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The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Charles Clarke): I beg to move, That this House insists on its amendments 1A and 1B to Lords amendment No.1, insists on its disagreement to Lords amendments Nos. 12, 13, 15, 17, 22, 28 and 37 and insists on its amendments 37A to 37O, disagrees to Lords amendments 37Q to 37T proposed in lieu of Lords amendment No. 8, and proposes amendments (a) to (f) to the words restored to the Bill by its insistence on its disagreement to Lords amendment No. 17.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: With this it will be convenient to discuss Lords reasons 12A, 13A, 15A, 17G, 22A, 27B, 28A, 31B, Government motion to insist &c. and Government amendments (a) and (b), Lords reason 33D and Government motion to disagree &c., Lords reasons 37P to 37T, 38A, 39A, 40A, 42D, 42E and Government motion to insist &c.
Mr. Clarke: As you indicated, Mr. Deputy Speaker, we are debating all the amendments together, and I intend very briefly to go through the Government's position on each of the issues that has been addressed.
I turn first to Lords reasons 38A, 39A, 40A, etc. The effect of the Lords motion is that the Lords have insisted on their amendment to the schedule that provides for the Lord Chief Justice to make the rules and to require rules of court to be compatible with article 6 of the European convention on human rights and have proposed a different procedure for the making of first rules. We do not accept that that set of proposals is sensible. First, the Lord Chief Justice does not make rules of court. Secondly, the rules must be compatible with article 6 in any event. Thirdly, we have changed the procedure to allow affirmative resolutions to approve the rules. I therefore ask the House to insist on its disagreement to Lords amendments Nos. 38, 39 and 40, insist on its amendments Nos. 42A and 42B, agree to its amendment
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No. 42C, agree to Lords amendment No. 42D and disagree with Lords amendment No. 42E proposed in lieu.
Secondly, I address Lords reason 1D, which refers to the Secretary of State making non-derogating orders and to the standard of proof. The effect of the Lords' motion is that they have rejected our amendments in relation to the making and judicial supervision of non-derogating control orders and to standards of proof. They are insisting on their own amendments in relation to those matters. We had a very long debate on those issues last night. The will of the House was expressed very clearly indeed. I do not propose to accept the amendments proposed, since I believe that a reduction in the standard of proof would lead to the likelihood that certain dangerous individuals who otherwise would be brought under control through control orders would not be so controlled. That is the advice that I have had from the police and the security services. I therefore conclude that the Lords amendments are not an improvement.
My amendments indicated very considerable movement by the Government to address the concerns expressed in both Houses. For that reason, I ask the House to insist on its amendments Nos. 1A and 1B to Lords amendment No. 1, insist on its disagreement to Lords amendments Nos. 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 17, 22, 28 and 37, and insist on its amendments Nos. 37A to 37O, to disagree to Lords amendments 37Q to 37T proposed in lieu of Lords amendment No. 8, and propose the additional amendments listed in my name on the marshalled list.
I believe that the hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve), in responding to this discussion, should answer a key question when considering these amendments. Will he confirm that his policy neglects the advice of the police and security services and would mean that control orders would not be placed on certain individuals whom the police and security services consider a threat?
Mr. Mark Oaten (Winchester) (LD): Will the Home Secretary acknowledge that it is difficult for Opposition parties to answer that question unless we can be shown the evidence on which the assumption is based? Will he make available the evidence that is being given to him by intelligence sources?
I will make available in general terms[Hon. Members: "Oh"]it is a very important distinctionthe evidence for the basis of the case that we make. Indeed, I did that only last week in a general case to explain why we were concerned about the issues. I will not confirm that I will make available in particular terms the particular situation relating to particular individuals, because it is precisely in those particular circumstances that national security issues are at risk. However, I can say to the hon. Gentleman that I am ready to acknowledge, as he asks, that, on the procedures for which he has been pressing and that my noble Friend the Attorney-General has set out in relation to Committees of the House, it is important to
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be clear that they allow the special advocate to understand the case in the round. I shall comment on that in more detail later in my remarks.
Mr. Dominic Grieve (Beaconsfield) (Con): Both the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister have repeatedly said that the security services require the control orders. Without going into individual cases, it ought to be perfectly possible for the Government to place before the House, as they have done in the past, the views of the security servicesboth security servicesso that the House can know whether that is correct. As the Home Secretary will appreciate, ever since the events surrounding the Iraq war it has been difficult to take anything that the Government say on trust.
Mr. Clarke: I am very sorry indeed that the hon. Gentleman should seek to cast doubt on the security services[Hon. Members: "No, you did."] No, that is precisely what he sought to do. I have always acknowledged, from my statement on 26 January and throughout the various debates, that the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has caused concern and has led to issues of trust that need to be addressed
There are issues of trust in relation to both the Government and security and intelligence information. That is a fair point to make in discussion. However, because the doubt has been raised in the way the hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) raised it, I argueit is an important argumentthat it cannot be asserted simply on the basis of that doubt that all evaluations by all the security services of any threat to come should be cast aside, because they should not be.
Mr. Grieve: Let us bring the discussion to this particular topic. The Home Secretary knows that, last week, the Prime Minister claimed that there were hundreds of potential terrorists abroad in this country. Within 24 hours, there had been a leak from the security services saying that that was nonsense and that the figure was between 10 and 20. Clearly, we cannot verify whether that leak was accurate, but the Home Secretary might reflect that it casts some doubt on whether we should accept either his word or that of the Prime Minister on anything.
First, the hon. Gentleman is not talking about leaks and all that side of things. The figures that he quotes are actually set out in the financial memorandum and the regulatory impact assessment
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that we put before the House when we published the measure. They are entirely public documents and one would think that a competent Opposition would have studied them carefully before considering the situation[Interruption.]
Mr. Clarke: The main reason for that is an important one, which relates to a discussion that we held earlier. The events of 9/11 and those that followed were particularly significant. Paul Condon resigned as Metropolitan Police Commissioner before that time[Interruption.] Yes, he did. The House should consider equally the remarks of Sir John Stevens, Lord Stevens, on that question. He was commissioner at that time and had to deal with those issues. The House should also consider the position of the current commissioner. Today, at a briefing for the crime reporters association
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