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Home Secretary, Jack Straw
"These measures will I believe be successful"
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Wednesday, 5 July, 2000, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Scots loophole in anti-hooligan law
Fan arrested by police
English fans caused trouble during Euro 2000
The Home Office has admitted that English thugs could flout new anti-hooligan legislation by travelling to away games from Scotland.

But the Scottish Executive has insisted it is "highly unlikely" it will happen.

Home Secretary Jack Straw gave details of the anti-hooligan package, effective only in England and Wales, in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Jack Straw
Jack Straw: Pushing through change
He said there would be tougher domestic and international football banning orders with those subject to the orders being forced to surrender their passports while major overseas games take place.

But following the announcement of the measures, which are being introduced to stop a repeat of violence involving English fans at Euro 2000, the Home Office admitted it had overlooked the Scottish loophole.

Mr Straw played down the apparent oversight on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"They could also anticipate the game and go abroad to other parts of Europe," he said.

A Home Office spokesman said: "This is one of the issues that needs to be looked into, but we are not able to offer an instant solution.

Police co-operation

"We will be holding talks within the next few days with all the relevant bodies, including the Scottish Executive."

The Home Office believes cross border police co-operation could prove sufficient to solve the problem, but it may be that "other measures are needed".

To say that the legislation is in crisis at this stage is just nonsense

Scottish Executive spokesman
The spokesman added: "We are not in a position to say what they are at this time, but we are addressing the issue and hope to be able to find a solution within the next few days."

Scotland's Justice Minister, Jim Wallace, spoke to Mr Straw before he made his announcement to MPs and the Scottish Executive said it was well aware of the situation.

Emergency legislation

An executive spokesman said: "If the forfeiture of passports is one of the measures in the new legislation, then the problem will be solved.

"Similarly the requirement on known hooligans to report to a police station would equally apply in Scotland.

"To say that the legislation is in crisis at this stage is just nonsense."

Ministers north of the border have no plans to introduce similar legislation to combat hooliganism.

The Home Office is hoping to rush through its proposals before the Westminster Parliament breaks for its summer recess on 28 July, but concerns over civil liberties could delay the measures becoming law.

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See also:

05 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Hooligan ban plans set out
04 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Soccer thugs face travel ban
22 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Hague offers help on hooligans
19 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Labour 'inaction' blamed for violence
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