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The Prime Minister: On the latter point, that would be a sensible idea because it would help people understand what the real problems are. Part of what I have been implying throughout my observations todayI felt this even more strongly when I was with the leaders, discussing climate changeis that the politics of this are slightly different from the way that they are presented. There is a possibility of getting agreement between the eight plus five; what I think is impossibleI am very sure of this nowis to get an agreement that either excludes the eight or excludes the five.
In respect of the objectivity of any assessment, it will happen, of course, in part through the UN framework because we have got the Montreal meeting coming up,
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but the reporting back both through the new dialogue mechanism that we have established and the summits in Russia in 2006 and in Japan in 2008 will be important opportunities for people to make an assessment of this. I think that people may be prepared to move further than is presently contemplated.
Harry Cohen (Leyton and Wanstead) (Lab): Credit to the Prime Minister and the Government on efforts made and progress achieved, but will the 2015 millennium goals be met by 2015 as a result of the conference? Will poverty be made history as a result of the summit? If not, when?
The Prime Minister: If we deliver on what has been promised, yes, we can say that the millennium development goals will be met, but, obviously, we have got to deliver on it. We have got to carry it through and see it through, and so have the African countries got to deliver on their part of it as well. I emphasise, yet again, the importance of conflict resolutionthe urgent necessity of establishing a standby African force, large enough to go into any situation of conflict. We can see dramatically the importance of that from what is happening in Sudan, where there are now about 8,000 peacekeepers, but more are needed. If there was a 20,000 force able to move into those situations, it would make a tremendous difference. Again, whatever aid is put in, even whatever attempts by Governments are made to strengthen the systems of governance in those countries, if there are conflicts that ravage an entire country, all the progress is set back immediately.
Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP):
Does the Prime Minister fully understand the disappointment felt by many non-governmental organisations, aid agencies and many campaigners who
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felt that he and other G8 leaders would be truly brave in tackling African poverty at the summit? In marks out of 10, how close does he think he and the G8 summit came to meeting the demands of the Make Poverty History campaign?
The Prime Minister: The hon. Gentleman's standing up reminds me of one thing that I omitted to do in my statement that I should have done: to thank the people of the area around Gleneagles for putting up with so much irritation and discomfort. [Interruption.] Chaos would be putting it a bit too high.
The Prime Minister: Hassle, certainly. They bore it with great fortitude. I should also like to thank the police as well for the work that they did in policing the summit, particularly when it is difficult because numbers of people come simply to cause trouble.
I have done enough of these things now to realise that, if the standard is that we get universal acclamation from the NGOs that operate in certain areas, we might as well give up and go and do something else. That is not what is going to happen. However, the marks out of 10 that were given by some of the campaigners who have got the longest track record were pretty good. I think that we have made substantial progress, and it is in the nature of politics that substantial progress is the best that we can achieve. Most people, if they look at it fairly, would recognise that the G8 summit achieved a lot more than many previously.
Paul Goggins: It seems but a short time since we had what could be fairly described as a vigorous debate about the Bill in the Chamber. We hit calmer times in Committee and as we begin our debate today we are obviously in a calm mood for other reasons that we know about. We can also be calm because we have at last found common ground on which there can be clear agreement between the Government and the Opposition parties.
New clause 3 addresses concerns expressed in Committee, not least by the hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve), and elsewhere that individuals could try to use the power of citizens arrest inappropriately and perhaps maliciously in relation to the new offence. The hon. Gentleman spoke eloquently about the fact that the police would be highly unlikely to charge into the middle of a meeting or a speech during which someone was taking action that could be deemed to be inciting hatred on the ground of religious belief. He suggested that if the police might be cautious, we should also be cautious about the powers that we might give ordinary citizens.
The powers to effect a citizen's arrest are set out in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, which passed through the House earlier this year before the general election. I have no doubt that the necessary safeguards included in the Act will work well. I draw three safeguards to hon. Members' attention. First, the power of citizen's arrest covers only indictable offences. Secondly, an individual must have reasonable grounds to believe that it is necessary to make an arrest. Thirdly, it should be clear to a person making such an arrest that it is not practical for a constable to make the arrest.
Mr. Tobias Ellwood (Bournemouth, East) (Con):
In a situation in which an arrest must take place, how are individuals supposed to make such judgments? Things
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happen very quickly and they will not have the Act in their pockets. What advice can the Minister give to individuals in such a position?
Paul Goggins: The whole point of the new clause is that individuals will not have to make such a decision because they will not have the power to make an arrest. People will have the powerand, indeed, the duty in my viewto report what has happened to the police so that they can carry out an investigation and make an arrest if necessary.
The safeguards represent the necessary high tests. It could be arguedmembers of the Committee might remember that I tried my best to argue thisthat they will be sufficient to cover the new offence. However, I have listened carefully to people, as I promised to do, and thus acknowledge the concerns expressed in Committee about the possibility of an over-zealous interpretation being made.
Mr. Sadiq Khan (Tooting) (Lab): Does my hon. Friend agree that publicising the fact that there will be no power to make a citizen's arrest will avoid the sort of examples from the Australian state of Victoria that the hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) cited? He gave examples of individuals attending religious meetings and trying to orchestrate the arrest of people making speeches by saying that they were inflammatory. Does the Minister agree that the new clause will protect lay preachers who are worried that the Bill might allow citizens to arrest them in clearly wrong circumstances?
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