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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I listened very carefully to the noble Lord, Lord Greaves, and well understand the point that he is making, which is a principled case against having casinos in the Bill at all. I assume that what he means is that there should be no change in the casino law. It does not really matter what the amendments say; clearly they could be sorted out afterwards if there were general support for them. But I take it that he means to leave casino law as it is at the moment rather than to abolish casinos altogether; he is nodding, so I believe that must be right.
My position is that the Government's policy is a cautious and sensible approach to a part of our national life that the majority of people regard as a safe and normal activity. Therefore, I do not think that the noble Lord's position truly represents what most people think about casinos. Most people look on casinos and gambling in general as a leisure choice for informed adults. They know that it has risks like many activities in life and they accept that with careful regulation it can be a normal part of a good night out.
I am glad that the noble Lord raised the core point of whether the Bill should deal with casinos because I want to set out what we would lose if we took out the casino part of the Bill. We would lose the potential for regeneration. Many local authorities want the inward investment, the new jobs and the visitors that casinos will bring with them. New casinos provide not only a range of gambling facilities but hotel accommodation, conference facilities, restaurants, areas for live entertainment and so on. If there is an issue of job displacement, the membership of the committee of the noble Lord, Lord Wade, shows that it has been carefully considered.
Lots of local authorities have written to us saying that they would welcome such developments. We think it is right that we give a limited number of local authorities the opportunity. That is why the powers for local authorities in Schedule 9 to secure benefits for their area are so important. At the same time, there is provision in the Bill for any local authority that wishes to opt out altogether from new casinos. So there is no forcing casinos down the throats of communities that do not want them.
If we did not have this part we would abandon choice for consumers. Many people enjoy gambling. We want to ensure that protections are in place for the small minority of people for whom gambling becomes a problem, but we think that it is right to extend choice for adult gamblers. We would set back the development of the British casino industry, which has proved its integrity and probity over the past 40 years. With new technology, new games and changes in society it is different from the industry regulated by the Gaming Act 1968, which would have to continue in force. The industry has earned the right to be allowed to develop, cautiously.
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Without this provision, we would keep unnecessary and burdensome regulation. We think that it is right to remove outdated regulations that do not contribute to the delivery of the three regulatory objectives. The industry and the customers would be left with a regulatory regime that was created for a different industry at a different time. Casino developments would be permitted in a relatively small number of urban areas. The membership requirementthe 24-hour rulewill remain. We will heavily restrict the ability of casinos to advertise and there will be strict limits on the number and type of machine that they have.
Without this provision, a great opportunity to achieve a modern and responsible regulatory framework would be lost and an important and successful part of the leisure industry would be stopped in its tracks. We think that every part of the Bill contributes to the well-being of the country.
Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn during pleasure. In moving the Motion, I indicate to the House that we will continue the consideration on the Prevention of Terrorism Bill at about 10 o'clock. We do not know the precise time: it will be displayed on the indicator.
A message was brought from the Commons, That they agree to certain Lords amendment to the Prevention of Terrorism Bill without amendment; they do not insist on a certain other amendment to which the Lords have disagreed; they insist on their disagreement to certain other Lords amendments but have made amendments to the words so restored to the Bill to which they desire the agreement of the Lords; they insist on their disagreement to certain other Lords amendments but have made amendments in lieu thereof to which they desire the agreement of the Lords; and they insist on certain other amendments to which the Lords have disagreed and disagree to the remaining Lords amendments for which they assign a reason.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton rose to move, That this House do not insist on its disagreement with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 1A and 1B to Lords Amendment No. 1; do not insist on its Amendments Nos. 37Q to 37T in lieu of Lords Amendment No. 8 to which the Commons have disagreed; do not insist on their insistence on Lords Amendments Nos. 12, 13, 15, 17, 22, 28 and 37 in respect of which the Commons have insisted on their disagreement and do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 37A to 37O in lieu of those Lords Amendments; and do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 17H to 17M to the words restored to the Bill by the Commons insistence on their disagreement to Lords Amendment No. 17.
The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, the provisions are back; we have to consider them again. The Government have taken the view that we should take the advice of the security services on what the right approach should be. We have considered the advice that we have received and we have accepted it.
The continuing disagreement between the Commons and the Lords is against the following background. Very significant changes have been made to the Bill as a result of the provisions of this House. I draw attention to the following changes that have been made: pre-judicial scrutiny before orders are made; much clearer rules provisions; explicit provisions for certification that prosecution is not possible; and a review clause. We have moved as a Government and we have moved significantly. But we as a Government believe that our prime job is to protect our people against terrorism.
We have put this to both Houses of Parliament. The Commons have take their decision. The safety of the nation has been at the forefront of all of our concerns about the Bill. We have listened and we have made concessions. But now we have arrived at a time when a decision has to be made.
Our approach, as I have said, has been guided by the advice we have received from the security services and from the police. We need the Bill to protect us now. We do so in the context of the Law Lords' judgment. The principle on which the majority of this House is agreed is the need for control orders.
Of course it is right that Parliament should have scrutiny of this legislation through annual review, but not through a clause that has the effect of destroying the Bill after a period of time in the face of an immediate threat. Of course the protection of civil liberties is the responsibility of any government, and we accept that responsibility.
Lord Goodhart: My Lords, as the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor has got on to the subject
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here of the sunset clause, can he explain why on earth it should not be possible for the Government, if they are re-elected, to come back in due time, before 30 March next year, with a new Bill that would be effective to impose control orders and would have been properly debated?
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, it would not be impossible for the Government to do that. But the critical point is that we have made a whole range of very significant concessions on the basis of the detail of this. The idea that an artificial deadline imposed by this House is the right way to deal with the fight against terrorism iswith the greatest respect to every Member of the House, who I have absolutely no doubt has at heart the safety of the nationwrong. The right way to deal with it is to put before both Houses of Parliament our proposal on fighting terrorism, to listen to what is said about how it may best be amended and then to amend it, which is what we have done. Ultimately, we do need to make decisions as a government about what is the best way to fight terrorism. Of course, each House must put before us its individual views about the best way to do it, but ultimately we must put a proposal, we must address the Commons about it, and it must make a decision on it.
A time has come when our approach to terrorism requires clear leadership. The Government are providing it; and the Commons have backed the approach that the Government are taking. We cannot go on in this state of indecision. This House may disagree, and it disagrees plainly, in good faith, and on the basis of its judgment. Ultimately, our system requires a decision. There is no issue more important on which a decision is required than the fight against terrorism. Our constitution requires that that decision is left to those in the Commons. They have listened to what we have said; we have made amendments on the basis of it, but ultimately, the decision is theirs; and if we do not accept that the decision is theirs, there is no leadership. As a constitution, we accept the primacy of those in the Commons. Yes, you can disagree with them, and yes, you can ask them to listen again, but you must ultimately accept that the Commons is the prime House in our Parliament. It is difficult, but that is what is required. I beg to move.
Moved, That this House do not insist on its disagreement with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 1A and 1B to Lords Amendment No. 1; do not insist on its Amendments Nos. 37Q to 37T in lieu of Lords Amendment No. 8 to which the Commons have disagreed; do not insist on their insistence on Lords Amendments Nos. 12, 13, 15, 17, 22, 28 and 37 in respect of which the Commons have insisted on their disagreement and do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 37A to 37O in lieu of those Lords Amendments; and do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 17H to 17M to the words restored
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to the Bill by the Commons insistence on their disagreement to Lords Amendment No. 17.(Lord Falconer of Thoroton.)
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