First, let me say that it would have been better if we had dealt with all the amendments before us in one large group.
Amendment 1 is an attempt to introduce a stricter sunset clause. I can see the Government's point that the end of March is very soon and there is little likelihood of full consideration of the replacement Bill being made in that time, but there needs to be a tighter timetable than the one the Government propose, which is the end of December.
The Bill allows the continuation of a situation that the Supreme Court finds obnoxious in that it undermines fundamental rights. In the words of Lord Justice Sedley, echoed by Lord Hope in the Supreme Court, the UN orders lead to a situation in which subjects of the Treasury's directions are, effectively, prisoners of the state; they are walking prisoners, of course, and two of them have walked away, but the restrictions are so tight, both on the subjects and their families, that, effectively, these people can no longer live their own lives. To echo what Winston Churchill said in 1943 about a situation in which the Executive could throw a man into prison, that is odious in the highest degree. It should not be allowed to continue one hour longer than is necessary. Our view, put forward in amendment 2, is that all the wider consultation and all the Committee consideration of the replacement Bill could be carried out before the election, and after the election it would be perfectly doable and adequate to complete all the stages of a replacement Bill by the summer recess-before the end of July.
When I was listening to the Minister, it suddenly occurred to me why the Government cannot accept our amendment-it is the reason that they cannot state: amendment 2 assumes that the election will be on
Nevertheless, I draw the attention of Ministers to the briefing prepared by Justice, which has said that even assuming that the Parliament runs its full course it should be possible to get the replacement legislation through by the end of October. Thus, I am very open to the Government rethinking the December date in favour of an October one, even if they are unwilling to move to a July date, for obvious political reasons.
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