Clause 127

Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:45 pm ar 29 Tachwedd 2007.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Extent

Amendments made: No. 217, in clause 127, page 84, line 15, after ‘follows’ insert

‘and to any other provision of this Act’.

No. 310, in clause 127, page 84, line 15, at end insert—

‘(1A) Subsection (1) does not apply to Part 4, the following provisions of which extend to England and Wales only—

(a) paragraphs 1 to 5, 8 and 9 of Schedule 7 and sections 30 to 34, so far as relating to complaints about matters falling within any of paragraphs 1 to 5 of that Schedule;

(b) paragraphs 1 to 4 of Schedule 8 and sections 35 and 36, so far as relating to deaths falling within any of those paragraphs;

(c) section 37(3)(a) to (f);

(d) sections 37(apart from subsection (3)(a) to (h)) and 38, so far as relating to requests by the Secretary of State which specify matters which—

(i) relate to events which have (or may have) occurred as mentioned in any of paragraphs (a) to (f) of section 37(3); or

(ii) the Secretary of State considers are (or may be) linked to such events;

(e) sections 39 to 41, so far as relating to investigations of complaints, deaths or requests mentioned in paragraph (a), (b) or (d) above;

(f) sections 43 and 47, so far as relating to complaints mentioned in paragraph (a) above or investigations of deaths or requests mentioned in paragraph (b) or (d) above.’.

No. 311, in clause 127, page 84, line 18, leave out paragraph (a) and insert—

‘(a) sections 29, 37(3)(g) and (h), 42, 44 to 46, 48 (subject to subsection (5)), 49 to 52 and Schedule 10;

(aa) paragraphs 6 and 7 of Schedule 7 and sections 30 to 34, so far as relating to complaints about matters falling within either of those paragraphs;

(ab) paragraphs 4 to 6 of Schedule 8 and sections 35 and 36, so far as relating to deaths falling within any of those paragraphs;

(ac) sections 37 (apart from subsection (3)(a) to (h)) and 38, so far as relating to requests by the Secretary of State which specify matters which—

(i) relate to events which have (or may have) occurred as mentioned in paragraph (g) or (h) of section 37(3); or

(ii) the Secretary of State considers are (or may be) linked to such events;

(ad) sections 39 to 41, so far as relating to investigations of complaints, deaths or requests mentioned in paragraph (aa), (ab) or (ac) above;

(ae) sections 43 and 47, so far as relating to complaints mentioned in paragraph (aa) above or investigations of deaths or requests mentioned in paragraph (ab) or (ac) above.’.

No. 312, in clause 127, page 84, line 35, leave out paragraph (c).

No. 367, in clause 127, page 84, line 36, at end insert—

‘( ) section (Northern Ireland Commissioner for Prison Complaints: disclosure of information etc);’.

No. 218, in clause 127, page 84, line 37, leave out paragraph (d) and insert—

‘(d) sections 64 to (Special rules relating to providers of information society services) and Schedule (Special rules relating to providers of information society services);’.

No. 275, in clause 127, page 84, line 37, at end insert—

‘( ) section 79(6) and (7) (so far as relating to any provision of Part 3 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 which extends to Northern Ireland);

( ) sections (Transfer of certificates to central authority for Scotland), 80 and 81 and Schedules (Penalties suitable for enforcement in England and Wales or Northern Ireland) and 16;’.

No. 219, in clause 127, page 84, line 38, leave out paragraph (e).

No. 368, in clause 127, page 84, line 40, leave out paragraph (a) and insert—

‘(a) sections (Appointment etc. of Northern Ireland Commissioner for Prison Complaints) to (Northern Ireland Commissioner for Prison Complaints: power to confer new functions) (except section (Northern Ireland Commissioner for Prison Complaints: disclosure of information etc.)) and Schedules (The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Prison Complaints), (The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Prison Complaints: complaints remit), (The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Prison Complaints: deaths remit) and (The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Prison Complaints: controlling authorities);’.—[Maria Eagle.]

Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton Ceidwadwyr, Macclesfield

At this stage, I indicate to the Committee that I am minded to have a break. I have been sitting in this Chair for nigh on three hours without any movement, except up and down. I feel the need for a break of 20 minutes. It can come now or a little later. I am happy to take advice from the hon. and learned Member for Harborough.

Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier Shadow Minister (Justice)

There is only a certain amount of advice that I can give you, Sir Nicholas. I have a suspicion from looking at the annunciator screen that we are moving towards a vote on the Floor of the House. There is an hour and a half’s business downstairs and they are likely to have a Division at 4.26 pm. I am all for double breaks if—I was going to say your lordship, but I am in the wrong forum. I am either in the wrong room or I am anticipating myself. If you want the break and the vote to coincide, that is fine by us, Sir Nicholas, but if you want to break now, that is equally fine.

Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton Ceidwadwyr, Macclesfield

I am very happy with that. That is why I allowed input. If that is the case and a Division takes place, I will extend the suspension to half an hour. I will suffer in the Chair for a further 26 minutes.

Photo of Charles Walker Charles Walker Ceidwadwyr, Broxbourne

We will suffer with you, Sir Nicholas.

Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton Ceidwadwyr, Macclesfield

I am grateful for that. I am sure that we will continue to make excellent progress until 26 minutes past the hour.

Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier Shadow Minister (Justice)

I beg to move amendment No. 18, in clause 127, page 84, line 40, at end insert—

‘(aa) section [Amendment of the Criminal Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1967];’.

Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton Ceidwadwyr, Macclesfield

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: New clause 2—Amendment of the Criminal Law Act 1967

‘(1) The Criminal Law Act 1967 (c. 58) is amended as follows.

(2) In section 3 (use of force in making arrest, etc.), after subsection (1), insert—

“(1A) Where a person uses force in the prevention of crime or in the defence of persons or property on another who is in any building or part of a building having entered as a trespasser or is attempting so to enter, that person shall not be guilty of any offence in respect of the use of that force unless—

(a) the degree of force used was grossly disproportionate, and

(b) this was or ought to have been apparent to the person using such force.

(1B) No prosecution shall be brought against a person subject to subsection (1A) without the leave of the Attorney General.

(1C) In this section “building or part of a building” shall have the same meaning as in section 9 of the Theft Act 1968 (c. 60) (burglary).”.’.

New clause 3—Amendment of the Criminal Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1967—

‘(1) The Criminal Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1967 (c. 18 NI)) is amended as follows.

(2) In section 3 (use of force in making arrest, etc.), after subsection (1), insert—

“(1A) Where a person uses force in the prevention of crime or in the defence of persons or property on another who is in any building or part of a building having entered as a trespasser or is attempting so to enter, that person shall not be guilty of any offence in respect of the use of that force unless—

(a) the degree of force used was grossly disproportionate, and

(b) this was or ought to have been apparent to the person using such force.

(1B) No prosecution shall be brought against a person subject to subsection (1A) without the leave of the Attorney General.

(1C) In this section “building or part of a building” shall have the same meaning as in section 9 of the Theft Act (Northern Ireland) 1969 (c. 16 NI)) (burglary).”.’.

Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier Shadow Minister (Justice)

As before, amendment No. 18 is not the central proposal in the group. New clauses 2 and 3 contain the guts of our debate. I can describe the issue via new clause 2 because new clause 3 is in exactly the same terms, only extending the law to Northern Ireland as well as England and Wales, which are covered by new clause 2.

As you will know, Sir Nicholas, self-defence by householders has been an issue of some controversy for the past half dozen years or so. At least three Conservative Back Benchers have introduced private Member’s Bills in this regard. I make no secret of the fact that new clauses 2 and 3 are stolen from the private Member’s Bill introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh). There would be no point in doing otherwise, because everybody knows about it. It is part of the history of this legislation.

I have no doubt that the Minister will be well prepared to deal with the arguments that I shall make. I hope that I am not breaching any confidence, but I want also to place it on the record that the Secretary of State for Justice and his Ministers very kindly hosted a meeting attended by my hon. Friends the Members for Enfield, Southgate and for Arundel and South Downs  (Nick Herbert) and the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome and perhaps others—I do not remember. At any event, we had a meeting at the Department to discuss this question. I know that, following their consideration, the Government intend to table some form of provision on Report or later, but that should not inhibit us from having a brief discussion about the issue now, because we do not often have the chance to do so.

The current law of self-defence is governed by section 3 of the Criminal Law Act 1967, which says:

“A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large.”

In 2005 the Home Office, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Association of Chief Police Officers came to the conclusion that the public perhaps did not fully understand the law of self-defence. ACPO and the CPS then produced a leaflet called “Householders and the use of force against intruders”, which endeavoured to explain the law of self-defence, particularly in relation to householders. It asked and attempted to answer the following questions:

“What is the purpose of this statement? Does the law protect me? What is reasonable force? Do I have to wait to be attacked? What if the intruder dies? What if I chase them as they run off? Will you believe the intruder rather than me? How would the police and CPS handle the investigation and treat me?”

The first time that I ever saw that leaflet was in the Department when I went to the meeting with the Secretary of State and his Ministers and officials. Perhaps I just do not go to the right places to find these leaflets. It seemed to be a sensible leaflet in that it tried to provide some form of reassurance to those who were fearful that they would get into trouble if they hurt someone who invaded their property with a view to committing a crime.

Since then the Secretary of State has said that he wanted to review the issue and that review is ongoing. It will result perhaps in some provision coming forward on Report or in the other place. I hope that I am not breaching a confidence but I think that the Government are considering three options. The first is to do nothing, the second is to clarify the existing law, and the third is to legislate to do something more. I want to try to persuade the Government that the do nothing option is not an option. The clarification option is a possibility so long as the clarification goes beyond what the ACPO-CPS leaflet does and is done in a more public fashion. The third option may be the only way forward in that it creates a degree of publicity about what the Government are doing beyond the simple issuing of guidance and leaflets. Perhaps I am looking for a combination of options two and three.

We are at odds with the Government, as are Back Benchers, over the question of what is the appropriate level of force that a householder can use. There is also a less serious dispute about whether any advance in the law should only cover householders or should also cover people who are defending themselves, others or their property outside a building. I do not think that that dispute between the Government and the Opposition will last; there is clearly a way through that.  When a person is defending himself inside his building, other factors will impinge on his mind. Equally, why should not a person defending himself from an attack on the street have the same protection, or at least as adequate protection, as I seek for a householder?

New clause 2(2)(1A) refers to a person who

“uses force in the prevention of crime or in the defence of persons or property on another who is in any building or part of a building having entered as a trespasser or is attempting so to enter”.

I am not going to go to the cross demanding that the law should be as that proposes and nothing else. If we can devise a form of words or a new level of clarity that covers people in public places as well as in buildings, I would applaud that.

Photo of Sally Keeble Sally Keeble Llafur, Northampton North 4:00, 29 Tachwedd 2007

Will the hon. Gentleman say a bit more about public places? One of the differences is that a person who defend themselves in a public place might put another person at risk, perhaps by hurling a brick at someone. Does he think that the same protection should apply in all circumstances? Should not the person in the public place also have regard for the safety of others in that place?

Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier Shadow Minister (Justice)

Essentially, we are looking at a subjective appreciation of what is going on. Whether a person defends themselves when attacked in their own house late at night when it is dark or out in the street, the court would look at what was going through their mind at the time. I hope that this will not be thought too self-regarding, but I would like to read out a summing-up.

Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier Shadow Minister (Justice)

It is mine. What it says is not original to me, but is borrowed from the Judicial Studies Board’s guidelines. It might help the hon. Member for Northampton, North. It sets out what a jury should consider when dealing with a case of self-defence. This very learned judge said to the jury:

“The law in relation to self defence is that a person who is attacked or believes that he is about to be attacked may use such force as is reasonably necessary to defend himself. If that is the case he is acting in lawful self defence and is entitled to be found not guilty. It is for the prosecution to make you sure that the defendant was not acting in lawful self defence, not for him to prove that he was. A person only acts in lawful self defence if in all the circumstances he believes that it is necessary for him to defend himself and if the amount of force which he uses in doing so is reasonable. So there are two main questions you have to consider: Did the defendant honestly believe or may he honestly have believed that it was necessary to defend himself? You may think it self evident that a person who is the aggressor does not act in self defence and if you are sure that he did not honestly believe it was necessary to defend himself then self defence does not arise in this case and, so long as you find that he assaulted” the victim

“and caused the injuries he sustained, he will be guilty of unlawful wounding. But if you decide that he was or may have been acting in that belief you must consider the second question: Taking the circumstances and the danger as the defendant honestly believed them to be, was the amount of force he used reasonable?

Force used in self defence is unreasonable and unlawful if it is out of all proportion to the nature of the attack, or is in excess of what is really required of the defendant to defend himself. When deciding whether or not the force used by” the defendant

“was reasonable you may want to think about the following: what was the nature of the attack that you find was being made on him by” the victim.

“It is not in dispute that” the victim

“was on his own so there can be no question of” the defendant

“having to repel a larger attack but remember that a person who is defending himself cannot be expected in the heat of the moment to weigh precisely the exact amount of defensive action which is necessary. If you conclude that the defendant did no more that he honestly and instinctively thought was necessary to defend himself you may think that would be strong evidence that the amount of force used by him was reasonable. If you are sure that the force used by the defendant was unreasonable, he cannot have been acting in lawful self defence and he is guilty of unlawful wounding, but if the force used was or may have been reasonable then he is not guilty.”

That related to the stabbing of the victim at a bus stop—a public place—in Clapham Common.

Photo of Sally Keeble Sally Keeble Llafur, Northampton North

The difference between someone in their own home and someone in a public place is that the person in a public place can put other people at risk. This is an intervention, not a speech.

Photo of Sally Keeble Sally Keeble Llafur, Northampton North

Exactly. Does the hon. and learned Gentleman not see the difference between someone at home and someone in a public place whose defensive action and split-second response might involve a risk to other members of the public? I shall think carefully before I delay our proceedings with another intervention.

Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier Shadow Minister (Justice)

I may be entirely wrong, but I like to think that I have set out the principles that a jury must examine when considering whether someone has a defence of self-defence in a given set of circumstances. The assault case in which I was involved happened in a public place, but matters would have applied equally had it happened in a private place. We need not get into the detail about what sort of action the householder or the person attacked in the street takes. Clearly, if someone comes at us with a feather duster and we shoot him dead, that would be a disproportionate response.

Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier Shadow Minister (Justice)

As the Under-Secretary of State for Justice says, such a response would be grossly disproportionate.

We could have an interesting discussion about the matter for some time, but I do not want to delay the proceedings any more than the hon. Member for Northampton, North does. Perhaps she will let me finish my point and she can then respond if she so wishes. However, she has succeeded in making me lose the thread of my argument, which is a considerable achievement.

Although the summing-up that I gave as an example was quite clear, it must be said in complicated language. It is full of double negatives, and language such as “If this or that, if not this or that”. The jury  must think carefully about the issues involved. I accept that, in a sense, that does not matter as it is what juries must do, but the use of “reasonable” can sometimes lead members of the jury astray and to wonder, “Is this what I would have done? Is this what a reasonable person would have done in the circumstances?” If we put the adverb “grossly” in front of the adjective “disproportionate”, we would have a set of circumstances that the jury would understand more clearly. That is the point of the new clause. I want to afford clear protection to those who are attacked, either in their house or in a building, as we have proposed under the new clause. However, I look forward to that provision being extended to incidents that happen in public places too.

Repetition sometimes, but not often, makes a bad point better. It sometimes makes a good point better. I hope that I have said enough for the Minister to have understood my argument and, albeit that this is not a day for voting on the issue, for her to say when she returns to the Bill on Report, “Yes, we understand what you are about. We think that the householders of this country need to have greater security by knowing that they can do quite a lot to defend themselves and, even though they might cause quite serious harm to the victim who invades their space, bodies or privacy, they can be reassured that the Government and Parliament, as a whole, are on their side.”

Photo of David Heath David Heath Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 4:15, 29 Tachwedd 2007

I find myself in a degree of difficulty with this subject, which I have now debated several times in the past few years. I have the greatest of sympathy with those who want to ensure that householders, or those who intervene to defend themselves or others in the street in the courageous way that our derring-do Lord Chancellor so frequently exhibits, are protected under law and do not find themselves on the wrong side of the law when doing their civic duty and their personal duty to protect themselves, their loved ones and their possessions. However, I have also always taken the view that there is no deficiency in the law—that the law, if properly interpreted, provides a clear view that there is no problem with protecting oneself in a reasonable, proportionate way. I therefore find myself arguing for the principle, but having difficulty seeing why the law needs to be changed.

Of course, this all arose from the wretched Tony Martin case—a very difficult case. I have yet to hear any commentator who actually believes that under any change that we are likely to make in the law, Tony Martin would have been anything other than guilty of a serious offence for the way in which he conducted himself on that day. In a way, we should rule out from our consideration the circumstances of Tony Martin and think about a more reasonable householder trying to protect their property or their family.

I do not see a need for the change in the law, but nor do I have a problem if the law is changed, because it would simply be a different way of expressing the same view in law. This is where I think the deficiency is: whether we have the law as it is, or the law as it might be, or whether we have a leaflet—I agree with the hon. and learned Member for Harborough that it is an excellent leaflet; I wonder how many people have read  it, but it sets out matters clearly—none of that will make the slightest difference if PC Plod does not understand, when arriving at an incident, what he is supposed to do. He might take the erroneous view, which happens far too often, that when a burglar says, “’E ’it me over the ’ead, Officer”, it is his job to arrest the householder and not the burglar. It is still his job to arrest the burglar unless there is very clear and disproportionate action on the part of the householder. Far too often, we hear reports, which are more than anecdotal, of people who have taken steps to protect themselves or their property and find themselves subject to intensive questioning, rather than congratulated on having foiled an attempted crime. That is wrong, but the fault lies with the investigating officers and occasionally, the prosecuting authorities, rather than in the letter of the law, because it is rare for the matter to go to a court and a case to be found against the individual.

I am perfectly happy for the Lord Chancellor to decide that, contrary to the position that the Government have taken for the past six years, they now want to change the law. I understand a sense of pique on the part of Conservative colleagues who, having repeatedly proposed a change in the law, only to be told that it was unnecessary, are now told by the Lord Chancellor that perhaps it is necessary after all. At the end of the day, whether we change the law or not—I take a ruthlessly agnostic view at the moment—the most important thing is to get it into the heads of our police officers across the country, not just chief constables but policemen on the beat, what the appropriate reaction is when they arrive at an incident and they find that there has been an attempt to protect the property of the individual.

Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We have had a short, sharp and high-quality debate; I will seek to emulate that brevity and quality while making the points that need to be made. I am grateful to the hon. and learned Member for Harborough for tabling the amendments, and for indicating, when he spoke to new clauses 2 and 3, that he is not going to die in a ditch on restricting the provision to buildings and households in the way that it is currently set out. That enables me to tear up at least half of my speech, which I am happy to do, because there are problems with that approach.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State indicated on Second Reading that he intends to make changes, because he believes that it is necessary to do so. As part of the Department’s consideration we have, as the hon. and learned Gentleman indicated, sought to communicate our views and to invite interested hon. Members from all parties to share their thinking with us. That will continue between now and when the Government table their new clauses on the issue, which will be on Report, I hope. Further meetings are planned between myself, officials and hon. Members who have expressed an interest in the matter.

Given what the hon. and learned Gentleman said about keeping the issue of householders at the forefront of his mind, I suspect that the matter will come down to the definitions of grossly disproportionate, disproportionate and reasonable. It is worth saying something about that. The hon. Member for Somerton and Frome is quite right to say—I think that any lawyer, including the hon. and learned Member for Harborough, would accept  this—that “reasonable” is an incredibly useful concept. It is well known in law that it is extremely flexible, and it is well understood by lawyers and by courts, although perhaps not quite so well by members of the public. It contains the flexibility that allows it to be applied in any number of circumstances, and that is its great strength.

It is undoubtedly the case, as the hon. Member for North-West Norfolk (Mr. Bellingham) said in 2003 when he first introduced his Bill, that if there is even the slightest confusion as to the law, it is unreasonable to expect a householder, during a few fearful seconds at the top of the stairs in the dark, when he is being menaced and perhaps threatened with a weapon in his own home, to guess what “reasonable” is. That is of course the mystery that we seek to put right, and there is widespread agreement on that. Even the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome, who is determinedly agnostic about whether the law needs to be changed in any way has acknowledged that that is the case.

The problem that we are left with and which we will be working on, is that of whether the test of “grossly disproportionate” is the correct one. There are legal and human rights issues about which I can say a word or two, based on some real concerns. One of the reasons for the desirability of action on the test for self-defence is that, as the hon. Member for North-West Norfolk put it, no one expects a person in such a situation to be able to respond with total legal knowledge.

Under the new clause, the person using the force would be deprived of the defence only if the degree of force used was grossly disproportionate, and if that was, or ought to have been, apparent to him. Therefore, he would be entitled to use force that was disproportionate, but not grossly so. He would still have to make a distinction between what was disproportionate and what was grossly disproportionate. It lowers the threshold with regard to the point at which he must make a judgment, but it does not remove that judgment altogether.

The argument is supported on the legal and human rights side, by the incompatibility of the term “grossly disproportionate” with the European convention on human rights. The Joint Committee on Human Rights has previously considered two similar provisions incompatible—[Interruption.]

Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton Ceidwadwyr, Macclesfield

We have a Division, and I am going to give myself a little more time. We will resume at 5 o’clock.

Sitting suspended for a Division in the House.

On resuming—

Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

When the Committee suspended, I was discussing the compatibility, or I would say incompatibility, with the European convention on human rights of the proposal from hon. and learned Member for Harborough to adopt “grossly disproportionate” as the test. I was just making the point that the Joint Committee on  Human Rights has previously considered two very similar provisions to be incompatible with the convention rights. I was speculating on the likelihood that the Joint Committee would do the same in respect of the two new clauses in this group.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights previously objected to a similar provision on grounds relating to the state’s duty to protect the right to life, which encompasses both obligations relating to the circumstances in which the taking of life by the state can be permitted and the need to have adequate law in place to protect against the taking of life by private citizens. The Joint Committee’s reading of a provision allowing force just short of grossly disproportionate to be used would undoubtedly be negative. Were the new clauses to be added to the Bill, it would not be possible for my ministerial colleague, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, to sign a section 19 certificate on the introduction of the Bill in the other place. As I assured the hon. and learned Gentleman earlier, Ministers consider that declaration seriously before they put their name to it. So that is the concern that we have about the wording that he proposes.

As the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor said on Second Reading, we aim to introduce proposals on self-defence, hopefully on Report. The Government’s approach to resolving the issue of public confusion is to make a change that is designed to clarify and reinforce the position on self-defence by building on case law. It will articulate the state’s responsibility to stand by those who were acting in good faith when using force in self-defence. That protection will be extended to all such individuals, whether acting in a professional capacity or not, on public or private land, defending themselves or others, or acting to prevent crime. We believe that it is essential that there be one test and one set of considerations used to assess the appropriateness of all such acts.

I am perfectly happy to continue these discussions, but as the hon. and learned Member for Harborough said, there have been discussions between all parties in respect of this issue. I am happy to continue discussing it until we have to table our amendments, to see if we can come to an agreement. On that basis and in the spirit of trying to come to an agreement together, I hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier Shadow Minister (Justice)

I am willing to do so because I know that this is an ongoing process, but I think it important that we do not lose sight of this issue. I do not know when the Report stage will be, but between now and then it would be useful if the Government could come up with some proposals in draft that they would be happy to share with the Opposition parties.

Photo of Philip Hollobone Philip Hollobone Ceidwadwyr, Kettering

I do not know what the correct procedure is for such things, but would it not be courteous of the Government to invite those hon. Members who proposed private Member’s Bills on the matter to be involved in that process?

Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier Shadow Minister (Justice)

It would be, and they have been. My hon. Friends the Members for Vale of York, for North-West Cambridgeshire (Mr. Vara) and for Newark (Patrick Mercer) were invited on the last occasion that we discussed  the matter. The events of the Martin case took place in north-west Norfolk, but it was my hon. Friend the Member for Newark who was, if not the first, one of the first to initiate a Bill on the matter. If my hon. Friend the Member for Kettering wants to be part of this happy gang, I, for one, would be very happy to see him with us. The first thing that we need to do is get on paper an idea of what the Government are proposing. On that basis, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments made: No. 276, in clause 127, page 84, line 40, at end insert—

‘( ) sections (Requests to other member States: Northern Ireland) and (Procedure on receipt of certificate by Lord Chancellor: Northern Ireland);

( ) sections (Requests from other member States: Northern Ireland) and (Procedure on receipt of certificate by clerk of petty sessions);’.

No. 277, in clause 127, page 84, line 41, at end insert—

‘( ) paragraph 21(3) and (4) of Schedule 22.’.

No. 220, in clause 127, page 85, line 1, leave out ‘or repeal’ and insert ‘, repeal or revocation’.

No. 375, in clause 127, page 85, line 3, at end insert—

‘(6) The following amendments and repeals also extend to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man—

(a) the amendments of sections 26 and 70(1) of the Children and Young Persons Act 1969 (c. 54) (transfers between England or Wales and the Channel Islands or Isle of Man) made by Schedule 4, and

(b) the repeals in Part 1 of Schedule 23 relating to those amendments.

(7) In section 7(2) of the Nuclear Material (Offences) Act 1983 (c. 18) (application to Channel Islands, Isle of Man, etc.) the reference to that Act includes a reference to that Act as amended by Schedule 15.

(8) In section 384 of the Armed Forces Act 2006 (c. 52) (extent to Channel Islands, Isle of Man, etc.) any reference to that Act includes a reference to—

(a) that Act as amended by any provision of this Act, and

(b) paragraph 13 of Schedule (Amendments to armed forces legislation).’.—[Maria Eagle.]

Clause 127, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.