Results 41–60 of 600 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Claire Ward

Asbestos-related Illness (Plymouth) (2 Dec 2009)

Claire Ward: My hon. Friend raises a very interesting point. From my own experience-my family are very engaged in the building and construction trades and my father established an institute for asbestos management-I am acutely aware of the impact that it can have on other construction trades. In this day and age, when we have much greater European engagement, she is right to raise that point. I will...

HM Prison Bullingdon (2 Dec 2009)

Claire Ward: I am grateful to the hon. Member for Banbury (Tony Baldry) for securing the debate and for his sustained interest in Bullingdon prison. I suspect that it would be of some interest if he were to send a copy of his speech to his party's Front-Bench team. He takes a rather more refreshing look at policy on this issue, and what he says clearly does not chime very well with his party's views. It...

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice: Violent Behaviour (Court Cases) (10 Nov 2009)

Claire Ward: The Ministry collects and publishes a range of information on the timeliness of cases in the criminal courts, including the quarterly time interval survey for timeliness in the magistrates courts and information on the time from receipt to commencement of cases in the Crown court. The information on magistrates courts is broken down into several offence categories, including violence against...

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice: Violent Behaviour (Court Cases) (10 Nov 2009)

Claire Ward: My hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise concerns about delays. In fact, we have been working very hard to reduce the amount of delay in cases. There has been a 20 per cent. improvement in the average number of days from charge to completion in magistrates courts, with the period decreasing from 8.8 weeks in 2006-07 to 6.9 weeks in 2008-09. A minority of lawyers might perhaps be abusing...

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice: Antisocial Behaviour (Sentencing) (10 Nov 2009)

Claire Ward: This is the first Government ever to introduce comprehensive measures to tackle antisocial behaviour. There were none in 1997. The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 imposed duties on local authorities and police to tackle antisocial behaviour, and those duties have been steadily strengthened. The National Audit Office found that nine out of 10 perpetrators ceased their antisocial behaviour after...

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice: Antisocial Behaviour (Sentencing) (10 Nov 2009)

Claire Ward: I was very pleased to visit my hon. Friend's constituency last week with the Prime Minister, and to see what his council is doing in working with all the local agencies and the local police to provide an effective service for victims and witnesses of antisocial behaviour. I was particularly interested in the work done by Andrew, the council's antisocial behaviour officer. The Home Secretary...

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice: Antisocial Behaviour (Sentencing) (10 Nov 2009)

Claire Ward: I shall be very happy to provide that information to my hon. Friend and to the House.

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice: Antisocial Behaviour (Sentencing) (10 Nov 2009)

Claire Ward: Before the introduction of antisocial behaviour orders and, indeed, other measures, such as acceptable behaviour contracts and parenting orders, many of those offences went either unreported or undealt with. As a result of the use of antisocial behaviour orders, many more are being dealt with effectively.

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice: Antisocial Behaviour (Sentencing) (10 Nov 2009)

Claire Ward: On the contrary, we do not treat those issues as insignificant. In fact, it is precisely because the Government have recognised the important role that antisocial behaviour plays in a community that we have made sure that we tackle it. We introduced ASBOs, and when they are breached somebody may be convicted, with a resultant prison sentence of five years. That shows that we do not take the...

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice: Antisocial Behaviour (Sentencing) (10 Nov 2009)

Claire Ward: Obviously, sentencing in those circumstances is a matter for the courts, and we are sending out a strict and tough message about the impact on communities not only of drugs but of all forms of antisocial behaviour. It is this Government who have been strong on that message, and it is the Opposition who have not shown quite so much support.

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice: Antisocial Behaviour (Sentencing) (10 Nov 2009)

Claire Ward: We have made it absolutely clear that there is a place for out-of-court disposals and for cautions. They are not for serious, violent offences, and that is why my right hon. Friend the Justice Secretary has announced a review of the circumstances in which those out-of-court disposals are used, and whether they are being used appropriately. If they are being used for serious, violent offences,...

Bill Presented: Clause 61 — Hatred against persons on grounds of sexual orientation (9 Nov 2009)

Claire Ward: This has been an interesting debate. However hard I try to make it absolutely clear to the right hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald (Miss Widdecombe) and the hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) and, indeed, to my hon. Friend the Member for North-West Leicestershire (David Taylor), who has shifted his place-

Bill Presented: Clause 61 — Hatred against persons on grounds of sexual orientation (9 Nov 2009)

Claire Ward: Indeed, he is capable of doing so. It is easily possible to outline both the existing provisions and the reasons that make the measure unnecessary. It is not necessary to put on the face of the Bill that freedom of expression should be protected. We do not legislate for that in a range of other areas where we believe that we all have a right to express our views, and in this instance we need...

Bill Presented: Clause 61 — Hatred against persons on grounds of sexual orientation (9 Nov 2009)

Claire Ward: I will in a moment. There is therefore no need for this saving provision on freedom of expression. The provision might be harmful because it might well give some comfort to those people who wish to stir up hatred and who wish intentionally to use threatening words to stir up hatred. They might well be able to argue that it is simply a use of their freedom of expression to do so, and that...

Bill Presented: Clause 61 — Hatred against persons on grounds of sexual orientation (9 Nov 2009)

Claire Ward: I perfectly appreciate what the right hon. Lady is saying, but we heard misconceptions about how the offence might be used. It has been said that without a freedom of expression provision, the offence will have a chilling effect and may prevent people from proselytising against homosexuality or from expressing their distaste for certain sexual practices. It has been alleged that the offence...

Bill Presented: Clause 61 — Hatred against persons on grounds of sexual orientation (9 Nov 2009)

Claire Ward: I have already explained that it is completely unnecessary to provide such a clause. We do not provide saving clauses or freedom of expression clauses on a range of other forms of offence, where it is not necessary. It is not something that we would advocate. It is simply wrong to imply that the offence could cover anything else, as some Members have suggested this evening. Freedom of...

Bill Presented: Clause 61 — Hatred against persons on grounds of sexual orientation (9 Nov 2009)

Claire Ward: I shall make a little more progress. Those incidents of purported over-zealous policing have probably taken place under section 5 of the Public Order Act. Without seeing the details, it is not for me to say whether the police acted appropriately in those cases. There are opportunities for people to object and express grievances against the police, should they wish to do so. The hon. Member...

Bill Presented: Clause 61 — Hatred against persons on grounds of sexual orientation (9 Nov 2009)

Claire Ward: I want to deal with a few other issues. I shall give way to the hon. Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon, then I intend to make progress so that there is an opportunity to discuss other points that were raised.

Bill Presented: Clause 61 — Hatred against persons on grounds of sexual orientation (9 Nov 2009)

Claire Ward: As I stated, we are considering the responses from stakeholders. We will consider that issue, and the hon. Gentleman will have to wait and see. Let me deal with the other issues that were raised. The hon. Member for Foyle (Mark Durkan) referred to the situation in Northern Ireland. It is an offence in Northern Ireland to incite hatred on the grounds of race, religion, disability or sexual...

Bill Presented: Clause 61 — Hatred against persons on grounds of sexual orientation (9 Nov 2009)

Claire Ward: The right hon. Lady is not entitled to express her views on matters only because she is a Member of this House and entitled to parliamentary privilege. Many of the incidents to which she refers come under the Public Order Act 1986, and therefore the threshold is considerably lower than in the Bill. The high threshold in the Bill relates only to threatening words and behaviour intended to stir...


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