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Mr. Clarke: Amendments Nos. 27, 28 and 91 to 93 tidy up the position on how to deal with modifying codes of practice. Amendments Nos. 110, 111 and 120 remove the bar in the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1988 on applying the PACE codes to the detention of terrorist suspects in Northern Ireland. [Interruption.]
'the first issue of a'
'(5) The following provisions shall be treated for the purposes of this section as forming part of this Part of this Act--
(a) paragraphs 35 and 36 of Schedule 4, and
(b) paragraphs 18A to 18C of Schedule 5.'.
Amendment made: No. 30, in page 53, line 16, at end insert--
'( ) Where anything is seized by a constable under a power conferred by virtue of this Act, it may (unless the contrary intention appears) be retained for so long as is necessary in all the circumstances.'.--[Mrs. McGuire.]
Amendments made: No. 31, in page 54, line 17, after "given", insert "or order made".
No. 32, in page 54, line 21, after "given", insert "or made".
No. 33, in page 54, line 24, after "given", insert "or order made".
No. 34, in page 54, line 27, at end insert--
'( ) In subsections (1) and (2) a reference to an order does not include a reference to an order made by statutory instrument.'.--[Mrs. McGuire.]
Amendment proposed: No. 35, in page 56, line 20, leave out "and".--[Mr. Ingram.]
'( ) paragraph 16 of Schedule 7'.
Mr. Lidington: The non-Government amendments relate to whether order-making powers given to the Secretary of State should be handled in Parliament by the negative resolution procedure, as the Government propose, or whether they should more properly be
I do not wish to detain the House for long, but it is important to describe the order-making powers in respect of which I suggest that we change the proposed procedure. Amendments Nos. 148 and 149 refer to clause 4(3), which deals with procedure for applications for de-proscription. The Bill states that regulations will specify the minimum time set for determination by the Secretary of State, and therefore the time that he would have to consider evidence in support of, or against, an application. Regulations will also define the grounds on which an application could be made to the Secretary of State.
I cannot see why such regulations should have to be made urgently or at short notice. They would presumably apply generically to any application for de-proscription. It seems logical to bring them before Parliament for proper scrutiny and approval before they come into force.
Amendments Nos. 150 and 151 deal with clause 71. The regulations in clause 71 are to set time limits for preliminary proceedings on scheduled offences. Those regulations would specify matters such as the maximum time allowed for the prosecution, the maximum period during which a suspect might be held in custody, bail provisions for a suspect, and provisions for the handling of non-scheduled offences that would appear on the charge sheet with a scheduled offence in a particular case.
Those items seem to raise quite significant issues on the handling of a prosecution case and the liberty of an individual suspect. Again, I should have thought that the type of regulation governing those arrangements would more properly be dealt with using the affirmative resolution procedure.
Amendments Nos. 154, 155, 152 and 153 refer to different aspects of remission for custodial sentences. Amendments Nos. 154 and 155 deal with clause 78(5). In clause 78, remission under prison rules for Northern Ireland for scheduled offences is set at a maximum of one third of the term for a sentence of five years or more. In clause 78(5), the Secretary of State is given the power by order to substitute a different length of sentence for the five years, and a different period of remission from the one third that is mentioned in clause 78(1).
In clause 79(9), there is comparable provision for young offenders, and that issue is addressed in amendments Nos. 152 and 153. Those regulations deal with a slightly different matter--the circumstances in which a court should sentence a young offender who has been released on remission, but who then commits a scheduled offence during that remission. Specifically, they deal with the circumstances in which the court should sentence the young offender to serve the unexpired part of his original sentence, as well as the new custodial sentence that the court would have imposed on him for the scheduled offence committed while he was free on remission.
Each of those categories of regulation deal with some very important issues, such as the Government's power to vary remission arrangements for people who have been convicted of extremely serious violent and public order offences. I should have thought--especially given the degree of public concern in Northern Ireland and on this
Amendments Nos. 156 and 157 refer to clause 96(3), which allows the Secretary of State by order to make provision, including by modifying or supplementing schedule 6, about entering or leaving Northern Ireland by land. Although this group is not as important as the previous group, on remission arrangements, I should be interested to know how the Government envisage that power being used. Why is that rule-making power in the Bill?
Amendments Nos. 158 and 159 deal with clause 99(1)(b), on an order-making power for the Secretary of State to require a silent video recording of interviews, in accordance with the Government's code of practice. Again, I am really seeking in the Minister's reply--or in writing, if he cannot reply today--some explanation of how the Government intend that power to be used. In what circumstances do they intend that those regulations might be applied?
Amendments Nos.160 and 161 relate to paragraph 16 to schedule 7, which covers the power of the Secretary of State to specify circumstances and set conditions in which a detainee should or should not be permitted to consult a solicitor or whether a solicitor can be present at a suspect's interview. In view of the concerns that have been expressed by Liberal Democrat and Labour Members this evening about the civil rights of terrorist suspects, I should have thought that there would be considerable support in the House for requiring regulations under schedule 7(16) to be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure in order to ensure fuller and more effective parliamentary scrutiny.
Although the amendments relate to the detail of the Bill, we are debating some important subjects--in particular the remission arrangements--and powers that Ministers should not be permitted to exercise without adequate parliamentary scrutiny. The amendments provide for that parliamentary scrutiny.