would give us a practical explanation, because we are all anxious to get the matter right. If the chief police officer at the match saw many people outside the turnstiles and the possibility of a crush, could he declare that an emergency? Could he have the gates opened in order to reduce the risk to life and limb of people who were outside the turnstiles?

Mr. Lloyd : If in his judgment the responsible police office thought that there was a real possibility of injury, he would recommend the right steps, which could well be to open the gates and let people in under the emergency provisions that I am introducing. That is what the amendment allows, and what it is for. I should emphasise that it is for the club authorities and the police on the spot to make the judgment. It is for them to judge the situation and decide whether a real emergency exists or is about to occur. There does not need to be injury before this provision comes into effect, but there must be a real possibility of it. As I said earlier, it would not be triggered by a small inconvenience or difficulty and a little crowd building up outside. There has to be the possibility of an emergency.

Mr. Randall : May I again press the Minister on the practical details? He made it quite clear that it would be for the senior police officer or a certain police officer and the club to make the decision that an emergency existed and that action should be taken to open the gates. How does the Minister envisage that taking place? We know from other incidents, certainly from what happened at Hillsborough, that one needs to deal with these matters expeditiously. How does he imagine that happening on a

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day on which there is a crush outside a turnstile which the police officer sees, when perhaps an officer of the club is not around? In practice, how would the decision be made?

Mr. Lloyd : With intelligence and forethought. These people have reached their positions in the police force because of their judgment, experience and ability to make decisions. The hon. Gentleman has followed the Bill and served on the Committee. I, alas, did not have that advantage, but it is clear to me that what is required from a club by the membership authority is that the club should have thought about what emergencies might occur, and how they should be met in the circumstances of the ground. All grounds differ, and as the hon. Gentleman knows, one needs to know not merely the situation at that point, but the layout of the ground and the possibilities of it, and the club and the local police should have thought out the possibilities in advance. I would rather rely on the good sense of police officers who have thought through such circumstances than on my efforts to give a recipe for each different ground from the Dispatch Box.

Mr. Menzies Campbell (Fife, North-East) : I am not the only one concerned about the absence of any attempt to define an emergency. If the club gets an emergency wrong or considers a certain set of circumstances to constitute an emergency when, on another view, it does not, as I understand the Minister that is a breach of the licence. That may be a serious matter. In those circumstances, is it not necessary for the Bill to contain some set of principles or criteria by which clubs can give forthought to the circumstances in which an emergency might arise? What concerns me, and I am sure others, is that clubs are being cast loose, with no set of principles against which to test their conduct.

Mr. Lloyd : The hon. and learned Gentleman may have missed what I said earlier. We proceed in this matter not primarily through the Bill but through the licence. This makes it mandatory for the licence to go into more detail for each club on these matters. He is right to say that forethought should be given in these matters. They will be required in more detail through the licence, but the responsibility of the licensee--the club--and the police authority, is to think through in great detail what the hon. and learned Gentleman has suggested. I have sympathy with what he said, and the end result, but the Bill and the Dispatch Box are not the places to do it.

Mr. Ian McCartney (Makerfield) : As a supporter of rugby league, I am also concerned about the lack of definition of emergency. The Minister is leaving the matter to be determined by courts if a dispute arises either because someone has decided to appeal against conviction or because a club has decided to appeal against the accusation of infringement of the conditions of their licence. Surely the priority at the time must not be whether there might be a breach of the conditions of the licence, and so an offence, but whether there is a safety risk. By excluding a definition, the Minister puts on police officers, and the chain of command, an unnecessary restriction, and intervenes in their determination of what should be safety matters. The courts will determine, after an accident,

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whether a breach has taken place, and that is serious, given that the Bill was introduced to prevent accidents and serious disorder.

Mr. Lloyd : The hon. Gentleman is not right. We are not leaving it to the courts to decide. We are requiring the licence to specify these matters as a mandatory requirement. The licence for different clubs will differ in different places. The right place to make these differences is through the licence, so that each will be tailormade for the club to which it applies. I accept the hon. Gentleman's concern, but he is wrong to think that these things will not be gone into more thoroughly. They are matters for the licence and for those police officers with this responsibility.

Mr. Randall : The Committee stage finished some time ago, so will the Minister refresh my memory on one point? Who is the ultimate authority on the definition of emergency? Will it be the police or the club? There could be a dispute between the police and the club : what would happen then? If there were a dispute, there could be risk to people. How would dispute be resolved?

Mr. Lloyd : The final authority will be the police. There must, however, be close co-operation between club officials and the police, and the nature of that co-operation will be laid down in the licence. The worry expressed in Committee, that there was no clear-cut responsibility, is one that we have taken on board, and it will be dealt with in the way in which I have described.

Mr. Peter Pike (Burnley) : The judgment that there is an emergency on a match day will be made as events take place and as they are seen to take place. When a few days have passed, the judgment of the moment may be called into question by those who have the benefit of hindsight. Those who are called upon to take a decision as the match is taking place will know that it could pose a threat to the club's licence.

Mr. Lloyd : If a club makes a decision in good faith and on good grounds and there is an argument afterwards that a slightly different decision should have been taken, the club's licence will not be at risk. We need the report of the inquiry and its recommendations before we can come to detailed conclusions on some of the matters which the hon. Gentleman has mentioned. I am glad that the hon. Gentleman agrees with me--his emphasis appeared to be somewhat different from that of some of his hon. Friends-- that detailed decisions cannot be made at the Government Dispatch Box that relate to specific circumstances at a certain time at a particular ground. Such decisions must rest with the police and the club officials.

Mr. McCartney : Is there not a classic conflict of interest that could put a police officer in an invidious position? An officer may have to determine in a matter of moments whether an offence may or may not take place or whether there is a serious possibility that injury may ensue. That was the conflict of interest that existed at Sheffield and which has existed elsewhere. When the conflict arises, it is the spectator who suffers. We should not be inserting in the Bill further conflicts of interest that will be faced by the chain of command when it comes to determine safety priorities.

Mr. Lloyd : There is not the conflict of interest that the hon. Gentleman describes. It is not a question whether

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there is the risk of injury or the risk that the law will be broken. If a police officer decides that there is an emergency, or the risk of one, and he recommends that advantage should be taken of the provisions that are set out in the amendment, there is no question of an offence being committed. That is with the exception of someone who has been disqualified who slips in with the crowd. Only he would be committing an offence.

Mr. John Carlisle : Does my hon. Friend agree that perhaps Lord Justice Taylor's conclusions so far on Hillsborough have been somewhat less than fortunate, in that they almost fully blame the police for the Hillsborough disaster? I refer to the conclusions that are set out in his interim report. That being so, this admirable and sensible amendment may be prejudiced. The Opposition take a different position from ours when it comes to support for the police-- [Interruption.] That is in the spirit of what my hon. Friends and I have been hearing. Perhaps Lord Justice Taylor's conclusions so far have not assisted the passage of the amendment. His final conclusions, however, may mute the half-time conclusions, if I may so describe them, that attach criticism to the police at Hillsborough.

Mr. Lloyd : The police have an extremely difficult job. In the circumstances that we are considering, they have a central and crucial role. It is understandable that the first comments in Lord Justice Taylor's interim report were on the police, when we consider that their role is central. I understand that my hon. Friend is saying that the shortcomings and the difficulties that formed the background to the tragedy stemmed from a number of failures and were not confined to failures on the part of the police. Alas, the police were responsible for some failures. The licences will make the role of the police and of the club authorities much clearer.

Mr. Steve Norris (Epping Forest) : I ask my hon. Friend to comment on amendment No. 55. Whether or not the wording of the amendment is correct, it is clear that it is designed to determine who shall be the ultimate arbiter on what I shall loosely call the declaration of emergency. Right hon. and hon. Members in all parts of the House have sought clarification, and while I entirely accept the spirit of the Government amendment, which I clearly welcome, will he explain why he is not minded to accept amendment No. 55?

Mr. John Greenway (Ryedale) : I have not yet proposed amendment No. 55.

Mr. Norris : It would seem desirable to determine in advance whether the club authorities or the police have the ultimate say in declaring a state of emergency.

4 pm

Mr. Lloyd : I shall not address amendment No. 55 until my hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale (Mr. Greenway) has spoken to it. I answered earlier the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Epping Forest (Mr. Norris)--although I have now forgotten what it was.

Mr. John Greenway : I assure my hon. Friend the Member for Epping Forest (Mr. Norris) that it is not my intention that clubs should be authorised to declare an emergency, for that is for the police to do. That is the spirit of amendment No. 55, to which I shall speak in due course.

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Mr. Lloyd : I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale, for reminding me of the point with which I dealt earlier, when I said that the licence wil make it clear where responsibility lay. It will be primarily a matter for the police, but club officials will also have a degree of responsibility. If they see an emergency developing, they will obviously want to speak to the police in deciding what should be done. If there is not sufficient time to do that, the club officials will have the responsibility for taking a decision. It is intended that the licence will make it clear that that responsibility will be primarily with the police.

The Government amendments meet the concerns expressed by right hon. and hon. Members in all parts of the House, and although there will be extensive debate on the new subsection introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale, I hope that amendment No. 31 as it stands commends itself to the House.

Mr. Keith Vaz (Leicester, East) : I appreciate the Minister's difficulties in not having served on the Committee as a representative of the Home Office, but hon. Members on both sides of the Committee made the point that neither the Bill nor future legislation should create more offences of strict liability. Also stressed was the importance of providing a defence for those caught in situations that they could not control.

I am grateful that the Minister has moved on the point of strict liability, but his proposals will not meet the objections that have been raised. It goes to the ethos of the Bill that the Government believe that the creation of more criminal offences will solve the problem of hooliganism, which we do not believe. We do not accept that the drafting of a subsection to create a new offence will overcome the problems and difficulties that have arisen in the past few years and which led to the Bill's introduction. Instead, the new subsection will criminalise football supporters and place them at risk, and it will make them more confused and concerned about the possibility of committing offences through no fault of their own. It will place a greater burden on both the police and the courts. I am very concerned about the drafting of the final sentence in the amendment : I believe that it puts too much onus on identification evidence when it comes to court. Let us suppose that a spectator who is arrested tells the police officer that a certain person allowed him to enter the ground, and had lawful authority to do so. If, given the circumstances of the arrest, the officer feels that the time is not appropriate for him to take such information, the spectator will be arrested and detained, and will have to go to court. The defence provided will be a defence in the court, and it will be up to the spectator to prove that the person who let him in had lawful authority to do so.

It may be very difficult for the spectator to remember exactly who let him in, and to work out whether that person in fact had lawful authority. We shall get into difficulties with definitions and with identification evidence, and the drafting of that sentence will not help. It will impose a greater burden on the Crown prosecution service, which will have to consider whether to prosecute, and will have to examine the possibility of different kinds of identification evidence. I urge the Minister to look again at that definition, and to consider whether he is really satisfied that its wording will solve the problem.

Mr. Norris : The hon. Gentleman says that he does not want us to create a new group of offences, and I

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sympathise with his view. Surely, however, a person found in a ground without lawful authority--one who had not paid the admission charge, for instance--could be charged with a number of offences at this stage, while under the amendments, which I too welcome, a person will have a defence for being in a ground without having passed through the turnstiles in the normal way. Surely that cannot be to the disadvantage of the spectator.

Mr. Vaz : I accept that point. The problem is, however, that we are creating a new criminal offence. We have a duty to be clear : if we are not, we shall create more confusion and provide for identification difficulties. Spectators will point to people who have disappeared. After all, a spectator who has been allowed in and then arrested can hardly be expected to make a note of the name, address and designation of the person who let him in and who he claims had lawful authority.

I feel that the word "emergencies" should be defined. I know that it is difficult, and I note what the Minister says about well-trained police officers ; the problem has, however, been identified already in the interim report by Lord Justice Taylor, who makes specific criticisms of the police. The Government and their legislation will not make more resources available for the training of police officers, and it is therefore wrong for the Minister to say that police officers will be given the proper training to make a definitive decision in difficult circumstances.

We are opening the clubs, the police and others to the possibility of judicial review--lengthy proceedings before higher courts, determining not just what constitutes an emergency but the whole question of statutory interpretation. If we are able to prevent that from happening, we should do so.

My final point concerns the examples given in Committee. I do not think that the amendment meets the position of someone walking outside a ground who has nothing to do with football and does not wish to be a spectator, but is driven into the ground with the rest of the crowd because of an emergency. He or she will generally be pushed forward. The Minister laughs, but that point was raised by Conservative Members. My example was slightly different. If a person is outside the ground where a large crowd has gathered, and a police officer, for example, decides to open the gates, that person, who is not a spectator and therefore is not protected by the defence in amendments Nos. 31, 32 or 34 which refer specifically to a spectator, may be forced by the general melee to go into the ground. As he has nothing to do with football and does not wish to enter the ground, he is not protected.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : It may help the hon. Gentleman to conclude his remarks to know that a passer-by who is swept into the ground by a crowd will have a complete defence. The only person who does not is someone who has been disqualified. Only such a person will not be covered by that defence.

Mr. Vaz : I am grateful to the Minister, but the amendment refers to "a spectator". Unless he can point me to another amendment relating to a person or a passer-by, in the case of a person who is not a spectator, whatever the Minister says now does not bind the courts. The courts will be looking for someone who is a spectator, so a defence is not provided.

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To give a bizarre example, similar to the one I gave in Committee, if a helicopter crash lands on a football ground, a person who gets out of the helicopter will be committing an offence because that person is not a spectator. Unless the Minister can point the House to the defence of a passer-by that makes no reference to the word "spectator", that defence is not provided. No matter what the Minister tells the House, we are discussing civil liberties and lengthy court proceedings that will cost the taxpayer a great deal of money.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : I am not quite sure which sentence the hon. Gentleman is referring to, but he has mentioned the word "spectator". If a person is allowed into the premises as a spectator, that is the nature of the permission he was given. That does not mean that he was a spectator or that he intended to be a spectator, but that he was assumed to be a spectator and brought in. Therefore, he has a complete defence unless he has been disqualified from the membership scheme. I shall look at the wording again after the debate to satisfy myself that I am right to be satisfied that the Bill completely covers the eventualities that concern the hon. Gentleman, but I believe that it does.

Mr. Vaz : I shall not pursue the matter because my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Howell) is eager to make progress. It may seem a small point, but I can envisage such a situation arising and we should cover it. I suggest an amendment to the Minister's amendment changing the wording to "a spectator or any other person who enters the ground in those circumstances". I disagree with the Minister, as I believe that a person happily walking on a street on the afternoon of a football match is not a spectator. A spectator denotes a particular state of affairs in that he is going to watch a football match. Just because a person is allowed in by a police officer does not mean that he is a spectator.

Mr. John Greenway : I beg to move amendment No. 55

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean) : Order. The hon. Gentleman cannot move the amendment, but he is free to speak to it.

Mr. Greenway : Amendment No. 55 seeks to ensure that a serious public order problem could be avoided by the senior police offcer supervising the policing of a match being in no doubt of his powers to suspend the football membership scheme for the match he is policing, should circumstances so dictate.

The House has spent some time discussing that issue. I welcome the attempt by my hon. Friend the Minister to rectify the situation. I do not believe that my amendment in any way contradicts this amendment. In fact, they are complementary. Hon. Members are concerned with what constitutes an emergency and precisely who would take the decision to suspend the scheme at a football ground should circumstances so dictate.

The officer policing the match should be in no doubt of his powers to suspend the scheme in all or part of the ground, and club officials must be aware that such powers exist. Smaller clubs are already experiencing difficulty interpreting Lord Justice Taylor's interim recommendations on the policing of matches. I do not blame the police for that, but the police and clubs will have to work together. My hon. Friend the Minister has said that he

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