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Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I think this is neither the time nor the place to embark on the debate again. Perhaps I may make two points, the first on the comments made by the noble Earl, Lord Northesk, about the concerns of the direct marketing sector and the changes to be made to Clause 10. If I understand him correctly, the concern is that the requirement for controllers to respond to every written notice they receive is simply unworkable in respect of "tick-boxes" and similar notices, and it may well work against the interests of the data subjects. The noble Earl quoted the text of an undertaking which the Direct Marketing Association would be prepared to make, were the statutory requirement to be reconsidered.

During the passage of the Bill we have not been shy to acknowledge that we may not always have got everything absolutely right the first time, or even the second time. We have been very willing to respond positively to the legitimate anxieties of those affected by the Bill. The amendment which the Government proposed to Clause 11 earlier this afternoon is an example.

I have taken careful note of the points about direct marketing made by the noble Earl. We shall look very carefully, in consultation with the representatives of the direct marketing sector, at their proposal for dealing with the matter in question by means of a code of practice. Our minds are certainly not closed and if we feel that improvements can be made, we shall return to the matter in another place.

As regards the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Teviot, I am glad that he found that the meeting with the Home Office officials helped clarify a number of matters. As he said, one or two points are still outstanding. We are looking carefully at them and will get back to those whom he represents about them as soon as we can.

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I wish to make two final points. First, perhaps I may echo the sentiments expressed on all sides of the House about the quality of the official team led by Mr. Graham Sutton. They made a real contribution towards making the Bill as good as it is. I also wish to say how grateful my noble friend Lord Williams of Mostyn and I have been for the positive and helpful way in which all the debates have been conducted. We are particularly grateful to the noble Viscount, Lord Astor, and the noble Baroness, Lady Nicholson of Winterbourne, for the constructive spirit in which they have approached the Bill from the Front Benches opposite. I beg to move that the Bill do now pass.

On Question, Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.

European Communities (Amendment) Bill

5.32 p.m.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now again resolve itself into Committee.--(Lord Whitty.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (Lord Brougham and Vaux) in the Chair.]

Clause 1 [Meaning of "the Treaties" and "the Community Treaties".]

Lord Renton: Before the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, moves his amendment, I should mention that there are no copies available in the Printed Paper Office of the Amsterdam Treaty. It is very difficult to follow the Bill without it. I had temporarily to borrow a copy but I hope that more will made available before long.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: Perhaps I may add to what my noble friend Lord Renton said. I believe that he will find in the Printed Paper Office an excellent publication called: The Treaty of Amsterdam in Perspective. It is from the British Management Data Foundation. Although it is not the document to which my noble friend referred, it is an extremely useful version and it has the great advantage of having the original Treaty of Rome and the Single European Act amalgamated into one column. Then across the page, there is the Maastricht Treaty in the next column and in the final column the amendments made at Amsterdam which we are now considering. In my view, it is the only publication in which one can follow the relentless march of European integration. I commend it to the Committee.

Lord Renton: I believe that it is essential that we should have the principal document in front of us.

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Lord Stoddart of Swindon moved Amendment No. 4:

Page 1, line 12, at end insert--
("( ) Article 1, other than paragraph 11 (Title VI of the Treaty on European Union (provisions on police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters)),").

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 4, standing in my name, has been grouped with a number of other amendments which I shall not read out. The groupings on the Bill have been difficult, but, as I have already said, the amendment I am moving has been grouped with other amendments and new clauses to enable the Committee to have a full and structured debate on justice and home affairs. It would have been more convenient if we could have discussed the subject in four distinct sections: police and judicial co-operation, extension of the European Court of Justice jurisdiction, harmonisation of judicial procedures and Europol. That cannot be done formally through the groupings.

However, due to the good offices of the usual channels, official and unofficial, and the good work of the clerks in the Chief Whips' Office and the Public Bill Office, the groupings have been set out in a way which makes the Bill more understandable and will make our proceedings easier to follow. I am extremely grateful, as the Committee must be, to all those who have been involved in what I believe is quite a unique occasion for groupings.

The implications of this part of the Amsterdam Treaty are wide and serious. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Renton, that one needs the document. I am surprised that it is not available in the Printed Paper Office and I hope that it will soon be there.

Amendment No. 4 deals specifically with provisions on police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters. That is under revised Title VI, a new title which has been created because free movement of persons, asylum and immigration, have been transferred to Community competence under a new Title IV which will be discussed in later amendments. The new Title VI, while retaining its inter-governmental character, would, as I understand it, move closer to Community arrangements. Indeed, Article 29 states that member states will cease to be key players. Perhaps I may read paragraph 1 of Article 29:

    "Without prejudice to the powers of the European Community, the Union's objective shall be to provide citizens with a high level of safety within an area of freedom, security and justice by developing common action among the Member States in the fields of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters and by preventing and combating racism and xenophobia".

It is absolutely clear that the European Union believes that it is a Community competence. Indeed, when one goes through the list of where co-operation is to take place, it is very long. I am afraid I shall have to read it. First, racism and xenophobia; terrorism; organised and other crime; trafficking in persons; offences against children; illicit drug trafficking; illicit arms trafficking; corruption and fraud. That list covers virtually everything--all crime, organised or otherwise, small time and large scale, as well as specifically listed crimes

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which presumably are of a different order of heinousness, if I can put it that way, since they are mentioned separately in the treaty.

Indeed, a new and separate offence is being eased into British law by this Amsterdam back-door. It is called "racism and xenophobia". That is a dangerous importation into our law. For example, noble Lords present here today may have heard people like me being described--because we take a different view of the European venture (or perhaps I should say "adventure")--as "xenophobes". That is extremely dangerous. All we may have done is criticise some aspects of the European Union. Is it to be a crime to say that one does not like the way the Germans do things? Are some of the remarks that the French make about the British or anybody else to become criminal? It seems to me that it is an unreconcilable importation.

I am surprised that our great British press has not picked up on that point. As it is developed--as it surely will be--the press will have to be extremely careful in what it says. There will be no more headlines, "Up yours, Delors", in the Sun. It may well be caught under this section of the Amsterdam Treaty.

Freedom of speech is under constant threat. We know that, and this new offence-in-waiting will constitute a new restriction which will go wider than the proper curtailment of the right verbally to abuse people of different ethnic origin or to incite violence against them, and we should be extremely careful about this item being imported into our law without Parliament being aware of what is happening.

We should be told exactly what the co-operation between the police and other enforcement authorities means. What will it involve? What are the limits of competence? What restrictions will there be on such co-operation, and what is the supervision and control method to be used to ensure that police forces and other enforcement authorities do not overstep the mark and indeed operate against the laws of individual nations?

New Article 30 provides for this enlargement of police co-operation to take place on a wide basis and will allow Europol a greatly enhanced role in the investigation of crime and joint operational action across national boundaries. There is no question in my mind that what is proposed is an embryo European FBI. If anybody doubts that, let me quote from an article in the European Journal by Mr. Torquil Dick-Erikson who said,

    "In the February 1997 issue of The European Journal, I reported on an article by Helmut Kohl in an Italian newspaper, in which he stated that the way to build the European currency ... was, first of all, the configuration of Europol into becoming a European Police Bureau with operational competences".

Does anybody wonder why people are worried? I know that I shall be told that I am worrying unduly, but we must listen to what people say; we must read what they say and, when we have read what they have said, we must believe that they mean it. When Herr Kohl talked about Europe and operational competence he meant what he said.

The European bureau of investigation will be operating outside the control of Parliament. Parliament will have no say in what is happening. Indeed, it may

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be outside the control of the Government themselves; we do not know because we are not told. Will those activities of Europol and other organisations be subject to judicial review? If those involved in it do anything wrong such as beating people up, will it be possible for the Police Complaints Authority to investigate them? Those are subjects which are important and questions which must be answered.

New Article 31 deals with judicial co-operation in criminal matters involving issues under five separate headings. It will be interesting to see what they are and have them on the record. Article 31 says:

    "(a) facilitating and accelerating cooperation between competent ministries and judicial or equivalent authorities of the Member States in relation to proceedings and the enforcement of decisions;

    (b) facilitating extradition between Member States;

    (c) ensuring compatibility in rules applicable in the Member States, as may be necessary to improve such cooperation;

    (d) preventing conflicts of jurisdiction between Member States;

    (e) progressively adopting measures establishing minimum rules relating to the constituent elements of criminal acts and to penalise in the fields of organised crime, terrorism and illicit drug trafficking".

That is quite a list and we are entitled to a full explanation of what it means and to what extent our own laws and judicial proceedings will have to be changed. We are not told. Indeed, we do not know whether our whole system of justice is being gradually undermined to be replaced by a continental co-ordinated system of law. For example, paragraph (c) says,

    "ensuring compatibility in the rules applicable in the Member States".

What does that mean? Paragraph (d) talks of,

    "preventing conflicts in jurisdiction between Member States".

That could go extremely wide. Let us hear what it actually means. What does "adopting common minimum rules and penalties" mean? It is going to be extremely difficult to co-ordinate or adopt common minimum rules or penalties without altering great rafts of our statute law. Indeed, where does the common law come in all that?

Those are important and vital matters which need to be explained. How will extradition work? Last week we heard the decision of the Home Secretary not to extradite Ms. McAliskey. Will it be possible, under the co-operation rules, for him to take what many felt was a political decision not to extradite a specific person to Germany or any other country where a crime is said to have been committed? We need to know all these things. These are matters of huge importance to the British people yet they were bulldozed--I use that word advisedly--through the House of Commons on a guillotine.

Lest people should think I am exaggerating the dangers, let me refer them to new Article 32, which states:

    "The Council shall lay down the conditions and limitations under which the competent authorities referred to in Articles 30 and 31 may operate in the territory of another Member State in liaison and in agreement with the authorities of that State".

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Again, there is no sense in which Parliament will be involved; it is government which will be involved. Although this is under the co-operation pillar rather than under the Community pillar, these things have a habit of growing and growing and eventually resulting in the complete and utter sidelining of Parliament. So it is not national governments, let alone national parliaments, which will decide the limitations of these police and judicial matters and the conditions and limitations under which the competent authorities, including the police, can operate in this country; it is the European Council. This European Conglomerate and not the British Government will be deciding what can and cannot be done.

It will, as I have emphasised, be able to act without Parliament's knowledge or approval. Indeed, my worry about this whole title is that police and judicial matters are being removed from any kind of real democratic control. Article 36 will set up a co-ordinating committee of senior officials to advise on police and judicial matters. I should like to ask my noble friend this question. Will this be a kind of European Association of Chief Police Officers? I should like a reply to that question because many people, including myself, are suspicious of the activities of the Association of Chief Police Officers in this country and would be even more suspicious of such an organisation on a European scale. And of course the Commission is to be associated with this title, as it is with everything else.

I really am extremely concerned about the way power is slipping away from representative bodies like Parliament. That is why I was extremely worried that the Minister without Portfolio, Mr. Mandelson, threw some doubt on the future of representative democracy. I have to tell the Committee that I have grown up with representative democracy, which has served us well over a long period of time, and I sincerely hope that it will not be undermined by the provisions of this treaty.

I hope other noble Lords will deal in depth with the extension of ECJ jurisdiction, which is dealt with under new Article 35. Indeed, it has been held by some that Article 35.6 will have the effect of completely undermining the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.

Finally, there is new Article 39, which gives the European Parliament a role in this new title, Title 6. It does not give this Parliament any role but it gives the European Parliament a role. That is why I am very concerned that once again we are having through this treaty creeping competence and that this title will be eventually absorbed into the European Community complete with qualified majority voting on important and vital matters of our people's freedom.

New Clauses 48, 49, 52, 53 and 54 attempt to give our own Parliament a role under this section of the Amsterdam Treaty, but I shall leave it to other noble Lords to elaborate on that aspect. This new title is a dangerous and unwarranted extension of European Union competence and impinges on the United Kingdom's standing as an independent self-governing nation as well as introducing new concepts to our law and giving foreign police forces the power to operate in

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Her Majesty's realm without the knowledge or consent of her Parliament. I ask your Lordships to support the amendment. I beg to move.

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