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Standing Committee Debates
Extradition Bill

Extradition Bill

Standing Committee D

Tuesday 7 January 2003

[Mr. Edward O'Hara in the Chair]

Extradition Bill

4.30 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Bob Ainsworth): I beg to move,

    That—

    (1) during proceedings on the Extradition Bill the Standing Committee do meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays at twenty-five minutes past Nine o'clock and at half-past Two o'clock;

    (2) 9 sittings in all shall be allotted to the consideration of the Bill by the Committee;

    (3) the proceedings to be taken at the sittings shall be as shown in the second column of the Table below and shall be taken in the order so shown;

    (4) the proceedings which under paragraph (3) are to be taken at any sitting shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the time specified in the third column of the Table;

    (5) paragraph (3) does not prevent proceedings being taken (in the order shown in the second column of the Table) at any earlier sitting than that provided for under paragraph (3) if previous proceedings have already been concluded.

TABLE
SittingProceedingsTime for conclusion of proceedings
1stPart 1
2nd Part 1
3rd Part 1
4th Part 1 (so far as not previously concluded), New Clauses and New Schedules relating to Part 1 11.25 am
5th Part 2, New Clauses and New Schedules relating to Part 2 5.30 pm
6th Part 3, New Clauses and New Schedules relating to Part 3 11.25 am
7th Part 4
8th Part 4 (so far as not previously concluded), New Clauses and New Schedules relating to Part 4 11.25 am
9th Clauses 174 to 200, the Schedule, Clauses 201 to 208, remaining New Clauses, remaining New Schedules and remaining proceedings on the Bill 5.30 pm. Mr. Bob Ainsworth has given notice of his intention to move a motion in the terms of the resolution of the Programming Sub-Committee [Sessional Order C(9) relating to Programming (28th June 2001).]

I welcome you to the Chair, Mr. O'Hara. I sincerely hope that you had a pleasant Christmas and new year break, and that you have come back in a congenial mood, which you will display throughout our proceedings.

The Chairman: That rather depends—

Mr. Ainsworth: It rather depends on how we behave ourselves. I thought that we would start off on a positive note.

Column Number: 004

I welcome all members of the Committee. I see from one or two faces on the Opposition Benches that this may be a rematch of the Proceeds of Crime Bill. I hope that our proceedings will be shorter than they were on that Bill last year, when we set an all-time record for the length of time a Committee sat. I wound up with a frozen shoulder from sitting in a cold Committee Room for most of the winter.

I welcome the hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Mr. Hawkins) to the Opposition Benches and the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Carmichael) to the Liberal Democrat Benches. They were also on the Proceeds of Crime Bill Committee. I hope that our time in this Committee will be as pleasant, although not as long.

I invite the Committee to agree to the programme motion, which is the unanimous recommendation of the Programming Sub-Committee, which met briefly before Christmas and which you chaired, Mr. O'Hara. The motion was not contentious. It provides for eight further sittings on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9.25 am to 11.25 am and from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm. More importantly, it determines which parts of the Bill will be considered at which sittings, and it allocates the first four sittings to part 1 and one sitting each to parts 2, 3 and 5 with two sittings for part 4.

That allocation was suggested by the official Opposition, and we were happy to go along with it. We pointed out to them that one of the more contentious clauses from their point of view is at the back end of part 1. However, they seemed happy to go along with the motion, and discussions have taken place with the Government Whip, my hon. Friend the Member for Halton (Derek Twigg), who has conducted himself in an exemplary and fair manner. It is clear that the Government Whips Office has moved on to greater things since I occupied a seat there.

We have tried to allocate time as required by Opposition parties to ensure that they have a full opportunity to scrutinise the Bill. I hope that they and all members of the Committee are satisfied with the programme motion.

Mr. Nick Hawkins (Surrey Heath): I echo the Minister's welcome to you, Mr. O'Hara, and to your fellow Chairman, Miss Begg, who will be chairing some Committee sittings. I also echo the Minister's welcome to all members of the Committee and hope that they had a successful and happy Christmas and new year break.

As the Minister said, there was no contention at the short Programming Sub-Committee meeting. The matter was left to be reconsidered at a future meeting; whether the motion needs to be adjusted depends on what progress is made on the Bill. At this stage, we are content with how the Committee sittings are set out in the programme motion. I am grateful to the Minister and the Government Whip for the flexibility they have shown in saying that they will be happy to reconvene the Programming Sub-Committee if it is necessary to reconsider the matter. At this stage, I need do nothing more than echo the Minister's view that consideration of the Bill will undoubtedly be

Column Number: 005

shorter than that given to the Proceeds of Crime Bill, although it may be a rematch for some of us.

The Minister did not mention my hon. Friend the Member for Henley (Mr. Johnson), who sadly cannot be here today because his children are ill, but who hopes to be with us before long. He is also a veteran of the Committee that considered the Proceeds of Crime Bill, but I am sure that all of us who sat on the Committee will especially miss the contributions made by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Pollok (Mr. Davidson) from the Government Back Benches. On one day, he almost caused the Government Whip on that Committee to have apoplexy by single-handedly causing 18 Divisions to be called. The Minister will remember that as well as I do, as I have no doubt that it contributed to his frozen shoulder when he kept turning around to try to prevent the hon. Member from causing more Divisions to be called. Having said that, I am sure that we will proceed successfully on the basis of the programme motion.

Mr. John Burnett (Torridge and West Devon): I, too, welcome you to the Chair, Mr. O'Hara. I see that your co-Chairman, Miss Begg, is keeping a watching brief, and I am delighted to welcome her. I have had the privilege of serving under your chairmanship on one or two occasions, Mr. O'Hara, but serving under the chairmanship of Miss Begg will be a first for me.

We are happy with the programme motion. I am delighted to sit on a Committee with two Ministers, both of whom I have had contact with in years past. I believe that the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, the hon. Member for Coventry, North-East—I suppose I must call him the lead Minister—was a Treasury Whip and a Whip on legal issues, so we have shared the experience of seeing various pieces of legislation through the House. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, the hon. Member for North Swindon, was a Minister in the Lord Chancellor's Department in a previous incarnation. In those happy days, I shadowed the Lord Chancellor and the Attorney General, so we have had quite a few dealings with each other. I have been on excellent terms with both Ministers and, although we did not always agree, business was conducted openly and fairly. The same can be said for the Government Whip serving on this Committee. I believe that he has served on three or four Finance Bill Committees.

Derek Twigg (Halton): Three.

Mr. Burnett: On one occasion, the Government Whip was able to give a fluent rendition of the merits of re-basing capital gains tax. That will not be in today's debate, of course, but I am delighted to see the hon. Members for Bolton, North-East (Mr. Crausby) and for Heywood and Middleton (Jim Dobbin) on the Back Benches. I am also delighted to see others whom I have known and with whom I have dealt. I especially welcome the hon. Member for Surrey Heath, with whom I and other hon. Members considered the Access to Justice Bill. We know what the repercussions were of that Bill, and in years to come there will be opportunities for us to make the Government aware of its shortcomings.

Column Number: 006

There will be active debate on the Bill, and we will be entirely happy to highlight what we consider to be its shortcomings. As I said, we agree with the programme motion, so as they say in Cecil B. De Mille films, ''Let the games commence.''

Question put and agreed to.

The Chairman: I remind the Committee that there is a money resolution in connection with the Bill, and that copies are available in the Room. I also remind hon. Members that, as usual, adequate notice of amendments should be given. As a general rule, my co-Chairman and I do not intend to call starred amendments, including any that may be reached during an afternoon sitting.

Clause 1

Extradition to category 1 territories

Mr. Hawkins: I beg to move amendment No. 1, in

    clause 1, page 1, line 5, leave out from 'Kingdom' to end of line 6 and insert 'only to countries authorised by an affirmative resolution of both Houses of Parliament and only to persons who have been charged with terrorist offences.'

The Chairman: With this it will be convenient to take the following amendments: No. 90, in

    clause 1, page 1, line 5, leave out from 'territories' to the end of line 6 and insert 'that fulfil the following condition; that are party to the European Convention on Human Rights.'

No. 116, in

    clause 1, page 1, line 6, leave out from 'designated' to the end of line 8 and insert 'that fulfil the following conditions;

    (a) EU member states that have implemented the European Arrest Warrant and procedures between member states; and

    (b) that are party to the European Convention of Human Rights.'

No. 4, in

    clause 2, page 1, line 18, leave out 'an' and insert 'a terrorist'.

No. 5, in

    clause 2, page 1, line 21, after second 'the', insert 'terrorist'.

No. 6, in

    clause 2, page 2, line 3, leave out 'an' and insert 'a terrorist'.

No. 7, in

    clause 2, page 2, line 6, after second 'the', insert 'terrorist'.

No. 9, in

    clause 2, page 2, line 8, after 'the', insert 'terrorist'.

No. 68, in

    clause 63, page 30, line 12, leave out paragraphs (b) and (c) and insert—

    '(b) a judicial decision made by a judge of a High Court of a category 1 territory in which the presumption of innocence applies shows that the conduct constitutes a terrorist offence;

    (c) the terrorist offence is punishable under the law of the category 1 territory with a sentence of imprisonment of three years or more.'.

No. 69, in

    clause 63, page 30, line 21, leave out 'an' and insert 'a terrorist'.

No. 74, in

    clause 63, page 31, line 24, leave out subsection (8).

No. 75, in

    clause 64, page 31, line 41, leave out paragraph (b) and insert—

Column Number: 007

    '(b) a judicial decision made by a judge of a High Court of a category 1 territory in which the presumption of innocence applies shows that the conduct constitutes a terrorist offence'.

No. 83, in

    clause 64, page 33, line 5, leave out subsection (8).

No. 85, in

    clause 65, page 33, line 19, leave out subsection (3).

 
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Prepared 7 January 2003