All 1 Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale contributions to the Sentencing Act 2020

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Thu 25th Jun 2020
Sentencing Bill [HL]
Lords Chamber

2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & 2nd reading

Sentencing Bill [HL] Debate

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Department: Scotland Office

Sentencing Bill [HL]

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Excerpts
2nd reading & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords
Thursday 25th June 2020

(4 years ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
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My Lords, I add my congratulations to everyone who has been involved over many years in all the work that has led to the Bill that we are debating today. I particularly associate myself with the remarks of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope of Craighead. From his experience, particularly of the 1995 Act in Scotland, he has a particularly relevant contribution to make regarding the importance of this legislation and the way in which it has been constructed.

When I was First Minister of Scotland, I was involved, like my noble friend Lord Blunkett, in a number of political debates that led to legislative change that affected sentencing. That is always going to take place. Sometimes politicians will get those decisions right and sometimes they will get them wrong but there will always be political debates about sentencing. Part of that will always be about sending signals to victims or potential offenders about the importance of various forms of sentence, although I agree entirely with what the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett, just said about the importance of getting sentences right.

I think that in Scotland the existence of the 1995 Act and the sentencing code gave those involved in the drafting of legislation and the implementation of new sentences a backdrop against which to ensure that the decisions being made by the new Scottish Parliament were accessible and able to be implemented successfully by the judiciary. So I endorse entirely the points made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, and I certainly fully support the Bill.

I want to ask one question of the Minister. It is implied in the Bill, and in all the contributions that have been made today, that because the Bill is a consolidation it in no way changes the devolution settlement or affects the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government in relation to civil and criminal law, but it would be helpful if that were stated. There are no supporting documents for the Bill, it is not stated anywhere in the documents that are available to us and it was certainly not in the Library briefing that we received earlier this week. If the Minister could just put it on the record, that would be helpful for all concerned.

With that one caveat, I enthusiastically support the Bill and congratulate all who have been involved in its drafting.