Clause 13

Part of Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:15 pm on 20 November 2007.

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Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier Shadow Minister (Justice) 12:15, 20 November 2007

I always reflect on what the Minister says and, sometimes, I reflect it back at him. Today is not one of those occasions, but I was interested in his saying that the purpose of clause 13 is to bring the balance inherent within custody plus into play. Well, custody plus is not in play, so there is no balance to be struck. Intermittent custody—a different concept—has been put in abeyance. We all understand the resource difficulties, but I urge the Government not only when dealing with the Bill, but when looking at the history of criminal justice legislation since 1997 not to rush for headline solutions, but to think more carefully about the implications of what flows from that legislation.

Let us consider schedule 23. It contains pages and pages of amendments to legislation that is barely two or three years old and some of it obviously deals with much older legislation. The amount of legislation that the Government have amended before it has even come into force, let alone after it has come into force, and the amount of legislation that the Government have not brought into force—custody plus being one example—is enormous. It is an incompetent, inefficient and confusing way in which to run a criminal justice system.

I shall not press the new clause to a Division nor shall I resist clause 13 stand part. I urge the Government not to get themselves into such muddles because it spreads confusion elsewhere.