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That is absolutely right. That is what should happen: we should work out what the implications of the proposal are and then come forward with the date when we are going to implement it. That has not happened, but if it were to happen, we would come up with a much earlier date. I understand the position that my right hon. Friend is in, however. He cannot do that. In the seven days that we have, perhaps more work could be done on that and perhaps we could find a compromise timetable—three to five at the outside perhaps, but with the proposal being implemented much earlier, as I have suggested, for the police, for example, who do not have the problem of overcrowding in police cells. We heard about the problem of risk aversity, but there is no issue of risk aversity in some of those places. What we are looking for is the deterrent effect, which the proposal would bring into effect, to ensure that things are done properly.

I welcome my right hon. Friend’s undertaking that we will have regular reports on implementation, so I shall certainly be voting with the Government. There is still a little way to go, but they have moved significantly by naming the date, which was the key demand when this battle started many months ago.

Mr. Hogg: You were kind enough to call me in the first debate, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and I know that other hon. Members want to speak, so I shall be brief.

First, it would be churlish not to welcome what has been done thus far, and I think that the House would acknowledge that. Secondly, it is the view of most hon. Members participating in this debate that five to seven years is too long. To take up the point that the hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr. Davey) made, it is worth reminding ourselves that unsafe systems, which are basically what we are talking about, are wrong in principle.

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I recognise that the Secretary of State is concerned about what, for brevity, I would loosely refer to as unfair prosecutions, which would come at a time that was oppressive to management. That is what is really worrying him. However, that concern is actually met to a very high degree by the requirement in the Bill that the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions is a necessary precondition to prosecution.

Mr. Straw: That is one anxiety and it takes some time—I hope as short as possible—to work through, but another anxiety is that which people who have not been party to these debates feel inside such complicated systems. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that it was all a matter of political will. If it were all a matter of political will, things would be dead easy, but there must also be judgments, which is why, if I may say so, the target on drugs in Afghanistan did not quite work out as intended, so the issue involves both. That is what we are having to manage, but we will do it as quickly as we can.

Mr. Hogg: I was coming on to my fifth and last point. I accept what the Secretary of State has said, but culture changes have to be driven from above because they will always be resisted. I recall being the Whip in the Home Office when the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 was introduced and there was enormous resistance from within the police to many of the changes, particularly interviewing, forced through by PACE. The Secretaries of State insisted and the management will always respond to insistence. If the Secretary of State were to put forward a 12-month or 24-month period, I suspect that that would be longer than need be, but I am sure that the House and the other place would agree to it. That is the sort of period that is required—not five to seven years. That is all I want to say.

4.30 pm

Mr. Redwood: I, too, believe that the Secretary of State for Justice has moved in the right direction and I thank him for that. He is one of the few Labour Ministers I would trust: I think that his word means something in this House and I am sure that he is well intentioned. He must understand, however, how difficult it is for us to accept his word when it relates to a period after the next general election. It is extremely unlikely that either he or a Labour Government would then be in office— [Interruption.] Yes, I obviously hope that there will be a change of governing party to the Conservatives, but there might be no overall control in the House of Commons—and there are all sorts of possibilities that would make it very difficult for the right hon. Gentleman to honour his pledge.

In the meantime, as the Liberal Democrats so rightly pointed out on this occasion, it must be a matter of grave concern to all of us that a decent man who is Secretary of State for Justice cannot reassure the House that custody in this country is being sufficiently well managed for it to be under this legislation. He is newly in post and trying to get to grips with it. He tells us that his officials are telling him that there could be acts of gross negligence leading to death in custody, but that they do not feel that anything can yet be done about it. Surely that is a matter of grave urgency.

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Mr. Straw: Let me explain to the right hon. Gentleman that no official has said that to me and I do not believe that any officials have said it at any stage to any of my right hon. Friends. At no stage has that argument been advanced. None of us wants to see gross negligence or failure in systems. A huge amount has already been done in the police and prison services to ensure that such a situation does not develop.

Mr. Redwood: I am glad to hear that reassurance, but it makes it even stranger that we are dealing with a period of five to seven years. I shall therefore vote with my Front-Bench spokesman, my hon. Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve).

Mr. Straw: This has been an interesting debate and I am grateful for the acknowledgement of the changes made as a result of this set of amendments. I am pleased better to have informed the right hon. and learned Member for—is it still Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg)? [Interruption.] Well, it changes every election. [Interruption.] I had forgotten that Grantham is Labour now! It is significant that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is better informed about the amendment.

A number of slightly odd claims have been made. The hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) talked about the Prison Service over the next 100 years—a much longer time frame than I have in mind. He then said that there would always be pressure on the Prison Service. I have clocked that; we bear it mind, because at some stage over the next 100 years, there may well be a Conservative Government. I can offer the hon. Gentleman some fraternal advice—not to be too free and easy with the suggestion that if there were a Conservative Government, there would never be any problems with prisons. I do not believe that that would be the case.

The hon. Gentleman then said that implementing the law quickly could lead to some “terrible problem”. That is nonsense. I never said that it would lead to a terrible problem. I have been careful in what I said, as have my right hon. and hon. Friends. What I have said is that we need time to assess the situation, and we do. I apologise to the House for having to say that, but it just happens to be true.

To my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon (Mr. Dismore), the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, I say that as well as undertaking to publish at least an annual report on progress, which I am happy to do, we will certainly look carefully into implementing these measures by stages. I am grateful to the right hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. Redwood) for saying that he at least trusts me—he then made it clear that he certainly would not trust a Minister in a Conservative Government, and we have noted that too. We do intend to take such action; otherwise, we would not put such a provision in the Bill. The quicker we can make progress, the less people will have to look into a crystal ball, because they will be able to see from the action taken that we are doing it.

I urge the whole House to recognise that considerable progress has been made, and that it is now time for agreement, both on what is in the Bill, as we hope, and on what I have said.

18 July 2007 : Column 347

Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 301, Noes 188.
Division No. 192]
[4.35 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Mr. David
Anderson, Janet
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
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Sir Stuart
Benn, rh Hilary
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, rh 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
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Crausby, Mr. David
Creagh, Mary
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Darling, rh Mr. Alistair
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Davies, Mr. Dai
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
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
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
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
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Hanson, rh 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
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret

Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hood, Mr. Jim
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Humble, Mrs. Joan
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
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
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
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mackinlay, Andrew
MacShane, rh Mr. Denis
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCafferty, Chris
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McCartney, rh Mr. Ian
McDonnell, Dr. Alasdair
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Mudie, Mr. George
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
Olner, Mr. Bill
Osborne, Sandra
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Prescott, rh Mr. John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, rh James
Rammell, Bill
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reid, rh John
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Christine
Salter, Martin
Seabeck, Alison
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simpson, Alan
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
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
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stringer, Graham
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Thomas, Mr. Gareth

Thornberry, Emily
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Ussher, Kitty
Vaz, rh Keith
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Wills, Mr. Michael
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek
Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Dave Watts and
Siobhain McDonagh

Afriyie, Adam
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, Mr. John
Barrett, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Brokenshire, James
Brooke, Annette
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Browning, Angela
Bruce, rh Malcolm
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Butterfill, Sir John
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Cameron, rh Mr. David
Campbell, Mr. Gregory
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clegg, Mr. Nick
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Curry, rh Mr. David
Davey, Mr. Edward
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice and Howden)
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dodds, Mr. Nigel
Donaldson, rh Mr. Jeffrey M.
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Duddridge, James
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Evennett, Mr. David
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Farron, Tim
Featherstone, Lynne
Field, Mr. Mark
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Mr. Christopher
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gove, Michael
Gray, Mr. James
Green, Damian
Greenway, Mr. John
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hancock, Mr. Mike
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harvey, Nick
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hemming, John
Herbert, Nick
Hogg, rh Mr. Douglas
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Holmes, Paul
Horam, Mr. John
Howard, rh Mr. Michael
Howarth, David
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Kennedy, rh Mr. Charles
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Kramer, Susan
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Leech, Mr. John

Leigh, Mr. Edward
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Maples, Mr. John
Mates, rh Mr. Michael
McCrea, Dr. William
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Neill, Robert
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, Mr. George
Ottaway, Richard
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Price, Adam
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pugh, Dr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Reid, Mr. Alan
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Angus
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Robinson, Mrs. Iris
Robinson, rh Mr. Peter
Rogerson, Dan
Rosindell, Andrew
Russell, Bob
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, David
Smith, Sir Robert
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Mr. Richard
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Thurso, John
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Walter, Mr. Robert
Watkinson, Angela
Weir, Mr. Mike
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, Mr. David
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wilshire, Mr. David
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Wilson, Sammy
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Wishart, Pete
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Richard Benyon and
Mr. Crispin Blunt
Question accordingly agreed to.
18 July 2007 : Column 348

18 July 2007 : Column 349

18 July 2007 : Column 350

offender management bill (Programme) (No. 3)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 83A(7) (Programme motions),

Question agreed to.

18 July 2007 : Column 351

Offender Management Bill

Clause 3

Power to make arrangements for the provision of probation services

Lords amendment: No. 6.

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