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Mr. Denham: In so far as the legislation applies to Scotland, it is the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament. Many peoplenot least my right hon. Friend the Minister for Sportwould want to ensure that the Government considered all the implications of any move towards a British league. If the pattern of football violence changed, I am sure that the Government would wish to keep legislation as well as policing practice under review.
Steps to prevent troublemakers from leaving the country have an impact on policing England fans overseas. There is less chance of fans being treated on the basis of their reputation rather than their behaviour. The Munich police, aided by a United Kingdom police team in the city, adopted a targeted, low friction, early intervention approach, which was praised by independent supporters' groups. The overwhelming majority of fans were able to enjoy their trip to Germany and avoid the troublemakers. I have refrained from mentioning the result until now, but it undoubtedly surpassed their wildest
Mr. Grieve: Before the Minister concludes, will he explain why it is necessary to introduce the Bill now rather than waiting until the end of the expiry period for renewal under statutory instrument? That might have provided a better opportunity of gauging its success and whether it was unfair to some individuals.
Mr. Denham: The House has sufficient accumulated knowledge from the implementation of the 2000 Act in its first year and the major game against Germany, at which many people expected violence, to make an assessment. Perhaps we can discuss those matters in more detail in Committee, but we believed that there was enough knowledge and experience to introduce the Bill.
As I said earlier, we have shown that the legislation has been used proportionately and in a targeted way, not arbitrarily. Neither personal appearance nor an isolated expulsion, unsubstantiated by accompanying evidence of misbehaviour, would be grounds for detention under section 21A.
When we considered the extension in Committee, there were outstanding challenges under the European convention on human rights and European Community treaty law. Our view that the measures are compliant was recently endorsed in a High Court judgment, rejecting challenges to the 2000 Act. Lord Justice Laws makes it clear in his judgment that the purpose of the banning order is not punitive, but
Mr. Dominic Grieve (Beaconsfield): I welcome the opportunity to debate the matter with the Minister and I thank him for drawing our attention to the paper that was placed in the Library. I discovered it only shortly before the beginning of the debate, but it has been helpful concerning the singular lack of evidence about the operation of the relevant sections of the Football (Disorder) Act 2000.
We are debating another example of the House being asked to depart from the normal standards of criminal justice that have applied in this country over many generations. We are being asked to use administrative methods to deal with a particular criminal problem.
Another example, which was much criticised by Labour Members, is the exclusion orders that prevented people from travelling from Northern Ireland to other parts of the United Kingdom. They gave rise to serious anxieties about human rights. Although we are discussing football hooligans, not suspected IRA terrorists, the measure falls into the same category of consideration when we decide whether renewal should occur in the form requested by the Minister.
The Opposition share the Government's aim in the Bill and in the Football (Disorder) Act 2000. It is clearly desirable to check football hooliganism. One of the Minister's most compelling arguments is the example of what happened recently in Germany during the international competition. It is clearly a good sign, and I accept the Minister's comments about the contribution that sections 14 and 21 made to that.
It is worth pointing out that previous Conservative Governments have attempted to work along the same lines. For example, they introduced the Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc.) Act 1985, the Public Order Act 1986, and the Football Spectators Act 1989, which imposed restrictions for the first time. A previous Conservative Government also introduced the Football (Offences) Act 1991 and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.
I am sure that the Minister will acknowledge that the Opposition first advocated restriction orders on unconvicted hooligans in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. We accepted that an exception to the normal rule in relation to criminal law could be made in that case. Indeed, I draw great comfort from the fact that, the issue having been specifically challenged in the courts during the summer, the courts have ruled that there has been no breach of the Human Rights Act 1998. That was the view we took and the view that the Government adopted, so it is cheering that it is the view that the courts have confirmed as being proportionate. However, the then Home Secretary did not agree with our suggestion and consulted.
During the passage of the private Member's Bill introduced by the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Simon Hughes), my right hon. Friend the Member for Penrith and The Border (David Maclean) again sought to flag the matter up and it was agreed that it was not appropriate for a private Member's Bill. The Government had to give it proper scrutiny.
Simon Hughes: I must put it on record that, as the hon. Member for West Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) knows, I was trying to intervene to render unto him the honour that he is due for the legislation. I would not have wanted to claim it, although it was a perfectly proper initiative to bring to the House.
Mr. Grieve: On that happy note, I return to the point at issue. The Minister rightly pointed out that when the Bill came before the House in summer 2000I read Hansard, including my own contributions on that occasionthe critical issues centred around sections 14 and 21. He would acknowledge, however, that the focus was on section 21 in particular.
Section 14 raised the question of an exception to the criminal law that a system of complaint could be seen to work, although there were considerable anxieties about the standard of proof that should be applied in such circumstances. There were fundamental anxieties in respect of section 21 as to how the Bill would interfere with people's legitimate right to move freely out of the country. They would find themselves arbitrarily stopped and subject to a procedure at an unexpected time, which might cause them great inconvenience. That could be considered to be a serious infringement of their human rights.
The Minister will correct me if I am wrong, but I think that that particular issue has not specifically been the subject of a human rights challenge. As I understand the cases that took place this summer, they centred on the complaints procedure generally and, in some examples, the previous orders that were available.
We must face the fact that the legislation is fairly draconian. In fairness to the Government, they considerably altered the proposals as a result of representations. I recollect that detention was to have lasted 24 hours, but that was reduced to four hours, or six if an inspector wanted and authorised that. We also considered the question of being able to admit in proceedings the acts of a public authority, whatever that might mean. That seemed to be a question of simple administrative convenience, which, as the Minister will acknowledge, raised a genuine problem.
As the Minister said, 965 arrests were made following the events in Belgium, but I remember the Home Secretary acknowledging that the Belgian police accepted that a large number of those arrested would have been guilty of nothing, so the figure provided a poor guide to the level of disturbance and an even poorer guide if it were applied to whether a banning order should be made.
Again, the Government listened and they introduced the notion of a reasonable ground for the constable to detain. Furthermore, the reasons would have to be given in writing, which was not the case previously, and, most notably, we considered the notion of compensation were