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Lord Dean of Beswick: Some of us have to stay!

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, I apologise for my contribution. It was partly due to the fact that we took a long time to start the debate. I believe that London as a centre of international financial excellence will survive in or out. However, we must ensure that whatever the arrangements they are sensible and they work.

As regards raising trade barriers against those who are out, I simply quote what was said by the Chancellor:

In March 1966 an EC single market commissioner, M. Monti, said:

    "The Commission has already rejected, and will continue to reject, demands for compensatory measures that would amount to new trade barriers. In fact, the only appropriate response to such pressures within the single market is budgetary discipline and convergence of economies".

I have tried to give a flavour of the Government's response to this important issue. I appreciate that at least one or two of your Lordships wish to get on to the next piece of business. This is an important report. I wish that more people would read the reports of your Lordships' House. One or two people thought earlier in the week that there were arguments for your Lordships' abolition. Today's debate, which is in marked contrast to anything which would happen in the other place or in the media, will perhaps reassure your Lordships that this House and noble Lords who take an interest in these matters at least have a major role to play.

The noble Lord, Lord Ashburton, said in his speech that the driving force is the desire of the French and Germans, along with their immediate neighbours, to make sure that conflict will never again happen in Europe. I believe that that is a more important driving force than that mentioned by the noble Baroness, Lady Williams.

I was at a barbecue in Italy, where my daughter lives. There were a number of Europeans, from various countries, and we were discussing these weighty matters. It occurred to me that that was indeed one of the driving forces which I could clearly understand. Obviously, there were more people there of my daughter's generation than of my generation. I asked some people there whether they could guess when was

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the last battle which was fought on the soil of my country. They looked at me rather blankly and I told them that it was in 1746 and that that was a civil war. I should say for clarity's sake, speaking as one of the Mackay clan, that the right side won. I told them that before that there were many battles and civil wars but it is nearly a millennium ago since people invaded our country. Therefore, we take a slightly different view.

I understand their view but I just wish sometimes that they would understand that we have a different view. If we could achieve more of that understanding, then whatever happens in relation to EMU, whether we are in or out, whether or not we meet the convergence criteria, at least we could go on to build on the very successful single market and the working together that has been accomplished in the years during which we have been together in this great enterprise.

10.28 p.m.

Lord Barnett: My Lords, I have a feeling that the most popular speech that I have ever delivered in either House will be a very brief one, as now. I thank all noble Lords who have contributed to the debate. In particular, I thank noble Lords for the kind personal tributes which have been paid to myself and to the committee.

As has been said, we have had an excellent debate and I am most grateful for that. The noble Lord, Lord Cockfield, told me that I should not bother to ask the questions because the committee should have answered them. I paid tribute to the Minister earlier in the debate when I said that he should receive overtime for being both a social security Minister and a Treasury spokesman. I believe that I would now change that slightly. He would do much better as a Treasury Minister in view of the way he avoided answering any of my questions.

I pay tribute to the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Sheppard of Didgemere. It was an excellent speech, as many noble Lords said. We shall all look forward to hearing from him again on many occasion. He would have been a very useful member of our committee and, who knows, that may yet be a problem which he will have to face. But we are very grateful to him.

I was surprised by one or two of the remarks made in the debate. For example, I did not know that I had such influence over my noble friend Lord Bruce of Donington. He said that I had persuaded him and influenced him so that he did not wish to press any of the votes. I am most grateful to him.

My noble friend said also that he thinks that it is quite wrong that we should bow the knee to Europe. We do not have to bow the knee to anyone, whether we are in or out of EMU. That is totally unnecessary.

The noble Lord, Lord Cockfield, said that he agreed generally with the committee and its report but that there were various omissions; for example, we had not looked in depth at the CAP. If we had looked at all those matters, we should not be having this debate today, because the committee would be working on those matters until 1999. Therefore, I hope that he will understand why we did not consider all those issues.

I also thought that my noble friend Lord Eatwell made a very good point when he said that the

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convergence rules in Maastricht on indebtedness were created in the strangest possible way in the sense that that was the debt situation at that time. I am sure that he is right. However, I am bound to say that I think that that will be one of the reasons why the rules will be stretched a little to allow some countries to become members of EMU which would not otherwise be able to join. That might even include France, and certainly Belgium, because they will be coming down from 150 per cent. to 149 per cent.

I am delighted to be able to agree with the noble Lord, Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, in one respect--and I shall get the pronunciation of his name right one of these days. There is no need to decide now because the rest of the members of the European Union have not done so. The likelihood is that they will decide before 1st January 1999; indeed, about the time when Britain will have the meeting here in this country. Therefore, we will have to come to some kind of conclusion; we cannot leave it in the air for ever. I believe that that point was made by the noble Baroness, Lady Williams. I nearly said "my noble friend", as indeed she did. We have been together, as one might say, for so long in Cabinet and so on. I have no regrets in saying so. I believe that I know the noble Baroness very well, as, indeed, she said she knew me. As Chief Secretary to the Treasury I almost certainly would have had to stop her spending some money.

We have had an excellent debate. I should point out to the noble Lord, Lord Renfrew, that the press seems to have gone to bed, or somewhere. That is a pity because I have a feeling that we shall not get the reporting of this debate that we would have liked. As the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, said, some of the reporting in the tabloid press is particularly awful. However, in the major press, as we call it in this country, we equally have not had the serious coverage that the subject deserves. I fear that the noble Lord, Lord Renfrew--and, indeed, all of us--will be similarly disappointed about the reporting of today's debate. I hope that I am wrong in that respect. The debate deserves to be more widely reported.

We have heard some excellent speeches today; for example, that from the noble Baroness, Lady O'Cathain--I always like to pronounce that name because I can get it out so well--and those from many others. My thanks go out to all speakers who participated in today's debate. I hope that they will forgive me if I do not take too long now in simply saying that I trust that the House will take note of my Motion.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Royal Assent

10.34 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker (Lord Burnham): My Lords, I have to notify the House, in accordance with the Royal Assent Act 1967, that the Queen has signified her Royal Assent to the following Acts:

Appropriation Act 1996, Armed Forces Act 1996, Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996,

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Damages Act 1996, Asylum and Immigration Act 1996, Nursery Education and Grant-Maintained Schools Act 1996, Social Security (Overpayments) Act 1996, Housing Act 1996, Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996, Statutory Instruments (Production and Sale) Act 1996, Broadcasting Act 1996, Education Act 1996, School Inspections Act 1996, Deer (Scotland) Act 1996, Allied Irish Banks Act 1996, City of Westminster Act 1996.

Public Order (Amendment) Bill

Lord Dormand of Easington: My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time. It was piloted through another place by my honourable friend Estelle Morris and, in view of its importance, I am pleased to be able to ask your Lordships to give it the unanimous support that it had in another place.

The Bill arises from what must surely be a flaw in Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. As it is written, Section 5 requires that the police officer who gives the warning in a case of disorderly and intimidating behaviour must be the same police officer who made the arrest. It will be agreed that usually scenes of disorder involve many people and are attended by many police officers. It is surely clear that the police officer who gives a verbal warning cannot always be the same officer who makes the arrest.

In my county of Durham, in October 1993 police were called to a doctor's surgery where two men were behaving in a threatening, abusive and insulting manner. They were arrested under the Public Order Act 1986 but were later acquitted of all charges because the officer who gave the warning was not the officer who subsequently made the arrest. The case went to appeal and was rejected by Lord Justice Kennedy. However, he said at the time that he was unable to discern any parliamentary purpose in the working of the Act as it presently stood. He went on to say that the matter would merit further parliamentary consideration at an early date.

Similar cases have occurred in other parts of the country. I do not believe that I need give the details now. Despite other warnings, no action has been taken by government; and the result is that the police do not have the power to deal with a serious and growing problem. In 1980 one in five crimes resulted in a conviction or a caution by the police. By 1994 the figure had slumped to one in ten. Unless the law is amended the situation will deteriorate further.

I understand that the Home Office supports this measure; and it has all-party support in another place. It is now 10 years since Parliament passed this flawed

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piece of legislation. It is nine years since warnings were given, and two years since a High Court judge effectively suspended the use of that section and called on Parliament to reconsider it. All that is required is for one word to be changed in Section 5(4). That one change is the substance of this Bill, and the time has now surely arrived to make the change. It is simply that Section 5(4)(a) of the Public Order Act 1986 should be amended by leaving out the word "the" and inserting the word "a". I commend the Bill to your Lordships.

Moved, That the Bill be now read a second time.--(Lord Dormand of Easington.)

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