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Mr. Browne: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising the issue specifically. If he checks the official record tomorrow, he will see that, when he was present in the Chamber, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said that, because of today's statements, he had to do the hon. Gentleman—my right hon. Friend was referring to and looking directly at him—the discourtesy of leaving soon afterwards. If the hon. Gentleman has the courage to malign my right hon. Friend in that way, he should have done him the courtesy of doing it when he was here.

The hon. and learned Member for Harborough (Mr. Garnier), who is not in the Chamber, mentioned respect for Law Officers. We need to clarify that. He asked whether the Attorney-General for Northern Ireland is to be a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The answer to that is no, he cannot be a Member of it, and I refer hon. Members to clause 24(7). The review envisaged that the Attorney-General would be an independent and impartial figure. That recommendation was accepted and has been included in legislation.

The hon. Member for Grantham and Stamford said that we were making a new provision in which the Advocate- General would hold the position of Attorney-General for England and Wales. I refer hon. Members to the specific provision in clause 28. Under the Northern Ireland Act 1998, the local Attorney-General cannot legally carry out the functions in relation to excepted matters, as the hon. Member for North Antrim (Rev. Ian Paisley) suggested. That is why there must be a division between the two responsibilities.

Opposition Members said that there was no need to legislate this Session. The Government's position on that is clear. It is necessary to pave the way to make devolution possible if there is to be any prospect of the legislative framework for criminal justice in Northern Ireland being ready for the target that the Secretary of State mentioned today and which has been made clear in public in Northern Ireland for some time. The timetable to reach that objective is tight. Many of the provisions have to be implemented before devolution, such as the creation of a new prosecution service similar to that in England and Wales.

I shall comment fleetingly on the allegation that no report was made available to hon. Members on the New Zealand experience during either the review process or the consultation period. Apart from the research document that was handed to the hon. Member for Grantham and Stamford during a meeting with officials in the Northern Ireland Office on that matter, the document "Restorative Justice Options for Northern Ireland: A Comparative Review" is a companion of the review document itself. Far from there being no academic consideration or review of the provisions in New Zealand, there are no less than eight references to it in the companion document, which I commend to him. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman says, "About New Zealand, not about Northern Ireland." There could hardly be a report on the ability of restorative justice to have an impact on the young people of Northern Ireland when it has not been implemented. Indeed, that is what the Bill is about.

21 Jan 2002 : Column 711

The hon. Gentleman's argument was that there was no published research on the way in which restorative justice operates in New Zealand. There is, however, a significant amount of research on that. Indeed, a plethora of it—nine pages, I think—is in the back of the companion document. It covers research throughout the world on restorative justice and its operation in many different jurisdictions. I hope that between now and the next time—[Interruption.] I will give way in a moment; I do not need the hon. Gentleman to instruct me on when to give way, especially as he only reluctantly gave way to me.

I hope that before we engage in debate in Committee, the Opposition spokesman will have an opportunity to read up on much of the interesting documentation that is available.

Mr. Trimble: Although one may argue what documentation was available and what studies are in it, surely the point is that the experience in New Zealand, whatever it might be, is not relevant to the situation in Northern Ireland. The essential point about the situation in Northern Ireland is the existence of paramilitary gangs that seek to dominate certain neighbourhoods which means that the introduction of any community-based scheme carries with it enormous dangers. That has no parallel in New Zealand or elsewhere.

Mr. Browne: The right hon. Gentleman makes a telling and important point. It was not made earlier, and I was trying to respond to the debate, but I shall respond to his point. The Government's position, which I understand to be shared by all the parties in Northern Ireland, is that the inability of the police and/or the judicial system to affect the behaviour of young people in some parts of Northern Ireland does not mean that those young people should be denied the opportunity to take advantage of restorative justice, if it can be made to work. I understand that to be the approach that has consistently been taken by all parties in Northern Ireland. Indeed, there is an argument that young people in Northern Ireland are more deserving of extra opportunities than those who live in societies with less trouble and conflict.

The Bill's purpose is to create a framework in which restorative justice can be delivered without denying that there are serious challenges in doing so. The structure that has been created is designed to address those challenges. The hon. Member for Rayleigh (Mr. Francois) says that we have to ensure that nobody with a paramilitary background should be included. That might mean denying some young people access to their parents in a youth conference. If we are to deflect young people from taking the path that their parents have taken or prevent them from being dragged down that path by the parents of other children and other malign influences in the community, we must address these issues. We will do so not by saying that it is difficult but by engaging in constructive debate. We must try to address the difficulties and create an environment in which we can deliver the benefits of restorative justice to the people of Northern Ireland.

We do not view the reform of the justice system as an issue that should divide the parties in this Chamber or in the community in Northern Ireland. It appears that the official Opposition are hell-bent on dividing the House

21 Jan 2002 : Column 712

for the sake of two recommendations out of 294. In the absence of any serious work by them on these issues, they have elevated those two recommendations into issues of principle on which they will oppose the whole Bill while constantly telling us, without giving any detail, that they accept many of the recommendations in the review and in the Bill.

The vast bulk of material covered by the review and the Bill concerns the practical workings of justice. Getting it right is in everyone's interests. The tone of the debate has, in large measure, matched that of the recent consultation exercise. There have been issues of division—symbols are the most obvious and predictable—but I am pleased that the hon. Member for North Down (Lady Hermon) was able to say that the Secretary of State's opening remarks were, to some degree, reassuring to her. We hope that we will be able to build on that in consultation with other parties in Northern Ireland.

The fact that symbols are the most obvious and predictable issue on which there has been division should not hide the fact that on enormous parts of the Bill there is cross-community agreement in Northern Ireland. During consultation, we were struck by the real interest in and enthusiasm for the reform of criminal justice and by the steps that are necessary to bring the system closer to the people of Northern Ireland. We have taken note of that.

In announcing the draft legislation and implementation plan, the Government set out their target for possible devolution of criminal justice functions after the Assembly elections in 2003. As the Secretary of State said in his opening speech, this is a challenging timetable. However, I sense in the House and more widely the commitment and good will that will make that possible. In many ways, today's debate reflected debate that we have had about the review's recommendations. The most encouraging feature is the support for the vast bulk of the Bill's key provisions.

These reforms cannot happen overnight; it will be several years before they take full effect, but I am confident that once they have been fully implemented Northern Ireland will have a criminal justice system that can be measured against the best in the world.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 133, Noes 324.

Division No. 137
[9.59 pm


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bacon, Richard
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John
Bellingham, Henry
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Brady, Graham
Browning, Mrs Angela
Burns, Simon
Burnside, David
Burt, Alistair
Cameron, David
Campbell, Gregory (E Lond'y)
Cash, William
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
Clifton–Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Curry, Rt Hon David
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dodds, Nigel
Donaldson, Jeffrey M
Duncan, Alan (Rutland & Melton)
Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Duncan Smith, Rt Hon Iain
Evans, Nigel
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London)
Flight, Howard
Flook, Adrian
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Fox, Dr Liam
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger
Garnier, Edward
Gibb, Nick
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Gray, James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, Rt Hon John
Hammond, Philip
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John
Heald, Oliver
Heathcoat–Amory, Rt Hon David
Hendry, Charles
Hoban, Mark
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hunter, Andrew
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, Rt Hon Greg (E Yorkshire)
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell–Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
May, Mrs Theresa
Mercer, Patrick
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Moss, Malcolm
Norman, Archie
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paisley, Rev Ian
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Roe, Mrs Marion
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Sayeed, Jonathan
Selous, Andrew
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith (Mid–Norfolk)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Streeter, Gary
Swire, Hugo
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Tredinnick, David
Trimble, Rt Hon David
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Julian Brazier and
Mr. John Randall.


Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Rt Hon Donald
(Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Barnes, Harry
Barrett, John
Beard, Nigel
Begg, Miss Anne
Benn, Hilary
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blizzard, Bob
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul
Borrow, David
Bradley, Rt Hon Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brake, Tom
Breed, Colin
Brennan, Kevin
Brooke, Mrs Annette L
Brown, Rt Hon Nicholas
(Newcastle E & Wallsend)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burgon, Colin
Burnett, John
Burnham, Andy
Cable, Dr Vincent
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard
Cairns, David
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cotter, Brian
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, Rt Hon John
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drown, Ms Julia
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Farrelly, Paul
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foulkes, George
Francis, Dr Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gidley, Sandra
Gilroy, Linda
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Grogan, John
Hain, Rt Hon Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Havard, Dai
Healey, John
Heath, David
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Holmes, Paul
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, Rt Hon John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Joyce, Eric
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Kemp, Fraser
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lamb, Norman
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Laws, David
Laxton, Bob
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Linton, Martin
Llwyd, Elfyn
Lucas, Ian
Luke, Iain
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
MacDougall, John
McFall, John
McGrady, Eddie
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNamara, Kevin
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall–Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moore, Michael
Moran, Margaret
Morgan, Julie
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Rt Hon Estelle
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Owen, Albert
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prescott, Rt Hon John
Price, Adam
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Pugh, Dr John
Purchase, Ken
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Rt Hon Nick
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Robertson, John
(Glasgow Anniesland)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Joan
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simon, Siôn
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, Rt Hon John
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Touhig, Don
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tyler, Paul
Tynan, Bill
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watson, Tom
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Willis, Phil
Winnick, David
Wood, Mike
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Younger–Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Ivor Caplin and
Mr. Graham Stringer.

Question accordingly negatived.

21 Jan 2002 : Column 715

Main Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 62 (Amendment on second or third reading), and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

21 Jan 2002 : Column 716

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