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Lord Phillips of Sudbury: Before the Minister concludes and my noble friend replies, I have two questions. First, can a government Minister make a commitment of this sort that is binding on a successor government? Secondly, can the noble and learned Lord the Attorney-General give me any indication as to whether such a review would have an element of independence in it?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, obviously I cannot bind a successor government, if the noble Lord's ignoble hypothesis were ever to come about. However, I hope that I have expressed our commitment to the measure as firmly as possible. Of course, if one of two alternative parties were in power--I look for a smile from the noble Lords, Lord McNally and Lord Phillips--they would decide the matter. I have made my stance perfectly plain. I believe that the consultation ought to be as widely based as possible. I do not think that your Lordships can expect me to be more specific than that. I hope that I have been as helpful as I possibly can.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: My Lords, I say on behalf of my party that a review on the time-scale that has been mentioned is essential.

Lord McNally: My Lords, I welcome the extremely constructive suggestion of the noble and learned Lord the Attorney-General. Yesterday when we discussed the need to strike a balance between civil liberties and the needs of victims of crime the noble and learned Lord said,

The debate has been conducted honourably by noble Lords on all sides of the House. However, a division of opinion remains. The concern over civil liberties

9 May 2001 : Column 1044

remains. We welcome the review that has been suggested. We shall certainly return to the matter in the new Parliament when legislation is introduced following the publication of the Auld committee's report. Therefore, this is not the end of the matter. Nevertheless as we are in the peculiar position of having to undertake a truncated review of this legislation, we wish to test the opinion of the House.

3.52 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 23) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 40; Not-Contents, 200.

Division No. 1


Addington, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Avebury, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Dholakia, L.
Ezra, L.
Geraint, L.
Goodhart, L.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Richmond, B. [Teller]
Hurd of Westwell, L.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Lucas, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Newby, L.
Northover, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L. [Teller]
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Roper, L.
Russell, E.
Saatchi, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Taverne, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tope, L.
Walmsley, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.


Ackner, L.
Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Ampthill, L.
Andrews, B.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Arran, E.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Bach, L.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Biffen, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Blaker, L.
Blease, L.
Boardman, L.
Bowness, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Brennan, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Burnham, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carr of Hadley, L.
Carrington, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Christopher, L.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Colville of Culross, V.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Crathorne, L.
Crawley, B.
Crickhowell, L.
Croham, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Elder, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Erroll, E.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Ferrers, E.
Fookes, B.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Freeman, L.
Gale, B.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Glentoran, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Gregson, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hanson, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Haslam, L.
Hayman, B.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Islwyn, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Judd, L.
Kimball, L.
Kirkham, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Laming, L.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lindsay, E.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Longford, E.
Luke, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Marsh, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Mishcon, L.
Mitchell, L.
Molloy, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moynihan, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Nicol, B.
Norton of Louth, L.
Orme, L.
Palmer, L.
Parekh, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Patel, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Peston, L.
Plumb, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rawlings, B.
Reay, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Renton, L.
Richard, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rogan, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Seccombe, B.
Selsdon, L.
Serota, B.
Sharples, B.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Strange, B.
Swinfen, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Tomlinson, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Weatherill, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilberforce, L.
Wilcox, B.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

9 May 2001 : Column 1046

4.4 p.m.

Clause 88 [Provision for Northern Ireland corresponding to s.87]:

[Amendment No. 24 not moved.]

Clause 131 [Inferences in police conduct proceedings]:

Lord Cope of Berkeley moved Amendment No. 25:

    Leave out Clause 131

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this matter was discussed last night at a quite late hour.

Baroness David: My Lords, does the noble Lord want to leave out Clause 131? Is it not Clause 126? I beg your Lordships' pardon. I am told that there is new numbering.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: My Lords, it was Clause 126 in the Bill used in Committee yesterday. However, in the Bill as amended it becomes Clause 131. It is exactly the same clause. They are renumbered because we have inserted some additional clauses. The speed with which we have had to consider these issues has made the position somewhat confusing. That is the explanation.

The matter was discussed late last night. That was the first time this proposition had been discussed in either House of Parliament. The proposition is that in police disciplinary proceedings an inference should be able to be drawn from silence on a specific matter. It is a familiar argument in connection with the criminal law. The noble Lord, Lord Bassam, stated last night that when the original consultations on the proposal took place the police staff associations were content with the proposal but that they had had second thoughts since. That is right. I am told that the original consultation was on the basis that a clause of this character was to be introduced, but that the standard of proof required should be the criminal standard of "beyond reasonable doubt". The standard now in police disciplinary proceedings is "the balance of probability". That has led the Police Federation and ourselves to oppose the insertion of this clause.

I made the point last night--I shall not labour it again today--that our police are a highly supervised body answerable not only to the law but to the complaints commission, their authority, and so on. If a policeman does something wrong, he finds himself facing criminal charges, if justified, or disciplinary proceedings, or both. We should be extremely careful about placing through this clause an additional burden on policemen in trouble, in particular when we have discussed the issue so little. I beg to move.

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