Justice and Security Bill: Lords report stage day two

22 November 2012

The Justice and Security Bill continued report stage, a further chance for scrutiny, yesterday (Wednesday 21 November)

The scrutiny began by focusing on Closed Material Procedures (CMPs). Lord Pannick (Crossbench) moved Amendment 33, saying: ‘Under the Bill, a CMP may be ordered only on the application of the state. Amendment 33 would provide that the judge is able to order a CMP also on the application of another party to the proceedings or on the court's own motion.’

Lord Wallace of Tankerness (Liberal Democrat), responded on behalf of the government, saying: ‘whether to make an application for a declaration that a closed material procedure may be used, should be a question for the government.’

Amendment 33 went to a vote and was passed, with 273 voting for and 173 against, so the change to the bill was made.

Discussion then went on to Amendment 35, also moved by Lord Pannick (Crossbench), concerning whether CMPs should be at the discretion of a judge. This amendment went to a vote with 264 voting for and 159 against. Following this, Amendment 36 also went to a vote, with 247 voting for and 160 voting against, both resulting in defeats for the government.

Lord Dubs (Labour) went on to move Amendment 45, which proposes removing CMPs from the bill altogether, he said: ‘there are a number of cases in the pipeline - and I do not doubt the minister's goodwill - which might or might not come under this system, and which might or might not contain something important that would be revealed if we did not have CMPs. No evidence produced by government could justify this major piece of legislation.’

This went to a vote which resulted in defeat for Lord Dubs' (Labour) amendment with 25 for and 164 against.

Amendment 47, moved by Lord Pannick, was also put to the vote, with 87 voting for and 123 against.

Third reading of the bill is yet to be scheduled.

About the Justice and Security Bill

The first reading of the Justice and Security Bill took place in the House of Lords on 28 May 2012. The bill proposes:

  • Strengthened oversight by Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) of the Security Service, the Secret Intelligence Service, the Government Communications Headquarters and other activities relating to intelligence or security matters.
  • To expand the statutory remit of the ISC and allow Parliament to have a more substantial role in ISC appointments.
  • For closed material procedure in relation to certain civil proceedings in the High Court, the Court of Session or the Court of Appeal. Also to extend closed material procedure for cases containing sensitive information and connected purposes.

Background information on the bill

Previous Justice and Security news stories

What is report stage?

Report stage gives all members of the Lords further opportunity to examine and make changes, known as amendments, to a bill.

Report stage usually starts 14 days after committee stage. It can be spread over several days (but usually fewer days than at committee stage).

Before report stage starts, all member's amendments are recorded and published. The day before a report stage debate the amendments are grouped and placed in order - a marshalled list.
During report stage detailed line by line examination of the bill continues. Any member of the Lords can take part and votes can take place.

After report stage the bill is reprinted to include all the agreed amendments. The bill then moves to third reading for the final chance for the Lords to debate and amend the bill.

Further information

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