Amendment 119A

Part of Victims and Prisoners Bill - Committee (4th Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords at 9:00 pm on 7 February 2024.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Wills Lord Wills Labour 9:00, 7 February 2024

My Lords, Amendments 119A to 119C in my name have been drafted to allow the independent public advocate to act for the victims of incidents, or series of events, that might have occurred before the passage of the Bill. As currently drafted, the Bill does not permit this.

Underpinning my original conception of the independent public advocate in my two Private Members’ Bills that were the genesis of this part of the Bill was the belief in the need for greater support and agency for those who had been failed by the state—which is meant to serve them—in what the Bill describes as “major incidents”. This is particularly the case when the full extent of such an incident may be revealed only over a period of time. In these circumstances, it is perverse to exclude from such support, which is outlined in the Bill the sub-postmasters whose lives were wrecked by the Horizon scandal, for example, or those whose lives were devastated by contaminated blood transfusions in the 1970s and 1980s, or by nuclear tests in the 1950s and 1960s. These are all catastrophic events that have, in some cases, become apparent only over quite a long period of time.

The victims need the support of the independent public advocate as they continue to search for justice and to right the wrongs that were done to them. These amendments will rectify this problem with the Bill’s current drafting. I beg to move.