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Lord Bach: It may be due to the lateness of the hour but I do not grasp the noble Lord's point. The amendment provides for compensation to be paid to those who have perhaps been wrongly detained. The noble Lord, Lord Cope, is happy with our amendment, which seems to us to cover the needs of this important part of the Bill.
What happens if the police have detained a person for six hours, held him for another 18 and then say, "We haven't been able to gather the evidence: off you go son"? Under my noble friend's amendment, that person would get compensation. However, it appears to me that, under the Government's amendment, he would not. It also appears to me that that kind of behaviour on the part of the police should be strongly discouraged. I hope that the noble Lord can point out where in his amendment someone who is subject to that kind of treatment is entitled to compensation.
Lord Cope of Berkeley: My noble friend appears to have discovered a flaw in both the amendments we are discussing. Both refer to an appearance before the magistrates' court. If that appearance does not take place, as a result of the scenario that my noble friend suggests, I do not think that compensation is payable under either amendment. However, I believe it should be. Indeed, in some respects, such cases may be the most deserving of compensation if the police cannot even raise a case to present to the magistrates and yet they have detained someone for a number of hours and caused that person to miss his flight and so on.
I believe that there is a further advantage to my amendment; namely, that the appropriate sum of compensation was to come from the police budget concerned, not from central funds. It seems to me that such compensation would make the police more careful with regard to the use of this power in appropriate cases. I shall not press the point but I believe that my noble friend has pointed out an interesting flaw in both the amendments.
However, Wales plays as a separate national team, although a number of the leading Welsh clubs play in the nationwide league alongside English teams. I believe that particularly in the case of a Welsh national team which is playing in a competition abroad, the National Assembly for Wales should be consulted about whether or not the match should be regulated. The same should apply to a Welsh club team which is playing an overseas club team in a competition. Although I recognise that this is not a devolved matter, Wales has a special interest because it plays as a separate team.
This is the last amendment I shall be moving at Committee stage and I should like to add this: I think that the way in which the Government are handling this Bill is intolerable. We have been here in Committee now for eight and a half hours; it is just now striking 5 a.m. The debates have not been unduly prolonged; there has been no time wasting. None of the amendments has been frivolous. A great many serious points have been raised. Were the Government to give themselves time to look at them in rather more detail, many of the amendments would be accepted by the Government and would lead to modifications which would make this a much better Bill than it is now. As matters stand, it is virtually impossible for that to happen.
The debate has shown in greater detail than before the number of serious flaws and problems in the Bill. I beg the Government, even at this stage, to defer the Report stage until after the Recess so that the Bill can be given proper consideration before we get to Report stage. That would mean that Lords amendments would have to go back to the Commons when it returns from its Recess, but it would still be possible for the Bill to become law by the middle of October. That is a price well worth paying for getting a better Bill than this one is likely to be.
On the wider point made by the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, on the treatment of the legislation, I join in the protest about the way in which we have been obliged to consider the Bill. The Committee stage has been extremely good tempered and very constructive throughout. A large number of points have emerged; it will be extremely difficult for the Government, let alone ourselves, to give them proper consideration between now and Report stage if the immediate timetable is followed. At the same time, I appreciate the Government's anxiety to get the legislation completed this week. I cannot speak for my noble friend the Opposition Chief Whip, but it seems to me that tomorrow--I speak of a Parliamentary tomorrow, which is later today--is very soon indeed in which to try to consider so many points on Report. I leave that for the consideration of the usual channels.
The Earl of Onslow: I wish to return to the point about the record of today's proceedings. Of course the speaking notes of the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, will be of some help, but, unless he read them verbatim and unless he departed from them not by one iota, they are not a true record of what even he said. I know that what the noble Lord said is laden with interest and that it is very important to the Bill--even hints of what the noble Lord said are important--but I cannot remember what the noble Lord, Lord Woolmer of Leeds, said four hours ago--I wish I could, it was jolly well worth listening to; I cannot remember the more obscure of the observations of my noble friend Lord Russell--I use that term because we were both at Eton together 85 million years ago--about something that happened in the reign of Charles I, which was undoubtedly apposite. What are we going to do when we try to get our minds around the Report stage with everything that has been said at this Committee stage? It is totally unsatisfactory.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: Perhaps I may deal with the amendments before the Committee. Government Amendments Nos. 77, 78, 79 and 80 are designed to implement the third recommendation of the Select Committee on Delegated Powers. Amendment No. 81 is merely a drafting amendment. I am sure that noble Lords will recall that the committee recommended two ways of dealing with the point. The Government amendments take one route and the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Cope, takes another route. The noble Lord, Lord Cope, has begged to defer to us. I am grateful to him for that.
I do not consider affirmative resolution procedure necessary for an order of this type, but I recognise the Select Committee's point that the order-making power, as drafted, is wide. The amendments standing
The purpose of that power is to ensure that, if necessary, the provisions of the Bill on submission of passports and the powers in new Sections 21A and 21B can be exercised more than five days ahead of a match or a tournament. That might arise, for example, in the case of a tournament being held a very long way away. It might be necessary to lengthen the period for a relatively short time before a match or tournament if intelligence indicates that that would be desirable. I hope that noble Lords will agree that affirmative resolution procedure is not necessary in this instance and might inhibit effective use of the power. As a consequence, I commend the amendments to the Committee.
Amendment No. 83 seeks to ensure that the Welsh Assembly is consulted before games involving Welsh clubs are prescribed. Technically speaking, the amendment is not appropriate because it relates to a matter that has not been devolved. Indeed, the leading Welsh clubs of course, as noble Lords will recognise, play in the English leagues. It would seem somewhat incongruous to treat them differently for the purposes of the legislation when they play overseas. Nonetheless, I recognise that the Welsh Assembly may well have views on these matters. I undertake to noble Lords that any representations which are made to us by the Assembly will be listened to with great respect, as they are on all occasions. I trust that with that assurance the noble Lord will be able to withdraw his amendment.
Comment has been made about the way the Government are passing the legislation through. I, too, am less than happy with the circumstances in which we have to deliberate on the legislation. I do not think that anybody can be happy. No one wants to be here at ten past five in the morning talking about complex matters like these. Noble Lords have worked very hard to table amendments which have been moved, by and large, in good spirits and with the best intentions. I hope that during the rest of today's deliberations, at Report and Third Reading, we can hold our good temper in considering the Bill. It is an important piece of legislation. If we were to fail to introduce the Bill before the next football season we should be letting down the British public, the English football clubs and the English team. It is important that the Bill is put in place. There has been support across the parties, more particularly from the Official Opposition, to bring the legislation forward. They, among others, were crying out for legislation just a few short weeks ago. While we must give it our very urgent and detailed consideration, nevertheless, I believe it is right that we should seek to enact the Bill.
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