Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill - Committee (11th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:07 pm on 24th November 2021.

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Photo of Lord Falconer of Thoroton Lord Falconer of Thoroton Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow Spokesperson (Scotland), Shadow Attorney General, Shadow Advocate-General for Scotland 4:07 pm, 24th November 2021

My Lords, before my noble friend Lady Blake comes to move her Amendment 292H, everybody will have seen what the plans are for today by looking at the groupings. They basically involve five groups dealing with things that have stood over from the pre-protest section of the Bill, and then three or four groups dealing with all the protest sections in the Bill, including one group, I think, dealing with all the proposed new clauses that have been added.

On any basis, the grouping is inappropriate. The proposed new clauses have the additional feature that they have not been debated at all in the Commons, from where this Bill originated. They have had no Second Reading of any sort in this House and now, to have Committee stage with them all crammed in effect into one or two groups means that there will be no proper scrutiny in this House.

Can I make a suggestion and ask a question? In relation to the new clauses, could we treat, without any additional formality, the proceedings today as a Second Reading in effect and then have an additional day in Committee so that there is proper consideration? In addition to that, could one have more time to deal with these very important clauses?

My concern is that this marginalises the House of Lords in relation to considering these provisions in detail—although I am sure that was not deliberate on the part of the Whips. It may well be that these provisions are needed; our role is to look at them line by line. The effect of the way in which this has been done is that now that is not possible. The House as a whole was entitled to look for protection in that respect from the Leader of the House and the Government Chief Whip. Instead, they have just gone along with the Government, like so many institutions, in pushing the institution to one side—and it is not right.