Criminal Justice (Mode of Trial) Bill [H.L.]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:57 pm on 20th January 2000.

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Photo of Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords 6:57 pm, 20th January 2000

I believe that that is an inadequate reply. Given that the debate has taken place, I put it to the noble Baroness and particularly, through her, to the Home Secretary, that in the course of his winding-up speech the noble and learned Lord the Attorney-General said very reasonably that he believed that he should not continue for too long because of the entrenched views that existed. Of course, in that respect he is right. However, should it not be recognised that if the Home Secretary proceeds without further thought and reflection, that will show that he has precisely the kind of entrenched views which, I understand, the noble and learned Lord the Attorney-General was regretting?

There are occasions when this situation occurs. Therefore, would it not be wise for the Government to pause for a moment, to put up with the obvious comments about their defeat, and not to regard this matter as a humiliation but something from which they might learn? If they so wish, on the next occasion they could include a commitment to such a Bill in their manifesto. If they do that, it might pass much more readily.