Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:15 pm on 5th April 2005.

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Photo of Lord Campbell of Alloway Lord Campbell of Alloway Conservative 8:15 pm, 5th April 2005

My Lords, I do not want to take too much time over technical problems. This amendment is put forward for acceptance in principle. The principle is that, according to the requirements of the convention, a trigger clause is needed to introduce secondary legislation. I know that the noble and learned Lord does not agree with that for one moment and that he never has and never will, but that is the advice of the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Therefore, there is not much object in picking at the form of the amendment, which in fact reflects the advice of the Joint Committee on Human Rights. It is not supposed to predicate or pre-empt the precise form of the regulation because that is a matter for the affirmation of Parliament. So, inevitably, if you look for a trigger clause, you do not find the detail, and there is none.

As for the principle, which is the main matter of contention between us, the point is simply that it is as plain as a pikestaff from the reports of the Joint Committee on Human Rights that the approach of the noble and learned Lord the Attorney-General to having these safeguards in the Bill is an issue and that this amendment resolves that issue in accordance with the recommendations of the committee. In those circumstances, I have no alternative but to test the opinion of the House.