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I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, who has a distinguished record on civil liberties, that frontiers are irrelevant in international crime. At the same time, human rights must be increasingly safeguarded when frontiers are no longer relevant. The noble Lord said that the Bill was only a beginning. That is right in some ways, and I am sure that there is much more to come down this road. The road down which my noble friend Lord Renton travelled in 1913 was a very different one indeed, as was the demeanour
My noble friend Lord Dixon-Smith said that the title of the Bill should be changed. I can reveal that the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) (Amendment) Bill was changed at my instigation and became the Minibus Act. It is perfectly possible for the name of a Bill to be changed, and I can well see my noble friend's point.
The noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, also wants a narrowing of the definition of terrorism, although I did not agree that we should go as far down the road as he suggested in differentiating between injury to property and injury to the person. On the other speeches that we heard, I remind the Minister that there is a degree of unanimity that the road that we are being asked to go down is, in principle, the right one. Equally, the Minister owes it to the House to introduce the safeguards that are so surely necessary if we are to convince the population about this measure involving international co-operation, which will include not only the 15 but perhaps 25 nations of the EU, or even wider more than that. To convince people that this is the right way forward, we need to respect human rights and to be more sensitive to the need to introduce safeguards.
Lord Filkin: My Lords, I thank noble Lords for the many contributions in this Second Reading debate. In many ways, such debates provide a flavour of the things that lighten our legislative burdens. I am thinking of the pleasure that the noble Lord, Lord Renton, gave us, regarding the increasing speed of international travel. Such debates also act as a gypsy's warning to Ministers. Part of the process is to give fair warning of the issues to which we shall return in more detail. That is how it should be. As the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, said, we must scrutinise legislation properly and we must not undermine liberty. I shall return to the point about liberty and civil liberties later.
A number of references were made to the fact that Parliament is being asked via primary legislation to implement a framework agreement made between European Union member states. I shall not go into the fine detail as to what extent we are at liberty to go wider or narrower, although I shall refer later to when we can add other things. I shall give a fuller explanation of the extent to which one can have some flexing on a framework agreement, but the House is right that the basic principle is that one is expected to fulfil the measures as agreed, while having flexibility in the mechanism by which one achieves the end. That is an essential characteristic of such measures.
Why are we doing it? Essentially, the House decided that that was how it should be. We had previous discussions as to whether framework agreements should be undertaken by secondary legislation and the House was clear that it wanted such matters dealt with as primary legislation. I therefore feel slightly aggrieved that we are being taken to task for doing something that the House said it wanted done in this way. I understand the reasoning, as it gives more opportunity for testing and scrutiny, about which there is nothing wrong in principle.
I turn to the meat, or at least to some of it. The noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, has made it clear both earlier and today that the focus will not be about attacking the principles of many of the measures but whether there are necessary safeguards so that the ends, which have often been agreed in the debate, are balanced by proportionate protections against abuse or misguided application. Again, that seems to be a fair challenge, to which we shall happily respond in detailed debate in Committee.
I confirm that there is no intention to go into the immigration provision of Schengen. I can confirm that the UK will not be supplying to other member states or indeed receiving from them any immigration information as part of the SIS procedure.
As to how much room for manoeuvre there is on the Bill, framework agreements are binding as to the effect to be achieved. We believe that we have struck the right balance in the Bill. But, again, we shall listenas I hope we doto comments. We do not believe that we have usurped Parliament's powers to amend. As to what other member states are doing, they are under the same obligations as the UK and we expect them to take the same steps to meet their obligations. For the interest and information of the House, I shall do some checking to see whether they are ahead of us or behind us.
I turn to the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia. I thank him for the welcome that he gave to the Bill and to the scrutiny opportunities that arise as a consequence. He remarked on whether the UK Parliament had an adequate level of scrutiny as regards framework agreements. Scrutiny of a framework agreement operates at two levels: through the European Parliament and through the scrutiny provisions of this House and another place at each stage of an agreement through negotiation. That is an important and often challenging part of scrutiny. In effect, it means that to some extent the scrutiny takes place beforehand, while the legislation or the negotiations are under way, rather than solely on the Bill itself when it is before Parliament. Now is not the time to discuss the matter, but at some point in the future it will be good to have discussions in this House about the future of Europe; significant debates will be engaged in, as a member state, as to what that
The noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, was concerned about data protection as regards the SIS. We believe that the provisions are fully satisfactory. The Schengen Convention sets very tight controls on the use to which the data can be put. It also limits the type of information that can be entered.
In the UK, the processing of data within the national section of the SIS will be under the independent supervision of the Information Commissioner. Clause 82 will give the Information Commissioner new powers to inspect personal data held on the SIS without needing the permission of the data controller. Exactly how the commissioner's inspection will work will be subject to further discussion and agreement between all those involved, but this power will ensure that the rights of the individual in respect of the SIS, and also of the European information system and the future customs information system, are properly protected. That is in addition to the protection already provided by the Data Protection Act. It will make it easier for the commissioner to ensure that these systems are compliant with the Data Protection Act. The Information Commissioner has a responsibility to ensure the accuracy of data. That is the fourth data protection principle. This responsibility would extend to the SIS and to the other systems mentioned.
The noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloydas we should expectmade a thoughtful and interesting contribution at start of our processes. He asked about MLA. We are keeping the central route for incoming MLA requests open because we consider it to be more efficient. It is very difficult for overseas courts, which are usually territorial, to know where they should direct their requestsbecause our judicial system is not based on a territorial distinct jurisdiction, as the noble and learned Lord knows better than I do.
The Bill makes no change to existing provisions on the admissibility of telephone intercept evidence. I shall reply separately to the noble and learned Lord's queries on terrorism and send copies to noble Lords on the Front Benches opposite.
Yes, foreign surveillance is reciprocal. The noble and learned Lord is right. It is limited. It must be authorised in the country of origin. Officers must make contact with UK officers on crossing the border. Both of those tests have to be met for any surveillance to be lawful. I shall return to the point about the speed of application at a later date.
I turn to the definition of "terrorism". We heard interesting contributions from several noble Lords. The Terrorism Act 2000 defines terrorism as both a serious criminal act and one that is designed to influence government or to intimidate the public, and made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause. In essence, it carries the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Renton: it relates not merely to a criminal act but to the intent behind such an act. In other words, the context defines
On the point about listing murder as a terrorist offence, it is not terrorist specific. We are taking extra-territorial jurisdiction for murder and new Section 63B(2) lists the offences that are acts of terrorism or for purposes of terrorism as defined by Section 1 of the Terrorist Act 2000.
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