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Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, before the Minister sits down, perhaps I may revert to four questions. First, are we to take it that the present Home Secretary endorses the Bill? Secondly, do I understand it correctly from the Minister that legal aid and advice will be available for people in the position as provided by Clause 1(4); that is, considering reasons and making representations before one gets to judicial review? Thirdly, am I right in my proposition, which I believe has had no dissent from the Minister, that anyone serving a sentence of more than four years in England and Wales has no automatic release as of right after 50 per cent.?

Finally, cannot the Minister assist us a little further, and with a little more precision, as to when the long overdue review is to be launched. We discussed the question of the review—I see the noble Lord, Lord Holme, nodding in assent—substantially before the Summer Recess, when we were told that things would be afoot. I must limit my questions, because the Minister, with her usual courtesy, has answered most of the rest of them.

Baroness Denton of Wakefield: My Lords, I apologise to the noble Lord for not answering all his questions. As I said, noble Lords asked me a considerable number of questions. I stress that the Home Secretary's proposals, which are aimed at protecting the public, something to which he is unswervingly committed, do not affect those prisoners who fall within the ambit of the Bill. This is Northern Ireland legislation, reflecting the situation in Northern Ireland.

I am not sure whether it is a disadvantage that I do not have the noble Lord's knowledge of the law in England and Wales, but I do not. I will have to confirm to him the position in England and Wales, because I do not have that knowledge. I stress again that legal aid is available in Northern Ireland in cases of personal liberty, and that will cover the situation about which he asked.

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I thought that I had made it clear that, although the review of the emergency provisions is not being led by the Northern Ireland Office, progress is being made. The firmest date I gave was for when the work could be done and we could be looking at a report at the end of August. But appointments and terms of references still have to be drawn up.

I am fortunate that I can now extend my knowledge of the English and Welsh law by saying, yes, the noble Lord, Lord Williams, was correct on that point and it would have been wrong of me to doubt it. I commend the Bill to the House.

On Question, Bill read a second time; Committee negatived.

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Then, Standing Order 44 having been dispensed with (pursuant to Resolution of 30th October), Bill read a third time, and passed.

Wild Mammals (Protection) Bill

4.51 p.m.

Report received.

Gas Bill

Returned from the Commons with the amendments agreed to.

        House adjourned at nine minutes before five o'clock.

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