§ 10 pm
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. David Waddington)
I beg to move,That the draft Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1984 (Continuance) Order 1985, which was laid before this House on 12th February, be approved.It is only 12 months since the present Prevention of Terrorism Act completed its passage through the House after the most careful study and detailed debate of its provisions. Year by year the Act it replaced had been scrutinised and reviewed, and that scrutiny was entirely right and proper as is ours now because the powers that have been given to the police and to Ministers since the first Act was passed in 1974 are wholly exceptional and represent a very considerable infringement of the civil liberties normally enjoyed by individuals in this country. This has been said many times over the past 10 years by successive Ministers. It remains true: but sadly it also remains true that terrorism is a menace to our society and the need for legislation is as great as ever.
It has become the practice in these debates to survey the incidence of terrorism in the previous 12 months and draw attention to the worst and most bloody examples. This year it is hardly necessary to do so. The bombing of the Grand hotel, Brighton on 12 October filled us all with a particular horror and outrage. That outrage was shared by the country as a whole because the Brighton bomb was intended to strike a grievous blow at the very heart of our constitution and our democratic system. My right hon. Friend has already informed the House of the results of Mr. John Hoddinott's inquiry into the security arrangements at Brighton and of the measures we are taking to look closely and urgently at the security requirements of similar events in future. But while all sensible safeguards will be applied we can say to the terrorists now that whatever foul deeds they perpetrate, however vile their acts, we shall not play into their hands by changing the way in which government is carried on in this country, with Ministers not only accountable to Parliament but accessible to the public.
There have, of course, been other terrorist incidents in the past year. Despite the successes of the security forces, the terrorist groups concerned with Northern Irish affairs have remained active, particularly in the Province itself. Over Christmas and the new year a series of arrests on Merseyside and elsewhere attracted considerable attention from a number of hon. Members and from the press. The House will be aware that six people are now awaiting trial for conspiracy to cause an explosion; and it would not be appropriate for me to comment on their cases further.
A significant change in the 1984 Act was the explicit extension of the powers of arrest and extended detention to those involved in international terrorism. It was very soon made clear how necessary that extension was and how truly international the threat from terrorism has now become. Within weeks of the passage of the Act, WPC Yvonne Fletcher was shot down in St. James's Square, in an appalling instance of brutal and futile violence.
When the 1984 Bill was going through Parliament Members of this House and another place were rightly concerned about the enlargement of the scope of section 12. The House will recall that my right hon. Friend gave a firm assurance that chief officers of police would be 1300 advised that the powers in respect of international terrorism should be used only where there was a prospect of a criminal charge in this country or of action under the Immigration Act 1971. I hope right hon. and hon. Members will have been reassured by the statistics that have been published on the use of this new power. In the period from 22 March to 31 December 1984, there were a total of 44 detentions in connection with international terrorism. In 18 of these cases my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary authorised extensions of detention beyond 48 hours; 13 persons were subsequently deported or removed from the United Kingdom under the Immigration Act and eight others were charged with criminal offences. In only one case in which an extension of detention was granted was the person released without charge and not excluded from this country. I hope the House will agree that those figures suggest a restrained and controlled use of an important power in response to a significant problem.
It would clearly not be in the national interest for me to disclose what it was that each of the 44 persons detained was suspected of doing or planning, or to discuss general trends or patterns of behaviour. But I am absolutely convinced that acts of international terrorism have been prevented from taking place in this country during the past year by police use of the new powers given to them last March, and that it was only by the use of those powers that those acts of terrorism could have been so prevented. Two cliches that are often heard are that we live in a dangerous world and that it is a small world. In the field of terrorism both are very true: violence or political tension in one apparently isolated area can so often explode in murder and destruction on the other side of the globe, in a country wholly uninvolved in the original dispute. We must continue to make it unmistakably clear that we are not prepared for this country to be turned into a battleground for foreign feuds and alien causes.
When the 1984 Act was going through Parliament, we gave a commitment to appoint a person to look each year at the working of the legislation and to produce a report to assist Parliament in the consideration of any order providing for the continuation of the Act. Sir Cyril Philips agreed to undertake that task, and copies of his first report were placed in the Library of the House earlier this week. We would like to record our gratitude to Sir Cyril for the work he has done and for producing, with commendable speed, a report which is both clear and helful.
There is entirely legitimate interest and concern in what is an exceptional piece of legislation; and we hope that this independent view of an area in which security considerations seldom allow the full facts of individual cases to be disclosed will go some way towards allaying that concern. I am, of course, pleased that Sir Cyril is broadly satisfied that the Act is being used properly and I hope that others will draw reassurance from his conclusions. He has also raised a number of more detailed points to which it clearly would not be possible for me to give definitive answers at this stage, but I would assure the House, as my right hon. and learned Friend has told Sir Cyril Philips, that we shall give all his comments the closest consideration.
My right hon. and learned Friend has received a report from Her Majesty's Inspectors of Constabulary on the work of the police operating the port controls provided for under the Act. The report deals with security arrangements and is therefore not suitable for publication, but the 1301 detailed recommendations are receiving careful consideration, and I can take this opportunity to say a word or two about the inspectors' reaction to Lord Jellicoe's recommendation that all passengers on commercial flights and sailings between Great Britain and Ireland should complete landing and embarkation cards. The inspectors were asked to assess the resource implications of that recommendation, and in the light of their conclusions and the views that have been expressed on the security and other considerations, my right hon. and learned Friend has decided that it would not be appropriate to implement Lord Jellicoe's recommendation, and that in general a more selective use of those cards is to be much preferred. I am sure the House will welcome that because the present system whereby so-called "carding" takes place at Heathrow only in emergencies, but at Gatwick and most other airports the whole time, and at seaports on a selective basis, is a source of considerable irritation and annoyance to travellers.
The draft order that is before the House seeks to continue the Act in exactly its present form for the next 12 months. There is provision in the Act for certain sections only to be renewed and for parts of the Act to be allowed to lapse: and I have no doubt that we shall hear later this evening not only criticism of the Act as a whole and opposition to its continuation, but criticism of particular powers in the Act. I emphasise once again that we draw no satisfaction from the continuance in force, over 10 years after its original introduction, of this emergency legislation. But only 12 months have elapsed since there was the fullest debate and the most painstaking consideration of every line of the legislation. And it is simply too soon, after St. James's square and Brighton, too soon, after a year of tension and terrorism in so many countries of the world, to contemplate any change that might dangerously diminish the ability of the forces of law and order to protect us all against the terrorist menace. We have consulted the police in England and Wales, in Scotland and in Northern Ireland: they are unanimous in their response that the Prevention of Terrorism Act is an essential weapon in their constant struggle against terrorism. The Government are determined to give them the support they need.
§ Sir John Page (Harrow, West)
Does my hon. and learned Friend feel that the new initiative in the Council of Europe on terrorism is helpful, and will improve co-operation in the different countries of the Council of Europe?
§ Mr. Waddington
Of course, it must be helpful for countries to get together and to face together the terrorist threat. There can be no doubt about that.
I ask the House for its support for the renewal of the Act. It is support that I know will not be given lightly and will not be given by any of us without regrets. But it is support that I believe must be given as an unequivocal demonstration of our commitment to this long, thankless, but vital struggle against terrorism.
§ Mr. Clive Soley (Hammersmith)
In this debate, as in previous debates on Northern Ireland when I was a spokesman on Northern Ireland for the Labour party, our hearts and thoughts go out to those whose lives have been lost or torn apart by acts of violence. I therefore gladly 1302 associate myself with the Minister's remarks about the Brighton bombing and other acts of terrorism that have been carried out primarily by para-military groups in Northern Ireland but also by other groups around the world. There is universal agreement in the House on that point.
I have a minor gripe, although it has major implications for the way in which we conduct these debates. Last year in the other place, Lord Elton gave the commitment that the report by Sir Cyril Philips would be available early enough to enable the House of Lords to consider amendments. We presumed that that commitment extended to this House. The letter sent to the Minister by Sir Cyril Philips shows that that was the intention. We have had too short a time to enable hon. Members to consider the details of Sir Cyril Philips' report and to propose amendments. We have had only two days to look at the report, and I hope that the Minister will take that point on board in relation to next year.
I shall put some questions to the Minister arising out of Lord Jellicoe's review in 1983 of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1976. The Minister may not be able to give the answers tonight, but if he can, well and good. If he cannot, I look forward to receiving the answers later.
Lord Jellicoe recommended that section 11, which deals with the withholding of information, should be used only when it was suspected that information was being withheld which could, if revealed, prevent acts of terrorism or lead to the apprehension of terrorist offenders. I understand that that is not mentioned in Home Office circular 26/84, but I should like the Minister to give his opinion.
The powers under section 13 apply to immigration and Customs officers. It is not clear whether that main circular has been sent to those officers. I have the impression that that has not happened, although the document provides guidance on the use of the general powers.
Lord Jellicoe recommended that Ministers should take an active part in ascertaining how far the specific purposes for which an extension was granted have been achieved and should satisfy themselves that people are not detained under the Act for longer than is necessary. To what extent has that recommendation been implemented?
I draw the Minister's attention to the case that went before the European Commission on Human Rights. The commission rejected the Government's argument that the men had not exhausted domestic remedies and accepted the claimants' contention that there is no domestic remedy for violations of the European Convention on Human Rights arising from Prevention of Terrorism Act offences. This is a serious matter with legal implications.
The House should take this Act extremely seriously. I always regret the fact that it comes on for consideration late at night and for a relatively short debate. I shall attempt to take up as little time as possible, but I wish to reiterate some important items.
We all understand the circumstances in which the Act was originally passed. The 1974 pub bombings provided an emotive backdrop.
We must address ourselves to four primary questions. First, does the Act, on the best judgment available, prevent terrorism? Secondly, are the acknowledged—everyone acknowledges them — infringements of civil liberty too great to justify the continuation of this Act in a democracy? Thirdly, is the Act in danger of becoming 1303 permanent? Fourthly — this question is extremely important—does the Act seriously alienate sections of the community so as to make it counter-productive?
Having lived with the Act for 10 years, and having examined in considerable detail and depth the figures available to us, the Labour party's answer is, first, that there is little, if any, evidence to suggest that it prevents terrorism. The Minister said that many people think that the Act is necessary. Sadly, no one has spelt out why he thinks it is necessary. Secondly, the infringement of civil liberties—especially in view of what I said a moment ago—is too great for a democracy to accept. Thirdly, the Act is in danger of becoming permanent. Fourthly, it is a serious alienation of many people in Britain and Northern Ireland and is, therefore, counter-productive.
I acknowledge, as I know the Minister acknowledges, that whether the Act prevents terrorism is a matter of judgment—we cannot know. What we do know is that the convictions under the Act for terrorism are few in number, and many of them are not serious enough to attract long prison sentences. Indeed, only a few people receive long prison sentences. We must balance the advantage of putting away people who may be a danger with the disadvantage of the alienation that it causes.
The figures that I shall use are up to and including 1984, and have been drawn from both Home Office figures and figures supplied by the Irish Information Partnership, to which I am indebted for the detailed analysis that it has carried out over a long period. In Britain 5,949 people have been detained; for the United Kingdom as a whole — including Northern Ireland — the figure is 10,309. People charged under the Act in Britain number 152, with 22 in Northern Ireland, bringing the total to 174. Convictions in Britain—not only of offences under the Act, but resulting from people being held and then charged either under the Act or under other Acts—total 348.
From those figures it is hard to argue that the Act is preventing terrorism. Of the convictions in Britain—the United Kingdom figures are not available—42 per cent. were charged under the Act for failure to co-operate. I emphasise that because, if it were not for the Act, that would not be an offence in Britain. Every lawyer of any standing acknowledges that failure to co-operate is anathema to anyone who believes in the democratic system and the rule of law. It has always been something that British lawyers have resisted mightily, as have lawyers in other democratic countries.
Does the Act prevent by deterrence? That is the other argument that must be addressed by the Government and others.
§ The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. Norman Tebbit)
Is the hon. Gentleman for or against the Act?
§ Mr. Soley
I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman takes that view. I understand his feelings and those of many other people. However, I would not have taken the interest that I have taken over the years in Northern Ireland 1304 affairs if it was not for my horror at the violence resulting from the problems there. No one —but no one — will take away from me the right not only to feel deeply about that, but to follow through those feelings into rational, political arguments that are designed to clear up the problems which are causing us so many nightmares, and which in particular have caused so many nightmares for the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.
§ Mr. Soley
The hon. Gentleman mutters and shakes his head, but there are many problems because of this Act. It has added to the number of people who are prepared to support the primary para-military groups in Northern Ireland. I shall give the hon. Gentleman evidence to back that if he will only contain himself and listen to the argument instead of flying off the handle and assuming that he knows the answer to these difficult problems when, in fact, he has only attended the House for occasional aspects of the debates on Northern Ireland and terrorism.
The other argument is that of deterrence. There is very little evidence that the Act works as a deterrent. The sentences which follow a normal conviction for murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to cause explosions would continue to exist without this Act. If those sentences do not deter, there is overwhelming evidence that the convictions and sentences arising from this Act would be no greater a deterrent than the one which already exists — unless we are arguing that random arrest and detention is itself a primary deterrent.
If that is what we are saying, two things follow. First, we must recognise that we are using random arrest, detention and questioning as a way of obtaining information. Secondly, we must recognise that this method of doing so alienates so many people that it acts as a recruiting sergeant major for the para-military groups in Ireland.
§ Mr. Waddington
It is quite obvious what the feeling is on the Conservative Benches. It is quite outrageous to talk about random arrests. The hon. Gentleman served on the Committee which studied this Bill, and he knows perfectly well that there is no question of random arrests.
§ Mr. Robert Parry (Liverpool, Riverside)
My hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley) is correct. It drives innocent people into para-military organisations. Over the Christmas holiday, two seamen sailing from Dublin to Liverpool, who had obviously had a drink too many, gave false names. In fact, one said that he was Mickey Mouse. The police detained them throughout the Christmas holiday, and the Home Secretary allowed these innocent people to be detained for seven days. The Government are driving such people into para-military organisations.
§ Mr. Soley
My hon. Friend is right, and I intend to give further evidence.
Before I do, I should like to make my position clear. I have been involved in these debates since about 1980 when I first began to get involved. This is the first time that we have had such outbursts from Conservative Members. I understand their strength of feeling following Brighton, but I ask them to understand the strength of feeling which got me involved in the politics of Northern Ireland because of the violence and what it was doing to 1305 our democracy. If Conservative Members do not understand that, I am sorry. If they are now behaving in this way because of Brighton, whereas previously they did not—[Interruption.] If the hon. Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Bruinvels) would keep quiet and think for a moment, he would not get into such a state. If Conservative Members are doing so, the para-military organisations in Northern Ireland which conduct these atrocious acts will gain courage and advantage from it.
We have a duty to everyone—to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and to the many people in Britain and Ireland who have lost their lives and who have had their families torn apart. We owe it to them to engage in a rational, careful and caring analysis. If Conservative Members do not think I am doing so, that is fine, but they should listen to the arguments and put forward the alternatives. They should not take off and get agitated, as if emotion alone will solve this problem. If emotion could solve the problems of Northern Ireland, we would have solved them years ago.
Are civil liberties being infringed too much? I am troubled about the wording of the Act. As I said time and again in Committee, the exclusion order is, in fact, internal exile. We must acknowledge that. The purpose of the Act is the collection of information. We should also acknowledge that. It enables the authorities to pick up people whom they have reason to believe have Irish connections. It allows the authorities to question them, particularly those who have had contacts with other people known to the security services. By doing so, it allows the authorities to paint a picture of the lifestyle of the people in whom they are interested, not of the ones whom they have picked up.
I shall return to the alienation involved in that, as it is an important part of the argument. In normal circumstances we would be appalled by the power to detain a person for up to seven days, in many cases without contact. Regarding abuse, I ask the Minister to read the article by Joe Sim in the New Statesman of 22 February 1985, to cut down my remarks and save time. I could give many examples and the Minister also knows of many, otherwise he would not have made his comments about the infringement of civil liberties. He must take that on board.
We are arguing that the ordinary law should be and is sufficient. It is in danger of becoming permanent. Although it is written into the Act that it will expire after five years—that was a good inovation—in Committee the word "temporary" was to be dropped. Only the amendment tabled by the right hon. Member for South Down (Mr. Powell) and supported by the Labour party reinserted "temporary". The Act has been on the statute book for 10 years. The level of violence in Northern Ireland is the lowest for 14 years—we take pleasure in any small mercy. How much longer will we keep the Act on the statute book? From the Minister's remarks about overseas terrorism, it sounds as though he thinks that the Act must become permanent to deal with overseas groups. Until the last two years, no one ever said that the Act was necessary for that. We have always accepted that the conventional law combined with the powers of immigration officers through the Minister were sufficient to deal with overseas terrorism. No one who considers the matter could come to a different conclusion.
The alienation factor is crucial, and I wish to address my remarks to it carefully. The philosophy of terrorism is 1306 to try to force Governments to take extreme action which alienates those groups which the para-militaries seek to represent. R. Moss in "Urban Guerilla Warfare" said:From its original role of keeping the peace between the Catholic and Protestant communities, the British Army moved over to an offensive intended to root out the IRA as a fighting force. Although the new tactics produced military results, they helped to polarize opinion in Ulster and enabled Catholic critics to represent the army as a repressive force. In this sense, IRA terrorism succeeded. It led to a situation where the British Army, which began as the referee between the two communities in Ulster, appeared as a party to the quarrel. The chaos it engendered helped to postpone the application of social reforms designed to get to the root of the problem and thus eroded Catholic faith in solutions within the existing framework.Many people are unaware of a booklet which has filtered through the para-military groups throughout the world, including the Provisional IRA. It is Carlos Marighella's "Minimanual of the Urban Guerilla." In many ways it is a shocking document, but Conservative Members should read it. He states that a Government have no alternative except to intensify repression because of a para-military group. He states:The police networks, house searches, arrests of innocent people and of suspects, closing off streets, make life in the city unbearable … The people refuse to collaborate with the authorities, and the general sentiment is that the government is unjust, incapable of solving problems".Those thoughts are not academic, but real. They have been a strand of para-military thinking for hundreds of years, but have been more explicitly put during the past 30 years.
Sir Cyril Philips, among many others, recognises the problem when in his report he says:There is too the practical consideration that in containing terrorism the police need is not only special powers but also the support of the public. It is therefore vital that the use of such powers should not alienate any section of the law-abiding population in Great Britain or Northern Ireland.I shall give an example of the way in which that can work. Incidentally, I welcome the Minister's comments on the carding system. To demonstrate what has been going wrong, I shall quote paragraph 37, which states:In one police force area where total carding is undertaken it is also the practice to follow up the information contained on each card by visiting persons with an apparent Irish connection, and asking them to complete a form containing full details of families and friends. The purpose is apparently to obviate the need for further checks when anyone so listed travels. In the force area in question the total number of people affected is small. This practice seems to me objectionable because it uses controls as a matter of routine surveillance which are intended principally to assist in identifying suspected terrorists who are entering or leaving the country.That is an example of the way in which the Act goes badly wrong and alientates many people whose co-operation and support we seek. The Federation of Irish Societies, which speaks for many Irish people and people of Irish descent in this country, says that a lot of people see it as discriminatory against Irish citizens, and as divisive and threatening with respect to the Irish community. But, above all, in Britain, 5,482 people were released without charge out of a total detained of 5,949. That represents 92 per cent. of those detained. Conservative Members should bear in mind that it is not just those who are released and who are acknowledged to be innocent who are alienated, but above all their families and friends. Hon. Members should also bear in mind that alientation can take several forms. First, as I know from the evidence, it can lead people to tolerate or to give passive support to the para-militaries. People are also frightened to co-operate with the police.
1307 When I first became involved in Ireland, people said that it was because there were many Irish voters in my constituency. I am sure that many of my constituents have Irish links, but it is a singularly unpopular issue to be involved in generally, because many Irish people say, "Whatever you do, don't bring the problem over here." When I question them further as to their worries, I find that they are worried either about the para-militaries or about being picked up and questioned by the security forces. They frequently quote the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act. Although one may need to ask the right questions to discover that anxiety and fear, it becomes clear very quickly. Alienation can also lead to covering-up for para-militaries. I know that that has been happening in Northern Ireland. Most importantly, some people become willing to join, and actively support para-military groups.
It is our contention that that judgment outweighs any other judgment on the other side, that the Act's existence prevents terrorism. Thus, on rational grounds, and on an analysis of the facts available, we say that the Act has not succeeded in its primary purpose, and that there is overwhelming evidence to support that view. There is little evidence to support the opposite view, but I should be happy to hear it. This Act, along with the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act — where we do not recommend immediate repeal, as that is not possible, although we recommend major changes to it—form the pinnacle of the anti civil rights legislation that we have allowed to creep on to the statute book over the years.
We must all bear our responsibilities in that regard. We have allowed that to happen, not least because we have failed to respond properly to the problems of Ireland, and to British-Irish relationships during the past 50 or 60 years. We have a great duty in that regard, and our failing has been visited upon the lives of many people outside the House. That is another reason for saying with absolute conviction that my feelings about this issue are as deep and honourable as those of any Conservative Member who so foolishly and, I believe, wrongly thinks that to vote against the Act is in some way to vote for terrorism.
Old-established democracies are rarely lost overnight. There is a slow erosion of civil rights and then comes a crisis, whether economic, military, mass unemployment or hyperinflation, and people wake up to find that the civil rights that defended them no longer exist. This House, more than any other parliamentary assembly in the world, has that reputation to live up to. We have not lived up to it. Britain is an old-established democracy which has gone dangerously far down the road that I have described. It is not too late to turn back, and in doing that we should not be putting lives at risk. Indeed, we might be beginning to grasp the political problems that we have failed to address in the past.
§ Mr. James Molyneaux (Lagan Valley)
The Minister said that the events of the past year have illustrated the value of the Act, especially section 12, which the Home Secretary introduced to deal with international terrorism. The Home Secretary accepted the advice of Lord Jellicoe, who wisely concluded that the relationships between various terrorist organisations required action to provide counter-terrorist forces with sufficiently flexible powers to 1308 eradicate terrorism and terrorist criminality from the United Kingdom and to enable the United Kingdom to play a significant part in what the Home Secretary called "close co-operation" with other countries. That close co-operation has varied from country to country, and there is considerable room for improvement.
Section 10 gives the Government powers to cope with the vast sums of money at the disposal of terrorist organisations and mentionsacts of terrorism connected with Northern Irish affairs".I am struck by the role of the individual in section 10. The onus seems to be put on the bank manager of a comparatively small country branch of a bank. I wonder whether international financing of international terrorism and of Irish terrorism are different and whether section 10 needs to be strengthened to prevent the transfer of large sums from country to country and from one major bank to another within the United Kingdom.
I am sure that, in the aftermath of the Brighton bombing, even the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) agrees that we need the Act. In justification of the original Act, which the Labour Government introduced in 1976, he said—I hope that the right hon. Gentleman agrees that his words are relevant today:the necessity of protecting the law-abiding majority of Irish citizens living here by demonstrating that the tiny minority of terrorists who lived amongst them would be weeded out and treated with no mercy."—[Official Report, 24 October 1983; Vol. 47, c. 61.]On that occasion the right hon. Gentleman referred to the origins of the Act which was introduced by a Labour Government of which he was a member and said that it seemed right at the time, and perhaps it was right at the time. We do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman still holds that view.
§ Mr. Soley
My right hon. Friend adopts a very fair position upon it. He voted against it last time and he will do so again tonight. The right hon. Member for Lagan Valley (Mr. Molyneaux) must recognise that this argument is about learning from the experience of the last 10 years. The problem is that the right hon. Gentleman does not want to learn.
§ Mr. Molyneaux
It would be interesting to know whether the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook wishes to repudiate his own words. What should have led him to believe that terrorists should not be weeded out and treated with no mercy? What has happened in the intervening 10 years to persuade the right hon. Gentleman otherwise?
§ Mr. Soley
Unusually for the right hon. Gentleman, he is being grossly unfair. My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) has made his view absolutely clear. He believes, as I do, that acts of terrorism are to be condemned. We should like to catch and lock up those who commit acts of terrorism, but it does not mean that my right hon. Friend has got to vote for this Act, for all the reasons I have given. If my right hon. Friend did not share this view with me, he would not have asked me to be the spokesman against it.
§ Mr. Molyneaux
The absence of the right hon. Gentleman may be significant, but it is not for me to interpret his absence. I am sure that the law-abiding Irish community who were referred to in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman felt in no less need of reassurance in the 1309 days immediately following the Brighton bombing. We on these Benches are filled with admiration for the two Front Bench colleagues of the Minister who have not permitted their injuries and their grief and suffering to stand in the way of their duties to this House. Equally I am sure that the thousands of Roman Catholics in the City of Armagh this very week accept the necessity to weed out terrorists and to treat them without mercy when they re-live the horror of last Sunday when one of their own faith was gunned down on the steps of their cathedral — and perhaps also the horror of today when a community policeman in the same county was gunned down by the IRA.
It is in the intervals of comparative and relative calm between such atrocities that society is at its most vulnerable. It is then that the resolve that terrorists should be weeded out and treated with no mercy is weakened. I know that in the House tonight there are hon. Members who would object to the words "treated with no mercy", but, given the vile nature of terrorists, who would say that every attempt should not be made to ensure that at least they are weeded out?
The Act which we are renewing tonight is the weeder. In agriculture, as in horticulture, a careful weeder will always do his best to ensure that the minimum degree of disturbance is caused to fruitful plants. So this Act, in its modified form, has proved its effectiveness in weeding out. Any slight disturbance or irritation caused to law-abiding people either on this side of the Irish Sea or on the other is very small indeed compared to the horrific death and suffering which the weeds would cause if they were left to sprawl unchecked over the entire community. I know that some will demand proof that murder and mutilation have been prevented by the workings of the Act, but as one who has himself been frequently inconvenienced and seriously delayed by the exercise of the provisions of this Act I can only say that I shall willingly tolerate all of that if there is even the possibility that one human body will not end up as bloody pulp in a plastic bag.
Successive Governments over the past nine years have taken the view that the retention of the legislation is necessary as long as a substantial terrorist threat remains, to use the words of Lord Jellicoe. For those who take a different view, and who mistakenly believe that the legislation feeds terrorism, I have some words of encouragement.
In September 1983 I said that the security situation could look very different in 12 months' time, provided that terrorists were deprived of the hope of attainment of their objective of a united Ireland. For years, terrorists were not deprived of that hope, because successive Governments kept repeating the declaration that a united Ireland would not be achieved by violence. That suited the terrorists very well. for as long as people in Northern Ireland were to be deprived of the right of self-determination decades in advance of the time when they might willingly consent to a change, there was every incentive for the IRA to secure for itself a dominant place in the new order. I had to wait more than 12 months for terrorists to be deprived of that hope, for it took 15 months for the Prime Minister to transmit the signal for which we had hoped and which the IRA dreaded.
When the Prime Minister, on 19 November 1984, rejected the three options designed to override the free choice of the people of Northern Ireland, she made it very 1310 clear that the principle of self-determination would prevail over both murder and political intrigue alike. In plain terms, the shared objective would not be achieved by either method.
On 19 November and on subsequent days we were warned and we were told that Republicans would be outraged, that alienation would be increased, and that Ireland North and South, would be convulsed in a bloodbath the like of which had not been predicted since the then hon. Member for Belfast, West — now Lord Fitt —warned us that when the Labour Government decided to provide Northern Ireland with equal and fair representation in this House, there would be a similar outbreak of violence. But in both cases the opposite occurred.
In the recent case, after about 10 days of ritual huffing and puffing, until about the beginning of last December, a surprising calm set in in Northern Ireland. Far from being apart, the two sides of the Northern Ireland community began to come together and to co-operate in all sorts of ways. I know that I am excluding the hon. Member for Foyle (Mr. Hume), because he has clearly decided to go on an alternative course. Bearing in mind the company that he is proposing to keep, I can only say "Good luck" to him.
The general attitude was and still is, "Well, now we know. There is not going to be a change so we might as well get down to making the best of it together." One can imagine the impact of that grass roots philosophy on the self-styled army council of the Provisional IRA. Now it, too, knows that the objective is not going to be achieved by anybody.
No one in his right mind would venture to predict when murderers will stop murdering, in this nation or in any other land, but of one thing we can be certain. The stability created by the Prime Minister's unambiguous declaration makes life very hard indeed for thugs, for normality is their greatest obstacle, and it is slowly dawning on them and on their fellow travellers that although they can kill and be killed, that which they regard as the prize is now set far beyond their reach. Provided that this time they are deprived of a rescue brigade in the form of a weakening of Parliament's resolve, or a let-up in the pressure upon the terrorist organisations, I think that all of us on each side of the House can look forward to the time when this now essential legislation can be set aside.
§ Sir John Biggs-Davison (Epping Forest)
Sir Winston Churchill described this as the terrible 20th century, and as far as the closing years of the century is concerned it seems to be a terrorist century. The debate has been dominated by Irish terrorism, but of course the IRA and the INLA are part of an international mafia of terror. Groups in different countries have widely varying ideologies but they do jobs for each other and they minister to each other's needs in terms of arms, explosives and training.
So I was very glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow (Sir J. Page) intervened in the Minister's speech to emphasise the need for closer European and wider international co-operation. This order is concerned with the situation in the United Kingdom, and we need this order. We need, unfortunately, in this exceptional situation, exceptional methods and measures.
I was very glad to hear the opening words of the hon. Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley), expressing his abhorrence of terrorism. If we will the end of safety of life 1311 and limb and property, we must be prepared to will the means. I cannot share the sympathy that has been expressed tonight—not for the first time—with one who ended up in confinement, having given a false name and failed to give any co-operation to the police. I am very sorry that he missed his Christmas, but other people died at Christmas.
Of course, this kind of legislation is repugnant, and I assure the hon. Member for Hammersmith that it is repugnant to Government Members too. Nor does the House in general deal with this kind of legislation lightly. It seems that we are constantly reviewing and renewing this legislation. We are jealous of civil liberties, but without life what is liberty?
This Prevention of Terrorism Act, as the Minister said, has been scrutinised and reviewed. I only regret that I have not yet had the time or opportunity to study fully the report of Sir Cyril Philips. It has been well pointed out by the right hon. Member for Lagan Valley (Mr. Molyneaux) that this legislation is not the product of a Conservative Administration.
§ Sir J. Biggs-Davison
Exactly—I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman. It is the product of a Labour Home Secretary, and the fact that he is now a member of the Social Democratic party is beside the point. This is a measure that then carried the support of all sides of the House. It was introduced by a Labour Home Secretary. His judgment then was sound. The views of chief officers of police were then taken, and those views have not changed. We would be very foolish indeed to disregard those opinions.
The question of carding has been mentioned in this debate by more than one hon. Member. It was the only part of the speech of the hon. Member for Hammersmith with which I agree. This does arouse resentment among the Irish and other people. It is important not to alienate those whose support, sympathy and co-operation is needed. But all Irishmen are not as he describes them. Unfortunately the IRA is organised in this island. I have been in pubs where there have been collections for the IRA. It is against the law. Therefore it is necessary sometimes for some Irish people to be troubled.
The great thing is that relations between Irish people and British people in this island are so good. Despite the atrocities that occur, there is no revulsion against Irish people as a whole. But there are some Irishmen who, unfortunately, must receive the attention of the police. My answer to the resentment that is caused by carding is that there should be identity cards for all, without discrimination. Some of us raised this issue when we were debating personation in Northern Ireland elections. We took the view that it was a way of dealing with that problem. This is the way to deal with so many problems. I should be grateful if Home Office and Northern Ireland Ministers would give some consideration to our suggestions from time to time.
I shall draw my remarks to an end, as time is short. I thought that the hon. Member for Hammersmith was not as charming this evening as he usually is. He seemed to be reading us a sermon. He was a bit patronising and prissy this evening. Some of us have been studying Northern 1312 Ireland affairs for some years. Some of us have even studied the sacred books on guerrilla warfare which he mentioned, such as the works of Marighella, Che Guevara, Mao and the rest. Some of us have engaged in a little study of these matters.
The speech of the hon. Member for Hammersmith and the decision of the Opposition to divide the House on the motion cause me much regret. I believe in constitutional government and a responsible, loyal Opposition. That is the basis of our democracy. What the hon. Gentleman has said and what the Opposition propose this evening are further proof that the Labour party has abandoned the path of responsible opposition and the role of alternative government.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The debate must end at half-past eleven and many right hon. and hon. Members wish to participate in it. I ask the House to follow the excellent example of the hon. Member for Epping Forest (Sir J. Biggs-Davison).
§ 11.3 pm
§ Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Despite the brief speech of the hon. Member for Epping Forest (Sir J. Biggs-Davison), I am sure that we have all noted that once again the serious problem that is before us is being debated late at night. The debate is too brief and too late. We are not able to deal adequately with the issue. It is clear that there are profound differences between us, and that is why there will be a Division. Those who are new to these debates will, I am sure, agree with me that it is easy in this place to air our prejudices. I hope that they will appreciate that to do so has an impact in Northern Ireland. Therefore, we should be careful about what we say.
The renewal of the 1984 Act was not expected until March, and it is unfortunate that the debate is taking place today, 21 February. Many Irish associations, individuals and organisations had decided to lobby the House in March but — [Interruption.] It is obvious that Conservative Members think that it is wrong to lobby the House. They do not really understand the serious problem that we are facing. They should appreciate that people have a right to come to this place to talk to Members about their feelings and about what is happening. The Irish community on the mainland has about 750,000 members. It includes those whose connections with Ireland are not those of individuals such as myself, whose families have been here for over 100 years. It includes those who have come hear from Ireland in recent years. The Federation of Irish Societies has profound feelings against the Act and Conservative Members should understand that. It feels that it bears down on them in a terrible way.
My hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley) said that none of us wants anyone to be terrorised and hurt. At the same time, we want it to be understood that there are two sides to the debate. There are honourable differences and it does not pay anyone to laugh as though such feelings did not exist and the subject was not serious. We believe that the Act is misplaced and that the ordinary criminal law could deal with the problems that face us.
I understand that the Philips report is now available. I did not know that, and it appeared that the right hon. Member for South Down (Mr. Powell) did not either.
1313 Many of us would have appreciated the chance to read the report prior to the debate. That was one of the reasons that caused me to think that it should have taken place at the normal time.
It is less than a year since the new Act came into force. The Federation of Irish Societies has sent documentation to all my hon. Friends and to me; I do not know whether it sent any to Conservative Members. It is the largest and most representative Irish organisation in Britain. It feels deeply about the legislation. It is worth considering why; it gives us some insight into what the Irish people here think about the Act.
We all deplore the killing and bombing that have gone on. None the less, we have to reach some kind of unity to try to solve this terrible problem. The Federation of Irish Societies believes that the Act is unnecessary and discriminatory, is divisive and threatening towards the Irish community and Irish citizens in this country, curtails civil liberties and is a constraint on legitimate political expression and activity. If the Act remains on the statute book, the federation would like some changes in it. Its requests embody its fears about what it thinks is wrong with the Act. It requests:That detainees be given immediate access to legal advice.They do not have that. The federation also says that the Irish embassy should be notified when one of its citizens is arrested. It requests:That relatives of detainees be immediately informed of arrest and location of the detainee.That detainees should not be held for more than 48 hours without being brought before a Court or a Justice of the Peace sitting in camera.Another request which most of us should agree with is:That detainees not charged be compensated for 'social injury' defined as loss of reputation, loss of occupation/employment, domestic disturbance and community stigma …That detained persons should have all rights and privileges generally afforded to unconvicted persons who are detained under the normal law.The federation wants the ordinary judges rules to apply, and the withdrawal of the power to stop travellers at random without reasonable suspicion. All those requests are reasonable. They come from people who are fearful. They feel that they have been driven into an impasse because of this Act.
§ Mr. Canavan
Does my hon. Friend accept that one of the most damning statistics in the Philips report is that more than 70 per cent. of the people who were arrested and detained under the Act were never charged? In other words, the Act is being used as a system of repression against innocent people.
§ Mr. Parry
I fully agree with the points that my hon. Friend has made on behalf of the Federation of Irish Societies. Does he also agree that when innocent people have been detained and then released without charges being made any fingerprints that have been taken by the police should be destroyed?
§ Mr. Flannery
Of course I agree with my hon. Friend. By the way, my hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan) says that the percentage he gave should have been 80, not 70.
The present Act has so consolidated the provisions of the previous legislation that it seems that we accept that the position will remain the same for ever. Effectively this exceptional law enlarges the circle of people whose civil liberties and legitimate political activities are constrained and threatened.
1314 I was a member of the Committee which considered the 1984 Act. Labour Members fought strenously not only against the whole Bill but against the widening of the provisions. Arrest and detention powers were extended to cover international terrorism. I do not believe in the links that have been mentioned in the debate. When people are giving bombs to other people, they do not necessarily share the same ideals. Often they are opposed. There are no direct organisational links; there may be sporadic links.
The draconian powers of the Act hang like the sword of Damocles over the Irish community in this country. We, like Conservative Members, will fight tooth and nail to prevent bombs from exploding in the community because they harm all of us.
However, at any fixed moment, those of us in the Labour party who are deeply involved—and have been for years—are always trying to handle cases of people suddenly arrested without charge. My hon. Friends, wherever they may be, know about names such as Maire O'Shea, about all sorts of people who are being arrested and whose relatives get in contact with us asking us to do something. When we are in the process of doing it, those people are released, probably with a stigma. New names then come to us. That is going on all the time, as my hon. Friends would tell the House. People are taken from their homes and letters from relatives arrive asking us to deal with that. We hear of cases in Northern Ireland when people are killed by plastic bullets. All come to us to ask us to try to do something about it as best we can.
Innocent and orderly people are treated as criminals and then released without charge, with no compensation, but with a lingering stigma. They are shocked and terrorised and wonder what in heaven's name is happening to them in what must appear to them to be a nightmare of 1984 proportions.
One could develop that theme, but I should like to conclude by talking a little politics because there is an idea that the whole thing is hopeless. Most of us in the Chamber have debated the Act and its draconian sister, the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act, until a curious bond seems to exist between us. It is a strange thing, and I have tried to analyse it, and failed. I have often tried. But one thing is sure. We are permeated by its main components of intractability and sheer hopelessness. I have said over and over again that the sense of hopelessness proceeds from the fact that all that we talk about is security, and we never discuss what is the cause of the terrible problem that we all face together. That is why the Emergency Provisions Act and this Act will go on for ever if we do not discuss the root cause of why that is happening.
There is among us a dangerous acceptance of the permanency of the situation. We accept one another's position, and the two sides never discuss the politics of the situation except separately. The words "political initiative" have become dirty words instead of something that we want to do. There seems to be no meeting point at all. I cannot accept that, as I cannot accept this unjust Act. The emergency has gone on longer, much longer than both world wars put together, and the Boer war thrown in. Are we so powerless that we are all accepting defeat? I do not accept defeat, and meanwhile the situation that we have created between us inevitably spawns more violence.
I believe that ultimately the Unionists will have to accept their essential Irishness and be part of a united Ireland. The only way that the Emergency Provisions and the Prevention of Terrorism Acts will be unnecessary will 1315 be in a democratic and united Ireland living in peace and friendship with its neighbour, Britain. Some time, some day, we shall have to sit down and talk together. The British and Irish people are tired of an enduring slaughter that appears to be endless. They will ultimately demand that we do something. Our prejudicies are too luxurious and expensive. We shall have to act in unison for peace, and we shall not do so by passing the extension of the Act every year, as well as of the Acts kindred to it.
§ Mr. Mark Carlisle (Warrington, South)
I am as concerned about and as interested in the interests of individuals and their civil rights as anybody else in the House. I spend part of my time, or much of my life, as a barrister in the criminal courts, defending various people. But I equally believe that internaional terrorism is one of the major concerns that this country faces today, whether it comes from the acts in Northern Ireland or acts in the middle east.
I should like to make it clear what the order which the Opposition announced they propose to oppose again today, does. It does three things. It proscribes certain organisations, gives power to exclude people whom the Home Secretary has reason to believe are involved in terrorist offences and gives power to arrest and to question people whom the police have reason to believe are involved in the commission of criminal offences. Those are minimum powers, which we are justified in taking in defence of our nation and the people of this nation.
As has been said, the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Bill was introduced 10 years ago by a Labour Home Secretary. I do not believe that there have been any changes since then which mean that this legislation is less necessary today than it was 10 years ago. I should have thought that what happened in Brighton and in other parts of the world—with international terrorists wishing to make the streets and cities places to use their bombs to promote their causes—has made it clear to every hon. Member that the Act's limited powers are still necessary. I am satisfied by the assurance of my hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State that the police have made it clear throughout that they believe that these powers assist them in their fight against terrorism. I am sad that, yet again, the Opposition are choosing to oppose this measure.
§ Mr. John Hume (Foyle)
I do not intend to discuss the atmosphere that has given rise to terrorism and violence. If I were to do so, I would have harsh things to say about the House and its neglect over a long period in upholding democratic principles in Northern Ireland.
The Minister rightly said that the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1976 represents a considerable infringement of civil liberties, and I welcome his recognition of that fact. The Home Secretary who introduced this measure described it as draconian. In that case one would expect that the Government would welcome serious questioning of the Act and that we would have had more time to debate it and more notice of when the debate would take place. What we have been given as a review of the Act during the past 12 months is an insult to the intelligence of the House. The person who carried out the review did so in only three weeks, according to his 1316 letter to the Home Secretary. He started his examination on 7 February and finished it on 15 February. How could a review of what is described as a considerable infringement of civil liberties be conducted in such a short period? The man who conducted the review did not consult, nor did he invite consultation, with, the responsible organisations which represent the Irish community and which are at the receiving end of this legislation.
The Minister questioned my hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley) when he talked about random arrests. About 84 per cent. of the people arrested under the Act are not charged with any crime. That is surely evidence that some random arrests are carried out. If people are arrested, that fact becomes publically known. If they are innocent, serious damage is done, even to the point of being made targets for an assassin's bullet. That is why we should seriously consider the operations of the Act.
No notice is required to be given to the relatives of any person arrested under the Act. A person could disappear off the face of the earth for seven days, and no one would know where he was. Under this Act, no one has any responsibility to tell his relatives about his arrest. That is a serious infringement of civil liberties. The simple answer is to create machinery to enable relatives to be informed of where their relations have been detained and to give the arrested person immediate access to a solicitor or other legal advice. What is the objection to doing that?
Frequent complaints have been made about the conditions in which many of these people—the vast majority of them innocent—have been held in custody. The Jellicoe review recommended that because of the Act's "draconian" —I use the review's word—native citizens detained under it should be, and should be seen to be, well treated. Will the Minister examine the conditions under which people have been held?
§ Mr. Peter Robinson (Belfast, East)
This debate has become predictable. All too often, I recall the hon. Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley) lecturing hon. Members—especially those on the Government Benches—on approaching the matter with a cool mind. On a day when a Roman Catholic policeman has been butchered in Northern Ireland, following a weekend when a Roman Catholic prison officer was butchered coming from Mass, it is hard to isolate oneself from the emotions naturally provoked when we discuss terrorism.
As a constituency representative in Northern Ireland, I have lost too many friends and buried too many constituents to be removed from the emotional aspects of the Act. The hon. Gentleman has no difficulty about being passionate about housing, poverty or economics, so it ill becomes him to tell us that we should not be passionate when talking about the lives and deaths of people in this country. It is, rightly, an emotional matter. It is of prime importance to every citizen in this country. I have no doubt where my loyalties should lie—it is with those who could be done to death by acts of terrorism if it were not for the security forces being strengthened by the provisions contained in the Act.
It is the same sort of logic adopted by the party of the hon. Member for Foyle (Mr. Hume), which says that the RUC and the UDR should be disbanded, to leave the field free for the IRA all the easier to carry out its acts of murder 1317 and mayhem. It is the IRA which is most vociferous in its opposition to the Act. Does it not say something about the nature of the Act when the terrorist organisation wants it done away with?
The hon. Member for Hammersmith might say that the Act alienates some sections of the community. The Act does inconvenience many people — it inconveniences me. But, as a citizen who believes that terrorism must be put down, I am prepared to put up with that inconvenience if it helps some to live who might otherwise not live.
It is essential to put on the record the fact that the Minister has made it clear, and the security forces have made it clear, that the need for this legislation is as great as it ever was. When Labour Governments are prepared to take that advice from the security forces, it is strange that this Labour Opposition are not prepared to take that same advice from the same security forces.
There has been a significant act by the Government of the Republic of Ireland, and it should be taken into consideration. Any assistance that we can obtain from that Government in the fight against terrorism is to be welcomed. They took speedy action to seize funds that would have been used to buy guns, bullets and bombs in Northern Ireland. It is a step in the right direction, and we obviously look for more from that Government. While the Act is required, it must be supported by all right-thinking people.
§ Mr. Waddington
With the leave of the House, Mr. Speaker. I hope that hon. Members will acquit me of discourtesy if I do not deal with too many of the detailed points raised in the few minutes remaining to me.
The hon. Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley) raised some important points. The Home Office circular to the police includes a careful explanation of the provisions of section 11. There have been no charges under that section since the Act came into force. On section 13, the circular does not go to immigration officers. Although it is rare for them to act as examining officers, nevertheless separate guidance is being prepared for them.
The right hon. Member for Lagan Valley (Mr. Molyneaux) mentioned the recent events in Ireland and questioned the adequacy of powers to control the movement of terrorist funds. The Government are certainly conscious that events in the Republic earlier this week make it necessary for us to consider our own powers. Section 10 has a far more limited purpose, and is not adequate to deal with the sort of situation which the Government of the Republic dealt with.
My hon. Friend the Member for Epping Forest (Sir J. Biggs-Davison) mentioned identity cards. This has been debated on numerous occasions. I can see the force of what he said, but our advice is that it would not be very useful. When identity cards were abolished in 1952, the view of the police then was that they were no longer helpful, and I gather that the view of the police today is no different.
The hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery) said that there should be immediate access to legal advice for those detained under these powers. Under the present arrangements, access to a solicitor in England and Wales is governed by the provisions of the judges' rules and administrative directions to the police. These apply to those detained under the prevention of terrorism legislation in exactly the same way as to people in custody under other powers.
1318 My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Warrington, South (Mr. Carlisle) highlighted the fact that the police want these powers. That is indeed true.
§ Mr. Waddington
I am sorry, but I must continue as only four minutes remain.
The hon. Member for Hammersmith asked whether the Act prevented terrorism. Clearly, we cannot prove that five more hotels would have been blown up had this Act not been on the statute book during the last year. We cannot prove that more of our colleagues would have been blown up had this legislation not been in force over the years since 1974. But we can exercise some common sense, as can the vast majority of people in this country.
§ Mr. Waddington
The vast majority recognise that the detention of people, in respect of whom there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that they are involved in terrorism, and the exclusion of such people is much more likely to protect the community than harm us.
I was also asked whether the Act annoyed and alienated people in Northern Ireland and the Irish community here. Again, let us keep a sense of proportion. The right hon. Member for Lagan Valley was right. How can we equate the inconvenience suffered by someone held up at a port, or the hardship of being detained for two or even seven days, with the sufferings of the families of those who have been murdered or the sufferings of two of our right hon. Friends? What would people think if this order was not carried tonight? What sort of message would go out from this House? They would think that we had all taken leave of our senses.
I suspect that the Labour party, by opposing the order, has already taken leave of its senses. This Act's predecessor was passed not just by a former Home Secretary who has since left the Labour party, but by a Labour Government. Until only two or three years ago, the Labour party was content to vote for the continuation of these powers year after year. The powers have not changed, and neither has the need for them. The only thing that has changed is the Labour party. It is now demonstrably composed of people, and is represented on the Opposition Front Bench by people, who are simply not fitted to exercise the power necessary for the protection of the people of this country.
§ Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness and Sutherland)
The Minister's ridicule of the Labour Oppositon is wholly justified. The powers contained in this order are necessary and should be renewed. Regrettably, the Minister did not rely on the report of Sir Cyril Philips, which gave much greater support to the continuation of the powers than he allowed. All that needs to be said about this is what Sir Cyril Philips said: that the conviction of:A large number of persons guilty of very serious criminal offences connected with terrorism which in many cases would not and could not have resulted from arrest under other powershas taken place as a result of the enactment of this Bill last year. The Government must be supported, and in this year of all years, the alliance offers its support to the Government.
§ Question put:—
§ The House proceeded to a Division:—1319
§ Mr. Tony Lloyd
(seated and covered.): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. During the Minister's reply he referred to the judge's rules and, I am sure, unintentionally, claimed in a way which misleads the House that there was no difference between the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1984 and those of normal criminal law. I understand that under the Prevention of Terrorism Act a period of 48 hours elapses before a suspect is given access to a solicitor, and that the interview between the solicitor and the suspect can, at the insistence of the police, be conducted in their presence. That is different from what applies under the ordinary criminal law. If I am correct, can the Minister take steps to advise the House what the exact position is?
§ Mr. Speaker
That is not a matter which I can answer. I am sure that the Minister heard what the hon. Member said. If the hon. Member is correct, I am sure that the Minister will communicate with him.
§ The House having divided: Ayes 145, Noes 35.1320
|Division No. 123]||[11.30 pm|
|Alexander, Richard||Dunn, Robert|
|Amess, David||Durant, Tony|
|Ancram, Michael||Eggar, Tim|
|Arnold, Tom||Evennett, David|
|Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)||Fallon, Michael|
|Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)||Favell, Anthony|
|Batiste, Spencer||Forsythe, Clifford (S Antrim)|
|Beggs, Roy||Forth, Eric|
|Bellingham, Henry||Fowler, Rt Hon Norman|
|Benyon, William||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Best, Keith||Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)|
|Biggs-Davison, Sir John||Hancock, Mr. Michael|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Hawkins, C. (High Peak)|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Heddle, John|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Holt, Richard|
|Brandon-Bravo, Martin||Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)|
|Bright, Graham||Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas|
|Brinton, Tim||Kennedy, Charles|
|Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes)||Knox, David|
|Browne, John||Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)|
|Bruinvels, Peter||Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark|
|Burt, Alistair||Lester, Jim|
|Butcher, John||Lightbown, David|
|Butterfill, John||Lilley, Peter|
|Carlisle, John (N Luton)||Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham)|
|Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (W'ton S)||McCrindle, Robert|
|Cash, William||McCurley, Mrs Anna|
|Channon, Rt Hon Paul||McCusker, Harold|
|Chapman, Sydney||Macfarlane, Neil|
|Chope, Christopher||MacGregor, John|
|Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)||Maclean, David John|
|Conway, Derek||Maclennan, Robert|
|Coombs, Simon||Major, John|
|Cope, John||Marlow, Antony|
|Couchman, James||Mates, Michael|
|Currie, Mrs Edwina||Mather, Carol|
|Dicks, Terry||Mayhew, Sir Patrick|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Dover, Den||Miller, Hal (B'grove)|
|Mitchell, David (NW Hants)||Stern, Michael|
|Molyneaux, Rt Hon James||Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)|
|Moynihan, Hon C.||Stevens, Martin (Fulham)|
|Murphy, Christopher||Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)|
|Needham, Richard||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Nelson, Anthony||Thomas, Rt Hon Peter|
|Nicholls, Patrick||Thompson, Donald (Calder V)|
|Norris, Steven||Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)|
|Onslow, Cranley||Thurnham, Peter|
|Oppenheim, Phillip||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Owen, Rt Hon Dr David||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Page, Sir John (Harrow W)||van Straubenzee, Sir W.|
|Page, Richard (Herts SW)||Viggers, Peter|
|Paisley, Rev Ian||Waddington, David|
|Portillo, Michael||Waldegrave, Hon William|
|Powell, Rt Hon J. E. (S Down)||Walden, George|
|Powell, William (Corby)||Walker, Cecil (Belfast N)|
|Powley, John||Waller, Gary|
|Proctor, K. Harvey||Watson, John|
|Raffan, Keith||Watts, John|
|Rhodes James, Robert||Wells, Bowen (Hertford)|
|Robinson, Mark (N'port W)||Wells, Sir John (Maidstone)|
|Robinson, P. (Belfast E)||Wheeler, John|
|Ross, Wm. (Londonderry)||Whitney, Raymond|
|Rowe, Andrew||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Sainsbury, Hon Timothy||Wilkinson, John|
|Sayeed, Jonathan||Winterton, Mrs Ann|
|Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Shelton, William (Streatham)||Wolfson, Mark|
|Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)||Wood, Timothy|
|Smyth, Rev W. M. (Belfast S)||Yeo, Tim|
|Soames, Hon Nicholas|
|Spencer, Derek||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Squire, Robin||Mr. Ian Lang and|
|Stanbrook, Ivor||Nr. Michael Neubert.|
|Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)||Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||McDonald, Dr Oonagh|
|Bermingham, Gerald||McNamara, Kevin|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Maynard, Miss Joan|
|Canavan, Dennis||Mikardo, Ian|
|Cohen, Harry||Nellist, David|
|Corbett, Robin||Parry, Robert|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Dalyell, Tam||Pike, Peter|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)||Prescott, John|
|Deakins, Eric||Richardson, Ms Jo|
|Dormand, Jack||Silkin, Rt Hon J.|
|Dubs, Alfred||Skinner, Dennis|
|Fatchett, Derek||Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)|
|Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)||Soley, Clive|
|Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)||Mr. John McWilliam and|
|Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall)||Mr. Allen McKay.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to. Resolved.
That the draft Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1984 (Continuance) Order 1985, which was laid before this House on 12th February, be approved.