HC Deb 27 January 1981 vol 997 cc883-902 11.12 pm
The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Patrick Mayhew)

I beg to move, That the draft Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act 1980 (Continuance No. 3) Order 1981, which was laid before this House on 22nd January, be approved. Before I give the reasons for the Government's request that sections 1 and 2 of the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act be renewed for a further month—[Interruption.]

Mr. Arthur Lewis (Newham, North-West)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Will you ask hon. Members at the Bar either to get out of the Chamber or to keep quiet?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bernard Weatherill)

That would be generally acceptable to the House. Would those at the Bar please either come in and sit down, or leave?

Mr. Mayhew

It might help the House if I were to explain the present position in the prison officers' dispute which occasioned the introduction and passage of the Act.

During the debate on 15 December on the order renewing part I of the Act, my predecessor as Minister of State outlined the terms of the offer we had made to the Prison Officers' Association. As the House will know, the delegate conference called by the POA from 16 to 18 December failed to take up that offer and it continued with its industrial action.

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary made it clear to the POA how much he regretted its decision and when he met its representatives on 12 January emphasised his determination to achieve an early settlement. He stressed that it remained the Government's view that the way forward from the dispute lay in the adoption of a new duty system designed to eliminate the anomalies which gave rise to the dispute. He therefore renewed the offer made to the POA in December, with certain adjustments to meet objections raised by the POA mainly concerning the timing of the negotiation on the new duty system, and the return to normal working after the suspension of the industrial action. I shall not go into the detail of the offer today: the essential features are the same as those explained to the House by my right hon. Friend on 15 December. As my right hon. Friend stressed, the acceptance of the offer and, in particular, of the new duty system would not only benefit prison officers considerably in their conditions of service; it would also enable the management of establishments to be placed on a more efficient footing.

Following its meeting with the Home Secretary, the POA announced its decision to suspend its industrial action from midnight on Saturday 17 January, pending further consideration of the duty system. As the House will know, the great majority of local branches of the POA suspended their action in accordance with the decision of their national executive committee. Subsequently, however, the Ashford branch of the POA took legal action against its national executive committee on the grounds that the decision to suspend action should, under the POA constitution, have been taken by a delegate conference. On Friday 23 January, the High Court found in favour of the Ashford branch and made an order compelling the NEC to rescind the instruction suspending industrial action. The operation of the order itself was, however, suspended for six weeks. We do not yet know what consequences that decision will bring. However, we must all hope that the POA will find a way to carry through its earlier decision to suspend action while negotiations continue.

As the House will know, the main consequence of the prison officers' industrial action has been that up to 5,000 prisoners at any one time have had to be held either in police cells or in emergency accommodation at Frankland prison and Rollestone camp. The first priority after the suspension of industrial action was to secure the orderly transfer of those prisoners to normal prison accommodation. Clearly we were anxious that that should be achieved as soon as possible: as we have repeatedly stressed, it was grossly unsatisfactory that prisoners should have had to be detained for long periods in accommodation never intended for that purpose. Moreover, we were determined that the additional burden on the police and the Armed Services by the prison officers' action should be lifted as soon as possible. I should like to place on record once again the thanks of my right hon. Friend and of the Government for the way in which the police and the Armed Services have shouldered that burden.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett (Stockport, North)

Can the hon. and learned Gentleman tell us how much it has cost in extra duties for the police and the Army so that we can judge that against the possible cost of settling the dispute?

Mr. Mayhew

The House will recall that provision has been made, by way of additional Estimate, in the sum of £13 million. That was based upon assumptions as to the likely date when the action would finish, which have not, alas, been fulfilled. I cannot give the individual breakdowns, but it has been a costly and damaging dispute.

The transfer of some 5,000 prisoners into prison is a complex process, especially since the prisons are simultaneously coping with their normal intake front the courts. Moreover, the process is hindered by the continuing refusal to receive prisoners of the few establishments, including a number of local prisons, which are continuing to take industrial action. Nevertheless, the process of transfer is well under way and by this morning there were only 1,656 prisoners in police cells, as compared with 4,027 before suspension of industrial action, 183 in Frankland as compared with 603 before suspension, and only 11 in Rollestone, as compared with 352. We propose in the interests of flexibility to retain Rollestone until the process of transferring prisoners is completed.

The process of transfer cannot, however, be completed by midnight on 28 January when the currency of the order approved by the House on 15 December ceases. That is why we have laid before the House the present order. The House will be aware that we are not seeking to renew sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Act, which respectively enabled the Secretary of State to reduce the numbers in prison custody by authorising the release of unconvicted and unsentenced prisoners, by restricting the powers of the courts to imprison for non-payment of money and by authorising the early release of prisoners. My right hon. Friend made it clear that these provisions would not be used unless absolutely necessary. Since that has not proved the case, and since the great majority of establishments have returned to normal working, we are content to allow these powers to lapse. However, I must make it equally clear that we cannot take for granted a settlement of the dispute, or even the continuing suspension of industrial action, although, of course, we hope for it. We have made some progress during the past week, but a resumption of industrial action would lead to the kind of disruption we have seen in the past three months. If it became necessary, therefore, we should not hesitate to ask the House for the reactivation of sections 3, 4 and 5.

However, we must ask that sections 1 and 2 of the Act should be renewed for a further period. Section 1 permits prisoners to be held in places other than prisons approved for the purpose by the Secretary of State. Thus, so long as prisoners remain in the places approved by the Secretary of State—Frankland prison and Rollestone camp—section 1 will be needed. We hope that both places will be empty in the very near future, and, of course, they will not be used for this purpose again unless there is any further serious industrial action.

Section 2 will also be needed in the present circumstances. The speed of the return of prisoners to prison establishments is, to a large extent, dependent on the availability of police and prison officers for escort duties. The ease of reception and absorption of prisoners at prisons is also affected by the numbers of prison officers available. For these reasons, and because there are still some prison officers taking industrial action, we are asking for the continuance of section 2 so that the provision of escorts to take prisoners to remand hearings does not hinder the return of prisoners to normal custody. However, we will be urging the courts to restore the usual cycle of remand productions as soon as possible. The House will recall that, under section 2, courts can make special directions requiring defendants to be produced, and we will recommend them to use that power generally as soon they are satisfied that it is reasonable to do so in their areas.

I have stressed that the prison officers' action has at best been suspended, not terminated. Nevertheless, there is now some hope that the end of this sad episode in the history of the prison service is in sight. If that is so, I hope very much that we can once again begin to tackle the fundamental problems facing the prison system which the May committee identified. One of these clearly centres on industrial relations; my right hon. Friend is determined to seek with the POA ways of avoiding the industrial action which has scarred not just the past three months but, indeed, much of the last 10 years.

Another and perhaps the most fundamental problem facing the prison system is that of the prison population. My right hon. Friends have noted on previous occasions in the House that the fall in the numbers in custody from 44,000 to the recent figure of about 40,000 has been the only welcome feature of the past months, although I view with concern the increase of 1,000 that has taken place in the last week. If this increase continues, the consequence will be very serious. We naturally have the reasons for the fall in the prison population during the dispute under examination. It may well be that they do not quickly become apparent or, indeed, that they are not all even established beyond doubt. Some of them may prove of purely temporary effect. But certainly we in the Home Office must consider—and I hope the courts and police will do the same—whether there are any lessons from the steps we have had to take which can help us as we face the urgent and important task of keeping the prison population within tolerable numbers.

I assure the House that the Government, for their part, will continue their urgent search for acceptable means of reducing the prison population consistent with the protection of the public. Indeed, my right hon. Friend has taken up a helpful and constructive suggestion made to him by the governors' branch of the Society of Civil and Public Servants last year. This should, we hope, result in a modest, but useful, reduction in the prison population. The Prison (Amendment) Rules 1981, which have today been laid before the House and will come into force on 23 February, allow those with very short custodial sentences to qualify for one-third remission for good conduct. At present, sentences of one month or less do not qualify for remission, and remission may not operate to reduce a sentence below 31 days: in future, remission will be available on any sentence of more than five days, but will not operate to reduce a sentence below five days.

The present qualifying period of one month is, of course, arbitrary, and it seems right in principle to apply remission to as many prisoners as possible. The five-day limit has been retained to avoid anomalies arising from section 109 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1952, which allows a magistrates' court to order a convicted defendant to be detained in police cells for not more than four days.

This grave problem of overcrowding is one among many affecting our prisons calling for urgent attention. It will be far easier to provide this when this dispute and its consequences become things of the past. In the interim, I must ask the House to approve the order, to enable us to cope with the remaining consequences of the prison officers' industrial action.

11.24 pm
Dr. Shirley Summerskill (Halifax)

The Opposition were extremely reluctant to give a Second Reading to the Bill that became the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act 1980, and it is with great regret that we find it necessary to renew the provisions of the Act once more, after only a month. The provisions of section 2 still represent a serious infringement of basic civil liberties—the rights of detained people. It contains unprecedented powers which we do not wish to see on the statute book.

The Minister of State's predecessor was fairly optimistic during the last debate about the prospects of a satisfactory settlement of this unhappy dispute within the prison service, but the situation now appears to be, if not worse, at least more complicated and depressing. We have now reached the sixteenth week of unrest in the prisons.

The hon. and learned Gentleman gave the House a brief account of events during the past few weeks. We have heard that the High Court ruled that the executive committee of the Prison Officers' Association acted unlawfully in suspending action without convening a special delegate conference. Will the Minister clarify the position of the Home Office in relation to a report in the newspapers of a statement in the High Court by Mr. Justice Browne-Wilkinson? He was reported as saying that he thought that the executive may well have been misled by the Home Secretary into feeling that it was essential for the preservation of their bargaining position that industrial action should be suspended. The House, and perhaps readers outside who saw the comment, would like to hear from the Minister whether that was the case. Perhaps the hon. and learned Gentleman will also clarify the statement that the executive was misled, even if unintentionally.

The order by the High Court judge was a seemingly unique and unprecedented one in industrial relations. It would be useful to know the part played by the Home Secretary that led to the reference made by Mr. Justice Browne-Wilkinson. Readers of The Daily Telegraph were given only that part of the judge's statement.

The Prison Officers' Association now appears to be split, since the executive committee does not have the backing of all its members. The Home Secretary faces the unhappy position of there being factions among the prison officers. This power struggle can apparently be resolved only at a delegate conference, which may mean a delay of up to six weeks from the time of the High Court decision. Like the Minister, and I am sure all hon. Members, I hope that the association will find a way to suspend the industrial action.

The Minister told us the position in the prisons. We are pleased to hear that the number of people detained in police cells and Army camps has been considerably reduced. We are pleased for them, but some of the burden has been put back on the already overcrowded prisons.

The hon. and learned Gentleman mentioned that a few prisoners were still affected by industrial action. Will he tell the House how many, and, if possible, which prisons they are?

As for the cost of this exercise, at some £13 million by now, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett) referred, it is ironic that one of the reasons given by the Government for resisting the prison officers' claim was the cost that would be incurred. It would be interesting to know what the estimated cost of agreeing to the claim would be, compared with the costs now being borne by the taxpayer to deal with the consequences of the dispute.

The Minister referred to the extent to which section 2 of the Act is being enforced. I am not aware that the probation officers, who have special knowledge and experience of this section, are any less concerned about its effects now than they were a month ago at the time of the last debate. They were concerned, and presumably still are, that as prisoners have lost their long-standing and automatic right to appear in court every eight days, there could be prisoners in cells remaining unknown to the probation service and not in contact with any form of legal advice. I hope that we shall have reassurance that that is not happening.

We look forward to further reports on the Home Office survey of 50 courts. Are requests for special direction still being granted? We should like evidence from everyone working with prisoners and in prisons on the fair implementation of section 2, which of all the sections of the Act is the one regarded with the greatest seriousness.

We are pleased that sections 4 and 5 have not had to be used. These were the two sections towards whose purpose the Opposition were most sympathetic. Their provisions would certainly help to reduce the total prison population, and it is that reduction that we all wish to see.

According to the Minister, if I understood him aright, the prison population is now 41,000. Having fallen from 44,000 to 40,000, it has now risen by 1,000, due to the transfers. It would be useful to know whether sentencing practices during the whole period of the dispute have changed in any significant way. Perhaps we could have as soon as possible the results of the evaluation which, I gather, the Home Office is making of the reasons for the fall in the prison populaton. Are fines or suspended sentences instead of custodial sentences being used by magistrates' courts, are more bail applications being granted, and with which types of offence are these changes connected?

We on the Opposition Benches have for some time advocated the desirability of reducing custodial sentences as a way of reducing the prison population. There is no evidence that the reduced prison population during the period of the dispute has resulted in a greater risk to public safety. May we therefore conclude that a high prison population is not essential for public safety?

It is hoped that the past 16 weeks will have made magistrates' courts and courts generally see the advisability of non-custodial sentences wherever possible. Obviously, less overcrowding will be better for the prisoners and the prison officers, and better for the whole atmosphere throughout our prison system. We welcome the Minister's announcement that remission will be extended for short-term prisoners. This is another step in the right direction to reduce the prison population.

Mr. S. C. Silkin (Dulwich)

Does my hon. Friend agree that, although that is a step in the right direction, it would be defeated if the courts simply increased penalties to compensate for it, and should not the outcome of that step be carefully monitored by the Home Office to see exactly what happens as a result?

Dr. Summerskill

I agree with my right hon. and learned Friend that there should be an evaluation by the Home Office not only of the way that sentencing practices have changed during the past 16 weeks, but of the way matters proceed in the forthcoming months. We must see how sentencing procedures and practices are affected—or not affected—by this new measure.

I conclude by expressing the hope that a speedy, satisfactory and permanent solution will be found to the prison officers' dispute, acceptable to the Home Office and the prison officers, so that it will not be necessary for the House to meet again in a month's time to renew this order.

11.35 pm
Mr. Anthony Beaumont-Dark (Birmingham, Selly Oak)

This has been an interesting debate, especially as we have spoken of people being released early from prison sentences. As the Minister knows, I have tabled three questions to the Home Department about people remanded in custody—refused bail—who have been awaiting trial for 12 months, 15 months or longer. I hope that some good will come from this dispute and that we shall get statistics showing how many people have been released on bail who might not otherwise have been released and who committed offences while on bail.

There is more than anecdotal evidence to suggest that people are being sentenced to imprisonment without being sentenced by any court of law. In a country which prides itself on habeas corpus, it seems odd that people can serve 10, 12 or even 17 months in Her Majesty's prisons when they are supposed to be innocent until found guilty by a court of law. I hope that some good will come from this dispute in that sense.

It is most important that we should reflect most carefully before remanding people in custody. If we are to release people because of some dispute, we either believe that they are not a danger to the public or we are releasing them knowing that they are a danger to the public. Something is patently wrong about one course. Above all, people who are charged have a right to be assumed to be innocent until found guilty. We all agree that the public need to be protected from those who are violent and are known to be violent.

If this dispute drags on, it seems that people who are charged with, for example, fraud offences will have to wait for justice because the courts are unwilling to work normal working hours, because they want to sit from 10 am to 4 pm for only about seven months in the year. We must examine the question whether it is right to remand people for 10, 12 or 17 months, with all the worry and concern which that entails, when, if they are found guilty—and some are not—they are not given custodial sentences. It is always easy to be just to the lovely child. It is, however, just as important to be just to the ugly child. People who are charged with an offence are so often assumed to be guilty because people are happy to think that. Let us hope that, arising from this dispute, there will be a re-examination of the practice of remanding people in custody. We must remember the assumption, supposed to be enshrined in English law, that people are innocent until found guilty by a court of law.

11.39 pm
Mr. Arthur Lewis (Newham, North-West)

I congratulate the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Beaumont-Dark) on his speech. I agree with him 100 per cent.—plus. I wonder what would be said if people were held in custody in Chile, the Soviet Union or Iran when they had committed no crime. Some people find it hard to believe the Government when they say that there is overcrowding in our prisons when self-confessed and convicted criminals are allowed to go to open prisons while those who have committed no crime are incarcerated in closed prisons. It is difficult to believe that there is a shortage of accommodation.

I asked some questions only today, and I was told that on 30 November 1980 3,220 persons were in open prisons serving sentences for criminal offences. At the same time, 2,222 persons were in closed prisons on remand awaiting trial. Why cannot the unconvicted prisoners go into the open prisons and let the self-confessed convicted criminals go into the closed prisons?

I take an actual case again. I asked how much of Lord Kagan's sentence was served in a closed prison before he was moved to an open prison. The answer was given today. Lord Kagan spent a total of 14 days in a closed prison before he was transferred to an open prison. Moreover, I believe that those 14 days were the period when he was on trial and awaiting trial.

Lord Kagan can have his trial in 14 days and go straight into an open prison, yet a constituent of mine who is unconvicted, who has nothing against him, has been waiting 17 months. If and when he comes to trial, if he is found guilty, and if he receives the maximum sentence, with time off for good conduct the sentence would be less than the time that he has already served. Before even coming to trial, he has served more than he would have been sentenced. That is what is happening in Britain in 1980—not in 1880, and not in the Soviet Union—and it has been going on under this Government and the Labour Government.

I asked some other questions, and got the usual ministerial fob-off that they could not give the information because it would involve disproportionate expenditure of time and cost. My hon. Friend the Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill) need not laugh. The same thing happened under the Labour Government. The former Attorney-General, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dulwich (Mr. Silkin), is here. It was the same Department, with the same civil servants. If they wanted to dodge something they squashed it by saying that it could not be found. When they want to find things, they can find them all right.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bernard Weatherill)

Order. This debate concerns the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act and its continuation, not what answers should be given to questions.

Mr. Lewis

Yes, but when the Minister introduced it he explained that he did not want to keep people in these temporary prisons. He could not find accommodation for them, and he wanted to continue to put them into police cells. I am pointing out how he could find plenty of opportunities to put them into proper prisons. Let him release those who have committed no crime.

He says that one of the reasons is that they might not be there for their trial. What about Lord Kagan? He was not there for his trial, was he? He ran away. I know that it is not done in this place to refer to people in that way, but to me it is. I have constituents who have done nothing wrong at all, but who are in prisons. Other hon. Members must have such constituents, too. They are not all in my constituency, thank God.

There are 2,222 persons in closed prisons awaiting trial. So there are 2,222 places in those prisons in which the Home Office could put convicted prisoners. It is not necessary to have an order to say that those awaiting trial should go to police cells, at a cost of £150 a week to have doctors coming along to give them special examinations. We should not give the right to the Home Secretary to do what he wants. There is plenty of opportunity for him to take other action.

The lawyers are the best-paid people in the country. They are always in favour of an incomes policy—but not, of course, for themselves. They are like Mr. Roy Jenkins. The judges have also had more increases in salary than anyone else. The judges and the lawyers must not work after 4 o'clock in the afternoon—they might not get the bus home. But, of course, we supply the judges with cars. There would be no necessity for the order if the judges and lawyers were to get cracking and, as one great Britisher said, get their fingers out and get stuck in. We are always being urged to increase production. It would be wonderful if the Home Secretary could tell us that the judges and lawyers had agreed to work four or five hours extra and had doubled their production. At least, so many people would not have to wait so long on remand.

It is a scandal and disgrace that in this so-called great British democracy we have a system of justice in which a poor, ordinary working man can be kept in a closed prison for 17 months awaiting trial while a convicted, self-confessed criminal, because he happens to be a Member of the House of Lords, is allowed to serve his time in an open prison.

11. 47 pm

Mr. Richard Alexander (Newark)

I am happy to be able to follow the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Lewis) because this is probably the only occasion in which I shall be able to agree with almost all that he said. In my own defence I should say that I am a lawyer and that I am not in favour of an incomes policy. I should say in favour of the judiciary that judges do not just catch the bus at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. They have other jobs to do, particularly in connection with other cases which they may have been considering and upon which they have to reach a conclusion.

There is a consensus about what we are discussing, namely, that the sooner we see this legislation off the statute book the better. It has created certain unpleasantnesses and anomalies. One that I was particularly pleased to hear the Minister deal with is the provision in the Act that it is not necessary for a defendant to be produced in court when his bail application is being considered. Many of my professional colleagues view that aspect of the law with some fear. It has always been the case that justice should be seen to be done, and if a defendant is not by right entitled to be present at his application for bail, I do not think we can be entirely happy that justice is being seen to be done. I therefore welcome my hon. Friend's remarks in that regard.

On Second Reading I made certain observations to the Minister who was at that time responsible for the measure, but who has now been transferred to the rarer fields of being Chief Secretary to the Treasury. I was concerned, as I think most of my hon. Friends are, with the problem of overcrowding. I was concerned, as many lawyers are, with the provisions arising out of what is known as the Nottingham justices' case.

That case provided that once a magistrates' court had decided that a defendant was not entitled to bail it would not be open to a solicitor or barrister in future to make a further application for bail, regardless of the fact that there were other matters which he felt he could adduce in his client's defence. Indeed, so concerned are members of the legal profession about this case that they have been most reluctant to make early applications for bail in case at a later date they have strong evidence which they can adduce in favour of the application. That has meant that solicitors have not been getting bail for their clients at as early a date as possible. My suggestion to the Minister's predecessor was that that case could and should be urgently amended to allow early bail hearings to take place without prejudice to later applications.

When I raised the matter on Second Reading my hon. Friend the Member for Grantham (Mr. Hogg) quite properly intervened from his side of the legal profession and pointed out that one can always apply to a judge in chambers. In case the Minister is likely to refer to that matter, I point out that my experience is that it is very difficult to get legal aid for a hearing before a judge in chambers. Unless one is reasonably well off, it is not always possible to go before a judge in chambers once a bail application has been refused by the magistrates. It is taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut to say "Keep the Nottingham justices' case going, but allow the chap to go before a judge in chambers".

The Minister has a difficult problem to deal with, but what I have suggested is a way out of the problem of overcrowding in our penal establishments. I do not call them prisons, because we are now dealing to a large extent with police stations. It will help poorer defendants who, nevertheless, are not entitled to, or are unlikely to get, aid, and it will relieve the enormous pressure on the police if he can see his way to making this very small but very significant reform.

11.52 pm
Mr. Stephen Ross (Isle of Wight)

I do not think that anybody can possibly oppose the order, realising the problems with which the Home Office is faced, particularly in regard to the recent judgment in the courts.

The prison officers' dispute is about the rota system, the meal break and the payment for it. Is the Minister satisfied that the right formula has been found and will ultimately be accepted by all prison officers? We have heard that seven prison officers were still refusing to go back to normal working. The extension would probably have been necessary in any event to cover that position, unless prisoners in police cells were to be put into prisons where the officers had returned to normal working, although perhaps they would not have been accepted there. But the dispute is concerned with payment for meal breaks, and with different types of rota. I do not think that we have had evidence tonight that the dispute is to be finally resolved so that the prison officers can return to their normal duties.

In the prison service there has been a considerable amount of unrest for a number of years. The three prisons in the Isle of Wight were not particularly involved in the present dispute because on their type of rota they were being paid overtime. Nevertheless, they came out in sympathy with their colleagues elsewhere. We do not know what is the position in Northern Ireland. I assume that the prison officers there are now working on the normal rota. I should like to know whether that is so, because it is very important. Certainly it caused difficulties when the prison officers there came out in sympathy with their colleagues, particularly at the time of the hunger strike just before Christmas.

It is desperately important that the Home Office should get the formula right. There is a chance to get back to a proper relationship between the Home Office and the prison officers on which they can both build in the long term to try to prevent such a dispute from arising again. But unless we cut back the population of our prisons, it will build up again because of the frustration of the ever-increasing numbers of prisoners and the inability to deal with them. That is part of the problem.

I hope that the Minister will assure us that he now feels that the negotiations that have taken place between his Department and the Prison Officers' Association are satisfactory, and that after crossing a few more t's and dotting a few more i's there will be a settlement which is acceptable to the vast majority of the prison officers. If that is not the case, further negotiations must take place. It would have been better if the matter had gone to arbitration in the first instance. We would have saved a lot of money and, after all, the prison officers said that they would accept the decision whether or not it went against them. The fact that the matter has dragged on so long has proved that we were right in the first instance. We are entitled to ask what evidence there is that this dispute will be resolved and a formula found that will be acceptable to the prison officers.

11.56 pm
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett (Stockport, North)

It is important that we should begin by remembering why this measure was pushed through the House and the fact that many Labour Members predicted that a long-run farce was likely to develop because of the Government's attitude.

The dispute was over meal breaks, but that was not why the prison officers took their industrial action. They asked for arbitration. If they had been given arbitration in some form, there would have been no dispute. It was the Government's refusal to consider arbitration that provoked the dispute, and which has produced the consequences. The Government should admit that they were wrong. They should have accepted arbitration as a reasonable principle at that time.

Let us look at the cost. Much damage has been done to industrial relations within the prisons. Much of the good that came from the May report and the settlement has been dissipated, and it will take time to overcome the considerable strains and stresses that have developed within the Prison Officers' Association. The financial cost is far greater than it would have been had the arbitrator ruled in favour of the prison officers rather than in favour of the Government. There is a crying need in almost every prison for money to be spent on improving facilities, both for the prison officers and for the inmates. The £13 million was a total waste of money by the Government.

It is an abuse of the House to put through temporary measures and continually renew them, as the Government have done on many occasions. However, I welcome the fact that some provisions have been dropped from the Act. The Government should make up their mind whether they want permanent legislation or whether they want to continue renewing temporary legislation in this way.

Mr. Douglas Hogg (Grantham)

The hon. Gentleman will recall that the original proposal was that the order should last for three months. It was in response to requests from the Opposition Benches that it was agreed by my right hon. and hon. Friends that the order should be renewable every month. The hon. Gentleman is in no position to grumble.

Mr. Bennett

I admit that it was a concession on the part of the Government to renew the order monthly and, that the reports to the House have been of considerable use, but had the order lasted for three months the Government would now be asking for a renewal for another three months. At least we have the hope that we can get the matter out of the way at the end of next month if the Minister will give us some idea of how much real progress has been made in trying to settle the dispute.

The real message that the Government should take on board is that they should have gone for arbitration and not wasted the £13 million, which is desperately needed to improve conditions in our prisons.

12 midnight

Mr. Ivan Lawrence (Burton)

Although no one would have wished it to be for this purpose, the prison officers' dispute has brought forward a golden opportunity to study some of the possible lines along which our future penal policy can develop. I join my voice with those of the hon. Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill) and others who have asked for a thorough examination of the consequences and the effects of the extraordinary measures that were introduced in the Act to ascertain how far we can learn lessons from it.

The penal system has been at crisis point for some time. It appears that as a result of the Act there has been a reduction in the prison population. It may be that some of the measures were frowned upon at the start, but on examination they can be seen to have been of some assistance to us. If the inquiry is thorough—perhaps even to the extent of interviewing lawyers and judges who have made decisions during the period of the legislation that we are discussing—it may be that the Government will be presented with an opportunity to persuade the public that a change of attitude towards the penal system is overdue.

I am not normally considered—certainly this applies in my constituency—to be very liberal in matters of penal reform. However, I have been struck in recent months by the apparent weight of the evidence that has come from other countries that they do not have a significantly higher crime rate even though they do not send their people to prison so frequently or for so long. Sometimes the rates are lower in other countries. That is a matter that must be thoroughly investigated. It may be that some of the matters that have come to light as a result of this legislation will satisfy not only the Government but the people that some of the steps could be made more permanent. For the community's fears are perhaps the most important reason why we have not liberalised our penal system.

By and large, people do not want the penal system to be liberalised in case more crime is precipitated. I have particularly in mind the early release of some prisoners. We shall want to know whether they have re-offended or whether the facilities for the increased granting of bail have had a good or bad effect. It may be that, presented with the detailed facts of a case study of the sad incident of the prison officers' dispute, the public will be reassured that some liberalisation could take place that would not harm the community and would result in the lowering of the extraordinarily high level of the prison population, which has been shaming our system for so long.

I should like my hon. and learned Friend to say not only how impressed he has been with the contributions of all those who have spoken—I am sure that he will do so with his usual politeness—but that he is determined to ensure that there is a thorough investigation in depth of the ramifications of this legislation to ascertain the lessons that can be learnt from it.

12.5 am

Mr. Bob Cryer (Keighley)

I should like to correct the rubric on the Order Paper which says that this instrument has not yet been considered by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments. The Joint Committee considered the instrument this afternoon. It did not make any comment, although it is fair for me to comment that the Committee was pleased that the explanatory note is lucid and comprehensive and was included at the request a the Joint Committee on the basis that statutory instruments should be free from ambiguity so far as possible and that an explanatory note should refer to the extent, in this case, of the sort of legislation that this is. That is simply a straightforward piece of information. I am sure that the Joint Committee will not share my views on the merits of the order, which it does not anyhow consider.

I should like to reiterate some of the views I have expressed repeatedly on the primary legislation and on the delegated legislation. These are large, significant powers that the Government are renewing to solve what is, by common consent, an industrial relations disaster. The Government argue that they should not have gone to arbitration. Most hon. Members on the Labour Benches argue that they should have gone to arbitration. The way out of the position was not to pass draconian legislation, part of which is still retained in the order. Article 1 of the order allows anywhere to be designated by the Home Secretary as a prison. That is a large and comprehensive power over which the House should hesitate before passing it. It arises, after all, out of an industrial dispute.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett) has said, time and again, in industrial disputes, because of intransigence, in this instance, by management, the dispute drags on. The initial cost of settling the dispute, even on the terms claimed by the prison officers, is probably much less than the total cost of proceeding in this way and holding out for a different solution. It looks as if a solution is in sight. Everyone is pleased by that, ham-fisted though the Government's conduct of the affair has been. We do not wish to see people suffering as a result of the overcrowding of prisons and the use of facilities which have been designated as prisons by the Home Secretary but which are largely unsuitable.

The extension of the order might be seen by the prison officers as a provocative action. The officers are probably seeking some form of assurance from the Government that whatever agreement has been reached and whatever assurances were made to the executive committee, which have now been challenged, will be carried out by the Home Secretary. An element of suspicion already exists. I should have thought that the Government would be prepared, and will have to be prepared at some stage, to take on trust an agreement and not rely on the backing of legislation to bolster up their reserve position where they can take alternative measures.

The second article dealing with further remands by a magistrates' court in a prisoner's absence is a matter of concern. The hon. Member for Newark (Mr. Alexander) expressed that concern succinctly. There is only one special set of circumstances in which it can be supposed that there is some advantage in not bringing a prisoner to court. In one case the editors of many daily newspapers and evening provincial newspapers rode roughshod through the law relating to committal. I refer to a notorious case in Yorkshire where the headlines, following a mistaken and ill-judged police press conference, were such that a prisoner who had been arrested was judged and convicted by the press, by clear implication, which breached a cardinal principle of English law, that a person is innocent until found guilty in a court. The police do not make the judgment and nor does the press. I am pleased that the Solicitor-General has made clear to newspapers and to the police that such action in future will not go unheeded.

Editors who ride roughshod through the law by breaking the rules on contempt should face the consequences. They are not above the law. No matter what view they take of themselves, they should face the consequences like the rest of us. Disgraceful scenes were instigated by disgraceful standards of journalism the day before the court appearance was supposed to take place. However, I do not derogate from the principle that a man should be able to appear in court when his bail is decided. He should not be remanded in his absence. That is important.

On balance, there seems to be no reason to persist with the order. It contains unsatisfactory powers which we regard with great apprehension. Although the powers are reduced by the order, it is principally designed to resolve a situation that is at least 50 per cent. of the Government's making. They are having to seek such draconian powers because of their inflexibility, their lack of judgment and their lack of concern for industrial relations and the resolution of disputes. One hon. Gentleman said that seeking such powers was blackmail. The prison officers probably regard the order as blackmail. One problem in industrial disputes is that there are two conflicting sides. Both sides have to give a little. The Government have remained at some distance from the problem.

I hope that we are at the end of the dispute. The order should not go through on the nod. We should demonstrate a token resistance in order to make clear our reservations about using such methods to resolve industrial disputes.

12.12 am
Mr. Mayhew

I am grateful to the House for the many points that have been raised in the short debate, and I hope to be able to answer them all.

The House rightly views with care any proposal to continue provisions that are so markedly in conflict with our traditions on remand and imprisonment. However, the Government have made out the circumstances in which it is right for the House to reactivate sections 1 and 2 of an Act passed to deal with a wholly exceptional situation. The disruption caused by the prison officers' dispute is, regrettably, not yet out of the way. We hope that we are in the last phase, but it has not yet been completed.

The hon. Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill) raised a number of points. One newspaper, and one only, reported the suggestion that the Home Secretary may have misled the Prison Officers' Association into supposing that its recommendation could properly have been made, and had to be made. I shall put the matter in clear terms. It is not for the Home Secretary to advise the Prison Officers' Association about what it may or may not do, having regard to the provisions of its rules and constititution. That is not part of his function. The Home Secretary in no way misled the Prison Officers' Association at the meeting on 12 January or in the letter that he wrote in confirmation of what he said to the representatives then.

Nothing that the learned judge uttered was said in a spirit of criticism of my right hon. Friend. I understand that the learned judge said that the Prison Officers' Association might have misunderstood something that was stated in my right hon. Friend's letter. I do not know whether that is so.

In his letter of 12 January my right hon. Friend repeated the proposals that he had put forward in December. He said that, in that they were made at a time of severe economic recession, they were generous. He also said that if the proposals did not lead to a suspension of industrial action I am afraid that I cannot guarantee the future availability either of transitional payments or of the introduction of reduced hours with no corresponding abatement of basic pay. My right hon. Friend asked that he should be told within the next few days whether the committee intended to recommend that its members should accept the proposls.

The hon. Member for Halifax suggested that a misleading suggestion had been made by my right hon. Friend. There is no hint of that. I understand that the learned judge did not express the slightest criticism of my right hon. Friend. Indeed, given the facts, it is difficult to see how he could have done so.

The hon. Lady also asked how many prisons were still affected. About 11 establishments face continuing industrial action today in one form or another.

I was also asked the cost of agreeing to the claim. The claim—which called for back payments of meal allowances to 1975—is estimated to have amounted to about £10 million, with an annual recurring cost of £3 million.

It is often possible to argue that if only one side had not stood against the claims of another the initial cost of acceding to a claim would have been less than the cost sustained by resisting it. That is a shortsighted view. In this case, my right hon. Friend was right to refuse arbitration. As the Prison Officers' Association concedes, its claim falls outside the provisions of the Civil Service agreement. In addition, it would have been wrong to go to arbitration so soon after the May committee had considered its very broad remit, and so soon after my right hon. Friend had accepted all the committee's recommendations.

Mr. Stephen Ross

We heard that argument from the hon. and learned Gentleman's predecessor. If the hon. and learned Gentleman reads the relevant chapter in the May report, he will find that there are at least two, if not three, instances in which it specifically states that the committee could not reach a decision on that particular issue. It is not true that May covered all the aspects of the prison officers' claim. That should be put on the record.

Mr. Mayhew

Every recommendation of the May committee on pay and allowances was immediately accepted by my right hon. Friend. That was regarded as a proper reaction. It is not profitable to rake over the embers—I was grateful to the hon. Lady for her remarks—because everybody wants to find a way out of this miserable and extremely damaging episode.

The hon. Lady referred to the anxiety expressed by the National Association of Probation Officers that prisoners in cells are out of touch with the outside world. We told the association that we should be glad to look at any cases, but it has not produced any. There has to be a court hearing for each remand, and I am sure that we can rely on the probation service to pick up the cases where its help is needed. We know of no instance of the type that the probation officers had in mind.

The hon. Lady asked whether the Home Office survey was being continued. I can tell her that it is. She asked whether requests for special directions were still being granted. The answer is that they are. I can give her some brief particulars.

Certain questions were asked of 56 courts relating to their practice over the week 5 to 10 January. There were 403 people remanded in their absence, but all of them except 25 were legally aided. About half of those 25 were not represented because they had not asked to be, and the legal representatives of the remainder were not present for one reason or another.

There were 322 people who appeared before the courts by reason of a direction of the courts under section 2. Of that number, 151 appeared to enable their cases to be disposed of by the court, 121 for the purpose of consideration for bail, and 50 for other reasons. A total of 391 persons requested directions from the court that they should appear in person. All those requests were granted, save for five: 249 were for the purpose of disposal of their case, and 106 were for applications for bail.

That is the up-to-date position as revealed by the survey, taken on nearly, although not precisely, the same sample, covering about a quarter of all the criminal cases heard in England and Wales during the relevant period.

The hon. Lady asked whether sentencing practices had changed. That is an important question, and it was asked also by my hon. Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence), who drew attention to the need for a close study of the lessons that will emerge. It is as yet too early for us to be able to add anything to what my right hon. Friend said when he last asked for this act to be reactivated, on, I think, 15 December.

The effects of the prison officers' dispute on the prison population are still being examined, and until an analysis of all the available statistics is complete I do not think that any comment of mine would be very reliable. But this is important, and we want to see whether, over the relatively short period with which we are dealing, we can draw any reliable conclusions.

I agree with my hon. Friend that we need to look carefully at the experience of other countries—notably Holland, with a population and society not dissimilar from our own, where, on the whole, sentences are much lower and the incidence of crime is not appreciably greater. I believe that we have to look carefully to see whether there are ways in which, without prejudicing the safety of our population, we can reduce prison populations by imposing shorter sentences.

Mr. S. C. Silkin

I am glad that the hon. and learned Gentleman has referred to Holland, because there, as he will know, there has been a deliberate policy—indeed, a policy enshrined in legislation—for sentences to be reduced. It has not been left purely to the good will of the judiciary. He will know that, as a result, sentences have been considerably lower, with no increase in the rate of crime above the rate at which it has been running in this country.

Mr. Mayhew

I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman. There are encouraging indications from the Dutch experience. I believe that we all ought to examine those closely, and I welcome what has been said quite recently in the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, on this broad subject.

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Halifax for her welcome to the extension of the remission of sentence, and I agree that we want to look carefully to see what effect this has. Our estimate is that it will have an effect annually of reducing the prison population by about 300, 100 in relation to those who are there on short prison sentences, and 200 in respect of those who are in prison for failing to pay fines. That is a small contribution, but one worth making.

Finally, I take up the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Beaumont-Dark) and made with great vehemence—in respect of which I imply no criticism—by the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Lewis) about overlong remands in custody.

I agree that is wrong for people to be kept in custody for an unreasonable length of time. I think that there can be no gainsaying that there are instances where that occurs. In the main, it is a problem for the South-East, though not exclusively, and my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor is considering special measures to deal with it. However, the problem is complex. It has diverse roots. The increased length of trials, out of all comparison with what was known only a few years ago, has something to do with it. The increasing number of trials also has a part in it. The shortage of court accommodation has something to do with it, too.

Mr. Lawrence

Surely it is necessary to state publicly, otherwise it might be misunderstood, that there are very few such cases of lengthy remands in custody where either the person concerned has not already got an appalling criminal record or the offence with which he is charged is one of very serious violence.

Mr. Mayhew

That is true. It is also important to bear in mind the principal reason for remanding in custody. The principal reason is the need to protect the public. There are many people, for reasons including those mentioned by my hon. Friend, who, by reason of their records, give proper cause for apprehension to magistrates that their continuance at large would be a great danger to the public.

This is a complicated as well as an important matter. An analysis of the first year of the operation of the Bail Act 1976 is in progress. When the results are available, which we hope will be later this year, they will be published. My right hon. Friend has said that he will consider the operation of the Bail Act when the results of the statistical analysis are complete.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman give way?

Mr. Mayhew

Yes, but I have a great many points to answer. I hope that I shall not be criticised if I do not answer some of them, having given way so much.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Frequently, when an hon. Member seeks information, he is told that it cannot be provided because of the disproportionate cost involved in producing it. However, the hon. and learned Gentleman has now made a statement. If Mr. X, a working man, is charged with an offence, he is kept in prison on remand. A wealthy criminal who has been tried and found guilty is allowed into an open prison. Why should a working man who may have done nothing wrong be expected to abscond, whereas someone like Lord Kagan is given bail, which enables him to abscond?

Mr. Mayhew

It might be difficult for the hon. Gentleman to understand, but these matters are not disposed of according to whether an accused person is a working man or a member of the other place.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

There is preferential treatment.

Mr. Mayhew

It stretches the imagination to suppose that those responsible for these matters should wish to dispose of them in that manner. I can give the hon. Gentleman an assurance that Lord Kagan has received no special favour. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman has a loud voice, and it is one the he exercises a great deal, but I assume that he asks a question in order to have an answer.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

I apologise.

Mr. Mayhew

For the purpose of accuracy, it is worth recalling that Lord Kagan spent seven months in prison in France before he came here. From what one knows of French prisons, I should not think that that is much of a laughing matter.

My hon. Friend the Member for Newark (Mr. Alexander) may have misunderstood what I said, because section 2 is being retained by the order, for the reasons that I have given. He asked about the Nottingham justices' case. My noble Friend the Lord Chancellor is considering a right of application for bail to the Crown court where bail has been refused by the magistrates' court, but that would have public expenditure consequences, and my noble Friend has not yet formed a view on it.

The hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Ross) asked whether the formula would be accepted by all prison officers. If we could give him a reliable answer to that question we should be an even better Government than we are. All that I can say is that my right hon. Friend's proposal, which I believe to be very reasonable, fair and generous, was accepted by the national executive of the POA. We believe that there are good prospects once its terms are fully understood by all members of the association, including those terms that have not received as much publicity as others, such as the generous proposals to assist prison officers to buy their houses and similar allowances.

The essential nature of the offer is that it will provide a new duty system that will sweep away the irritating and anomalous differences between those who serve in one type of prison and those who serve in another—the Vee scheme as against the FGS scheme. That type of irritant has served to produce over a long time damaging disputes over matters which, of themselves, are quite small. The meal allowance controversy is relatively small compared with the desperate damage that has been done.

We believe that the new duty system will prove to be a satisfactory and popular improvement. We then hope—and I know that this is the desire of the POA's leadership—that together we can get down to working out how best to ensure that industrial relations do not fall into these troughs in the future. That was a point taken by the hon. Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett), as to whether prison officers would accept the proposal. I believe that there are very good hopes that they will; there is real progress.

The hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer) said that he thought that every man had the right to go before a court for bail and not to be remanded in his absence. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be reassured by the figures that I was able to give his hon. Friend the Member for Halifax, as a result of the Home Office survey, showing the way in which section 2 is operating. It permits the court to give directions that a person in custody shall be brought before it. It is open to anybody, accordingly, to request that such a direction shall be given. I was able to tell the House of the numbers of requests in the week 5 January to 10 January—391, all but five of which were granted. Accordingly, it appears that this provision—exceptional though it is, I agree—is being operated in a humane and practical way, as one would hope and expect.

I do not wish to sit down without rising, no doubt like a fat trout, to what was said by a far from slender trout, the hon. Member for Newham, North-West, about the judges. I must reject his suggestion that if only the judges worked a bit harder they would soon clear the backlog and sweep away the numbers of people held for an unreasonably long time in custody without trial. That simply is not so, and it is an unusually facile suggestion for the hon. Gentleman to make that the only work that the judges do is done during court hours. The judges work—indeed have to work—extremely hard on reserved judgments and on administrative matters. Court staff and the back-up staff have to work many hours above those during which the courts are actually sitting. Were it otherwise, the standard of justice would decline rapidly and considerably in this country.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Tell that to my constituents who have been waiting 17 months to get a trial.

Mr. Mayhew

That is very regrettable, of course, but, instead of shouting, let us try to get to the root of these matters—

Mr. Arthur Lewis

The Minister cannot because he dodges the questions.

Mr. Mayhew

—and not give vent to prejudice at the top of our voices. That is not the way in which the House will get to the root of these matters.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

We are in Britain, not the Soviet Union.

Mr. Mayhew

In the Soviet Union the hon. Gentleman would find no judges, no justice, and nobody to take care of him in extremis.

We find ourselves in what we trust is the concluding phase of a lamentably long and damaging period of industrial action in the prisons. That industrial action necessitated quite exceptional measures in the public interest—[Interruption.]—which Parliament granted in the Act. We are now able to manage without—[Interruption.]—the renewal of sections 3, 4 and 5—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Richard Crawshaw)

Order. The hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Lewis) has made his point. I hope that he will not continue to interrupt.

Mr. Mayhew

We are able now to manage without the renewal of sections 3, 4 or 5, which have never been used, but with the situation as uncertain as it regrettably remains, and with pockets of industrial action as yet unsuspended, it is necessary to renew sections 1 and 2, and I ask the House so to decide.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 75, Noes 5.

Division No.54] [11.00 pm
Abse, Leo Ellis, R. (NED'bysh're)
Adams, Allen English, Michael
Allaun, Frank Ennals, Rt Hon David
Alton, David Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Evans, John (Newton)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ernest Ewing, Harry
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Faulds, Andrew
Ashton, Joe Field, Frank
Atkinson, N. (H'gey,) Flannery, Martin
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (H'wd) Ford, Ben
Benn, Rt Hon A. Wedgwood Forrester, John
Bennett, Andrew (St'kp't N) Foster, Derek
Bidwell, Sydney Fraser, J. (Lamb'th, N'w'd)
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Freud, Clement
Bradley, Tom Garrett, John (Norwich S)
Bray, Dr Jeremy George, Bruce
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Brown, R. C. (N'castle W) Ginsburg, David
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Golding, John
Buchan, Norman Gourlay, Harry
Callaghan, Jim (Midd't'n & P) Graham, Ted
Campbell, Ian Grant, George (Morpeth)
Campbell-Savours, Dale Grant, John (Islington C)
Canavan, Dennis Hamilton, W. W. (C'tral Fife)
Cant, R. B. Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Carmichael, Neil Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith
Carter-Jones, Lewis Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Cartwright, John Haynes, Frank
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S) Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Cohen, Stanley Heffer, Eric S.
Coleman, Donald Holland, S. (L'b'th, Vauxh'll)
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. Home Robertson, John
Conlan, Bernard Homewood, William
Cook, Robin F. Hooley, Frank
Cowans, Harry Horam, John
Craigen, J. M. Howell, Rt Hon D.
Crowther, J. S. Howells, Geraint
Cryer, Bob Hudson Davies, Gwilym E.
Cunliffe, Lawrence Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Cunningham, Dr J. (W'h'n) Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Dalyell, Tam Janner, Hon Greville
Davidson, Arthur Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli) John, Brynmor
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Johnson, James (Hull West)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Johnson, Walter (Derby S)
Davis, T. (B'ham, Stechf'd) Johnston, Russell (Inverness)
Deakins, Eric Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rh'dda)
Dewar, Donald Jones, Barry (East Flint)
Dixon, Donald Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Dobson, Frank Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Dormand, Jack Kerr, Russell
Douglas, Dick Kilfedder, James A.
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Dubs, Alfred Kinnock, Neil
Dunn, James A. Lamborn, Harry
Dunnett, Jack Leadbitter, Ted
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. Leighton, Ronald
Eastham, Ken Lestor, Miss Joan
Lewis, Arthur (N'ham NW) Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Litherland, Robert Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Lyon, Alexander (York) Robertson, George
Lyons, Edward (Bradf'd W) Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
McCartney, Hugh Rooker, J. W.
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)
McElhone, Frank Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
McKay, Allen (Penistone) Ryman, John
McKelvey, William Sever, John
MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Sheldon, Rt Hon R.
Maclennan, Robert Shore, Rt Hon Peter
McMahon, Andrew Short, Mrs Renée
McNally, Thomas Silkin, Rt Hon J. (Deptford)
McNamara, Kevin Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
McTaggart, Robert Silverman, Julius
McWilliam, John Skinner, Dennis
Magee, Bryan Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Marshall, D (G'gow S'ton) Smith, Rt Hon J. (N Lanark)
Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Spearing, Nigel
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Spriggs, Leslie
Martin, M (G'gow S'burn) Stallard, A. W.
Mason, Rt Hon Roy Steel, Rt Hon David
Maxton, John Stott, Roger
Maynard, Miss Joan Strang, Gavin
Meacher, Michael Straw, Jack
Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Mikardo, Ian Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby) Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)
Mitchell, R. C. (Soton Itchen) Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe) Tilley, John
Morris, Rt Hon C. (O'shaw) Tinn, James
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Torney, Tom
Morton, George Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Moyle, Rt Hon Roland Wainwright, E. (Dearne V)
Newens, Stanley Walker, Rt Hon H. (D'caster)
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Watkins, David
O'Halloran, Michael Weetch, Ken
O'Neill, Martin Welsh, Michael
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Whitehead, Phillip
Palmer, Arthur Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Park, George Williams, Rt Hon A. (S'sea W)
Parker, John Wilson, Rt Hon Sir H. (H'ton)
Parry, Robert Wilson, William (C'try S E)
Pendry, Tom Winnick David
Penhaligon, David Woodall, Alec
Powell, Raymond (Ogmore) Woolmer, Kenneth
Prescott, John Wrigglesworth, Ian
Price, C. (Lewisham W) Young, David (Bolton E)
Race, Reg
Radice, Giles Tellers for the Ayes:
Rees, Rt Hon M (Leeds S) Mr. Joseph Dean and
Richardson, Jo Mr. Frank R. White.
Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Adley, Robert Bowden, Andrew
Aitken, Jonathan Boyson, Dr Rhodes
Alexander, Richard Bradford, Rev R.
Ancram, Michael Braine, Sir Bernard
Arnold, Tom Bright, Graham
Atkins, Robert (Preston N) Brinton, Tim
Baker, Kenneth (St. M'bone) Brittan, Leon
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Brocklebank-Fowler, C.
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Brooke, Hon Peter
Bendall, Vivian Brotherton, Michael
Benyon, Thomas (A'don) Brown, M. (Brigg and Scun)
Benyon, W. (Buckingham) Browne, John (Winchester)
Berry, Hon Anthony Bruce-Gardyne, John
Best, Keith Bryan, Sir Paul
Bevan, David Gilroy Budgen, Nick
Biffen, Rt Hon John Bulmer, Esmond
Biggs-Davison, John Butcher, John
Blackburn, John Butler, Hon Adam
Blaker, Peter Carlisle, John (Luton West)
Body, Richard Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (R'c'n)
Boscawen, Hon Robert Chalker, Mrs. Lynda
Bottomley, Peter (W'wich W) Channon, Rt. Hon. Paul
Chapman, Sydney Hannam, John
Churchill, W. S. Haselhurst, Alan
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th, S'n) Hastings, Stephen
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Hawksley, Warren
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hayhoe, Barney
Clegg, Sir Walter Heddle, John
Cockeram, Eric Henderson, Barry
Colvin, Michael Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Cope, John Hicks, Robert
Cormack, Patrick Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Corrie, John Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Costain, Sir Albert Holland, Philip (Carlton)
Cranborne, Viscount Hooson, Tom
Crouch, David Hordern, Peter
Dean, Paul (North Somerset) Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'Idf'd)
Dickens, Geoffrey Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk)
Dorrell, Stephen Hunt, David (Wirral)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Dover, Denshore Hurd, Hon Douglas
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)
Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
Durant, Tony Johnson Smith, Geoffrey
Dykes, Hugh Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Kaberry, Sir Donald
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine
Eggar, Tim Kimball, Marcus
Elliott, Sir William King, Rt Hon Tom
Emery, Peter Knox, David
Eyre, Reginald Lamont, Norman
Fairgrieve, Russell Lang, Ian
Faith, Mrs Sheila Langford-Holt, Sir John
Farr, John Latham, Michael
Fell, Anthony Lawrence, Ivan
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Lawson, Nigel
Finsberg, Geoffrey Lee, John
Fisher, Sir Nigel LeMarchant, Spencer
Fletcher, A. (Ed 'nb'gh N) Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Fookes, Miss Janet Lester Jim (Beeston)
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Fox, Marcus Lloyd, Ian (Havant & W'loo)
Fraser, Rt Hon Sir Hugh Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Fraser, Peter (South Angus) Loveridge, John
Fry, Peter Luce, Richard
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Lyell, Nicholas
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) McCrindle, Robert
Garel-Jones, Tristan Macfarlane, Neil
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian MacKay, John (Argyll)
Glyn, Dr Alan Macmillan, Rt Hon M.
Goodlad, Alastair McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)
Gorst, John McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)
Gow, Ian McQuarrie, Albert
Gower, Sir Raymond Madel, David
Gray, Hamish Major, John
Greenway, Harry Marland, Paul
Griffiths, E. (B'y St. Edm'ds) Marlow, Tony
Griffiths, Peter Portsm'th N) Marshall Michael (Arundel)
Grist, Ian Marten, Neil (Banbury)
Grylls, Michael Mates, Michael
Hamilton, Hon A. Mather, Carol
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Maude, Rt Hon Angus
Hampson, Dr Keith Mawby, Ray
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Mayhew, Patrick Shelton, William (Streatham)
Mellor, David Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Meyer, Sir Anthony Shepherd, Richard
Miller, Hal (B'grove) Shersby, Michael
Mills, Iain (Meriden) Silvester, Fred
Mills, Peter (West Devon) Sims, Roger
Miscampbell, Norman Skeet, T. H. H.
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Speed, Keith
Moate, Roger Spence, John
Monro, Hector Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)
Montgomery, Fergus Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Moore, John Sproat, Ian
Morris, M. (N'hampton S) Squire, Robin
Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes) Stanbrook, Ivor
Morrison, Hon P. (Chester) Stanley, John
Mudd, David Steen, Anthony
Murphy, Christopher Stevens, Martin
Myles, David Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Neale, Gerrard Stewart, A. (E Renfrewshire)
Needham, Richard Stokes, John
Nelson, Anthony Stradling Thomas, J.
Neubert, Michael Tapsell, Peter
Normanton, Tom Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Onslow, Cranley Tebbit, Norman
Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S. Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Page, Rt Hon Sir G. (Crosby) Thompson, Donald
Page, Richard (SW Herts) Thornton, Malcolm
Parkinson, Cecil Townend, John (Bridlington)
Parris, Matthew Trotter, Neville
Patten, Christopher (Bath) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Patten, John (Oxford) Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Pattie, Geoffrey Viggers, Peter
Pawsey, James Waddington, David
Percival, Sir Ian Wakeham, John
Peyton, Rt Hon John Waldegrave, Hon William
Pink, R. Bonner Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir D.
Pollock, Alexander Waller, Gary
Porter, Barry Walters, Dennis
Price, Sir David (Eastleigh) Ward, John
Prior, Rt Hon James Warren, Kenneth
Proctor, K. Harvey Watson, John
Raison, Timothy Wells, John (Maidstone)
Rathbone, Tim Wells, Bowen
Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal) Wheeler, John
Rees-Davies, W. R. Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Renton, Tim Whitney, Raymond
Rhodes James, Robert Wickenden, Keith
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Wiggin, Jerry
Ridley, Hon Nicholas Wilkinson, John
Ridsdale, Julian Williams, D. (Montgomery)
Roberts, M. (Cardiff NW) Winterton, Nicholas
Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Wolfson, Mark
Rossi, Hugh Young, Sir George (Acton)
Rost, Peter
Sainsbury, Hon Timothy Tellers for the Noes:
Sandelson, Neville Mr. Tony Newton and
Scott, Nicholas Mr. Selwyn Gummer.
Division No. 55] [12.37 am
Alexander, Richard Marlow, Tony
Ancram, Michael Mather, Carol
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Mayhew, Patrick
Benyon, Thomas (A'don) Meyer, Sir Anthony
Berry, Hon Anthony Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Best, Keith Moate, Roger
Boscawen, Hon Robert Needham, Richard
Braine, Sir Bernard Neubert, Michael
Brinton, Tim Newton, Tony
Brotherton, Michael Normanton, Tom
Bulmer, Esmond Page, Rt Hon Sir G. (Crosby)
Butcher, John Parris, Matthew
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Penhaligon, David
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Pollock, Alexander
Chapman, Sydney Proctor, K. Harvey
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Rathbone, Tim
Cope, John Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Cranborne, Viscount Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Dorrell, Stephen Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Dover, Denshore Silvester, Fred
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Sims, Roger
Garel-Jones, Tristan Stevens, Martin
Goodlad, Alastair Stewart, A. (E Renfrewshire)
Griffiths, Peter Portsm'th N) Stradling Thomas, J.
Grist, Ian Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Gummer, John Selwyn Waddington, David
Hawksley, Warren Wakeham, John
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Waller, Gary
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Wells, Bowen
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Wheeler, John
Lawrence, Ivan Wickenden, Keith
LeMarchant, Spencer Wolfson, Mark
Lester Jim (Beeston) Young, Sir George (Acton)
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Loveridge, John Tellers for the Ayes:
Macfarlane, Neil Mr. Peter Brooke and
McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury) Mr. Donald Thompson.
Major, John
Bennett, Andrew (St'kp't N) Welsh, Michael
Lewis, Arthur (N'ham NW) Tellers for the Noes:
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Mr. Bob Cryer and
Parry, Robert Mr. Dale Campbell-Savours.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That the draft Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act 1980 (Continuance No. 3) Order 1981, which was laid before this House on 22nd January, be approved.