My Lords, to many of us, 20 years seems a very long time, but the memory of that day is fresh to many noble Lords who are here today. I do not underestimate the contribution made by the noble Baroness, Lady Howell, in the early days in convincing Jack Straw to mount this major inquiry. It has continuously demonstrated the issues that are now being identified in this report.
We are still not able to answer why some police officers mounted a cover-up of this magnitude. We thank Mark Ellison and the Home Secretary, Theresa May, who has made a very positive response to the inquiry. Is there any reason why the inquiry looking at the role played by undercover agents, and the extended work of Mark Ellison and Chief Constable Creedon, could not go hand in hand? Another year of agony and waiting is a very long time. Two of the most serious allegations relate to the payment allegedly made by the father of one of the accused to the police and to the role of the IPCC, which failed to identify the wrong done by the police. Will the Minister take note that the trust of the black community has now been eroded to such an extent that any delay in getting to the truth may cause lasting damage? It is for this reason that I ask the Minister to publish the stop and search report that is now being held up at No. 10.
We ought to say to the noble Baroness, Lady Lawrence, who is in her place, that we cannot bring back the precious life she has lost, but we must put right the system that has caused so much pain and distress. We ought also to say that the sentiments and humility expressed by the Minister are why the world envies the democratic process we have in this country.