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Mr. Hogg: My hon. and learned Friend has referred to the constitutional aspects of the Bill. Before he sits down, will he also give us the benefit of his views on another matter? Is it not an outrage that the Bill will be guillotined partly on the backs of Scottish Members of Parliament, given that it will apply only to England and Wales and that Labour Members whose constituents have nothing at all to do with it will vote?

Mr. Garnier: My right hon. and learned Friend is entirely right and anticipates my next point. In the Scottish Daily Express of Friday 21 July, the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) was quoted as saying:

Mr. Tom Levitt (High Peak): That has nothing to do with it.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. First, there have been enough remarks from a sedentary position. Such matters can safely be left to the Chair. Secondly, the hon. and learned Gentleman is, yet again, drifting into a general debate, and I should be grateful to him if he returned to the allocation of time.

Mr. Garnier: I was coming precisely to that, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Not only does page 2453 of the Order Paper contain an amendment tabled by the hon. and learned Member for Medway and several other Labour Members, but it contains an amendment tabled by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham. That amplifies and reflects the point made by the hon. Member for Linlithgow in the newspaper that I have quoted.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow): I stick to that quote.

Mr. Garnier: I am not in the least surprised that the hon. Gentleman does; he is an honourable and principled man.

The less time we have to debate the Bill at the Government's behest, the less likely it is that the aspects of the Bill that involve the West Lothian question and its effect on English and Welsh justice can be discussed. This is a grubby little Bill, and this is an even grubbier little timetable motion. It appears to me that the Government are fonder of the guillotine than Robespierre. The Government motion allows three hours of guillotined debate, after which Government or Opposition Members will be allowed only an hour and a half or an hour and three quarters to deal with the substance of the Bill. There is absolutely no reason for the House of Lords to feel in the least inhibited when, in its turn, it debates the Bill. I invite my hon. and right hon. Friends to throw out the motion or, failing that, at least to support the Opposition amendment.

Several hon. Members rose--

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I remind the House that we are dealing with an amendment to leave out "five" and insert "eight" in paragraph 1 of the motion.

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6.53 pm

Mr. Paul Flynn (Newport, West): I shall be brief, but I believe that some issues that directly affect the Bill have not been aired. One group of people who will suffer seriously as a result of the Bill has not been mentioned in either House during the consideration of it. I referred to that group in a letter that I sent my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary several weeks ago, but I have yet to receive a satisfactory answer.

Lord Devlin defined the precise purpose of juries as follows:

In the past 18 months, juries throughout the country have refused to convict defendants who are manifestly guilty. Precisely those cases will be treated as involving crimes covered by the Bill. They will be tried by judges who will conform to the letter of the law and to what Parliament has told them, and the people involved will find themselves treated unjustly.

I have given the Home Secretary a long list of those whom juries are refusing to convict. They include those who are seriously ill, many of whom are suffering from multiple sclerosis. Many of them are terminally ill and suffering, in the main, from cancer and the effects of chemotherapy and the nausea that it causes. That is no ordinary nausea; it destroys the will to live. However, they have supposedly committed the crime of using a medicine of their choice. If they had used any medicinal drug, it would have been okay. If they had used heroin, and £11 million of heroin is involved--

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I should be grateful if the hon. Gentleman would direct his remarks to the allocation of time motion.

Mr. Flynn: The point that I wish to make is that we need more time to present those cases. I said that I would be brief, but I want to explain why I am unhappy about the motion. I want to bring the precise cases that are dealt with in later amendments to the attention of the House, because it is not aware of the individuals involved. Such people have been convicted by magistrates and judges, not by juries, who are doing precisely what Lord Devlin said. They have found that the law is not just or fair, and they are acting with the common sense of ordinary people in refusing to convict those who have used cannabis for their illnesses. If the Bill is passed, such people will not have the chance to go before a jury.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I think that the hon. Gentleman must bring his remarks to a close.

Mr. Flynn: I have brought them to a close.

6.56 pm

Mr. Simon Hughes (Southwark, North and Bermondsey): This is the 12th Home Office Bill this year; there were nine in the Queen's Speech, but this is the 12th. We are protesting about the guillotine as well as the Bill, because everyone knows that the Bill was never trailed in the Government's manifesto. It was never part of their policy and their candidates did not stand on a platform of supporting it. Indeed, the Government opposed such proposals in the past.

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The Government changed their mind, collectively, miraculously and all at once, having strongly held the opposite view, collectively, only a few months before.

The Government have determined the timetable. They chose to introduce the first reduced jury rights Bill in the House of Lords--no one else made that decision--but the House of Lords said no. I remind hon. Members that the House of Lords said no having just been recast in the form that the Government wanted. It was a House of Lords recast in the image of Blair, with a new disposition, most hereditary peers removed and smaller numbers. It was the new Labour House of Lords, the new, much less Opposition-dominated House of Lords, that said no. The Government chose where to introduce the Bill, and they chose the composition of the House in which they introduced it.

Mr. Michael: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Hughes: No, I will not give way.

Mr. Michael: Will the hon. Gentleman give way on that point?

Mr. Hughes: No, I will not. I am trying to take less time than the Home Secretary, who took half an hour to fail to explain why the guillotine was necessary, or the Conservative Front-Bench spokesman, who also took half an hour. I may give way in a moment if the right hon. Gentleman waits his turn.

When the Government introduced the Bill in the House, their majority was almost halved; a significant number of Labour Members did not support it. Since then, the Government have chosen to take all the time between Second Reading--which, as the hon. and learned Member for Harborough (Mr. Garnier) said, was in March--and now before considering the Bill again. There was no delay in Committee. I served on the Committee; it had four sittings and its debates were perfectly proper. We debated what we needed to debate. The reason why there were no significant debates on the amendments was the core issue--that the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats opposed the principle of the Bill. We did not tinker around the edges; we debated the principles and the clauses.

Since the Committee reported, on 6 June, the Government have chosen not to debate the Bill until now. They have waited until the very last week of term. Why the urgency? Because the parliamentary year ends in three days? No. Because the parliamentary year ends next week? No. There is plenty of time before the end of the parliamentary year. The Government decide the holidays, and when this House and the Lords resume, so they are in charge of the timetable. Last night, the Government, and only the Government, tabled a guillotine motion for a Bill of significant constitutional importance. When they did so, Madam Speaker had provisionally selected only four groups of amendments. The effect of the guillotine will be that there will probably be only a brief debate on Third Reading, or none at all.

Mr. Michael: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way, but are not these speeches taking up time that would otherwise be available to the House to debate the amendments? Also, has he not noticed that there is no Government majority in another place? He is opposing

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not the guillotine or debate on the amendments, but the sensible proposition that the decision on mode of trial should be left to magistrates, not defendants.

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