Wales Bill - Committee (2nd Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:00 pm on 7th November 2016.

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Photo of Lord Thomas of Gresford Lord Thomas of Gresford Liberal Democrat Shadow Attorney General 9:00 pm, 7th November 2016

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas, in introducing his Amendments 77 and 78, did not expand very much on what they mean. I support the Government on the necessary test for the law on reserved matters, and I think it is essential that it be confined in that way.

I would be extremely concerned if there were an attempt to have a different criminal law applying in Wales, save in matters concerned with the enforcement of regulations or Acts of the Welsh Parliament. However, any modifications to the criminal law that dealt with, for example, the meaning of intention, recklessness, dishonesty, and so on or “secondary criminal liability” would cause great conflict. I have to tell your Lordships that I was involved in the definition of “recklessness” in the House of Lords Judicial Committee 25 years ago. My argument was dismissed but 25 years later their Lordships overruled the previous decision. It was similar with secondary criminal liability. My argument about that many years ago was dismissed but in very recent times has been accepted. These are difficult concepts and they should not be interfered with in any way.