Part of Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Bill - Third Reading – in the House of Lords at 1:40 pm on 8th September 2020.

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Photo of Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Shadow Spokesperson (Justice) 1:40 pm, 8th September 2020

My Lords, I echo the words of the noble Baroness, Lady Barker. I know that she spoke to Marie McCourt and informed the earlier stages of the debate. We are dealing with families in the most unimaginably tragic situation and Marie McCourt has shown tremendous endurance over decades to get this legislation on the statute book and for recognition of the turmoil that families in that position go through.

My noble friend Lady Kennedy has been very active in this matter, and I would like to put on record my thanks to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Keen, who has been very receptive to the amendment that will be considered in another place and who has had a follow-up meeting to consider other matters that may be taken further. We are grateful to him and for the cross-party approach that this Bill has seen in this House.

As was mentioned by the Minister, other aspects of mental capacity were investigated further, if I can put it like that, at earlier stages of the Bill by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, and others. The Parole Board will have to take a very difficult decision when looking at the reason why this information has been withheld, whether it is because of mental capacity, vindictiveness or as a power play. These are very difficult decisions for the Parole Board to make but it is right that victims’ families are fully informed about the process that the Parole Board is going through and that there are active and statutorily based steps for the Parole Board to make sure that those families are properly informed. I thank the Minister for supporting this legislation.