Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill [HL] - Commons Amendments

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:30 pm on 11th February 2019.

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Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Housing) 3:30 pm, 11th February 2019

My Lords, I make clear at the start that we support the Bill, as noble Lords throughout the House have. My party and I oppose the death penalty. I fully accept that the Government and the noble Baroness have moved forward, and in that sense the new clause before us today is welcome. The noble Lord, Lord Paddick, has set out the treaties, conventions and obligations that we have signed, which underpin the intention and support of the British Government to oppose the death penalty.

This House has many important functions, and asking the Government to think again is one of them. It is right to do so again here: we need to look at this issue once more. I have expressed concern many times from this Dispatch Box about this risk; particularly around Brexit, whatever else we do, we must never allow a situation where we are helping criminals or terrorists. I ask the House to think again. It is not about helping criminals or terrorists; it is about ensuring that we support the things that we, as a country, believe are right. It was the Labour MP Sydney Silverman whose Private Member’s Bill in 1965 abolished the death penalty for murder. For treason and other offences, it was not until 1998 that it was finally abolished completely.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope of Craighead, set out some serious legal matters about where we are going with this. In the context of those, and the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, it is right for this House to ask the Government to think again. I entirely accept that when the Bill is passed nothing will happen until the treaty is signed, but it is not wrong, at this stage, to ask the Commons to look at it once more. I also understand that the amendment is about information going to other countries.

In conclusion, this is an important amendment. If the noble Lord divides the House, we will support him.