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Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: My Lords, I can reassure the noble Lord that we will have £59 billion in local transport plans, £31 billion of that being for local roads. For instance, there are 25 light-rail systems allowed for in the resources. The great majority of those would fall outside London. There will be very considerable investment in rail and in new stations, as I have seen in Newcastle and Leeds already. That programme will be underpinned and driven forward by us.
Lord Clinton-Davis: My Lords, will the noble Lord indicate that the trade unions involved in transport will be fully consulted, not simply at the beginning of the scheme but throughout its implementation?
Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: My Lords, we talk much of public/private partnerships, but the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, may be assured that partnership is at the very centre of our approach. It is
Lord Hardy of Wath: My Lords, I should like to join in the warm commendation of the Government on their policy. Following on the question asked a moment ago, I welcome the actual and the anticipated increase in rail traffic. But if it is to reach the proportions for which we aim and which are desirable, does my noble friend accept that it is necessary to see very considerable attention given to improved car parking at many stations, especially those which serve the commuter traffic to London?
The Bill has excited a certain amount of controversy, both during its passage in another place and more widely. I should like to make clear to your Lordships exactly why the Government believe that the measure is needed now, not next year.
Our national reputation--and I am speaking very specifically of England, not the United Kingdom--not many years ago stood among the highest for tolerance, good manners and civilised behaviour. It is hardly too much to say that that reputation, so far as many of our international friends are concerned, lies in tatters as a result of a small number of people who believe that watching an international football match is an occasion for obnoxious, loutish behaviour and sometimes indiscriminate violence. In other countries, international football matches are seen as an opportunity for people from different traditions and cultures to come together, to celebrate something they have in common--the love of a beautiful game. But for far too many English supporters, that appears to be a wholly alien way of thinking. They go to matches not so much to cheer their team but to provoke fights with rival supporters or uninvolved local people. They cannot think of Europe except in terms of outdated, Second World War stereotypes. They consider it entirely reasonable to insult people purely because they are foreign, to make racist remarks, to shout mindless and often offensive songs at the tops of their voices and to get into fights as soon as they imagine anyone is failing to treat them with the respect they have so clearly forfeited.
Lord Bach: My Lords, this is the Second Reading of an important Bill in this House. The normal convention is to allow the Minister to open the debate, make his comments and analyse the Bill. It is not normal for there to be interjections of this kind at this stage of Second Reading. Of course the noble Lord will make his comments and can expect a reply in the wind-up. Can this House now not hear what the Minister has to say, and the debate then take its course? I do not honestly think it necessary for there to be more interventions before the Minister is allowed to continue describing this important Bill.
Baroness Blatch: My Lords, will the noble Lord refer us to a point in Standing Orders? Is there a rule of the House that prevents an intervention or is the noble Lord making up the rules as he goes along?
Lord Bach: My Lords, as I understand it--and the noble Baroness has been in this place much longer than I have--this House bases itself on conventions as much as on rules. It would seem to be not just a convention of the House but good manners as well to allow the Minister make his speech. The noble Lord can make his speech in due course. The Minister will have to reply to what the noble Lord says. I wonder if we can get on with this business now.
The Earl of Onslow: My Lords, I think that this does need talking through. The noble Lord, Lord Bassam, with impeccable good manners, gave way to the noble Lord, Lord Waddington. I have been in this House since 1971, when Attlee and Eden were still here, and that is how it has always behaved. The noble Lord is making a mountain out of a molehill. I know that the Government are panicking over this rotten little Bill and want to rush it through; but do not blame those of us who want proper debate.
Lord McNally: My Lords, further to that point, I notice that the noble Lord, Lord Waddington, is not on the speakers' list. Those of us who have served in another place know that some Members there have an exceedingly bad habit of making an early intervention to appear on the record but participate no further. That has not been the convention in this House.
I hear much in the corridors from Members on the Opposition Benches about the declining standards of the new and reformed House. Some of those declining standards will come from those Benches if they play
I want to hear the Minister and I believe that we should get on with it. The Conservatives should stop playing politics. The noble Lord, Lord Waddington, should have put his name down to speak in the debate, as have other Members, and not intervened in that way.
Lord Waddington: My Lords, as an attack has been made on me, I want to say that the Minister, with absolute courtesy, gave way. He had no need to do so. I thought that it was a perfectly appropriate matter to raise when he was dealing with the so-called "causes" of the present trouble.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I hope that this debate can be conducted with due courtesy and that we can all refrain from being hooligans. I am unapologetic in my passionate support of this legislation. I believe that it will do much to restore the good name of our country and protect our participation in future international sporting events, particularly on the football field.
When on 4th July the Home Secretary announced in his Statement in the other place the measures we would be introducing to prevent future reoccurrence of the atrocious scenes of thuggery, hooliganism, racism and xenophobia, carried out by English football supporters in Brussels and Charleroi during Euro 2000, he highlighted the need for speedy but carefully scrutinised legislation. The qualifying stages for the World Cup begin in October and England play France in Paris as soon as 2nd September. The European club competitions will be well into their stride in the next few weeks. The need to bring in new measures swiftly could hardly be clearer.
Consequently, on 7th July the Home Secretary published a preliminary draft of the Bill and made himself available to Members of both Houses in order that the key points of the Bill could be discussed and Members' constructive proposals taken on board before the Bill was introduced into the Commons. At this stage, two specific proposals made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner, and the noble Lord, Lord Alexander of Weedon, which I shall outline later, were incorporated into the Bill.
The Bill was introduced into the House of Commons and received its Second Reading on 13th July. Having carefully considered amendments tabled both by the Government and the Opposition, the House of Commons completed the Committee,
The need for new powers to prevent the hooliganism of many English supporters abroad has become apparent as a result of the Euro 2000 experience. This brought home the fact that there is a large swathe of English fans, typically male, white and aged 20 to 35 who, although not convicted of football-related offences, or perhaps not even known as football hooligans, are capable of violence and disorder when supporting England abroad.
Furthermore, it has become apparent that it is not always possible to rely on authorities abroad to prosecute offenders, which is necessary if our courts are to use their existing powers to make banning orders on the basis of offences committed outside this country. Too often, overseas authorities have preferred simply to deport English offenders rather than to deal with them as their conduct deserves.
There are four key measures contained within the Bill, the first two of which have been virtually universally welcomed. The first is the combining of domestic and international banning orders into one. That is important because currently those subject only to domestic banning order (80 per cent of the total bans in force) are at liberty to go to overseas matches despite their known propensity to commit football-related offences.
The mandatory withdrawal of the passports of those made subject to the new combined banning order, unless there are exceptional circumstances, for a certain period of days leading up to the match in question is the second measure.
The other two new measures are more complex and have been the subject of debate because, by extending the powers of the courts and the police, they seek to increase the number of people who, by their past or present conduct, make themselves liable to the new combined banning order. These new measures are, in the Government's opinion, absolutely necessary if the experience of Euro 2000 is not to be repeated.
The first of those two measures will give magistrates' courts the power to issue a banning order where it would help to prevent violence or disorder at certain football matches. Thus, magistrates will now have the power not only to issue banning orders in consequence of an offence, but also if they have reasonable grounds to believe the individual has caused or contributed to violence or disorder and that a banning order would help to prevent violence and disorder in future in relation to football matches.
The procedure has been structured in a similar manner to the anti-social behaviour orders that were introduced by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and were designed to deal with low-level violence and disorder that can be seriously disruptive of other
As with anti-social behaviour orders, the standard of proof required for the imposition of a banning order will be civil. In addition to other relevant evidence, magistrates will be able to take into account evidence of involvement in violence against persons or property, including threatening violence and doing anything to endanger the life of a person. They will also be able to take into account evidence of involvement in disorder, including stirring up hatred against persons on the basis of their colour, race, nationality or ethnic or national origins. They will also be able to take into consideration any relevant convictions received outside England and Wales; deportation or exclusion from a country outside the UK; the removal or exclusion from a football stadium in the UK or elsewhere; or conduct recorded on video or by any other means. Breach of an order would constitute a criminal offence. Proof of that offence would of course be to the criminal standard.
Our intention is that the police will, wherever possible, apply for these orders well in advance of a particular fixture in order to prevent suspected hooligans from even setting out for the game. But inevitably there will be people who will not have come to the notice of the police until they reach their port of embarkation. For example, during Euro 2000 there were a number of examples of people travelling to Belgium who had previous convictions for violent offences and whom the police could not prevent leaving the country. That is why the Government see it as crucial that the last of the four new measures is also adopted. It was subject to much debate in the House of Commons surrounding issues of civil liberty Those concerns, we believe, have been addressed in the revised Bill that I am now introducing to the House.
The provisions contained in proposed new Sections 21A, 21B and 21C, introduced by Schedule 1, would empower a police constable in uniform during a prescribed period leading up to a specific match, to issue a notice preventing a person leaving England and Wales where the officer had "reasonable grounds" for suspecting that the individual may have caused or contributed to violence and disorder at any time in the past and reasonable grounds to believe that making a banning order in his case would help to prevent violence or disorder in connection with a regulated football match.
Such a notice not only prevents the person concerned leaving England and Wales; it also requires him to attend a magistrates' court within 24 hours, where the notice will be treated as an application for a banning order. The police may detain a person while they consider whether or not to issue a notice provided that the above conditions are met. The constable must give the person in writing the reasons for detaining him. The maximum period of detention will be four hours, or six hours with the authority of an inspector. If, as suggested by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner, a notice is issued during consideration of the original draft of the Bill, the notice must state the
I have gone into the detail of the last measure thoroughly to draw to your Lordships' attention the significant changes that the Government have made to the Bill in order to ensure cross-party assent in both Houses.
The Bill received detailed scrutiny in another place. It may have been condensed but it was thorough. We listened and responded to concerns expressed during that scrutiny. As a result, a number of government amendments will be tabled in Committee, including one relating to compensation. The Opposition Front Bench in another place tabled such an amendment and it was agreed in principle. It proposed that compensation should be met from local police authority funds, but the preferred option is for the cost to be met centrally. The amendment will deal also with the questions of maximum amount of compensation and appeals against refusal to grant compensation.
An amendment will also be brought forward to limit the number of times a person can be detained. It will prevent a person who is detained and released without issue of a notice being further detained during the control period concerned unless evidence, unavailable at the time of the first detention, becomes available. It will also cover a person who is released by the court following issue of a notice preventing departure.
Noble Lords may well be aware that, under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, spent convictions will not be admissible in banning orders by complaint proceedings because of their civil character. Therefore, it would be inconsistent if a time limit were not placed also on evidence of conduct. As a result, an amendment will be tabled making evidence of misbehaviour inadmissible if it is more than 10 years old. That limitation will apply only to banning orders by complaint.
An amendment will also be tabled removing "any decision of a public authority, whether in the UK or elsewhere" from the examples of other matters which can be taken into account in determining whether a person has previously caused or contributed to violence or disorder in the UK or elsewhere and if a banning order will help to prevent football-related disorder. An amendment will remove the need for a person who is subject to a banning order to surrender his passport when an external tournament is being played in Scotland or Northern Ireland.
The Lord Chancellor's Department will bring forward regulations under Clause 3 of the Bill to make legal advice and assistance available for proceedings by way of complaint under new Section 14B. Clause 2 gives the Secretary of State power to allow NCIS to disclose information to persons prescribed by order. We shall table an amendment to ensure that such an order will be subject to negative resolution procedure. The Lords Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee has recommended an amendment to that effect and the Government agree.
In that spirit of co-operation the Government have already accepted the suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord Alexander, to insert a sunset clause which will ensure that the last two measures contained in the Bill are renewed by affirmative resolution after one year and will lapse four years after that.