7 Baroness Williams of Trafford debates involving the Scotland Office

Mon 12th Feb 2024
Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill
Lords Chamber

Committee stage & Committee stage: Minutes of Proceedings & Committee stage: Minutes of Proceedings part one
Wed 28th Jun 2023
Thu 10th Dec 2020
Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill
Lords Chamber

Committee stage:Committee: 4th sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 4th sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 4th sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Tue 24th Nov 2020
Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill
Lords Chamber

Committee stage:Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords & Committee stage
Tue 15th Jan 2019
Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill
Lords Chamber

3rd reading (Hansard): House of Lords

Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill

Baroness Williams of Trafford Excerpts
Lord Stewart of Dirleton Portrait Lord Stewart of Dirleton (Con)
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I think the noble Baroness has my answer, but the point is this: we do not impose or seek to impose upon anyone; nor, when the noble Baroness talks about buying privileged status, would I go along with that. What I am talking about and what the Government are seeking to enact in this measure is a commitment with a forward-looking, democratic country which is signatory to the same treaties and international obligations as we are.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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The noble Baroness, Lady Lister, is about to stand up to intervene. I am aware she has not been here for the whole of this debate.

Baroness Lister of Burtersett Portrait Baroness Lister of Burtersett (Lab)
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I am sorry to intervene again, but I have been here for the whole debate. May I take the Committee back to the noble Lord, Lord Scriven, quoting from the UNHCR? The Minister said that we do not agree with the UNHCR, but it points out that its conclusions are based on

“UNHCR’s own extensive experience in capacity development of national asylum systems”.

Is the Minister saying that this Government have more experience than the UNHCR of the capacity of countries to change? It makes it very clear that training is not enough and that there needs to be systemic change and a change of culture.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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My Lords, I apologise for interrupting my noble friend. The machines to record the votes have basically stopped working. I have spoken to the usual channels, who have agreed that we will defer all Divisions—but not the debates—until Monday.

Lord Jackson of Peterborough Portrait Lord Jackson of Peterborough (Con)
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My Lords, I shall speak to Amendment 37. I thank the noble and learned Lord, Lord Etherton, for a very clear exposition.

Broadly speaking, I support the amendment, although I shall not be voting for it for the reasons I will now give. I concur also with the points raised by the noble Lord, Lord Alton, about Christian and Muslim persecution in Nigeria, which remains a constituent country in Schedule 1.

The amendment is doing a lot of heavy lifting. Notwithstanding my support, I have some significant questions as to whether it should appear in primary rather than secondary legislation, because it is very detailed and because there are other groups that are suffering persecution which could also be included. That does not take away the very real concerns articulated by many noble Lords about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who may face persecution when returned to some of these countries.

I have a very significant issue. I genuinely hope that when those who tabled the amendment respond to the Minister they will disabuse me of any misapprehension about it, particularly with regard to subsection (1)(c). It seems to me that it is constitutionally unprecedented to put in primary legislation an amendment which is largely dependent on the time-limited, opaque legal process of a foreign legal entity—in this case, Section 7 of the Treaty on European Union. We are relying on the procedures of the European Union and how it handles ongoing and potentially continuous infraction procedures under that part of the treaty as a determinant of whether we include it in the Bill. That is completely unprecedented.

I can understand the points that noble Lords have made about Poland and Hungary, but those legal processes have not yet run their course and are still ongoing. That is a matter for the European Union rather than the United Kingdom.

How wide and prescriptive would this amendment be? Would infraction procedures begin against Latvia, Bulgaria, Malta and Romania? This can be incorporated over a period in secondary legislation in a statutory instrument, rather than on the face of the Bill. I say very gently to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Etherton, that he was not as clear and emphatic in his explanation and rationale for that part of his amendment as he was in the earlier part, that it is of course axiomatic that a number of people, because of their sexuality or gender preferences, would face persecution.

For that reason, I feel uncomfortable about supporting the amendment and will support the Government if they oppose it. I would be extremely grateful if those who tabled the amendment would address the issues that I have.

Scotland Act 1998: Section 35 Power

Baroness Williams of Trafford Excerpts
Wednesday 18th January 2023

(1 year, 5 months ago)

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Lord Foulkes of Cumnock Portrait Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Lab Co-op)
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My Lords, I have a very short question—

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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My Lords, the Green Benches have been waiting to get in all through these questions, so we will hear from the Greens first, and then I think the House would probably like to hear from the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy.

Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Portrait Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle (GP)
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I thank the noble Baroness. This debate has made many references to the Scottish Government and the Scottish First Minister. I ask the Chamber to acknowledge that we are talking about a law passed by the Scottish Parliament by a significant majority—I hope everyone would acknowledge that. I note also that the First Minister of Wales has said that he would like to introduce the same provisions in Wales and will ask the Government for the right to do so.

I entirely sympathise with the desire for compromise and talks expressed by the noble Baroness, Lady Chapman. The Statement says, and the Minister has repeated, that the Government want to talk to the Scottish Government and get around the table to come to a compromise. But they are arguing that it is impossible to have different gender recognition certificate systems in different parts of the UK. If this is the case, what kind of compromise are the Government going to offer? How can the Bill be amended rather than just being thrown out, if that is what the Government are demanding?

Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill

Baroness Williams of Trafford Excerpts
Committee stage & Committee: 4th sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 4th sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Thursday 10th December 2020

(3 years, 6 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021 View all Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021 Debates Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 144(Corr)-IV Fourth marshalled list for Committee - (7 Dec 2020)
Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in this debate. To echo the words of my noble friend Lord King, we live in a very dangerous world. I made the point last time that 27 terrorist attacks have been prevented in the last three years.

I absolutely appreciate that it might not be immediately obvious why some public authorities require this power. Again, I urge noble Lords to read the case studies that have been published to reassure themselves about the contexts in which they might seek to use the power. Alongside law enforcement and the intelligence services, some of our wider public authorities have important responsibilities for investigating and preventing criminal activity and protecting the economic well-being of the United Kingdom. We should not underestimate the important role that these public authorities play in keeping the public safe.

To answer the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, I am happy to share business cases with him and other noble Lords, should they wish me to do so—I promise that I shall not give him only 45 minutes to read them.

I think that noble Lords have fully accepted that there will be occasions where undercover operatives play a critical role in providing the intelligence needed to identify and prevent criminality. As organised crime groups increasingly expand into areas overseen by those public authorities, the need for that robust investigative tool is more important than ever.

My noble friend Lord King made a very important point: the list is not an expansion but in fact a reduction. The information about how many organisations have been taken off the list has not appeared, but I can get that number for noble Lords, if it is to hand, before Report.

To answer the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, the officers in the public authorities are experts in their fields and are best placed to take appropriate and proportionate action to tackle the harms caused by criminal groups operating in the areas that they regulate. To answer his other point, they will have received specific training, which reflects the specialist remit in which they operate. I note that having the capability to carry out their investigative work themselves allows the police to focus on their priorities, as my noble friend Lord King and the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, noted.

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Lord Rosser Portrait Lord Rosser (Lab) [V]
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Two amendments in this group stipulate the action that the Investigatory Powers Commissioner must take on becoming aware of unlawful or inappropriate conduct linked to a criminal conduct authorisation, or on becoming aware of an inappropriately granted or unlawful criminal conduct authorisation. I will listen with interest to the Government’s response to these two amendments.

A third amendment requires a review within six months by a High Court judge that would consider the grant of criminal conduct authorisations in relation to children or vulnerable people, the conduct of covert human intelligence sources, the oversight and monitoring of, and reporting on, such conduct, the oversight of persons allowed to authorise criminal conduct authorisations, and the sanctions available if they misuse those powers.

Under the terms of the Bill, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner has the power to conduct investigations, inspections and audits, but would not appear—I will listen to what the Government say in response—to have the capacity to investigate every time a criminal conduct authorisation is used. The Commissioner also covers the use of the power to grant criminal conduct authorisations in the annual report, which must also be laid before Parliament but which may be redacted. Of course, we do not know how much the annual report will reveal in practice. As an annual report, it will be reporting a long time after any particular issues with criminal conduct authorisations may have arisen.

It is surely important to have as much transparency as possible in how, and in what kind of circumstances, covert human intelligence sources and criminal conduct authorisations are used and granted, since the powers and activities provided for in this Bill are considerable and potentially wide ranging. They have to be applied appropriately, and the greater the transparency that is possible, the more likely that is to be the case and the greater the public confidence in how the powers are being deployed, and with what objectives in mind.

The review referred to in Amendment 79, which would be laid before Parliament, would be one way of contributing to that transparency and ensuring public confidence. If the Government are not going to accept the amendment, I hope that in response they will indicate a willingness to look further at the powers, duties and role of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner to ensure that transparency in how and in what circumstances the powers given in the Bill are exercised is maximised as far as possible. I await the Government’s response.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in this debate. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, would not expect me to respond to the case that he brought before the House this afternoon, but I would be happy to sit down and discuss it with him, if he would like. I think what he wants from Amendment 79 is to require a review of all criminal conduct authorisations to be undertaken by a High Court judge, with the review to be commenced six months after the Act has come into force.

The IPC, supported by judicial commissioners, already has oversight of all criminal conduct authorisations. He and his judicial commissioners have all held high judicial office and are entirely independent of the Government. The commissioners are supported by expert inspectors and others, such as technical experts, who are qualified to assist them in their work. They are responsible for inspecting the full range of agencies and departments that will use this power and will ensure that they are complying with the law and following good practice. This includes investigating systems and processes, checking records and paperwork, interviewing key staff and investigating any known errors.

The frequency of these inspections is decided by the Commissioner, and the inspectors must have unfettered access to documents and information to support the Commissioner’s functions. This allows inspectors to undertake thorough and robust investigations of each police authority’s use of the power, covering the entire chain of events and decision-making.

A report is issued after each inspection that sets out IPCO’s conclusions and recommendations and identifies any areas of vulnerability or non-compliance. It also identifies areas of good practice which may be of interest to other similar organisations. The report will enable organisations to take action on the basis of IPCO’s recommendations. This process provides for systemic review of all public authorities’ use of the power and allows for continuous improvement in the authorisation and management of the capability.

Amendments 75A and 75B seek to put obligations on the IPC to report conduct to other bodies. Criminal conduct authorisations will be subject to the existing error-reporting processes for investigatory powers, which require public authorities to report all relevant errors to the IPC. This would include situations where undercover operatives’ conduct has taken place without lawful authorisation or there has been a failure to adhere to the necessary safeguards. Where it amounts to a serious error, the IPC must inform the person of an error relating to them where it is in the public interest.

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Lord Rosser Portrait Lord Rosser (Lab) [V]
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The purpose of the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, is described as being to probe the adequacy of information provided to Parliament on criminal conduct authorisations and to probe the efficacy of the authorisations.

I think that this comes back to the issue of transparency. To be a little more particular, will we be told in advance, during the passage of the Bill, precisely what kind of information about criminal conduct authorisations will be provided to us and to the public by the Investigatory Powers Commissioner in the annual report or other reports? At the moment, I am not clear about what information will be provided and what it will cover, and whether it will give us a feel for what is happening over criminal conduct authorisations or whether we will be told that the information provided will be limited and that, on grounds of security, it cannot be disclosed.

I hope that, at least in their response either to this amendment or on Report, the Government will be prepared to spell out what information will and will not be provided so that we all know where we stand on this issue.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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My Lords, I thank all noble Lords for the points they have made. To take the penultimate point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, I hope that I can provide some of that clarity this afternoon.

My noble friend Lord Hodgson is interested in the information that will be included in the IPC’s annual report. The commissioner has a very clear mandate to inform Parliament and the public about the use of investigatory powers. He must provide a report to the Prime Minister, which the Prime Minister must publish and lay before Parliament. The Investigatory Powers Act already sets out, in detail, what should be included in that report, and I refer my noble friend and the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, to Section 234(2).

I reassure my noble friend that there is already a requirement for the report to include statistics on the use of the power and information about the results of such use, including its impact. The report is therefore extensive but, as would be expected for such sensitive information, safeguards are in place to ensure that that information is protected where necessary. In consultation with the commissioner, the Prime Minister may exclude from publication information which could, for example, be prejudicial to national security. However, public authorities will receive this information and will respond to recommendations made by the IPC.

Turning to a matter that has nothing to do with the amendment, the noble Baroness, Lady Chakrabarti, asked: why go further than the status quo? The status quo is that there is legal uncertainty around undercover operatives, and this Bill creates that legal certainty.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts Portrait Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts (Con) [V]
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My Lords, I thank all those who have taken part in this short debate and, in particular, I thank my noble friend for her very helpful reply.

Just to deal with a point raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, I was not expecting there to be a detailed crawl through every single CCA. Clearly, that would be inappropriate, but an overview would be appropriate because, as the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, pointed out, we do not want a situation where we have no information or too much information. We come back to the issue that has been at the back of many of our conversations during Committee: how do we find the right balance between ensuring that those who look after our safety are protected and ensuring that there is a sufficiency of transparency so that they feel the pressure to behave properly at all times.

I will read very carefully what my noble friend said about what is already proposed and what is already in legislation. I said that this was a probing amendment and therefore, for the time being at least, I beg leave to withdraw it.

Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill

Baroness Williams of Trafford Excerpts
Baroness Morris of Bolton Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Morris of Bolton) (Con)
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I now call the Minister, the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Trafford.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con)
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I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in this debate. I am sorry not to have heard the end portion of the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, but I am sure he will come back once his wi-fi is restored and I have responded.

Amendments 7 and 9 seek to remove the provision that allows for a criminal conduct authorisation to be granted in relation to conduct that takes place outside of the UK. The activity that will be authorised under the Bill is UK focused, but of course there will be times when the activity begins in the UK and progresses overseas. It does not remove the possibility of criminal prosecutions overseas, but an authorisation will only, and can only, take effect under UK law.

The noble Baroness, Lady Ritchie of Downpatrick, asked if the UK will inform the Irish authorities. I can tell her that, although the content of the Bill is reserved in Wales and Northern Ireland, we have consulted with the devolved Administrations and their respective devolved agencies about their inclusion in the Bill. It is up to the respective devolved agencies to determine whether there is an operational need to be included.

It is important that we do not restrict the ability of our public authorities to tackle what are often international crimes. If we removed this provision, it would hinder our public authorities’ ability to tackle what are often very serious crimes, including drug transportation, human trafficking, et cetera. Noble Lords do not need to be told that crimes do not respect borders.

The noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, asked if this is a “licence to kill” Bill. The Bill is constrained by both the ECHR and the Human Rights Act, so these are the two constraints on activity. We have heard quite a lot today from noble Lords about undercover police making people pregnant, et cetera. This was never lawful; the sort of activity the noble Lord talked about is not lawful and would not be lawful in the future.

To go back to the case studies that I produced to accompany the Bill, one of them relates to the important overseas work by HMRC to tackle the illegal importation of goods from abroad. In this scenario, an HMRC covert human intelligence source is engaged with an organised crime group to import counterfeit tobacco from overseas. They might be required to travel abroad to meet with members of the group, undertake other preparatory work or even transport the goods to the UK. Without that ability to authorise criminal conduct authorisations for the full scope of the activity, the effectiveness of this and similar operations would be undermined.

Authorising the activity not only ensures that those involved are protected as a matter of UK law but, importantly, means that the safeguards contained in the regime apply consistently and in relation to all CHIS criminal conduct, both in the UK and overseas. If we prohibit the authorisation of activity overseas, we risk displacing activity to these jurisdictions. Criminals might then seek increasingly to conduct part of their activity in other countries, and our ability to tackle it would be constrained.

The amendments risk having serious unintended consequences, including impacting on our public authorities’ ability to keep the public safe from harm, and it is for that reason that we cannot accept them. I forgot to mention: the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, talked about the extraterritorial jurisdiction on things like domestic violence; we do exercise that jurisdiction. With that, I ask noble Lords not to press their amendments.

Baroness Morris of Bolton Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Morris of Bolton) (Con)
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My Lords, I think we have managed to re-establish connection with the noble Lord, Lord Rosser.

Queen’s Speech

Baroness Williams of Trafford Excerpts
Wednesday 8th January 2020

(4 years, 5 months ago)

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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con)
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I thank the noble Lord and all noble Lords who have spoken in what has been quite a long debate today. I will try to respond in the most meaningful way that I can at this time of the night.

I start by thanking my two noble friends Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay and Lord Davies of Gower for their wonderful maiden speeches. My noble friend Lord Parkinson and I go back quite some time. We have been involved in various campaigns. In fact, he was in the Home Office when I was a Whip under Theresa May. If he is only in his 30s, I must have first met him when he was about 10—at least, he looked about 10. I was picturing Whitley Bay when I used to go swimming there at the leisure centre; I do not know if it is still there. I was also trying to envisage what getting into the North Sea on New Year’s Day must have been like. It was freezing in the summer, so on New Year’s Day it must have been absolutely perishing and I admire those people who took the plunge—literally. He mentioned that he has sat in two Parliaments over 12 days of sitting; I was reflecting that I am now on my fourth Home Secretary, so we must compare firsts with each other at some point.

My noble friend Lord Davies of Gower also gave a lovely maiden speech, talking about how his maiden speech in the Commons coincided with his third wedding anniversary. I do not know the noble Lord particularly well but am very much looking forward to getting to know him. I am quite lucky because my wedding anniversary is in August, but my birthday falls in May so I am generally sitting on this Bench for it, which is a joy, obviously. I also welcome back the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford. It is good to see him back, and I echo the words of the noble Lord, Lord Carlile.

I will start with the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, and, if noble Lords are content with this, will split the various themes that came up and try to namecheck as many noble Lords as possible—though I might possibly fail in that. The first issue raised by the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, was the role and function of the Electoral Commission. It is the independent regulatory body responsible for ensuring that elections and referenda are run effectively and in accordance with the law, registering political parties and regulating the spending of and the donations and loans to political parties and other campaigners. The Government continue to work closely with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders in the electoral system to protect the integrity, security and effectiveness of referenda and elections.

The noble Lord, Lord Wallace of Saltaire, along with many other noble Lords, spoke about the constitution, democracy and rights commission—how, when, what powers, scope, et cetera. I am afraid that I am about to drop the biggest damp squib of the day, given how much time has been devoted to this issue. In broad terms, the commission’s role will be to examine broader aspects of the constitution and restore trust in institutions and democracy in terms of the composition and focus that are required. There will be further announcements in due course. That is about all I can say on it this evening. The Government will always stand for democracy and the rule of law, but, with the significant constitutional upheaval we have had over the last two decades, it is vital that we maintain a balance.

My noble friend Lord Young of Cookham and other noble Lords have broadly welcomed the decision to repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act. It led to parliamentary paralysis at a critical time for the country, which was not good for anybody. Repealing the Act will ensure that that does not happen again. It was passed by the coalition under unique circumstances. My noble friend Lady Stowell pointed out that recent events have shown that it is not appropriate for our democracy.

The noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, spoke about the independence of the judiciary. The Government will always stand up for democracy and the rule of law. We are proud that our independent courts and judiciary are admired around the world, but it is important that we maintain a careful and appropriate balance between the major pillars of our constitution, especially given some of the upheaval we have had.

Also on the question of justice, the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb, talked about whether planned encampment legislation would be discriminatory towards the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community. We currently have a consultation running on it in which all views, including those of the Gypsy and Roma community, will be taken into account. I recall engaging with them when I was in the DCLG, so I know that we have quite a lot of engagement with them.

My noble friend Lord Hailsham talked about the legacy of the past in Northern Ireland and the role of the Armed Forces personnel. Another noble Lord—I cannot remember who—also spoke about bringing an end to the unfair pursuit of our Armed Forces through vexatious legislation. We stated in our manifesto and in the Queen’s Speech that we will bring forward comprehensive legislation on that as soon as possible, and we are committed to delivering on the Stormont House agreement.

The noble Lord, Lord Carlile, and my noble and learned friend Lord Garnier talked about delays in the criminal justice system. The number of trial cases in hand at the Crown Court at the end of 2019 was the lowest since 2000. There is not a shortage of judges; we have the lowest waiting times for trial since 2014. My noble and learned friend Lord Garnier talked about criminal justice reform and courts and prison capacity. The sentencing Bill will protect the public and provide greater confidence to victims by ensuring that serious violent and sexual offenders who receive custodial sentences will spend more of that sentence in prison. A number of noble Lords talked about the length of sentences. The Government have announced a £1 billion modernisation programme for courts, implementing 21st-century technology and improving efficiency. At the end of 2018-19, the Crown Court had 25,071 cases in hand, which is the lowest since 2000, and the Government have also announced an investment of £2.5 billion for 10,000 additional prison places.

The noble Lord, Lord Beecham, talked about the court estate and closures. Continued access to justice will be the top priority when making decisions about the future of court and tribunal buildings. The noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy of The Shaws, talked about access to justice and the impact that the constitution commission will have on that. We spent £1.7 billion on legal aid last year, and we are committed to ensuring that people can access the help they need into the future. On that point, the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, talked about reviewing access rates, legal aid and support. We are conducting a fundamental review of criminal legal aid fee schemes, which will consider criminal legal aid throughout the life cycle of a criminal case.

The noble Lord, Lord Paddick, asked about the scope for the royal commission on the criminal justice system to look at the care system and care leavers in prison. That is a good point. The Government are committed to ensuring a fair justice system that works for everyone and which commands public confidence. We value the vital work of local multiagency services in supporting children on the cusp of offending and those who have already offended, and youth offending teams are clearly central to that. The Youth Justice Board total funding for front-line services, including youth offending teams, is £72.2 million, and we continue to support residential areas to provide an environment where young people feel able to engage with integrated care, health and education services in order to progress during their time in custody.

The noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, talked about exclusion and early intervention. I do not know whether she was here for the Question that I took on this today—I do not say that to chide her—but we covered quite a lot of that today. We have announced £165 million of funding for the troubled families programme in 2021, which I am sure she will be pleased to hear about, to help more people and families get access to early, practical and co-ordinated support to transform their lives for the better. We are focusing on improving the quality of alternative provision, which came up today in Questions as well, and we have launched a £4 million alternative provision fund ahead of setting out our plans to go further in due course. We are also investing over £220 million in early intervention through the Youth Endowment Fund over a period of 10 years, and £22 million into our early intervention youth fund.

The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Rochester asked whether there would be a definition of child criminal exploitation. There is a government definition in the Serious Violence Strategy, which is commonly used to describe child exploitation associated with county-lines drug dealing. Robust legislation is also in place to prosecute those who exploit children for communal purposes. In April 2019, the Government published a Child Exploitation Disruption Toolkit, which provides front-line practitioners with tools to disrupt child exploitation.

The noble Lord, Lord Beith, asked whether the Intelligence and Security Committee would be constituted in time to scrutinise the espionage Bill and make recommendations to both Houses. We appreciate and recognise the important role that the committee will play in scrutinising national security legislation, and we are confident that that will be the case. He also asked where the courts and tribunals Bill was. We are committed to modernising the whole criminal justice system, as I have previously outlined, and to ensuring that it is fit for purpose. We will bring forward any necessary legislation to ensure that that happens.

The noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, asked whether the domestic abuse Bill will be accompanied by the necessary resources. We will of course ensure that the appropriate funding is there to meet the new duty.

The noble Lord, Lord Kerr, asked whether economic integration on the island of Ireland will lead to political integration. It remains firmly the Secretary of State’s view that a clear majority in Northern Ireland continues to support the current settlement, as my noble friend Lord Caine pointed out, and that the circumstances for a border poll are not satisfied. I thought that he explained it very satisfactorily in more detail.

The noble Lord, Lord Kerr, also asked about the Government refreshing strands 2 and 3 of the Belfast agreement, both to give some democratic legitimacy to the continued existence of some aspects of EU law in Northern Ireland and to ensure that Northern Ireland is represented in deciding these laws. The UK Government’s priority remains the restoration of devolution in Northern Ireland. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is engaged in intense negotiations with all the parties to get Stormont back up and running before the current 13 January deadline.

Both the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace of Tankerness, asked about the representation of the devolved Administrations in negotiations on our future relationship. We recognise the need for their close involvement in negotiations on our future relationship with the EU in order to deliver a satisfactory outcome.

The noble Baroness, Lady Humphreys, and my noble friend Lord Davies of Gower asked about the UK Government commitment to delivering economic growth in Wales. We are committed to supporting a strong Wales within a strong United Kingdom across a wide range of areas. That includes providing significant investment in city and growth deals across the whole of Wales to deliver that real, long-term growth to the respective regions. We are providing £790 million of investment in city and growth deals covering the whole of Wales, including £500 million to the Cardiff capital regional deal, which will provide an investment fund to the region and support the electrification of valley lines railways, and £150 million to the Swansea Bay city deal. We have also committed £120 million and £55 million respectively to allow the north Wales and mid-Wales growth deals to be agreed. Finally on Wales, there is the A55, a road on which I have travelled many times—and a beautiful road it is. I can announce that on Monday, the new Secretary of State for Wales met with the Welsh Government Minister for the Economy and Transport to discuss transport improvements in Wales.

My noble friend Lady Eaton talked about the publication of the devolution White Paper, including work with local authorities and the Local Government Association. It will be published this year as per our manifesto commitment, and we are absolutely committed to working with all relevant sectors and stakeholders.

My noble friend Lord Dunlop gave us a taster of some of things we should think about in terms of strengthening intergovernmental relations. I look forward to reading his report, which the Government will of course consider in due course.

My noble friend Lord Young of Cookham and the noble Lord, Lord Rennard, talked about when and why we are introducing compulsory voter ID. It will not be implemented before May 2020 and I am sure that they will support the premise that electoral fraud is absolutely unacceptable. It strikes at the principle of and undermines democracy, because everyone’s vote matters. I know that, having lost Bolton West by 92 votes. We already ask people to prove who they are before they collect a parcel, claim benefits or rent a car. You need two forms of ID to get into a Labour Party meeting, so I think that it is reasonable to take the same approach to voting rights. The noble Lords, Lord Rennard and Lord Rosser, asked for examples. I do not have any to hand, but I shall see if we have any data and I will provide them for both noble Lords.

The noble Lord, Lord Paddick, asked about Section 60 and the response reports showing the lack of efficacy and negative effect on young black men. The police believe that stop and search can play an important role in fighting crime. The Government have listened to the police and eased voluntary restrictions on the use of stop and search. That means that officers can authorise these powers, and for longer, but he is absolutely right that no one should be targeted due to their race. However, the use of legal powers to protect those most at risk has to be right, so obviously a clear balance has to be struck.

The noble Lord, Lord Carlile, asked about the reform of the 43 police forces, which struck a chord with me. He gave an example of how regional structures work quite well and I am thinking, of course, about the regional organised crime units that operate extremely well. The more efficiency and less disjointed working across the 43 forces, the better, and actually the more financially efficient they will be as well. There is greater ambition for policing to work as one system to manage new threats and to deliver consistently high standards. Obviously, the recruitment of 20,000 extra officers will help to deliver that commitment.

The noble Lord, Lord Paddick, also asked about police corruption, which increased during the 1990s following the last major recruitment drive. It might help him to know that the vetting rules were put under a statutory code of practice under this Government in 2017, and we are working with forces to ensure that these stringent standards are applied as they increase their recruitment. The noble Lord, Lord Bach, supported by the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, asked whether the figure of £750 million was correct, was it not closer to £630 million with an expectation on PCCs to realise efficiencies, and how much would go directly to them. We have committed to increasing investment in policing by £750 million next year to support the unprecedented commitment to recruit an additional 6,000 officers by March 2021, and details of the allocation of funding will be set out very shortly in the police funding Statement.

Other questions were put to me on immigration but I have been speaking for 20 minutes and I am aware that another debate is happening next. If there are a few questions that I have not responded to, I hope that noble Lords will be okay if I respond to them in writing. Again, I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in this debate.

Debate adjourned until tomorrow.

Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill

Baroness Williams of Trafford Excerpts
Moved by
Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Lord Keen of Elie
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That the Bill do now pass.