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

All those people yearning for a cat now know where they stand with this Government.

I pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham. For decades we have listened to him in this House with great attention on all these subjects. He has been a beacon in the attempt to reform prisons, with his great knowledge in having been Chief Inspector of Prisons over that period. I am grateful for his support for this amendment.

My noble friend Lord German pointed to the way in which sentencing has inflated over the years. I know from personal experience—from the other side of the Bar, not in the dock—that that has happened and continues to happen.

The Minister said two contradictory things: that there is no departure from the manifesto commitment for a royal commission and that the Government are already pursuing these ideas, so a royal commission is unnecessary. It is still their manifesto commitment, but they think that it is unnecessary. With these ideas being pursued in some secret corner of Whitehall, are there public hearings? Is there a call for expert evidence? Is there a publication of the results? It is not the same thing as a royal commission at all; it is simply the Government squirrelling away in the background, trying to make the best they can of the resources they will put to it. What we need is this royal commission acting not for any political reason but trying to put a real problem right. I will return to this matter, while asking to withdraw the amendment, when we get to Report.

Amendment 292P withdrawn.