Clause 191 - Bail

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 16 January 2003.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 4:00, 16 January 2003

The Minister says that my wider concerns about bail are not relevant, but he is mistaken. He said that there was not a presumption in favour of bail in extradition, but there will be now. He has already admitted that there are changes and that this is new law. For once, I was able to work that out from the explanatory notes, but I wanted to hear him say that on record. He rightly says that the presumption of bail does not apply after conviction, but I am not sure that there should be a presumption of bail anyway. Far from the Minister saying that my party did not listen to me about bail, he is saying that the Conservative 1989 Act did not include a presumption of bail, but that this Bill will include one. That is going in the wrong direction. Most of the time, the other Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, the hon. Member for Coventry, North-East (Mr. Ainsworth), has been at pains to say that the Bill is much tougher than previous Conservative legislation. However, with clause 191, the Government are making the Bill weaker in cases in which there has not been a conviction, because it introduces a presumption of bail that did not exist in previous legislation.

I am not comfortable with the clause. It will be re-examined in another place, and I hope that the Minister will respond to the points that I have just made. The explanatory notes and Minister's comments seem to show that the Government are introducing a presumption of bail that did not exist before. That is going the wrong way.