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.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Conservative, Beaconsfield 6:00 pm, 3rd November 2003

The Minister tempts me, and I put on record, as I have on many occasions, that my pleasure in the passage of the Bill has been the degree of consensus that we have been able to achieve and the rational debate that has taken place as a result. In that sense, it has been a remarkable piece of legislation to see through Committee, so I am sorry that I shall have to disappoint the Minister on this occasion.

As always happens with legislation, the problem is that we are running out of time. The Minister wants the legislation on the statute book by the end of the Session, which I support, but we have to send a message about the remaining areas of concern to us. This is the second reading of a new clause and, in the absence of concrete proposals from the Minister on self-regulation, the House ought to be very concerned about what I see as a deteriorating situation. I am mindful of what has been said and of the point that we make a distinction for sex offences if we go down this road. Having said that, it is noteworthy that this is the very point that the past Director of Public Prosecutions said should be of great concern. He has highlighted the fact that the current contempt of court provisions are not sufficient to meet that concern. In those circumstances, it is right that the House should pronounce on the principles in the new clause.