Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill [Lords] DebateFull Debate: Read Full Debate
Mr Dominic GrieveMain Page: Mr Dominic Grieve (Independent) - Beaconsfield)
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Yes, and in answer to the amendment that was tabled but not selected, Ministers are obliged to act in accordance with our ECHR obligations. Throughout this process, we have a legal duty under the Human Rights Act 1998 to act compatibly with convention rights, including article 1 of the 13th protocol, which was incorporated in schedule 1 to the Human Rights Acts 1998 through the Human Rights Act (Amendment) Order 2004. Were Ministers to act unlawfully in making subordinate legislation under subsection 5(b) which was incompatible with the convention rights, it would be open to the courts to strike down that legislation by applying ordinary public law principles.
My right hon. and learned Friend, whom I have known a long time, is the straightest politician in this House and always has the best motives. He is also the lawyer that one would want at one’s side in government, because he tells it how it is, not how one wants it to be. I thank him for his point. He knows how far back this effort goes. This Bill is not a political charge or an ideological step. In fact, without this amendment, it is probably one of the most boring Bills that we have taken through the House, but it is not a playground for ideological posturing on a theoretical issue.
There is a clear choice here: take up the offer from the United States, reject the amendment and help to keep our constituents safe, or agree with the right hon. Member for Hackney North and Stoke Newington who believes that this matter is a problem even though there are no examples from the past 20 years. She believes that we should say no to the US offer and put the whole thing at risk because our tiny amount of data could be combined with a criminal investigation overseas, when the crime is a capital offence and the offender is in a country or US state that has the death penalty, and our data alone could be the crucial piece of evidence that leads to a conviction. If ever there was an example of politics getting in the way for the most bizarre and abstract reason, it is here.