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Viscount Cranborne: My Lords, our debates in the wake of Statements of this kind would be the poorer were it not for the contributions of the noble Lord, Lord Bruce. However, I am not clear to what he thinks the Government have been bound "hook, line and sinker". If it is to economic and monetary union, I refer him to the opt-out, which we and the Danes are the only ones to enjoy.

I wholly follow the noble Lord's logic on the question of isolation. I always say to my children that just because everybody does it does not mean that it is right. I am pleased to find that, as I tried to say a few moments ago, our isolation on key matters is becoming much less of a factor as our partners come closer to us, particularly on the key matter of unemployment and what economic measures need to be taken in order to reduce it and, if possible, eliminate it.

With regard to the domination of the German Government, I wonder whether our Spanish friends would have agreed as they scurried round Europe trying to fix the agenda and give priority to those matters, particularly relationships with Latin America, which played such a large part in the arrangements. It would be a little discourteous for me to go along with the noble Lord. Domination by Germany is not part of our agenda; partnership is.

On the matter which the noble Lord thought so surprising, I confess that I find it surprising also.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, I too am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins, is not in his place. He alleged that the British Prime Minister had been "brushed aside". I hope that the Leader of the House can give us an assurance that the British Government, which represents 60 million people, are never brushed aside; will not allow themselves to be brushed aside; and would say that this is not a partnership where the majority, whatever it may be, brushes one of the other partners aside. I want that assurance and I want it this afternoon.

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Further, is the noble Viscount aware that we should not allow ourselves as a country to be driven by German political ambition into the madness of EMU and a single currency? In that connection, can he say what is meant on page 7 by,

    "irrevocable fixing of conversion rates".

What does that mean? We were able to opt-out of the ERM when it was claimed that it was destroying our economy. According to this document, apparently we cannot ever opt-out of a single currency and the EMU even if it is plain for everyone to see that they are destroying our economy. Can the noble Viscount comment on that?

Finally, will the committee which is to look into the matter consider the taxation implications for the British people, particularly if expansion goes on towards the east? Those countries will need enormous subsidies if they are ever to be able to join the new European monetary union and a single currency. Those are some of the matters that need to be addressed not only by noble Lords and the Government opposite, but also by my own Front Bench. The sooner the whole country, including political parties, gets down to a realistic examination of this problem, the better it will be.

Viscount Cranborne: My Lords, I can certainly give the noble Lord the unequivocal assurance he needs that this country will certainly not be "brushed aside"--to use his phrase and that of the noble Lord, Lord Bruce. As I have tried to explain, that has been the tenor of the Government's approach. It is an assurance which his own noble friends are quite incapable of giving him. I am sure that the country as a whole will note that.

As regards the single currency point, paragraph 4 on page 7 says:

    "The scenario"--

always a ghastly word to use--

    "provides for transparency and acceptability, strengthens credibility and underlines the irreversibility of the process".

I understand that that means that once the exchange rates have been fixed during the transitional period, that is irreversible; otherwise the exchanges themselves would be subject to some pretty powerful market forces of a kind which would destroy the process. That is my understanding of the word "irreversibility" which, I am advised, has a particular Euro-jargon meaning in matters of this kind.

As regards the taxation implications, I am beginning to wonder whether the noble Lord should cross the Floor and join us because that is precisely what has been worrying my right honourable friend. He wants to make absolutely sure that the desirable expansion of the European Community does not lead to a vast increase in the expense of the CAP or of the cohesion funds. That is going to be one of our principal bargaining objectives in the months and years to come. I fully

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expect that other partners will see the justice of that, particularly as so many of them are now net contributors like ourselves.

Criminal Procedure and Investigations Bill [H.L.]

4.42 p.m.

House again in Committee on Clause 1.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 2:

Page 2, line 1, at end insert ("or not").

The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment I shall speak also to Amendment No. 101. This is a much more simple amendment and one which should cause the Committee and, I hope, the Government, no difficulty. I believe that it is generally recognised that the role of the police, or any other body involved in an investigation, is not simply to collect material which would indicate the guilt of an accused, but to collect material which will enable the court to decide whether the accused is guilty or not. That should be the basis on which the police investigation is carried out and it should be the wording in the Bill. Yet, curiously, Clause 1(4) states,

    "For the purposes of this section, a criminal investigation is an investigation which police officers or other persons have a duty to conduct with a view to it being ascertained--

    (a) whether a person should be charged with an offence, or

    (b) whether a person charged with an offence is guilty of it".

Surely, in reality it should be whether a person charged with an offence is guilty of it "or not". Before and after the decision is made to charge somebody, it is still the responsibility of the police or the investigators to be as objective as possible in the way in which evidence is collected. I am very well aware, not only as a non-lawyer, but as a market researcher, that one gets more accurate answers to a question which asks, "Do you think that this should happen or not?" rather than asking a question which is implicitly one-sided; namely, "Do you think that X should happen?". Surely the same applies to police investigations. The alternative is there and it should be included. I beg to move.

Lord Campbell of Alloway: Surely this amendment is unnecessary. Clause 1(4) states,

    "with a view to it being ascertained".

If one tries to ascertain something, then one is trying to ascertain whether a person is guilty or not. I wish to give an explanation to the Committee. I supported the Government on the previous amendment although I had considerable misgivings. I realised that if I did not I would break wide open the structure of Part I of the Bill. My noble friend the Minister has done her very best to provide us with a mass of material to follow the principles of each amendment satisfactorily, but I have found that very difficult to do because of the state of the material which we have.

Baroness Blatch: I am grateful for the intervention from my noble friend. He is right in that I believe that

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we can allay the concerns of the noble Lord. The process of considering whether a person is guilty of an offence must also include considering whether he is not guilty. In fact, the key word in Clause 1(4)(a) and (b) is "whether" and that is the first word in each line. It would be a different matter if the Bill defined a criminal investigation in terms of ascertaining that a person was guilty of an offence rather than whether he was guilty, but it does not. Therefore, these amendments are unnecessary.

Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank: I believe that the arguments of the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, are important and the burden of his message clear. I hope that the Committee will endorse it. Can the Minister say whether the form of words on the face of the Bill is a convention in parliamentary drafting? If it is, then I shall certainly not want to press the argument further, but if it is a departure from convention in comparable circumstances, then we need a further explanation.

Baroness Blatch: I cannot give an absolute answer to that. However, if one asks whether a person is guilty of an offence, then in asking whether they are guilty one is implicitly asking whether they are not guilty of it. I have stood here many times answering the point. I am reminded that this House is not always impressed with the argument that because something has always been done in a certain manner, that it should always be done like that. The important factor is whether the wording here reflects what we want it to reflect; namely, that it is subsumed in that a person may be guilty or not guilty.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Perhaps I may refer first to the words of the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway. He is of course fully entitled to take whatever view he wishes about the previous amendment. However, I do not believe that he is right to say that Amendment No. 1 would have broken open the whole structure of Clause 1. Its structure is complicated and on it depends the introduction of a number of other clauses, and Clauses 3 to 5 in particular. We took care to make sure that the structure of Part I of the Bill, which is more important, survived the amendment which we thought was necessary. I do not take too kindly to the implication that we have not thought about our series of amendments.

My response to the Minister as regards Amendment No. 2 and the subsequent amendment, can only be that she does not really recognise the English language "as she is spoke". We do say, "Whether or not" and "Guilty or not". We do that perhaps with an element of repetition, but in order to make clear that our minds are open as to the outcome of any investigation. It is simply not good enough to say that "whether" implies "whether or not" when the noble Baroness knows as well as I do that the English language commonly consists of putting the two alternatives. It is particularly important that the two alternatives should be put into a description of police investigations because it is particularly important that Parliament should insist that police investigations are objective and that they seek the truth rather than that they seek a particular outcome which is convenient to the police and the prosecution.

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I note that the Minister was not able to tell the noble Lord, Lord Rodgers, that the omission of the words "or not" is common in legislation. I do not feel that that issue has been adequately answered. However, as it may be considered a higher level drafting issue, it is not one on which I wish to seek the opinion of the Committee. Therefore, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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