House of Lords: debate. Sample containing about 18218 words speech recorded in public context

6 speakers recorded by respondent number C591

PS4N7 X m (Montgomery, age unknown, member of parliament) unspecified
PS4N8 X m (Maloy, age unknown, member of parliament) unspecified
PS4N9 X m (Payton, age unknown) unspecified
PS4NA X m (Macintosh, age unknown, member of parliament) unspecified
JSJPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
JSJPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 120401 recorded on 1994-02-15. LocationGreater London: Central London () Activity: Unknown

Undivided text

Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [1] My Lord,
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [2] My Lords, I beg leave to ask a question standing in my name on the order paper
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [3] My Lords, Her Majesty's Government takes every opportunity to promote good quality religious education in schools.
[4] In particular local authorities in England and in Wales are required to review to their agreed syllabuses for religious education the school curriculum and assessment authority has been asked to develop model R E syllabuses, a new circular has been issued to give guidance to schools on their duty to provide religious education and the [...] inspection system will monitor and identify any school failing to do so.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [5] My Lords, I'm grateful for that ... helpful and encouraging reply erm would the Noble Baroness agree that many teachers do not feel, who are not specially trained in this area ... do not feel comfortable delivering the R E syllabus.
[6] Could she tell the House what action is being taken to ensure an adequate supply of suitably trained teachers to deliver this important and sensitive subject?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [7] My Lords, the, the point made by the Noble Lord is that it is an important one erm it is important that teachers do feel comfortable with this subject and to that end the erm grant for education support and training is making money available and religious education has been added to the number of subjects for which it can be made available to help with er improving specialisms in schools, but also pr improving co-ordination for religious education in schools.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [8] My Lo Lords, is the Minister aware that er er a survey of the Religious Education Council in nineteen ninety three found that more than half of the those teaching religious education in secondary schools have no formal qualifications in the subject.
[9] Would she accept this figure which is lower than any national curriculum subject is bound to affect the quality of R E teaching and er can she give the House an assurance that this matter will be addressed urgently.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [10] what I can say to the Right Reverend [...] in response of that particular survey.
[11] First of all there is no overall shortage of relig religious education specialists, both in terms of those recruited to i erm initial teacher training and those employed within the schools.
[12] It is true however that the January survey which is erm which took place very recently erm, there were only fifteen vacancies in the subject in this in the country overall, it's also true to say that of thirteen thousand one hundred religious education specialists in the country, only half of them were actually teaching their own subject.
[13] So it's not a shortage of specialists, it's a shortage of the erm importance both L E A's and schools give to the subject and make sure that the specialisms are used in the right place.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [blowing nose]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [14] Er can the Minister in fact, I mean following that question, can the Minister say in fact how many teachers are teaching religious education in private schools are not in fact quali qualified for the subject at the moment.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [15] My Lord, the number will be a great many, primary schools teachers are of course spe er generalists not specialists and a primary school teacher with only religious education as a specialism would be disadvantaged quite seriously in having to cope with teaching maths and English and science and history, geography, art and music and so on.
[16] What is absolutely erm essential is that we do more to provide good quality support teaching materials and advice and that the grant that I mentioned earlier is made full use of, so that specialisms and co-ordination can be much improved in primary schools.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [17] My Lord, My Lords, to what extent is the teaching of religion in primary schools confined to the religion of the er, er to which the child has been accustomed, has been brought up, erm and er would it not be better if, if it were confined in that way and if the teaching of other religions were postponed until the child were older and in the secondary schools?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [18] Hear!
[19] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [20] My Lords, I can give My Noble Friend an assurance that Christianity as the main traditional religious tradition of this country will be taught at every key stage, both key stages er at key stages, one, two, three and four and that er knowledge of other religious is also a requirement, but I can also say to My Noble Friend that model syllabuses have just been released for consultation and there is a real concern which I share with My Noble Friend that young children at the ages between five and eleven are required to cover too many religions and that's a question that will be covered during the consultation period.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [21] Does the Noble Lady agree that this subject is different from all the other subjects.
[22] It isn't merely a matter of training and qualifications, it's a matter of religious commitment as well and most teachers nowadays take the view that to try and teach this subject without that religious commitment is sheer hypocrisy.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [23] Hear!
[24] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [25] That is the problem.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [26] Hear!
[27] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [28] Hear!
[29] Hear!
[30] Hear!
[31] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [32] But I think it's important to make the distinction, learning about religion or actually teaching for belief.
[33] It is learning about religion it's an educational process and it has an importance, whether it's learning about religion and whether its learning it as a cultural, historical and a religious er tradition of the country and that is what is important.
[34] It really must be be for the churches and the families themselves to go much further and to instruct if that is the er what the Noble Lord is hinting at, at erm promoting belief.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [35] Hear!
[36] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [37] My Lords, er would my Noble Friend, subjects are nevertheless best taught by those who have a sympathy for them and in the light of the fact that eighty per cent of er school pupils in the primary sector are taught,th all subjects by the same teacher.
[38] Would she encourage an increase in the twenty per cent who actually employ specialists for particular subjects er to do so as a priority in religious education where the teacher has no such sympathy.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [39] M My Lords, first of all the there are a number of reports out now very erm good reports that do encourage primary schools to look and exploit the specialisms of the teachers on their staff and that would cover of course people who have a specialism in teaching this subject and it is also true, sadly in the case of some schools who won't allow er people who are specialists in the subject and can speak about it with authority for example er local vicars and priests and, and faith healers who can come in help in a school, but where those schools do ex exploit the expertise in the community, the school is enriched by that.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [40] Hear!
[41] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [42] Does the Noble Minister not agree that this area of education is absolutely central to our future as a stable multi-cultural society and that therefore teachers must have in depth knowledge of the traditions and faiths with which they're dealing.
[43] Doesn't this emphasise the absolute importance of the relationship between higher education and teacher training?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [44] My Lords, it really does erm it's a matter of Professor [...] not Professor Judd on this occasion, it really does depend what you mean by multi-culturalism er can, can,
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [45] can I say that as long as the integrity of each religion is preserved, then education is a very sound er erm is very sound in prospect, but sadly it has become a melting pot and as my Noble Friends like to refer to it a mish-mash and I don't think it does anything more than serve to confuse children if it's done badly.
[46] What is absolutely essential is that the integrity of each of the religions are properly preserved when they are taught.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [47] Yes, but is my Noble Friend aware that the point of view expressed in the question put by the Noble Lord, Lord and my Noble Friend the Noble Lord would represent the point of view of most parents who are concerned about having religious education at the beginning?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [48] M M My Lords,i it is important that whatever is taught to a child between the ages of five and eleven that the child is able to benefit from it educationally if the child is, is overloaded as it were by being presented erm a curriculum that they simply cannot manage, then that's going to create confusion, but it's also important to say that one of the erm er objectives of this whole exercise is to underpin all education, both morally and spiritually and I believe we're doing a great deal to get that right.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [49] My Lords, may I ask my Noble Friend the Minster, what arrangements in the teachers training colleges, how are the teachers going to be taught ... teach religion, those who and want to teach religion?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [50] Er M My Lords, there are two things, one is that if it's an R E specialists of course it will be their primary subject.
[51] If it's erm if it's a school teacher as in primary schools where they're going to teach a lot across a range of subjects, one of the new measures I think is going to help and that is the introduction of the sixth subject, erm Bachelor of Education Degree, because maths, English and science will be the core three subjects and the other three subjects will be of choice, so there's an opportunity there for one of those subjects to be religious education and it will be taught in greater depth to those teachers.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [52] Next question.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [53] Viscount Montgomery of [...]
Montgomery (PS4N7) [54] My Lords, I beg leave to ask the question standing in my name on the Order Paper.
[55] My Lords, the Government er plans to dispose of the land [...] St Pancreas site, once it is no longer needed for the building project, the British Library is preparing a case for retaining some of the land for further library buildings.
[56] We shall of course consider the Library's proposals carefully when they've been finalised.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [57] My Lords, I thank my Noble Friend for that answer as far as it goes, however, is my Noble Friend aware that three important functions o of the British Library, namely the National Sound Archive, the Photographic Processing Unit,an and the er Conservation [...] are er not going to be included this p or in other parts of London and cannot be included in the present building.
[58] Would it not make administrative sense if at least part of this site could be reserved specifically for the British Library so that in any future extension, these units could be incorporated?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [59] My Lords, the case for relocating the areas that my Noble Friend spoke about, will be considered when the British Library has completed its investment appraisal for use of the surplus land.
[60] They are operating satisfactorily from their present locations.
[61] My Lords, I took the opportunity knowing this question was coming up last Friday to [...] spend an entire morning on the site in the building
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [62] Hear!
[63] Hear! [...]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [64] Er am I [laugh] I brought back a pack full of riveting information for Your Lordships which I have placed in the library, this library, not that library.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [65] [...] aware that erm the retention of this site is essential for expansion, since the British Library after forty years in construction has room for, will have room only for twelve hundred readers not many more than Great Russell Street while the French National Library which has taken only five years to build and will be completed next year, will have room for three-and-a-half-thousand readers.
[66] Is it therefore not essential that this new site should be used for an additional reading unit?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [67] Hear!
[68] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [69] Hear!
[70] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [71] My Lords, it's a question of cost in the long run, but er the reason that the our British Library will have fewer than the French Library is originally it was planned to have three thousand places, but er further er examination which has really been taken undertaken very, very thoroughly has proved that this is really not necessary.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [72] My Lords, may I declare an interest in this question as a user of the British Library.
[73] Is the Noble Baroness aware that a National Library must grow.
[74] May I als also ask her to bear in mind that none of us are in a great hurry to go through again the expense and the dislocation of the relocation of the British Library, and if this land is not made available to the Library, that might happen rather sooner than we wish.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [75] [...] really answer the first part of the Noble Lord's question by saying that er er it is a question of future cost, er we are er we are already spending a great deal of money on the first part er of this er library and er we will have to examine the future cost very carefully and I put it to you to the Noble Lord that it would be a really sad reflection where the field of creative endeavour in which this country is m has most excelled over the centuries, in other words literature to have no single focus for celebration, preservation and active use, it really is er very important that this library continues, but may I remind Your Lordships also that we're not talking about the s the library in this question, we're talking about the u the site at present used by the builders.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [76] [...] the case that most people regard the way in which the National Library has been built and planned as a total national disaster and a vast waste of public money.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [77] No, My Lords, I entirely disagree with the Noble Lord er furthermore as I've already said we're talking the builders site not the library in today's question.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [78] My Lords, Government is not prepared to retain the land itself for the future development of what must be regarded as one of the world's greatest libraries.
[79] Would it at least give a categorical assurance and preferably in this House and now that the British Library will be given the opportunity to raise funds to purchase the land itself so that the future development of that library will be possible.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [80] Hear!
[81] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [82] The Government would be prepared to consider proposals er for private funds, but the British Library would also need to prepare a business case showing how it would meet the cost of the building and the ongoing costs.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [83] My Lords, may I ask my Noble Friend if it wouldn't be better really to lease the land for a period of time, perhaps long enough for the anguish felt about the cost of the library as it currently stands and when perhaps more optimistic views could be entertained, because the piece of land it's on is not going to be recoverable once it's sold.
[84] It was a unique happening to find thirteen acres of land together in the [...] site and it's not going to occur again.
[85] The drawing together of the parts of the British Library has largely been achieved by the existing structure, there still are large bits.
[86] I'm particularly concerned perhaps if I may ask her to show some concern for this herself that the remoteness of the newspaper library, way up in the rustic further regions of the Northern Line, the great virtue of the existing site is that's on the Inner Circle, the accessibility of this site is really its greatest virtue.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [87] My Lords, the present building meets the British Library's key requirements.
[88] It is already library policy to operate from the two sites, London and Boston Spa, there is room for expansion at Boston Spa.
[89] There's another element which Your Lordships have not touched on to do with this land which is why er we are being very cautious about our plans for it and that is that er the union railways have indicated a requirement to lease two point eight acres of the land for site purposes from nineteen ninety seven to thousand and three er, but this will depend on the timetable for construction of the Channel Tunnel Link.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [90] My Lords, is the er Noble Minister aware that the site er which is referred to is not of great market value in the sense that it is scheduled by the planning authority for use only as an open space or for community housing.
[91] Is she also aware of the fact that the National Sounds Archive now housed in Exhibition Road in South Kensington, ought really to be next door to the Music Library and it has always been the ambition of the Library to put it there and that furthermore, and here I speak from great knowledge because I negotiated the arrangement, if that site at Exhibition Road for the National Sounds Archive Library is sold, that money can only be used under the term of that agreement to provide similar accommodation elsewhere.
[92] In other words, both the land is cheap if it is realised and secondly, already the British Library has an asset at Exhibition Road which can be used to defray the cost of some of the building.
[93] Will these factors please be taken into account.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [94] Hear!
[95] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [96] The fact is er the last fact is that the Noble Lord mentioned, will be taken into account.
[97] The current value of the land is estimated at one point five million, but the land at the time of any sale would be determined by the most favourable planning consent which can be obtained at the time.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [98] My Lord
Maloy (PS4N8) [99] My Lords, I beg leave to ask the question standing in my name on the Order Paper.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [100] My Lords, the aim of the Government's policies is to ensure that patients receive high quality accident and emergency services whenever they need them.
[101] We're continuing to make take action to develop and improve standards and conditions in accident and emergency departments.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [102] My Lords whilst thanking the Noble Baroness the Minister for that reply, would she not agree that when they get into hospital the accident case or the emerg emergency case, they've probably been sent there by a doctor and that there they should th therefore be handled, but what the associations are concerned about, particularly the Royal College of Nursing, the B M A and Unison is that emergency and accident cases are put in corridors on trolleys and this ought not to be th a situation which can be tolerated.
[103] Would at least the Noble Baroness be prepared to have a look at that what appears to be, and I have made some investigations, a somewhat distressing situation.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [104] Hear!
[105] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [106] Yes, My Lords, and certainly undertake to do that.
[107] I would like to set this into context though, because over thirteen million attend accident and emergency departments annually.
[108] Er the Government find it absolutely unacceptable for people to wait on trolleys, once the decision for admission has been made er but My Lords sometimes it is necessary to wait er for observation purposes or sometimes for diagnostic treatments, er which actually have to take place in the A and E department er but My Lords it's very interesting to see how similar hospitals vary, even within the same vicinity and we believe a great deal of this is due to poor management.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [109] My Lords is there not a danger at looking at er accident and emergency departments in isolation from the rest of the hospital.
[110] If beds are blocked by for example geriatric patients er in medical or even surgical wards, won't there be a trickle effect and therefore it will be impossible for the patients who need to go up to these other wards to get out of the A and E department?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [111] My Noble Friend is absolutely right er it is a er essential that the erm hospital does have a good discharge policy that there are community facilities to support people once they leave hospital er and My Lords we know that with some of the new procedures that are now being introduced er that is possible and that when a patient comes in for treatment, a discharge policy is worked out almost immediately so that the support services can be given when the time comes for that person to leave.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [112] [...] has the Minister er studied the Royal College of Nursing Report which was published early last month, which shows that in a third of accident and emergency units in hospitals, patients actually have to stay overnight er before they are admitted to er a ward and would she a accept that this really is not a satisfactory situation, it's actually worse i outside London than it is in London, contrary to some views.
[113] The average waiting time is five-and-a-half hours.
[114] Is not this really a situation to which er she and her colleagues must er address their mind?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [115] My Lords, I found a very interesting er aspect in the Royal College of Nursing's review was that resources were not the issue, the Royal College itself came down in favour of the fact that it was management that needed to be tightened up and My Lords it was interesting looking at that survey that it was a telephone survey and in one of the two hospitals er one or two of the hospitals that were rung up, it was quite difficult to find the person who'd answered the survey.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [116] [...] that report er that i it was er said that it m a high proportion of the cases were because of bed closures, which surely must be linked with resources.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [117] My Lords, I don't accept that, er one can look at some of the London hospitals, University College, London Hospital er where seventy-one beds we closed and where we know they have one of the best accident and emergency departments in the country.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [118] [...] Baroness said she found it absolutely accept unacceptable for patients to wait in the corridor on trolleys.
[119] Did she mean the word absolutely literally enough to prepare prepared to commit extra money to preventing it?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [120] My Lords, I think I made it perfectly clear what I did mean er I did qualify it by saying that of course there are times when patients do have to wait on trolleys for diagnostic purposes, for observation and for other reasons er but once an admission has been agreed, then that patient should be admitted, that is our policy and that is what we're working towards.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [121] My Lord, My Lords, My Lords.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [122] Hear!
[123] Hear!
[124] Hear!
[125] Hear!
[126] Hear Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [127] My Lords, could I ask the Minister if she would agree that there have been some improvements in the accident and emergency departments, since consultants were appointed and how many accidents that er there are emergency departments have not got consultants in charge and leave it to junior doctors?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [128] Er the Noble Baroness is is right erm we do notice that where a consultant is in charge the difference is very great indeed, I'm afraid I don't have the figure but I will certainly give it to her, er but also we know that where there are er hospital discharge managers where senior nurses are bed managers, the difference is really quite considerable er and that is what I was saying in terms of managing the process.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [129] My Lords, is the Minister that nearly half of all surgical units are cutting back on operations a third are giving priority to patients of G P fund holders and more than half of the N H S Trust er er have a facing a steep rise in emergency admissions of the G Ps that as they fight to get beds for their patients.
[130] Does the Minister agree with the view therefore, that nurses that nurses should be given the authority to admit patients to hospital provided there is a bed without having to wait for a decision to be to be made by a doctor?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [131] My Lords, the G P funding hold er fund holders issue is not an issue in this case, er G P fund holders patients have direct access to any departments as do every other patient in the country er where a person needs accidents er and emergency treatment, My Lords they get it.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [132] Lord
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [133] [...] to ask the question standing in my name on the order list.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [134] My Lords, we will continue to make sure that parents and governors have the opportunities and information to exercise their right, under the law to choose grant maintained status.
[135] We are also developing a common funding formula for self- governing schools which is fair, both to the schools themselves and to the local education authorities which is transparent and which offers a reasonable prospect of stability of funding.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [136] My Lords, will the er Minister say how much money has been spent on the so called cash protection for grant maintained schools and will she confirm that the one quarter of a million pounds almost a quarter of a million pounds being spent on advertising grant maintained schools is additional er to the scheme, to the first part of the question.
[137] My Lords, as only one thousand of the twenty four thousand schools er have opted out during five years of this [...] does not that suggest that the schools themselves and the governors and the parents to whom the Minister refers, are not convinced of the advantages and in those circumstances was she given absolute guarantee that no opt- out will be allowed without a ballot?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [138] My Lords, the the Noble Lord is intensively anxious about this policy, if it was as unsuccessful as the Noble Lord believes, he wouldn't be exercised about it and sec secondly My Lords on cash protection, the Noble Lord confuses cash protection with money for erm er providing er information to parents.
[139] If you take all of the money that has been spent since the policy was established in nineteen eighty eight, it still does not amount to twenty pence per child which as I said in a previous erm question, answer to a previous question, is bare would barely buy a pencil for each child.
[140] Er My Lords, the Noble Lord asked four questions, I think it's traditional to answer two at the box.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [141] Would the Noble Minister clarify once and for all whether or not the Government are committed to free choice by parents in this matter?
[142] If they are, will they honour their own commitment by recognising that the overwhelming majority of parents want to stay with local authorities and that therefore local authorities should be given all the backing and support possible by the Government to make a success of their role in the future.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [143] Hear!
[144] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [145] My Lords, we remain absolutely committed to parents being the key determinant as to whether a school should go grant maintained erm or whether it should not.
[146] Er the Noble Lord is not in a position to say that the overwhelming erm number of parents support not going grant maintained, because until this year, until the new Act of Parliament er came into place, er not all parents were given an opportunity to answer that question er it is now er necessary for every single governing body to return to that question on an annual basis.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [147] My Lords, is my Noble Friend aware that many parents and teachers who have been deeply dissatisfied and disillusioned by local education authority schools in fact just set up their own new schools which are providing excellent education and really meeting those parental wishes, often with very strong er spiritual and moral values.
[148] Could my Noble Friend give an assurance that if these schools wish to take advantage of the new legislation and to opt into grant maintained status, they'll be given every encouragement?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [149] Hear!
[150] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [151] My Lords, erm I can say to my Noble Friend that erm she's absolutely right, there is a new er measure the recent nineteen ninety three Education Act and any application will be considered er on its merits and er and we will continue to support that.
[152] On the other point about local education authorities My Lords, er it is quite depressing, I was er visiting a local education authority only two weeks ago where they had a five point educational strategy for the authority, one of those points was to oppose at all cost erm parents right to opt out.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [153] My Lords, as we all know, having been told twice by our Minister that the cost of a pencil is twenty pence, will she now tell us what the overall cost has been and is for cash protection for grant maintained schools?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [154] My Lords, I can't give it precisely at the, at the d the despatch box, it is public information, I will make it available to the Noble Lord and place the answer in the library.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [155] Could my Noble Friend er not agree that in fact grant maintained schools have been very successful, not only in raising academic standards in helping parents, but in actually improving the fabric of the buildings
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [156] Hear!
[157] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [158] This is something which has been drawn to my attention on many occasions and would she not agree that there are many of us who very much regret the fact that so many parents er are find it difficult to exercise their right to vote, because there is so much opposition er at a local level from officials
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [159] Hear!
[160] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [161] to the opting out principles.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [162] Hear!
[163] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [164] M M My Lords, erm on the second point my Noble Friend makes, that's absolutely true and it really was again quite depressing to see that erm er a member in in in the and the other place Mr Don Foster on behalf of the Liberals, had actually written to every single Chief Education Officer er concerning anti er concerning campaigning against er the opting out policy, as to the other point my Noble Friend makes, it's absolutely true that erm all the service that have been done and there's one very recently reported, that the amount of value for money o obtained for every single [...] grant maintained school outstrips the L E A maintained schools.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [...]
Montgomery (PS4N7) [165] erm er Government is going to allow the electoral
Maloy (PS4N8) [166] monopoly of balloting parents when they make every other affair a matter of competitive tendering?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [167] My Lords,I I'm not sure that I can give an absolute answer to that, it would be wrong for me to, to guess.
[168] As far as I know, they have been er certainly have been erm involved in most of the ballots so far, but I know there is a discussion going on about whether they should be the [...] .
[169] What we need to be certain about is that whatever society is involved in or whatever organisation is involved in balloting that it should be seen to be done properly.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [170] My Lords [...]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [171] My Lord [...]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [172] My Lords, I beg to move motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [173] [...] that this motion be agreed to [...] .
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [174] [...] committee on the Police and Magistrates Courts Bill. [...]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [175] My Lords, I beg to m move that the House do now resolve itself into a committee on the Bill.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [176] [...] House [...] committee on the Bill as many of that opinion will stay content?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [177] Hear!
[178] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [179] The contrary not content.
[180] The contents have it.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [181] My Lords, Police and Magistrates Court Bill, the question is, the question is the title be postponed.
[182] As many as that opinion say content?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [183] The contrary not content.
[184] The contents have it.
[185] The question is of course to the Bill.
[186] Those [...] opinion will say content?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [187] Contrary not content?
[188] The contents have it.
[189] Schedule One, Amendment Number One, Lord Ellis Thomas.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [190] Number One not moved, Number Amendment Number Two, Lord not moved, Number Three, Lord
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [191] Hear!
[192] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [193] I beg leave to erm move this Amendment.
[194] I erm am raising this issue today, in order to give the Government the opportunity of telling the House what action they are proposing to take in respect of a serious error which has been made in the Rail Privatisation Legislation.
[195] An error which has led or will lead to the powers of arrest of the British Transport Police being drastically curtailed.
[196] As from the first of April this year, the British Transport Police will only be able to arrest offenders on British Rail property, but most of the property of British Rail will as from April be owned by Rail Track.
[197] From that date, the British Transport Police will not be able to follow alleged offenders to their homes, interview them and when appropriate, arrest them.
[198] For the Department have.
[199] Transport has inadvertently removed their powers as constables.
[200] This will create a truly remarkable situation, a police force of two thousand two hundred officers will at a stroke have their powers removed.
[201] Let me illustrate the seriousness of the forthcoming situation.
[202] There are twenty three police forces in this country which are smaller than the British Transport Police.
[203] The Transport Police investigate more crime than twenty four other police forces.
[204] In nineteen ninety two, ninety three they were called upon to investigate one thousand two hundred and thirty seven crimes of violence, I exclude, for various reasons those committed on the London Underground.
[205] In addition they had to investigate three hundred and eighty eight sexual offences, nine hundred and twenty eight robberies, three thousand and ninety seven burglaries, two thousand eight hundred and sixty two cases of fraud and thirty seven thousand five hundred and eighty two cases of theft.
[206] Yet I repeat, as from April, as a result of the Government's own legislation, they will in the overwhelming majority of these cases no longer possess the powers of constables and thus be able to follow through their investigations.
[207] Now a number of questions arise from this unhappy situation.
[208] Firstly, how did this extraordinary mistake came to be made in the first instance by the Department of Transport.
[209] I would be grateful if the Noble Earl who will, I assume be replying on their behalf, I hope he will be able to explain this matter to us.
[210] Er second, what action does the Government propose to take to rectify this situation?
[211] I hope that we will be assured in unequivocal terms that er Government members will be introduced to this Bill probably at the report stage.
[212] Third, assuming that amendments are introduced to rectify these errors, what will happen in the period between April and the day when this Bill gets the Royal Assent.
[213] Presumably the rest of the police service overburdened with er investigations of crime as they are, will have to carry the burden caused by the Department of Transport's errors.
[214] I would be grateful if the Noble Earl was able to answer these questions.
[215] Next, has the Association of Chief Police Officers yet been told that as from April they will have to take on this burden of work which has been removed from the British Transport Police as a result of an error in a Government Bill.
[216] If they have been so informed, I would be very grateful if I could be told on what date they were told.
[217] I am sure the Government will appreciate the indignation that they will feel overburdened as they are with work, that they will now have to use their scarce resources to deal with criminal conduct arising on the railways and lastly, who is going to pay for this work?
[218] The Department of Transport has made a serious error, can we be assured that police authorities will receive financial compensation for the work that their forces are now havin have are going to have to carry out and there is a further matter which I have erm drawn to the attention of the Secretary of State for Transport in er correspondence, namely the need to establish a new and representative police authority for the British Transport Police.
[219] Given the creation of Rail Track, the constitutional position in respect of the accountability of and the support for the British Transport Police is clearly most unsatisfactory.
[220] I hope that the Noble Earl will be able to assure us that on this issue too there will be Government amendments on report to deal with this important matter.
[221] My Lords, the British Transport Police carry out work of high national importance, not least in the area of terrorism.
[222] It is essential that the problems I have identified this afternoon are resolved before this Bill leaves this House.
[223] I beg to move.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [224] Hear!
[225] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [226] Amendment proposed page fifty, line twenty four [...] insert British Transport Police the British Transport Police.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [227] My Lords, I would rise to support very briefly er but er whole-heartedly the amendment moved by the Noble Lord, Lord .
[228] It does seem to me an extraordinary catalogue of errors erm and one can well understand how errors take p er could, could have occurred during the somewhat co chaotic passage of the Railways Bill er what, what cannot be understood and what is quite inexcusable is, is the fact that no steps adequate steps have been taken to correct those errors and to assure the er continued existence of a er Transport Police which er h h has the sole responsibility for er policing large public spaces in, in this country and er as the Noble Lord has made clear, er does it honour er very considerable scale, very effectively er I hope that the Minister will find it possible to make a favourable reply to the arguments which have been raised.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [229] My Lords, the [sigh] Noble Lord, Lord proposes a number of questions for er in his er amendment and er h his amendment does er highlight a difficulty into which we have er run.
[230] I think that the Noble Lord er wi will know that his amendment in fact as it is won't work because it er appears to treat the British Transport Police as an area of England and Wales er which of course would be unsuitable, but I have no doubt at all that his main purpose of his amendment is to explore the questions about the powers and jurisdiction of members of the British Transport Police which of course he did as usual most effectively.
[231] My Lords, erm [sigh] I I think that behind this, there does appear to be some doubt as to the British Transport Police's position in respect of Rail Track er from the 1st April.
[232] The British Transport Police will continue as a single police force, one that is responsible for policing Britain's Rail Network after the 1st April.
[233] British Rail are to remain the employer of the British Transport Police for the immediate future, in order to ensure that the British Transport Police will continue to police the whole of the restructured railway er a an order amending the British Transport Police Force Scheme in nineteen sixty three will be laid before Parliament shortly.
[234] My Lords, the influence behind the Noble Lord's amendment is that the British Transport Police will not have the full jurisdiction on Rail Track property.
[235] Er I can assure your Lordships that this is not the case.
[236] The Intention of the British er of the Railways Act of nineteen ninety three was that jurisdiction of the British Transport Police should be unaffected, but we are aware that there may be some doubt now as to the precise extent of the powers which British Transport Poli Police may have beyond the Rail Track property.
[237] In British Transport Police may act as constables in, on and in the vicinity of Rail Track's property and my Right Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State for Transport is at presently urg er at present er urgently considering in conjunction with British Rail and the British Transport Police whether the wording represents a problem and if it is, how best to address it.
[238] My Lords er my er the Noble Lord, Lord er asked whether the Government would bring an amendment er, er down at report stage.
[239] I would just tell him this that er there is a problem here which my Right Honourable Friend is addressing and depending on the outcome of those consultations and discussions, will obviously depend the action which we will have to take.
[240] The erm problems only recently b been identified and it is one to which a solution is being sought.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [241] My Lords, I wonder if I could ask a practical question arising out of this.
[242] Until an hour or two ago I certainly didn't know that this problem had arisen, but the date April has been on the lips of my er Honourable Friend er and of the Noble Minister er I used to represent part of the City of Leeds and Honourable er a and Noble Lord you'll have heard recently of behaviour at Elland Road Football Ground on the death of Sir Matt Busby and one can only wonder what sort of people er we're dealing with, but many of them arrive at Leeds City Station on the day of a match and they come early and they have then to get their way to Elland Road and there are often real problems.
[243] I've seen out in the street mountive er mounted police charging down rather like the Battle of Balaclava and inside the station problems arising and it's nasty to be involved and in those days I've travelled on a Saturday afternoon often [...] .
[244] This date of April I can understand the Minister er the Minister of Transport is concerned, but unless something is done pretty quickly there'll be a lot of people in Leeds who will be worrying about what's going to happen on er around the station because there is this small group of people no not always from the town concerned or the city concerned, who behave in this abysmal way and British Transport Police have a very good record at the stations and on the trains as they can move from one part of the country to another.
[245] Will that be all right, will they be able to do that after April, or i i is this problem going to carry on?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [246] My Lords, I hope that I can er erm allay the disquiet of the Noble Lord, Lord erm the,th th the fact is that British Transport Police at the moment have control and jurisdiction over all the the railway system in and on and in the vicinity of the, the railway the railway organisation.
[247] In other words they are responsible for what happens on the trains or what or happens on the r railways, what happens o in in the stations.
[248] They can actually go and chase after a person outside the station if if that is their their wish and at the moment that is erm that will continue to be the case.
[249] The only difficulty is, is er the interpretation of of the words and er whether or not the the words er er er er in the vicinity of is more constricting than we anticipate and it is that point which will be needn which needs to be addressed, but I think I can assure the No Noble Lord that erm er they w w will have full jurisdiction on and in the vicinity of the stations which is the point which she which she is anxious about and that will continue just the same after April the first before.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [250] My Lords erm I don't propose to erm develop this argument further this afternoon.
[251] The Noble Earl has said erm er two things that the as I understand it, that there is some doubt about the situation.
[252] Well according to the British Transport [...]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [cough]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [253] there is no doubt about the matter at all that power as constables I have been inadvertently removed by the Department of Transport that is reality.
[254] The second question is the second certainly made by the Noble Earl was that the Department of Transport were urgently examining the situation, I trust with the Home Office at the same time and I would suggest that we might in fact discuss this matter if I might make er if I might make this suggestion to the Noble Earl, between now and the report stage, so that this matter can be clarified but I am sure that he will understand that we would not in fact be er feel able to erm ignore this issue er in the period between the beginning of the committee stage today and the third reading of this Bill, we do expect Government amendments to be introduced.
[255] At the same time, I have asked a number of questions which I, if I may so, have not been answered.
[256] I did ask whether the Association of Chief Police Officers have been told that they are going to they are likely to have to take over many of the responsibilities of the British Transport Police as from the first of April.
[257] I asked that question, it has not been answered.
[258] I hope the Noble Earl will be able to give me an answer in perhaps in correspondence following this, also the date upon which at they were informed, because I am sure he will realise the implications as far as the rest of the British Police Service are concerned that as from April of this year they will have to take on a heavy burden of work which is now being carried out by the British Transport Police.
[259] We cannot allow this situation of doubt to continue any longer.
[260] I will certainly ask the leave of the House to withdraw this amendment, but as I'm sure the Noble Earl will recognise we will in fact be coming back to this matter on repor o on on report.
[261] I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [262] Erm er i i is it your Lordship's pleasure this amendment will be withdrawn.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [263] Amendment by leave withdrawn.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [264] The question is Schedule One with the first schedule of the bill as many as that opinion will say content?
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [265] contrary not content, the contents have it.
[266] Clause Two of Amendment Number Four, Lord Payton of [...]
Payton (PS4N9) [267] My Lords, the move [...] amendment which is down in my name on the Order Paper, I do have to apologise Your Lordships, to your Lordships, if th if it's meaning is not immediately clear, even to the keen minds which are present in Your Lordship's House.
[268] Page two, Line Seven, leave out two A and three and insert and three as amended.
[269] My Lords the my er justification for that is of course that particular clause in the Bill which my amendments seeks to seeks to change ... both are I admit on the face of it entirely incomprehensible.
[270] Wishing My Lords to understand what exactly is the law which we now seek to amend, there doesn't seem to me to be all that er elaborate a precaution.
[271] I sought the help of the Public Bill on this and I was referred to erm Statutes i in force.
[272] Nineteen eighty nine edition which is the latest existing in Your Lordship's House and I found that that edition did reveal at what had happened since to subsec to Sections Two and Three.
[273] It made however no reference to Section Two A the notes on clauses were equally silent on er this important matter.
[274] I then zealous to understand I I er, er, erm sought it [...] Statutes, Volume thirty-three nineteen ninety three edition and studied most carefully pages six hundred and seventy-five to six hundred and seventy-seven and there I found an account of what has happened to Sections two and three and also for the first time light was shed upon Section two A. My Lords, I have from time to time ventured to express some doubt as to whether our legislative procedures were as excellent, as I'm sure Your Lordships would wish them to be and when I recently suggested in the most mild terms to Her Majesty's Government that they might consider some form of enquiry into our legislative procedures to see whether as they were as high class as they should be, erm [...] I was given a very negative reply the clear influence of which was that the our legislative procedures could not possibly be improved and My Lords I do really think with respect that that is a proposition which is open to doubt.
[275] I don't wish to take up too much of Your Lordships time, but could I without er er driving your Lordships into the dee into very deep sleep erm er a quote to you one passage from page six hundred and seventy-five.
[276] It's just er a small section of foot of a footnote which gives an account of the history of the clause in er of the section in the er Police Act of nineteen sixty four with which we are dealing and of course Your Lordships will be well aware that we moved on from Section er from the Sections of the Police Act, we're not dealing with them at all, we're dealing with what has happened to those Clauses since and I thought perhaps Your Lordship might Your Lordships might be interested in the sort of guidance which is made available th so, so fortunately to us and so that we can have our minds very clearly focused upon the issues.
[277] The note to which I refer of six er page six seven five reads as follows, the words omitted from sub-sections one, four and five and the whole of sub-section three were repealed and sub-section six was substituted by the Local Government Act nineteen seventy two, sections one hundred and ninety-six one two, two hundred and seventy-two one, Schedule thirty, the words in square brackets in sub-section one and in the first pair of square brackets in sub-section two, were substituted and the words omitted from para two B, paragraph two B and the whole of paragraph two C, both of which had been inserted by the Local Government Act nineteen seventy two, section two hundred and seventeen, schedule twenty- seven, part two, paragraph eighteen were repealed.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [laugh]
Payton (PS4N9) [278] by the Local Government Act nineteen eighty five
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [laugh]
Payton (PS4N9) [279] Sections thirty-seven, one hundred and two, schedule eleven, para one, schedule seventeen.
[280] The words in the second pair of square brackets in sub-section two B were substituted by the Courts Act nineteen seventy one, section three, subsection five.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [laugh]
Payton (PS4N9) [281] My Lords ... [sigh] I, I, I, I, it may be just a total inadequacy of my dwindling intellectual powers that I find that extremely difficult to follow!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [laugh]
Payton (PS4N9) [282] It will be comforting to me at any rate personally to know that even so eminent a, a, er an ornament of the present administration as my Noble Friends [shouting] also found [] these th th this material a matter for stumbling and was not perhaps inclined to give it a crown of lucidity.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [laugh]
Payton (PS4N9) [283] Er My Lords, I don't wish to prolong my remarks too much, but I really seriously believe that this is not the way in which legislative procedures should be carried out.
[284] ... I have always had very limited sympathy with what is rather mis misdescribed in my er er view, as industrial action, but there is one in history, one instance of industrial action with which I must tell Your Lordships I feel an increasing sympathy.
[285] It took place quite a long time ago, it is known as the cessation of the plebs there were two occasions on which the workers of of Ancient Rome [...] and withdrew from the city and their t the terms on which as as far as I recollect the terms of their return where that somebody should write down the law in comprehensible terms and that there should be a special officer, a tribune appointed who could if necessary explain what the law was to them.
[286] My Lords, I believe that such an officer is very badly needed now in Your Lordships House
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [287] [laugh] Hear!
[288] Hear!
Payton (PS4N9) [289] I, I, I am certainly not that man, I would, I would not dream of offering myself for such a ghastly post
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [blowing nose]
Payton (PS4N9) [290] And I do, and I do, I must say not for the last time during the passage of this Bill, I do feel constrain to offer my very deep sympathy to my Noble Friend on the front bench.
[291] Here he is,h h he has the very unpleasant duty of explaining and justifying the drafting of this measure a a and I do hope it would be, it would be really rather an unexpected realisation of an ambition, but nevertheless one hopes [...] eternal if my Noble Friend were to get up and say that as a result these few remarks that I have been tempted to make that some kind of effort is going to be made to tidy up as th th the processes whereby er such stuff appears, is allowed to appear on the pages of the Statute Book er er I do recall that when the Charities Bill was going through several committees, my Noble Friend wasn't who who was d d dealing with the Bill in, on behalf of the Government was exceedingly helpful and I hope that he will show the same degree of goodwill today er and, and, and er h if he's very clear and devote is very considerable energies to persuading those professional obs obfuscators who are responsible for this kind of garbage to do better in the future.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [292] Hear!
[293] Hear!
Payton (PS4N9) [294] I beg to vote.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [295] Amendment proposed page two to line seven loo out leave out two A and three and insert [...] three as amended.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [296] My Noble Friend Lord [...] was if I may say so his usual wonderful combination of modesty and vehemence has erm drawn our attention to the very confused situation which arose.
[297] After the er Police Act nineteen sixty four had been in force for some years and when the government of the day which you [...] supporters in the nineteen seventies and later, tried to erm modify it in order to er make a dovetail with local government reforms which we supported.
[298] I agree with him that an unsatisfactory situation er was created in our legislation and in passing I would like to say how much we all welcome, I'm sure the efforts of my Noble Friend to get legislation simplified, but erm on this particular matter which he has raised, I would like to try to comfort him if that is possible, because erm by getting rid of the er the sections two two A and three of the Police Act as they er nineteen sixty four as they have been amended and er substituting this clause to the Bill simplification will in fact have been achieved so far as the form is concerned.
[299] I do not speak of the substance of the matter because so many of us have some doubts about the substance of it and we shall come to that later, but erm it does seem to me that er we had to get rid of erm sections two, two A and three of the Police Act nineteen sixty four as amended and that clearly doing so here and erm er er I I think that this is an improvement as a result on the laws that er present appears on the Statute Book.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [300] Hear!
[301] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [302] My Lords,I I I don't want to intervene in family quarrels, but er surely the point that the Noble Lord, Lord was making was that there is no section er two A i in in force a at at the present time.
[303] If if Lord could find it, we'll be very grateful to him.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [304] My Lords, I'm bound to say that er my Noble Friend Lord modesty is overwhelming.
[305] He said that he really found enormous difficulty in understanding this, he didn't refer to how difficult it was when you have dwind dwindling intellectual powers.
[306] Er I've never had any dwindling intellectual powers er simply because I've never had any intellectual powers in the first place, so I would agree with him that in all cases I find dealing with er matters of a er er er er of, of legislation er en enormously complex.
[307] When my Noble Friend was kind enough to say that he looked to me for help as being I think he said an ornament on the front bench, wasn't quite certain whether that was supposed to be a compliment or not, but I thought an ornament or something that you that sat upon a er er er er er upon a shelf and looked pretty, but didn't actually do anything.
[308] My Lords erm I would only hope that I would be able to do something to my Noble Friend in trying to persuade him that it isn't all that bad erm My Lords I do agree with him though when you I, I think that I'd be first of all w were to tell him that er not that he wouldn't be surprised that I thought that his amendment wasn't actually necessary, but I do understand his concern, I mean he tries to find his way through the legislation.
[309] It isn't always easy for anyone to get to the bottom of every detail of a bill er which refers to earlier legislation [cough] and erm er er I'm sure that my Noble Friend would sympathise anyhow erm er er w with with me insofar as I also do not have the advantage of er legal qualifications which he manages to make up for most adequately.
[310] My Lords, erm i legislation is complex and I agree that we should do what we can to keep a clear er, er to keep it clear and simple if it's at all possible and erm er I agree though that one needs a fully up-to-date text of the nineteen sixty four Police Act in order to decipher every last dot and comma.
[311] My Lords, erm I I I'm glad t t to know that a text is readily available er I agree with my Noble Friend that if he took the simple course of comparing the Bill with the nineteen sixty four Act as it was printed, he would have run into trouble.
[312] What he needed of course was to compare the present Bill with the nineteen sixty four Act as amended by various statutes.
[313] My Lords, erm my information is that Hallsbury's Statute have got that er that information and er that is that is available and er they have recently fully updated the volume which contains the legislation relating to the police.
[314] Erm er I was concerned when my Noble Friend said that he'd looked up Hallsbury but that it didn't contain the right words, er er I rather wonder whether he looked up so to speak the right version or the last version.
[315] My information is that that is the correct way er th the correct authority to which to look.
Payton (PS4N9) [316] [...] What I think I said was that in statutes in the latest Edition of Statutes in force nineteen seventy nine edition would fail to make it clear what two A was about at all made no mention of it er Hallsbury's Statutes on the other hand do.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [317] [...] but that ought to satisfy my Noble Friend and I should have thought, but I agree with him,in in the general point that it is very much more easy when these bills are consolidated and they do end up in one consolidated act.
[318] I can't obviously give my Noble Friend an assurance that this will be done, but in due course er I would very much hope that it would be and when it is my Noble Friend will then be able to refer to that Act with total simplicity and find his way through it and with all the original Acts amended as they were and will be after this Act has been passed.
Payton (PS4N9) [319] My Lords, I, I do realise and I have to be satisfied with that erm and I shall do my best, but if I could just make my [...] absolutely clear, [...] simple proposition that I was seeking to perform is that if you are seeking to amend the law i i it ought to be possible for those who are seeking to understand the Government's intentions to find out relatively easily what the law is and I suggest it's very far from easy and even if you get to it, it's not at all easy to understand.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [320] My Lords, [...] my Noble Friend on either of those propositions.
Payton (PS4N9) [321] Er er er I'm not even hoping [...] namely to get any of the further progress on this difficult subject, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [322] Is it Your Lordship's pleasure this amendment be withdrawn?
[323] Amendment by leave withdrawn.
[324] And before calling Amendment Number Five I should remind the Committee that if it should be agreed to, I will be unable to call Amendment Number Six.
[325] Amendment Number Five, Lord ?
Macintosh (PS4NA) [326] My Lords, in rising to move Amendment Number Five, I should like to speak also to Amendment six, seven and eight, ten to twenty-two inclusive, twenty-seven, a hundred and twenty-four and a hundred and twenty-five.
[327] I apologise for the length of the, of the grouping, but it has been agreed between all of those concerned that it would be better er for the Committee to have a single debate on the size and composition of police authorities, rather than er a seri a series of debates on closely-related issues.
[328] I should make it clear that although these amendments have been grouped together by agreement, they do not all express the same point of view.
[329] Er in very briefly and I shall er expand the argument a min in a minute, my amendments five, eight and eleven provide that the size of a police authority should no longer be restricted to sixteen members, but should be er er by order er a somewhere between sixteen and twenty-four members and that two-thirds of those members should be er appoint er er amen appoint appointed by local authorities in the area concerned.
[330] Th er there is a series of amendments in the name of the Noble Lord, Lord of Yeovil, Amendment six, seven, twelve to fourteen, sixteen, nineteen and twenty-one of which the most significant is Amendment twenty-one, these Amendments provide again that there should be flexibility in the size of police authorities and that the composition should be such as to secure a majority of local authority members of not less than three.
[331] Thirdly, there are amendments in the name of the Government of the er Noble Earl Lord which are Amendments ten, fifteen and twenty and these provide for greater flexibility in the size of police authorities, again between sixteen and twenty-four members to be determined by the Secretary of State and for the Bill's existing proposition that er fifty per cent of the members should be er and only fifty per cent of the members, should be from local authorities that er er er er that er of the remainder some should be magistrates and some should be members appointed by the Secretary of State and finally er there is a series of amendments er by the Noble Lord, Lord , Amendment seventeen, eighteen and twenty-two and those provide again with flexibility of size for er police authorities that half of the members should be from local authorities and the other half should be magistrates.
[332] Er I hope that makes the matter clear, because when we come to make a decision on this group of amendments, er when I er seek the opinion of the er Committee on my Amendment five, I shall only be seeking agreement to Amendment five and its related amendments er eight and eleven and if the Noble Lord, Lord er if, if the House were er to disagree with my Amendment or if it were to be withdrawn and the Noble Lord, Lord amendment were, were put, I think he would agree that it would only tha that that a decision by the Committee would only relate to the amendments in his name because we have in fact four alternatives before us which we are debating together.
[333] My Lords, with that er oh, and I've one more thing to say which is that there there are is a series of amendments in the next group, twenty-three to five and twenty-eight to thirty which are in f in fact consequential on some of the amendments in th in this earlier group and er if er er some of these amendments were to be carried, er then I think the Committee would have to consider whether to er also to agree er to amendments in the in in the following group of amendments.
[334] My Lords, so much for the er the procedures and the er outline of what we're what we're discussing.
[335] The issues before us now are as important, at least as important as anything else in the Bill.
[336] The Government has made welcome propositions er on a number of matters both in relation to the er police er part of the Bill and the Magistrates Court's part of the Bill.
[337] As far as the police part of the Bill is concerned, the er Government er under considerable pressure from erm er [sigh] er members on their own side er as well as from these benches, have made the er very welcome concession that the chairman of a police authority shall no longer be appointed er by the Secretary of State, by the Home Secretary, but elected from among the members of the police authority er they have also made provision that the er er [sigh] er i in response to the er criticisms that were made at second reading that the size of the p of a police authority shall no longer be limited to er sixteen members but could er by er order of the Secretary of State be extended to er twenty er er er twenty-four members.
[338] All those we recognise and we're grateful for.
[339] The trouble is that having er agreed to a er more flexible approach to the size of the police authority, the Government has not taken the opportunity despite many effective speeches from the Conservative benches at second reading to er ret to return to the tripartite system of policing in this country which was er the e the essential element of the nineteen sixty four Act which is now in effect being replaced.
[340] If I make only one quote from er the sec second reading from the Noble Lord, Lord of Hadleigh what he said was that there that er er er the an any members appointed should be genuinely locally appointed.
[341] What is now proposed is that whatever the size of the police authority there will still be a body of appointees er m m made by the Secretary of State.
[342] Now er in Amendment twenty-seven the Government proposes a slightly different procedures or a more explicit procedure for the er for er for as to how these appointments shall be made.
[343] The Government is now proposing that they shall er er that they shall be erm made from a list of persons compiled in accordance with an Order by the Secretary of State and it appears to be being claimed, at least in the press that this somehow is providing for appointments to be at arms length from the Home Secretary.
[344] I cannot see how with that wording, that can be the case.
[345] If the list of persons is compiled in accordance with an Order made by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of State then makes the appointment, then it is the Secretary of State who is responsible for all stages of the process and we still have a centrally appointed er part of the of the er of the local authority.
[346] Let me give an example of how this might work in terms of numbers.
[347] If you were to have as as there w is in Greater Manchester at the moment er a political compos composition of the councils where you would get from eight er lo local authority members er five Labour two Conservative and one Liberal Democrat.
[348] If you assume that on politically sensitive issues as is normally the case the magistrates would not vote, and if you assume that the Secretaries er Secretary of State's appointees would, as would seem entirely plausible, vote in accordance with the wishes of the Secretary of State and the Secretary of State were indeed a Conservative Secretary of State, you would in fact have er in a area where the with the with the with the substantive Labour majority, you would have a Conservative majority on the police authority and you would you have the possibility of conflict between the police police authority and the local authorities er in the area who are jointly responsible with the police authority for many aspects of er of of policing by consent.
[349] Now I I've chosen an example w with a Conservative Secretary of State and the Labour majority, but I ask the Noble Lords on all, in all parts of the House to think it could work the other way round, because a Labour Secretary of State could exercise exactly these powers in an area where with a er Conservative majority on on er on on the local council or councils and I ask the House to think of this, not in a party er as a as a party issue between Labour, Conservative or Liberal Democrat, I just ask you to consider whether it is right for a Secretary of State of any political persuasion to er secure by appointment to a police authority a political control from the centre of that police authority, because that is what the Government's presents proposals would still achieve and er it is our view and it is the view of which is which is finds expression in Amendments five, eight and eleven that the we should return to the tripartite system of p of policing which policing is a partnership between the Chief Constable er the local authority in the area and the Home Secretary, that er tripartite arrangement has worked extremely well for thirty years, there have been minor conflicts in some parts of the country, but nothing to justify the wholesale removal of of of the partnership which is now proposed.
[350] We welcome the proposals by the Government as far as they go, but we have to point out that those proposals leave police authorities in an unstable situation.
[351] It is er er the police auth authorities are would not be robust to changes of government, they would not be responsive to the leads of local people as expressed through their elected members and the er the Government's proposals are inadequate as a final [...] remind the Committee that at second reading thirty f er five out of thirty seven speakers spoke against largely against th the tenor of the Bill with er er wi with with various reservations o of all kinds.
[352] I remind the House that one of the principal concerns with the police part of the Bill was the removal of the er the tripartite system a and the concentration of power in the hands of the Home Secretary.
[353] Our amendments would er restore democratic accountability for police authorities, they would remove the proposed concentration of power in the hands of the Home Secretary and I commend them to the Committee.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [354] Hear!
[355] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [356] Amendments proposed page two, line twelve, leave out from beginning to little a and insert served the Secretary of State shall by order establish.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [357] My Lords, any discussion of this group of amendments must surely be conducted against the background of the vital Amendment thirty-one concerning the Chairman of the police authorities.
[358] It has been tabled with my Noble Friend, Earl .
[359] I wish to record my gratitude to my Right Honourable Friend, the Home Secretary for his immediate understanding and the recognition of the very strong feelings expressed during the second reading debate by Your Lordships in all parts of the House.
[360] Amendment thirty-one confirms that a chairman of a police authority will be elected by the authority itself, instead of being appointed by the Home Secretary As Noble Lord, Lord has already said.
[361] This major change ensures the independence of the authorities and also crucially the operational independence of My Lords, any discussion of this group of am will be most welcomed as Lord has said in Your Lordships ding.
[362] I [...] country.
[363] I also welcome two more amendments which have also been put down by my Noble Friend, Lord [...] and of course are down for discussion now.
[364] Amendment twenty gives the Secretary of State power to increase the number of police authority members above sixteen.
[365] As I said on the second reading, I do believe that some areas will need to have larger authorities because of their size, or indeed their particular problems, geographical and otherwise.
[366] I also welcome Amendment twenty-seven which sets out plans for the appointment by the Secretary of State for members of authorities which will have sanction of having to come before Parliament before accepted and I think that again is extremely important.
[367] Against the background of the changes proposed to the Government we have to consider the members of the authority and the appointment of some members.
[368] I must make it clear at once that I personally do not regard these particular decisions as a constitutional question such as most certainly was the appointment of the chairman.
[369] I am glad therefore that the idea of appointed or co-opted members as well as magistrates seen now to be pretty widely accepted if I understand the Noble Lord, Lord 's amendment.
[370] I have come to the same conclusion that some a method of appointment [...] is in fact right and it makes sense.
[371] I do not say that in any criticism of the existing police authorities, my experience as Home Secretary I have to admit now some ten years ago was that on the whole they did a very good job, but I do now accept that the importance of law and order today demands a broad approach and possibly some new ideas.
[372] There are certainly My Lords, people in our community who feel that they have a special contribution in this field and would like to take part while not being able to go forward er for election to local councils.
[373] That I know is the very strong view of my Right Honourable Friend, the Home Secretary and indeed, also amongst a good many members in another place and indeed in Your Lordships House.
[374] I therefore come down firmly in favour of a principle of [...] appointed members.
[375] However, I must at this stage part from Amendment eleven on the method of their selection for two reasons.
[376] First I believe if we are going to seek a broader approach to the problems of law and order, I feel we need a broader electorate than the existing members of a police authority.
[377] Secondly, I believe the method of selection that my Right Honourable Friend the Home Secretary has proposed in Amendment twenty-seven is a broader method of selection than that proposed elsewhere.
[378] I also believe that it is not so subject to all the particular points that the Lord suggests against it.
[379] I believe it can be made to work and with the background of the proposed Amendment and what b can be done by Parliament as a result of that, that can be a sensible way of proceeding.
[380] I therefore My Lords conclude that the Bill on this point should stand as it is and in general I strongly support my Honourable Friend the Home Secretary on the plans that he now puts before the organisation of police authorities in tackling the serious problems of law and order which we all face in this country today.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [381] Hear!
[382] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [383] Hear!
[384] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [385] My Lords, erm I would like to take the opportunity if I may just to refer very briefly to one amendment of mine on page two, line eighteen after the second of insert not less than.
[386] Those words I would like to put on the record where on an earlier sheet that somehow or other have disappeared from the current Order Paper.
[387] My My Lords I I'm sure it isn't necessary for me in referring very briefly to the amendments to which er I have done er it isn't necessary for me to recount in full the arguments with which Your Lordships are already becoming very familiar.
[388] My Lords,I I'm like others of Your Lordships, I was myself very greatly influenced er in my opinion of this Bill by the remarks made by no fewer than three er former Home Secretaries, my Noble Friend Lord , my Noble Friend Lord a and the Noble Lord, Lord of Cardiff.
[389] I think it would have been absurd to have imposed upon police authorities a uniform number
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [blowing nose]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [390] of sixteen without regard either to the size of the area with which they were concerned or the numbers of the population.
[391] I I I it is very easy to find examples which, which show how absurd they were, the results f f , for instance a large area like Devon and Cornwall with four thousand square miles having now thirty elected members reduced under the Bill to eight would be absurd.
[392] Likewise Greater Manchester having a dense population two point six million, having now thirty elected members with thirty-five thousand members but the thirty thousand thirty-five thousand people if I remember would end up with three hundred and twenty-four thousand people per member I think it absurd.
[393] My Lords, to those who er who have objected to erm a body of large numbers o o need to reduce it to sixteen er I would say that those on the er my Noble Friends on the front bench would do very well to give their attention to the possibility of reducing the number of the cabinet er to sixteen er er er I w er forebear from making er detailed suggestions
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [394] as to which of those distinguished people should be dispensed with, but nevertheless it might be the advantage of everybody if the numbers of the cabinet were reduced to sixteen, I personally thought that for a very long time.
[395] My Lords, erm the, the th the most I think perhaps er th th th the Noble Lord,Lor Lord erm referred to my amendments and particularly to Amendment twenty-one which I share with I share certainly share this view with him that that is probably the most important of the ones which is which er I am concerned and to which I put my name and also I don't think it necessary at this stage to add to my remarks, but I do believe that the that the overwhelming need here is to strengthen the representation of elected erm members on police authorities and to to er walk er to tear away from the trend as I see it which is in which is erm the er my Right Honourable Friend, the Home Secretary has written into this Bill of increasing the power of the central Government.
[396] I I'm certainly not My Lords er un er er an unqualified admirer of all our procedures in local Government, but I do believe that before central Government is further down the road of, of erm usurping functions which are now those of local government it has to persuade a large number of people that its own performance justifies such a course and myself I don't believe it does.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [397] My Lords,I I think perhaps that at this stage er a contribution from the cross benches might not be out of place, since the issue we're discussing in this rather complicated set of amendments is as the debate has already shown that one er not to be settled just on party lines.
[398] Like the previous speakers I greatly welcome the concessions er proposed by the Government er in the police aspect of the Bill, although I c can't refrain from commenting that I simply cannot understand why they were surprised at the reaction to their original proposal, given what had already been said in this House and by everybody that they consulted, but welcome though these concessions are, er I myself find them falling short of the ideal in three respects.
[399] First I don't want to repeat what has been so eloquently said about the need for putting the elected local government representatives in a clear majority, but it certainly seems to me that unless is, this is done the whole concept of the triple partnership and all the fine words about local accountability are seriously at risk.
[400] To my mind, the case has not been made out or anything like it er for so fundamental a change.
[401] The Noble Earl, Lord has given one o one illustration of how things might work out in practice, perhaps I could have a shot at another.
[402] Er under the Government proposals, if the other two non-elected elements on the authority combined and then elected one of their number as chairman, perhaps at a meeting when a couple of the local authority representatives couldn't be present, then the local authority members would in effect be in a minority.
[403] These bodies My Lords are after all precepting authorities and I think it crucial that those who've been elected by their local communities should be in a clear majority and I sympathise very much with the er proposition in this regard, set out in the Noble Lord, Lord 's Amendment number twenty-one.
[404] As regards size, to come to the second point, the Government amendments still seem to contemplate that sixteen should be the norm er but in practice, I would expect a great many exceptions to be made where for example there are number of constituent authorities er as in Greater Manchester er where there's er a combination of urban areas and large rural areas, or where the authority tends to function through a lot of sub-committees each of which have to be manned as in Greater Man as in Merseyside.
[405] I am bound to say My Lords that my own view is still that the size within the limits laid down by statute with a minimum of sixteen or eighteen and maximum of twenty-four would best be determined locally and if we're not going in for a national police force, I still can't see what it has to do with the Secretary of State and why the Home Office should be settling the size of forty-three or so police authorities.
[406] At all events I think that the views of the local authorities should ordinarily prevail.
[407] It follows from this My Lords that I believe that the Noble Lord, Lord with his well-known moderation and desire to compromise has gone rather too far in meeting Government intentions, but at all events I do ago [clears throat] go along with his proposal that if it is to be done by order, it would be right that the order should be laid before Parliament to make quite sure that justice has been done.
[408] Then thirdly, there is this question of how the minority of non-elected members should be composed.
[409] I accept that there is a good case for including magistrates er trailing clouds of glory as it were from Tudor times when the Justice of the Peace was local government and then historically through their membership [...] standing joint committees, but I still find it hard to accept, and here with great regret I do differ both from the Noble Lord, Lord and the Noble Viscount, Lord , I is the part of the central government er to make at least five appointments for each authority somewhere between two hundred or three hundred appointments direct?
[410] We have heard various explanations of who these people might be and Lord does take some comfort erm from Amendment number twenty-seven in the Bill, but looking at that Amendment, I'm afraid My Lords it doesn't really take us very far.
[411] The Government say that in all this, one of their main aims is to go for greater local accountability, er but this h people can hardly claim to know more about the community than the elected representatives, or more for example about educational or social service activities which can be relevant to police concerns and there are many local government member as enquiries have shown who can claim outside management and financial expertise.
[412] I am sorry to say this, but my fear is that the reality is that there would be a substantial minority with weighty voting powers which would look to their appointing authority for a lead.
[413] In the event of a dispute with the Inspector of Constabulary or with the Home Office, where would their loyalties be and how independent would the auth authority remain?
[414] I can put a point rather more crudely than the Lord put it, but [sigh] I realise that the present Government find it inconceivable, one day they will be in opposition, but I do wonder if they would have shown quite the same enthusiasm for this solution if it had been forthcoming from a Labour Government.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [415] I accept the argument which er Noble Viscount put so clearly that there may be a case for bringing in some outside people, but if this is to be done, it seems to me that the police authority itself is the authority best able to judge what particular gaps need to be filled and the one of the amendments to which I am speaking erm does contemplate giving power to the authority to co-opt members with experience which might not other ways be available, for example from among the ethnic minorities.
[416] It works for education authorities and it could work here, but the needs do vary a great deal from locality to locality and are not really suitable for discussion for decision in Whitehall, or to be more accurate Queen Anne's Gate.
[417] Erm so My Lords I am left in the slight dilemma that erm I'm not er none of the amendments we're discussing are absolutely ideal from my point of view and meet the three difficulties er which I have touched on and indeed the amendment to which I have put my name erm number eleven, would I think be better erm to have a minority of er er a minimum number of eighteen rather than sixteen so as to simplify the arithmetical processes of contemplated er a two-thirds majority, but of the er amendments that we are discussing er if the opinion of the House is to be sort, I myself would go along with Amendment five and the two other associated amendments with which the Noble Lord, Lord has submitted for consideration of the Committee.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [418] Hear!
[419] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [420] [clears throat] My Lords let me like the Noble Viscount like Lord and the Noble Lord, Lord of Aberdale and indeed the Noble Lord, Lord of Haringey, begin by welcoming the decision of the Government to erm drop the provision in the Bill which gave the Secretary of State the power to appoint the Chairman of the Policy Authority.
[421] It was a wholly objectionable idea, it was rightly opposed by very nearly everybody who spoke in the debate and the Government has withdrawn from that decision and that I welcome unreservedly but My Lords a great deal that is objectionable remains in Clause two of this Bill.
[422] The Noble Viscount, Lord Whitelaw put it I thought extremely well, extremely persuasively, when he spoke on second reading on this question, not of the Chairman, but of the five Home Office nominees.
[423] This is what he said [reading] is it really wise to replace local authority members with the Home Secretary's nominees.
[424] Will the nominees really know more about local policing and more about their areas than the people from local authorities already do?
[425] It is he said extremely doubtful [] .
[426] Well I think that was wholly right that er quotation comes from columns four hundred and eighty, four hundred and eighty-one of the Official Report of the eighteenth of January.
[427] But the objections to this provision quite apart from the point identified rightly by the Noble Viscount on second reading, erm raised in my view far wider matters major constitutional issues.
[428] It is whether we are prepared to destroy the tripartite system that has been developed in this country since the passing of the Municipal Corporations Act of eighteen thirty five and the Local Government Act of eighteen eighty eight, for make no mistake about it Clause two of this Bill effectively destroys the careful balance that has been developed over more than a century between chief officers, local police authorities and the Home Secretary.
[429] Now why is this being done?
[430] We have My Lords still had no serious explanation from the Government as to why they have brought this proposals forward.
[431] Indeed the Noble Earl Lord paid a warm tribute to the existing system.
[432] Let me remind the House again of what he said in our debate on the Government's proposals last year.
[433] He said this, [reading] in the thirty years that have passed since the previous Police Act became law, the old tripartite structure which consisted police authorities, chief constables and the Home Secretary, has provided an effective police service which can still truthfully be described as not only the best in the world, but also the envy of the world [] .
[434] That comes from the Official Report of the twenty sixty of May last year, column three hundred and forty-five.
[435] Now My Lords I believe that view of the Noble Earl is widely shared in this con in in this country and indeed what is even more significant outside this country.
[436] As I have indicated in the past, not only is our police service admired, but so is our policing structure.
[437] Senior Police Officers from the United States and from our partners in Europe believe that we have succeeded in creating a police service that is politically independent, unlike those in their own countries where all powerful politicians, be they ministers of the interior or mayors, have imposed their will upon the police and often with the most damaging consequences.
[438] Er this being so, I find it extraordinary that the Government has brought forward this proposal.
[439] There has as been pointed out already, been no independent enquiry, no royal commission, no report from a select committee of the House of Commons and no pressure from outside Parliament.
[440] Indeed on the nineteenth of January the Noble Earl Lord told me that of the three hundred and sixty letters which had been received from a wide variety of organisations representing people of totally different political opinions and that [...] following the publication of the White Paper.
[441] Not one of those organisations had supported the Government's proposals in relation to the membership of police authorities.
[442] Not one [laughing] organisation [] wrote to the Home Secretary indicating they were supporting what the Government is now putting for the House.
[443] As the House is aware, these proposals are opposed by the entire police service of this country by the Police Federation, by the Police Superintendents Association and by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
[444] They have taken this position not because they are resistant to change, but because they believe that these proposals will politicise the British Police Service and they are in my view entirely right to have that view.
[445] Instead of the present arrangements which have served us so well, a politician in London for the time being Home Secretary will appoint five members to the authority, or roughly a third when the size of the authority is larger than sixteen.
[446] They would be people who'd be able to do that [...] police authority in Norwich, in Chelmsford, in Newcastle in Penrith and all the other force areas in England and Wales.
[447] My Lords what has this got to do with the quality of policing in this country?
[448] They will be accountable, these political nominees will be accountable of course not to the local community, but to the politician in London of whatever political persuasion.
[449] The Noble Earl, Lord has been wounded by the suggestion he confessed to be in the last debate that Mr Howard has the intention of putting political friends into these jobs.
[450] Well let's for a moment assume that he has no such intention, that no such idea has ever crossed his mind.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [451] I fear that does not even begin to address our concern the assurances which were given on the last occasion about the Home Secretary's attitude by the Noble Earl Lord which will no doubt be repeated later this afternoon, will of course hold good only for as long as Mr Howard is Home Secretary.
[452] His successors of whatever party will not be bound by anything the Noble Earl may say this afternoon, it is inconceivable that a Home Secretary in five or ten years time, also what Lord say in February nineteen ninety four, I really mustn't do whatever er I thought of doing in er that given the fact that the Noble Earl Lord gave certain assurances, he will do whatever he considers on that occasion to be right
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [blowing nose]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [453] and er that I think the House must recognise.
[454] No future governments of whatever political persuasion, erm er I I fear have let me begin that point again.
[455] Future governments whatever their political persuasion, will as we all know perfectly well be tempted to fill these posts on police authorities with political allies.
[456] On every police authority of sixteen members there will of course as we've heard be five nominees of the politician in London, three Justices of the Peace and eight councillors, coming of course from different political parties as is required by the legislation and in my view rightly required by the legislation.
[457] The five Home Secretary nominees with the support even of a minority of say three of the councillors will almost certainly be able to elect the Chairman of the authority who will then have in addition to his deliberatory vote a casting vote.
[458] The Noble Lord, Lord said on many occasions Justices of the Peace do not in fact become involved in matters of this sort and the Home Secretary of the day of whatever party he may be a member, will then have his majority on very nearly every police authority in England and Wales.
[459] My Lords, do you really want to give the politician in Whitehall this sort of power on the overwhelming majority of police authorities in Britain in England and Wales I should say and remember the other provisions of the Bill.
[460] The national policing objectives which will be laid down by the Home Secretary of the day.
[461] Performance related pay for chief officers to be determined by the police authority and most significant of all, fixed term contracts for chief officers.
[462] Consider the position of the chief officers operational independence which is the immense strength of our system and indeed our guarantee that all powerful politicians in Whitehall and for that matter, members of police authorities cannot apply improper pressures on the police.
[463] Allow this clause to go through unamended and there is a serious danger that a future Home Secretary's friends on a police authority could indicate that if a chief officer did not see things the way they did and that of the government of the day his contract might not be renewed.
[464] My Lords there is no point in the Government denying that there is such a danger, pressure of precisely this character has been applied on chief officers of police outside our own shores.
[465] That is why so many of them admire our system of carefully designed checks and balances which has served this nation so well.
[466] My Lords in a few minutes the House will have to vote on this issue.
[467] I must tell the House it is probably one of the most momentous in the history of the British Police Service.
[468] There is a real danger that the passage of this clause unamended will do the most grievous damage to the British Police Service, that is not simply my view, it is the opinion of every chief officer of police with whom I have discussed this matter.
[469] My Lords if this bill had been introduced by a government of a different political persuasion to the present one, I would of course have spoken in precisely the same terms as I do today and I believe that in circumstances of that sort, the overwhelming majority of this House would have taken precisely the same view.
[470] Let Members of this House have no doubt of the gravity of the decision they will be making this evening.
[471] As I said on second reading, this House is the ultimate guardian of the constitutional liberties of the British people.
[472] I hope the House will strike these repugnant provisions from the Bill.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [473] Hear!
[474] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [475] Hear!
[476] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [477] My Lords, I did not speak on the second reading of this Bill, because I spoke extremely critically on in the debate on the White Paper o on er May the 26th last year, but er I would therefore like to er commence by joining with my Right Honourable Friend Lord Whitelaw because I was so critical, in welcoming the changes which the Home Secretary has now proposed.
[478] He inherited this Bill a and it is not always easy er to make changes of the radical nature which he has proposed.
[479] Er Ministers are often in a very grave difficulty these days, if they don't listen er er they're accused o o of being autocratic,i i if they do listen, er then they're accused of making u-turns, well even the gathering swine didn't have to make a u-turn, a change of direction would have been quite sufficient and I welcome the change of direction which the Home Secretary ha has made erm the objectives of this Bill are I think to be commended, but it is be perfectly clear from the outset that you can't combat crime by antagonising everyone concerned with the enforcement of law and order, the police authorities, the police and the magistrates.
[480] I think the Home Secretary has gone a long way to meet many anxieties which were expressed
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [481] Hear!
[482] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [483] but I hope however that he will be willing to go a few steps further.
[484] I myself think er as other er speakers in this debate have said, I think it's important that there should be an absolute majority of elected members serving on the police authority.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [485] Hear!
[486] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [487] Preferably by retaining the two-thirds majority, but at least ensuring as my Noble Friend Lord has suggested, a clear majority and I myself will go on reiterating the principle, enunciated by Professor in the [...] er and also much commended by some elements in the Conservative Party and he said you cannot have real effective democracy without real effective local self government, and he said that in the light of his experiences in pre-war Germany.
[488] If I might repeat again what I suggested in the debate on the White Paper er there is a comparison perhaps pushed a little far w which what the national socialist did in Germany by saying a locally elected major-like [...] does not represent the wishes er an er interests of the people of Cologne, as well as perhaps an appointed business man with the name of Krupp.
[489] Now that may be pushing it too far, but there are real dangers in giving a Home Secretary of any power, er the powers that this bill, bill suggests.
[490] We also look at legislation on the basis, not that you give powers to a good minister, but you may be putting ho powers into the hands of a bad minister,i in future, in future years.
[491] The point has been made about the importance of having local businessmen.
[492] I think it's been established that thirty-eight per cent of the people who now serve on police authorities have business e e experience a an and I I really like my Lor Noble Lord, Lord , er don't really appreciate the need for the changes that are suggested in this bill.
[493] I would ask the Government t to think again and to use er a phrase coined by er Sir Winston Churchill, trust the people.
[494] Now the police authorities a and the local authorities and the magistrates may be thought to be indulging in special preening, but I do assure Your Lordships that they really are not alone in expressing their anxieties er about the er er er this bill and what it proposes, for example, if I may, I would like to refer to a letter which I received from Justice, chaired by my Noble Friend Lord Alexander of and with his Vice-chairman er er Lord and er they say as an all-party human rights organisation, Justice considers that the composition of police authorities is an important constitutional issue effecting the independence of policing.
[495] Although we accept the Government's recent concessions go some way to meeting the concerns expressed at second reading, we believe an additional amendment is crucial.
[496] This amendment should ensure that there is a majority of elected members serving on the police authority, either by retaining the present two-thirds requirements, or by providing for a simple majority and they give two main reasons.
[497] First a majority of elected members simply provides a better form of local government accountability and secondly, it's a necessary counter-balance to other proposals in the Bill and helps to preserve the checks and balances of the tripartite relationship.
[498] I believe these checks and balances built up over many years are essential to the maintenance of true democracy in this country and I commend to Your Lordships Amendments five, eight and eleven for those reasons.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [499] Hear!
[500] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [501] I er can be quite short about this.
[502] The real trouble with these provisions is that they gather more power into the hands of the Home Secretary.
[503] Er what whatever may be said, whatever his intentions are, this is a centralising Bill which er which strengthens Whitehall, weakens local authorities and local representation.
[504] That is the objection er the whole fundamental objection to what is proposed in the Bill as it is a centralising measure was shown quite clearly er er a a by the desire of the Home Secretary to increase his own power as when he intended to appoint the Chairman absolute impudence in my view er to to suggest tha that he he should have had the power to appoint a chairman and although congratulations have now been er er poured upon him for withdrawing to wh what's a [...] position, I would sooner congratulate your er Your Lordships, er all of whom spoke in such a manner that it would have been impossible for the Home Secretary to have carried the measure through.
[505] So er er er this was this was and is still gathering more powers into the hands of the Home Secretary.
[506] He is if I may take this question of the appointment of the independent members, he has certainly separated himself directly from their appointment by having this regional instrument.
[507] [sigh] All applications will be considered in the first instance by one of six regional short listing panels, each regional panel will consist of a professional recruitment consultant and two people independent of government and I shall select those I wish to appoint as members of police authorities from the short list.
[508] So he's separated himself at least from that he's pu he's put at least one barrier between him.
[509] Of course he is still er going to presumably appoint the regional panels, the professional recruitment consultant and the two people who themselves will be independent of government.
[510] He is going to do that, so he was going to have a hand in [laughing] that [] he's gon not really not going to have a hand in it, he is going to be directly responsible for selecting the panel which will select the independent members on the short list and recommend them to him.
[511] Well, I suppose that er [sigh] er i it i it is a barrier of some, some sort, some sort, but it doesn't strike me as being a very strong one, er and all of this you see is and I say this to Noble Lords in all parts of the House, all of this is part of the continuing destruction of local authorities
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [512] Hear!
[513] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [514] It is all part of gathering more power, whatever may be said by the Government about his intentions int into the hands of Whitehall and into the hands of ministers who at the moment will be Conservative, but very shortly I think are likely to be Labour.
[515] That's an argument that ought to appeal to the Noble Lords opposite if nothing else does!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [516] But erm er I I I I really feel very strongly about this that we all know that democracy doesn't just consist of electing a a national parliament once in five years, we all know the strength of democracy comprises that where the complex of local institutions of local bodies made up of people serving in different ways, not necessarily elected, that is what comprises democracy and it is that which is being undermined again by this measure in this in this Bill and I do say to Your Lordships that for the reasons given by both my Noble Friends er Lord and by, by the Noble Lord, Lord Lord er that there has been no demand for this
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [517] Hear!
[518] Hear!
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [519] locally er there is no as far as I know no, no requirement that it should happen except the desire of the Home Secretary to strengthen his control or his influence in, in these bodies.
[520] Now I'm against that and I'm therefore against I regret to say what the Noble Lord, Lord said, and I'm extremely sorry to see that he has moved on this particular matter er because th there is no case, that has been really made out for this.
[521] Of course you may get some probably some very good people a added, I don't know wh wh wh they'll be none of us knows, er they're are going to nowhere that they're going to get their expenses, they're also going to get their allowances, I don't know what those allowances will be er and I wouldn't assume that they're necessarily going to lessen their independents because they receive allowances, but it is weakened, it is weakening the powers of the local institutions which are an essential part of our democratic society in this country.
[522] For that reason I am totally opposed to it.
[523] I believe that the House should insist er that the not only should th should be a majority o of local of of of local authority members, but these so-called independent members are really quite superfluous to requirements they are p they are creating another kind of semi-quango, they are concentrating more power into the hands of the Home Secretary and for that reason, although I do not wholly agree with the amendments that have been put down, I shall certainly vote for them all.
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (JSJPSUNK) [524] My Lords I would like to speak [...] amendments that are down in my name er I've er got Amendments number seventeen and eighteen and numbers twenty-two er and number a hundred and twenty-five.
[525] Twenty-o twenty-two and a hundred and twenty-five I don't propose to speak to because er they are closely related to Government amendments, but I shall talk about it in another respect, but er seventeen and eighteen are in the theme of what so many Noble Lords have said, including the Noble Lord, Lord , and that is the importance of the local people er being er on these er thes th these these new police authorities and I seek to remove er the five appointed or any appointed people er by the Secretary of State.
[526] My Lords for reasons that have already been explained to Your Lordships and which I will not pursue yet for, er it seems that everybody's agreed that it is important that the erm local authority representatives should be in the majority and I have to admit that my amendments do not go that far because I was concentrating on getting the magistrates back where they ought to be, er but er that is one thing, the other is that it er was an interesting point that er the Noble Lord, Lord of Greenwich raised, that my Noble Friend Lord Whitelaw er at columns four eighty and four eight one er questioned whether it was indeed appropriate that er the Home Secretary should make these appointments.
[527] My Lords, I believe that it is extremely difficult to get the right sort of people erm to do these things.
[528] Most of the people who voluntarily er want to give public service are either er local councillors or local magistrates