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Mr. Michael Clapham (Barnsley, West and Penistone) (Lab): I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for giving way on the issue of victims. As he will be aware, restorative justice is working successfully in some areas. However, will he consider more pilots to include adult victims in the restorative justice procedures?
Mr. Blunkett: The answer is very strongly yes. We need to spread much more quickly the pilot programmes on restorative justice that have been so well exercised through the Youth Justice Board and the youth offending team programmes. As my hon. Friend said, they have been doing a very good job in responding to the wishes of victims.
Some 25 per cent. of all violent crime arises out of domestic violence. That is why tackling domestic violence is such a priority. Work has been done by a whole range of Front-Bench and Back-Bench colleagues from a number of parties, and my right hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General has been in the forefront of that. It means working alongside those who, over the years, have fought to get improvements to the system. Today, we are able to say categorically that we will be able to do that.
I also wish to announce that we will take forward the proposals on familial killing that we have worked hard on over the past two years. They relate to cases in which families have been able to get away with the death often of a child by no one admitting to the killing and because there is no evidence distinguishing between the two or more people involved. The measures that we are adopting will go some way to overcoming that problem and will ensure that people cannot get away with the most heinous crimes by covering each other's tracks.
Will the right hon. Gentleman also be urging the police to take a more active interest in cases of domestic violence? It is not just the legislative framework that is at fault. The police have a propensity not to intervene successfully in cases that they still too often consider to be "domestics".
Mr. Blunkett: I think that we all agree on that. At the time of the statement, we said that changing professional practice, attitudes and culture was just as important as changing the law. Empowering the police in the way that we described in the statement and that will be replicated in the legislation is an important step in that direction. We also made it clear that we had to change the attitudes of young men, in particular, and consider how the education service could assist with that. We want to take that point forward alongside the Bill.
The Bill on domestic crime and its victims will deal with the issue of multiple charges that we touched on at the end of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. I confirm that we will introduce proposals on that issue and reiterate that we shall take forward the Corruption Bill, which is being scrutinised in draft. We shall introduce proposals to fulfil the commitment that I gave two weeks ago in relation to serious fraud and we shall consider that matter alongside the other powers.
Ross Cranston (Dudley, North) (Lab): I congratulate my right hon. Friend on all these measures, including those that deal with domestic violence and familial killing. They are necessary steps. However, may I ask him about the Bill to deal with corporate killing? In particular, if a draft Bill is to be introduced, will it provide for the removal of Crown immunity?
Mr. Blunkett: I shall publish very shortly the draft legislation on corporate manslaughter. I do not intend to pronounce on it until we have put the draft together and introduced it in a way that will give all Members of the House the opportunity to scrutinise it. We are addressing the issues that have been raised by the Joint Committee and the point about Crown immunity that my hon. and learned Friend has just raised, difficult though it is.
To clarify the position, I am talking about the draft Corruption Bill and the draft legislation on corporate manslaughter. They are separate pieces of legislation, and I want to make that point clear because we have consulted on the scrutiny of one and are about to scrutinise the other.
Glenda Jackson (Hampstead and Highgate) (Lab): Before the Home Secretary moves on from the issue of domestic violence, may I ask the Government to consider the point that far too many deaths of children have taken place at the hands of their fathers who, not infrequently, then commit suicide? Will the Government consider the possibility of denying any unsupervised access to his children by a father who has been guilty of violenceeither physical or verbalagainst the children's mother?
Mr. Blunkett: When my hon. Friend raised this point on the statement in July, I said that a lot depended on the definition relating to the severity of the crime committed. The protection of children from those who have committed heinous crimes is an absolutely prime requirement, but we also needat the opposite end of the spectrumto maintain contact whenever we can and rebuild the family whenever that is possible. We will seek to try to ensure that we meet that requirement and meet the difficult balance between the two objectives when the legislation goes through the House.
I now want to make progress by mentioning other legislation. The civil contingencies legislation will be taken forward by the Cabinet Office. It is not, of course, about anti-terrorism but civil contingencies. I make it clear that part 1 of the Bill will address the civil protection framework and part 2 will provide for the modernisation of emergency powers. The Bill will update the Emergency Powers Act 1920 and the Civil
Let me return to the asylum legislation. It represents the third strand of our process of establishing a set of building blocks to get the nationality and asylum system right. Balance is important and although some people say that they do not see balance in our programme, the White Paper that we published almost two years ago spelled out clearly our policy of balancing legal and economic migration, the UN gateway for asylum seekers, and the need to clamp down on clandestine entry and circumstances in which asylum is used as an alternative economic route. That is why the Bill will build on three key areas. First, the attitude and presentation of those who seek and facilitate asylum should be honest. We must ensure that people do not throw away their passports and documents when they get off planes or refuse to tell the truth about where they came from or their country of origin. Secondly, we must clamp down on organised criminals who traffic people throughout the world for considerable gain. Thirdly, we need to speed up the clarity and decisiveness of the system, including the process for appeals and removals. The Bill is concentrated entirely on those three reasonable and laudable aims.
Mr. John Denham (Southampton, Itchen) (Lab): Will my right hon. Friend say a little more about measures to clamp down on people trafficking? The Government consulted on proposals to require airlines to copy the documents of passengers who board planes on certain routes but such a provision is not in the Bill. Do the Government intend to make a decision on whether to include that measure before the Bill completes its passage through the House?
Mr. Blunkett: We are consulting with the carriers. If we introduce a measure to require copying, it should be universal so that all carriers that transport people into the country would be on equal terms thus ensuring that it would not disadvantage any carrier. We think that that would secure fair competition and ensure that no companies' commercial operations would be disadvantaged. There are different views on the subject but I hope that we will be able to resolve the matter quickly so that we may introduce measures.
Of course, 70 per cent. of those who claim asylum dispose of their passports or documents before presenting themselves. We accept the fact that some people would never have had passports or documents and that they would have been transported across the continent in the back of vehicles or another clandestine way. If those people explain how they got here, that will be sufficient to ensure that their claims are heard. However, many people destroy their documents to evade proper scrutiny of their claim and deceive those who undertake such scrutiny about the specific country in a region from which they came, and others do that at the behest of their facilitators' instructions. Such actions
In the end, the measures will need to be linked to proper methods of identification so that people who enter the countrylegally or otherwiseand disappear into the community will not be able to draw on our services, get work or abuse our country's hospitality. Indeed, such methods would prevent the exploitation of people who disappear into the community to work to try to sustain themselves because they are not entitled to benefit, which was described earlier. The policy is all about developing stability and order and the difficult job of laying down the terms of the way in which we can establish foundations on which others may build.
This is not a job in which accolades are handed out for doing things that are immediately popular, with the exception of introducing welcome measures on sexual offences, domestic violence and, in the near future, I hope, the radical reform of our correction services. The job is about laying down requirements on which other changes can be built, on which safety, security and stability may be assured, and on which the progressive agenda that we want can be won. By doing what we have to do now and anticipating future changes and difficulties and likely points of attack, we can secure for those who come after us a platform to take forward many of the things that we hold dear. That is why we will ask the House to vote for the measures in the Queen's Speech on home and constitutional affairs today and why we shall ask the House to vote for them so that they become Acts of Parliament that will ensure that people in the communities we represent will know that we are on their side.