§ 4.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Ivan Lawrence (Burton)
I beg to move,That this House demands capital punishment for terrorist offences causing death.Twelve months ago to the day this House, by a majority of 152, decided that it would be an uncivilised step or that it would provoke more terrorism if terrorist murderers were to suffer the death penalty. I have tabled this motion to give hon. Members an opportunity to reconsider that decision. I hope that hon. Members—Mr. Bernard Levin notwithstanding—will regard this debate as timely, bearing in mind the immense concern of public opinion throughout the country.
I make it clear to the House that this is a motion only, requiring a declaration in principle only. It would be for legislation in due course to work out whether, for example, capital punishment would apply in Northern Ireland, what is the best definition of "terrorism", whether the introduction of such a penalty could be temporary, or even the method of execution. I hope that it will not be assumed by any hon. Members that a vote for the motion is necessarily a vote for death by hanging.
This is also a motion of the most limited and narrow kind. It is not for all murder, only terrorist murder. It does not cover injuries, however serious, as a result of a terrorist offence. By framing the motion in so narrow and restrictive a way, I hope to attract to my support a number of hon. Members who would not necessarily support capital punishment but who believe that an exception must be made for murders committed by terrorists.
§ Mr. Evelyn King (Dorset, South)
My hon. Friend dealt with a list of exclusions upon which I should like him to expand. He will realise that a great many terrorists are girls of 19 years. Is he in favour of execution for girls as well as men?
§ Mr. Lawrence
The answer to that question will become clear if I am allowed to develop my argument.
Put shortly, we should have capital punishment for these offences for three 664 reasons: first, because the more civilised so-called deterrent of life imprisonment has blatantly failed to deter a significant number of terrorists; second, because more innocent lives would be saved if we had the death penalty; and third, because this House cannot continue flaunting the wishes of the overwhelming majority of those whom we represent.
Before I give my reasons for holding these three views I shall say only two things. Divided as the House might be on means, we are all united upon certain ends. We all abominate terrorism, we are all determined that the terrorist shall not win and we all want to save lives. Some hon. Members on opposite sides may even agree, as I believe the Home Secretary was near to agreeing the other day, that there might be no objection to a terrorist forfeiting his life in some circumstances. Therefore, if I should express myself strongly in the course of my remarks, I hope it will not be taken as implying any disrespect towards those who hold a contrary view to mine.
I also hope that by advocating capital punishment it will not be thought that I enjoy doing so. It is a penalty that I find utterly nauseating and repugnant but no more so than the slaughter and carnage by which the terrorists destroy the lives of innocent people.
So to my argument. It is relevant to begin by reminding the House how we, in England, have fared since we decided that life imprisonment was no less a deterrent for terrorist murder than capital punishment. On the very day of our debate last year a bomb went off at the Naval and Military Club, Piccadilly, and one man was injured. On 17th December four people were injured by two bombs, one planted at the Draycott Avenue telephone exchange and the other at Chenies Street exchange. One person was injured and one was killed. The next day 17 were injured when two bombs went off in Bristol. The following day a 100lb. car bomb went off outside Selfridges and five people were injured. Two days later a bomb went off in Harrods injuring two and the next day an attempt was made upon the life of my right hon. Friend the Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath).
On 23rd January this year three people were injured at the waterworks at Walthamstow, and four days later 20 people 665 were injured in three blasts at Lewis's store in Manchester, at a jewellers in Kensington and at a boutique in Victoria. On the same day three bombs were defused. Here I pay tribute to the extraordinary courage of those men who defused those bombs. They were defused at Hampstead, Putney and Bond Street.
After a lull of seven months, anyone who believed that the terrorists had at last been deterred by the decision of this House had a rude awakening. A blast at a public house at Caterham injured 33 men and women. I keep saying "injured", as the cold statistics do, without explaining what sort of injuries were incurred. The people in that public house had their legs and arms blown off. These bombs usually also deafen and blind their victims. The day after the bomb blast at Caterham, six people were injured in Oxford Street. The following day a brave bomb disposal officer was blown to pieces trying to save the lives of others.
On 5th September 63 people were injured and two died when a bomb went off in the foyer of the Hilton Hotel. The following week two letter bombs injured their openers. A week later a bomb exploded at the Portman Hotel injuring three. On 25th September two people were injured in a public house at Maidstone. On 9th October 20 people were injured and one died when a bomb went off at Green Park underground station. On 13th October many were saved from destruction by yet another brave officer at Lockets Restaurant. That bomb was loaded with iron screws deliberately to cause hideous wounds.
Ten days later a bomb under the car of my right hon. Friend the Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Fraser) killed an eminent physician and injured a passer-by. On 29th October, 18 people were injured while eating at a trattoria in Mount Street. Within a week three more were injured when another car was blown up in Connaught Square. On 9th November a bomb was defused outside the house of my right hon. Friend the Member for Sidcup. Three days later one person died and 15 were injured at Scott's Restaurant and six days later two people died and 23 were injured at Waltons Restaurant. Both bombs had been loaded with ball bearings.
666 Meanwhile a cache of explosives had been found in a block of flats in Southampton. I ask hon. Members to consider the possible implications of that. On 27th November Mr. Ross McWhirter, whom many of us remember today, was murdered on his own doorstep.
In all, since this House last voted that life imprisonment was the best we could do by way of a deterrent, there have been 30 bombs, 243 people injured and 10—by divine Providence only 10—people killed in England. The violence has got worse. The bombs now come without warning and have been planted more indiscriminately. They have been made more bestial in their nature and we have had the first doorstep assassination.
I have recited those horrible facts not so that hon. Members should be sickened, though they will be sickened, or to twist their minds in bitterness against the perpetrators so that they abandon their powers of judgment, but to remind hon. Members how great is the responsibility that we bear in this place if we do not take action to stop this bloodshed and also to prove the one unanswerable fact that life imprisonment has not turned out to be a deterrent. As one of the wives of an IRA bomber called out when her man was sentenced for the Guildford bombing, "It is all right, you will not serve your sentence". There is a widespread belief that when we are forced to withdraw our troops from Northern Ireland there will be an amnesty for political terrorists.
Therefore, could we have done any more? Can we still? Would capital punishment deter? The British people say that it would. The majority of this House may say that it will not. However, have hon. Members asked themselves by what superior knowledge they set themselves up as experts on the workings of the criminal mind'? This is not a complicated question. It is a question of simple motivation on which the ordinary man or woman is as expert as any Member of Parliament, or a senior police officer, come to that.
If hon. Members do not trust the judgment of the ordinary voter whose judgment returned them to this place, whose judgment should they trust? Who better than the IRA itself, the people we seek to deter? The IRA makes it quite clear that it considers capital punishment to be a 667 deterrent. Why else does it administer capital punishment as the ultimate sanction against those who break its code? Does it do it because it does not believe in it? Let us consider why O'Connell, the IRA leader, considered it necessary on the day we debated this subject about 12 months ago to threaten this House with the death of two British soldiers for every terrorist sentenced to death? Was that because he wanted us to vote for capital punishment? If he wanted us not to vote for it, why was that?
The answers are not difficult to give. The IRA leader knew that capital punishment would deter some of his supporters—not, of course, every fanatic, but those who provide the back-up, those who make the bombs, steal the detonators, drive the cars and harbour the perpetrators after their act of devastation. O'Connell knew that the security forces would get more information which would lead to the reduction of his force if the person concerned had as much to fear from the State as from the IRA. On this occasion, therefore, the common sense of the British people and the view of the IRA coincide. They believe that capital punishment would provide some deterrent to some people, and those views are quite good enough.
§ Mr. A. J. Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
Will the hon. Member make clear whether the people he thinks might be deterred—those who are involved on the fringe of terrorist activities—will be subject to the death penalty for these activities? That is a crucial point in his argument.
§ Mr. Lawrence
The ordinary laws would apply. Those laws say that all those who are a party to a criminal act are as guilty of that act as the final perpetrator.
I ask everyone here whether in examining his conscience he can swear this afternoon that it is not possible for capital punishment to be a deterrent for some people in some circumstances. If he cannot swear that, he is admitting that capital punishment may be a deterrent for some. If so, it may save some lives, and if it may save some lives, which the alternative has clearly failed to do, are we not failing in our duty if we do not provide even that degree of protection for our people?
668 It is only part of my argument that lives will be saved by capital punishment. However, if I am right so far—and I noticed that even the anti-capital punishment leading article in The Times yesterday said that capital punishment would be a deterrent—then let us consider the arguments of hon. Members who are opposed to it. How do they show that more lives would be lost with capital punishment than would be saved by its deterrent aspect? They say, as I understand it, that martyrs would be created to inspire more terrorists; hostages would be taken to secure the release of those awaiting death; there would be reprisals; juveniles would be used; more people would hide terrorists; juries would acquit more often; the public would not allow a 19-year-old girl to suffer the death penalty; capital punishment is uncivilised; and demand for it is vengeance and contrary to God's teaching.
I hope that I have introduced all the arguments which will be arraigned against my case. I concede that some of them have some substance, but I contend that none of them has much substance. If I am told that God's teaching is to be found in the Bible and that it is against capital punishment, I answer that it depends on which page of the Bible one is looking at. If I am told, as the Archbishops said in their letter to The Times yesterday, that judgment should be left to God, I reply that since the Almighty has not seen fit to stop the blood-letting and the carnage of years of terrorism He must be leaving that particular judgment to us.
If I am told that capital punishment is an uncivilised punishment, I agree, but we are living in an uncivilised society where the civilised punishment of life imprisonment has been tried and has failed to deter. Now we must try something less civilised. I say that we shall not enjoy the luxury of a civilised society until we get rid of terrorism, and the best way of doing that is to get rid of the terrorists.
If those who speak for the death penalty are accused of being after vengeance, I say that for some of us that may be true and that for others it may not. Even if it were true, however, is it not better to institutionalise our feelings of vengeance and for the State to be vengeful on 669 our behalf, after due and proper judicial process with all its built-in safeguards against conviction of the innocent, than that we should wreak our vengeance, to quote the Economist of last week,in prison cells, resisting arrest, or down dark streets on substitute victims by a society frustrated at what it sees to be the law's inadequacy"?Would friends and relatives be more likely to hide a terrorist? More likely than what? More likely than now when, under the stern regime of life imprisonment, hardly anyone is caught in England for want of a harbour? Would more juries acquit? That might be possible sometimes, but would hon. Members want juries not to acquit where they had doubt as to guilt? Have hon. Members stopped trusting juries? Even an unjustified acquittal to avoid the death penalty would not necessarily mean the release of the prisoner. It would almost certainly be open to the jury to convict of murder without terrorism, or of manslaughter if it were thought that the accused was guilty but should not suffer death. What of the situation of 19-year-old girls? A sympathetic jury might ensure that such a girl received a long prison sentence even if it did not want her to die. However, there are some girls of 19 years and 20 years whose crimes are so hideous that juries would want them removed from this existence.
Would juveniles be used more often? That is possible, but that is only speculation. The juvenile would not die from capital punishment as a result of this motion being passed, and subsequent legislation would, of course, ensure that according to the ordinary rules of the law of the land the juvenile would not suffer the death penalty. The terrorists would soon stop using juveniles to do their dirty work when the work began to be bungled and the children brought the police—and the death penalty—very quickly to their door.
What of the more practical objections based on arguments about martyrdom, and the taking of hostages and reprisals? Before the will of the people is overridden, surely opponents of capital punishment have at the very least to show that martyrdom is likely to make more terrorists than would be deterred by the death penalty. I do not believe that they can 670 show that. [HON. MEMBERS: "Show the opposite."] Those who rely on this argument cannot use the argument about the extended use of juveniles as well. If terrorists want to gain support through execution, they will not hide behind juveniles. Nor can it be argued that martyrdom does not already exist for those who languish in prison.
It is not only death that creates martyrs. Life imprisonment does the same, but with an added feature. Martyrdom of the dead is largely a question of anniversarial celebration, while martyrdom of the prisoner is continuous. Above all, is not the martyrdom argument a cruel misjudgment of the Irish people? It presupposes that they are behind the terrorists and would make martyrs of them. Am I not right in saying that the Irish community in the United Kingdom and in southern Ireland despises the terrorists as much as we do? It is one thing to be fighting in the cause of independence with the mass of the people behind you, but the chances of martyrdom are much reduced when the people are against you. After the pageantry of the funeral, how many who have died in the cause of the IRA in recent years are now remembered?
The situation is similar over hostages. Do not the opponents of capital punishment have to show that more hostages will be taken and that there will be more death or injury caused by the death penalty than would be deterred by it? Again, those who rely on the hostages argument cannot at the same time use the martyrdom argument. If the terrorist wishes martyrdom he is unlikely to take hostages to ensure his release. The taking of hostages by hijacking airliners has in recent times been to release people from imprisonment. Capital punishment will reduce the opportunities for taking hostages since kidnapping to release a terrorist is a waste of time after the terrorist is dead.
§ Mr. Tom Litterick (Birmingham, Selly Oak)
The hon. Member has raised the point three times, but he seems unable to understand the important factor about martyrdom. The dead do not make themselves martyrs. It is posterity that makes martyrs of the dead. That is the psychology of martyrdom.
§ Mr. Lawrence
In other words, the person who dies has to have the support 671 the people behind him. My point, as the hon. Member would have heard if he had been listening, was that the Irish people are not, now that the fight for independence is over, behind these traitors who murder people.
I was approaching the question of reprisals. Of course, any terrorists who are left after capital punishment has been used may exact reprisals, but it will be easy to tag every killing as a reprisal even though it is not. The House will remember that the murder of Ross McWhirter was claimed to be a reprisal—not against capital punishment but against the treatment of IRA prisoners in a Northern Ireland prison.
Who is to say whether more will die because of reprisals or because we have given way to the terrorists—that he, the terrorist, seeing our fear and our weakness, will not redouble his murderous efforts? For we should make no mistake—if the terrorist believes that we are frightened of his threat of reprisals into not introducing capital punishment, he will have gained a victory, whatever excuses we may use to explain why we did it. If we allow the law-breaker to dictate our laws instead of the law-maker, is not that the beginning of the end? Will not every extreme group in Britain start trying to do the same thing? Will not terrorism spread? And will our cowardice then avail us?
On the question of martyrdom, hostages and reprisals, I can only conclude that there is a real chance that our failure to take this action will in the end escalate the violence, the killing and the terrorism. Certainly, those opposed to capital punishment have not yet made out any case that more lives would be lost by having capital punishment than would be saved by its deterrent aspect.
I said at the beginning that the failure of the soft option and my belief that capital punishment was a deterrent were not my only reasons for asking hon. Members to join me in the Aye Lobby, My third main reason both strengthens my belief that terrorism would be reduced and gives me my greatest reason for concern if this motion is not carried. I believe, quite simply, that it is now becoming dangerous for Parliament to ignore the demands for capital punishment being made by an 672 overwhelming majority of the British people. Eleven days ago, a public opinion poll gave the figure of 88 per cent. of our people supporting this motion. The strength of feeling will be well known to hon. Members from the post that we have all received.
I know all about Burke's principle that we are representatives and not delegates, that we are here to give our independent judgment, and I will make no party political point about that. But Burke would have been the first to say that we should not ignore public opinion. He would be the first to say that our judgment should be made taking public opinion into consideration. When public opinion is so considerable, should we not take considerable account of that opinion, especially when it is as informed as ours and especially when the public are as much in jeopardy as we are?
I do not see that it matters very much whether the public have this opinion partly because they desire vengeance or partly because they think that a unique crime should be marked by a unique penalty—or because they believe that we are fighting a battle with the IRA with one hand, or with both our hands, tied behind our backs. If they also believe that society will be safer if we have capital punishment, that is the important matter.
What worries me is the likely consequences of our refusal to introduce it. It should also worry hon. Members who believe that the violence will only escalate if we have capital punishment. Let me read to hon. Members a typical letter that I have received in my post:As the Law does not protect me, my Family or my House, I will have to depend upon myself, and will do so. In my House, I have a deterrent and will not hesitate to use it. I now depend upon myself.Do hon. Members really not see here a most serious threat to our society?
Is it not at least likely that an increasing number of our people will come to share, if they do not already, the view that Parliament is irrelevant, that our laws are irrelevant and that they need not be obeyed? Is it not at least probable that more people, in their immense frustration, might resort to self-help and that with self-help will come greater lawlessness, retaliation, reprisals and, I am afraid, quite possibly, counter-terrorism?
§ Mr. Brian Walden (Birmingham, Ladywood)
May I suggest to the hon. Member that Burke might have said something else? He might have said that someone who intended to take the law into his own hands was not a "typical" British person and he might have suggested that no Member of Parliament should quote him in such a way as to appear in any sense to give countenance to such rubbish.
§ Mr. Lawrence
Burke might have said anything that the hon. Member supposes him to have said. All that I am doing is repeating the argument which is commonly put, that we are here as representatives, using our own judgment. That is an argument which I recall the hon. Member himself using when he saw fit to quote Burke in the similar debate this time last year. But what I am saying is that if people, in their immense frustration, are going to resort to this sort of retaliation, reprisal or counterterrorism—if that is even a possibility—we should do something about it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Scaremongering."] Before hon. Members start shouting about "scaremongering" and saying that it is "ridiculous", I hope that they will pause to remember precisely what happened in Northern Ireland—a part of this country.
Do hon. Members not remember that, for a long period at the start of the current Irish troubles, there was no violent reaction from the Protestant Loyalists but that, when time and experience had led them to believe that the forces of law and order were no longer adequate protection for them, some of them took to the gun and there was an escalation of violence and terrorism? Can any hon. Gentleman deny that?
The very thing which happened in that part of the United Kingdom, albeit on a much less moderate scale—I have read that letter to show some indication that it could happen—could even begin to happen here.
It is my belief that Parliament and the people have far more to fear from saying "No" to capital punishment for terrorist offences causing death than they have from agreeing to this motion. It is because I believe that and because the British people believe it that I have moved the motion.
§ Mr. Speaker
Before I call the next speaker, I should announce that I have not selected either of the amendments.
§ 4.28 p.m.
§ Mr. John P. Mackintosh (Berwick and East Lothian)
I begin by saying that I have some sympathy with the speech of the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) in the sense that I sympathise with the depth of his detestation of these offences and of the crimes which have been committed.
I had thought that, after seeing politics degenerate in the way they have in British and Irish public life over the last decade, there was little left that could shake me until I heard of the death of Ross McWhirter. What shook me even more was that, at a function that evening. I was talking about the killing to a reasonable member of the community. That person then said "It was awful, but, after all, we must remember that Ross McWhirter had stuck his neck out a bit." Is that not appalling? Is that not shocking? Is it not disgraceful that people could take into consideration the views that a person had in judging whether or not they condoned his being gunned down in cold blood? In that sense, therefore, I share, as I think does every hon. Member, the deep horror of the hon. Member for Burton at what has happened.
I also have some sympathy with the hon. Member, because a year ago, when we debated this same matter, I confess—an unusual thing for a Member of Parliament—that I came into the House in some doubt about how I was going to vote. I believe genuinely in all the old arguments for the abolition of the death penalty for what might be called civilian murder, but I also believed that they did not apply to the new situation in which we were placed, that those arguments did not apply directly to terrorism and that this was a new situation.
For this reason, I take some of the arguments of the hon. Member for Burton. I take, for example, the point about the sanctity of life. We are in a war situation. We are dealing with people who are trying to overthrow our Government and to change the direction of that Government by the use of sheer terror and force.
675 Secondly, I believe that the deterrence argument is overdone by the abolitionists. I know it is true that there is no direct correlation between those countries which have and those which do not have the death penalty and the murder rates in those countries. But it must also be agreed that in certain cases people are deterred by this fear. If that were not the case, why would the IRA consider shooting people suspected of informing, and why would the IRA make it clear to people committing outrages "Do not worry. If you are caught, it means just imprisonment. Then there will be a political settlement and you will be released, so that it will be over very soon"? Those are arguments to which I give considerable importance, though I do not take them as far as the hon. Member for Burton.
Then I accept some of the hon. Member's final points. If there is a great weight of opinion in this country in favour of any proposition, we need not follow it if we do not believe it to be in the national interest. But we must pay great attention to it, and we in this House must think carefully before we reject an opinion which is widely spread outside.
Having covered the points on which I agreed, in part, with the hon. Member, I turn to the substance of the matter. As I said just now, I came into this House a year ago in some doubt. I made up my mind finally when I heard the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Mr. Walden), in whose constituency one of the foulest outrages took place, and when I heard the speech of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. Ever since, when I have thought about it, I have come more and more to the conclusion not that the death penalty was inherently wrong but that as a practical matter it would not help us to diminish IRA outrages. This is a question for everyone's judgment, but I put it to the House that I am treating this solely as an empirical, practical question: would capital punishment increase or diminish the chances of defeating these people who are attacking our society in this way? I have come to the conclusion that it would diminish our chances.
I want now to rehearse the arguments which have led me to that conclusion. 676 First, there are arguments of practical detail. On this issue I disagree with the hon. Member for Burton. The practical detail matters in this case. It is while the detail is going on, while attention and publicity are focused on the case, that the miserable argument goes on: was the accused—perhaps a woman—a teenager or an adult; had she full knowledge of what she was doing? It is while that is happening that public opinion forms around a case.
So I put some of the difficulties. The first is the practical question that we are proposing by this motion the introduction of the death penalty for one category of offences only—terrorist offences. How do we define them? I have tried various methods of definition. If we try to define them by the weapons used, do we suggest seriously that it would be permissible to hang someone for shooting Ross McWhirter but that if he had been stabbed to death it would have put the crime in a different category?
Can we define terrorism by the category of person attacked, confining it to the police or to some other special group? Again the answer is "No", because it is the general public whom we have to protect against these outrages.
Can we define it by motive? To take this wretched case of Ross McWhirter again, if that were the law all that the gunman would have had to do was to whip out Mr. McWhirter's wallet and say that his motive was theft. I know that the question of definition is not an insuperable argument, but it is a difficult one, and a member of the other place, a distinguished lawyer in the Conservative Party, said more or less that there would have to be two trials—by a jury to find the person guilty, and the other by a panel of judges to determine whether it was a terrorist offence.
In addition to the problem of definition, we have the agony of how to choose which persons should be put through this arraignment. Is it the person who plans the crime? Is it the courier who brings the explosive to his country? Is it the person who drives the get-away car? Is it the person—the juvenile or woman—who plants the bomb? Is it the person who gives shelter when the actual perpetrators are fleeing from their crime? I am not saying that these matters could not be overcome, but I am saying that 677 they would cause the kind of argument which would focus attention on the plight of the accused and not on the horror of the crime.
Then there is the question of wrongful condemnation, and it is not to be underestimated when we have rival groups involved such as the Official IRA and the Provisional IRA, bearing in mind that so much of the material resulting in convictions comes from paid informers. Why should those in one section of an insurgent group attack another when they can shop them by giving the police false information? It is one thing to say that a person might be hanged in error after a lengthy civil trial, but if we hanged someone after a terrorist trial on what was found to be false information his martyrdom would know no bounds.
Then there is the problem of getting convictions. Who is to convict? It would have to be a unanimous verdict of a jury. Majority verdicts would disappear completely in such cases. In certain parts of the country, however, would juries be willing to come to a unanimous decision and face the terrorist gun afterwards? That is why no one can be convicted in Northern Ireland. That may be a bad argument but it is true. Opposition Members must ask themselves why it is impossible to bring in capital punishment for such offences in Northern Ireland. Who would provide the 12 jury men and women in Northern Ireland with police protection for the rest of their lives? That is the kind of practical question we have to consider.
I turn finally in this list of practical problems to the question of hostages, rescue operations and reprisals. Here I agree with the hon. Member for Burton. If we were in an intolerable situation with hostages and reprisals, nothing would be worse than to introduce this penalty and to be driven off it from fear of further terror. Yet that is the dilemma into which we would be placed.
I do not say that some of these difficulties could not, by themselves, be solved. Together, however, they produce a long-drawn-out agonised trial involving difficulty after difficulty during which public opinion would build up.
§ Mr. Daniel Awdry (Chippenham)
The hon. Gentleman may misread the feeling of the British people. Is he suggesting 678 that it would be difficult to recruit juries to serve on these cases because they would be frightened to bring in a verdict?
§ Mr. Mackintosh
I am not suggesting that. I am suggesting that juries would be open to intimidation and pressure, as would witnesses, especially in areas connected with the minority community from whom this kind of criminal is likely to come. We have to consider that when looking at the total feasibility of the operation.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley (Antrim, North)
The facts of the situation in Northern Ireland are not as they have been made out to be by the hon. Gentleman. In the case of terrorist offences there are no jury trials.
§ Mr. Mackintosh
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for making my point for me. When the Gardiner Commission looked at capital punishment in Northern Ireland, it found that of 97 organisations and witnesses giving evidence only two recommended capital punishment.
Having given some account of the difficulties and tensions which would accompany trials involving the capital sentence for terrorism, I turn to what I understood to be the core of the argument of the hon. Member for Burton. He said that life imprisonment or the present level of punishment did not deter. However, the problem is not as he put it. The problem is to show that capital punishment would deter further, and we cannot show that. It cannot be proved one way or the other.
I am sure that every hon. Member, deep down, is bothered about this problem. How is it that the IRA is able, year after year, to recruit young people into its ranks, not from the whole of the Irish community—the Irish community in Britain, that in the Republic or that in Northern Ireland—but from a select minority? How is it possible to recruit from this tiny minority? The second volume of Brendan Behan's autobiography shows how a lovable, attractive, able man, because of the grisly romanticism of the Irish past of bitter struggle, was willing to wrest a gun from the hands of a man standing in a cemetery commemorating the deaths of the Easter Rising martyrs and shoot, not at a British policeman or at any other Briton, but at an Irish policeman. Why was he prepared to do this? It was 679 because of this long myth of struggle against Britain and the romanticism which surrounds these struggles, a romanticism which allows these people to separate horror of the crimes they commit from the kind of people they are and the way they behave, and from the people who shelter them and the lives they lead.
If we are to defeat the IRA, our great task is to drive a wedge between that section of the community which supports it and the IRA itself. The one way to fail to do this would be have capital punishment and create a new generation of martyrs. If there was a time when the IRA and its supporters were standing low in public opinion, it is now—and that is all because of the bravery of one man, the Dutch industrialist, Dr. Herrema.
The bravery and courage of Dr. Herrema has meant that for once the hero's welcome went to the victim of this dreadful offence and not to its perpetrators. I was delighted that when the Coyle girl stood up in court and shouted about the treatment she had been receiving in prison, instead of the shouts of the usual claque of IRA supporters there was a cold silence. Why? It was because the whole Irish community remembered that she had kept that man blindfolded, with his hands tied behind his back and his ears plugged in utter darkness for five days. What had she suffered to compare with what she inflicted upon that man? Because in this case the community remembered the outrage committed and did not sympathise with those who had committed it, the gap between terrorist and victim was there.
But if Dr. Herrema had died and the death penalty had been mandatory and there had been three to six weeks of slow, grisly progress towards the scaffold for the two wicked young criminals, at the end of the day it is they who would have been remembered. Songs about them would have been sung in Dublin pubs, ceremonies would have been taking place over their graves and the feeling that they were criminals would have been lost to sight. The whole process of appeal around these people's memory would have been built up, whereas now the one thing that remains with the Irish people is the disgraceful criminal behaviour in which Coyle and Gallagher had engaged. For 680 once, there will be no new incentive for misguided young Irish men and women to drift into the IRA.
That is how we must combat this form of terrorism. I shall not weary the House with other examples, but it will not have escaped hon. Members that, when the Spanish Government executed five terrorists for murdering policemen, the news of the executions went round the world. Very few people remembered that they had killed policemen and even fewer knew that in the following fortnight nine more policemen and three civilians died in reprisals.
For these reasons, on purely practical grounds, I believe that while capital punishment might deter some individuals it would do an enormous amount for the whole mythology of the small group of terrorists in the IRA.
I come now to the last of the arguments—the view of the House and the view of the outside public. No one has greater respect for this House and its procedures than I have. I believe strongly that we have to decide what is in the national interest. I believe that it not only would be wrong in itself but would be not in the national interest to bring in the death penalty by voting for it because of outside opinion. We simply have to explain to people why we believe in our consciences that they are wrong. If we are wrong, they can reject us. We must not allow gunmen to blow us away from opinions we hold. We owe our unpressurised opinion to the country. Let us act that way this afternoon.
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Ian Gilmour (Chesham and Amersham)
The House will appreciate what the hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh) said about the murder of Mr. McWhirter. I am speaking for myself in this debate and not for the Opposition, and since many of my hon. Friends want to speak I hope that the House will forgive and welcome a certain telescoping of my argument.
I am well aware that what I have said in the past has been contrary to the views of most of the Conservative Party and most of the country, and I have reappraised them as is my duty. While many of my hon. Friends will disagree with some of the things I say, I hope that 681 it will be possible to narrow the area of difference between the supporters and the opposers of the motion, which was so vigorously moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence). I hope to put forward at least some propositions which may secure fairly general agreement.
For example, I hope we can all agree on each other's motives. Those who are against hanging do not regard those who disagree with them as excitable and irrational demagogues who are baying for blood. Equally, I hope those who are in favour of capital punishment do not regard their opponents as ineffective dilettantes whose objections to hanging are primarily aesthetic and who place the purity of their consciences above the security of the State.
We are united on objectives—that is, the curbing and elimination of terrorists, the security of the State against its enemies, and the protection of our citizens. As the hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian said, there is general agreement that, while the old arguments against hanging are certainly relevant, as the Archbishop of Canterbury has pointed out, they no longer have anything like the force in themselves that they have had in the past.
There is almost universal admiration for the police and there is a widespread wish that everything should be done to help them in the fight against terrorists. We all agree that the police must not be hamstrung in their pursuit of terrorists and that their lives should not be additionally endangered by unnecessary restrictions on their ability to defend themselves. This is something the House may wish to consider fairly closely in the future. There is general agreement with the view expressed recently by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition that the perpetrators of these atrocities have no claim upon the mercy of the State. While there is disagreement on whether it would be wise for the State to exact the supreme penalty, nobody disputes that it has the right to do so.
Finally there is the point of agreement, as both hon. Members have said, that the terrorists are not even murdering and maiming in a popular cause. Very few people even in Ireland want to see a 32- 682 county Marxist Socialist republic imposed by force and terror.
I briefly summarise the case for bringing back capital punishment. First, there is the powerful democratic argument upon which my hon. Friend rightly laid stress—that the overwhelming majority of our people want hanging brought back and that the House should be very chary of flouting that tremendous weight of opinion, particularly on a matter which intimately affects every person's safety.
Secondly, there is the firm belief that the death penalty would deter some terrorists. Thirdly, tere is the conviction passionately held by a great many of my right hon. and hon. Friends and many people outside, that the death penalty is somehow a symbol of our will to fight and resist terrorism, a symbol of our determination to deter terrorists, and that unless we use all means in our power we are craven and defeatist and deserve to lose.
The symbol argument has great attractions, but a symbolic action would have little value even as a symbol if it had the opposite effect of what was desired. Some say that capital punishment is right and that we must therefore accept any adverse consequences that it might bring. With respect to those who hold that view, however, I think that it is a faulty mode of reasoning. Before deciding on a course of action, it is right that we should try to assess the consequences, and our assessment of those consequences should surely affect the decision we finally take. It is not sensible to consider a decision separately from its likely consequences.
Against the symbol argument, there is what might be called the security argument. When I had anything to do with these maters, none of the leading soldiers or officials concerned with security was in favour of capital punishment. I have no reason to believe that that position has altered. Last year the Home Secretary told us that five of the six leading police men were opposed to capital punishment. Of course, the House will not abdicate its judgment in favour of that of the security forces. The House will make up its own mind. Nevertheless it is worthy of note that, on every other issue affecting the security of the State, most of my right hon. and hon. Friends would 683 give very careful attention and, indeed overriding priority to the apparent views of those in charge of security.
Generals have occasionally been reluctant to use the most modern weapons, but capital punishment certainly does not come into that category and—to quote the analogy of war which is often used in this debate—politicians would surely be rash to insist upon sending their army into battle with a weapon which, in the opinion of their own generals, was likely to do more harm to their own side than to the enemy.
What would be the likely consequences of bringing back hanging? My hon. Friend the Member for Burton conceded that it would be liable to have the effect of securing fewer convictions. I think it is generally accepted that juries are more reluctant to convict when death is the penalty. On the other hand, as my hon. Friend also said, some terrorists would be deterred. But regrettably, here and in the rest of the world, a very small number of urban terrorists can produce a great deal of violence. If some terrorists are deterred, others, as the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) said last month, will be stimulated.
My hon. Friend asked how we could demonstrate this. We can to some extent look at the precedents, which are not very encouraging. This is what Arthur Koestler said in his book "Promise and Fulfilment" referring to 1947:On the 31st July, the bodies of two British sergeants were found hanging from a tree near Tel Aviv. They had been murdered by the Irgun.… This was a reprisal for the execution of the three terrorists captured after the Acre Jail attack.In April, four terrorists were hanged…. The executions were followed by a new wave of assassination, bomb-throwing and mine-laying, which caused fourteen deaths within the next few days: on the scene of each attack the terrorists left a hangman's noose as their signature.
§ Mr. Norman Tebbit (Chingford)
Is my right hon. Friend suggesting that support in Ulster and in this country for the IRA's aims is as great as was the support for the Zionist aims in what is now Israel? If so, I believe that he is making a sad mistake, but it is on that that he is basing his argument.
§ Mr. Gilmour
I did not think I was doing anything of the sort. I was making 684 no judgment on the Palestine controversy. What I was saying was that, although capital punishment had been in existence all that time in Palestine, it had not previously been used. People were sentenced to death but no one had been executed. When it was used, the results were those I have quoted, and I believe them to be highly relevant.
There is a second precedent, which is much more recent, if I may be permitted another quotationWhether it was right or wrong to execute the Spanish terrorists, subsequent events hardly bore out the case of bringing back the death penalty to deal with the situation in Britain. If shooting five people convicted of killing policemen was a deterrent, how do we explain the deaths of six more Spanish policement in the week that followed the executions?The weakness of the 'deterrent' argument is that it assumes that terrorists are amenable to reason. If the justification for the death penalty is argued on the only other ground, retribution, its supporters must be ready to accept the cost. In this case, six more lives.In fact, nine more Spanish policemen, not six, were murdered. That quotation is an extract from an article in the Police Review.
Of course, we cannot be certain that the same thing would happen here, but it seems to me in the highest degree probable that it would. I think we should be deluding ourselves if we did not expect the execution of a terrorist, either here or in Northern Ireland, to be preceded and followed by a marked increase in terrorist atrocities and reprisals. More soldiers and more policemen would be murdered.
Moreover, at present the IRA enjoys remarkably little popular support on either side of the Irish Channel. For the first time the IRA has put itself almost outside the Irish Republican position. What could be better calculated to revive sympathy and support for it on both sides of the Irish Channel and on both sides of the Atlantic than a succession of executions? The whole cycle of violence, repression, sympathy and support would be restarted, but with far greater intensity than before.
§ Mr. Patrick Cormack (Staffordshire, South-West)
Does my right hon. Friend think that there would have been widespread support for the Birmingham bombers? Would they have been regarded as martyrs if they had been hanged?
§ Mr. Gilmour
Not here, but I think possibly in Northern Ireland—and we are concerned with both situations. But the point is that they were not hanged and there has been no support for them at all. There would be a considerable danger of bringing back sympathy if capital punishment were reintroduced.
My hon. Friend the Member for Burton seemed to regard the question of Northern Ireland almost as a detail, but it is very much a matter of principle. Are the supporters of this motion in favour of extending hanging to Northern Ireland? If not, would it be defensible to bring back hanging for terrorism in all parts of the United Kingdom except the part where it is most prevalent? Would it be defensible to bring back hanging without a jury trial?
The arguments on both sides are formidable and the objectives of both sides are the same. Everybody has to make up his own mind, and nobody can be sure that he is right. I am against the restoration of capital punishment because I think that the security argument is even more important than the democratic argument. Because I believe that executions would produce more terrorism and murder rather than less, I shall vote against the motion tonight.
§ 5.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Frank Tomney (Hammersmith, North)
It is not so much what we say in this Chamber that matters, but what happens outside after we have said it. Coming events have a way of casting their shadows before them, and the sum total of the arguments of the right hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mr. Gilmour) was rather frightening. The effect of his argument was that terrorists are able to control the operation of justice and the quality of mercy. That is a frightening proposition. It would mean having a situation in which the operation of the ordinary judicial procedures would become uncontrollable. The right hon. Member's arguments are admitted. Executions would lead to further murders and terror would build on terror. What are we to do in this situation? People outside have a gut reaction to the problem, and 88 per cent. want an alleviation or and end to these problems through the return of the death penalty. They want some direction from Parliament about 686 what their future is to be if current events are to become the pattern of law and order in this country. The issue confronting us is: what kind of society are we to become as we slide further down the slope, away from reality and the processes of justice?
Life imprisonment can mean 10 years, 7 years, 5 years or whatever judges, parole boards and the Home Secretary want to make it. Formerly, we had a well-defined statute. This motion will do nothing; it means nothing. We decided in 1957—and we confirmed our decision in 1965—that the death penalty should go, and it has left this country for ever. We cannot resurrect the gallows and the operations of justice which require us to differentiate between capital murders and various terrorist murders. The people outside want to know what we in the legislature are going to do in this situation. Are we men of principle? If so, how far do our principles take us? Not long ago, Great Britain was responsible for the mandate in Cyprus. Mrs. Cutleigh, a Black Watch sergeant's wife, who was the mother of five children was shot down by a Cypriot terrorist. She was a non-combatant and was out shopping at the time. At least two hon. Members of this House, including one who is now a Minister, went on the rampage against the Black Watch when they went out the same night, as any full-blooded Scotsman would, and said: "Let's sort out some of these people." That was a gut reaction, and if we do not understand that we do not understand the people we represent.
I have been through the whole range of philosophers and trained my intellect to think out problems in the manner I want to think them out. If some of my hon. Friends find some amusement in that, they had better get up and say so. Twelve months to the day after I had voted in favour of the retention of the death penalty, three policemen were shot dead in my constituency. Hon. Members should have seen the letters that poured in by the thousand. The distinction between the operations of the legislature and the law courts and the fears of the public should be exercising our minds today.
Whatever the outcome of the quarrels between Irishmen—and they may take a long time to be resolved—the Irish 687 Catholic communities in Great Britain and in Ireland do not support terrorism. The pattern of acceptability, so often seen in the United States, is running through this country. When the first British soldier was shot in Northern Ireland, he was given a funeral with full honours, with the Union Jack draped over his coffin. As hundreds of soldiers die, they fade from the memory and their deaths become an accepted pattern.
The murder of Mr. Ross McWhirter was a doorstep assassination. It is one thing for people to be blown up for an idealistic cause like a unified Ireland, but quite another when someone knocks on a person's door and puts a pistol to his head. It was a poiltical assassination of a man who did what he thought was right to combat growing terrorism in this country. Where do we go from here? We cannot reinstitute the death penalty. As Omar Khayyam said:The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, moves on.We hear our own Home Secretary, troubled by his conscience, saying that if a person were killed in the execution of a crime he would have no sympathy for him. What does that mean? Does it mean that we are to go back to the days of the Wild West, with people forming posses, or is it an open invitation for the public to do something on their own? That was a dangerous remark. The police must be seen to be the only operative authority for the protection of the public. The Home Secretary's statement left me slightly bewildered. Once we start on this road, we come to the situation existing in all the American homes I have visited when I have been there on lecture tours. When pressed, they all admit that somewhere in the house they have a gun. I do not want that to happen in England. It would be fatal for the British judicial system, which has been copied in many countries. I am sure that each one of us would like it to be used as a model throughout the world, but it will not be unless we recognise this danger.
We have to ensure that when a judge sentences a terrorist to imprisonment the sentence matches the criminal act. Imprisonment should be for a sufficiently long period to act as a deterrent. This matter should not be left to the Parole Board or the Home Secretary; it should 688 rest with the judges, whom no one can direct.
A former Home Secretary, Lord Soskice, who was greatly respected, said that after 10 years a man deteriorated. He thought that no sentence should be for more than 10 years, which means that a prisoner would be out of prison in seven years. That is much too short a period of imprisonment for a person who is guilty of the calculated killing of another citizen, for whatever cause.
Since 1957 the death penalty has disappeared from the legal framework of most countries. We never thought to see the day when there would be indiscriminate bombing of restaurants, and when shots would be fired from travelling motor cars. We never thought to see, on the television screen, pictures of a father carrying the coffin of his 5-year-old child murdered by a bullet. The bullet went astray, but the child was killed.
If the sanctity of life means anything, the House has to make sure that the sentence imposed matches the crime that is committed. We cannot reimpose the death sentence. It is difficult for me to say that, in view of my former opinions, but I am a realist. I realise that time moves on, and changes occur in every aspect of our lives. There is no going back from the all-embracing legislation that was enacted in 1957. We have to realise that our future will be more perilous.
I earnestly hope that the Minister of State will convince the Home Secretary of the strength of public feeling and ask him to realise that something must be done, perhaps in consultation with the Parole Board. [Interruption.] Did someone say I had changed my mind? Politics, as a science, is an ever-rolling ball. We cannot go back to sixteenth century arguments. Time moves on, and we have to take cognisance of legislation and its effect upon the public. We cannot go back to the days before we legislated to abolish the death penalty. I said that 12 months ago. We must recognise that there are forces that compel any politician to rethink his position. We could continue this debate indefinitely, bringing up the same old arguments, but some reassurance must be given to the public. The assurance that I find necessary is the one that I have stated.
§ 5.15. p.m.
§ Mr. Hugh Fraser (Stafford and Stone)
The hon. Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Tomney) referred to political realism, and I am sure that that strikes us all as being a most important consideration. I sometimes think that the general public have a greater feeling for political realism than do some right hon. and hon. Members. All we ask tonight is that the State should take back to itself the power of the penalty of death. Over the last few months we have seen a growth of terrorism throughout the world and inside our own society.
Some Labour Members have expatiated on the problem of the jury system in Ireland. The problem is that because of terrorism the jury is subject to sentence of death by the IRA. The public are baffled by statements that have been made by leading politicians from both sides of the House. They are baffled by bishops who pontificate while at the same time supporting terrorist movements through organisations such as the World Council of Churches. They are baffled by being told that they do not know as well as we do. Perhaps some right hon. and hon. Members have been baffled by the document which sets out 33 ways in which Members of Parliament can protect themselves, one of which is as follows:Be sensitive to aspects of your public or business activities which may identify you with issues likely to evoke violent dissent.I am told that that document comes from the police. That is why we must consider this subject within the simple term that power to award the penalty of death should be restored to the State.
Reference has been made to security aspects. The views of senior policemen, generals and other experts have been quoted. Every good general and every good policeman wishes to engage in a limited battle in which he is certain to be the victor. This decision is one not for the expert police or military adviser but for the House of Commons. It is essentially a political decision.
We must apply our minds to the authority of the State and the deterrent power of the penalty of death. The powers of the State have been widened by a series of Governments, until the Government now control 90 per cent. of some people's lives and 60 per cent. of 690 the economy. Never before has the power of the State been greater and never has the authority of the State been less. That is the fundamental fact which right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House must face.
Following the success of political terrorism, we are threatened by a growth of violence that manifests itself in ordinary criminality, and the random hostage is becoming as much a part of the burglary kit as a jemmy or cosh. We are witnessing the decline in the authority of the State, and at this point, for its arrest, it is essential for the State to have available the supreme penalty of death.
The question of the deterrent can be argued in many ways and in many directions. Anyone who examines his conscience must realise, as Dr. Johnson said, that nothing concentrates a man's mind more than the thought of being hanged.
I have had some experience both as one combating terrorism and one engaged in activities with so-called terrorists. Those persons were frightened not by the prison camp but by the fear of being shot out of hand.
I believe, therefore, that we should, as a House, address ourselves to these matters in the spirit of the great lawyer, Lord Denning, that such a penalty is not simply a deterrent but the statement of the total abhorrence of a community against an outrageous crime.
§ 5.21 p.m.
§ Mrs. Helene Hayman (Welwyn and Hatfield)
The House tonight is discussing matters of life and death, not only for convicted murderers but for ordinary citizens in this country. The lives and deaths of ordinary citizens matter infinitely more than the lives and deaths of convicted murderers. It is not an occasion for any of us to display our consciences or our principles in this Chamber. The House and the public demand our rational judgment as to what will best safeguard our citizens.
It is because we view the subject in that way that many of us in this House who have an abhorrence of detention without trial, an abhorrence of extending police powers in ways that in any other sense we would regard as being against civil liberties, an abhorrence of exclusion orders and many of the other things we have had to put up with in the wake of 691 terrorism, have supported those measures, despite our normal principles. We have done so because we thought that they would be effective in the fight against terrorism.
If I believed that supporting this motion and legislation to bring back the death penalty would really have made it less likely that the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Fraser) would be subject to the attempt made on him—from which his neighbour died—or that young people in pubs in Birmingham would die while having an evening drink, or that people eating out in London would be subject to death and maiming, I, too, might put to one side my principles as an abolitionist and support the hon. Gentleman's motion.
I do not believe that that is the case and, not believing that to be the case, I think it would be wrong for any hon. Member to support a measure which, in my view, because of the arguments that I hope to put forward, would only increase the violence and decrease the chances of a peaceful settlement of the problems of Northern Ireland, which far pre-date the time when terrorism crossed the channel to enter this country.
None of us can ignore the Irish dimension to this problem. None of us can step aside from a consideration of the way it would be judged across the Irish Sea if we, in this House, chose to protect by the death penalty those, here, who are in danger from terrorism, when we are not able to protect people in Northern Ireland who are in far greater danger than any of us. We cannot dodge that issue, and we cannot countenance sentencing to death men and women who have not had the benefit of trial by jury.
When he moved the motion, the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) said that it was not possible to argue both that terrorists were bent on self-destruction, with "kamikaze" attitudes, and that they would use women, children, or other people less likely to be subject to the death penalty, in their operations. I am afraid that that is not so, because a vast spectrum of people of different temperaments, from the psychopath to the weak, to the romantic, to the child, is involved in the whole range of IRA activities.
692 We owe it to the House and the country to argue in a practical way—not in terms of theories or principles—what would happen if we reintroduced the death penalty.
It cannot seriously be argued that people who turn their homes into bomb factories, people who manufacture letter bombs, people who drive carloads of explosives and have seen their colleagues blown to death when carrying similar explosives, people who go into the West End of London to shoot, knowing that the police are armed to shoot back against them, and who run these risks of death in their activities, would actually be deterred by the introduction of another risk—death by the noose—at the end of a long-drawn-out trial.
Those people will always be there as the fodder for terrorist activities. As for the others—the ones who, we are told, have some cowardice in their souls, and are willing to manipulate and to exploit—unfortunately, the streets of Belfast and Londonderry produce too many unhappy, disturbed children who are too easily turned into the couriers and perpetrators of terrorist crimes.
We cannot ignore the necessity of following through the logic of what has been said in the argument for bringing back the death penalty. If we did so, I believe that it would actually harm the cause of protecting public safety in this country and bringing peace to Northern Ireland. It would make it more difficult for the security forces and the police to get information. It would make it more difficult to get convictions.
This is not, as the hon. Gentleman seemed to think, because juries have doubts; it is because juries have a revulsion against sentencing to death the people who are before them. [Interruption.] Hon. Members may jeer, but they came very loudly to the defence of those who said that there should not be a narrow definition of the terrorist who would be subject to the death penalty, and that it should apply to everyone involved in the terrorist activity. I see that hon. Members are nodding in agreement with me.
That word "everyone" includes the 19-year-old who got the car on the way. It includes the mother of the terrorist who took him in on the night after the incident knowing what he had done. When people of this kind are put on trial, 693 however certain the jury may be they will not convict, knowing that the result will be the death of these people.
In those circumstances, if we introduce the death penalty we are making more difficult and not less difficult the jobs of the people in the front line, who have the primary responsibility for security.
§ Mr. John Gorst (Hendon, North)
As someone with absolutely no idea how he will vote until he has heard all the arguments, may I put it to the hon. Lady that the argument she is using about juries is very difficult to accept? If about 80 per cent. of the population wish to reintroduce hanging or capital punishment, how is it that 100 per cent. of juries will find it very difficult—since they are ordinary men and women—to convict?
§ Mrs. Hayman
The hon. Gentleman has raised a very important point. I think that we are talking now about the heat of the moment. When people reply to the question, "Do you want the introduction of the death penalty?"—a theoretical question—after an outrage and not knowing who committed the outrage but knowing who has died, they will say, Yes, of course; those bastards have no right to live. They should die." That is a very different situation. Six months later, when the court case has finally come to its end, people are faced not with the victim, who all too often is forgotten, but with the person who did the act. They are faced with the person who has a family.
Let us not delude ourselves. These persons will have families. They will have wives, children and aged persons who will weep for them. Newpapers will set out the story of deprivation and harm that has ended up with the person in the dock, with the possibility of the gallows. Then the public—us; human beings—change their minds. We change our minds from the theoretical matter of saying, "Punish these anonymous people," to saying, "How can I take the responsibility of sentencing that man, or that woman, to death next week?"
That is why it would be so dangerous to assume that we must take public opinion now, on the theoretical question, as the only answer. I think that we should find it a hard taskmaster when it actually came to the trials that would be involved.
694 My hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Tomney) said that we were allowing the terrorists to dictate our law and order and that if we did not support the motion the terrorists would be dictating to us. I think that he was quite wrong. They will be dictating to us if we vote for the motion tonight. They will be making us say, "We have only one answer to your violence, and it is our violence." They will be making us adopt the politics of despair.
There are many who have argued not on the practical case, which is the case upon which this House should judge the issue tonight, but on the very real feelings held by millions of people in this country that, as the right hon. Member for Finchley (Mrs. Thatcher) said, these people have forfeited their right to live. There are not many of us who would waste our breath in defending the rights of these murderers. But the sad thing is that if we voted to return to capital punishment we should be regarding the rights of those people—justice, if one cares to call it that; just deserts for murderers—as more important than the safety of individual citizens of this country and the hope of peace in Northern Ireland. That would be the most tragic irony of all.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Myer Galpern)
I remind hon. Members that this short debate must finish by 7 o'clock. There are still about 12 hon. Members who wish to take part. I hope that they will apportion their time in a reasonable fashion.
§ 5.34 p.m.
§ Mr. Robert Carr (Carshalton)
My only motivation in approaching this subject is a desire to win the war against terrorism and to protect the British public and enable them once again to live under the Queen's peace. When we ask ourselves about this question, we find that it is inevitably a difficult one. It is a question about which people naturally have very strong feelings. I certainly do. But what we owe the country is a deep judgment, not an emotional response, to show how we believe that the war against terrorism can be won.
As one of those who, having been Home Secretary, has had to come face to face with this responsibility in an 695 inescapable way, I thought that it might be useful to explain why, motivated as I am, I came to the judgment against the use of capital punishment for terrorist murder—a judgment that I still hold today, in spite of the increase in terrorism to which my hon. Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) referred.
My starting point is the consideration that when we are dealing with terrorist killings we are dealing with considerations wholly different from those applying to ordinary murder and ordinary criminal violence. This difference is one of kind and not simply of degree. Therefore, I say straight away that I agree strongly with my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition that in moral terms the purveyors of death by terrorism have forfeited their right to live.
But that, I believe, is not the question that we actually have to answer. The question upon which we have to judge is whether to exact that forfeit would put the brake on terrorism or whether it would not. In my judgment it would not, and I should like to try to explain why.
I think that our judgment has to start from the fact that, as I have said, we are not dealing with the individual criminal or gangs of criminals in the ordinary sense; we are fighting a war against an enemy with a significant degree of cohesion, organisation and collective purpose. Our strategy must be equally coherent and organised, in order first to contain and then ultimately to destroy the capacity and the strength of the terrorists in both numbers and resources. In order to succeed in this, our policies must succeed in achieving a number of different objectives simultaneously. We have to integrate our judgment about the extent to which the question of capital punishment would affect not just one factor but a whole number of factors.
I should like to test the effect of capital punishment on a number of what I believe are essential objectives. First, there is the obvious one of deterrence, about which we have heard a good deal. I would not wish to dispute the fact that capital punishment presumably must deter some people. I do not know how we measure how many. But that does 696 not mean to say that its overall result is one of deterrence, because we must remember that we are dealing not principally with the ordinary criminal thug; we are dealing, presumably, to a large extent with an unusually high proportion of people who are fanatics—people who, however perverted they may be in their thinking and feelings, see themselves as fighting for a cause that is higher than themselves, and people who are living in a state of mind of dangerous exultation, in which they hold even their own lives at a relatively low price. They are high on the drugs of fanaticism.
I believe that when we look at the history of terrorism in Ireland in the past, in Palestine as it was, in Cyprus and, perhaps, more recently in Spain, we find that there really is no evidence that the overall result of the threat of capital punishment is effectively to deter terrorists.
There is, in addition, a further aspect of the deterrent consideration which is in our minds today when we think of the siege in Balcombe Street. Would not Mr. and Mrs. Matthews, and the police dealing with the incident, be in even greater danger of their lives today had the gunmen locking them in and locking themselves in together with them already been subject to capital punishment for things they may have done prior to taking that step?
§ Mr. Michael Mates (Petersfield)
My right hon. Friend may make that point, but we do not know the circumstances that exist in the room, and therefore they might argue equally powerfully the other way. Let us suppose that one of the four terrorists had nothing to lose but the other three had not yet committed offences for which the penalty would be death. What would the pressures be? Would not the deterrent of certain capture and execution make a powerful argument for the three to go against the other? We are hypothesising, but it is dangerous to take hypothetical cases and to try to make facts out of them.
§ Mr. Carr
This is not a matter to which one can apply a rule and which can be measured precisely. This is more a matter of judgment. I believe that if we spoke to most of the policemen, of all ranks, involved in that operation the majority 697 judgment would fall heavily on the side which I have just put forward. I believe that the greatest deterrent controlling the gunmen in Balcombe Street is the belief, which I trust they have, that if they try to shoot their way out, shooting the hostages in the process, they themselves are in near certainty of being shot by the forces of law and order. I do not agree with those who suggest that the ordinary citizen should keep a gun in his pocket or in the back room of his house. But let us face it: there is a big difference between judicial capital punishment and the people's police force properly keeping law and order, admitting that that does involve in rare circumstances the need for officers to carry and, yes, even to use guns.
We must next consider the effect of capital punishment on the recruitment of new active terrorists. Here again we have to form a judgment. If we were thinking only in terms of the normal criminal thug, I should be inclined to take the view that capital punishment might reduce recruitment. However, that is not the case. Looking at the evidence from Ireland in the past, from Palestine, Cyprus and Spain, there is at least an indication which should be taken seriously—that the highly political types who are the most dangerous in this area and who tend to be high on fanaticism are drawn into recruitment when executions take place.
§ Mr. Carr
It is giving way, more than anything else, which makes my speeches longer. I should like to do so but I am afraid I cannot.
We must also remember that the strength of the terrorists against whom we are fighting depends on money and supplies as well as on people. We must think about where the money and supplies come from. We believe that most of them come from abroad. What would be the effect of a series of executions on the sort of people who are supplying this money and material from abroad? What would be the effect, for example, of the execution of a young person, and above all of a young woman, however much she had culpably committed a terrorist murder, on that section of the Irish descendant population of the United States who, alas, one fears is one of the main sources at least of monetary aid to the IRA?
698 We must consider the effect of the death penalty on the degree of co-operation which the police would get from individuals who provided information which led to detection and arrest of terrorists. We must consider the effect on those who give cover and safe haven to the terrorists, on those called to give not only information to the police but evidence later in court, and on those who serve on juries. Those people would be affected partly by sympathy, or lack of sympathy, for the terrorists' cause, and partly—we must not underestimate this—by the degree of intimidation to which they are subjected. No one can have any real doubt that capital punishment and trials with execution at the end of them might alienate some people's sympathy and certainly would be in danger of increasing the degree of intimidation on the type of people I have mentioned. We must also consider the effect on the co-operation from the Government and the other authorities in the Republic of Eire.
Finally, we must consider the extent to which the introduction of the death penalty would or would not assist us in driving the vital wedge between the terrorists and the Irish population, both north and south of the border.
I am not trying to prove that any one of these considerations is definite or decisive in its effect. However, I wish to repeat my original point. In our strategy for fighting the war against terrorism, we must make a judgment and an assessment of the overall effect of all the factors I have mentioned and, no doubt, others I have not mentioned. We must not consider only one of them.
It was when I took all those factors into account when I was Home Secretary that I was in no doubt that my integrated judgment had to be that the introduction of the death penalty was more likely to hinder than to help us in the war against terrorism. I do not think it is irrelevant, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mr. Gilmour) also said, for me to point out that in my day at the Home Office my view was also the considered view of the majority of the senior Army officers in Ireland and of the majority of senior police officers in both Ireland and this country. Although that is not decisive, it is surely something of which the House must take serious account. I ask the 699 Home Secretary whether that is still the strong majority opinion of those in charge of the battle against terrorists.
The judgment I make is a hard-headed and not a sentimental one. I should not wish to make a sentimental judgment and appeal to this country to support it.
My final and most important point is the need to carry public opinion with us. The Government and this House must not underestimate the deeply-felt need by the great majority of British people to be convinced that we are fighting this battle against the terrorists in the strongest and most effective manner open to us.
§ Mr. Carr
I shall not give way. The Government's policy must not appear feeble. It must appear strong. We should not be surprised that the public as a whole turn so strongly towards capital punishment. At present they feel that the battle is not being won. They have doubts about the effective will of the Government to prosecute. I am not saying that they are justified, but that is what they feel. It is up to the Government to ensure that the public take a different view.
To the great majority of people capital punishment is the one obvious weapon to hand which has not been used. If we decide, as I hope we shall, that it would be a mistake to use capital punishment and that it would not help to win the war against terrorism, a much greater and more continuous effort must be made by Ministers and all the rest of us as well to convince the public why we take that view. We must also convince people that other policies are likely to be effective.
For that purpose I want to put five short requests to the Home Secretary. First, and here I take the point of the hon. Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Tomney), will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that life imprisonment for terrorist murderers means what it says? Secondly, will he restate categorically the assurance that the present Government will never do a political deal which involves any amnesty for terrorist murderers? Thirdly, will he assure us that the Government will offer large financial rewards for information leading to the 700 detection of terrorists? I agree that the setting of a fixed public tariff might not be sensible, but it must be widely known that the rewards will vary according to the quality of the intelligence obtained and that they will not be limited by any financial ceiling. It must be known that they will be as large as may be needed to get the information which we require.
Fourthly, will the Home Secretary pledge the Government's readiness to introduce further special powers if the police make a case for them? The most obvious candidate is, of course, stricter controls over travel between Britain and both the North and the South of Ireland. When I was Home Secretary the police were of the opinion that that would be more of a hindrance than a help to them. Is that still their view? If so, well and good. If not, or if their view should change in future, will the Home Secretary pledge this House without delay to bringing in those extra powers?
Finally, will the Home Secretary pledge to this House and the country that no resources will be spared which would assist in winning this battle against terrorism? We know that the economic crisis demands cuts in Government expenditure and an incomes policy, which we support. But the battle against terrorism demands the same absolute priority as a traditional type of war. It is indeed a special case of a unique kind. Although different in kind and, thank goodness, much smaller in scale, the terrorists are waging a war against our society and freedom just as fundamental as Nazi Germany 35 years ago. Our commitment to win this war must be just as complete now as it was then. That is what the country wants to know. If we can convince the country that that is the extent of our commitment, people will follow the lead that we give them. If we do not give that lead, people will not follow us.
It is right that this matter should be discussed today, and I believe it is right that we should be free to discuss it at frequent intervals.
§ 5.52 p.m.
§ Mr. Leo Abse (Pontypool)
I regret that I have to comment upon the questions which have been put to the Home Secretary by the right hon. Member for Carshalton (Mr. Carr) by saying that, although 701 affirmative replies could be given to all of them, those replies, if they were given us, would be in good faith affirmatively, but would be lacking in authenticity In approaching this problem it is idle to pretend that simple, direct solutions exist for resolving it.
The suggestion has been made by hon. Members on both sides of the House that life imprisonment must mean life imprisonment and that that is the answer. The truth is that, except for a small minority of people whose continued dangerousness is obvious after many years of imprisonment, we cannot pledge that people will remain all their lives in prison. That pledge just cannot be given.
The distinguished psychiatrist who is assisting the police in the Balcombe Street incident and who assisted them in the Spaghetti House incident, with myself, Sir Leon Radzinowicz and the Bishop of Exeter, was engaged for some years on the task of examining the position of people who had been sentenced to life imprisonment and about whom decisions had to be made on how they would live there for ever. One conclusion in the resulting report presented by the Home Office Advisory Committee is that it is impossible for a society which has democratic values to continue to contain men who know that no other punishment can be meted out to them if they rebel and that no rewards can be given if they co-operate.
If peace is restored to troubled Ireland, as we all hope, there will inevitably be a demand for the release of convicted terrorists. Indeed, many hon. Gentlemen opposite who support capital punishment were signatories to a motion demanding or requiring that one of the worst gangsters in our lifetime should be released from Spandau Prison. Those of us who still carry the memory of comrades who lost their lives, in whatever Service we served, and those who, like myself, belong to a people who lost millions in the holocaust, realise that there comes a time in a civilised world when we recoil from continued imprisonment, even of Hess whose crimes and enormities cannot be sufficiently catalogued. Therefore, it is unwise to believe that life means life. That cannot be the response offered to the problem.
I do not want to catalogue all that has been said with far greater fluency, 702 and the authority of a former Home Secretary, on the lack of a deterrent or, indeed, the dangers if we reintroduce hanging. People have said that it may deter some. As an abolitionist I accept that it may deter some, but, as someone who, perhaps too often, as a solicitor was in a position to defend people when the rope existed and State strangulation was the order of the day, I was struck by the fact that one had no thanks—on the contrary—from those whom one believed one should be able to persuade, to put forward a defence which could save them from the rope.
It is a mistake to believe that murderers are rational people with the responses that we may have. In fact, they are irrational people. It is an undoubted fact that the rope may deter some, but it attracts the disturbed. Who can dispute that death is an attraction for many murderers? Every year more than a third of those who commit murder actually commit suicide long before they are arrested. We are clearly taking a risk if we put that type of psychology against the background of Irish culture where martyrdom for noble causes can be so perverted that it can be attributed to evil men. We may actually incite the activating of murder rather than the containing of it.
I do not want to adumbrate all the obvious arguments relating to kidnapping and hostages. They have already been eloquently put forward.
The right hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mr. Gilmour) referred to what happened about the events in Spain and the fact that there the response to the death penalty was an escalation of violence. Spain has not learned any lesson from that experience, but Israel has. I do not think that this country is less able to maintain civilised values than Israel, which has repudiated any idea of responding to Arab terrorism by hanging. The people of Israel, in the face of grave provocation, have maintained their democratic values. I do not believe that this country would do less.
It is odd that although we have all been speaking on the pros and cons of capital punishment in particular circumstances we have avoided dealing with the aetiology, the roots of the present bout of terrorism which afflicts us. Where does it come from? It is simple to talk of life 703 imprisonment. It is dramatic to respond by saying that hanging is the answer. But shall we turn our eyes away from those who are responsible for exacerbating the conditions in which the terrorists breed?
I went to Northern Ireland earlier this year and met some of the Provisional leaders. I found them to be largely men of my own generation, tired, depleted and exhausted, obviously feeling the effect of being contained by a sophisticated Army which had developed its techniques of urban guerrilla warfare. It was my judgment, after I had spoken to them for a considerable time, that they were losing the battle, and that they could continue it only if through provocation they could be augmented by young men from the lost generation of Belfast, those brought up in the appalling conditions to which one of my hon. Friends referred, and when I talked to the leadership of the para-military organisation, the UDF, I was also struck by the fact that they recoiled, as has since been clearly shown, from all the activities of the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) and the hon. Members who support his view.
There have been two Gallup polls. There have been references in this debate to the poll which found that the public wanted the reintroduction of hanging, but there has so far been no reference to the other response of public opinion, when it said categorically that it wanted the Army to get out of Northern Ireland. That response must also be considered.
The country is tired of our importing violence into this country, tired of our giving out large sums at a time when all our constituents are enduring economic travail. That situation is in no small measure occurring as a result of the provocative stance taken by the hon. Member for Antrim, North and all his colleagues, who, refusing to take the more constructive view of the right hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Craig), expect this country to coarsen its values by introducing capital punishment precisely because they are inciting the Northern Irish community to refuse to participate in power-sharing in Northern Ireland.
Therefore, when I hear on all sides, and certainly from those hon. Members, that if we introduce capital punishment 704 we must stretch it to include all those who contribute in the slightest degree to terrorism, I believe that if that attitude were adopted there would be hon. Members and many people in the country, weary of the situation in Northern Ireland, who would say that the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends should be placed in the dock.
Neither hanging nor life imprisonment is the answer. The answer lies in Northern Ireland, in being able completely to isolate the group in Northern Ireland responsible for the terrorism, and to make arid the soil from which they spring. A terrible responsibility lies on those hon. Members who could give leadership but who are sabotaging all the efforts to bring the two communities together.
§ Mr. John Stokes (Halesowen and Stourbridge)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Will there be an opportunity for hon. Members in favour of the motion to be called? Apart from the mover, only one such hon. Member has been called so far.
§ 6.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Emlyn Hooson (Montgomery)
The House must face reality. Either we have the death penalty for all murders or do we do not have the death penalty at all. That is the real issue before the House. Everyone with any experience of the obvious legal difficulties of trying to distinguish between one class of murder and another knows that it would be impossible in practice to do so.
§ Mr. Hooson
I shall not give way at the very beginning of my speech.
I congratulate the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) on the manner in which he made his speech, but I disagree with him profoundly. He suggested that we should not allow law-breakers to make our law. He is in great danger of doing that very thing, of allowing a bunch of terrorists to determine for us what our law should be. He completely failed to make a case for the special efficacy of hanging, or the death penalty however carried out, to deal with terrorists.
705 I agree with many of the points against the motion made in the debate, and I do not want to reiterate them. I want to deal with the matter from the point of view of a practising lawyer who has probably prosecuted and defended at least as many murderers as any other hon. Member in this House. I agree with the right hon. Member for Carshalton (Mr. Can) that the death penalty is a deterrent to some people. I have always believed that, although I have also always believed in the abolition of the death penalty. It is a deterrent to some, but is not generally a deterrent; its overall effect is not to deter.
In the year 1800 there were more than 200 offences in this country for which death was the penalty. It was removed by a process of gradual elimination. Many of the arguments put forward today for the introduction of the death penalty as a particularly efficacious way of dealing with terrorism have been used many times before in connection with other offences and the removal of the death penalty. By 1957 the death penalty had virtually disappeared in our country.
Taking the view that I do, however, I would vote for the return of the death penalty if I thought that it would be particularly efficacious for dealing with terrorism, if I thought that it would reduce terrorism or make it easier for the community to deal with terrorists. But I do not think that it would. My reading of the situation is that the result would be exactly the opposite—that the introduction of the death penalty at this stage would make it virtually impossible politically to deal with the situation in Northern Ireland.
The hon. Member for Burton is trying to distinguish between acts of terrorism and other acts—acts of murder, for example. If someone shoots a bank clerk in the pursuit of robbing the bank, with the motive of simply robbing it, presumably that is not to be a capital offence. But if someone robs a bank for a political motive, to obtain the money to finance his political organisation, which has been done many times in Northern Ireland—
§ Mr. Hooson
With great respect to the hon. and learned Gentleman, that is not treason. Presumably that is to be a capital 706 murder, if the hon. Member for Burton's view is accepted.
Let us consider the situation in practice. There is a trial of three men charged with a bank robbery in which a bank clerk is killed. The men have Irish accents. Because of the introduction of the death penalty for terrorism, they all deny that they had a political motivation. The prosecution produces evidence that one of the men was a member of the IRA three years ago. He denies that he continued as a member thereafter. The other two men, including the man who shot the bank clerk, deny that they are members of the IRA, and there is no evidence of it. There would be grave suspicion in the case. What would the jury do?
§ Mr. Hooson
I believe that I was called a few minutes after six o'clock. I have been speaking for only seven minutes.
In the example that I have given, the situation for the judge and jury would be almost impossible. How is it possible for a jury to distinguish between one motive and another? The man with the greater culpability, although all may be equally guilty in law, may say "I shot him in cold blood. I had a financial motive. I did it simply to rob a bank." He would not face the death penalty. It might be suggested that the other man had some political motivation, or there might be some evidence to that effect.
Such a situation would bring our law into disrepute. One result could be far fewer convictions. Apart from that, there is the time factor in an important case. The first step is the apprehension and arrest of the alleged murderers. There is then the delay between arrest and cornmittal and then trial.
Anyone who has been involved in a trial which carries the death penalty will know that a completely different atmosphere prevails. The interest of the Press and the public is totally different. That is illustrated by the fact that we get to know and remember as members of the public the names of the accused. Which hon. Members remember the names of 707 the people who were convicted for the terrible bomb outrage in Birmingham? I do not think there is one hon. Member who can get to his feet to tell me their names, yet they were convicted of one of the most terrible crimes in the past two years. If there had been a death penalty, the House would have known the names of the accused, as would the public.
Considerable time would elapse between trial and appeal. If there were to be a new offence involving political motivation it is very likely that a case would go to the House of Lords to determine whether the political motivation had been properly proved. We can easily imagine the propaganda opportunity that the whole process would provide. Terrorists are concerned about propaganda and they would exploit the situation to the full. They would ensure that they gained maximum propaganda capital from one of their members being put on trial. They would utilise every opportunity.
If the motion were to be carried and if we were to change the law, we would be doing the greatest possible damage to ourselves in the war against terrorists. I come to this view—it is a matter of judgment—as someone who has practised at the Bar for many years. I am reinforced in my view because I know that most of the senior members of Scotland Yard, many of whom believe in the death penalty for murder, are against introducing it specifically for terrorism. They believe that it would make it much more difficult for them to get their information, and I am told that information is coming along fairly well at the moment. The supply of information is very much better now than it was a year or two ago. The Army officers in command in Northern Ireland are also against the death penalty for terrorism.
What is the House to do? Where is the example that can be given by those who support the motion of the special efficacy of the death penalty against terrorism? Was it in Israel in 1947? Was it in Cyprus or Aden? Was it in Spain? Five men were shot in Spain and nine policemen were murdered in the fortnight that followed. The case for the special efficacy of the death penalty in dealing with terrorism is not made out. I would say that every rational 708 argument is against it. That is why the House should be against it.
§ Mr. Speaker
I call the hon. Member for Belfast, South (Mr. Bradford). He has promised to be very short.
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Robert J. Bradford (Belfast, South)
This subject is far too serious to approach with obscurantist emotionalism, the effect of which is to render some hon. Members impervious to the horrors of terrorism. However much we may dislike having to make a choice tonight, it is clear that a decision must now be taken on capital punishment. I have considered the alternatives to capital punishment and I am not impressed by the argument for imprisonment or variations on that theme, including periodical corporal punishment.
To develop that point would be to stray outside the terms of reference for the debate, but it appears to me to be quite wrong that a terrorist's sentence should be determined either by his later conduct or by political expediency. It is the nature of the crime which should determine the intensity of the sentence.
I shall quickly dispose of the dangerous concept which has been expressed by the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse), which provides encouragement for terrorists. The concept is that, if the objective which motivates terrorists has some kind of credibility, there is some justification for the death and destruction which they cause. That is a ludicrous concept and a disgrace to a Chamber of this nature.
§ Mr. Bradford
No, I shall not give way. The hon. Gentleman's persistence is exceeded only by his ignorance of the Northern Ireland situation. There has been more IRA activity in the period of the power-sharing Executive than at any other time during the Northern Ireland crisis.
Terrorism must not be dispassionately diagnosed it must be smashed. In other words, death and destruction by individuals or groups is wrong even though that which gives rise to such immoral action may also be questionable.
709 What punishment should apply to the cancerous evil of terrorism? Let us not substitute words like "reform" or "rehabilitation" for "punishment". Let us accept that punishment is a necessary element in society. In the face of devastating acts of murder, the State has no business to fritter away time on the irrelevancy of possible reform and assistance to that end. The State cannot guarantee the reform of murderers. Therefore, it is negating its responsibility to society. When punishment ceases to be the paramount consideration, the result is that standards are conceded and the value placed upon human personality is reduced.
We must recognise evil for what it is and not rationalise it so as to provide an opportunity for philanthropic orgies. We must apply a punishment which is commensurate with the crime. Although we have heard idealists, romantics and the weak-willed put forward their point of view, everyone knows that murder is wrong. People know the difference between right and wrong.
The media have an important rôle in demonstrating the horror of the kind of excesses which are shared as much by those who suffer at the hands of terrorists as by those who display emotive feelings during the trials of terrorists.
There are those who contend that the State has the right to kill in the defence of ordinary citizens and in the defence of the State, and that the way round the problem of reintroducing capital punishment is to regard terrorists as enemies who are at war with us and to insist that the rules of war shall prevail. I do not accept that that is the best method of dealing with terrorism.
The police in this country do not carry arms. How can they encounter terrorists? In Northern Ireland the terrorists are encountered directly by the Army, and we know that that does not in any way reduce the bombings. Secondly, prisoners of war have rights after capture. I maintain that terrorists, apart from a statutory trial, should have no rights.
The issue is not whether capital punishment is a deterrent. The fact that both sides resort to statistics to prove their point means that the exercise is futile because it is inconclusive. The one thing that is certain is that capital punishment 710 deters the terrorist, who is removed from society by capital punishment.
When capital punishment is applied, there is commensurate punishment with the crime and at least one terrorist has been deterred. It does the Northern Ireland people a grave injustice to suggest that the murder of educationally subnormal boys and girls and the murder of a two-year-old girl will result in a kind of secular canonisation of IRA terrorists. That is not true.
I conclude by saying that we must all be realistic. Hostages will be taken, counter-murders will occur, but unfortunately hostage and murder are ironies of our fate. One thing is clear: terrorism will win if we compromise our attitude in respect of the punishment applied. For these reasons, I shall support those who wish to reintroduce capital punishment.
§ 6.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Mark Carlisle (Runcorn)
It is nearly 11 years to the day since I stood where I now stand and made my maiden speech in favour of the abolition of capital punishment. A year ago today, for the first time in my life, I voted for the restoration of capital punishment in this area of crime. I did so because, having considered the escalation of terrorism that we saw in that period, I came to the conclusion and judgment that we were right to bring back capital punishment for terrorist activities. I only regret that in giving consideration to those problems, I eventually came down on the opposite side of the argument to my right hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton (Mr. Carr) of whose Home Office team I was glad to be a member in the Conservative Government.
Let me briefly explain the reasons that brought me to this conclusion. I believe that acts of terrorism consisting of wanton devastation of property and life comprise one of the major threats faced by Western civilisation today. I was fortunate to be brought up in a generation that avoided the problems of a world war. Instead, we have faced problems of the urban guerrilla who, by the bomb and by the gun, takes the lives of innocent citizens who probably have no part in the political motivation that caused the action. I believe that we, as a Parliament, have a duty, so far as possible, to protect the people of this country against such attacks.
711 Regrettably, I have come to the conclusion that we cannot, through the security forces, provide the necessary degree of protection from such attacks. Therefore, I believe that we must take every means we can to discourage urban terrorists from operating within these shores. In a situation in which our whole society is under attack, I think that we are wrong in advance to remove the power to use any sanction.
Secondly, I believe that if there is an area in which the death penalty must surely be a deterrent, it is in that area in which people choose to set out to kill, having taken a deliberate calculation. Of course, one will not deter the fanatic, but there are some cases in which the fear of the penalty will deter the weakest link in the chain, and as a result the whole chain will collapse. The tremendous growth in terrorist activity in the last two or three years hardly suggests that we are being effective in our deterrents against these attacks. At least, we have a duty to test whether the threat of the death penalty would have the deterrent effect that its champions have always claimed.
I am concerned, and always have been, by the argument about the danger of increasing the amount of hostage-taking and reprisals as a result of the introduction of capital punishment. The House would be foolish to underestimate the strength of that argument. I realise that the fear of hostage-taking will continue to exist so long as we keep people in long-term captivity. That is a major calculation in coming to a conclusion on this matter. But we must distinguish between the danger of short-term reprisals and the effect of a long-term deterrent. At the moment, we appear to be living in an escalating situation of greater and greater terrorist activity. I am not sure that the danger of short-term reprisals outweighs the deterrent effect of action against the terrorist, whose activities may affect the future of this country.
I agree with the Home Secretary that this is a matter of judgment from which emotions should be removed. Having listened to the debate, I cannot pretend that I have found mine an easy course to take. In the end I am persuaded by 'the strength of public opinion outside the House. I believe that the polls are right. 712 I do not believe that public opinion is conclusive, but we should never disregard it. The public have now heard sufficient of the issues and arguments to be aware of the danger of escalation, yet, despite that danger, they are calling loudly and clearly for this House, in their name, to take that action. It is for those reasons, despite my previous views, that I shall vote for the motion.
§ 6.27 p.m.
§ Mr. Eldon Griffiths (Bury St. Edmunds)
Nine years ago, three unarmed policemen were shot to death on a sunny morning in a street in Shepherds Bush. Many hon. Members will remember that incident because it produced a national shock. The Prime Minister made a statement to the House, and the Queen attended a memorial service in Westminster. The whole nation mourned the death of those three unarmed policemen shot down in pursuit of their duty.
The situation today is very different. It is bad enough that we are beset by terror, but there is something worse. We are getting used to killings, murder is becoming commonplace and terror is becoming a normal activity.
My hon. Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) gave a grisly catalogue of bombings. I speak only for the police. I speak of Stephen Tibble, a young constable just out of training school, who was shot dead in Chelsea when trying to stop an armed robber. I speak also of Sergeant Brian Dawson, shot and left for dying in a Leicester street; Constable John Scolfield, shot dead while making an inquiry of a driver in Caterham; Superintendent Richardson, shot dead while chasing a bank robber in Blackpool; Constable Dennis Smith, shot dead in a panda car; Police Constable Guthrie, shot dead at the age of 19 when he caught a shopbreaker in the act; Detective Constable Keith Coward, shot nine times by two murderers when he stopped their car in the Thames Valley. One of his murderers at the trial said of Keith Coward "He was the bravest bastard I have ever seen".
In all these and in other ways the police are in the front line. That is why the Police Federation, with which I declare a connection, has a special claim to be heard in this debate. The 713 police force has a claim on Parliament for protection, because the police protect us in this place. Policemen also have a right to our protection because their lives are at risk and because they come into closer contact with murderers and terrorists than does any other section of the community. Because of their experience and judgment they have the right to be considered with the utmost seriousness.
The Joint Central Committee of the Police Federation, representing 105,000 policemen up to and including the rank of chief inspector, has carefully considered this question. Its members have asked me to inform the House that the considered view of the men and women who make up the police service is that capital punishment would assist the police in carrying out their duties.
The Home Secretary thinks otherwise. I honour him. Some chief officers also think otherwise. Speaking, however, for the overwhelming majority of policemen in this country—be they the CID, the Special Branch, the Special Patrol Group or the uniformed branch—the Federation is unanimous. Its members regard abolition as a mistake. They believe, and they think they can prove, that it has exposed many more policemen to danger and to death than would have been the case if the penalty of capital punishment had remained. Above all, they are convinced that the task of resisting violent crime, of combating terror and protecting the lives of their fellow citizens, including those of the police, would be materially less dangerous and less onerous if the capital sentence were now to be restored.
I have only two minutes in which to speak before the Home Secretary replies to the debate. I turn to the question of whether the terrorist would be deterred. In my view and that of the Police Federation, acts of political terror are carried out by three types of men. At one extreme are the fanatics, the men who kill for their beliefs. At the other end of the spectrum are the hired guns, the men who kill for pay. Most other terrorist killers are men and women of more limited intelligence, murderers of mixed motive who kill out of a witch's brew of idealism, bravado, hatred, thrills obedience to their leaders and fear of themselves being killed by their fanatical comrades.
714 Among those three groups of killers the argument of deterrence means nothing to the fanatic. I fairly concede that the death penalty would not stop him. However, the death penalty can stop, and in the view of police it would stop, a significant proportion of the other two groups. The hired gun becomes more expensive and much harder to recruit once his own life is at risk, because he is above all a calculator of the odds. The same goes for the other group of killers, the NCOs of terror. Like the hired gun, this kind of man can be induced by fear of execution to hesitate, pause and feel frightened before he risks his own life.
I conclude by putting three short questions to the House. First, which hon. Member, whatever his conscience may tell him, can say with enough certainty to take the responsibility of possibly sending others to their death that in this particular matter he is wiser and more experienced that the British police?
Secondly, which hon. Member can say with enough moral authority to be willing to risk the life of the policemen who protect us that not one professional gangster who sets out to commit a crime would be deterred by the fear of hanging from taking a firearm with him?
Finally, which hon. Member, however convinced he may be that the death penalty might lead to the taking of hostages and reprisals—as also does life imprisonment—is so certain as to overrule the views of the police that not one hired assassin, not one cowardly bomber and not one confused youngster would be cut off from an act of terror by the knowledge that he might suffer the same fate as he now vicariously contemplates visiting upon others? We cannot stop terror or murder by hanging, but we can reduce the numbers of those engaged in committing these crimes.
§ 6.32 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Roy Jenkins)
The House has listened with great seriousness and interest to a number of contributions. I shall comment later on some of the points raised by the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence). I also listened with great interest to the remarks made by the hon. and learned Member for Runcorn (Mr. Carlisle). In a way, 715 his premises and method of thought on this matter are close to mine, but it so happens that we come to firmly different conclusions. However, I shall endeavour to deal with some of his arguments as well as with other points that were raised.
As the House will be aware, by a strange coincidence this debate falls debate and vote on this subject. This, upon the exact anniversary of last year's perhaps, makes it peculiarly appropriate for anyone, like myself, who has had to speak on both occasions, to look back and see to what extent the arguments that he then used have stood up, and to consider also, with as unprejudiced a mind as he can muster, whether anything has occurred in the meantime that invalidates the way he then voted.
We were aware of the extent of the horror a year ago. Indeed, we had a worse incident and a worse total behind us then. We spoke and voted then in the shadow of the Birmingham incident, which resulted in 21 dead, and after a year in which 43 people were killed and over 500 injured. There has, alas, been little let up, but it has not been worse. There have been 11 killed and 255 injured—bad enough in all conscience—during the past year.
Last year I began my reply by saying that I rejected entirely—and I still do—any idea that those on one side of this argument were more virtuous than those on the other, and that those on one side were more the repositories of the values of civilisation than were those who took a different view. That I repeat. I hope and believe that at a time of considerable and continuing menace, when deep passions of apprehension and anger are stirred outside, all of us are giving our most informed judgment—without, for once, the help of the Whips—as to how, on a balance of probability and a basis of rational argument, we can best protect our people.
After rehearsing the traditional arguments—which I shall not do on this occasion—I said last year that I set them aside, even though they had swayed me deeply for 20 years or more, as they have many other hon. Members. They are not negligible. Far from it. Not the least of them, and the only one I shall mention, is the possibility of wrongful conviction. 716 In my two periods as Home Secretary I have had too many such cases to deal with, including three which have come to light in the past year, for them to be easily dismissed. It may be that they would be less likely to occur in a terrorist context. I do not know. However, in my consideration of this matter I am prepared to regard terrorist murder, if it can be defined, in a separate category, and to consider the issue without regard to previous conceptions and solely in relation to what would now give us the greatest protection.
I have already indicated that I have no regard for the lives of those who either wantonly or specifically set out to kill or maim others. Some of them blow themselves up. Others risk being shot by the police, quite lawfully, in the course of their nefarious activities. I believe that there is little danger of a trigger-happy police force. That was far from the case at the Spaghetti House, or in Balcombe Street. The police have been patient, resourceful, disciplined and determined. However, the loss that might occur to terrorist lives in these circumstances would be very different, in its effect, from the judicial exacting of the ultimate penalty.
I am still convinced that those who believe that that would be even an approach to a passport to security ignore or misjudge a number of vital considerations. First, they ignore the substantial and hazardous effluxion of time that is inevitably involved in the progress towards a judicial killing. We cannot avoid committal, trial, appeal and then the final stages. No doubt the old arrangements for appeal or otherwise might be varied. Lord Hailsham devoted all the great ingenuity of his powerful mind to putting forward an alternative arrangement this week. He propounded a sort of inverted parole board machinery—a multi-disciplinary group of perhaps six people, who would reach a final decision after the trial. I do not like it. What criteria would they possibly use? As I know only too well, faced with much easier decisions, parole boards often split. Confronted with these fraught decisions they would do so still more often, and frequently right down the middle. What would we do then? What are the prospects for an escalation of violence during these processes—general violence, the 717 taking of hostages, or specific violence against those involved in the processes?
I read a letter in The Times yesterday morning that suggested that the Birmingham bombings a year ago were directly due to my decision, which I believe commanded the support of the House, to ban a public funeral for the IRA man who had blown himself up in Coventry. The letter ended, rather inconsequentially, by demanding the death penalty. If the banning of a funeral caused 21 deaths, what do people imagine might be caused, provided the capacity was there, by the slow advance of judicial hanging upon a specified morning? It might be answered that the death penalty would deter, but would it? No one can suggest that being an Irish terrorist is a safe occupation. They have killed each other by the hundred in Ulster. Nor is such a view compatible with the facts of what is happening elsewhere, or the psychosis, as I would call it, of Irish terrorism itself.
Spain executed five terrorists in October. Where was the protection of fear that followed? Nine policemen were shot in the next fortnight. On the psychosis of Irish terrorism, death is of course the trade of the terrorists. No doubt their first desire is to deal it out to others, but it is a profound mistake to believe that they are not themselves prepared to become involved in part of the grisly deal. The importance of the funeral in their mythology is eloquent witness to that.
I shall not attempt to deal with the issue of martyrdom, which is a complicated one, but it would require a singular insensitivity to history to believe that its attractions do not have to be balanced against its highly doubtful deterrence. Some people may say that that applies only to the hard core of the terrorist movement—that one may create some perversely triumphant martyrs but that the supporting baggage train would at least be deterred. I disagree. Whatever the reaction of the moment, one would not, in practice, and least of all under Lord Hailsham's formula, be able to hang the members of the train. One cannot hang landladies, mothers who shelter their sons, or women who shelter their husbands. Do not let any of us deceive ourselves that we could or would. There could be few things more humiliating and counter- 718 productive than to introduce a much-proclaimed deterrent that promptly proceeded to break in our hands.
The next consideration ignored by the supporters of the motion, and the last one that I propose to mention, is the problem of how to deal with acts of terrorism in Northern Ireland itself. Capital punishment persisted there, on the statute book, until 1973. It was then abolished, as a considered act of policy in the midst of internecine slaughter far worse than anything that we have known in Great Britain, on the motion of the previous Government. Whatever we decided I do not think it would be practical to reintroduce capital punishment into Northern Ireland. It could certainly not be done without the jury system, which, for reasons we all understand, does not at present exist there. That was recognised by the right hon. Member for Leeds, North-East (Sir K. Joseph) in the remarkable concluding paragraphs of his speech a year ago.
In effect, the right hon. Gentleman said that we should use this supreme weapon of deterrence in Great Britain where we have, alas, suffered 53 fatal casualties in a population of 55 million, but should not risk it in Northern Ireland, where they have suffered over 1,000 deaths in a population of 1½ million. Is that, on this basis, compatible with sense or any coherent view about the unity of the United Kingdom, in favour of which all Opposition Members voted in the Standing Committee this morning, on a finely-balanced technical point? Is it really the view that we should draw a sword of alleged deterrence in England and sheath it in Northern Ireland, where the threat is so much greater? What possible basis of logic or morality is there to that?
Two other points from last year's debate remain highly relevant today. The first is the reality of the threat of long-term, perhaps life-long, imprisonment. This point was raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Tomney). The right hon. Member for Carshalton (Mr. Carr) raised it along with a number of other important points, most of which I think I can answer in my few remaining minutes. The question is whether terrorists believe in long-term imprisonment. I recognise that if long sentences were not believed in, that would be a grave weakness in our armoury, 719 always encouraged by statements in this House, would be very foolish.
Very long sentences have recently been imposed by the courts, and of the 45 people convicted last year of offences related to Irish terrorism, 12 have been sentenced to life imprisonment and 24 to sentences ranging from 10 to 20 years. These tough sentences were fortified by stern recommendations by the judges about the long-term future. I take those recommendations very seriously—indeed, they are written into our practice for dealing with such sentences—and so, I believe, will any of my successors in office.
There will be no amnesty. I recognise no political excuses for cold-blooded crimes of murder or maiming. Those who have committed them will serve for decades and, in some cases, until the end of their lives. That is my view, and it would be the view, I believe, of anyone who is likely to hold office.
I turn to the views of the police, to which the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Griffiths) referred. He put forward the view of the Police Federation, which is of long standing. It has been opposed, not merely in this situation but in all, to the abolition of the death penalty, and I respect its view. The Federation is representative of a wide body of policemen. That does not mean that it speaks for all policemen, any more than any union that puts forward views on policies speaks for all of its members. But no doubt there are many in the police service, as outside it, who believe instinctively that capital punishment may help.
It is, however, my duty to take the greatest notice of the advice of those in the police service who carry the heaviest responsibility and who are best placed to take an overall view of the threat. A year ago I informed the House of the views of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, which he had volunteered to me. Had he not done so I would certainly not have thought it right to ask him for a public statement. Equally, I have no intention of taking a running canvass of him or his senior officers, but in view of the strong interest that has been expressed to me by right hon. and hon. Members during this 720 debate I am prepared to give the view that he has again volunteered to me without the slightest prompting on my part.
The Commissioner has told me that he has in no way changed his views. He has also added that in his opinion the prospects of the police being able to deal successfully with kidnappers would be weakened and the risks to the lives of hostages made greater if the death penalty existed for terrorist murder. In short, he thinks that it would make his job harder rather than easier. [Interruption.] Hon. Members are perfectly entitled to disagree with that view. They should not, however, ignore it, coming as it does from a highly respected chief of police in a very responsible position.
There remains the fact that the public at large want capital punishment. We are all under pressure. I do not ignore this factor. I do, however, think that we should, all of us, be very careful about not encouraging the view that capital punishment, as it is sometimes put, is a policy of guts, and that resistance to it is a policy of softness. I am not clear upon what basis it requires more political guts to go into the "Aye" Lobby than to go into the "No" Lobby. I know that the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Fraser) has great courage—I have paid public tribute to it, and will continue so to do—but I certainly would not like to say that he has more courage than the right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath), who is the only one among us who has been twice subject to personally-directed attacks and who takes a different view.
We all owe our constituents great respect for their point of view, but we also owe them our judgment, and our courageous application of it to what is, in our considered view, the best protection that we can give them against the menace that we face and may have to continue to face in the difficult months that lie ahead.
There is no complete security either way. No one, in my view, should pretend to an infallibility of judgment or knowledge on this or on any other matter. But let us say, by our words and our votes, what we think right and not what we think expedient or acceptable. For those who are convinced of the value of the death penalty, there is no problem. 721 For others, unconvinced either way, it may be reasonable to vote in accordance with outside views, if they are sure that hanging, even if it does no good, will at least do no harm.
That is not my view, nor, I think, is it the view of the great majority of those who have had responsibility, whether in England or in Ireland, whether of this party or that, for dealing with this horrible problem. It could, and I believe would, increase and not diminish the risks to our people, our police, and our security services.
I can now give the right hon. Member for Carshalton the answer to his last question. There will be no lack of resources for carrying to the uttermost this battle against terrorism. There will be no giving in and no irresolution—but neither shall we seek the false remedy of arming ourselves with a weapon which, while superficially attractive to many, would be not merely ineffective against the enemy but dangerous to our own cause.
§ 6.54 p.m.
§ Mr. Lawrence
I am grateful to the Home Secretary for his speech, if not for his conclusions. I am grateful to all those who have taken part in the debate and particularly grateful to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, who has been in her place from start to finish to mark the importance that she thinks this matter has for the country.
I have time to make only one concluding point. It is that if the motion is rejected—I repeat that it is a motion in general principle which has nothing to do with whether it would apply here, there or anywhere else: either one is for the death penalty or against it for terrorist offences causing death—three groups will think that we are out of our minds.
The first group are the police. Time and again the impression has been given here that the police are against capital punishment. That is the most ridiculous and absurd thing that I have heard, and I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Griffiths) for putting that matter right. They are in the front line of our security. Those who thought that security was the all-important point in the consideration of whether capital punishment would help 722 should bear in mind the fact that the overwhelming majority of the police force, who are our security, think that they would be more secure if we had capital punishment for these crimes than if we did not.
I note with interest that the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police gave a very limited statement to the Home Secretary. He spoke about the death penalty being inadvisable for kidnapping and the taking of hostages. He said nothing about its being a deterrent. He said nothing about this being his view as a reflection of the will of his force. It is clear that the Commissioner chooses his words, and has chosen his words on this occasion, with great care.
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins
He began by saying that he had in no way changed the wider expression of his views that I gave to the House last year.
§ Mr. Lawrence
That has always been the personal view—the personal view—of the Commissioner. It is not the view of the police force that he represents.
The second group of people who will think that we are out of our minds are the people of this country, who simply will not understand why, when they are overwhelmingly—not just widely and deeply, but overwhelmingly—in favour of capital punishment for terrorist offences causing death, we pay no regard to their views.
The third group of people who will think that we are out of our minds are the terrorists themselves. They are not deterred by life imprisonment and they are certainly not deterred by life imprisonment with the promise or hope of amnesty. They are deterred by capital punishment. If they had any spokesmen in this House—I hope to goodness they have not—which side do hon. Members think they would be voting for? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yours."] They would be voting against this motion.
What we need tonight is not excuses for not doing something. What we need and what the country needs is some firmness of purpose and some leadership. I should like to quote some words of Solzhenitsyn which are not inapt:Hijackings and other forms of terrorism have been spreading tenfold precisely because everyone is ready to capitulate before them. 723 But as soon as some firmness is shown, terrorism can be smashed for ever.Let us, I ask, show the police and the terrorists and our people that we will not capitulate to the terrorists but that by firmness we shall smash terrorism. All of us who hate and despise terrorism
§ can show what we feel about it tonight by voting for the motion.
That this House demands capital punish-men for terrorist offences causing death:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 232, Noes 361.727
|Division No. 15.]||AYES||[6.58 p.m.|
|Adley, Robert||Glyn, Dr Alan||Moate, Roger|
|Aitken Jonathan||Godber, Rt Hon Joseph||Molyneaux, James|
|Alison, Michael||Goodhart, Philip||Monro, Hector|
|Arnold, Tom||Goodhew, Victor||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne)||Gorst, John||Moore, John (Croydon C)|
|Awdry, Daniel||Gow, Ian (Eastbourne)||More, Jasper (Ludlow)|
|Banks, Robert||Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry)||Morgan, Geraint|
|Bell, Ronald||Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C)||Morris, Michael (Northampton S)|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay)||Gray, Hamish||Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester)|
|Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham)||Grieve, Percy||Mudd, David|
|Berry, Hon Anthony||Griffiths, Eldon||Neave, Airey|
|Biffen, John||Grylls, Michael||Neubert, Michael|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Hall, Sir John||Normanton, Tom|
|Blaker, Peter||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Nott, John|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Hampson, Dr Keith||Onslow, Cranley|
|Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown)||Hannam, John||Oppenheim, Mrs Sally|
|Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent)||Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye)||Osborn, John|
|Bradford, Rev Robert||Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss||Page, John (Harrow West)|
|Braine, Sir Bernard||Havers, Sir Michael||Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)|
|Brittan, Leon||Hawkins, Paul||Paisley, Rev Ian|
|Brotherton, Michael||Henderson, Douglas||Parkinson, Cecil|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Hicks, Robert||Pattie, Geoffrey|
|Bryan, Sir Paul||Holland, Philip||Penhaligon, David|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick||Hordern, Peter||Percival, Ian|
|Bulmer, Esmond||Howell, David (Guildford)||Peyton, Rt Hon John|
|Burden, F. A.||Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)||Pink. R, Bonner|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth||Hunt, John||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Carlisle, Mark||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Prior, Rt Hon James|
|Carson, John||James, David||Pym, Rt Hon Francis|
|Chalker, Mrs Lynda||Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd)||Raison, Timothy|
|Churchill, W. S.||Jessel, Toby||Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter|
|Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)||Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead)||Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)|
|Clark, William (Croydon S)||Jones, Arthur (Daventry)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Clegg, Walter||Jopling, Michael||Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)|
|Cockcroft, John||Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith||Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)|
|Cope, John||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Ridley, Hon Nicholas|
|Cordie, John H.||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Cormack, Patrick||Kershaw, Anthony||Rifkind, Malcolm|
|Corrie, John||Kilfedder, James||Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey|
|Costain, A. P.||Kimball, Marcus||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)|
|Critchley, Julian||King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|Crouch, David||Kitson, Sir Timothy||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Crowder, F. P.||Knight, Mrs Jill||Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)|
|Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford)||Lane, David||Ross, William (Londonderry)|
|Dean, Paul (N Somerset)||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Doig, Peter||Latham, Michael (Melton)||Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)|
|Drayson, Burnaby||Lawrence, Ivan||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|du Cann, Rt Hon Edward||Lawson, Nigel||Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)|
|Dunnett, Jack||Le Marchant, Spencer||Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)|
|Durant, Tony||Lestor, Jim (Beeston)||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
|Eden, Rt Hon Sir John||Lewis, Arthur (Newham N)||Shepherd, Colin|
|Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Shersby, Michael|
|Elliott, Sir William||Loveridge, John||Sims, Roger|
|Emery, Peter||Luce, Richard||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Eyre, Reginald||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Fairbairn, Nicholas||MacCormick, Iain||Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)|
|Fairgrieve, Russell||McCrindle, Robert||Smith, Dudley (Warwick)|
|Farr, John||McCusker, H.||Speed, Keith|
|Fell, Anthony||Macfarlane, Neil||Spence, John|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey||MacGregor, John||Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)|
|Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N)||McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)||Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Marten, Neil||Sproat, Iain|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||Mather, Carol||Stainton, Keith|
|Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd)||Maude, Angus||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Fox, Marcus||Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald||Stanley, John|
|Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)||Mawby, Ray||Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)|
|Fry, Peter||Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin||Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Mayhew, Patrick||Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)|
|Gardiner, George (Reigate)||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Stokes, John|
|Gardner, Edward (S Fylde)||Miscampbell, Norman||Tapsell, Peter|
|Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)|
|Tebbit, Norman||Walder, David (Clitheroe)||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Temple-Morris, Peter||Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek||Wood, Rt Hon Richard|
|Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret||Warren, Kenneth||Younger, Hon George|
|Trotter, Neville||Watt, Hamish|
|van Straubenzee, W. R.||Weatherill, Bernard||TELLERS FOR THE AYES|
|Vaughan, Dr Gerard||Wells, John||Mr. Michael Mates and|
|Viggers, Peter||Welsh, Andrew||Mr. Teddy Tay'or|
|Wakeham, John||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Abse, Leo||de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||Howell, Denis (B'ham, Sm H)|
|Allaun, Frank||Delargy, Hugh||Howells, Geraint (Cardigan)|
|Amery, Rt Hon Julian||Dell, Rt Hon Edmund||Hoyle, Doug (Nelson)|
|Anderson, Donald||Dempsey, James||Huckfield, Les|
|Archer, Peter||Dodsworth, Geoffrey||Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Dormand, J. D.||Hughes, Mark (Durham)|
|Ashley, Jack||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)|
|Ashton, Joe||Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Hughes, Roy (Newport)|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston N)||Duffy, A. E. P.||Hunter, Adam|
|Atkinson, Norman||Dunn, James A.||Hurd, Douglas|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth||Hutchison, Michael Clark|
|Bain, Mrs Margaret||Dykes, Hugh||Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)|
|Baker, Kenneth||Eadie, Alex||Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Edge, Geoff||Jackson, Colin (Brighouse)|
|Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)||Edward3, Robert (Wolv SE)||Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)|
|Bean, R. E.||Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun)||Janner, Greville|
|Beith, A. J.||Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)||Jay, Rt Hon Douglas|
|Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood||English, Michael||Jeger, Mrs Lena|
|Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)||Ennals, David||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)|
|Benyon, W.||Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)||Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford)|
|Bishop, E. S.||Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen)||John, Brynmor|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)||Johnson, James (Hull West)|
|Boardman, H.||Evans, John (Newton)||Johnson, Walter (Derby S)|
|Body, Richard||Ewing, Harry (Stirling)||Jones, Alec (Rhondda)|
|Booth, Albert||Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray)||Jones, Barry (East Flint)|
|Boothroyd, Miss Betty||Fernyhough, Rt Hon E.||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur||Fisher, Sir Nigel||Judd, Frank|
|Boyden, James (Bish Auck)||Filch, Alan (Wigan)||Kaufman, Gerald|
|Bradley, Tom||Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W)||Kelley, Richard|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Flannery, Martin||Kerr, Russell|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, C.||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Kilroy-Silk, Robert|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||King, Evelyn (South Dorset)|
|Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)||Foot, Rt Hon Michael||Kinnock, Neil|
|Brown, Ronald (Hackney S)||Ford, Ben||Knox, David|
|Buchan, Norman||Forrester, John||Lambie, David|
|Buchanan, Richard||Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)||Lamborn, Harry|
|Buck, Antony||Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd)||Lamond, James|
|Budgen, Nick||Freeson, Reginald||Lamont, Norman|
|Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green)||Freud, Clement||Latham, Arthur (Paddington)|
|Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)||Garrett, John (Norwich S)||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Campbell, Ian||Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)||Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)|
|Canavan, Dennis||George, Bruce||Lever, Rt Hon Harold|
|Cant, R. B.||Gilbert, Dr John||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham)||Lipton, Marcus|
|Carr, Rt Hon Robert||Ginsburg, David||Litterick, Tom|
|Carter, Ray||Golding, John||Lloyd, Ian|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Goodlad, Alastair||Luard, Evan|
|Cartwright, John||Gould, Bryan||Lyon, Alexander (York)|
|Castle, Rt Hon Barbara||Gourlay, Harry||Lyons, Edward (Bradford W)|
|Channon, Paul||Graham, Ted||Mabon, Dr J. Dickson|
|Clemitson, Ivor||Grant, George (Morpeth)||McCartney, Hugh|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol S)||Grant, John (Islington C)||McElhone, Frank|
|Cohen, Stanley||Grist, Ian||MacFarquhar, Roderick|
|Coleman, Donald||Grocott, Bruce||McGuire, Michael (Ince)|
|Colquhoun, Mrs Maureen||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Mackenzie, Gregor|
|Concannon, J. D.||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Conlan, Bernard||Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)||Maclennan, Robert|
|Cook, Robin F. (Edin C)||Hardy, Peter||Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)|
|Corbett, Robin||Harper, Joseph||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C)|
|Cox, Thomas (Tooting)||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)|
|Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill)||Hart, Rt Hon Judith||McNamara, Kevin|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Madden, Max|
|Cronin, John||Hatton, Frank||Madel, David|
|Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony||Hayhoe, Barney||Magee, Bryan|
|Cryer, Bob||Hayman, Mrs Helene||Maguire, Frank (Fermanagh)|
|Cunningham, G. (Islington S)||Healey, Rt Hon Denis||Mahon, Simon|
|Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)||Heath, Rt Hon Edward||Mallalieu, J. P. W.|
|Davidson, Arthur||Heffer, Eric S.||Marks, Kenneth|
|Davies, Bryan (Enfield N)||Heseltine, Michael||Marquand, David|
|Davies, Denzil (Llanelli)||Higgins, Terence L.||Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Hooley, Frank||Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)||Hooson, Emlyn||Mason, Rt Hon Roy|
|Deakins, Eric||Horam, John||Maynard, Miss Joan|
|Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)||Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||Meacher, Michael|
|Mellish, Rt Hon Robert||Richardson, Miss Jo||Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)|
|Mendelson, John||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)|
|Mikardo, Ian||Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)||Thompson, George|
|Millan, Bruce||Roderick, Caerwyn||Thorne, Stan (Preston South)|
|Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)||Rodgers, George (Chorley)||Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)|
|Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N)||Rodgers, William (Stockton)||Tierney, Sydney|
|Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)||Rooker, J. W.||Tinn, James|
|Moonman, Eric||Roper, John||Tomlinson, John|
|Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Rose, Paul B.||Torney, Tom|
|Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)||Townsend, Cyril D.|
|Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)||Rowlands, Ted||Tuck, Raphael|
|Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Royle, Sir Anthony||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Moyle, Roland||Sainsbury, Tim||Urwin, T. W.|
|Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick||St. John-Stevas, Norman||Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.|
|Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King||Sandelson, Neville||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)|
|Nelson, Anthony||Scott, Nicholas||Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)|
|Newens, Stanley||Sedgemore, Brian||Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)|
|Newton, Tony||Selby, Harry||Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)|
|Noble, Mike||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)||Walker, Terry (Kingswood)|
|Oakes, Gordon||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)||Walters, Dennis|
|Ogden, Eric||Shore, Rt Hon Peter||Ward, Michael|
|O'Halloran, Michael||Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C)||Watkins, David|
|O'Malley, Rt Hon Brian||Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)||Watkinson, John|
|Orbach, Maurice||Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)||Weetch, Ken|
|Orme, Rt Hon Stanley||Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)||Wellbeloved, James|
|Ovenden, John||Sillars, James||White, Frank R. (Bury)|
|Owen, Dr David||Silverman, Julius||White, James (Pollok)|
|Padley, Walter||Skinner, Dennis||Whitelaw, Rt Hon William|
|Palmer, Arthur||Small, William||Whitlock, William|
|Pardoe, John||Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)||Willey, Rt Hon Frederick|
|Park, George||Snape, Peter||Williams, Alan (Swansea W)|
|Parker, John||Spearing, Nigel||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)|
|Parry, Robert||Spriggs, Leslie||Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)|
|Pavitt, Laurie||Stallard, A. W.||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Peart, Rt Hon Fred||Steel, David (Roxburgh)||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Pendry, Tom||Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)||Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)|
|Perry, Ernest||Stoddart, David||Wilson, Rt Hon H. (Huyton)|
|Phipps, Dr Colin||Stonehouse, Rt Hon John||Wilson, William (Coventry SE)|
|Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch||Stott, Roger||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|Prentice, Rt Hon Reg||Stradling Thomas J.||Woodall, Alec|
|Prescott, John||Strang, Gavin||Woof, Robert|
|Price, C. (Lewisham W)||Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|Price, William (Rugby)||Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley||Young, David (Bolton E)|
|Radice, Giles||Swain, Thomas|
|Rathbone, Tim||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)||Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)||Mr. Alf Bates and|
|Reid, George||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)||Mr. Kenneth Clarke.|
|Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)|
|Question accordingly negatived.|