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I very much agree with my right hon. and learned Friend Mr. Hogg, my hon. Friend Tony Baldry and our Front-Bench team. The new clause is extremely important. Its purpose is to ensure that a limit of three years is imposed, instead of the period prescribed in the Bill.
We are moving towards a general election and the wash-up period. If one were to make an assessment of the progress likely to be made by the Bill, one would conclude it is highly probable that because of the important issues at the heart of the new clause and amendments, the Government will have an opportunity to think again about getting some of their proposals through when the matter goes between the usual channels. The three-year period is something to hang on to. It would mitigate the difficulties that we face in what is increasingly called the surveillance society.
I listened, sometimes with a slight weariness, to the repetitious or at any rate the enlarged deliberations of Mr. Dismore which were churned out of the Joint Committee on Human Rights. There are some distinguished members on that Committee, but I have the gravest reservations about our legislating simply because the Joint Committee on Human Rights is imbued with the idea that because it has the duty to monitor the Human Rights Act and the European convention on human rights, we should automatically pay special attention to that assumption.
The framework should be decided in Westminster. We are quite capable of deciding for ourselves what the right level is and what is proportionate. After all, most of the democracies in the world-many of the Commonwealth countries and the United States-have worked with us over many generations. We in this House are not so completely aberrant or so witless that we cannot come up with legislation that is in favour of protecting the rights of the individual. In general, we are moving towards a surveillance society and it is extremely important that we do not allow the benefits made possible by DNA samples, which I certainly admit, to intrude on the rights of individuals.