Thursday, November 12, 2009

Last week in the Lords (part 2) - "actually, Goliath tends to beat David nine times out of ten"

The week closed with further debate on the Coroners and Justice Bill, where Lord Lester of Herne Hill moved Amendment 19;

in clause 154, page 101, line 17, at end to insert:

“( ) it is a heinous offence, and”

in an attempt to tidy up the Government's flawed attempt to prevent those guilty of the most serious crimes from benefitting from publication of the details of those crimes. As he put it, "Like the Mikado, I hope the Government and the House, will appreciate that, “my object all sublime”, is to, “let the punishment fit the crime, the punishment fit the crime”. You have to admit that you just don't get that level of erudition in the Commons... Erudition is not its own reward, unfortunately, and the amendment was lost by 107 votes to 59.

Suddenly one down, it was time to throw men (and women) forward in an attempt to snatch an equaliser, and Baroness Miller was close with Amendment 26 to the Policing and Crime Bill;

clause 16, page 18, line 36,

after “person” to insert “aged 18 or over”

The Bill as currently drafted currently criminalises those under the age of eighteen accused of 'loitering for purposes of prostitution'. As Sue Miller pointed out, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a convention that the United Kingdom has signed up to, she noted, states “The State party should always consider, both in legislation and in practice, children victims of these criminal practices, including child prostitution, exclusively as victims in need of recovery and reintegration and not as offenders”.

Despite support from the Crossbenches, defeat was guaranteed when the Conservatives yet again sat on their hands, although am eighty votes to sixty-eight defeat demonstrated that it was a cause worth fighting for.

Two down and time running out, with the benches emptying, Lord Thomas of Gresford made one last effort with Amendment 96ZA;

before clause 66, to insert the new clause

Restriction on extradition in cases where trial in United Kingdom is more appropriate.

discussion of which touched upon the McKinnon case, where the United States wishes to extradite a young computer hacker, despite concerns as to jurisdiction. Whilst the amendment had been moved in Committee by the Conservative, Baroness Neville-Jones, her unwillingness to press the issue meant that a Liberal Democrat was needed to take up the cudgel. And yet, with common cause between Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, the absence of Conservatives when it really mattered meant that the vote was lost by sixty-eight to forty-six.

So, a bad week closed with more defeats. Ah well, the Government do outnumber our Peers by a three to one margin...

1 comment:

Oranjepan said...

Strangely not in boxing, though.

What that says about the relative states of integrity and corruption among politicians and professional gamblers is a subject for another day, I feel.