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Policing and Crime Bill - Report (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:15 pm on 7th December 2016.

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Photo of Lord Moynihan Lord Moynihan Conservative 8:15 pm, 7th December 2016

I am grateful to all noble Lords who took part in this debate. I hope it is not too mischievous to point out that over the last 30 years—I think it is about 30 years since I was Minister for Sport and had the first review of this matter—we have had a whole range of reviews. I welcome that Tracey Crouch announced a further review nearly a year ago, but it is unfortunate that the timing of its publication may be a matter of a couple of days after Third Reading of the Bill and thus preclude the opportunity for us to consider it and reflect it in the legislation.

I will very briefly respond to questions or comments that were made in the debate. In response to the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, I accept that improvements could be made to the wording of the amendment. I had hoped that my noble friend the Minister would have accepted that we were heading in the right direction, and taken it away with me and the likes of the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, to improve the wording before we got to the next stage, but sadly that was not to be this evening.

I stand second to none in recognising that over many decades the noble Lord, Lord Campbell, has not only been a pioneer but led the campaign to criminalise the worst excesses of doping, and his speech bore testimony to that. He said some very kind things, along with a slightly naughty reference to the benefit that I had from not taking growth hormones—diuretics would have been more appropriate for me, to keep my weight down in the coxswain seat. However, he is wrong on one point: very sadly I did not return from Moscow with a gold medal, but with a silver medal. I have subsequently learned that many of the athletes competing in that regatta were not only on drugs but subsequently sued the German Government for the damage to their health. They won and retained their gold medals. Such is the policy pursued by the International Olympic Committee on 20th-century gold medallists.

I echo what the noble Lord, Lord Addington, who was concerned about the wider application, said. Again, that could have been covered in an improvement to the amendment, but I recognise the point that he made. However, the amendment did not find favour with the Government at this stage and we may not have that opportunity.

I hold out hope that many of the points that the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, made will continue to reflect the position of his party. He has personally given a lot of support on this and shown interest in it during the passage of the Bill, and I am very grateful to him, as I am to the noble Lords on the Front Bench opposite, both of whom have been regularly in touch with me on the subject. It is a pity that the Government have focused on the review as the cornerstone of the reason why we should not be moving ahead now. I genuinely believe we have an outstanding set of Ministers in the DCMS. Karen Bradley and Tracey Crouch in particular have done a lot of very good work in this direction, and I do not think I would be speaking out of turn to say that I have heard them on a number of occasions at least put forward the benefits of considering the criminalisation of doping in sport. I hope therefore that the Government will be open-minded in their review on returning to this subject. There is a momentum, both internationally and nationally, towards legislation on this subject, and that momentum needs to continue. Thanks to the noble Lords who participated in a series of debates, it is continuing in the right direction in your Lordships’ House.

In closing my remarks, I very much hope that that the Minister will convey to her colleagues what she has said about the importance of the review and that they will seriously take it on board. In addition, I hope that an early opportunity will be found for your Lordships’ House to consider the findings of that review and to discuss this in more detail, including the possibility of finding an opportunity to legislate—if that is the wish of your Lordships—at a future stage. However, I recognise that we need to look at the review, take it into account and wait on its publication. With something of a heavy heart, after campaigning for this for some 30 years, ever since the first summit in Copenhagen, when I was Minister in 1987, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 176 withdrawn.

Clause 132: Monetary penalties: procedural rights