My Lords, I am not a lawyer either, but like my noble friend Lady Blower I have read the Bingham Centre’s report on this. I want to draw your Lordships’ attention to one aspect of it, which I do not think has been mentioned—I apologise if it has. There have been so many good speeches, particularly from the other side of the House, and across the House.
According to the report, the clause includes a retroactive power which would allow what was not lawful at the time to be made lawful now. The report suggests that this is retroactive lawmaking of the worst kind and particularly offends the rule of law. I think we should do away with the clause altogether. I have also read an article by Dominic Grieve, the much-respected former Conservative Attorney-General, on the “ConservativeHome” blog, which I must admit is not normally at the top of my daily reading list. It is an instructive piece. I will not read at length, because time is getting on, but he calls it,
“using legislation as a form of propaganda”
That is from a former Attorney-General and worth taking note.
I also draw attention to the fears that this is creating in the wider public. I have just had an email saying that over 100 organisations have written an open letter to the Prime Minister asking that this clause be removed. I hope that, when we come to Report, the House will remove this clause, which offends the rule of law.