|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Lord Drayson: My Lords, my noble friend makes a good point in that manned space exploration is extraordinarily expensive but it provides extraordinary benefits too, as has been very thoroughly reviewed over the past few days on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landings. I agree with my noble friend that the current policy of the UK Government of concentrating our investment in areas of scientific strength around robotics and satellites is appropriate and will continue.
Lord Tordoff: My Lords, as a former member of your Lordships' Science and Technology Committee which undertook a study into space technology many years ago, I ask the Minister whether he agrees that there are dangers in sending people into space. It may be glamorous but it can be very polluting. The decision of your Lordships' Select Committee was that unmanned space experiments were far more valuable than sending people into space.
Lord Drayson: My Lords, I disagree with the noble Lord in that I believe that the benefits which accrue to mankind from manned space exploration outweigh the potential drawbacks. I recognise the risks-they are taken very seriously-but I believe that the way in which the world has remembered what happened 40 years ago yesterday brings into focus the real importance to the human race in continuing exploration into space. I hope that we participate fully in the plans regarding landing a man on Mars.
Lord Barnett: My Lords, I am somewhat disturbed by some of the answers to these questions. Has the Treasury, together with my noble friend, been looking at the prospects of expenditure with a view to the priorities of other departments over the next few years?
Lord Drayson: My Lords, as my noble friend is well aware, the Treasury looks at everything. I can reassure him that the Treasury has looked very carefully at the science budget. However, I repeat what I said in one of my earlier answers: we believe that the investment that we are making at the moment, some £260 million per year, is the appropriate level of investment. That makes us the fourth largest contributor to the European space programme. We have no intention to increase that investment, but we believe that we can go further in leveraging for the UK returns from that investment. Getting our first British astronaut into the European programme and having the first investment by ESA into the United Kingdom at Harwell in Oxfordshire are two signs that we are achieving that aim.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): My Lords, before I answer the right reverend Prelate's Question, perhaps I may on behalf of the Leader of the House and the whole
21 July 2009 : Column 1522
Phil Wheatley, director-general of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) represents the prison and probation services on the National Criminal Justice Board. He has 40 years' experience working with and managing offenders.
The Lord Bishop of Liverpool: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his Answer and recognise the experience and expertise of the director-general of NOMS. Is the Minister aware of the unease among the 22,000 people in the probation service that there is no one with present probation service experience on the National Criminal Justice Board who is able to feed into strategic policy at a national level? In the light of recent tragedies involving the probation service, will the Government be prepared to think again about how the National Criminal Justice Board is made up?
Lord Bach: My Lords, Ministers have only recently taken the decision to slim down membership of the NCJB in order to facilitate discussions. That body is a high-level forum in which senior members of the three criminal justice departments and criminal justice agency heads come together. Phil Wheatley is the head of the new NOMS agency, which brings together the probation and prison services. He is responsible for representing the agency on the NCJB, a task he performs with great expertise.
Baroness Linklater of Butterstone: My Lords, can the Minister explain, however, why the post of director of the National Probation Service was abolished? I am well aware of the expertise of Phil Wheatley, but, as the right reverend Prelate just said, a very important voice has been removed from the hierarchy of NOMS. After all, one of the chief aims of the board is to remove barriers to joint working. This seems to be going right against that, given that the probation service represents one of the most important agencies in the field.
Lord Bach: My Lords, of course it represents a very important agency. The noble Baroness knows that the new arrangements for NOMS in no way discount the probation service. The NOMS agency is not a merger of the probation and prison services; nor is it a prison service takeover of probation services; nor vice versa. Both remain as individual delivery services with their different governance and employment structures. Indeed, on local criminal justice boards, both probation and prison are represented.
Lord Elton: My Lords, the very differences that the noble Lord points out point, I would have thought, to the necessity of having a direct voice from the probation service on the board, which has the duty of directing strategic resources and achieving objectives. There are 42 probation boards employing 20,000 people in that work. Surely it is necessary to have someone with direct and current experience of that work to help the board in coming to its vital decisions.
Lord Bach: My Lords, the truth is that the probation service is excellently represented on the national body by the director-general of NOMS, who is a most experienced person in the field. Every criminal justice agency has but one representative on this slimmed-down board. For example, ACPO and the Metropolitan Police have one representative, and the chief executive of the Legal Services Commission has one representative, as does the chief executive of Her Majesty's Courts Service. It is the same with NOMS.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, has the Minister seen the report just issued by the Commission on English Prisons Today, a distinguished group chaired by Cherie Booth QC? It suggests that there is now a considerable case for abolishing NOMS. Those of us who fought the construction of NOMS less than three years ago, and who were not persuaded then, are very struck by the language in the commission's report, which suggests that the creation of NOMS has been a mistake in many ways.
Lord Bach: My Lords, I have not had the benefit of seeing the report, but we believe that arrangements to set up NOMS have so far proved to be a success. It is early days as it has run only since April 2009. It is likely to save £10 million this year, but that is not its purpose. The purpose of NOMS is to make sure that these two very closely related services, probation and prison, which both deal with the management of offenders, should work more closely together.
Lord Ramsbotham: My Lords, under the Criminal Justice Liaison Committee, which preceded the board, prisons and the probation service were both represented because the probation service worked with courts and the police and the prisons did not and do not. Mr Wheatley has prison experience; he does not have probation experience. Is it not sensible to include both parts of the criminal justice system and the management of offenders system because they have different things to bring to the table?
Lord Bach: My Lords, at the risk of repeating myself, Mr Wheatley is the director-general of the National Offender Management Service, which is responsible for both probation and prisons. He may not have been a probation officer, but he has huge experience of dealing with offenders, working with them and managing them. He represents the probation element extremely well on that board, and I repeat that on the 42 local boards, there are representatives of both probation and prisons.
The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): My Lords, first, I am sure that the whole House will wish to join me in offering sincere condolences to the family and friends of Rifleman Aminiasi Toge of 2nd Battalion The Rifles and Corporal Joseph Etchells of 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, who were killed on operations in Afghanistan this week. I am sure that the whole House will also wish to put on record our respect for Henry Allingham, who died on Saturday aged 113.
Before commenting to the media on defence issues, all service personnel are required to seek appropriate authorisation. This is to ensure that national and operational security are upheld and that standards of political impartiality and public accountability are met. A defence instruction and notice and the relevant Queen's Regulations reflect this. We encourage our service personnel to talk and write about what they do so that the role and achievements of the Armed Forces and MoD can be better understood.
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: My Lords, I add my tribute to the fallen and to Henry Allingham. I am deeply grateful to my noble friend for her reply. Would she agree that in this media-dominated age, it is even more important than ever to maintain a united front in dealing with ruthless and cunning enemies such as the Taliban and al-Qaeda? Was she therefore surprised at the public comments of Sir Richard Dannatt and Sir Jock Stirrup, which threaten to undermine our effort in Afghanistan and give succour to the enemy? Could my noble friend consider gently reminding those gentlemen of the importance of loyalty, particularly when we are engaged in a very difficult war where victory is essential for the future safety of this country?
Baroness Taylor of Bolton: My Lords, I agree that we live in a media-dominated age, and I am not sure that that always serves us well. I remind my noble friend of the statement that CGS General Dannatt made on Saturday:
"There have been a number of assertions made in recent paper and broadcast coverage that have misrepresented my actions and motives in relation to both my personal, and the MoD's, ongoing dialogue with Downing Street ... I have therefore decided, given the over-politicised and often misinformed nature of this coverage, to withdraw from my planned appearance on",
It is difficult for people to say what they are thinking in the present media climate, but I agree with my noble friend that we should all-and I mean all-be supporting our Armed Forces in Afghanistan because they are there. If we were not in Afghanistan, the streets of this country would be a lot less safe.
Lord Bramall: My Lords, I add my tribute to the soldiers who have lost their lives, many of them recently having been in my own regiment. Does the Minister not agree that what Parliament and the public expect of their military leaders is professional competence, honesty, integrity and a concern for their men? Would she not accept that, if a senior military officer is asked a straight question on a purely military matter, he is entitled to give-even publicly-a straight, honest, wholly professional answer that yes, in the current war situation, more of this or that is required if the overall
21 July 2009 : Column 1525
Baroness Taylor of Bolton: My Lords, the noble and gallant Lord is emphasising what General Dannatt said about overpoliticisation, misconstruction and being misinformed by the reporting in the press. General Dannatt was returning from a normal visit to operations and was reinforcing the priorities that we have heard from commanders on the ground-the priorities to which we are responding, as the Prime Minister pointed out in his Statement in April, when he emphasised the need to do more to counter the increasing threat of IEDs.
Lord Lee of Trafford: My Lords, I first enjoin these Benches in the earlier tribute. In May, I asked the noble Baroness to tell the House when the Prime Minister had last officially met the service chiefs. She replied, "September last year"-seven months previously. Given the degree of historical disinterest that the Prime Minister has taken in our Armed Forces and the situation in Afghanistan, while it may be very sad that the service chiefs have spoken out as they have done, does she really expect them to behave like Trappist monks given the seriousness of the situation?
Baroness Taylor of Bolton: My Lords, I very much regret the unusual tone of the noble Lord, Lord Lee, in asking his question. The Prime Minister, by his visits to Afghanistan and the discussions and meetings that he has had, has shown a great deal of interest and has spent a great deal of time worrying about this problem. In answer to the question in May, I pointed out the other informal meetings that the Prime Minister had had and I totally reject the fact that he is disinterested. I mentioned the Statement that he made in April, when he said that there would be increased attention to IEDs and that that was to be supplemented by increased spending from the Treasury. That shows a very direct commitment and a great awareness of the significant threat that our Armed Forces face.
Bill Main Page
Copy of the Bill
7th Report from the Delegated Powers Committee
8th Report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights
16th Report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights
(a) if paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 to the European Communities Act 1972 (c. 68) applies to the instrument, sub-paragraph (2) of that paragraph has effect as if it required a draft of the instrument to be approved by resolution of each House of Parliament or, in the case of an instrument made by the Scottish Ministers, of the Scottish Parliament;
(b) if section 59(3) of the Government of Wales Act 2006 (c. 32) applies to the instrument, that provision has effect as if it required a draft of the instrument to be approved by resolution of the National Assembly for Wales.
(3) Where a statutory rule to which paragraph 3 of Schedule 2 to the European Communities Act 1972 (c. 68) applies includes provision by virtue of subsection (1), that paragraph has effect as if it required a draft of the rule to be approved by resolution of the Northern Ireland Assembly."
Lord Tunnicliffe: Government Amendment 191AA responds to a recommendation of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee in its consideration of the Bill. The committee recommended that this power should be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure in the event that new criminal offences with penalties in excess of the limitations set out in the European Communities Act 1972 are introduced using the powers in Clause 127. The clause disapplies those limitations as regards the exercise of its powers for the purposes of implementing the services and e-commerce directives. We are happy to accept the committee's recommendation and amend Clause 127 accordingly. I beg to move.
Lord Thomas of Gresford: Schedule 15 to the Bill amends domestic legislation pertaining to the consideration of criminal convictions pre-trial, or bail, during trial, which is to say related to character, and post-conviction-the sentencing function of the court-by imposing a mandatory requirement on a tribunal to include convictions from other member states in this consideration. The purpose of the amendments is to transpose into UK law the Council framework decision of 24 July 2008 on taking account of convictions in the member states of the European Union in the course of new criminal proceedings.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|