Committee (9th Day)

Part of Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill – in the House of Lords at 12:45 pm on 9th February 2012.

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Photo of Baroness Howe of Idlicote Baroness Howe of Idlicote Crossbench 12:45 pm, 9th February 2012

My Lords, I briefly add my support to the amendment of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd. As has been rightly said, he stands up for instances where justice and fairness clearly need to be not just seen but interpreted correctly. I will also comment on what my noble friend Lord Ramsbotham said about this business of hope in what you try to achieve and for the individual who is there for life-for 30 years, anyhow-and about incentivising activities that could be of interest and help to any future he might have.

As the noble Lord, Lord Borrie, said, I was a very early member of the Parole Board, and I think that the independence of the Parole Board in looking at these matters is absolutely crucial. I am a little doubtful about how important the Secretary of State's role may be, not least if-as it will be-it were years after the offence was tried and committed and the decisions made. However, whether or not his role is important and appropriate, it will be most important that the Parole Board has independence and stands back.