New Clause 4 — Anonymity Of Suspects And Defendants In Certain Cases (No.2)

Part of Sexual Offences Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 6:00 pm on 3rd November 2003.

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Photo of Paul Goggins Paul Goggins Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office 6:00 pm, 3rd November 2003

I shall reflect on the hon. Gentleman's point. Indeed, I was reflecting on his earlier point about the circumstances of the constituent to whom he referred, and the place of professional people who are suspended when such information comes into the public domain. We obviously need to safeguard against those connections. Again, I believe that such a safeguard can be achieved within the voluntary route.

I conclude by saying that, in a very good speech, the hon. Member for Beaconsfield conceded that the voluntary route may deliver the sort of solution that we all seek. He said that it might prove to be a possible way forward. He then speculated about the message that we are sending from this House to the other place. I hope that he will share that message, which is to ask those in the other place not to pre-empt the possibility that the voluntary route may work by trying to force the statutory route upon us. He concedes that the voluntary route may be possible. Let us see if it can be made to work.

We should send a united message to the other place: we want to see whether that route can work, rather than jump to the legislative solution too soon. In that spirit, I hope that, even at this stage, the hon. Gentleman will agree to withdraw the new clause and send that united message to the other place.