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I would not have taken the exceptional step of telling your Lordships of the intention to bring this back under the Parliament Act if this were voted down today but for the extraordinary step that is proposed—to vote this down on Second Reading. I did this so that it is absolutely clear that the opportunity to amend or improve this Bill, which I had thought the parties opposite had been asking for each time that they stopped us proceeding—saying, “Let’s go through this on a Bill”—will be denied to the whole House.

I can tell the noble Lord behind me that I am not opposed to assessors as a matter of principle; if that is what the House wants, we can look at it. The problem is that if the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, is passed then we will not even be able to consider it, but if the Bill comes back then it will come back as it stands.

Lord Kingsland: My Lords, that is not my understanding of the Government’s position at all. Before this Bill was introduced, we had the right under Section 43 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 to receive in the form of a draft affirmative order and to vote on it. The noble and learned Lord knew full well, two or three months before the tabling of the order was envisaged, that the House was likely to vote against it. He therefore changed tack and decided to introduce primary legislation, knowing that one consequence of doing so—if the House did not agree with the contents of that legislation—would be Parliament Act procedures. His decision to do that had nothing whatever to do with any expressed desire by the Opposition of preferring primary legislation because, unlike an order, they could amend it.

Lord Goldsmith: I am sorry, my Lords, but I had not wanted to get into the history of all of this. I had thought and hoped that we were here to look at the substance of the proposals. The fact is that a Motion was tabled, but not two or three months before the resolution came to the House. After it had been passed in another place, it became apparent that the resolution would not be accepted in this House—I entirely agree and was perfectly open about that—and a resolution was tabled, or was about to be, I believe by the noble Lord, making it clear that the Opposition wanted to debate this through the course of primary legislation. Indeed, they put down amendments to the Fraud Bill.

I had thought, from the fuss that there was about how much consultation there had been and the demands for Motions that the parties opposite wanted to discuss the possibility of changes. Yet that is not possible if this Bill is voted down today. I am sorry, but I find the explanation for taking that view and going against the conventions of this House extraordinary.

The noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, also said at one stage that there was no point in having amendments because the Government had made it clear in the Commons that it did not like the amendments that

20 Mar 2007 : Column 1200

were tabled then. First, that is not right because amendments were accepted following suggestions put forward by the Government. Secondly, if that is a new Opposition policy—that if we are grumpy enough in the other place, amendments will not be tabled in this place—I suspect that my noble friend the Chief Whip will be absolutely delighted.

Lord Kingsland: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, raised a similar matter to that raised by the noble and learned Lord the Attorney-General. There is a simple logic behind tabling the amendment at Second Reading, as we have done today. If we went on to Committee, we would table “do not stand part” amendments to every single clause in the Bill. What is the point of doing that? Indeed, I wonder whether it would be procedurally acceptable if we sought to do it. The decision to amend the Second Reading flows ineluctably from the position that we would have taken in Committee.

Lord Goldsmith: My Lords, our very good recent debates on the future of this House have focused on one aspect: that this is a revising Chamber. This amendment will stop us from revising this Bill. I want to conclude—

Lord Clinton-Davis: My Lords, before my noble friend does that, does he agree that if the Opposition were to succeed tonight, this approach would apply to every bit of legislation of which they disapprove?

Lord Goldsmith: My Lords, the logic of my noble friend’s position is for everyone to judge. This Bill is not an attack on the jury system and repeating the contrary proposition, however often, does not make it true. It is ultimately about justice and about ensuring that those who are responsible for fraud on the grander scale can be called to account as effectually as those charged with more everyday offences.

We want the sharks to be caught and not just the minnows, to take the analogy that was used behind me. Many distinguished people and senior judicial figures over the years have proposed non-jury trial as a solution to this particular problem—and Parliament enacted it in 2003. Lord Justice Auld’s dictum—that our present position puts justice at risk—has been referred to several times. That is the basis on which this Bill is put forward, and I commend this Bill to the House.

7.06 pm

Lord Kingsland: My Lords, I shall be relatively telegraphic. First, in my submission the Government have not made out a case for the measure. From what the Government wish to do in procedures for fraud trials run by a single judge, we know that they will not be any shorter; indeed, it is highly likely that they will be longer. I do not think that that will give the public any more confidence in non-jury trial than they have in some of the existing trials. So, they will not be shorter.

20 Mar 2007 : Column 1201

Secondly, in the mind of the Government there is clearly no problem about complexity. The Solicitor-General, in another place, said in terms that the problem was not complexity but the length of time that the trial took and the burden which that placed on the jury. That may well be true; but that problem applies to all long and complicated trials, not just fraud trials, which is why some of your Lordships raise question marks about the underlying intentions of the Government with respect to jury trial. If the logic behind this measure is that long and complex trials are burdensome to juries, it is easily extended to all such trials. That may not be the intention of the noble and learned Lord the Attorney-General but it is the logic of his argument.

It would be extremely easy for a future Government—or, dare I say it, a future noble and learned Lord, a future Attorney-General—to apply that logic to a whole other range of criminal trials. The noble and learned Lord shakes his head now, and I am sure that his intentions are sound; but the logic is clear.

Lord Goldsmith: My Lords, the noble Lord is simply failing to take account of what I said. It is not just the length and complexity but the particular circumstances of serious, complex fraud cases that involve considerations, financial instruments and all the rest that is outside the normal ken of most of us that adds an element of complexity that is not present in other cases.

Lord Kingsland: Well then, my Lords, the Government are changing their position, since throughout the procedures in another place they made it clear that complexity was not an issue.

There is a wider dimension to this case, which is that we are not just talking about a procedure in the context of a particular offence. We are talking about jury trial in general. If there are two principles that infuse the liberties of the citizen, they are the principle of habeas corpus and the principle of jury trial. They are both under threat from this Government. Happily, we have managed to prevent the Government from extending the time in which someone can spend in detention without charge to 90 days; but I suspect that very soon we will have another battle on our hands.

We now also have a battle over jury trial—an equally important component of our liberties. The sooner we confront it, the better. I wish to seek the opinion of the House.

7.10 pm

On Question, Whether the said amendment shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 216; Not-Contents, 143.

Division No. 1


Addington, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Arran, E.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.

20 Mar 2007 : Column 1202

Bell, L.
Biffen, L.
Bledisloe, V.
Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury, B.
Bradshaw, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Broers, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Bruce-Lockhart, L.
Burnett, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Cameron of Dillington, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Cathcart, E.
Cavendish of Furness, L.
Chidgey, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Cobbold, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller]
Cotter, L.
Courtown, E.
Cox, B.
Craigavon, V.
Crickhowell, L.
Cumberlege, B.
De Mauley, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
D'Souza, B.
Dundee, E.
Dykes, L.
Eccles, V.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elles, B.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Falkland, V.
Falkner of Margravine, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Fowler, L.
Freeman, L.
Fritchie, B.
Garden, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Garel-Jones, L.
Geddes, L.
Glasgow, E.
Glenarthur, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goschen, V.
Griffiths of Fforestfach, L.
Hamilton of Epsom, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanham, B.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hooper, B.
Howard of Rising, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Hurd of Westwell, L.
Inglewood, L.
James of Blackheath, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jones of Cheltenham, L.
Jopling, L.
Kilclooney, L.
Kimball, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kirkwood of Kirkhope, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Laing of Dunphail, L.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Leach of Fairford, L.
Lee of Trafford, L.
Lindsay, E.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lloyd of Berwick, L.
Lucas, L.
Luce, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
Lyell of Markyate, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Maginnis of Drumglass, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Mancroft, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marland, L.
Marlesford, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mawhinney, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Montrose, D.
Morris of Bolton, B.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Naseby, L.
Neill of Bladen, L.
Neuberger, B.
Newby, L.
Noakes, B.
Northesk, E.
Northover, B.
Norton of Louth, L.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Palmer, L.
Palumbo, L.
Patel of Bradford, L.
Patten, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Quinton, L.
Ramsbotham, L.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Reay, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rees, L.
Rennard, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Roberts of Llandudno, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogan, L.
Roper, L.
Rowe-Beddoe, L.
Rowlands, L.

20 Mar 2007 : Column 1203

Russell-Johnston, L.
Saatchi, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandberg, L.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Selkirk of Douglas, L.
Selsdon, L.
Sharples, B.
Sheikh, L.
Shephard of Northwold, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L. [Teller]
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Southwell and Nottingham, Bp.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Steinberg, L.
Stern, B.
Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Taylor of Holbeach, L.
Teverson, L.
Thatcher, B.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomas of Winchester, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trenchard, V.
Trumpington, B.
Tugendhat, L.
Tyler, L.
Ullswater, V.
Vallance of Tummel, L.
Verma, B.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wakeham, L.
Walker of Worcester, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Walpole, L.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Windlesham, L.
York, Abp.


Acton, L.
Adams of Craigielea, B.
Adonis, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B. [Lord President.]
Anderson of Swansea, L.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Bilston, L.
Birt, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blood, B.
Boyd of Duncansby, L.
Bradley, L.
Bragg, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter of Coles, L.
Chorley, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
Crisp, L.
Cunningham of Felling, L.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Desai, L.
Drayson, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Foulkes of Cumnock, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Brookwood, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harrison, L.
Hart of Chilton, L.
Haskel, L.
Haworth, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollick, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howarth of Newport, L.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hylton, L.
Joffe, L.
Jones, L.
Judd, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Leitch, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Low of Dalston, L.
McDonagh, B.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.

20 Mar 2007 : Column 1204

Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Maxton, L.
Monson, L.
Moonie, L.
Morgan of Drefelin, B.
Morris of Yardley, B.
O'Neill of Clackmannan, L.
Patel, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Pendry, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prosser, B.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Quin, B.
Radice, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rooker, L.
Rosser, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
St. John of Bletso, L.
Sandwich, E.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Finsbury, L.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Soley, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Bolton, B.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Triesman, L.
Truscott, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Varley, L.
Wall of New Barnet, B.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Whitaker, B.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

Parliament (Joint Departments) Bill [HL]

7.25 pm

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.


Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 [Exercise of functions of the Corporate Officers]:

Lord Cope of Berkeley moved Amendment No. 1:

The noble Lord said: I have observed that there is a difference between the arrangements in the two Houses. Clause 2(3) deals with the arrangements for deciding which functions should be exercised as joint functions under the mechanism to be set up by this Bill. We have been told that the proposal is for only computers and information technology to be jointly managed, but the Bill is deliberately worded much wider than that. It would allow other functions to be made joint, subject to this subsection.

It was clear at Second Reading that there is some favour for the idea that other functions should be made joint; for example, the Library, the refreshment department and potentially other things. In your Lordships’ House, changes in the functions can be made only with the approval of the whole House. But in another place changes can be made with simply the approval of the Commission. In other words, the

20 Mar 2007 : Column 1205

Government propose that this House is to be in this respect the more democratic House; that is, trust the Peers, but do not trust the people’s elected representatives. Some might say that that is a very proper attitude, but it is odd given that last week we were told that we are not democratic enough—illegitimate, in fact. However, we seem to be able to look after our own affairs collectively and not be subjected, as the Bill proposes for another place, to an elected dictatorship. Why are the two Houses being treated differently? I beg to move.

Lord Norton of Louth: I support my noble friend’s amendment, which I touched on at Second Reading. On the face of it, an asymmetrical relationship between the mechanisms will be adopted for the two Houses. It may be that there are legitimate reasons for that. As I mentioned at Second Reading, it may be a matter for the other House to determine its own procedures, but it would be interesting to tease out the reasoning, so that it is on the record.

Baroness Amos: I think that it would be helpful to clarify that this is not a government Bill. I am taking the Bill through this House because there is no mechanism for something which affects Parliament to be brought forward except through the Government. I confirm that this is not a government Bill, it is a parliamentary Bill. I recognise that this is an issue that has concerned the noble Lord, Lord Cope, and the noble Lord, Lord Norton of Louth, who raised this when we discussed the Bill at Second Reading. There are different governance arrangements between the two Houses. Clause 2 provides that in exercising certain functions under the Bill, the Corporate Officer of the House of Lords may act only in accordance with recommendations made by the House Committee of the House of Lords and approved by this House. That is the way that we do business. The Corporate Officers are the Clerks of the two Houses.

The noble Lord, Lord Cope, suggested that the draft Bill should be amended to include the Floor of the House requirement. We were happy to agree that and the Bill was amended prior to its introduction. This amendment would require a decision on the Floor of the House in another place. It would be highly unusual for this House to amend a Bill in this way, given that it touches on a matter of internal House of Commons procedure. I hope, therefore, that having had the opportunity to raise the issue and my having explained that there are different governance arrangements between the two Houses, the noble Lord, Lord Cope, will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

7.30 pm

Lord Cope of Berkeley: I must first apologise if I appeared to be treating the Lord President as though she were speaking for the Government. I realise that she is actually speaking as Leader of the House. As far as the amendment is concerned, the Leader of the House is quite right to say that, in the end, it is for another place to decide how they wish to do things. Having drawn attention to the matter, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

20 Mar 2007 : Column 1206

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 2 agreed to.

Lord Cope of Berkeley moved Amendment No. 2:

The noble Lord said: The amendment provides for an annual report. It stems from the idea that these joint departments are to be, in effect, self-standing joint subsidiaries of the two Houses. I think it would be wise to ensure that the affairs of such departments are not solely to be judged by being disentangled from the consolidated reports and accounts of the two Houses, but seen first separately as individual departments.

When I look at the consolidated accounts of a great company, I like to be able to unravel what has happened in the various subsidiaries of that company. That is all the more important in the case of a subsidiary jointly owned by two different companies. That is the analogy here.

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