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Lord Grocott: My Lords, it may help the House if I repeat what I said a few hours ago. It takes a minimum of four hours to go through the next round, for the papers to be dealt with and sent to the other end. Those in the other place will then make their decision and the Bill will return to this House. We shall not resume before 10.30 a.m. It will not be sooner than 10.30, but if it is later, messages will be put on the annunciator.
A message was brought from the Commons, That they propose certain amendments in lieu to the Prevention of Terrorism Bill, to which they desire the agreement of your Lordships; they do not insist on certain amendments in lieu disagreed to by your Lordships; they insist on certain of their amendments in lieu; they insist on certain of their amendments to Lords amendments disagreed to by your Lordships; they insist on their disagreement to certain other Lords amendments and Lords amendments in lieu; they insist on certain other amendments to words to be restored to the Bill.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton rose to move, Motion A, 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; do not insist on its 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 37C and 37E to 37O in lieu of those Lords amendments; do not insist on its disagreement 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; and do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 37X in lieu.
The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, we meet again, over 24 hours after this sitting in this House started. Before I say anything else, may I join the whole House in thanking the staff and officers of this House for the fantastic service that we have received in what has been a very interesting but difficult 24 hours?
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The debate on the issues that remain in play appears to have moved in two respects. The Conservatives have indicated that they are no longer holding out for a Privy Counsellor committee and are instead content with an independent reviewer. The Liberal Democrats are content with a reference to the chief officer of police rather than the DPP.
So, the burden of proof and the sunset clause remain in issue. That is after a series of concessions that have rightly been made to this House throughout the passage of the Bill. A judge has been put in at the beginning of the process. The case has to be considered in detail inter partes within seven days. A requirement has been put in to ensure that there is an independent reviewer's report and that it will be available in good time for an annual review. There is now a requirement on the face of the Bill to confirm that prosecution is not possible. There are arrangements for annual renewal. There is a new procedure to confirm the rules of court. There are steps to ensure an even wider role for the independent reviewer. Detail of the rules has been changed to ensure that exculpatory material must be made available in every case.
These are good, solid concessions, which improve the Bill. It has been a good result for this House. Our views are being respected and given effect to. But our ability to change legislation brings with it responsibility. That responsibility is from the unelected House to the other place. Whatever our views, ultimately we have to bow to the other place. We bow, believing this House to be right because that is what the majority voted for at an earlier stage in the process, but we bow nevertheless, because of the primacy of the Commons. Whatever we say, we cannot seek to arrogate to ourselves the final decisionfor example, because we believe, as the noble Earl, Lord Onslow, says, that the Members in another place are simply "temporary politicians" or because, as the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, said yesterday, the electoral system does not justify us giving the respect that we should to the other place.
There is no graver issue on which the responsibility of this House should be demonstrated than anti-terrorism. We have heard the arguments again and again about the sunset clause. I believe that the majority of both Houses of Parliament believe that control orders are necessary. Both Front Benches say so. Almost everybody who has intervened in the debate here takes that view. The security services believe that the threat will continue for the foreseeable future. We cannot afford to be without terrorist legislation. So we cannot accept the sunset clause; nor should we. That is the wrong thing to do. We have thought about this carefully and we have done so each time the Lords has sent the matter back to the Commons.
Let me read to the House the words of a former Home Secretarynot a Labour Home Secretary and not a Home Secretary long deceased but a Home Secretary
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who, I am happy to say, is here with us this very morning. In the Queen's Speech debate in November 1989, the noble Lord, Lord Waddington, said:
"There is one acid test of a commitment to rights and the responsibilities that go with them. That is the determination of a Government to protect the citizen's right to safety from a terrorist attack".
"I know that those on the Opposition Front Bench share my revulsion for the terrorist and his works, but for so long as their determination to safeguard the citizens turns on mere words, their expressions of revulsion are valueless".[Official Report, Commons, 23/11/89; col. 255.]
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