New Clause 5 — Control orders: pre-conditions

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 10th June 2008.

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Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Minister of State (Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing), Home Office 6:15 pm, 10th June 2008

That is entirely fair, and I am grateful to the hon. and learned Gentleman for dropping me a note to explain that he was going to do that. I am happy with that.

In summary, in respect of where the House of Lords is now in view of the latest judgment—to be perfectly fair, it was not as clear as anyone would want in respect of article 5 or 6 or more generally—it is a sort of score draw for everyone. I have already said that I do not regard new clauses 10 to 15 as appropriate or necessary, given what the House of Lords has said about the process. I also disagree with my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon about the "dubious legality" of control orders overall, but it is right and proper for him to have tabled the provisions to allow us to discuss them. I repeat that it may seem churlish to be against new clauses 5, 6 and 7 and to resist the invitation to stay in emollient mood and carry on skipping happy-clappy into consensual uplands—that mood might even prevail tomorrow, who knows?—but I shall do so, not least because the absolute formulaic formulisation, if I may put it in those terms, of those new clauses does not aid the process of securing greater clarity and greater efficiency in the use of control orders in the way intended. That is true because of the obligations we are already under from the courts to do much of what my hon. Friend suggests.

That is not to say that if the amending provisions are not passed, what remains and pertains at the moment is perfect. With the gallant assistance of the courts, we are regularly getting clarity about what should or should not prevail in respect of control orders. I do not doubt that that clarity will continue irrespective of whether the new clauses are passed. In effect, the courts provide as useful a safeguard in the broader sense as possible in dealing with circumstances that I accept are, given the normality of the backdrop of our rule of law, abnormal. I do not doubt either that my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon will, with assistance at the other end of this building, ensure that these matters continue to be up for discussion. As I said at the annual review, given the unsatisfactory nature of control orders, it is right and proper that they should be. I am afraid, however, that I must in the end disappoint the House by resisting the amending provisions.

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mick angel
Posted on 11 Jun 2008 1:41 pm (Report this annotation)

To paraphrase Mr. McNulty:

The current system of control orders is not good, is imperfect and is being challenged by the courts, but I'm going to vote for it anyway and/or vote against any amendments to the bill.

How is he able to look himself in the eye in the mirror I wonder?