Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Lord Lilley:

    My Lords, can I begin by setting the record straight? On Monday, I implied that no noble Lord had mentioned the precedent set in 2004 by the Blair Government in creating an unrebuttable presumption that a list of countries is safe. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, who is in his place, for alerting me to the fact that he and the Constitution Committee did refer to this precedent. I apologise to him for not having mentioned that. Both he and the committee excused the precedent because it was a requirement of European law, and it was replaced in 2022, so it would appear that removing such a bad precedent was a Brexit dividend, although I am not conscious that anyone has mentioned that.

    The most reverend Primate rebuked me for citing this precedent on the grounds that

    “two wrongs do not make a right”.—[Official Report, 4/3/24; col. 1336.]

    Of course, neither do two rights make a wrong. I do not recall him, any right reverend Prelate or any lawyer, over the many years that that Act was in place, ever decrying it in the way they decry this proposal. What is the difference? The first is that, in those days, the list was all of white countries, and now we are dealing with a black country. I warn the most reverend Primate that he had better check his white privilege and his colonial assumptions, or he might find himself in trouble with some of his bishops.

    The second difference is that this changes a court decision, whereas the 2004 one did not. I remind the House of something that I may, of course, not have heard other noble Lords mention: the advice of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Neuberger, who said that

    “if a judge makes a policy-based decision with which the legislature is not happy, the remedy in a system with parliamentary supremacy, such as we enjoy in the UK, lies with Parliament. Any decision made by a court can always be reversed by the legislature”.

    That is what the Bill does, and I hope we will pass it.

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