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Lord Judd: Before my noble friend sits down, I hope that I may raise one point. His response to the points that were made was again exemplary. The courtesy and detail with which he treats the Committee is outstanding. I draw my noble friend's attention to the fact that he said that support was in the interests of traffickers. Migration and asylum are subject to a big criminal business which constitutes a cruel, cynical affair. I do not believe that anyone in this House believes that there should not be draconian treatment for those responsible for that. But is my noble friend really suggesting that one deals with these vicious, wicked people by punishing the innocent victims of their activity?
The Earl of Listowel: Before the noble Lord answers that question, I hope that he will forgive me if I put one further question to him. I did not wish to interrupt his flow earlier. He kindly responded to my question about a risk of increasing the number of people sleeping rough. If I understood him correctly, he said that the people we are discussing had been living
Lord Filkin: I shall write to the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, although I am not certain that I can offer massive comfort. However, I shall do my very best to try to set his mind at rest. I take seriously the point made by my noble friend Lord Judd about traffickers. I am advised that I may have referred to Sir Bernard Crick as a civil servant, which is probably an insult to him and to civil servants. If that is the case, I wish to correct that.
Lord Kingsland: Before the Minister concludes, I wish to ask him a question about the last matter that he raised. In response to remarks made by the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, read out a statement about the relationship between responsible Ministers in Parliament and civil servants. I believe that the noble Lord said that, because responsible Ministers in Parliament answer for civil servants, it is inappropriate for a Member of Parliament, whether in another place or your Lordships' House, to criticise a civil servant. As I understand it, that was the import of his remarks.
That is a statement about a great parliamentary tradition which, alas, has long vanished. Some believe that it vanished soon after the famous resignation of Sir Thomas Dugdale over the Crichel Down affair. Surely the position now is that if a civil servant makes a mistake and the responsible Minister is not prepared to resign over it, it is perfectly appropriate for remarks to be addressed to that civil servant; otherwise, Parliament would wholly lose control of political events: it would be forbidden to reproach a civil servant although a Minister had done nothing about the civil servant's mistake.
I apologise for raising a matter that is not germane to the substance of the Bill; but the Minister read out a fairly stiff statement on this issue. I felt it important that the matter be aired a little more than it has been so far.
Lord Filkin: I shall enjoy and value reading what the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, said. I recollect Crichel Down and what has not happenedsometimessince. The nub of what I was sayingperhaps I did not
Lord Kingsland: I was not seeking to underline the veracity or otherwise of the substance of what the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, quoted. I was responding to the reaction of the Minister to that quotation and asking him whether, on mature reflection, the degree of generalisation that he invoked was appropriate in our modern constitution. The Minister kindly said that he would look at what the noble Lord said. We may or may not return to this matter at a later stage.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The Minister has been very keen to move his Amendment No. 3. However, we have to follow rather arcane rules today because in recommitment our amendments are addressed to the noble Lord's amendment, which means that on this occasion I have to withdraw my amendment firstif that is what I am about to do; I assure the noble Lord that I am.
Our considerable and detailed debate proves that it was right for the Government to agree to the House's request that we should have a recommitment on these matters. I, and, I am sure, other noble Lords, will look carefully in Hansard at the Minister's full and careful answers. There have been a considerable number of speeches from different points of view from all parts of the Committee. The Minister and I have had the stereophonic sound of disagreement from behind us on these matters.
I repeat my opening remark that my amendments are probing amendments and that I support the government amendment in this regard. I am grateful to the Minister for saying that he will write to my noble friend Lady Carnegy, who, with her usual careful attention to drafting, has perhaps signalled where there may be otiose words in the Bill. I look forward to seeing his response to her. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.
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