On Wednesday 1st November 2006, the House of Lords accepted the compromises the Government had made on controversial aspects of the Police and Justice Bill, regarding things like abandoning their plans for regional Police Force mergers, for now, and abandoning their plan for one super-bureaucracy to merge 5 independent inspectorates of Prisons, Police, etc.
What the House of Lords did not accept was the Government's rejection of their Noble Lordship's amendments to the unfair US-UK extradition arrangements.
They have voted by 189 Ayes to 152 Noes in favour of Amendment D!, which removes the United States of America from Schedule 2 of the Extradition Act 2003, despite the progress in getting the US Senate to reccomend that the unfair 2003 Treaty should soon be ratified by the USA.
If this stands, this effectively requires the US-UK Extradition Treaty of 2003 to be re-negotiated, hopefully not in secret as the original one was.
They also voted by 171 Ayes to 138 Noes in favour of Amendment F1, which restores the ability for a UK Judge hearing challengeable evidence, rather than a back room secret deal between prosecuters, to make the appropriate decision on the legal forum, in cases which could be tried either in the UK or elsewhere (not confined to just the USA) i.e. applicable to a future case like Gary McKinnon's or the NatWest 3 etc.
There is another week or so for the House of Commons to decide whether they accept these Lords' amendments or not.
The next vote in the Commons is scheduled for this Monday 6th November, so please contact your MP before then e.g. via WriteToThem.com
How long will this Parliamentary "ping pong" between the Commons and the Lords persists for, bearing in mind that the current session of Parliament ends next week until the new Session is opened by Her Majesty the Queen on 15th November, at which time she will make her Gracious Speech (written by the Government), outlining the legislative programme for the next few months.
In theory, the whole controversial hodge podge of this Police and Justice Bill could be lost, if there is no agreement on these Extradition clauses, if it is not completed before Parliament is prorogued next week, ahead of the the new session of Parliament , when Her majesty the Queen formal State Opening of Parliament ceremonies and Queen's Speech (or Gracious Speech) , written by the Government, in which she vaguely announces the Government's legislative programme (basically just a list of the tiles of new Bills)
If the Government forces the Lords' to back down over these Extradition Act amendments, that is not good for Gary McKinnon or the others facing dubious extradition to the USA.
If the Government allows the Police and Justice Bill to fail to pass in time, that is also not good for Gary and the others, because the current unfair Extradition Act 2003 will continue to be law.
Only if the Government decides to back down on the Extradition Act amendments, in order to save the rest of the Police and Justice Bill, is there any hope for Gary McKinnon, the NatWest 3, Babar Ahmad etc.
Gary McKinnon and the others who are still in the UK, might be able to appeal to a Court and demand a re-run of their extradition hearings, under the former rules which applied under the still in force 1973 treaty, which would allow them to challenge some of the ridiculous allegations against them in a UK court e.g. the vastly inflated allegations of financial damage claimed to have been caused by Gary McKinnon.