HC Deb 10 November 1980 vol 992 cc123-54

8 pm

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Humphrey Atkins)

I beg to move, That the Remand (Temporary Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 1980 (S.I., 1980, No. 1626), a copy of which was laid before this House on 30 October, be approved. The House will know that on 29 October the prison officers in Northern Ireland announced that they would take industrial action in support of their colleagues in England and Wales, with effect from the following morning. The background to this dispute was explained by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary in the House on 28 October. The Northern Ireland prison officers said that their action would entail refusing to accept into the prisons new committals on sentence, new remand prisoners and returned remand prisoners.

I must stress that the prison officers in Northern Ireland are not in dispute with the authorities on the issue that has caused dispute in England and Wales. In Northern Ireland, agreement on this issue—the continuous duty credit, as it is called—was reached between the two sides two years ago, in November 1978. The current action is being taken in sympathy. I shall return to that in a moment.

As a result of the action it was clear that urgent measures were needed to provide alternative secure accommodation. Consequently, a new temporary prison has been opened at Magilligan, in County Londonderry, to be known as Her Majesty's prison, Foyle, under a specially appointed governor—a regular member of the prison service—who has the assistance of the Royal Ulster Constabulary in running the prison. The Army is responsible for the security of the prison's perimeter. At Foyle prison this evening there are 42 prisoners, of whom 25 are on remand and 17 sent down by the courts on conviction.

But these measures alone are not enough. In Northern Ireland prisons there are many people awaiting trial on the most serious charges, and it is vital that those whom the courts have already directed to be held in secure custody should continue so to be held.

We therefore decided not only that temporary accommodation was urgently needed for new committals and remands, but that it was necessary to ensure that the temporary prison was not immediately flooded by an influx of all the men who are currently on remand, and who are entitled to a remand hearing every eight days. We have achieved this by providing in this Order in Council that remand hearings may be heard in the prisoners' absence. However, I should stress that this provision is in no way intended to halt the ordinary process of judicial review; courts will still be obliged to examine the case of anyone they have remanded in custody in the usual way; legal representation is not affected; and courts may at any time direct that a prisoner be brought before them in person.

It was not necessary to introduce in Northern Ireland the other temporary provisions that appear in the Act passed in the House two weeks ago in respect of England and Wales because of the different prison conditions. For example, in the Province we do not have the rapid turnover in and out of the prisons that made some of those provisions necessary.

The order was made under the urgent procedure provided for in schedule 1, paragraph 1(4)(b) of the Northern Ireland Act 1974, and was laid before Parliament on 30 October, but the House will know that an affirmative resolution of both Houses is required within 40 sitting days if the order is to remain in force. I am glad, therefore, to have this opportunity to seek the approval of the House for the order. I share with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary deep regret at the necessity for such special procedures and I assure the House that the Government intend to rescind the order immediately conditions permit.

To take account of Parliament's proper concern that emergency legislation of this kind should not remain on the statute book for one moment longer than necessary, article 3 follows the procedure decided upon by this House two weeks ago, namely, that it will expire at the end of one month from the making of the order unless renewed by a further order on my part, again for not more than one month. Such an order is subject to negative resolution.

I sincerely hope that such renewal will be unnecessary. The prison officers are men who, I am sure, are only too aware of the effect that their protest action is having upon the rule of law in the Province. Too many members of the security forces are already being diverted from their primary task.

Every policeman or soldier assigned to prison duties is one policeman or soldier less to provide protection for the whole community.

As I said, the prison officers in Northern Ireland are not in dispute with the authorities. Whatever view may be held of the merits of the dispute in England and Wales, it cannot surely be given priority over the interests of the whole community in Northern Ireland, where the stark reality of the threat of terrorism and violence adds a different and frightening dimension to the consequence of their action.

I hope that, having demonstrated the strength of their support for their brother officers, they will now demonstrate just as clearly the sense of public duty that their profession requires and that, I am the first to acknowledge, they have shown resolutely during the last 10 years in the face of assassinations, intimidation and problems inside the prisons which do not apply in other parts of the Kingdom.

Mr. James Molyneaux (Antrim, South)

Earlier in his remarks the Secretary of State indicated that the order did not in any way affect legal representation. Is legal representation being affected in any way by the action of the prison officers?

Mr. Atkins

No, Sir. Any prisoner whose remand case comes up before the magistrates every eight days, as it does, and who wishes to be represented legally, can be so represented and is being so represented. There is no effect upon legal representation. The only effect of the order is to provide that the prisoner does not have to be brought before the court unless the court so demands.

I should like, with your permission, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to refer to one matter that only indirectly bears on the subject of the order, namely, the hunger strike that seven prisoners started two weeks ago at Maze prison. I shall be quite brief about it.

The hunger strike, like the dirty pro test, has only one objective—to force the Government to concede a special political status to certain prisoners, even though they have been convicted of the most dreadful crimes by due process of law. These prisoners seek a regime in which they themselves will decide what clothes they wear, how they pass their time, what work they do, and when and with whom they associate.

The Government cannot compromise on the principle that is at stake here. What we can do and have done is to take the greatest pains to provide a humane regime throughout the prisons. This extends to all prisoners, whether they reject the prison regime or not. We shall continue to take that responsibility most seriously.

I suggest to the House that the Government have the right to expect the leaders of the Northern Ireland community, whatever their views, not to lend support to false ideas. It would be wholly wrong to accept that political motives can mitigate hideous crimes or justify specially favourable treatment for such criminals.

It would be equally wrong to let the rejection of the prison regime by protesting prisoners stand in the way of humanitarian changes that we have decided upon, which apply to all male prisoners throughout Northern Ireland. That is the Government's position, from which we shall not be deflected.

I thought it right to make it plain to the House that I now wish to return to the subject of the order, which I have described already to commend it to the House and to say that I shall ask leave, at the end of the debate, to reply to any of the points that are raised.

8.16 pm
Mr. Brynmor John (Pontypridd)

In a sense, the order extends to Northern Ireland part of what has been done by the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Bill debated in this House at the end of last month. But, as the Secretary of State has pointed out, the regimes are totally different. I understand fully that because of different terms and conditions the Northern Ireland prison officers are not directly involved in the dispute but are merely taking action in support of their mainland colleagues. I hope that it will be possible for them to effect a return to work in the near future.

There can be no question but that they will know that they have the admiration of many people in this House because of the bravery with which they face external pressures during the course of their normal lives. I hope that they will not sacrifice the greater peace and security of Northern Ireland in the pursuance of their grievance.

I accept and support what the Secretary of State said about the present fast going on in the Maze prison. I am sorry that there seemed to be a series of unfortunate misunderstandings around about the time of the concession on clothing which seem to have attracted a lot of criticism. Notwithstanding that, I believe that there can be no question but that people who are properly convicted of crimes should be punished as criminals and not as political prisoners.

There are a number of other important differences in Northern Ireland on which we should like to have information. The Secretary of State has, understandably, been brief in his opening remarks but we should like to have some further information in his reply. What is most obviously different about the positions in the two countries is what I would refer to as the external situation, by which I mean that which obtains outside the prisons. Most of us in the House have welcomed the gradual change from the policing role of the Army towards the role of the Royal Ulster Constabulary as a normalisation of the process of law and order, but there is a threat that the longer the dispute goes on, the more it will eat into the time of the RUC, and thus prevent the Army from bowing out of the policing role in the way that all of us would like.

May I ask the Secretary of State, therefore, how he calculates that that process will work, how much of the time of the RUC will be taken up progressively by this task, and whether it will prevent the withdrawal of the battalion whose withdrawal was announced only last month?

The second point that we ought to make in the House—and make most forcefully—is that whereas what is categorised as serious crime on the mainland accounts for 30 per cent. of the total prison population, in Northern Ireland the comparable figure is 80 per cent.

Accounts in newspapers seem to suggest that high-risk prisoners will still be admitted to the prisons. Does that mean that they are the same as serious criminals, or does it mean something different? What is happening with regard to the admission of people to the prisons at the moment? What effect will that have on the total prison population in the next few months?

There is another important difference—the Secretary of State has already answered an intervention about legal representation and it is one that is very important to the prisoners themselves. Whereas there is one corpus of criminal law in Great Britain, there is in Northern Ireland a sharp difference between the emergency provisions legislation and the scheduled offences thereunder, and the rest of the criminal law. Those accused on scheduled offences do not have the benefit of what criminals have on the mainland—the presumption of the right to bail which was conferred by the Bail Act.

I understand that the order applies to terrorist and non-terrorist offences alike. If so, then, because in Northern Ireland under the Emergency Provisions Act it is for the accused to discharge the burden of proving to the court that he is worthy of remand, he will be at a grave disadvantage if he is neither produced to nor has legal representation before the court. The effect of the order is that the court can now lawfully proceed in his absence, it makes a great difference if the onus of proof is on him to get bail or on the police to deny him bail. Without legal representation being not only available, if he should desire it, but actively encouraged when a man is not produced to the court, the miserably small number of people who seem to be admitted to bail in Northern Ireland will shrink even further. Apart from that, whether they be terrorist or non-terrorist offences, the Government should be as sensitive as they can be to applications which are made through legal representatives.

I hope that the Secretary of State will repeat the undertaking given by the Minister of State, Home Office, in columns 326–27 of Hansard on 28 October. Even if the legal position is somewhat different, legal representation should be available to a man who has been accused and remanded in custody and, through no fault of his own, cannot be produced to the court to make out his own case.

I make it clear that I do not like this order any more than do the vast majority of Members of Parliament. Its saving grace is that it appears to be even more temporary than the Bill which was originally laid before the House relating to Great Britain as a whole. But, as we have cause to remember in this context, Bills which are temporary in nature have a habit in Northern Ireland of being perpetuated into history. As this is not one which long usage will make any more acceptable or relevant to Northern Ireland, I hope that the Secretary of State will not come back at the end of the first month and seek to lay it again.

I have grave reservations on the procedure. I had hoped that it would be by affirmative resolution so that the Secretary of State could update us on the position which then obtained in Northern Ireland. If there is no information, and as a means of securing a debate on that occasion, I believe that we should pray against it to ensure that we are heard.

8.23 pm
Mr. Ivor Stanbrook (Orpington)

The order illustrates the confusion into which we are getting about the sources of the legislation applying to Northern Ireland. The Government presumably could have included a clause in the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Bill—now an Act—which would have provided for the special position of Northern Ireland. As it is, the order is to be construed as one with the Magistrates' Courts Act (Northern Ireland) 1964. Therefore, one imagines that there is a great deal of unravelling to be done here.

I was surprised to learn that the only provision of the Act that we recently passed, applicable to England and Wales, that needs to be enacted for Northern Ireland is that relating to appearances in person with regard to remand. Are we to suppose that the provisions of the Act regarding the approved place, the powers of a constable, executive bail, early release and the powers to impose a ban on imprisonment in respect of debtors already exist in Northern Ireland under the emergency powers legislation? If so, I can understand that very little is left.

There is some difficulty here. As the hon. Member for Pontypridd (Mr. John) said, there are different regimes. Indeed, when he referred to the bail provisions I wondered whether he expressed them accurately. The hon. Gentleman said that the onus was on the applicant. I have no idea what that onus can be. If the provisions regarding bail in Northern Ireland are those that applied before the passage of the Bail Act in Great Britain, there is no right to bail in Northern Ireland but it does not follow that the opposite is the case and that there is any burden of proof or onus on the applicant. Surely that would be a matter for the discretion of the magistrates in any event. Therefore, is it fair to describe the situation as the opposite of what applies to Great Britain? This is another of those marginal differences which apply between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

The prison regime has been described as being different in Northern Ireland, and it certainly is. If the Government go any further in giving extra privileges to prisoners in Northern Ireland, they may establish a situation in which all prisoners whether convicted of scheduled offences or not have a special category status compared with prisoners in the rest of the United Kingdom. Therefore, they will get that special category status in this way. We have heard about the development towards wearing civilian clothing. That was an appalling mistake. It was not merely badly handled, but a wrong decision.

This situation has been brought about by industrial action on the part of the prison service in this country. It is sad that the Northern Ireland prison service, which has served so honourably and courageously in the past 10 years, should have imposed this extra burden on the system.

8.27 pm
Mr. James Molyneaux (Antrim, South)

There will be some feeling of relief that the order does not go as wide as the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act, which received Royal Assent on 29 October 1980. However, there are certain features and issues common to both.

The order, in a slightly different form of words, repeats section 2 of the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act dealing with arrangements for remand, as the Secretary of State made clear this evening.

On the Second Reading of the then Bill, the Home Secretary conceded that clause 2 was not directly concerned with the management of the temporary accommodation".—[Official Report, 28 October 1980; Vol. 991, c. 217.] It was clear from his subsequent remarks that the clause was motivated perhaps rather more by considerations of convenience than considerations of necessity.

The right hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Rees) acknowledged that there could be inconvenience and difficulties, but it must be said that he and his colleagues were by no means enthusiastic about clause 2. There seemed to be a general agreement that the clause stood on its own as a thing apart, unconnected with the main issue. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) said: If that is so, to that extent the case for such a clause has automatically fallen."—[Official Report, 28 October 1980; Vol. 991, c. 236.] I do not think that the Secretary of State has managed so far to convince us of the need for this order tonight.

It appeared to me that the arguments for section 2 arrangements in England consisted mainly of examples of difficulties arising from the dispersal of prisoners to police cells perhaps some considerable distance from the courts in which the accused would otherwise appear, but that is very unlikely to be a valid consideration in Northern Ireland, where the distances are not likely to be so very great.

Towards the end of the debate on what one might call, for convenience, the England and Wales Bill, the Minister of State, Home Office made a concession in the matter of legal representation of defendants in their absence. We would be very unhappy over the major defect in such an arrangement, namely, the inability of the lawyer to have access to his client. I have to apologise to the Secretary of State because, perhaps, in my question to him earlier this evening I was not sufficiently precise. Instead of simply saying "legal representation". I should also have said "access to the client."

We would press the Secertary of State, as the hon. Member for Pontypridd (Mr. John) has already done, to give an assurance similar to that given on 28 October by his colleague, the Minister of State, Home Office, and particularly to clarify the position with regard to bail applications made in the absence of the defendant.

Given the very different physical and geographical circumstances, we on the Official Unionist Bench are not really convinced that the order is necessary, for the reasons that I have already given. Would it have been thought by the Government to be necessary had the prison service in Northern Ireland not been thrown into a certain amount of turmoil and put under hideous pressure by the actions of the Government themselves? There can be no doubt that the tension has been increased and uncertainty has been created by the concession to convicted murderers.

Naturally, I have no means of knowing what consultations took place between the prison service and those who made the decision. I can only assume that the prison service was not consulted at any level. I make that assumption because I simply cannot believe that officers with experience of prison life and knowledge of the particular mentality of the type of prisoner concerned would have acquiesced in making a decision that has not only proved to be disastrous but was doomed to failure from the very start.

I am not particularly curious about the form of words used when the Cabinet made its decision, or about the words used in the Northern Ireland Office and what they may have meant to civil servants in the Northern Ireland Office, or about what interpretation was placed upon the words by the general public. But one thing is crystal clear; the Government have the worst of all worlds. They have infuriated the law-abiding people of Northern Ireland—all sections of the community in Northern Ireland—they have baffled public opinion in Great Britain, and, unfortunately, they have got absolutely nothing in return.

It must be said that the Government dealt another shattering blow to public confidence in attempting to present the prison clothing decision as part of a long-term programme. In the House of Commons on 27 October the Minister of State said: The question of a development or evolution in the prison clothing regime in the Province has been under discussion for some months now."—[Official Report, 27 October, 1980; Vol. 991, c. 34.] Consciously or unconsciously—I am inclined to give the hon. Gentleman the benefit of the doubt and say that it was unconsciously—the Minister was trying to convey the impression that it was going to happen anyway. But if that were so, why did the press notice from the Northern Ireland Office, dated 24 October, bear the heading Threatened hunger strike at HM Prison, Maze and then go on to announce the concession?

Of course, the pretence of evolving clothing restrictions was finally blown to bits by the Minister of State himself in a written answer to the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. McNair-Wilson). The Minister of State stated: There will be a range of civilian type clothing in a contemporary style, comprising trousers, pullovers and shirts. Initially it will be purchased from United Kingdom sources; replacements will be supplied by prison workshops. It will be introduced over the coming months as quickly as the necessary arrangements can be completed. Costings are not yet completed but can be contained within the existing financial ceilings."—[Official Report, 3 November 1979, Vol. 991, c. 453.] If supplies are initially to be purchased from United Kindom sources with replacements to be supplied at a later stage by prison workshops, introduced as quickly as necessary arrangements can be completed", does that not indicate some degree of haste and improvisation? Does not the final sentence, namely, Costings are not yet completed indicate that references during the discussion that was taking place for some months, and to that discussion, were something of a sham? It would not have required a great deal of time and effort to have kitted out a tame civil servant in Marks and Spencer's and to have multiplied the cost by the number of prisoners.

Responsible citizens of Northern Ireland, whatever their political belief— perhaps I should exclude a few who unwisely have jumped on dangerous bandwagons—wish to pay tribute to the prison service in Northern Ireland. It is not its fault that the order has been introduced. Prison officers have patiently endured abuse and insults from condemned murderers who are seeking to whip up public sympathy for the filthy and degrading state that they have created for themselves.

It is important for the world to know and for distinguished churchmen to remember that IRA hunger strikers are not misguided petty thieves or pickpockets in need of correction or spiritual guidance. They are not even men who have been convicted of murder in a fit of rage. They are evil men who have planned and plotted in cold blood to take innocent lives. They are beasts who have gunned down their fellow men and pumped hot lead into their twitching bodies.

Their complaint is that they are not being treated more harshly than other prisoners. Their cry is that they are being treated in exactly the same way as, for example, forgers and drunken drivers. Their demand is that they should be elevated and accorded special facilities. It is in pursuance of that aim that they now choose to starve. We would do well to remember that at least they have a choice. They have the choice between life or death, which choice they have denied to their innocent victims.

8.38 pm
Mr. K. Harvey Proctor (Basildon)

I rise briefly to take up two of the points made by the hon. Members for Pontypridd (Mr. John) and Antrim, South (Mr. Molyneaux). I ask my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State whether it is a fact that section 2 of the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act 1980 will be put into effect by means of the order. That is a specific question that my right hon. Friend did not answer during his opening remarks. If the answer is "Yes", as I am sure it is, I ask my right hon. Friend to say why, at the time of the passing of that measure, a simple statement was not made and added to the Bill so that clause 2 referred automatically to Northern Ireland. Section 9(2) extends to England and Wales only. Why did not subsection (2) refer to Northern Ireland? That would have made the order redundant. Are we refusing legislatively to treat Northern Ireland as an integral part of the United Kingdom, which in fact it is?

8.39 pm
Mr. Gerard Fitt (Belfast, West)

The Secretary of State said that this order was necessary because of an industrial dispute in other parts of the United Kingdom. The right hon. Gentleman was right when he said that a unique set of conditions applied to prisoners in Northern Ireland and to the warders charged with the responsibility of looking after them. In other parts of the United Kingdom there are prisoners. In Northern Ireland there are prisoners, conforming prisoners, non-conforming prisoners, prisoners on the blanket, prisoners wearing their own clothes, prisoners in compounds and huts, prisoners in cells and those who have to apply to the High Court for bail because they have been charged with an offence involving terrorism.

Conditions in Northern Ireland are different. This order, and the order laid before the House last week—which dealt with prisoners in England and Wales—concerns an industrial dispute. Prisoners in Northern Ireland and those in charge of them represent one of the most explosive issues facing the United Kingdom. In the days, weeks and months ahead this will be one of the most serious issues to face the House since the creation of Northern Ireland. It will be far more important than anything that happens in the international arena or on the Continent of Europe.

The Secretary of State said that the hunger strike was a serious issue. That was no exaggeration. Let me tell the history of that hunger strike. In 1972, there was—as there is now—a Conservative Government. I remember speaking to the Home Secretary, who was then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. I saw him time and again in his room, which lies behind Mr. Speaker's Chair. I remember speaking to him on the Terrace, in the Lobby and at the Bar of the House. Each time that I spoke to him I appealed to him and pleaded with him. I got down on my knees and begged him to introduce special category status for prisoners in Northern Ireland.

Internment was introduced in 1971 and It brought with it a holocaust that affected community relations in Northern Ireland. Several murders had taken place. There was an honest-to-God feeling that if the British Government were to make a gesture it would somehow lessen the tension. If the Home Secretary were here he would confirm what I am saying. I and many others appealed to him time and again.

At that time many hunger strikes were taking place and there was the threat of an outbreak of community violence. When the right hon. Gentleman conceded special category status—it was not called political status—my then political colleague Paddy Devlin had flown here for further discussions with the Secretary of State in an attempt to ensure that special category status was granted.

I have to tell the House that I bitterly regret having made those representations. At that time there were 80 Republican prisoners and 40 Loyalist prisoners. I believed that, because of the special circumstances in Northern Ireland at that time, the granting of political or special category status would end the strife. I was terribly wrong.

Within days of special category status being granted, the IRA went on the rampage. A few days later, three soldiers were killed in a land mine explosion in the Glenshane Pass. Within a month, the heart was blown out of the city of Belfast, where I was born and raised, on the day that became known as Bloody Friday. Two soldiers and seven civilians were killed and 130 people were injured, many of them seriously and most in the centre of the city where I live. Those actions were carried out by men for whom I had been pleading only two or three weeks earlier.

On 31 July 1972, six people were killed when the heart of the little village of Claudy was devastated by the IRA. In March 1973 'three soldiers were lured to the Antrim Road, not far from where I live, and killed. In the same month, the IRA issued a statement saying that irrespective of the granting of special category status it was continuing its campaign. In June the following year six people were killed and 33 injured when a car bomb devastated Coleraine, County Derry. On 14 June seven people were badly injured by a car bomb outside a bar in Donegal Street not far from where I live. I heard the explosion.

Everything that I thought would happen did not happen. The IRA went out of its way to ensure that the concessions that had been granted would not bring peace. Within three weeks of the Government granting special category status I bitterly regretted that action. I have not said so before, but I say it now because of the dangerous situation that exists in Northern Ireland at present.

The Secretary of State said that he believes that the IRA does not want concessions, but does want political status. I am inclined to believe him. If I thought that the Government could make concessions that would be regarded as having been given in order to bring about a more human regime in any prison in Northern Ireland I would support them. But I do not believe that that is what the IRA wants.

Reports have appeared in the past two or three weeks. A narticle in the Belfast Sunday News said that, after a visit to her son Mrs. Nelist had reported that the prisoners had no intention of calling off the strike unless full political status was introduced. If that is true, the Government must make their position clear. The reason that we are in such a dangerous position in Northern Ireland is that some people believe that political status will be granted at the end of the day. They do not believe the Government. The believe that they can put on so much pressure that once again there will be people in prison in Northern Ireland wearing uniforms and promoting themselves captains, majors and colonels and ordering around other prisoners in the compounds at Long Kesh as they did from 1972 to 1974.

Those people made themselves field marshals and assumed fancy titles because the Government of the day had allowed them to believe that they were different. It is clear from the advertisements now appearing in the Irish News and the Belfast local papers that what they want is political status. As I said, I bitterly regret having supported that claim and I have no intention of doing so again.

Mr. J. D. Concannon (Mansfield)

Just to make it clear, may I point out that I met the leaders when we were ending special category status? All the leaders met me in one room, and their message was "You can come up with any concession you like; if it isn't special cate- gory status, we are not interested." That is why it is vital that the House puts it on record that special category status is no longer available to prisoners in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Fitt

That intervention will be informative and should leave no doubt about the present demands.

The circumstances that we are discussing arise because of seven people who are on hunger strike. Memories are short. Do we ever take time to think of the victims of those men? Do we ever think of the widows and orphans who are living in their present conditions in Northern Ireland because of the murder of their husbands and fathers?

I know some of these people very well. Twenty yards from my home on the Antrim Road lives a lady who has no legs because she happened to be passing a bar when it was blown up by a Loyalist organisation.

I was saddened that the hon. Member for Antrim, South (Mr. Molyneaux) related his remarks solely to IRA violence. Throughout the years there has been ruthless and brutal Loyalist violence as well.

Mr. Molyneaux

I think that the hon. Gentleman will admit that I was talking about the hunger strikers. I do not believe that any so-called "Loyalist" prisoners are on hunger strike at the moment. I have certainly never drawn distinctions among terrorist crimes. I condemned them utterly, whoever committed them.

Mr. Fitt

I certainly accept what the hon. Gentleman says, and I am glad that he has said it. Whatever political cause these people have, whatever their religious or political affiliation, if they commit murder they are not worthy of the sympathy or support of anyone, either in Northern Ireland or in these islands as a whole.

Many of my hon. Friends will remember when the IRA placed a bomb on Donegal Street which killed two soldiers and four innocent council workmen who were blown up outside St. Anne's cathedral. They will also remember how IRA men burst into an Orange hall in Tullyvallen and mercilessly mowed down people in that hall. There was another incident when Loyalist extremists went into a house in Wolfe Hill and murdered three innocent women simply because they were Catholics.

But the greatest of all crimes which I can recall is important to remember when we are discussing conditions in Northern Ireland because it bears on why people are in prison and why they were sent there in the first place. The outstanding and most brutal tragedy—and there have been many—was when 10 Protestant workmen on their way home from work in Armagh were taken out of their minibus and brutally murdered by machine gun. They still had their lunch boxes in their hands. How in the name of God can any Socialist or any trade unionist in any way, at any time, have sympathy for such actions?

They are the people who demand special treatment. They are the people who demand special category status. They are special category all right, but not in the way that they want it. People who can take life as easily as that are in a category of their own.

Only last week, when the hunger strike in Northern Ireland had started and when they were shouting for special consideration, a 22-year-old mother of three children in Strabane was shot in the back on the street. An hour after that, the attempted murder was claimed by the IRA. Again, only last week in Belfast, two of my constituents, Mr. Corbett and Mr. Copeland, were victims. Mr. Corbett was shot going to his work at Ballysillian, and Mr. Copeland was attacked when working in butcher's shop. Loyalist murderers, either UDA or UDF, attempted to murder them. They are still alive, but I know that their wives and children are sitting beside their hospital beds at present. If and when the people responsible are caught—and I say "if", and I say "when"—should I or anyone else advocate that they be given special category or political status in prison?

When political status was introduced I believed that in some ways it would prevent the continuation of the terrible deeds that were being committed. Special category status was introduced in July 1972. On 5 July, 10 Catholics were murdered by so-called Loyalist extremists. On 8 and 9 July, a mixture of Catholics calling for political status for the IRA. and Protestants were murdered purely for sectarian reasons. I see no justification for giving any privileges to these people.

Having filled in the background, I wish to point out to the Secretary of State the highly dangerous state of affairs at present. The propaganda has started. Positions are being taken up. People are attempting to push every Catholic in Northern Ireland into the camp which is calling for political status for the IRA. They are trying to push every Protestant in Northern Ireland into the samp which says "You will not get it". We have seen polarisation and alienation in Northern Ireland for too long. I have newspaper cuttings relating to Cardinal O Fiaich and Bishop Edward Daly, which appear to show them on the side of the hunger strikers. Archbishop Armstrong, the Protestant Primate, tells the people of Northern Ireland of the terrible conditions in which the Protestants of the border counties are forced to live as a result of the campaign of assassination waged against them over past years. The Protestant archbishop is apparently on one side and a Catholic cardinal on the other. That can only be disastrous for the people of Northern Ireland. I do not know Cardinal O Fiaich. I cannot speak with any authority about him. I know Bishop Edward Daly. The world knows Bishop Edward Daly. They know where he was during the terrible happenings of Bloody Sunday when he saw so much life taken before his eyes. I believe that Bishop Daly is motivated by the best intentions. I can speak only of the person I know.

One has only to look at editorials in the Irish newspapers to see how potentially dangerous the situation is. One Belfast newspaper, in an editorial on the present situation, said that imprisonment is enough. If a person is imprisoned that should be sufficient retribution. Once in prison, a person should be able to do other things. I do not believe that. I do not believe that taking away a man's liberty because he has committed a heinous crime is enough. There are certain conditions that must be fulfilled in prison.

Another important Irish newspaper in an editorial last week suggested that one should adopt the approach" Never mind that these people have been found guilty of some serious crime. It is up to us to show a humane and compassionate face." Another Irish newspaper, printed in Dublin, after Unionist Members had voiced their hostility to what appeared to them as the granting of a concession over civilian clothes, suggested in an editorial, that the hostility was only an extension of their anti-Catholic bias. I have opposed and will continue to oppose Unionism. I do not believe, however, that this was an extension of anti-Catholic bias. Yet this is what newspaper editorials say, pushing people into camps where they do not wish to go. I believe that there are thousands of Catholics in Northern Ireland who do not subscribe to the political ideals of the IRA.

I would not want to ascribe any ill intentions to Cardinal O Fiaich. Cardinal O Fiaich has not had a good effect on this controversy. The Unionist population in Northern Ireland believes that Cardinal O Fiaich is in political sympathy with the ideals of the hunger strikers. When there is such close involvement in the political and religious sense on one side, this is bound to create antagonism and hostility on the other.

A report in The Irish Times of a few few days ago states that: An association of major religious superiors, speaking on behalf of 18,000 priests and nuns and Christian brothers was demanding that the British Government do something about H block. I am not sure what it was demanding that the Government should do, but the fact that the newspaper stated that 18,000 priests, nuns and Christian brothers were demanding something for Republican hunger strikers is bound to cause antagonism in the majority community. Indeed, it has done so and will continue to do so, because I do not believe that there are 18,000 priests, nuns and Christian brothers who support the demands of the strikers in Long Kesh.

I vividly remember when John Healey, an eminent journalist in The Irish Times, wrote a pertinent article the day after Archbishop O Fiaich had visited the H-blockers in Long Kesh, returning to tell of the undoubtedly very bad conditions there. Mr. Healey wrote an open letter to the Archbishop telling him "Now that you have seen the men on the blanket, why not go to see the men on the mattresses, people lying in the hospitals and on the mattresses in their own homes, the people with no legs or no arms, the victims of the men in Long Kesh?" I can only say with some regret that the Archbishop did not avail himself of that invitation to visit the people-on the mattresses.

I ask you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to listen to the emotive phrases that will be uttered today, tomorrow and the next-day. You will hear "Are you prepared, to stand by and see the coffins coming, out of Long Kesh?" You have already heard it. I do not want to see any coffins, coming out of Long Kesh, but I did not, want to see any coffins coming out of little churchyards and chapels in Northern Ireland, when the victims of these murderers were being carried out. I cannot forget how many funerals there were of the victims of the men of violence.

I can give the names of victims, because the incidents happened only last week. I can speak of Mr. Corbett and Mr. Copeland, whom people attempted to murder last week because they were Catholics. I think of Mr. Turnly and Miriam Daly, Mr. Bunting and Mr. Little—names that are forgotten here. They are not forgotten statistics to their relatives and children. Whatever their political allegiance, no one was entitled to murder them.

I think also of Mrs. Meek, who was shot dead in an IRA ambush in Ardoyne in North Belfast just a few weeks ago, and of Mr. and Mrs. Younger, who were murdered so brutally in the Wolfe Hill area of Belfast. One could go on and on. A friend of mine, Danny Walsh, has no leg, and will never be able to live with, the fact that his leg was blown off for no known or understandable reason.

You will certainly hear emotive phrases, Mr. Deputy Speaker. There has already been a statement from Long Kesh that gained headlines in the local newspapers. We learnt that those who have gone on hunger strike have made out their wills and sent them to their relatives outside. A lot of their victims did not have an opportunity to send out their wills. They did not have an opportunity to say whether they wanted to live or die. The decision that they had to die was taken for them.

The words "humane" and "humanitarian" are bandied about day after day in newspaper after newspaper by people who give tacit support to men of violence but who have not the guts to come out and say they do. Shelagh De Valera used them in Donegal last week. Is there anyone anywhere in any doubt about where her sympathies lie? Shelagh De Valera said that there was a callous, unfeeling and self-righteous attitude towards the hunger strikers. All I can say is that the hunger strikers adopted callous, unfeeling and self-righteous attitudes in an attempt to justify themselves.

Let us discuss the really emotive words that are supposed to bring tears to the eyes. From the prison came the statement "We are going on hunger strike for our just demands." The strikers said "We commend our lives to the Irish nation and our souls to the most high God." Let me tell them that the Irish nation does not subscribe to the murderous campaign that they have been waging over the last 12 years. Let me tell them that the vast majority of people on the island of Ireland condemn and reject their tactics. The Irish people do not support what they have been doing.

When they talk of commending their souls "to the most high God" I remind them that I was one of 250,000 people who stood on a hill 13 months ago and listened to His Holiness the Pope using, as he said "the language of passionate pleading." He appealed to people to turn away from violence and said, in terms that could not be misunderstood, that murder is murder and should not be called by any other name. That is where I take my stand. I take my stand with the Pope and the sentiments that he expressed. Those sentiments are expressed by the Irish people. Murder is murder, no matter by whom it is committed, whether it is by the UVF, the UDA or any other para-military organisation.

The order is tabled with the intention of ensuring that an accused person will be brought before the court the following week to put his case before a solicitor. I could vote against the order but I do not believe that it would have any effect, because the Government would have their majority. However, it was necessary to have the debate. It was necessary to focus the attention of the House on what is happening in Northern Ireland prisons and on the real danger in relation to men who have no hesitation in, or com- punction about, taking innocent lives and who are demanding special status fot themselves.

Whatever the Government's reasoning, if they did not intend to give the prisoners civilian clothing they should have said "You are not getting civilian clothing." If they intended to give them civilian clothing they should have given it. I repeat that if the Government want to improve conditions for the prisoners in Northern Ireland in line—I hesitate to use these words because they have been so abused—with humanitarian considerations, they should not be deflected from doing so by hostility from any political quarter.

The Government should make it clear to those engaged in the hunger strike that they will not obtain political status. By telling the truth, and telling it in such a way that it cannot be misunderstood—that there cannot be any reasonable cause for doubt—it is possible that the men on hunger strike will realise the error of their ways and bring the strike to an end. I do not want to see those men dying. I do not want to see anyone dying. The Government must show their resolution and not allow themselves to be blackmailed by people giving support to the hunger strike.

The hunger strikers themselves cannot engage in propaganda. People outside the prisons are doing that for them. I refer to influential people who are trying to force the Government. An Irish newspaper in London recently gave semi-profiles of the seven hunger strikers. They did so in an attempt to build up an aura of martyrdom around the strikers. We must not forget the biggest threat of all—the Government are being told that if coffins are taken from Long Kesh they must think of the terrible consequences, the escalation of terrorism and the innocent lives that will be lost. That is blackmail. It is an attempt to absolve those who will commit murder before the murders have been committed.

I wish to advance an argument that I have never heard advanced in the House. There are people in Northern Ireland who are innocent of any crime. They have not yet pulled the trigger or primed the bomb. They may be looking for an easy target. They may be getting together the material to make a bomb. If the Government say that they will grant political status, those people will say "We shall go ahead with our acts because we will get political status and when an amnesty comes we will be free." Letting those people believe that they will get political status ensures that a murder will be carried out. That is the sole object of such a policy.

I ask the Secretary of State to be as humane as possible to every prisoner in Northern Ireland, of whatever political or religious belief—but not to make the mistake of granting political status. That mistake was made in 1972. I believe that it led to the taking of many innocent lives in Northern Ireland.

9.18 pm
Mr. Humphrey Atkins

The House knows that the hon. Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt) is a brave man. During his time in the House he has suffered at home from personal attacks, both verbal and physical. We all know that, yet he has never hesitated to speak his mind. Whether it is popular or unpopular in his constituency, he says what he means. I cannot say that he has suffered, because, luckily, he is still with us. He has not suffered physically, but I know the strain that he has been under for many years. He has done what every Member of the House should do, namely, say what he thinks. He has done that again tonight. We all recognise not only his physical bravery but also the bravery that he has shown tonight. He has done something that not all of us do and that not all of us find easy to do, namely, to admit that in past years the course that we advocated was wrong.

The hon. Gentleman told us that in 1972 he tried hard to persuade one of my predecessors to adopt a certain course and that he now regrets it. At both the beginning and the end of his speech, he told us that he was wrong and that he advises against that course now. I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman that the course which he advocated then, and which he now confesses to be wrong, was wrong. I totally agree with the hon. Gentleman's comment that we cannot treat perpetrators of hideous crimes differently because of the alleged motives for which they commit those crimes. There is no way in which either I or the Government can acknowledge that it is less heinous to murder people, blow off their face or attack them because one disagres with their political motives than it is to do so for any other reason. That is the Government's position.

It is the position of other authorities as well. As the hon. Gentleman said, last year during his visit to the Republic of Ireland, His Holiness the Pope said exactly the same thing—that one cannot treat crimes differently because they are alleged to have a political motive. We have heeded that advice and we believe it to be right. Although it may be a lesser authority in the hon. Gentleman's eyes, the European Commission of Human Rights said exactly the same thing this summer. As the House will recollect, four Northern Ireland prisoners who were protesting and seeking political status applied to the Commission for a declaration that they ought to be treated differently and have political status. The Commission made it clear beyond a peradventure that there was no basis for that claim in national law, in any European convention, or in the norms of international law. It declared that that claim for differential status because of the political motives of their crimes was inadmissible, and it was thrown out.

Let me make it clear beyond any doubt whatever that that is the Government's position. I said earlier this evening that the Government will not compromise on this principle. If the House needs reminding, I refer it to what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said a little while ago in answer to questions: There will be no concessions to those on hunger strike—none at all".—[Official Report, 28 October 1980; v. 991, c. 202.] I greatly hope that those words are clearly heard and understood by those who are seeking something which the Government cannot and will not give.

I agree with the hon. Gentleman's remarks to the effect that there are those in Northern Ireland who are supporting this claim. At the very best, they are misguided to do so. But it is worse than that, because I believe that there are still some people in Northern Ireland whose priority above all else is to fight the old sectarian battle. Such people see the prisoners as an extension of the battleground and demand that the authorities fight the sectarian war on their side.

That will not happen. The prisons are places where criminals are detained in accordance with the rule of law. The Government do not see prisoners as heroes of one part of the community to be appeased, nor as enemies of the other to be brutalised. The Government's business is to carry out the verdicts of courts of law, to detain securely in custody those committed to prison—and this we shall do—and to treat everybody as the courts order. I hope very much that people will understand that this is the Government's position, from which we cannot and will not be shifted. However, I accept that the Government's business is to operate a regime which is as humane as reasonable in the prisons. We have sought to do that and we shall continue to do so. However, what matters to me more than anything is that people convicted of hideous crimes and sentenced to imprisonment by the courts should be securely locked away so that they cannot be a danger to their fellow citizens for a long time. What happens to them inside is of less importance, but the regime inside the prison must be adjusted to ensure that the conditions inside the prison are as humane as possible.

Mr. Concannon

Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves the point about hunger strikers in prisons in Northern Ireland, I think it should be said that, irrespective of the Government's position, there is -no way in which this House would give any credence to giving special category status to those prisoners in Northern Ireland. Whatever they are doing now is futile. That should be said not only by the Government but by the whole House.

Mr. Atkins

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for what he has said, and, if I take the sense of hon. Members correctly, that is the feeling of the whole House. There can be no granting of political status for prisoners on hunger strike.

The House will know that since 1974 successive Governments have maintained a consistent policy about hunger strikers. We make it absolutely plain to those who are on hunger strike that they will not be fed artificially or forcibly, and that if they persist in that course the gradual deterioration in their health will continue. I know that that may bring great suffering on their families. I can understand that there may be sympathy for them more widely within the community, but those men are bringing that suffering about. They, not us, have it in their power to prevent it. I sincerely hope that their families and those in the community who may have influence over them will use that influence and persuade them that their action is wrong and futile.

The hon. Member for Pontypridd (Mr. John) raised the question of security at Foyle prison. He asked whether we believed that high-risk and serious criminals could be adequately coped with there. I am confident that that can be done. At present, those held in the Foyle prison are not high-risk prisoners. They are mostly relatively short-term prisoners of a lower risk nature. I have no reason to suppose that we cannot cope with the high-risk prisoners, but we must keep a careful eye on the situation. It is important to keep the high-risk prisoners out of the way of the public.

Mr. John

It was said on behalf of the Prison Officers Association that prison officers would continue to receive high-risk prisoners in the normal way. Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that?

Mr. Atkins

I hope that the current dispute will be over shortly and that the high risk prisoners will be accepted into the Maze prison which, as the hon. Gentleman will know, is a very secure prison. I am conscious of the necessity to put high-risk prisoners under the closest possible surveillance. I am not anxious about the situation at present.

The hon. Gentleman also asked about bail, and he spoke of the possible disadvantages to the applicants for bail. I do not believe that those disadvantages apply. If the court considers it necessary for the applicant for bail to appear in person, it is free to require him to appear in person. There is no question of an applicant not being legally represented. If any applicant feels that he is not being properly legally represented, he can make representations through the authoirties to the effect that he wants to appear in person, and we shall consider it. The order does away with the necessity. It does not mean that the applicant cannot appear in person, and we shall take as much care as we can to ensure that nobody is disadvantaged by the order.

My hon. Friend the Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook) and my hon. Friend—

Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Down, South)

Did the right hon. Gentleman indicate that it will also be within the scope of his own office in a particular case to decide whether a prisoner who wishes it may make a personal appearance? He appeared to indicate that by a phrase which fell from him.

Mr. Atkins

No, Sir. What I said was that there is no requirement for an applicant to appear in person; that the applicant can be legally represented. If there is any doubt about the representation or the lack of representation of an applicant, that is bound to be taken into account first by myself and then by the court. We would draw to the attention of the court that an applicant might feel himself disadvantaged because there had been some hitch in the arrangement by which he could be legally represented, in which case I have no doubt that the court would require the applicant to appear in person. But the normal procedure, which is being followed currently and has been followed since the order came into effect, is that applicants who wish it are legally represented, and that is all that is necessary under the order.

I hope that that deals with the right hon. Gentleman's point. It does not look as if it does.

Mr. Powell

The order suggests that it is a matter for the court to decide whether it is desirable in the interests of justice that the man should be produced. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to be suggesting that he or those acting on his behalf would apply their minds to individual cases and, where they thought fit, would make representations to the court. Is this really what he has in mind?

Mr. Atkins

I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman raised this point. It is entirely for the court to decide. What I am saying is that if it appears, through the prison authorities or any body such as that, that an applicant is unhappy about his legal representation, it is the prison authorities' business and my busi- ness to make that clear to the court, who will then decide. But the right hon. Gentleman is perfectly correct. The discretion is entirely that of the court. It is not my discretion. I believe that is how it should be.

Mr. John

This is a difficult problem, but can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that 100 per cent. of the people appearing on remand in Northern Ireland are legally represented? If not, they suffer a very great disadvantage, because they are unable to make their own case. They certainly do not have the presumption in their favour that people in Great Britain have. Therefore, they have to be present, or somebody has to be present on their behalf, to show a positive reason why a remand should be on bail rather than in custody. Are such people always represented?

Mr. Atkins

What I can say is that 100 per cent. of those pople who wish to be represented are. Not everyone wishes to be represented. The hon. gentleman knows that as well as I do. Anyone who wishes to be represented can be, and is, represented. Admittedly, the order has been running for only a short time. Everyone who wishes to be represented has been so represented. If there are difficulties, the court will wish the applicant to appear in person—if there are not difficulties caused by the applicant. These are matters for the court.

What I am trying to say to the hon. Gentleman and, indeed, to the House as a whole—is that we recognise that these are exceptional provisions. We do not wish them to last any longer than they have to. We want to make sure that people do not feel aggrieved that they have been badly treated and not given the right, either in person—which they now do not have—or through representatives, to argue their case. In so far as it lies with me, we shall seek to ensure that does not happen. The final decision in every case lies with the court.

My hon. Friends the Members for Orpington and for Basildon (Mr. Proctor) asked how it came about that the provisions in the order were not included in the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act which was passed about a fortnight ago. I can give two reasons why that did not happen. First, as they both know, that legislation went a great deal wider than the order, because in England and Wales more powers are needed by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary than are needed in Northern Ireland.

The second reason was that when the House was discussing the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Bill there was no need to have the powers in Northern Ireland because the prison officers there had not announced their intention of taking sympathetic action in support of their brethren on this side of the Irish Sea. I venture to suggest that if we had come to the House and asked for powers in Northern Ireland which were not required, the House might not have been enthusiastic about passing the Bill. It was only subsequent to the passing of the Bill that the necessity became obvious to us.

Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

Is my right hon. Friend having any discussions with the representatives of the prison officers in Northern Ireland, or is it his view that their industrial action will remain in total sympathy with their brethren on this side of the Irish Sea?

Mr. Atkins

There is nothing for the Government to discuss with the prison officers in Northern Ireland. There is no dispute in Northern Ireland between the Government and the prison officers. As I said in opening, the action being taken by the prison officers is entirely sympathetic in support of what is happening in England and Wales. I hope that now that they have demonstrated their support for prison officers in England and Wales they will reconsider their action and withdraw it because of the peculiar difficulties in Northern Ireland. As regards discussions, there is nothing to discuss.

Mr. John

That cannot be right. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman's analysis that it is sympathetic action. But the cardinal point which he can discuss with representatives of the prison officers in Northern Ireland is whether they will reverse their decision to take sympathetic action in support of their British colleagues.

Mr. Atkins

Yes. I beg the hon. Gentleman's pardon. We can ask them to do that, but it is not a matter for discussion. There can be no question of negotiation between the Government and the prison officers in Northern Ireland because there is nothing about which to negotiate. Naturally, we are talking to them and hoping that they will change their minds and withdraw their support for the action that is happening in England and Wales. Discussion implies some kind of negotiation. There is nothing about which to negotiate. I have pleaded in the House tonight for the prison officers in Northern Ireland to withdraw their industrial action. I repeat the plea and will do so on every possible occasion, because the situation in Northern Ireland is different from the position in England and Wales. I believe that the prison officers would do well not only to reconsider their action but to see that it is in everybody's best interests that they should. If they do, that will enable the Government to rescind this order, which I hope to be able to do as early as possible. In the meantime, I hope that the House will agree to it.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 112, Noes 17.

Division No. 492] AYES [9.38 p.m.
Alison, Michael Cockeram, Eric Heddle, John
Arnold, Tom Colvin, Michael Henderson, Barry
Aspinwall, Jack Cope, John Hogg, Hon Douglas (Grantham)
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Corrie, John Holland, Philip (Carlton)
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset) Dean, Paul (North Somerset) Hooson, Tom
Bendall, Vivian Dorrell, Stephen Hurd, Hon Douglas
Berry, Hon Anthony Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Best, Keith Edwards, Rt Hon N. (Pembroke) Lawrence, Ivan
Bevan, David Gilroy Eyre, Reginald Le Marchant, Spencer
Biggs-Davison, John Faith, Mrs Sheila Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Boscawen, Hon Robert Fenner, Mrs Peggy Lyell, Nicholas
Brinton, Tim Fisher, Sir Nigel McCrindle, Robert
Budgen, Nick Fletcher-Cooke, Charles MacGregor, John
Butcher, John Garel-Jones, Tristan MacKay, John (Argyll)
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Glyn, Dr Alan McNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Goodlad, Alastair McQuarrie, Albert
Chalker, Mrs. Lynda Gow, Ian Marlow, Tony
Chapman, Sydney Greenway, Harry Marten, Neil (Banbury)
Clark, Hon Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Mates, Michael
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hampson, Dr Keith Maude, Rt Hon Angus
Mellor, David Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Thompson, Donald
Meyer, Sir Anthony Proctor, K. Harvey Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)
Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove & Redditch) Rathbone, Tim Townend, John (Bridlington)
Mills, Iain (Meriden) Rees, peter (Dover and Deal) Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexleyheath)
Mills, Peter (West Devon) Renton, Tim Trippier, David
Moate, Roger Rhodes James, Robert van Straubenzee, W. R.
Morrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester) Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Viggers, Peter
Murphy, Christopher Sainsbury, Hon Timothy Waddington, David
Myles, David Shaw, Giles (Pudsey) Waller, Gary
Neale, Gerrard Speed, Keith Watson, John
Needham, Richard Speller, Tony Wells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)
Nelson, Anthony Stainton, Keith Wheeler, John
Neubert, Michael Stanbrook, Ivor Wickendon, Keith
Newton, Tony Stevens, Martin Williams, Delwyn (Montgomery)
Onslow, Cranley Stradling Thomas, J.
Page, Rt Hon Sir Graham (Crosby) Taylor, Teddy (Southend East) TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Page, Richard (SW Hertfordshire) Tebbit, Norman Mr. Carol Mather and
Parris, Matthew Temple-Morris, Peter Mr John Wakeham
Porter, Barry Thomas, Rt Hon Peter (Hendon S)
Alton, David Fitt, Gerard Molyneaux, James
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Grant, George (Morpeth) Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch (S Down)
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Canavan, Dennis Homewood, William
Cryer, Bob McKay, Allen (Penistone) TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Dixon, Donald Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Mr. Wm. Ross and
Eastham, Ken Maxton, John Mr. Robert, J. Bradford

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That the Remand (Temporary Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 1980 (S.I., 1980, No. 1626), a copy of which was laid before this House on 30 October, be approved.

  1. STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS, &c. 18 words
    1. c154
    2. VALUE ADDED TAX 31 words