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5.49 pm

Simon Hughes: This is a four-clause Bill with one proposition. I hope that when the Division comes, colleagues will realise that one cannot object to it by voting for it or abstaining. One can object to it only by opposing it.

On 20 November 2003, the then Home Secretary said that, if this proposal did not achieve the agreement of both Houses, the process of finding an acceptable alternative that did not involve a single judge sitting alone would begin. However, this is not the Bill that the Government were looking for, because it does not contain that alternative mechanism.

Liberal Democrat Members, like our colleagues in the Conservative party and some Labour Back Benchers, oppose the Bill. We have tried to improve it, although our purpose was not to amend it but to bury it. The right hon. Member for Leicester, East (Keith Vaz) gave some of the reasons why this is a bad Bill.

First, given the argument about the burdensome nature of certain cases for juries, it cannot be claimed that the Bill will not be the thin of the wedge. Other long cases have just the same effect on jurors’ lives. Secondly, although lawyers, judges, the police and the prosecuting authorities are entitled to support the Bill, this House has to balance other considerations. We are entitled to say that their case is not overwhelming. For example, the director of the Serious Fraud Office has said that prosecutions are sometimes not possible under the present jury system, but could be held before a single judge. That suggests that jurors are not able to reach the right answer, and that more convictions could be obtained in judge-only trials. That is an unacceptable proposition, as it undermines the entire case for jury trials.

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Thirdly, the Solicitor-General keeps saying that the Government should not be misunderstood and that the Bill has been brought forward only because they want the full culpability and criminality of a case to be put before the court. If that is what we want, we must continue to improve the rules so that it can happen, and indeed many of the relevant rules have been changed in the past few months.

Fourthly, we believe that it is important for the criminal justice process that the roles of judge and jury be separated. In serious cases that come before the senior criminal courts, the jury decides the facts and the judge decides the sentence. The SFO, the Crown Prosecution Service and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs have not said that they cannot do their work. In fact, they do it increasingly well, and we do not get huge numbers of failed prosecutions.

Fifthly, the Solicitor-General says that the Bill will apply to about six cases a year only but, if that is true, it is not worth making this nonsensical change, as so few cases cannot be a huge burden on the criminal justice system. Sixthly, our present jury arrangements involve lay people at the highest level of the criminal justice system, and that is the most important guarantee that it will retain public confidence. A move to having professionals alone deciding innocence and guilt will undermine that confidence. Moreover, successful appeals against judges’ decisions will undermine the respectability of the judges’ role.

Seventhly, the evidence from the Jubilee line case is not that the jurors complained about the procedure. They understood exactly what was going on, and what they complained about was the prosecution and the management of the case.

Finally, the Solicitor-General has said on previous occasions that lots of things have changed, with new orders introduced by the Lord Chief Justice, but they have been going for less than two years and are barely tried. In addition, the Fraud Act 2006 is still very new, as are some of the relevant recommendations that have been made. The system that is now in place is very new and untried; we should allow it to bed down properly.

The Government’s case for getting rid of jury trials does not improve with serial repetition. Lay juries are a fundamental guarantee that the public play a crucial part in the criminal justice process. More than ever, we need lay people to have confidence in our institutions. They may not trust us, or even the judges, but they do trust the juries.

This Bill has no support among Labour Back Benchers and has secured no agreement across the House. It seeks to take away the right to jury trial, and it is being pushed through by a Labour Government who have been told no, no and no again.

5.54 pm

Mr. Marshall-Andrews: In the limited time available, I will start by giving the Government the benefit of the doubt. It hurts to do so, but I will. I accept for the purposes of argument, and these arguments only, what they say about the slippery slope, the wedge and creep.
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It is remarkable that when I mentioned that last word my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Stephen Pound) came into the Chamber. [Laughter.] I accept what the Government say about the dangers of creep.

Stephen Pound (Ealing, North) (Lab): Who are you calling a creep?

Mr. Marshall-Andrews: My hon. Friend has got the point—very late. [Laughter.]

What depresses me and many others more than anything else in the Bill is the presupposition that jury service is an unaccountable burden on our fellow citizens. Jury service is not a burden; it is a privilege. It is a privilege which derives from the freedoms with which we were all born. We did not earn the privilege; it has been passed to us from generation to generation over 800 years. Like all privileges, it is not necessarily a pleasure. Often it is not, but as the hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) said earlier, jury service can be and often is a pleasure, particularly on long trials. He mentioned that long associations are made between jurors and that occasionally they marry. I recollect being invited to just such a wedding after my client, no doubt as a result of the representation that he received, was convicted by those jurors.

We live in an age when our fellow citizens are accused of hedonism, apathy and an indifference to social responsibilities and the way in which they live. Nobody who has sat through a long fraud case or a long trial and watched how jurors—our fellow countrymen—deal with these cases can agree. People come as jurors to trials believing that they will never understand them. After weeks, the fascination with the trial grows. The jurors learn; they bring concentration to the trial. All that gives the lie to the false psychology that tells us that our fellow countrymen have an attention span of three minutes.

Stephen Pound: Will my hon. and learned Friend give way?

Mr. Marshall-Andrews: No. If my hon. Friend had spent more than 10 minutes in this debate, I would give way to him immediately.

In the closing minutes of this debate I wish to point out that we have a right to be tried by jury in this country, but we also have a right to try. That is as much of a right. The Government are not simply giving up the right of people to be tried, but are conceding to professional judges a right to try our fellow citizens which has been with us for 800 years.

Having said that I would give the Government the benefit of the doubt on the question of creep, wedge and slippery slope, in truth I do not concede it. This Government have a rotten record. They have terrible form for attacks on jury trial. They started completely unprovoked in 1998 with murder trial Bills and have continued throughout. We have gone through a black period in the political history of civil liberties in this country. Many of us hope that that black period is rapidly coming to an end. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”] If the epitaph is to be forcing this piece of
25 Jan 2007 : Column 1659
illiberal legislation through Westminster by the use of the Parliament Act and, as has been emphasised, by the use of Members whose constituents will never be affected by it and who will continue to enjoy the benefits of jury trial, that will not only cost Parliament dear, but when the Labour party goes again to the electorate, it will cost it dear.

It being Six o’clock, Madam Deputy Speaker, put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair, pursuant to Order [29 November 2006].

The House divided: Ayes 281, Noes 246.
Division No. 036]
[6 pm


Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Mr. David
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Austin, John
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Bell, Sir Stuart
Benn, rh Hilary
Benton, Mr. Joe
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, Andy
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clelland, Mr. David
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, Yvette
Cousins, Jim
Creagh, Mary
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs. Claire
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, Mr. David
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Farrelly, Paul
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. David

Hanson, Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Mr. Tom
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Henderson, Mr. Doug
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hood, Mr. Jimmy
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Ingram, rh Mr. Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khabra, Mr. Piara S.
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Knight, Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Mackinlay, Andrew
MacShane, rh Mr. Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McCartney, rh Mr. Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, Mr. Tony
Meale, Mr. Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Mr. Alan
Miliband, Edward
Miller, Andrew
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Morgan, Julie
Mountford, Kali
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Olner, Mr. Bill
Osborne, Sandra
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Prescott, rh Mr. John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, James
Rammell, Bill
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Reid, rh John
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Christine
Ryan, Joan
Salter, Martin
Seabeck, Alison
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andrew
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine
Smith, rh Jacqui
Smith, John
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen

Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Ussher, Kitty
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Wills, Mr. Michael
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Woodward, Mr. Shaun
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek
Tellers for the Ayes:

Steve McCabe and
Kevin Brennan

Abbott, Ms Diane
Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, Mr. John
Barrett, John
Beith, rh Mr. Alan
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Brake, Tom
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Breed, Mr. Colin
Brokenshire, James
Brooke, Annette
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Browning, Angela
Bruce, rh Malcolm
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Alistair
Burt, Lorely
Butterfill, Sir John
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies
Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clegg, Mr. Nick
Conway, Derek
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Curry, rh Mr. David
Davey, Mr. Edward
Davies, Mr. Dai
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice and Howden)
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Duddridge, James
Duncan, Alan
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Farron, Tim
Featherstone, Lynne
Field, Mr. Mark
Fisher, Mark
Foster, Mr. Don
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Mr. Christopher
Gale, Mr. Roger
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
George, Andrew
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Gove, Michael
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Greenway, Mr. John
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harris, Dr. Evan

Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heath, Mr. David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hoey, Kate
Hogg, rh Mr. Douglas
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Holmes, Paul
Hopkins, Kelvin
Horam, Mr. John
Horwood, Martin
Howarth, David
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Jones, Mr. David
Jones, Lynne
Kawczynski, Daniel
Keetch, Mr. Paul
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Kramer, Susan
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Laws, Mr. David
Leech, Mr. John
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Maclean, rh David
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Maples, Mr. John
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McDonnell, John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moore, Mr. Michael
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Mulholland, Greg
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Neill, Robert
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, Mr. George
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, Mr. James
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Reid, Mr. Alan
Rennie, Willie
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Rogerson, Mr. Dan
Rosindell, Andrew
Rowen, Paul
Ruffley, Mr. David
Russell, Bob
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Smith, Sir Robert
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Mr. Richard
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swinson, Jo
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Taylor, Matthew
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Teather, Sarah
Thurso, John
Tredinnick, David
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Viggers, Peter
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Walter, Mr. Robert
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Webb, Steve
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, Mark
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wilshire, Mr. David
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas

Wood, Mike
Wright, Jeremy
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard
Tellers for the Noes:

Angela Watkinson and
Mr. Robert Goodwill
Question accordingly agreed to.
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Bill read the Third time, and passed.


Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118(6) (Delegated Legislation Committees),


Question agreed to.

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