Lord Brett: I rise to respond to the very powerful arguments made by the noble Lord, Lord Avebury and my noble friend Lady Whitaker, and with regard to the enormous respect that we all have for the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, and the powerful case that he puts yet again.
I have several pages of Civil Service prose to read out and, indeed, for the remainder of the amendments to this part of the Bill I have copious pages of Civil Service prose. However, I should like to suggest a different approach. In responding to Amendment 90—it seems a long time ago, but it was on Monday—I gave an undertaking that the Government would consider amendments from the noble Lord. I suggest that we should consider Amendments 92 and 101A, along with the remaining amendments to clauses in Part 2, with the exception of Amendment 105A which, to my embarrassment I must return to, having failed to deal with it on Monday.
The purpose of my suggesting that I discuss those amendments not in the form of a considered debate today, which would take a very long time, but in the form of a discussion, is to look at the cases that have caused noble Lords to table the amendments, to consider the decisions taken in respect of those cases and the principles behind those decisions, and to see whether policy and other practical measures can be found to resolve them. The noble Lord will, of course, be perfectly able to bring back any or all of his amendments at Report, but I hope that we can at least make some progress on some of them in the intervening period. That would be the most practical way in which I can offer the House urgent attention to the points raised, with the opportunity for a fuller debate at Report.
Lord Brett: I am grateful to the noble Baroness for setting out the reasoning behind the amendment for our illumination and understanding and for my officials to note the point that she makes. This issue will be a good starting point for the discussions that I am suggesting.
Amendment 97, 98的回應
Lord Brett: Again, I am grateful to the noble Lord for setting out the reasoning behind the amendment. I am afraid that I have nothing to add to previous statements made about the report of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Goldsmith, which the Government are studying. Many points that have been made in relation to these amendments are pertinent to discussions that we will have on Amendment 90. It would be useful for us to put this matter into that package and discuss it at that time.
Lord Brett: My brief indicates that the Government believe that this proposal is unnecessary in practice. Again, however, the noble Baroness undoubtedly has examples of cases that have given rise to concern requiring this amendment to be tabled. As she has rightly suggested, it would seem to be a useful part of the comprehensive discussion that we will have on these issues. I therefore suggest that she withdraw her amendment.
Amendment 100, 101, 101B的回應
Lord Brett: Again, I am grateful to the noble Lord for setting out the reasoning behind his proposed new clause. When trying to get my head round this area—on Monday I manifestly demonstrated that I had failed to do that in some ways—I tried to do my own wall chart. I would not recommend my draughtsmanship to anybody, but if that were possible, it would be excellent; it might not be for wider dissemination but it would help at least those of us struggling with discussions over the next few weeks. It fits well for the discussions that are coming and I endorse the route.
Lord Brett: The purpose behind the proposal for discussions is that in each of the cases where we have amendments to the proposed law, they derive in the main from known cases that could not be dealt with successfully under the law as it stands because the law was deficient or because of lack of discretion, misunderstanding or whatever. I am attempting to resolve those issues. In technical terms the amendments have been and withdrawn, and all can be resubmitted, along with any other amendment, at the next stage, which of course is Report stage. Having had our discussions, I would be happy to ensure that the noble Baroness is aware of how far they have gone and what we have been able to achieve, in order that she may then be able to come back and put forward such amendments as she may feel are necessary, notwithstanding the fact that amendments in the name of the noble Lord and other members of the Liberal Democrat Front Bench have been withdrawn.
Lord Brett: It is not for me, but as I understand procedure, Report stage does not allow for the reopening of debates that have taken place in Committee. I reiterate that it is for any Member of the House to table such other amendments for Report stage as they so wish. The point is that there is a genuine attempt to move to resolve a number of difficulties that the noble Lord and the noble Baroness have instigated and which, as they have said on a number of occasions, in many cases involve only a small number of people who are seen by many to have been badly treated. That is what they want to see investigated and resolved.
Lord Brett: That is perfectly correct. At this stage, I just want to avoid jumping too far ahead. We have not even commenced the discussions that all sides of the Committee think would be very useful to have.
Lord Brett: I apologise for the speed of my delivery. It is partly a cultural inheritance of coming from the north—we speak quicker—partly nervousness on my part, and partly because I have a cold. However, those reasons are no excuse for not making myself clear to the Committee and I apologise for that.
The noble Lord set out an example and posed a question that I cannot answer with confidence in detail now, but I will of course write to him on the matter. If it is written it can be clearly understood.
Lord Brett: I shall keep my response short, if not slow. A powerful case has been made. I have the brief. The sensible thing is for the Government to reconsider the issue, and I give that commitment
Amendment 95, 99 小弟並不認為在Committee Stage最後階段，到Report Stage會拿出來討論，因為很明顯工黨政府希望用現存行政措施，把一些現存個案打發掉，不想寫入成文法。
小弟相信，Amendment 93, 105會被政府吸掉，成為Government Amendment，特別Amendment 105涉及的問題實在只能用膠字來形容，亦難以用政府行政手段解決。
而Amendment 102, 103, 104會遭到工黨政府頑強抵抗，若非如此，Lord Brett就不會講一大堆廢話回敬。在在英軍服役的英聯邦國家國民子女國籍問題上，已是工黨底線。
真正會成為House of Lords交鋒戰場是Amendment 97, 98, 100，這三條如果工黨政府有心抗拒，就會得到102-104的招待，但97, 98, 100對工黨政府難處理地方：
1. 涉及Goldsmith Report的回應，Goldsmith Report在英國是等同Green Paper級別的Consultation Paper，但現時又知推唔推Report上的建議好，Lord Bratt不可能代表政府回應，所以要容後再議。
2. Lord Avebury已經直頭講到ECHR以及英國國民竟然無居英權等荒謬人權問題，到底ECHR Protocol 4點處理，又係不是Lord Bratt這級數可以應付，所以容後再議。
現時House of Lords議員提出了問題，小弟相信工黨政府多少會提出Counter Proposal，問題係，果啲proposal係敷衍了事，定係真係徹底解決問題，很大機會在BICB，會出現一個局部解決問題的半天吊議案，但最後會幾半天吊，端視乎游說的本事如何。不過完全沒有斬獲，又似是不大可能。