Clause 157 - Computer information

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 16th January 2003.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 2:30 pm, 16th January 2003

That is helpful. I see the deus ex machina operating—the Minister was taking advice as he got to his feet. Whenever we have a Bill of this sort, which introduces major changes to our law and envisages certain things coming into existence, the full import of which will only be clear once they exist, it is important that there is not a huge gap between the legislation receiving Royal Assent and, in this instance, the codes of practice becoming available.

It would be helpful, and in keeping with the way in which the Government have been publishing Bills in draft for pre-legislative scrutiny, as happened with this Bill, if an early draft of the codes of practice could be produced for Parliament to examine before consideration is completed. The other Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department will remember that this issue arose frequently during consideration of the Proceeds of Crime Bill last year. He was helpful when my hon. Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) and I were pressing him on the various codes of practice, and he was able to provide some early drafts of those codes during the lengthy consideration of the Bill in Committee. I am sure that it would be helpful to members of another place, and indeed to the House on Commons on Report, if the Government were to issue a letter setting out their thinking on what could be included in the code of practice. That would give us an early opportunity to see how the legislation will work. Only if we see some idea of what the code of practice will look like can we analyse this part of the Bill. I hope that I am not making unrealistic or unreasonable requests. I realise that the Minister cannot give me a firm assurance, but I thought it helpful to put my request on the record.