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Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:30 pm on 6th April 2005.

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Photo of Lord Monson Lord Monson Crossbench 5:30 pm, 6th April 2005

My Lords, I have an open mind about Amendment No. 17. Regarding Amendment No. 18, I acknowledge the stirring speech given by the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Crosby, and I take on board the many interesting points that she made, with which I agree to a considerable extent.

Is not one of the problems with Amendment No. 18, as drafted, that a 100-metre exclusion zone that started even at the south-eastern corner of Parliament Square would not, I suspect, protect the Black Rod's Garden entrance, for example, nor—although I have not had time to pace it out—would it protect the southernmost part of our car park?

Would the noble Baroness consider returning at Third Reading with an amendment that compromises at somewhere between one kilometre and 100 metres? I would suggest a quarter of a mile—and I declare an interest as patron of the British Weights and Measures Association, to which the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, also belongs. Survey after survey has demonstrated that the great majority of people in this country, of all age groups, continue to think in Imperial terms, despite years of metric indoctrination. Setting down the limits in terms of yards or fractions of a mile would help the public to understand—quite literally—how far they could go.