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The Earl of Onslow: The Americans have something known as "Taking the fifth", which says that you need not answer any question that may incriminate you. Subsection (3)(n) says that unless you do answer a question that may incriminate you, you can go down for five years. It says, as my noble friend on the Front Bench said, that you have to answer questions from foreign police forces if they are asked over here, that you must answer questions from our own police force, and that you may not avoid them.

That subsection would fit very happily in the rule book of the NKVD or the Sicherheistdienst of Mr Hitler. These are the instruments of tyrants—I use the word deliberately. To force people to answer questions under threat of punishment to incriminate themselves is the instrument of a tyrant. If that is not against the European Convention on Human Rights, this building is a funfair.

Lord Plant of Highfield: I support the amendments, especially the one in the name of the noble Lords, Lord Goodhart and Lord Thomas of Gresford. The list of obligations set out in the Bill is long, onerous, open-ended and somewhat indefinite. A good case was made by the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, to freeze the set of obligations at this and not to have others that could be brought in using the enabling part of the legislation, rather than putting them through by extra legislation.
 
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I have not really thought about this, but I am also rather in favour of the point made in the amendments tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, about being involved in elections. That relates back to something said by the noble Lord, Lord Garden, about hearts and minds. Someone who has not been convicted of a criminal offence should not be prevented by the Bill from being engaged one way or another in the democratic process. It might be regarded as an advantage for that to happen. I may be na-ve about that, and I have not had a chance to think about it very much, but it is, on the face of it, an attractive idea. I would be prepared to back such amendments.

The next point relates back to a discussion that we had on the first group of amendments. I am pretty convinced by what the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, said about Article 6. I believe that that needs careful consideration. I hope that we shall get a detailed answer to that.

I have been bothered by the point made by the noble Earl, Lord Onslow, no the obligation in subsection (3)(n), in the sense that there will be punishment for not answering self-incriminating questions. That is quite a departure and we would need very strong reasons for going down that road, rather than just approving all the obligations en bloc, even if they were frozen as they stand and not extended.

Lord Goodhart: I shall deal briefly with Amendment No. 30 which stands in my name and that of my noble friend. As the noble Lord, Lord Plant, said, we feel that it is important to spell out on the face of the Bill that no person subject to a control order can be ordered to answer a potentially self-incriminating question.

It is possible that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor may say in reply that that is already the case under the Human Rights Act. But this is a more limited form of Amendments Nos. 19 and 21, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, which delete Clause 1(3)(n) altogether and provide that:

I have serious concerns about an order to answer questions, even if the answers are incriminating to someone else rather than being self-incriminating. In English law, a person cannot, as a rule, be compelled by the government to answer questions. Of course, someone can be called as a witness in a court and can be compelled by the judge to answer questions, but nobody is obliged to give evidence to the police. There are a few statutory exceptions to that, under the Companies Act, for example, but we need to consider very seriously whether it is appropriate for someone subject to a control order to be required to answer questions that may incriminate, if not him, other people, and to be subject to a penalty of up to five years in prison if he fails to do so.

Lord Judd: Like my noble friend Lord Plant, I support the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Thomas, because I find the provisions in Clause
 
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1(3) extraordinarily wide. The clause gives almost unlimited powers to the authorities. We have all expressed our concern about accountability and ultimate control of the situation. It seems to me that Clause 1(3) is in danger of throwing that all away and I hope that that is inadvertent.

We have all picked examples of how general the rules are, and to say that the list is only illustrative compounds the difficulty. I shall pick one paragraph that concerns me and which I know concerns other noble Lords. It states:

There is no specified limit. Therefore, while I support the noble Lord, Lord Thomas, I hope that he will agree that even his amendment has certain weaknesses in this respect because this is a situation with no limits or parameters. It takes us back to our anxieties on the previous group of amendments when the noble Earl, Lord Onslow, made extremely clearly the point that for many ordinary people the distinction between "deprivation" and "restriction" of liberty is pretty theoretical.

Lady Saltoun of Abernethy: I have been in two minds about whether to speak to Amendment No. 17, which I tabled, in this group or to speak to it separately next Monday, but I think that it would be best if I get it over with now.

Clauses 1(3)(e), (f) and (g) permit the placing under house arrest of persons suspected of terrorism. I have read all the speeches made on Tuesday at Second Reading that I did not hear, and no reference was made to the logistics of this form of incarceration, which is not one that has been customarily used in this country.

If someone is placed under house arrest, he cannot go to work, so he will probably lose his job and, with it, his income. That means he will not be able to pay his rent, council tax, insurance premiums, pension contributions, interest on loans, and 101 other normal expenses. He will have no money to buy food and necessities. What plans, if any, do the Government have to meet these expenses? In any case, how is someone shut up in their house or flat, and not allowed out, to buy food and the necessities of life? One bright chap—I am afraid it was a fellow Peer—suggested to me that he could send his wife. There are plenty of people in this world who do not have wives and who live alone. Are they to be left to starve? What if they need to visit the doctor or the dentist? Those people do not make many home visits nowadays. Or the prisoner might be a woman with children who have to be fed and got to and from school . . . What thought have the Government given to these matters, which are just as important as judicial process and all the rest which have been discussed at length?

It is time it was pointed out that these detainees have not been convicted of any crime and that they are merely suspects, and therefore they are innocent until they are proved guilty. That is a concept which people who are frightened or seeking revenge are inclined to forget. I am frightened of people who are frightened. If a person is imprisoned, he or she is at least lodged
 
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and fed, and receives medical attention at the taxpayers' expense. I hope the Government are not proposing to treat these suspects worse than Her Majesty's prisoners. I hope the Minister can set my mind at rest about that.

Lord Campbell of Alloway: I had intended to support these amendments, but got lost in the arrangements that were being made. I apologise for not being here when I should have been, when the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, opened. I was minded to support his amendment, and in particular I support the amendments of my noble friend Lord Kingsland.

I was determined to deal with this because I have had a bit of this myself, although I was not a terrorist. Why is a special interrogation regime going to be justified? Of course you are a suspected terrorist. In the case of the last war, the interrogation regimes that I was submitted to were well beyond anything allowed by the Geneva Convention. I am interested in this, though I do not fix the Government with the evil intent that my noble friend Lord Onslow did. This could have been done, and overdone, by inadvertence, but it has to be thought out. To what degree are you going to derogate from ordinary entitlements in order to interrogate a suspected terrorist?

Baroness Hayman: Provoked by the contribution of the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, could my noble friend, when he winds up this debate, give some more clarity on the issue of evidence that would be admissible either in a judicial review or in any sort of appeal proceedings generally? I think my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor said clearly that evidence provided under conditions that amounted to torture would not be admissible, and were not admissible by SIAC. My recollection is obviously incorrect because I thought that the SIAC judgment said that, in evidence that was tainted, that factor would go to the weight that they gave that evidence, but not to the point of exclusion of it. I would be grateful for some clarification on that.

4.45 p.m.


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