Amendment 292P

Part of Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill - Committee (11th Day) – in the House of Lords at 7:30 pm on 24th November 2021.

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Photo of Lord Thomas of Gresford Lord Thomas of Gresford Liberal Democrat Shadow Attorney General 7:30 pm, 24th November 2021

My Lords, I first acknowledge my place in devolution history. For the purposes of the footnote in that history, I should say that the place where I gave my evidence was, as I recall, the Grand Hotel on the front in Llandudno.

The noble and learned Lord asks whether they would listen. That is really the purpose of this amendment: a royal commission is and should be listened to. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, said, there must be thinking about sentencing—thought must be given to the policy that the Government are pursuing. I listened to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Stewart, and I do not doubt that his Government are pursuing these various courses, policies and whatever he is talking about, but they are failing. He said that they are building capacity to meet demand, but who is demanding? I can tell him that people in north Wales are not demanding to go to the sort of prisons that exist, with their dreadful conditions.

As I understood it, the noble and learned Lord conceded the need for a royal commission to meet the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, on his utopian idea that there should be a separate agency for the mentally ill. We can pursue that idea in all sorts of ways.

My noble friend Lord Beith referred to the most recent offence to be created—stealing a cat, for which you get five years. But he got it wrong. It is not stealing, because you do not have to prove an intent permanently to deprive; all you have to do is show TWOC—taking away the cat without the consent of the owner. Do not give Tiddles from next door some milk without telling your neighbour, or you might get five years for it.