Baroness Anelay of St Johns:
"I am told by the Library that this is the 52nd Home Office Bill since the Government came to power in 1997".
If the various NuLabour Home Secretaries and their senior staff had spent less time on producing hugely complicated and ever changing Legislation, they might have paid proper attention to the day to day running of the Home Office and its Departments, instead of which, it is now clearly "unfit for purpose".
None of the Opposition Peers spoke against the badly draughted "hacking tools" amendment to the Computer Misuse Act, which we have tried to raise awareness of.
There were some concerns raised over:
- The amalgamation of the 5 various previously independent inspectorates into one i.e. the abolition of:
- Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons;
- Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Constabulary;
- Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service;
- Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of the National Probation Service for England and Wales;
- Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Court Administration.
Given the warnings which some of these Inspectors reported, in relation to utter mess in Prisons and Immigration etc regarding foreign prisoners etc.., which were ignored by the Home Office, it seems astonishing that their roles are now going to be further diluted instead of being strengthened.
- The further loss of independence for Police forces and Police Authorities in favour of even more centralised power concentrated
into the inept hands of the Home Office and the creation of the National Policing Improvement Agency,
- The Naming and Shaming of Children subjected to ASBOs
- The change in the role and the powers of Community Support Officers
- The unfair and unequal Exrtradition Act 2003 and treaty with the USA. Even if they do change the law on this, it will be too late for current cases such as those of Gary McKinnon or Babar Ahmad or the NatWest/Enron 3 bankers
Baroness Harris of Richmond:
Finally, I am glad that I am not the only one who believes that this Bill is a mish-mash of different provisions, repeals and revocations. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Norwich feels as I do. There are five and a half pages of them. The sheer number of Acts being amended and re-amended, and those that have previously been subject to multiple variation through statutory instrument and are now further amended by the Bill before us, is, quite frankly, depressing.
Will the Lords actually tackle the deficiencies of this Bill, or will they simply allow the NuLabour Home Office yet another easy ride, for the 52nd time since 1997 ?