§ The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Sir Patrick Mayhew)
I beg to move,That the draft Northern Ireland (Emergency and Prevention of Terrorism Provisions) (Continuance) Order 1993, which was laid before this House on 20th May, be approved.This House is the guarantor and guardian of all our liberties. When circumstances have so demanded, it has acted to qualify or curtail those liberties, but it has done so only when that was necessary to preserve our greater freedom. Even then, it has always acted jealously.
So it has been in recent years in the case of Northern Ireland. That is why the temporary provisions of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1991 lapse unless continued at the end of each successive year. No one, I am sure, would wish the Act to be permanent. Equally, however, our fellow citizens in Northern Ireland must not be denied protection from terrorism by reason of some disproportionate reluctance on Parliament's part to recognise their special needs and circumstances. Therefore, it is necessary once again this year for us to examine the balance, as we customarily do when debating the continuation of these temporary provisions.
We have again—but, at his own request, for the last time—the benefit of a review by Lord Colville of Culross, QC. His experience in this work stretches back to 1987. He has addressed it with great industry, skill and clarity. His penetrating mind has been of invaluable service to successive Secretaries of State, by whom his forthright exposition and willingness to change his mind on occasion in the light of further experience, have been greatly appreciated. I record my sincere thanks for this work, including for his last report published on 26 May.
Before I turn to a consideration of the Act, and of Lord Colville's recommendations, I wish to remind the House of the Government's published aims. They are: to maintain the rule of law; to ensure that all the people of Northern Ireland are free to express their political opinions without inhibition or fear of discrimination or reprisal; to defend the democratically expressed wishes of the people of Northern Ireland against those who try to promote political objectives, including a change in the status of Northern Ireland, by violence or the threat of violence; and to create in Northern Ireland the conditions for a just, peaceful and prosperous society in which local people can exercise greater control over their own affairs.
So that those aims can be achieved, it is the first priority of the Government in Northern Ireland to eradicate terrorism from whichever section of the community it may come. There is no acceptable level of violence and, for so long as violence continues, it will be met with a firm and resolute response.
Those are our aims, and the responsibility for achieving them rests with me. Under the constitutional arrangements which apply in Northern Ireland, as in England, the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, who is my principal adviser, has operational independence. His annual report was published on 27 May and it is important that I let the House know of his words concerning the support that the RUC receives from the Government.
Launching his new report, the Chief Constable said: 152When a terrorist outrage occurs, there is often a reaction suggesting that the handcuffs should be taken off the Police and the Army: that our hands should be untied from behind our backs. There are no restraints on the security forces, save those imposed by law and by the very nature of our democratic society. There is no political restraint stopping us from doing our duty or doing our best.
§ Sir Patrick Mayhew
I should like to make a little progress first, if I may.
The House will be reassured by the words of the Chief Constable. Just as importantly, so will the members of the RUC to whose Police Federation conference I quoted them this morning in Belfast, and so will the people of Northern Ireland. They are true words, and they needed to be said.
I hope that we shall read and hear no more, from people who should have known better, of that oft-repeated and deeply discouraging falsehood which the Chief Constable has so authoritatively exposed. The truth is that all lawful options remain open and available to the RUC to deal with a situation in which, to cite Lord Colville's words.terrorists of all persuasions have perpetrated brutal and calculated murders and injuries.
§ Mr. Trimble
I thank the Secretary of State for giving way. He has referred to the release of the Chief Constable's report, to the Chief Constable's press conference and to the comments that he made in the report in which he has said that the Government have been supportive of his position.
At the press conference, the Chief Constable put forward several changes in the law which he considered to be necessary and desirable. I understand that those changes have been with the Northern Ireland Office for some time and are being blocked there. Will the Secretary of State please comment on that, and say whether he will be prepared to support the clauses which I tabled today to the Criminal Justice Bill [Lords], which give effect to some of the changes that the Chief Constable wants? Will he support them?
§ Sir Patrick Mayhew
Nothing that the Chief Constable or anyone else proposes for amending the law in Northern Ireland is blocked. All proposals are considered carefully. it does not follow from that that each or even any proposal is accepted, but they are sensibly and carefully considered. The hon. Gentleman will have to bide his time to see what response the Government make to his proposals.
One option that remains available to me under the Act is the power to reintroduce internment. That power is dormant at present. To exercise that option would, of course, be a step of grave significance. None the less, its retention on the statute book—although it is not affected at all by this order—is essential. In the light of that, the Government readily endorse Lord Colville's prime recommendation that the temporary provisions of the Act should be renewed for a further year.
Among other things, the Act provides modifications to the criminal justice system, including the establishment of single-judge courts for trying terrorist-type offences; arrest, search and seizure powers for the RUC and the 153 Army, together with the power to close roads; certain specific offences such as belonging to a proscribed organisation; and valuable powers directed against terrorist finances. It also contains significant safeguards for those who may be affected by the special provisions.
We are sure that the continuation of the temporary provisions is necessary to give the security forces and the criminal justice system the necessary powers to bring terrorists from all sides to justice. They are also needed to send to the Provisional IRA, the UDA, the UVF and all other such groups the clear message that the Government are determined to eliminate terrorism. Since the last debate, I have used section 28 to proscribe the UDA. Once those who seek to subvert democracy by taking life and destroying property have been defeated—but only then —the provisions of the Act will no longer be necessary and can thankfully be allowed to lapse.
Until that time comes, the powers that the Act contains will, under a Conservative Administration, continue to be available for use, resolutely and appropriately, for the benefit of all the long-suffering people of Northern Ireland. They impose heavy responsibilities on the security forces. I continue to be greatly impressed by the discipline, courage and self-control of the security forces in what are often very trying circumstances.
It is no doubt inevitable that there will be occasional lapses, and I strongly endorse, as do the Chief Constable and the GOC, Lord Colville's perception of the damage that is done to community relationships whenever conduct fall short of the high standards demanded. I am therefore particularly pleased to note Lord Colville's view that, in general, the sensitivity of the RUC and the Army has been greater than ever in 1992. I have no doubt at all that the security forces in Northern Ireland deserve the warm congratulations and gratitude of the entire House.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley (Eltham)
I think that the whole House agrees with the final comment made by my right hon. and learned Friend.
Is it possible for him to assure us that the expertise and experience of the RUC is shared with special branch and detectives in Great Britain? Obviously, it is difficult to establish a person's innocence, and it is certainly wrong to try to show someone's guilt, on the Floor of the House.
Perhaps my right hon. and learned Friend could arrange for one of his colleagues to respond to the inquiries by the hon. Member for Foyle (Mr. Hume) the hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Barnes) and myself, as well as Amnesty International, in the case of John Matthews. I will not ask for a detailed response now, but I ask him to arrange for the appropriate person to respond to the inquiries that have been made.
§ Sir Patrick Mayhew
I am aware that my hon. Friend, from his experience in Northern Ireland, will know that there is close liaison between the two forces, and that undoubtedly extends to the case to which he referred. I take heed of the point that he made on that person's behalf.
Lord Colville reports that the Act does not impinge on the majority of the law-abiding public to any great extent. Of course, that is not to say that it can be renewed by the 154 House merely as a matter of course. In last year's debate, the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) vouchsafed that the Labour party recognisedthat some emergency legislation may he necessary"— [Official Report, 10 June 1992: Vol. 209. c. 377.]Unfortunately, he did not condescend to give. the House any particulars. We hope that he will fill that gap today. Last year, he opposed the order and voted against the continuation of the temporary provisions because the Act contains the power to order detention or internment. So whatever emergency provisions Labour Members recognised might be necessary, they voted to discontinue everything covered by the order because they did not like detention.
The trouble with that specious cover for embarrassment was that the order did not touch detention—nor does it do so today. A separate order would be needed before the detention provisions could be activated. So we hope to hear today that the Labour party will support this continuance order for legislation necessitated by the continuing emergency.
It is customary at this stage to review the tragic landmarks of violence which make the Act necessary. Last year, there were 75 murders by republican and so-called loyalist terrorists. There have been 32 murders already this year to 3 June. They continue to illustrate how callous, barbaric and brutal terrorism can be.
The House will remember that, on 14 November last year, three men—one an ex-RAF pilot—were harmlessly spending an afternoon in a bookmaker's in Belfast when they were shot dead. On 19 November, Lance-Corporal Ian Warnock was waiting with his young child in his car for his wife to come out of a factory in Portadown when he was shot and killed. On 3 January this year, Dermott and Patrick Shields were murdered in their family grocery store in County Tyrone. The murder led to Julie Statham, Dermott's fiancee, tragically taking her own life. On 17 January, Sharon McKenna, visiting the flat of a pensioner who had just come out of hospital, was murdered.
Those are examples of deaths. There were also numerous attempted murders and examples of intimidation and extortion. Between 20 and 23 May, the Provisional IRA carried out four bomb attacks, two in Belfast, one in Portadown and one in Magherafelt, causing an estimated £22 million of damage, and damaging schools —one for the mentally handicapped—and hundreds of private dwellings. The existence of terrorists prepared to perpetrate such crimes explains why the Act is still needed. It has, indeed, already contributed to the arrest and charging of one of those alleged to have been responsible for the attack on Magherafelt.
The examples that I have given paint a grim but authentic picture. But the work of the security forces has had much success. Far from them operating at will and with impunity—as is sometimes untruthfully and damagingly pretended—terrorists have continued to be caught and brought to justice. In 1992, 405 people were charged with terrorist-related offences, including 101 with murder or attempted murder—a figure which represents a three-year high. As at 23 May this year, 148 people had been charged with such offences. Last year; 194 firearms and 49 rockets and mortar launchers were recovered by the RUC and the Army.
As at 1 June this year, 100 firearms and 24 rocket and mortar launchers had been found. In addition, Since the middle of March, four bombs containing some 300 kg of 155 explosives have been intercepted in transit. There have also been substantial finds of fertiliser. which is a component of home-made explosive, and both republican and loyalist gunmen have been captured en route to carry out their disgusting crimes. Here I pay tribute to the co-operation between the RUC and the Garda Siochana in the Republic, which has never been higher.
§ Mr. Ken Maginnis (Fermanagh and South Tyrone)
Does the Secretary of State agree that statistics mean little unless they are placed in context? I am sure that he recalls the statistics for 1981 to 1985. The number of terrorist-related killings fell from 101 to 54—a decrease of 45 per cent.—the number of terrorist shootings fell from 1,142 to 237—a decrease of 80 per cent.—and the tonnage of terrorist bombs fell from 529 to 215—a decrease of 60 per cent.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman will also be aware that, in the past seven years, the number of terrorist-related killings has risen by 50 per cent., the number of terrorist shootings has risen by 125 per cent. and the volume of terrorist bombs has risen by 70 per cent. How does he explain that increase since the end of 1985? Does it suggest any tremendous co-operation with the Irish Republic since that time?
§ Sir Patrick Mayhew
I have already paid tribute to the co-operation between the two police forces, which is extremely important. There are others to whom the hon. Gentleman should address the question of why increased terrorist crimes have been committed.
What matters—this is not the only thing that matters, far from it—are the successes of the RUC, most notably in bringing people to justice and in intercepting people bent upon these revolting crimes and preventing them from carrying them out. That is the context in which I introduced the figures. I know of the hon. Gentleman's opposition to the Anglo-Irish agreement. He is perfectly entitled to make whatever point he wishes in the context of varying statistics, and no doubt he will find an opportunity to do that during the debate, if he catches your eye, Madam Speaker.
I now turn to the specific recommendations in Lord Colville's report, and will deal first with remand times. Lord Colville rightly draws attention once more to the problem of delays on remand. He says that the matter is one for real concern, and I agree. He also makes clear the difficulties entailed in tackling the problem. Nevertheless, I am determined that we should make continued and substantial efforts to reduce remand delays wherever possible.
In the debate on last year's continuance order, I announced the introduction of a scheme aimed at reducing and monitoring the time defendants spend in custody before they are tried on indictment for scheduled offences —the cases in which delays have been longest. We set demanding targets of 38 weeks from first remand to committal, and 14 weeks from committal to arraignment.
The scheme began on 1 July 1992. The agencies involved in the prosecution process have embarked on its operation with great vigour, establishing the new machinery in which they work together to track the progress of cases, and give particular attention to those where targets are in danger of being overrun.
It is too early to reach firm conclusions on the results, but the first cases entering the scheme have only recently 156 begun to reach their first deadline. A more satisfactory assessment will be possible in the light of a full year's operation of the scheme. Then we shall be able to address Lord Colville's proposal for a new scheme of time limits, statutory or otherwise, to cover all those on remand in custody for indictable offences. That is an important factor.
That, we think will be the time to decide whether the existing section 8, which many would see as too constricting, should be allowed to lapse. We are in the meantime prolonging the existing scheme. Lord Colville recommended that the scheme be extended to cover soldiers or policemen released into military or police custody on bail under section 3(6) of the Act. I can now announce to the House that the scheme has already been so extended.
Lord Colville also brings out the serious delays that may occur after arraignment. The Lord Chancellor has been very conscious of this problem, and his recent appointment of a further High Court judge reflects this concern.
The powers of arrest and detention under the Prevention of Terrorism Act have continued to play a vital part in bringing dangerous criminals to justice. They have also been the focus of criticism. Some of it has been entirely disinterested, but some less so, perhaps because of the holding centres' vital role.
The Government have, however, paid careful attention to all the criticism. Accordingly, since the last debate I have appointed Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC as independent commissioner to monitor conditions and procedures in the holding centres. He is fulfilling this function with a will and is completely independent. He has been making unannounced visits, and he is likely to publish his first annual report in December. I suggest we wait to see what it contains.
Additionally, I am about to lay draft codes to cover the detention, treatment, questioning and identification of persons detained under the PTA. These will be based closely on the existing codes of practice under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. I hope to see them in operation during the autumn.
These two initiatives should go a long way towards reassuring people about the operation of the holding centres.
§ Mr. Seamus Mallon (Newry and Armagh)
The Secretary of State has referred many times to the report of Lord Colville. On holding centres, has the right hon. Gentleman any comments to make on Lord Colville's comments about complaints made by people who are arrested under the EPA and the PTA and held in such centres? The right hon. and learned Gentleman should refer the House to the figures collected by Lord Colville, because they are extremely interesting and speak for themselves.
In 1992, not a single one out of 395 official complaints made by people held under emergency legislation was sustained. Are the police in the north of Ireland, or anywhere else on this earth, as lily-white and squeaky-clean as that? The Secretary of State should bear that in mind and possibly do us the courtesy of reading out what Lord Colville said about a police complaints commission that is not working properly.
§ Sir Patrick Mayhew
The hon. Gentleman invites me to do the House the courtesy of reading out a report which should, of course, be required reading for anyone taking part in the debate. I do not doubt that it has been well studied. I shall, of course, deal in a moment with what Lord Colville said about the police complaints commission and the way in which complaints are dealt with.
I should like, first, to talk about video recording, a matter of considerable importance, interest and controversy. Lord Colville suggests that we reconsider the possibility of the video recording of interviews to supplement the existing arrangements involving the use of closed circuit television.
I have often discussed this with the Chief Constable in the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland, where terrorists, as the whole House probably recognises, are under strict instructions from their organisations not to co-operate with the authorities in any way at all. It is the Chief Constable's firm view that such a move to video recording would inhibit still further the chances of lawfully getting information to secure convictions and protect life.
The keeping of a permanent record of interviews, with the fears of disclosure that it would engender in the minds of those interviewed, is seen by the Chief Constable as likely to tilt the balance too far in favour of the terrorist organisation. It would, he believes, put at risk those who might otherwise have felt willing to co-operate with police investigations.
All the same, in the light of the strength with which Lord Colville expresses his recommendation for a reconsideration of this issue, I have invited Sir Hugh Annesley to set out for my benefit his considered assessment of its merit. For my part, it is fair to say that I am not currently persuaded that the introduction of video recording would be in the overall interests of justice.
§ Mr. James Molyneaux (Lagan Valley)
Does the Secretary of State agree that the major inhibiting factor is the question in the mind of an accused person that he has no control over the possible publication, at some future date, of the evidence which he has given?
§ Sir Patrick Mayhew
That is the single most important point on that side of the argument. There is a fear that procedures of disclosure or discovery in other criminal or civil proceedings, which may have been brought into existence for that very purpose, may lead to the tape being reported. That is in people's minds.
I shall not leave the subject of the holding centres without mentioning Lord Colville's comments on alleged intimidation of defence lawyers. I warmly endorse his conclusions. If such intimidation takes place—and without particulars I cannot know whether a single case is proved—it must cease immediately. Those who claim to have evidence should, as Lord Colville says, put it to the Royal Ulster Constabulary in a form capable of investigation. If they feel unable to do that, I believe that they should desist from allegations that they are not prepared to substantiate, but which have the effect of undermining confidence in a vital part of the criminal justice system.
The RUC, supported by the Army, is there to serve the entire community. It is right, therefore, that there should be avenues of complaint open to those who feel that they have been badly treated by any member of the security forces.
158 The Independent Commission for Police Complaints has been established to oversee complaints against the police. Since our previous debate, I have appointed Mr. David Hewitt as the independent assessor under section 60 of the Act to keep under review the operation of the Army complaints procedures. He, like Sir Louis Blom-Cooper, is entirely independent of Government and is required to publish an annual report which will be laid before the House. His first report is expected around the end of this year.
No complaints resolution system can ever be perfect in the sense of getting to the truth in every case. We shall continue to look at ways of improving the systems in use in Northern Ireland, but I believe that our systems are as accessible and thorough as any in the world. Only a small group of progressive nations at present provide for civilian oversight of police investigation into complaints. The work of the Independent Commission for Police Complaints is internationally recognised as providing independence without compromising the effectiveness of investigations, and I am grateful to it.
Lord Colville alludes to the Home Secretary's proposals for reform of police disciplinary systems. I shall shortly be asking for comments on whether those proposals would be appropriate for applications in Northern Ireland. That is relevant to the issue raised by the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon).
§ Mr. John Hume (Foyle)
We are discussing confidence in the security forces and the Government. The Secretary of State is no doubt aware of the Nelson case. Mr. Nelson was a member of the intelligence services of the Government, he joined a paramilitary organisation in Northern Ireland, was found guilty of murder and was, at the time, involved in the importation of arms from South Africa with which people are currently being killed, including some of the cases listed today—that is all public knowledge. Does not the Secretary of State think that, in the interests of the confidence of the community, there is a grave need for an independent public inquiry into what has become known as the Nelson affair?
§ Sir Patrick Mayhew
The same issue was raised when we had a debate last year on 10 June. Mr. Nelson pleaded guilty to—I think—five counts of conspiracy to murder, not to murder. After criminal proceedings, he was sentenced to many sentences of 10 years imprisonment, which he is now serving. I believe that that has sufficiently disposed of the matter according to the processes of law.
I am grateful to Lord Colville for the attention that he has given in his report to the Government's innovative response to the challenge represented by terrorist fund raising. We agree with him that that is a most important aspect of the Government's programme for the defeat of terrorism, and one which affords significant opportunities. Terrorist racketeering has become a dangerously entrenched evil, and we are determined to overcome it.
§ Mr. David Alton (Liverpool, Mossley Hill)
Has the Secretary of State been able to make any progress in the vital sphere of cutting the funding—the lifeline on which terrorist organisations rely to carry on with their activities? Have there been any successful prosecutions of any of the groups involved? Have any of the assets of those involved been confiscated?
§ Sir Patrick Mayhew
I am just about to come to that subject. I do not prosecute those people: they are prosecuted by the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland, who is completely independent. But I am about to mention the terrorist finance unit that we have put in place, and the legislation that we have introduced.
The provisions in both the Prevention of Terrorism Act and Emergency Provisions Act are being further enhanced by the Criminal Justice Bill, now in Committee. In particular, the Bill will make it harder for terrorists to launder and manipulate the funds that they need to carry out their acts of violence, and the proceeds of the crimes they use to raise those funds.
I can understand why Lord Colville proposes consolidating the body of anti-racketeering legislation into a single Act, which is something I shall be considering further. I also share the implicit impatience of Lord Colville and the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) for those provisions to be seen to bear fruit in criminal proceedings. I do know, however, of the meticulous care that is needed in the preparation of such cases.
Meanwhile, the initiatives are beginning to pay dividends, although it is widely recognised that racketeering is such a deep-rooted and endemic problem that it cannot be solved quickly. We recognise the significant opportunities that exist for further action in that sphere. We agree with Lord Colville that the focused effort by the RUC and others to curtail all forms of terrorist fund raising should continue to enjoy a high priority in the allocation of resources.
In order to assist the Royal Ulster Constabulary, we have set in place a special terrorist finance unit, and there is a special division within the RUC—C1(3)—consisting of people with specialist knowledge and experience whose work is dedicated to uncovering and stopping that source of funds for the terrorist organisations.
§ Mr. Andrew Hunter (Basingstoke)
I apologise for stressing the point, but does not the fact that no convictions with regard to the confiscation of terrorist. funds have occurred in two years suggest that the measures are insufficient? That seems to show that much more must be done in this vital area.
§ Sir Patrick Mayhew
As I have told my hon. Friend, who takes a close interest in these matters, we keep the issue under review, and we believe that there are ways in which the law can perhaps further be improved. But people are versatile in their critical faculties.
If one takes a case before it is fully investigated—as my hon. Friend knows, these are complex and difficult cases —and it fails through insufficient investigation, one gets stick for that. If, on the other hand, one takes a considerable time to make use of new legislation before starting proceedings—and there can be no convictions before proceedings are started—there is natural impatience. That must be borne philosophically by those who carry responsibility for such issues.
It is an essential part of the Emergency Provisions Act that, wherever practicable and fair, compensation should be paid to individuals who have suffered loss or damage to, or interference with, their private rights of property as a result of the security forces carrying out their duties under the Act. Large sums of money are paid out in that way, and all those concerned are eligible, even those who may 160 have connections with proscribed organisations. I want to see whether that aspect of public expenditure would benefit from closer auditing.
Lord Colville makes some further recommendations in that area—notably, that there should be a means of compensation for those whose businesses are affected by the security forces, for example, having to close off a road on a sensitive interface or to give better protection for a vulnerable facility. I sympathise with those who are affected. I shall see whether it is possible to devise and implement a fair and practicable scheme which would help them, but that cannot be done quickly.
§ Mr. Peter Robinson (Belfast, East)
I wish to link the two matters about which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has spoken—those of racketeering and compensation. I have written several times to the Minister responsible for security in Northern Ireland about the fact that many people have been prepared to give evidence to the security forces and to stand by that evidence in the courts to show that extortion has taken place.
But those people immediately come under threat from terrorist organisations, as a result of which they have to close down their businesses, move home and often leave the Province altogether. They lose substantially in financial terms, but under existing legislation they cannot be compensated. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman is consolidating legislation in relation to racketeering and extortion, will he include a provision that permits compensation in those cases?
§ Sir Patrick Mayhew
I have strong sympathy with what the hon. Gentleman says. It is a painful and important dilemma. I have taken note of his remarks and will hear them in mind.
I have nearly concluded my speech. I apologise for having taken so long, but I have given way quite a lot. Our approach to Lord Colville's recommendations illustrates our intention, and that of the RUC and the Army, that the powers contained in the Act shall be operated firmly but with the maximum sensitivity. In the process of eliminating terrorism, many difficult decisions must be taken, and an accurate analysis must be made in each case.
Where security measures react against the amenities and convenience of the public—as they often do—the circumstances always have one thing in common. They are the result of activities waged by small and unrepresentative minorities of the people of Northern Ireland, and they reflect our desire to see this pestilence got rid of once and for all.
It is our primary aim to secure the elimination of terrorism. The people of Northern Ireland need to have confidence not only in the fairness, impartiality and sensitivity of our security policy and of the actions of the security forces—all those things are important—but in their effectiveness for dealing with the men of violence.
There will be no yielding to the terrorists. All the options open to a civilised state need to be available for use against them. They are available, and we intend them to continue to be available. Resolution and judgment must go hand in hand as the task of eliminating terrorism is carried forward, until the powers contained in the Act will no longer be needed. Meanwhile, and in the hope that this year the Labour party will do its duty, I commend the order warmly to the House.
§ Mr. Kevin McNamara (Kingston upon Hull, North)
I require no lessons in my duty from the Secretary of State, who refused to prosecute policemen accused of perverting the course of justice. I join him, however, in passing on our goodwill and appreciation to Lord Colville for the work that he has done over the years to examine the operation of both these Acts. He has shown great diligence, and he has always respected the confidence of people from many different walks of life who have told him of their experience of and attitudes towards the Acts. He has meticulously approached the detail rather than the generality of statements made about the legislation. We applaud what he has done and regret that he feels it necessary to go on to fresh pastures.
It is unfortunate that so many of the important recommendations that Lord Colville made to improve the legislation have not been accepted by the Government.
The Opposition strongly support all that the Government have done in the area of terrorist financing. However, we believe with Lord Colville—we welcome what the Secretary of State said about this—that all this legislation should be consolidated. The laundering of terrorist money or of Mafia money or of other criminally gained money should come under the general criminal law of the land in a Criminal Justice Act, and should be subject to permanent legislation, not to emergency powers Acts or prevention of terrorism Acts. The principles and issues at stake are much the same, no matter who commits the crimes or attempts to launder the money.
I share the keeness expressed by the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter) that the legislation should have early results in the courts. I also appreciate the Secretary of State's point about the difficulties of ensuring that cases are cast iron before they are brought before the judges. A number of City fraud cases have fallen because of a failure to provide the court with precise and direct evidence in a manner that will convince a judge that the case should go to a jury, or in a manner to enable a jury to reach a proper conclusion.
Turning to more contentious matters, I must point out that these annual renewal orders have unfortunately become a tradition in the House. Emergency powers originally granted as temporary measures have now existed for more than 20 years. This year, there have already been depressingly high levels of injuries, deaths and destruction in Northern Ireland—the Secretary of State read out a sad and moving catalogue. All communities have been affected by the activities of paramilitaries—loyalist and republican. We must all emphasise that there would be no justification for any emergency legislation were these groups to renounce violence and stop the killing.
This debate is an important opportunity to consider the security system in Northern Ireland. We have heard what the Secretary of State regards as new initiatives, some of which we regard as rather tame.
Like the Secretary of State, I wish to take this opportunity to extend the Opposition's support and to commend the work of the security forces, the prison service and the judiciary in seeking to uphold impartially the rule of law, often in demanding and dangerous circumstances. We also welcome—as did the Secretary of State—the continued high level of co-operation between the Garda Siochana and the Royal Ulster Constabulary, 162 and the Republic's decision to close loopholes in the extradition law, although we believe that both Governments are still making insufficient use of their respective criminal law jurisdiction Acts. Those Acts are the last remnant of the Sunningdale agreements that we have.
Although Labour recognises that there may well be a need for emergency powers to deal with the terrorist threat in Northern Ireland, we nevertheless cannot support the order while the power of internment remains on the statute book and while the Government still refuse to accept so many of Lord Colville's recommendations. The Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1991 has granted the security forces considerable latitude; it has stretched the boundaries of the law almost beyond the limits of what should be acceptable in a democracy. The power of internment represents an infringement of such basic civil rights that its retention on the statute book is utterly unacceptable to the Labour party. It is no good the Secretary of State saying that he would to come before Parliament to reintroduce the power; it is true that he would have to lay an order before the House, but the internment would already have taken place. Otherwise, what would be the point of giving notice of it to the people? The Secretary of State knows that his argument is specious.
The power of the executive to imprison without charge —let alone trial—undermines the very basis of any free society, and thus can serve only to strengthen the paramilitaries. Such a power should have no place in a democratic society: it represents a defeat for the principle of the rule of law, and therefore a victory for the terrorists. Sir George Baker, the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights and the Government's own adviser, Lord Colville, have all called for an end to this power. We call on the Government again to heed the advice that those people considered it their duty to provide, and to put an end to the constant speculation that occurs after each terrible terrorist outrage over whether the Government should reintroduce internment. Such speculation simply plays into the hands of the paramilitaries; it increases apprehension in the community, and raises the levels of violence and alienation.
The impartial enforcement of the rule of law is particularly vital in Northern Ireland. Lack of confidence in the security forces and the justice system has only added to the sense of alienation that is felt by many in the region. Although the majority of members of the security forces maintain extremely high standards, there are still persistent reports that some are abusing their authority. That small minority is damaging both the reputation of the security forces in the communities that they police, and Britain's reputation abroad—as, sadly, I observed last week.
The Labour party is particularly concerned about allegations that suspects continue to face intimidation and harassment at holding centres. We recognise that the Government have attempted to address the problem with an independent commissioner for holding centres, but the appointment of Sir Louis Blom-Cooper to that post does not end the need for a lay visitors scheme, as recommended by the independent police authority. We hope that Sir Louis will consider an extension of the scheme.
The appointment does not go nearly far enough to allay fears of possible abuses at holding centres. The allegations that have been made only add to people's disillusionment 163 with Britain's justice system. Proper safeguards need to be introduced so that confidence in the security forces can be restored, and police officers can be properly protected against false accusations.
We have long believed that a major safeguard would be the introduction of video taping of interrogations. In his report, Lord Colville again called for the introduction of video taping in interrogation centres, stating:Recording of the CCTV signal would do much to save precious manpower time, public money, the reputation of the RUC and, internationally of the UK. I urge the Government to re-examine the case for video-recording.The Secretary of State's reply to that recommendation was rather strange. He cited the reasons given by the Chief Constable why we should not have TV recording. He said that he was not convinced that we should have television recording, but he is now asking for a report from the man who says that we should not have television recording so that he can judge the merits of the argument again. That makes no sense and is typical of why there is such despair in many quarters about the Government's attitude to some of these problems.
§ Mr. Maginnis
Does the hon. Gentleman understand my frustration, as someone who represents a Northern Ireland constituency, as I listen to him articulate the case for the protection of the suspect to the exclusion of the interests of the innocent people in Northern Ireland? If he is against such measures as internment and wants video taping, he is entitled to put the arguments, but is it not ridiculous that at present the suspect has total freedom not to co-operate? If a suspect is thought to be drunk in charge, guilty of tax fraud or if he is a bankrupt, he has to co-operate. If he is caught with a rifle and a mask in a car, he does not have to co-operate and, moreover, the police have to prove that he has that material with intent to commit a terrorist crime. Where is the justice for the law-abiding community and the security service?
§ Mr. McNamara
The hon. Gentleman served on the Committee with me when we considered the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1991. He will know that one clause deals with the issue of going ready to. commit a terrorist act. Therefore, the hon. Gentleman's point about carrying a rifle and balaclava would not apply.
On the hon. Gentleman's first point, it is a duty to protect the reputation of the RUC throughout this country and the world.
§ Mr. McNamara
That sort of comment, which the hon. Gentleman has made about many people on different occasions, is not worthy of him. Like every hon. Member, of whatever party and political persuasion, I support the security forces of this country in Northern Ireland in the impartial upholding of the rule of law. I do so absolutely and without qualification. However, I do not support them in partially upholding the rule of law.
§ Mr. Mallon
On the issue of going equipped to commit a crime, the key point is that the intention to commit a terrorist crime does not have to be proven. The issue is simply being caught with such materials, whatever they may be, away from one's abode. It would be different if the intention to commit a terrorist crime had to be proven. The hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis) is wrong.
§ Mr. McNamara
My hon. Friend the Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) puts the point more succinctly than I did.
Rather than merely asking for another report from the Chief Constable, the Government should at least introduce video taping for a trial period within Northern Ireland. We also believe that the Government should go further and introduce audio taping of interrogations. If there were any possibility in those circumstances of sensitive intelligence material being released, an application could be made to a judge in chambers for sensitive material not to be produced for the defence. Equally, such material could not be used in prosecuting that case. Therefore, it would be possible to introduce proper protection of video and audio recording in Northern Ireland. Both those reforms would strengthen the position of the security forces and weaken the terrorist's ability to challenge the validity of confession evidence.
The Secretary of State mentioned access to legal representation as a fundamental safeguard in any system of justice and spoke about the role of lawyers. I should like to examine briefly some of those points.
A fundamental safeguard to any system of justice is access to legal representation. This has been confirmed by United Nations basic principles on the role of lawyers, yet the Government are still allowing that basic right to be curtailed. We welcome Lord Colville's report that the length of delays in allowing access to solicitors are decreasing, but the 28 per cent. deferral rate in the first nine months of 1992 is still too high and brings into question the role of justice in our society.
I hope that the Minister of State will assure the House that the deferral rate will be reduced still further, and that in future he will adhere to Lord Colville's recommendations that the restriction of access to a solicitor after the initial 48 hours be monitored closely, as in theory at present it is possible for the authorities to allow a suspect access to a solicitor only three times during a seven-day detention.
Justifications for delay, however, also include allusions to the fact that solicitors cannot be trusted not to pass on information which they receive from their client. That lack of trust is not only insulting to the legal profession. but dangerous, as it implies that the solicitor is somehow connected to the same cause or organisation as his or her client.
Such a smear—guilt by association—may well bring the authorities into conflict with the United Nations basic principle on the role of lawyers which states:lawyers shall not he identified with their clients or their clients' causes as a result of discharging their functions.That insinuation appears to fit into the emerging pattern of alleged intimidation by the police of solicitors representing suspects charged with terrorist offences.
A number of such allegations are outlined in detail by the New York Lawyers Committee in its report, "Legal Defence in Northern Ireland". Those allegations, if substantiated, are extremely serious, as they go to the heart of our justice system which demands that every individual has a right to a proper defence. We agree with Lord Colville's findings that they representa very grave and serious set of allegations that warrants a full and thorough investigation".The Secretary of State should set up an independent investigation and not just leave it to the RUC against whom the accusations are being made.
165 In any society safeguards are needed to prevent the abuse of power. However, even with safeguards, it is still necessary to have effective mechanisms through which complaints can be made if an incident occurs. The police complaints system is patently failing to provide proper redress for genuine grievances. Of the 395 cases of complaint completed in 1992, in only one case the police complaints commission recommended that charges be preferred against two officers who were subsequently found not guilty.
It is hard to conceive of any organisation with absolutely no abuses of authority and in which absolutely everybody is beyond reproach. I of course exclude the present Government from that comment.
§ Mr. McNamara
I shall continue just a little further if the hon. Gentleman will allow me. We have a lot to cover and I am sure the hon. Gentleman will have an opportunity to intervene later.
§ Rev. Martin Smyth
I appreciate the hon. Gentleman giving way. Is there something wrong with my hearing or with the logic of the argument that is being deployed? The police would be amazed if they were all innocent. but is there no possibility of any lawyer being tainted?
§ Mr. McNamara
I am not suggesting for a moment that anybody who is involved in any situation is incapable of being tainted. But one cannot start with the basic presumption that people will be tainted and, when allegedly interviewing a witness, one cannot accuse the witness's solicitors of being tainted and suggest to witnesses that their solicitors are of no value because they are tainted. That is the nature of the allegations and that is why they must be examined independently.
We were talking about what Lord Colville says about the complaints procedure against the police. He said:The profession or discipline loses more efficiency and usefulness than its individual members gain by perceived, or real, immunity.That apparent immunity from the law affects confidence in the United Kingdom's justice system, not only in Northern Ireland but throughout the world. That is why we support Lord Colville's call for a review of police disciplinary procedures in Northern Ireland and welcome the fact that the Secretary of State said that he would be taking soundings on the matter.
We welcome the Government's appointment of an independent assessor of military complaints procedures, but again it is to examine only the procedures for non-criminal complaints and not substantive complaints.
Recent High Court decisions have served to highlight the need for greater discipline in the armed forces serving in support of the RUC in Northern Ireland. While we recognise the strains of a tour of duty in the region, there can be no excuse for the many reports of harassment inflicted on members of the community by the security forces. The Army must be called to account for the 51 166 persons arrested by the Army under section 18 of the Act in 1992, none of whom were subsequently charged with terrorist-related offences.
The recent decision by a magistrate to bind over five of the paratroopers charged with assault and disorderly behaviour in Coalisland because they were "not entirely innocent" is a severe blow to the credibility of the regiment as a force of law and order. It was made worse by the decision by the regiment to take no further action against the men. The fact that no negative inference appears to have been taken from their silence calls into question their equality before the law.
Questions still need to be answered about who ordered the town to be sealed off immediately prior to the disturbance. I mention that because many commentators have agreed that the actions of the paratroopers had a direct impact in the May local Government elections in Dungannon. This is a classic demonstration of how security policy cannot be isolated from the political situation in Northern Ireland.
The recent conviction of a paratrooper for the murder of a teenage girl who was in a car driven by a joy rider again serves to confirm fears about the whole culture of the regiment, particularly if, as was reported in The Independent, after the incident the paratroopers built a large model of the car and a bloodstained head with a notice readingVauxhall Astra. Built by robots. Driven by joy riders. Stopped by 'A' company.The wall pictures flashed around on television screens of Europe, as I witnessed myself last week, did that regiment and this country no service.
While the introduction of the Army's early warning system and the new patrol identification cards are to be commended, they do not begin to tackle the underlying problem. Indeed, it is hard to envisage that a member of the public, having been harassed and intimidated by a member of the armed forces, would demand to see the soldier's patrol identification card. While these measures may have some deterrent effect, more needs to be done to stop the rising number of criminal complaints being lodged against the armed forces.
The actions leading to such complaints serve only to undermine the rule of law. For that reason the Labour party strongly endorses Lord Colville's recommendations that the Government introduce a code of practice on stop and search under the Emergency Provisions Act.
Lord Colville has again highlighted the inordinately long delays for prisoners awaiting trial. The Secretary of State has spoken about that and we support what he is trying to do, but we do not believe that dropping the legislative provision is necessarily the best solution.
§ Mr. McNamara
Very well. I am missing out pages of my speech to let other hon. Members in, but I will give way if the hon. Gentleman wants me to.
§ Mr. Porter
In his allegations or suggestions about the conduct of the army and this particular regiment, the hon. Gentleman might care to remind the House how many soldiers whether of the Ulster Defence Regiment or of the mainland regiments, have been killed since 1969.
§ Mr. McNamara
Yes I am aware of that, and we know it from the figures that the Secretary of State has already 167 given. But there is one difference. I judge members of Her Majesty's forces or of the Royal Ulster Constabulary not by the standards of terrorists but by the standards that we expect from those who operate in the name of a civilised and just society.
The Chief Constable asked for additional powers. I can understand his wanting them. He faces difficult tasks. But the fact that he asks for them shows the danger of separating security policy from political reality and treating the problem primarily as one of policing, a containment exercise, as if putting people behind bars means that the problem will go away. It is not that. We still need to ask if we can continue to maintain the same policing methods in an increasingly divided society when they have blatantly failed to win the support of the whole community.
Why, in a divided society where the population is split approximately 57 per cent. loyalist and 43 per cent. nationalist, are 92 per cent. of the regular constabulary and 94 per cent. of the full-time reserve drawn from one section of the community while those recruited for local service in the Royal Irish Regiment are nearly 100 per cent. from the unionist community? It creates problems in securing acceptance throughout the community of the role of the security forces and only heightens the perception that the security forces are failing to uphold impartially the rule of law.
The police cannot deliver summonses in certain parts of Northern Ireland unless accompanied by heavy military patrols. There are large swathes of the countryside, particularly near the border, where there is no effective policing at all as we understand it on this island. That is not to cast any aspersions on the integrity of any individual member of the security forces—it is a question of fact and a matter that must be tackled—yet there is no evidence of fresh thinking by Government on this matter. Discussions on confidence-building measures at the Anglo-Irish Conference are given the briefest of mentions, and no details go to those very people whose confidence needs to be won and increased.
Political and security issues are inextricably linked, and. this must be recognised by the Secretary of State. Unless we tackle vigorously both issues, the Secretary of State's pious wish in his Liverpool speech for some form of political settlement to impact onsupport for, and confidence in, the police and other security forces and in the administration of justicewill be so much whistling in the wind.
After 20 years of emergency powers and emergency policing, my hon. Friend the Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) and others have discussed the need for a more imaginative approach to policing in Northern Ireland and one that is more widely acceptable. We need to examine what can be done to achieve a more popular acceptance of the police.
Questions must be asked. Would it be possible to have community policing, to separate anti-terrorist policing from other forms? Perhaps it would be possible to share responsibility for anti-terrorist policing more fully with the Republic, to create a new form of constable, an Irish constable, as suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian (Mr. Home Robertson). Perhaps we could have a force from both jurisdictions, with power to operate in both areas.
It is immediately argued, however, that one group would not accept the idea or that another group would feel 168 that it infringed national sovereignty. But we must ask those who are not prepared to re-examine the role of the police and their acceptability to the whole community whether they want the present situation to continue indefinitely. It is only when answers to such questions are explored that the people of Northern Ireland will accept that they are receiving the protection of the law that they deserve and rightly demand.
The Government seem to assume that just because the emergency provisions legislation is on the statute book, terrorism will miraculously be defeated or at least contained and made more difficult, yet there is no evidence to support such unqualified confidence. The original emergency legislation was passed 20 years ago, yet according to a recent European Community report the murder rate in Northern Ireland is about five times the European average. Only the Calabria region in southern Italy, stronghold of the Mafia, ranks higher.
We recognise the urgent need for an effective anti-terrorist policy and we are now having conducted a major independent re-evaluation of existing measures to counter terrorism. The failure to develop a comprehensive civil libertarian policy to deal with political violence has led to contamination of freedom throughout Northern Ireland. It has also left the citizens of this island vulnerable to an ever present terrorist threat.
The Labour party, at least, recognises that the situation cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely. Because of this, because internment remains on the statute book, because the Government refuse to accept the basic safeguards of video and audio recording of interrogations and have constantly rejected the majority of Lord Colville's modest proposals for reform, we shall yet again, sadly but necessarily because it is our duty, vote against the order tonight.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse)
Order. In the two hours and five minutes remaining for the debate, no fewer than 11 right hon. and hon. Members are hoping to catch my eye.
If those who speak will bear that in mind, we may manage to fit in all those who wish to speak.
§ Sir Edward Heath (Old Bexley and Sidcup)
Next year, we shall have had 25 years of terrorism in the United Kingdom. It is now 20 years since I addressed the House on this subject and I want to do so again tonight in the light of the figure that I have just given.
Lord Colville's report is important and I would not for a moment question many of his suggestions. I am glad that my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State will give his urgent attention to them. I hope that when he reaches decisions, they will be speedily implemented. The more one compares the operations of Government in this country with those elsewhere, the more one recognises how slow and lacking in determination they are. This, therefore, is a case where we cannot hinder developments that are agreed upon and are urgently required.
What I want to do tonight, however, is to come down to the basics of this problem. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State set out the Government's objectives. They are the same objectives as Governments of all parties have had over the past 24 years, and they are 169 quite right. But the plain fact is that, despite the lengthy passage of time, the objectives have not been achieved; nor is there any sign whatever of their being achieved.
Let me make it plain at the beginning that I have the utmost admiration for the people of Northern Ireland. It is beyond my understanding how they can have put up with these conditions for this length of time. I have the greatest possible sympathy with them in the losses that they have sustained and the terrible life that they must live. That same sympathy goes to those now on the mainland, in Warrington, in the City, and all those elsewhere who are affected. That is the first thing that I want to make plain.
Secondly, I am in no way criticising the work of Her Majesty's forces. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State pointed out, wherever forces are deployed one finds occasional breaches of discipline. They are to be regretted, but I sometimes feel that there is so much emphasis on them that insufficient emphasis is laid on the good work that is being done by the forces, again in immensely difficult conditions. The same thing applies to the police. I have no criticism of them.
I must ask myself this question: at a time when other countries in Europe—to limit ourselves to that particular geographical area—have been able to deal with the problem, why have we failed? We have seen the most vicious forms of terrorism in Italy, with the Red Guards, in Germany, with the Red Army, in France and in Belgium, and they have got on top of it. In Spain, there have been periodic outbreaks, but they have been limited now to the Basque area. Why is it that those countries have been able to deal with this problem, but we have failed? We are entitled to ask that question.
The answer is that one can deal with terrorism only by being cleverer than the terrorists. That is absolutely basic. One has to be cleverer in intelligence, cleverer in action and cleverer politically. Again, to be perfectly blunt, we have failed in all three. That is why I want to get down to the basics; I do not believe that we can continue in this way. It is already being brought home to us here that the action in the City is damaging to our economic interests. Further action would be even more damaging.
This ought to be a major debate, but I have carefully calculated the number of those present and there are fewer than 5 per cent. of our Members here showing an interest in this matter which affects the whole of the United Kingdom. I ask myself—I do not wish to ask the House, because it might be embarrassing—whether, if the public relations representative of the IRA were in the Gallery, as for all I know he may be, he would say to his pals tonight, "My God, we are now in for a terrible time; with what those people are going to do to us, we shall be out of it." The answer is, not for a moment. He would go home and have a quiet drink and decide where to put the next bomb. This, I repeat, is why we have to get down to it.
Years ago, the other countries established official anti-terrorist bodies at the highest level, and that is why they have been successful. Those bodies took different forms, but we must have the same sort of thing if we are to be successful in dealing with this problem.
§ Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)
The right hon. Gentleman referred to the low attendance in the Chamber —I had to go to a meeting—but does he not agree that, despite the low attendance at such debates, since terrorism 170 by the Provisional IRA began 23 or 24 years ago, and as it is now being carried out by their counterparts on the other side, the House has been unanimous in condemning terrorism and no political advantage has been gained by that terrorists? The House has not been divided during the near quarter of a century and our condemnation of terrorism and refusal to give way are as firm as at the beginning. Should not the right hon. Gentleman, a former Prime Minister, recognise that terrorism has not divided British political opinion, either in the House or in the country, and that it will not do so?
§ Sir Edward Heath
I have not suggested otherwise. I am saying that, after nearly 25 years, there must be a dramatic change. I hope that the whole House has recognised that by now.
As I have said, other countries established central organisation, and here is my main point: I believe that the Prime Minister must now lift the level above what it is today if we are to achieve results. This matter must be put in the hands of one very Senior Cabinet Minister whose sole purpose will be to deal with terrorism in the United Kingdom. That is what is required.
I make no reflection on my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State or his predecessors. The Secretary of State is not responsible for what happens in the rest of the United Kingdom in dealing with terrorism. He therefore cannot be asked to carry out that task. It requires a very senior member of the Cabinet, because he must be able to carry with him other colleagues who feel that they have an interest or he must be able to lay down the law and say that something will be done because the Prime Minister wants it. That would be a major step forward, and the sooner it is taken, the better. We have seen various changes since the end of the cold war, particularly in regard to M15, but no one is trying to co-ordinate.
My other point—which I will make very briefly, because you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, asked us to be as brief as possible—is that dealing with intelligence during the cold war, internationally or internally, was quite different from dealing with problems of this kind in Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. The sources of intelligence are quite different. Trying to find people who have been planted by Moscow in some social gathering or Government Department is quite different from the present situation. These people move in entirely different areas. When M15 wanted to get a good spy, it did not go to the local pub, but that is where these people can be found. We must have people who understand that, who know how to go about it and who get the information.
Of course, that will be dangerous, and some of those people will come to a sad end, but if we are to overcome this terrorism, that is part of the price that we have to pay. The sooner that intelligence is integrated, the better. It passes belief by most people who look at this, certainly from outside, how any group could have got together all the explosives that were planted in the City, let alone planted them there and arranged for the whole lot to go off —incidentally, doing £300 million of damage. Yet that is going on. and we do not know when and where the next explosion will he. That is intolerable after 25 years of trying to deal with this problem.
There are many things that could be done and ought to be done speedily once we get a supremo in charge. There should be videos—not from the point of view that has been
171 discussed, but for the protection of all sorts of organisations. That would cost money, so the organisations should be given tax rebates. That would be a useful job for the Chancellor of the Exchequer and would encourage people to cover all possible sources of information. Many other things could be done.
Intelligence will cost money, because one cannot get the information out of people unless one is prepared to make arrangements with them and for them. That all costs money, but the information is available. I will give one small personal example.
On one occasion, an article appeared in a Dublin paper which had been planted by the IRA and which libelled me. An attempt was made to find copies of the paper in London and those concerned said that they knew the people who sold the papers and would be able to get copies. When they went to that source, there was not one copy to be seen; the usual suppliers said that they had refused to take the paper that time. They knew what was going on. They did not know that I never bring libel actions, or they might have acted differently. So the information is available, but one has to know how to get it.
Turning to the political side, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State has emphasised quite rightly, as has the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara), that the politics and the military force go together. It is right that we should concentrate on politics, but we must also recognise that, until we begin to make serious progress against the terrorism, the politics will be more difficult. The more progress we make against the terrorism, the easier the political aspect will become.
The Secretary of State has been persistent, as were his predecessors. In 1985, eight years ago, there was the Anglo-Irish Agreement. Nothing has happened since then. There are certain political factors that we must face up to. The first is that we must have the best possible and closest relationship with the Republic of Ireland. I know that that will give offence, but it will have to be accepted. We shall not settle this problem until we have the closest possible relationship with Eire. We are in the same Community; we are both members. We have the same level playing fields in many different spheres. Why, then, can we not be together on this?
My impression, from the contacts that I have, is that the possibilities are becoming greater. There are changes coming about in the Eire constitution that we would not have dreamt of 20 years ago. We must use the situation to our advantage and have the closest possible relations with the Republic of Ireland.
Secondly, I say to my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State that, as his predecessors discovered—and as I knew in 1973—there is no purpose in carrying on talks if the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) is a participant, as there will never be agreement. The Government must face up to that. There is no point in continuing to be nice. That will not produce any answers. The hon. Gentleman does not want agreement; he has always done everything possible to prevent agreement and he and his supporters will continue to try to prevent it.
Some hon. Members present today will remember Sunningdale—the only successful negotiation that we have had. It established the tripartite arrangement, which worked perfectly well—better than any of us ever thought it would—until the petrol strike in May 1974, when Mr. 172 Wilson said that he would break the strike and failed to do so, with the result that the coalition broke up. Sunningdale was the best thing that we have done for Ireland.
I only obtained that agreement because I excluded the hon. Member for Antrim, North. I would not have him at the conference because I knew that his only purpose would be to prevent agreement. He protested strongly. He actually came to Sunningdale to see me. I told him the same thing again. I said, "You're out. We're here to reach agreement." That should be the Government's position. There is no point in continuing as at present. Every set of talks at which we fail to reach agreement makes the situation worse; that is always the case. Let the Secretary of State say, "All right. Out. Now we will have people here who want agreement." Only then will we get agreement.
It is necessary—very necessary indeed—that we reach a political agreement with Eire. What substance is there in hon. Members' complaint about the Anglo-Irish Agreement? It is just a way of trying to establish an entity. It is just not worth it. It is immensely damaging to the people of Northern Ireland and, because terrorism takes place, it is also damaging to those of us in the rest of the United Kingdom. That is the plain fact.
At the end of the debate on the order, regulations and so on will be passed. Let us realise that we must get down to the basic factors, and speedily. We need high-level central direction for the whole of the United Kingdom. Our primary emphasis must be on intelligence, and new intelligence. Following from that, our secondary emphasis must be on the action that can be taken by the police and the military forces.
I have said already that we need to be cleverer than the terrorists. There is no place for saying, "He is the next one due for promotions, so put him there," or, "He has been waiting for a long time, so put him there." We all know that from our experience in the services and elsewhere. If one does not put the cleverest people where they are most needed, it just does not work. That was discovered early in the second world war. Those who had responsibility found that the people who had been in post in peace time simply were not up to the job. They sent out for the cleverest people in the universities, in business and wherever they could be found, and those people produced the answers. We had better learn that lesson today, too. We must use the best people we have.
The Cabinet spends a great deal of time arguing about deploying forces here, there and everywhere in the world, yet we are not dealing with and have not solved our own problem. What does the rest of the world think when we say, "This is what you ought to do"? People politely ask, "What about Northern Ireland? What about the fact that the City of London was blown up?"? Of course they do not take any notice of us when they see the problem that we have on our own doorstep.
I hope that I have been helpful to my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State. I have lifted responsibility for the matter to a higher level. I hope that the Prime Minister will appreciate the additional task that I am giving him. In giving him that additional task, I have confidence in him. I believe that I have outlined what must be the solution to a problem that has existed for nearly 25 years. The situation has gone on for far too long and cannot be allowed to drag on any longer.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley (Antrim, North)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for the right hon.
173 Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Sir E. Heath) to mislead the House by telling it that I was at Sunningdale? I was never at Sunningdale. I brand that lie as I brand the other lies that the right hon. Gentleman has told the House.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
It is for the hon. Gentleman to make his own speech. He has not raised a point of order for me.
§ Mr. McNamara
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) accused the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup of telling lies. Surely, such remarks are unparliamentary and should be withdrawn.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I did not understand the hon. Member for Antrim, North to say that the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup was deliberately telling lies. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Order. I did not hear the hon. Gentleman say that the right hon. Gentleman was deliberately telling lies. That is a fact and it is no laughing matter.
§ Sir Edward Heath
Further to the point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The hon. Member for Antrim, North said that he never went near Sunningdale. I saw him myself in Sunningdale and talked to him there. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. It might be advisable if the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Gentleman were to sort the matter out for themselves.
§ Mr. James Molyneaux (Lagan Valley)
I had intended to start my remarks by saying that it was always a stimulating experience to follow the Father of the House. In the light of the brisk exchanges that have already taken place, to which we shall no doubt return, my words have come truer than I expected.
The well-thought-out proposals on security made by the Father of the House are worthy of serious consideration and I share the right hon. Gentleman's hope that Her Majesty's Government will take them to heart. He and I can remember the days of Templer, when people said that Malaysia could never be pacified and that it would be a running sore for generations. Because of effective and strong political and military leadership—
§ Mr. Molyneaux
And he was an Ulsterman into the bargain
—the campaign was terminated much earlier than we had a right to expect.
I entirely agree with the Father of the House that, where terrorism had been a destructive force in other European nations, those nations had been able to tackle the problem in a co-ordinated way within their own boundaries. If the right hon. Gentleman will forgive me for saying so, there is a slight contradiction between that assertion and the point that he made towards the end of his speech, when he advocated the internationalisation of the security problem in Northern Ireland by inviting in the Irish Government. I want to return to the political aspect later.
174 On the equivalent occasion on 10 June last year, the motion before us was almost identical to that on the Order Paper today. At the end of that debate, the official Opposition took the unwise—some might say irrespon-sible—decision to divide the House. The intention was, as it always is in a Division, to defeat the Government. There was a possibility that they might just have succeeded on that occasion. Tonight, however, the position is very different.
Had the Opposition succeeded in defeating the Government on that earlier occasion, the law of the land would have been changed. That would not be the case today, because a formula that was originally designed for the duration of the talks last year has now been given a certain rigidity and permanence. That formula is expressed in the words, "Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed." It follows that nothing can be agreed until everyone agrees. In the light of the remarks made by the Father of the House, I think that he sees the difficulty of achieving success given that formula.
That straitjacket will have an effect on our parliamentary processes as profound as—if I dare mention it—the Maastricht treaty, which I understand is under discussion in another place today. It is rather a pity that there should be a clash of attractions within the same building. It says much for the devotion of the Father of the House that he has chosen to participate in this debate and has not yielded to the blandishments of the siren voices in the other place.
When the Secretary of State opened the debate last June, he referred to the new provisions contained in the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1991. He mentioned changes that were intended to make the fight against terrorism more effective. Unfortunately, we must admit that there is no tangible evidence of improvement. In the past year, there has been an escalation in violence and counter-violence. Although "The Talks" last year and the rumours and distortions surrounding them have destabilised the entire community, the enhanced powers have had no appreciable effect. One must conclude that the changes in the law, which have been under consideration for many months, must be delayed no longer. In that respect, I agree with the Father of the House.
The price of delay in human terms and human lives is far too great to justify delay. When I visited Portadown last week, I was told that when the Minister of State visited the town, he asked some bystanders what they would do. I have great admiration for the intellect of the good citizens of Portadown in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble). However, they could be forgiven for feeling that perhaps the Minister of State might have had some sound ideas of his own given that he has at his disposal the products of a vast intelligence-gathering machine, not to mention the much-vaunted security co-operation with the Irish authorities which is said to have improved from one Northern Ireland Question Time to the next over the past nine years. The packaging was entitled, "Peace, stability and reconciliation."
If the Minister of State did not know what to do then, he knows what to do now. The Chief Constable of the RUC, in presenting his report two weeks ago, published his list. He said that he wanted to see changes in the law under the following headings:1. the removal of the right to silence when being questioned about crime;175
The Chief Constable is no firebrand. He is the responsible head of the best and second-largest constabulary in the United Kingdom. He will have reached those conclusions after long and careful deliberations. He is the person best fitted to know exactly what is needed to ensure that the law enforcement agencies and the courts can co-operate within a coherent framework. The Secretary of State and the Minister of State must pay heed to the senior officers of the police and the Army in respect of their advice and perhaps pay less attention to the desk-bound advisers whose flawed schemes have destabilised the entire Ulster community.
- 2. a refusal to answer questions in carefully defined circumstances should be an offence;
- 3. accomplice evidence should be more readily admissable;
- 4. previous terrorist convictions should be admitted to show system or courses of conduct;
- 5. the burden of proof, in defined circumstances, should shift to the accused;
- 6. evidence of an intelligence nature should be admissible, again in carefully defined and controlled circumstances;
- 7. the discovery process requires revision."
The Secretary of State had the benefit of the first-hand views of the chairman of the Police Federation earlier today. He will have heard him say:In our case, however, our difficulties are not largely of our own making. Much of the cause of the discontent felt by the police service in Northern Ireland can be very firmly laid at the door of Stormont Castle and Queen Anne's Gate.On the issue of security, the chairman said:We have a Government that is trapped in clichés and whose only other response is to call for cool heads and hard looks at the situation.The chairman, Mr. Beattie, went on to support the Chief Constable's plea for sensible amendment of the law and he concluded:Together, the police service, the judicial system, the community, and a Government more obviously armed with the political will to win, we can and will succeed in ending this misery.His words were not entirely out of line with what the Father of the House said.
We are striving to do our part. Today, my hon. Friend the Member for Upper Bann has tabled an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill [Lords], which is currently in Standing Committee, in the following simple terms:a refusal to answer questions in carefully defined circumstances should be an offence.I trust that the Secretary of State will draw the Home Secretary's attention to that amendment and persuade him to accept it.
The Secretary of State referred to the second recommendation of the Colville report which urges investigation into allegations of intimidation of defence solicitors. I agree that there should be such an investigation. There is a belief that accused persons often demand access to names and addresses of witnesses. If a solicitor honourably refuses to hand over a deposition, the threat and intimidation are switched to the solicitor's clerk and to the solicitor's office staff. When such intimidation is clearly effective, it is small wonder that the intimidated should be reluctant to come forward. It might also be prudent to check on ugly reports that certain terrorist organisations claim a share in legal aid costs.
The chairman of the Police Federation used the phrasea Government more obviously armed with the political will to win".176 There is a perception that the Government do not have that will to win. None of us can ignore that perception. At its root cause there is an even greater question mark over the Government's will to govern. I hope that I can carry the Father of the House with me because there is common ground on the philosophy of making a start in governing Northern Ireland more efficiently by beginning at the bottom layer.
The Government's will to govern is questioned in the wider context of the United Kingdom as a whole. However, I do not intend to stray into that area today. It may be unfair, but it is a factor in the minds of terrorists and their victims. However, I shall restrict to Northern Ireland my judgment on the Government's will to govern.
If the Government really possess that will, why do they permit advisors to hook them on the phrase,nothing can be agreed until everything is agreed"?Why does the Northern Ireland Office block the prospect of modest progressive improvements to the governance of Northern Ireland? Why, over more than 20 years, has the Northern Ireland Office destroyed, through flawed initiatives at intervals of roughly every 18 months, stability that was patiently created?
Why cannot the Northern Ireland Office be content with the proof that Ulster's political leaders can and do work together, sit together and co-operate on a wide range of economic, health, education and environmental matters to an extent that no hon. Member would contemplate in respect of any of the other political leaders from Great Britain?
Given that the greater number—I use that phrase rather than "the majority"—of Northern Ireland citizens fully support that kind of activity, will the Secretary of State try such endeavours for the next six months? Is he in any doubt about the dedication of my party to that course, which would restore stability and which could lead to the defeat of terrorism from whatever quarter?
§ Mr. Peter Robinson (Belfast, East)
If there has been a common theme in the debate so far, it has been a frustration about the length of time that "the troubles" —as they are euphemistically called in Northern Ireland —have continued. For almost a quarter of a century, the United Kingdom's citizens in Northern Ireland have suffered an horrendous campaign of violence.
As we come to the ritual of the continuation order of what are described as emergency provisions, the word "emergency" speaks to me of something that is temporary or periodic. However, it is now a way of life in Northern Ireland. It would be worth while for the House to consider whether we are winning the battle against terrorism, whether progress has been made and what changes there have been over the past 23 or 24 years.
Statistically, it can easily be shown that things are worse now than they have been for many years. During an intervention, the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis) gave some statistics that showed that there had been a sharp increase in violence since the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. The death statistics for Northern Ireland show that 3,053 people have been murdered as a result of terrorist campaigns. Of those 3,053, some 640 have been members of the Army, the UDR or the Royal Irish Regiment, and some 290 have been members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and its reserves.
177 The overwhelming majority of those who have been killed were civilians. Most of them were innocent in terms of not being involved in any way in any political or paramilitary organisation. Outside the 3,053 people who have been killed in Northern Ireland, 100 have been killed in the Republic of Ireland, 118 have been killed in Great Britain, and 18 have been killed in other parts of Europe directly as a result of the terrorist campaigns from Northern Ireland.
If those cold statistics are hard to take in, the fact is that, if the Northern Ireland community of some 1.5 million people is considered in ratio to the population of Great Britain, one would be envisaging the murder of some 125,000 people on the mainland. One would be talking about more than 1.25 million people on the mainland having been maimed and mutilated as a result of violence. If that had happened on the mainland, the response of the House to terrorism would have been of much greater urgency than it has been.
As I listened to the speech of the Father of the House, I noticed that there were heads nodding on both sides of the Chamber during his early comments. However, as he suggested how we might deal with the problem of terrorism, the heads ceased to nod. A major difficulty is that we all agree that terrorism is wrong and should be brought to an end but, when it comes to how it might be brought to an end, there is a great disagreement in the House, and, indeed, in the community as a whole.
In terms of the level of violence, the main change in terrorism over the past quarter of a century has been the fact that, instead of dealing with one major sophisticated and well-trained terrorist organisation, we are now dealing with terrorist organisations on both sides of the community, carrying out almost an equal level of attrition against the Northern Ireland people. The violence is now two-sided. It is much more deeply rooted than ever before. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that there is much greater support for terrorism than there was during the early part of the troubles in Northern Ireland.
What is certain is that terrorism is much better organised now. It is more sophisticated. It is part of an international terrorist regime. There is the ability for much greater training and better equipment. Indeed, it is sad to discover that the terrorist is often much better equipped than the member of the security forces whom he will have to face as he attempts to carry out his assassinations.
Therefore, in terms of the arsenal of terrorism, the terrorists are in a better position than ever before. They have no reluctance to carry out their campaign of violence. They have in no way lowered their resolve to continue their acts and their attrition in Northern Ireland. There appears to be no shortage in the funding or manpower of terrorist organisations.
I remember a group of Conservative Back Benchers being in Northern Ireland. After a briefing from the Northern Ireland Office and security chiefs, they were able to tell us that they had been told that there were about only 300 active terrorists in Northern Ireland—this is several years ago. Today, the Secretary of State told us that more than 450 of those 300 were put in gaol last year, and another 150 have been put in jail so far this year. The statisticians better get back to work and sharpen their 178 pencils because their calculations are clearly inaccurate. There seems to be an ever ready supply of people who will go out and carry a gun or place a bomb.
After a quarter of a century of terrorism, the community is right to ask: when will it end? Are we winning the war against the terrorists? If there had been the least indicator that some step had been taken along the road towards defeating terrorism, the community could place its confidence in the Government. However, the community does not see that we are winning the war against terrorism—far from it. The community has no confidence in the Government's security policy.
Therefore, it says to the Government, "If you simply continue to adopt the policies that have failed for a quarter of a century, what hope is there for us in Northern Ireland?" The Government must address that question and decide what steps can be taken to grasp the nettle of terrorism, rather than simply contain terrorist violence at the present level.
In 1985, we were told by the then Prime Minister that there was a political way of defeating terrorism, and that the agreement that she had signed with the Prime Minister of the Irish Republic would bring peace, stability and reconciliation. The statistics given earlier show that, far from giving peace, stability and reconciliation, the violence has increased substantially. The people in Portadown are entitled to ask: where is that peace? The people of Magherafelt and those who live around the Drumkeen hotel, which has been bombed twice in the past few months, are entitled to ask the same question, as are those in other parts of my constituency who have buried their loved ones recently.
The hand of violence has been active on both sides of our community. In the past few days, a 65-year-old Roman Catholic man was killed in Dundonald. What possible advantage is there in killing an old-age pensioner in his home? His only interests seem to have been his grandchild and playing a round of golf. Yet that is the level of terrorism that takes place. That man had lived in and been accepted by the community for more than 20 years. He had even done some painting and decorating for members of the security forces.
I will not fall into the trap of saying that it is mindless violence, because there is always a purpose in the violence of either the IRA or any other terrorist organisation. Of course, the purpose is to create fear in the community and to stake out one's territory, wherever that territory may be. The House has a responsibility to show in the clearest terms that there is no moral justification for violence. Violence cannot be morally justified, because there are no special circumstances that need to be addressed, and it is not legitimate. Violence cannot be justified by terrorist action in any section of our community. The nature of terrorism has not changed over the years. It is intrinsically evil, and evil in its every aspect.
Moreover, terrorism is the antithesis of politics. The people who are involved in terrorism are not misguided politicians. They are terrorists. Therefore, they should not be treated as misguided politicians. I conclude from that that the Government should not deal with them by means of negotiations. They should not be brought to the negotiating table. I go further. They should not be given the credibility of being part of the political process by being brought into dialogue of any nature.
§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield)
Does the hon. Gentleman consider it extraordinary that, in what was in the main a most fascinating and positive speech, the Father of the House suggested that a political party in Northern Ireland should be excluded from talks about finding a solution to the desperate problems of that country?
If the hon. Gentleman believes what he has just said in condemnation of terrorism, and if he believes in democracy and the political process, does he believe that it is utterly wrong that my right hon. Friend should seek to exclude from discussions and consultations a party, and the leader of that party, which upholds the constitution and law and order and deplores terrorism?
§ Mr. Robinson
I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman's encouragement to respond to that point. Of course the Father of the House is right. It is always easier to achieve agreement if some of those who are a party to the difficulties are excluded. For example, if we excluded the hon. Member for Foyle (Mr. Hume) and his party, it would be possible to reach agreement. Indeed, during the last talks process, the other three Northern Ireland constitutional parties reached agreement to which the hon. Member for Foyle did not give his assent. So if one excludes people, one will always find it easier to reach agreement. But that will not solve the real problems in the Province.
§ Mr. Hume
If the hon. Gentleman is so opposed to paramilitary activities in the way that he has stated here, why were he and his party involved in setting up the Ulster Resistance Movement, a body which has since imported arms, which everyone knows kill human beings in Northern Ireland? What connection had the hon. Gentleman's party and its origins with the Ulster Protestant Volunteer Force, which was the first organisation to use violence in the past 25 years? Some of that organisation's members later complained in court that it was a tragedy that they ever knew a certain hon. Gentleman in the House.
§ Mr. Robinson
I can well understand the sensitivities of the hon. Member for Foyle, who stood in the ranks of those who attacked the police in the city of Londonderry, who told us that it would be a united Ireland or nothing, and who now sits down with the leader of the IRA-Sinn Fein and puts out joint proclamations with the leader of the IRA-Sinn Fein through the press centre that claims the death of my fellow citizens. I can understand his sensitivities on all those things, but I propose to conclude—
§ Mr. Robinson
I heard the hon. Gentleman's question when he was standing, so I do not need to hear it again when he is in a sedentary position. The Ulster Democratic Unionist party has consistently supported the security forces. It has never been a party to violence in any form. The hon. Gentleman, who has a history in Northern Ireland of street politics, is the last person whom I shall allow to lecture me on the subject. The Ulster Democratic Unionist party has no relationship with any organisation that is involved in terrorist activity.
Whenever the Government are asked whether they are prepared to take tough and resolute action on the security 180 front, they say that it would be counter-productive to do so. In a letter to my hon. Friend the Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley), the Prime Minister said that such a course would damage the integrity and credibility of constitutional politics and the institutions of the state—damage which he believed would be irreparable. Therefore, he implied that, if one took tough and resolute action on the security front, there would be an advantage to the terrorists.
Everyone knows that terrorism thrives particularly in a liberal democracy, and that terrorism enjoys the fact that in a liberal democracy people must have recourse to emergency legislation. However, the one thing that the terrorist dislikes most is that no appeasement is given to him as a result of his terrorist activity. An intervention was made in the speech of the Father of the House in which it was suggested that the Government had not made any concession to violence. That was inaccurate. The Government have consistently made many concessions.
One concession that stands out is the Anglo-Irish Agreement. It was a major concession to violence. When the then Prime Minister signed the agreement, she said, "I simply could not allow the violence to continue." She clearly indicated to the public and to the world that her signature on the Anglo-Irish agreement was brought about by the violence of the Provisional IRA.
If the terrorist organisations know that they have the ability to gain concessions from the Government through their violence, the certainty is that violence will continue. Indeed, after the Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed, the publicity officer of the IRA, one Danny Morrison, said that the Anglo-Irish Agreement had been won by the sacrifices of the volunteers. He implied that, the more violence there was, the more concessions there would be. That being the fact, the Government have encouraged violence by the political actions that they have taken.
The Government's acceptance that the Government of the Irish Republic can be involved in a joint authority under the Anglo-Irish Agreement is an encouragement to those who carry out violence on the nationalist side to continue their violence. It is essential that the Government make no concessions to either those who are directly involved in violence or those who ride on the back of those who are involved in violence. It is essential also that the Government are prepared to use the full rigour of the law against the terrorist organisations.
The Minister responsible for security has equated requests that my hon. Friend the Member for Antrim, North made for more resolute action on the security front with a request that the security forces should act outside the law. That was not the case. The security forces must act within the law. But if the law is not adequate to allow the security forces to deal with the terrorism, it is necessary to frame new legislation and give them additional powers.
It is essential that there should be tougher sentences. There should be minimum or mandatory sentences, so that the courts can ensure that those who are involved are put away for a time that fits the crime that they have committed.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
I am sure that my hon. Friend's attention has been drawn to the case in our courts yesterday. Although they were not charged with murder, five men killed a constituent and friend of mine by 181 ambushing his car. What did they get? None of them got more than four years. When the Northern Ireland Office was questioned by the press, it confirmed:Most of those sentenced will be free in just over two years".Does my hon. Friend appreciate the outrage of Thomas McNabney and the whole family at the way in which the matter has been handled and especially at the sentences? Young Ivor was doing a Christian job in charity, and was so killed.
§ Mr. Robinson
I certainly can concur with my hon. Friend's remarks. Last night on television, I saw the sad sight of the father of the young man being interviewed. How can anyone ever justify a sentence of four years? The life of the killed man is worth only four years of the life of his killer. There can be no justification for such a light sentence. I trust that those with authority in the House will consider reviewing it. It is essential that a tough sentence should be given to those involved in such a killing.
In addition to the necessity for tougher action against terrorists, it is important that those with responsibility for the security forces at grass roots level make full use of the powers that already exist. About two weeks ago, on a Wednesday evening at about 11.15, the Royal Irish Regiment carried out a number of road stops in the markets areas of Belfast. In effect, the regiment closed off the whole of the markets area.
During the road stops, a gunman opened fire on a soldier and attempted to kill him. He shot the soldier through the face. The soldier was taken to intensive care in a local hospital. The RIR had sufficient personnel on the ground to carry out a house-to-house search of the area. There was a divisional mobile support unit in the nearby Musgrave street police station.
The person in charge of the regiment asked for permission to conduct a house-to-house search of the area to get the gunman who had attempted to kill one of his soldiers and the weapon. Both the gunman and the weapon will undoubtedly be used in further attempts to kill, if not in killings. Permission was refused by an assistant chief constable. If we are to win the war against terrorism, surely we must allow our security forces to deal with the issues when they are on the ground and have the capability to do so.
The Secretary of State said that the security forces are not handcuffed in any way. I have given one example of where they were handcuffed and were not allowed to do the job. The colleagues of the young man had to sit back and not take action that would have apprehended the man responsible for attempting to kill one of them.
§ Sir Patrick Mayhew
The hon. Gentleman misrecalls what I said. I said that the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary had referred to frequent assertions in the wake of one terrorist outrage after another that the security forces are handcuffed and that the handcuffs should be removed. The Chief Constable went on to say that there was no restraint of any kind whatever imposed from any political quarter on what the RUC can do in the defence of law.
§ Mr. Robinson
Indeed, in my example it was not the political chiefs who were handcuffing the RIR, but the assistant chief constable. The community has a right to 182 know why the assistant chief constable refused permission to the RIR to carry out a house-to-house search to find the person who attempted to kill a soldier and remove the weapon used.
In conclusion, after a quarter of a century of terrorism in Northern Ireland, far from being defeated, it is stronger than it has ever been. It is stronger because of a Government policy that encourages those who are involved in terrorism by making concessions and appeasing them. It has grown stronger because tough, resolute security initiatives have not been taken against terrorists.
In 25 years' time, Members of this House will gather once more and say to themselves and each other, "Isn't it terrible how terrorism continues in Northern Ireland?" Terrorism will continue until this failed Government security policy is put to rest and a new initiative is taken to defeat terrorists through tough, resolute military action.
§ Mr. Seamus Mallon (Newry and Armagh)
Reference has been made to 25 years on several occasions. The House will forgive me if I start further back than that at the very foundation of the state 72 years ago. From its very foundation the north of Ireland has never had anything other than emergency legislation. It was then called the Special Powers Act.
From the very day and hour that the state was formed it has been sustained by draconian emergency legislation, military might, soldiers, not one police service but on certain occasions two and on others three, and by the inpouring of billions of pounds—according to the Secretary of State, £3.5 billion last year.
There is a fundamental question to be asked outside of the legalities of the emergency provisions legislation, of the statistics and of the emotions that it engenders. Where a state or a statelet is formed with the weight of the British Government behind it in military and financial terms and in terms of the emergency provisions legislation, the Prevention of Terrorism Acts and the Special Powers Act and still the problem remains, is there not a fundamental question to ask?
Is it not even more fundamental to ask why, after 72 years, all those measures have never brought peace, stability or unity of purpose to the north of Ireland? There is something much more fundamental than the points that have been made about terrorist violence, statistics and the legalities of the Act, as my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) admirably pointed out.
The question must be repeated: will the north of Ireland for as long as it lasts in its present form require armies to sustain it, lookout posts to defend it, emergency provisions Acts, prevention of terrorism Acts and billions of pounds per year? That is the question that we should be asking ourselves. That question is at the heart of this debate.
The Father of the House made a valiant attempt to face up to it and the House of Commons should face up to it. Year after year we skirt around the subject. We do not deal with the core of the problem because the core hurts. It is much easier to indulge ourselves in self-righteousness, righteous anger or whatever emotion happens to be taking us.
After 72 years, has not the 1921 arrangement that set up the north of Ireland failed abysmally to deliver peace, 183 stability, economic well-being and a future for the people there? Is it not an artificial entity that can be sustained only by this type of militarism and emergency legislation? Is it not further the case that until fundamental changes are made in that arrangement violence, unrest and political instability will continue whether we like it or not? That is a core problem and it is not popular to say so in the House.
It is strange that I have yet to meet a Member who, when I talk to him privately over a cup of tea or something stronger, does not ask the same question that I am asking now: is it not the case that the north of Ireland constitutional arrangement of 1921 is not capable of being sustained except by military might, repressive legislation and what we have seen during the past 72 years? That is one of the issues that the House must start to consider.
The fundamental reasons for failure are not the Army, the police, the courts or the Ministers because we have had all kinds of generals, Chief Constables and Ministers and God knows how many regiments of soldiers. They cannot all be equally bad. It is not their fault. They are put in a situation where they have to sustain the unsustainable and make the unworkable work. Unless we face that problem and make the fundamental changes that are required, more Ministers will go over to Northern Ireland to suffer the same type of frustration and failure, more hon. Members like us will come and suffer the same frustration as that to which we give vent here and more people will have worse to deal with—their lives will be lost.
We must all face up, honestly, to a number of false premises. One is inherent in the order. One cannot make the legal process solve what are essentially political problems, but that is what has been attempted. A political problem is staring us in the face and has been doing so since 1921. An attempt has been made to use the law to solve it. The only way in which that can be done, however, is by diminishing, bending and retarding the law. It has been made to do something that it is simply not geared to do. As long as we keep tinkering with the law to try to make it do just that, we will do more damage to its integrity and the process of law.
The law does not exist to solve political problems. It. exists for different reasons. That is the first premise which must be challenged when we consider the emergency legislation.
The second false premise that must be considered is the erroneous view that, somehow or other, if one has a problem such as that which exists in Northern Ireland and if one throws more troops and police at it, builds more Army installations and lookout posts, pours more billions of pounds into it and makes more emergency laws, as the Chief Constable recommends that we should do, that will result in more successful policing, greater intelligence information, more arrests and less terrorism. We need only listen to the speech of the hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) to be convinced that the more one does that, the more one adds to terrorism.
An erroneous paradox exists in Northern Ireland—the greater the intensity of security, the more the community suffers; the more that community suffers, the less the police are able to gather real intelligence from it. That means that the terrorist is laughing all the way to his next atrocity because he knows the political reality.
The terrorist also knows that the security operation in Northern Ireland, perhaps through no fault of its own or misdirection, but because of the fundamental flaw in its purpose, has strangled its own capacity for detection. The 184 security arrangements are defeating their own purpose. One need only look at the figures relating to those charged with terrorist offences who come from the mainstream Catholic areas and the mainstream Protestant areas to realise that that is the case. Intelligence information is not coming through to the police because the security operation has strangled itself. The gap between the police and the community has grown to such an extent that that intelligence information is simply not there, despite what people will say.
When are we ever going to address that fundamental flaw in the security operation? When will we realise that there is a problem with policing in the north of Ireland— not with the police. That problem is a political, historical, ideological reactive one. It is for that reason that the IRA can operate in my constituency, almost impervious to the battery of security that operates around it. That is why the IRA was able to move down to Cullaville village, right under one of the look-out posts which houses all the most sophisticated observation equipment, and take it over for two hours with huge machine guns. The Army personnel stood up in their look-out post and watched.
I do not blame the Army for not coming down, but I blame the people who' put them up in that observation post. I blame those who have created a situation in which fools are being made not just of the soldiers, the Ministers and myself but of the entire community. That community now realises the strength of the position that we all, in our own way, have given to the terrorists. We must face up to that fact because we are faced continuously with such behaviour by terrorists.
Until we realise that there is a fundamental problem with policing, as it affects the nationalist community, we will not solve that problem. That will also make it much more difficult to solve the other extraneous problems.
The rake's progress continues. Every year we all say the same things. Every year we have a knee-jerk reaction to this order. If one is feeling in a good mood, one tries to soften that reaction slightly, but if one is a bad mood, one tries to tell the truth. Telling the truth in a political forum is not always the most advisable thing to do, but that is much more healthy than to have the type of ritual dance on the problems that we have once a year while ignoring their roots.
I began by referring to the Special Powers Act. Let us remind ourselves what John Vorster, Minister of Justice in South Africa, said when he introduced the Coercion Bill:I would be willing to exchange all the legislation of that sort for one clause in the Northern Ireland Special Powers Act.What has changed since then?
It is interesting to consider that Act. I know that the Minister will go away and read it. The power to arrest without a warrant and to be held for 48 hours for interrogation is included in the EPA and it was also added to the Special Powers Act. Internment without trial, powers of search and entry without warrant, the prohibition of the right of assembly and the outlawing of organisations was also permitted under those two Acts. Exclusion orders, would the House believe it, are permitted under the Special Powers Act and the PTA. A prohibition on the holding of inquests is not set down in statute, but operates in practice. Such is the relationship between the Northern Ireland EPA and the order that we are debating tonight.
185 One can see clearly that the legislation may have been softened at the edges and that changes have been made —I admit that the paragraph about which Vorster talked has been changed fundamentally—but it is the same animal with furry boots. It has existed since 1921.
§ Mr. Molyneaux
Would the hon. Gentleman be generous enough to look to the southern end of the island where he will find that the same kind of legislation was introduced to protect that state from its enemies within? Is it not a fact that very similar legislation currently operates in the Irish Republic, including something even equivalent to provisions for internment?
§ Mr. Mallon
I accept that point. We would not have the problem if the legislation in the south had succeeded. Emergency legislation in the south has failed as much as ours. The problem there is the same as ours. There is a fundamental political flaw within the island of Ireland, from which those in the south suffer as we do. No matter how often people are interned or how much emergency legislation is introduced, those in the south have the same problem as we have. Unfortunately, we share the same failure.
Are we progressing at all? The most depressing things that I have seen for a long time were the recommendations by the Chief Constable about additional powers, which we must consider closely. One recommendation was the removal of the right to silence when questioned about a crime. In The Independent on Wednesday 2 June, a well known QC in this city, Anthony Scrivener, said of the Asil Nadir case that the powers given to the Serious Fraud Office were the widest powers ofany British institution since the Star Chamber".That is the view of an eminent QC in London. He should make the EPA and the PTA his bedroom reading for at least a few nights, because it is the very right to silence—the refusal to answer questions—which the Chief. Constable said should become an offence. Where is the difference? We are supposed to be part of Britain. We are supposed to share the benefits and advantages, but the Chief Constable of the north of Ireland makes that demand in the face of the legal opinion of Anthony Scrivener.
The Chief Constable also states that accomplice evidence should be more readily admissible. We saw what accomplice evidence did to the court system and the north of Ireland. We know how many people are running about in the north of Ireland and here as a result of accomplice evidence which simply could not be sustained. The Chief Constable wants to reintroduce that provision.
The Chief Constable also states that the burden of proof in defined circumstances should shift to the accused. The most basic legal principle that has existed in the western world is to be jettisioned because the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary believes that, unless a person convicts himself, it will be impossible successfully to bring a case against him. Is that not pushing the panic button and doing something dreadful to the legal process? Does it not further demean the law? Is it not an admission from the Chief Constable that, unless the accused is placed in a position where he will make a confession or condemn himself out of his own mouth, the 186 Chief Constable will be incapable of obtaining the evidence necessary to put the accused behind bars if he is guilty? That is what the Chief Constable is saying.
The Chief Constable is right—one figure shows that 86 per cent. of those charged and convicted under emergency legislation are convicted on their own evidence. If we pursue that line, the law in the north of Ireland will be in tatters. If we take the action recommended by the hon. Members for Antrim, South (Mr. Forsythe) and for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble), we shall further diminish the law to a point way beyond the Special Powers Act begun in 1921. Surely, that would not be progress and that is not the way to advance.
I know that the Secretary of State is a wise and learned lawyer and I believe that he has a respect for the law derived from his profession. I know that he would share my view that, not only is the law too precious to be left to lawyers, but it is much too precious to be left to policemen. It should be guarded by all hon. Members so that we do not allow even the consideration of such possibilities. When I read the Chief Constable's analysis it made me despair almost as much as I despair of the terrorism that he is trying to prevent.
Internment is still on the statute book, and I shall not describe its history, or its merits or demerits in detail. All I say is that we must get rid of internment if only to get rid of the knee jerk reactions that we see every time a particularly bad atrocity is committed. We should do so because at least we would take such venom out of the air.
The notion that internment can work successfully in modern society is based on the belief that there are those within the governmental, policing, army or intelligence systems who know who are committing the terrible acts. There are politicians in the House and people outside the House who believe that, but it is not true. It is time that we addressed the issue of internment. We should get it out of the way because sooner or later some of us, whether we are in Government or Opposition, will have to start putting Humpty Dumpty together again. We cannot do that on the basis of a further diminishing of the law.
I shall recount an incident involving the issue of search and arrest. A few weeks ago two young men in my constituency had the milking machine on in their milking parlour as they were ready to go milking. A section of the Army arrived in their yard and asked them for proof of identity. The young men were dressed for milking cows and were not carrying proof of identity in their own milking parlour so could not make it available to the Army. They were bundled into a Land Rover and, after receiving considerable abuse, they were taken to Markethill police station.
I was immediately informed of the incident. Those young men were arrested under the emergency provisions legislation and the Prevention of Terrorism Act. When I made inquiries, the young men were being released. When I talked to the police it was obvious that they did not believe one word of the soldiers. It was the second time that the family had been treated in such a way. On the first occasion, I was in correspondence with the Minister. I reported the incident to the police, whose views I received. I reported it to the brigadier in charge of the area and the Anglo-Irish Conference. Not one person within the system has been able to say that it was wrong that the event should have occurred and that the soldiers involved would be dealt with. There has been no redress.
187 The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) is smirking—he is enjoying this. It is such abuse of the legislation that is throwing people into the arms of the provisional IRA. I have never raised a specific case on the Floor of the House before and I probably shall not do so again. However, when such a case is fed into the system, but that system is impotent and cannot protect the rights of people against the excesses carried out under such legislation, it makes me despair, not just of the system, but of the legislation.
One could speak for ever—I shall not—about elements of the legislation. I shall simply make the same point that I have made every year since I entered the House. Do we want to solve the problem or do we want military victory over the IRA, the UVF, the UDA and whatever else? It is worth thinking about that. Do we want peace and a solution, or do we want to respond to the type of Kiplingesque demands that are consistently made?
§ Mr. Andrew Hunter (Basingstoke)
I listened with care to the remarks of the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon). Although it was by no means the first time that I have heard him speak, never before had I heard him so strident and intransigent, and I found his remarks depressing. I saw them, first and foremost, as a bleak, ill omen for any hope at some time in the future of restarting the constitutional talks.
If those are the hon. Gentleman's attitudes—of course, he means what he says—one can only conclude that he sees the nationalist community as continuing to be a source, and a provider of succour, for those men of violence, unless the nationalist community gets its own way. What hope is there for normalisation, with that sort of attitude running through? His is a thesis that is devoid of hope.
A degree of repetition inevitably characterises these annual debates on the renewal of the provisions of the emergency provisions Act and the prevention of terrorism Act. I am aware that what I say may reflect what I have said in the past. If I am open to that charge, I am sure that the same charge can be levelled against other hon. Members.
Given the tragic fact of the continuation of violence in Northern Ireland by the IRA and various republican groupings on the one hand and, on the other, by so-called loyalist groupings, there is no alternative other than to give the measures our approval, and we should be failing in our duty if we did not do so.
For that reason, I deeply regret the attitude of Opposition Members. I understand their reservations about a number of features in the provisions, but they are making the wrong conclusion in jumping from those reservations to a position of not supporting them. As the saying goes, that gives the wrong signals to this country and especially to the IRA.
I give my full and unequivocal support to the continuance order. I note with interest the unequivocal support given also at various stages by Lord Colville. I cannot recall him writing so succinctly as he writes on page 4:It is impossible to disagree with those who advise that the Act is still needed.He later adds:Any diminution of the determination or capability on the part of the Government and the Security Forces to prevent these crimes or catch the criminals could merely act as an invitation to the opposing faction".188 I particularly welcome his further comment:the impact of the EPA is not so dramatic as to affect the majority of the law-abiding public to any great extent.That suggests that the right balance is being maintained. It adds to my confidence in the continuance order and the other measures. Such measures are demanded by the circumstances and we should be failing in our duty if we did not support them. Any infringement of civil liberties must be accepted with regret as necessary and right.
A few points in the report particularly struck me. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State referred in his opening remarks to the first of the major recommendations, on page 5:The Government should give consideration to introducing custody time limits for all persons on remand for indictable offences".I welcomed my right hon. and learned Friend's comments on that point and I believe that we are moving in the right direction.
Some of the evidence that has come my way about the situation in Northern Ireland has led me particularly to welcome the sixth recommendation in the report, thatthe Government should consider introducing a code of practice on 'stop and search' under the EPA.I have felt for some time that that matter demanded attention.
I was grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for enabling me to intervene in his speech to mention the matter of greatest concern to me—measures relating to the confiscation of terrorist funds. I sincerely hope that the amendments will close any existing loophole and that soon there will he something to show for those measures.
It is obvious that terrorism flourishes, among other things, on its financial support, its financial means and its ability to finance its operations. It is regrettable that there has been little action in that respect in the past, but I hope that the reassurances and optimism that characterised my right hon. and learned Friend's speech will soon become reality.
I give a warm welcome to the measures, which I believe will again play an important part in combating terrorism.
§ Mr. David Alton (Liverpool, Mossley Hill)
I am happy to speak following the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter). Like him, I have come to the conclusion that, unpalatable though it is that there should be a continuing need for measures of this kind, it would send the wrong signals if the House were not to agree to the continuance order.
It cannot be easy for anyone to work up enthusiasm for the measures. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) said much with which I agreed. I cannot believe that any hon. Member feels enthusiastic or gung-ho about the measures or believes that, as the hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) put it, we are doing other than going through the annual ritual of agreeing to the measures. Yet, as I say, it would send the wrong signals not to approve them. We have a duty to continue to maintain what order we can in Northern Ireland and accept that, as Lord Colville says in his report, there is no other choice but to maintain our security and military presence there to ensure that civil war does not break out in Northern Ireland.
Lord Colville comes to the depressing conclusion—perhaps it is the most that he is able to say—that life is 189 simply liveable in Northern Ireland. In the same vein, our agreeing to the renewal of the measures tonight merely represents our minimalist objective of allowing life there to be just about liveable.
Surely we can do better than that, and this is where I disagree with some of the remarks of the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Sir E. Heath). He talked about excluding members of the Democratic Unionist party—for example, the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley)—from the talks process, if that would ensure that some sort of easy agreement could more rapidly be reached.
It would be absurd to exclude people from any part of the community in Northern Ireland. The hon. Member for Belfast, East spoke with passion and vigour, as he always does on such occasions, about the reality of life for people in the unionist part of the community. In the same way, the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) spoke with passion and vigour about the effects of terrorism on the people he represents in the nationalist part of the community in Northern Ireland. No great prizes would be won by excluding either side from the talks process.
Surely we yearn for the day when Sinn Fein renounces violence and becomes part of the process. Let us remember that "Sinn Fein" means "ourselves alone." That sums up the whole problem of people who simply want to look after themselves and their own interests. We desperately need not to exclude people but to listen carefully to what all parts of the community are saying.
Reversing the blood bath and having another alienated group of people in Northern Ireland—on this occasion, the 'unionist community rather than the nationalists, who have been alienated in the past—would not solve any problems. That is why I believe that the process of talks, difficult though it is, and the process of political progress with which the Secretary of State has so steadfastly persevered, are the right way ahead.
§ Mr. Mallon
I had hoped to make this point in my speech, but I forgot to do so. Just in case there is any misunderstanding, I am not in favour of excluding anyone from anything. Any future talks must be inclusive and include everyone possible. I certainly have no desire to exclude anyone.
§ Mr. Alton
I am reassured, although not surprised, to hear the hon. Gentleman say that. He must be right. We need the maximum involvement of everyone in Northern Ireland to make political progress. We have to deal with the democratic deficit there.
Although political progress alone may not overcome terrorism—on this, I agree with the hon. Member for Belfast, East—unless we fill the political vacuum we will continue to be in trouble. Such progress can be brought about only by real leadership on the part of the politicians of Northern Ireland, all of whom I admire as individuals. I have visited many of their constituencies and have seen for myself what they have to endure.
I am amazed by their personal stamina and courage in the face of so much tragedy. I enormously admire the way they represent their constituents' interests and their stance against terrorism.
I imagine that, as the years pass, all that must take its toll—day after day, they hear of friends, relatives, 190 neighbours or political associates being killed. It would be surprising indeed if, after all this has gone on remorselessly, they could be expected to come here and participate like members of a friendly debating society. It is remarkable that they can co-operate as much as they do
Cardinal Daly, in his booklet "Dialogue for Peace", put it very well:The problem in Northern Ireland is fundamentally a political one. It is the problem of establishing credible institutions of government able to win the allegiance and merit the trust of both communities.The security problem mirrors that, too. The security institutions must win the trust and confidence of both sides of the community. There is no doubt that confidence is undermined and that the cause of reconciliation is jeopardised by events such as the Stalker affair and the cases of Annie Maguire, the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six. If these emergency powers lead to any abuses in Northern Ireland, they will continue to endanger opportunities for political progress.
Earlier, the hon. Member for Eltham (Mr. Bottomley) intervened to highlight the case of John Matthews. In common with other hon. Members who have been following the work done by the hon. Member for Foyle (Mr. Hume) on behalf of John Matthews, I have received a letter from his uncle., Danny Kelly. Speaking of his nephew, he writes:My nephew has never been in trouble with the law before in his life. This is his first time ever being brought before a court. Since John graduated in Geography from Queens University, Belfast in 1992 he has been working and living openly in London with his aunt in Wood Green, north London.John was put in an identity parade, in which he agreed to take part to try to dispel allegations against him. The witness did not positively pick him out. In his letter, Danny Kelly says:The witness was convinced that John was not one of two persons who hijacked his taxi and his remarks at this ID parade clearly expressed that. It has now just become known to us that this ID evidence has now been withdrawn by the police at the latest court hearing.Mr. Kelly continues:The forensic evidence also raises doubts because it has not been clearly defined by the police, and due to the unreliability of forensic allegations in previous cases one has to ask again why the police proceeded in this case".The Irish Times of 27 May states:According to Irish community activists in London, the 11 people arrested after the April 24th NatWest bombing included a young man who left Belfast earlier this year after the IRA had shot dead his brother. Irish community groups fear that there may be a recurrence of the events of the mid-1970s when the British police forces felt under pressure to respond with arrests to IRA outrages.If a mistake has been made in this case—I cannot say whether one has been—we should listen to the representations such as those from Mr. Kelly. So as to ensure that the security forces are not further undermined by the conviction or attempted conviction of the wrong person, I hope that the Secretary of State will be open to that.
For the future, we need a far more credible system to uphold the administration of law. Surely the logic of the Anglo-Irish process leads to the idea of a joint security commission, and perhaps some system of examining magistrates who can probe cases of the sort that I have described. In the long term, I would also like joint courts and the joint enactment of legislation such as that under discussion here. The Dail should be asked to pass identical 191 legislation concurrently. That would show that both Parliaments are committed to the cause of extinguishing terrorism and of cherishing the democratic ideal.
We must also redouble our efforts to deal with the financing of terrorism. It is an oxygen line that pumps money into organisations such as the IRA, much of it from the United States of America. After the terrible Warrington outrage. I met Mr. Colin Parry, one of the most courageous men I have ever met. His boy was killed in that bombing. He has indicated his wish to go to north America to tell people there what happens to families who get caught up in acts of terrorism.
Within days of Mr. Parry's statement to that effect, it was traduced by members of Noraid. In The Irish People, Martin Galvin tried to turn Mr. Parry's statement on its head. Downing street was good enough to send me a copy of the report which appeared in The Irish People after I wrote to the Prime Minister telling him of Colin Parry's initiative. Noraid had quite erroneously tried to give the impression that the British Government were launching a propaganda exercise to try to capitalise on the deaths at Warrington.
We have to realise what we are up against, but it is right to encourage people such as Colin Parry and Susan McHugh, whom I visited in Dublin recently. She and thousands of ordinary people in Ireland and in this country are saying that they have had enough of this terrorism—here, I echo the remarks of the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup—and they deserve a response with all the force that we can muster. We must particularly ensure that the funding that still pours into the terrorist organisations is stopped.
After two years of the operation of the new laws, there have as yet been no convictions or sequestration of funds from terrorist groups. We know that many of them are involved in thuggery and gangsterism of the worst sort —not unlike that of the Mafia. This goes way beyond the terrorism that emerged 20 years ago after the civil rights demonstrations. It is essential that we get to grips with it and ensure that the money used by these organisations is reinvested in the work towards reconciliation that needs to be undertaken throughout these islands.
This is not an Irish problem. William Gladstone pointed out how extraordinary it was that the genius of the British people had failed them in this one area, and it has continued to fail them over the century that has passed since then. The solution has continued to elude us. It is absurd that in this one remaining corner of western Europe the old hatreds and the twin houses of hatred and terrorism should persist, enmeshing and embroiling so many of us.
I am proud to hold, besides my British citizenship, Irish citizenship, because of my mother's origins. I am proud that my three children hold Irish citizenship too. There is so much in both our traditions of which we should be proud. We must build on the things that we hold in common as Europeans. That is how to combat this terrorist plague and to get our relationships right. Unless we do that, we shall come back here year after year into infinity to renew orders of this kind.
§ Mr. Roger Stott (Wigan)
I listened with great interest to the Father of the House, the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Sir E. Heath)—as I do whenever he 192 makes a contribution in the Chamber—but I disagree with his implication that we should exclude a party in Northern Ireland from any future constitutional talks about the way in which the Province is to be governed. I understand the right hon. Gentleman's frustration with the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. I. Paisley); I feel it myself. I think that the hon. Member for Antrim, North should not persist in his preconditions for the resumption of talks, but that should not in any way prevent his party from taking part in the talks which I very much hope the Secretary of State will begin as soon as possible.
I have listened with interest, and some disappointment, to the debate. As on previous occasions, we have heard, unfortunately, the Government rehearsing their all-too-familiar arguments in respect of emergency legislation. During this debate—and probably more so in the debate on renewing the Prevention of Terrorism Act—some Conservative Members seemed to imply that the Labour party is somehow soft on terrorism because we have legitimate differences with the Secretary of State on the issue of emergency legislation.
Hon. Members who have known us for long enough will know that my hon. Friends and I find that attitude contemptible. I wish to place on record, on behalf of the leader of my party and the shadow Northern Ireland team, that we utterly condemn terrorism, whoever the perpetrator. Some Conservative Members do the people of Northern Ireland a disservice by suggesting that the House is not totally united in its abhorrence of terrorist atrocities.
§ Dr. Joe Hendron (Belfast, West)
Does the hon. Gentleman agree, in terms of the legislation and its application, that on the streets of areas like west Belfast, Strabane, Newry and ordinary towns and cities, it is important that the security forces and the police treat young people with dignity? To do otherwise is morally wrong and counter-productive, because in such circumstances the security forces become the recruiting sergeants for the Provisional IRA and the UDA.
§ Mr. Stott
I agree with the hon. Member for Belfast, West (Dr. Hendron), who represents an area where there is an inordinate level of security force activity—not just once a week, but practically every day. I will have more to say about that later.
Together with my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara), I pay tribute to the security forces in Northern Ireland—who deserve all our support—and to the prison service and the judiciary, who inevitably have to carry out their duties in a very hostile environment. Without their commitment the situation in Northern Ireland would undoubtedly be far worse.
Every Member of the House is elected to represent the interests, and protect the freedoms, of his or her constituents. It is also the responsibility of each right hon. and hon. Member fully to justify any curtailment of those civil rights. As the Opposition have consistently stated, the Labour party accepts that there may be a case for emergency powers in order to maximise the fight against terrorism in Northern Ireland. It believes, however, that certain provisions in the order are unacceptable—and unacceptable use of emergency legislation does more to undermine democratic credibility than to combat terrorism.
193 As my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, North said, the Labour party has long called for the visual and sound recording of interviews. He explained that measures can be taken to ensure that material of a sensitive nature is not released. This method of interview would not only protect the suspect, but furnish the security forces with evidence that could be used to refute any allegations made against them—which I feel is very important. The Government allow this practice in the rest of the United Kingdom; why are they not prepared to allow it in Northern Ireland? The Labour party believes that the Secretary of State should ensure adequate safeguards for both the accused and the accuser. Should the Government—after the Secretary of State's careful consideration of the matter—refuse to introduce video or audio taping of interviews, many people in Northern Ireland will be legitimately entitled to ask the Government what they have got to hide.
It is not only the failure to provide adequate safeguards in interviews that denies the people of Northern Ireland access to basic human rights; what the Labour party cannot accept are the powers contained in the legislation and in the Prevention of Terrorism Act which enable the Government to detain suspects in Northern Ireland without charge.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, North said, if an Executive erodes the basic rights of a substantial swathe of its own citizens—however admirable its objectives may be in doing so—the limitations that it seeks to place on democracy serve only to hurt the majority of law-abiding citizens. The Government are suspending the rule of law against which the terrorists are so vehemently fighting. In a democratic society, such a move represents a victory only for the tactics of terror.
It is because of these and other fundamental differences —which my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon. Hull, North and the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) set out in graphic detail—that we cannot support the legislation as it stands. The continuing problems in Northern Ireland have, sadly, not been met by an adaptable or appropriate response from the Government.
Twenty years ago, temporary measures were hurriedly introduced in an attempt to tackle the desperate situation in Northern Ireland. Now, 20 years later, advanced media techniques continue to bring, with disturbing clarity, the murders of innocent people and the carnage of bombed towns into our living rooms. That should send the strongest possible signal to the Government, who have presided over this tragedy for the past 14 years, that the annual review of tired legislation is not enough and is clearly not working.
It is with a profound sense of regret that we are unable to find a consensus on this most important matter. I fully understand the position taken by some Northern Ireland Members on the question of emergency powers—they and their constituents have been in the front line of terrorist atrocities for over 20 years—but when emergency powers such as those contained in the order erode people's basic civil liberties, and given the corrosive effect that that has 194 on the vast majority of both communities in Northern Ireland, the Labour party cannot, regrettably, support renewal of this order.
§ The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Mr. Michael Mates)
The House has had the opportunity to give full consideration to the powers in place to continue the fight against the terrorists in Northern Ireland—powers which remain necessary and will be used resolutely as long as terrorism persists.
Many interesting and worthwhile points have been made during the debate. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) welcomed, as I did, the prospect of a change to the extradition laws in the Republic of Ireland. An undertaking has been given and we look forward to that becoming less of a thorny problem as a result of the change in the law. The hon. Gentleman said that the only reason why he advised his party to vote against the legislation was that internment was on the statute book, and the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Stott) gave some other reasons.
The requirement to have internment available has to be there. It is not just in Northern Ireland, but in the Republic of Ireland. It is a legacy of the days when it was used on both sides of the border. My right hon. and learned Friend has no intention of introducing it in the present circumstances, but not to have it there as a fallback if circumstances demand it would be neglectful and the Government are not prepared to allow that to happen.
The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) talked about the independent assessor. On that matter he is plain wrong. He will see that the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1991 says:The Independent Assessor—
Therefore, the powers that he complained were not there, are there.
- (b) shall receive and investigate any representations concerning those procedures;
- (c) may investigate the operation of those procedures in relation to any particular complaint or group of complaints;
- (d) may require the GOC to review any particular case or group of cases in which the Independent Assessor considers any of those procedures to have operated inadequately".
§ Mr. McNamara
With respect, the Minister has misquoted me. The substance of my complaint is that the independent assessor may look only at procedural matters. He may not look at the substance of the complaints. That is still the psosition and it is what Lord Colville says. Looking at the procedures is not sufficient.
§ Mr. Mates
If that is the hon. Gentleman's view, we must leave it there.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Sir E. Heath) made a notable intervention. He asked about the difference between the problems we face and the problem faced by other European countries. I can answer that in one word. It is the border. The border provides an opportunity for terrorists to move between two police forces and two legal systems. That is what makes the problem so difficult.
The figures for the past 10 years show that the RUC's border subdivisions, which have only 19 per cent. of the Province's population, have had 40 per cent. of all the deaths as a result of the security problems. They have had 195 over 50 per cent. of all the explosives used and almost 30 per cent. of shootings. That is the uncomfortable and difficult fact. It does not mean that we are not working as hard as we can, with the security forces and the Government in the Republic, to try to overcome the problem, but to fail to mention it would be to ignore one of the real issues we face in trying to come to terms, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup put it, with the terrorist problem in Northern Ireland.
My right hon. Friend also mentioned a central anti-terrorist body. There has been a great deal of argument about that over recent months. It is chiefly a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary. My right hon. Friend the Father of the House said that it needs to be looked at by a higher level of Government. I can assure him that during the 13 months in which I have been doing this job it has been given a great deal of attention by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and the Committee on Northern Ireland, which is a new feature since the general election. I can assure my right hon. Friend that the Prime Minister is taking a close interest in this matter, as are senior members of the Government of the Republic. It is through that increased co-operation and determination that we look to more success in the future.
The right hon. Member for Lagan Valley (Mr. Molyneaux) echoed some of the Chief Constable's words about the changes in the law and mentioned the remarks of the chairman of the Police Federation this morning. He may be aware of what the chairman of the Police Federation said, but I am not sure that he knows what my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State said in reply. His words will he on the record and will be reported tomorrow, so I shall not repeat them.
Several hon. Members have mentioned the intimidation of lawyers. Our position on that is clear. If it is taking place, it is wrong. It is unacceptable and we will not tolerate it. However, if it is taking place, we must be given evidence. The problem is that it is repeated from body to body, the most notable being one from the United States, and it is alleged as if it is a proven fact. If it is happening, we would like to have evidence. It is intolerable in any society, especially ours. However, such evidence has not been forthcoming and, until it is, we can do nothing but condemn it if it is happening and long for the day when evidence will be produced.
The right hon. Member for Lagan Valley objected to the phrase:Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.He may find that phrase objectionable, but he agreed to it before the talks began. It was on the basis of his agreement that the talks took place. As he knows, the talks lasted for some months and made more progress than he suspected would have been the case at the start.
The hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) gave us a familiar diatribe against the Anglo-Irish Agreement, calling it a concession to violence and saying that it was the concession of joint authority. Once again I must tell him that he is wrong. The agreement states specifically that its provisions imply no derogation from the sovereignty of either state and nobody has said anything like the remarks that the hon. Gentleman claimed have been made.
The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) mentioned the case of one of his constituents and the report of what had happened in court. It is a tragic case.
196 However, for the security forces, the car was stoned by a group of youths. Those responsible were quickly arrested. They were brought to trial on various charges, including manslaughter, for which the available penalty is a sentence of life imprisonment. What happens thereafter cannot be the responsibility of the RUC, the Government or the Northern Ireland Office. It is a matter for the courts. The courts are independent. They heard the evidence and took a decision, which is as the hon. Gentleman stated. That is not something for which we can be blamed.
The hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) raised the takeover by the IRA of Cullaville. It was not seen by the security forces in the tower because that area is in dead ground. Had the security forces seen it, they would certainly have reported it and something might have been done about it. However, it could also have been a come-on. The hon. Gentleman is experienced enough to know that the IRA is up to all sorts of ruses such as that. For the hon. Gentleman to suggest that the security forces saw it and did nothing does them a disservice and is not the truth.
The hon. Gentleman mentioned Markethill and the complaint that he said that he has raised with me. He did not mention the constituent's name. If he provides me with the name, I shall have the case looked into and write to him. Without that knowledge, it is difficult to say anything here.
My hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter) talked about the delays in justice. We have been working hard on that. The working party looking into the delays has made a great deal of progress in identifying where they are. There will he resource implications which we will have to look at when the time comes. I hope that as a result of the work that we have done in the past nine months we can reduce considerably the delays in bringing people to trial, as that is a bad part of the administration of justice now.
My hon. Friend mentioned the terrorist finance unit, as did many other hon. Members. We are well on the way to achieving some success there. It is a complex matter and it is better to proceed slowly and succeed than to proceed in haste or under pressure and to fail. Therefore, I must ask hon. Members to be patient.
I must tell the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) that we are not gung-ho when we bring these provisions to the House. The day that my right hon. and learned Friend and I feel that we do not need to ask for the provisions to be renewed will be the happiest in our time at the Northern Ireland Office. We do this because it is fundamentally necessary.
The hon. Member for Mossley Hill was rather too gloomy when he said that life is livable in Northern Ireland. It is a great deal more than that. A great deal of life in Northern Ireland is very good and for many people life is normal. Their spirit is remarkable, but their life, jobs and prosperity are better than some would have us believe. I do not want the message to go out that all is gloom there because as far as I am concerned it is certainly not.
The application for the powers may cause inconvenience, but at the end of the day we shall have to implement them resolutely and, given the circumstances, as sensitively as possible in pursuit of the Government's first aim in Northern Ireland—the eradication of terrorism.
One day it may no longer be necessary, but until that time comes the legislation must remain in place. That is why it is impossible to understand why the official 197 Opposition cannot support us. They bring one or two minor points to our attention, but without the legislation the terrorists would have far greater opportunities to wreak the havoc that they have been wreaking, and it is the duty of all hon. Members to support us in the Lobby.
§ It being Seven o'clock, MADAM SPEAKER proceeded to put forthwith the Question necessary to dispose of proceedings on the motion, pursuant to Order [21 May].
§ The House divided: Ayes 314, Noes 204.200
|Division No. 289]||[7 pm|
|Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)||Coombs, Simon (Swindon)|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Cope, Rt Hon Sir John|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)||Cormack, Patrick|
|Allason, Rupert (Torbay)||Couchman, James|
|Alton, David||Cran, James|
|Amess, David||Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)|
|Ancram, Michael||Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon)|
|Arbuthnot, James||Davies, Quentin (Stamford)|
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)||Davis, David (Boothferry)|
|Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv)||Day, Stephen|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Deva, Nirj Joseph|
|Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E)||Dickens, Geoffrey|
|Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)||Dicks, Terry|
|Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)||Dorrell, Stephen|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North)||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James|
|Baldry, Tony||Dover, Den|
|Banks, Robert (Harrogate)||Duncan, Alan|
|Bates, Michael||Duncan-Smith, Iain|
|Batiste, Spencer||Dunn, Bob|
|Beggs, Roy||Durant, Sir Anthony|
|Beith, Rt Hon A. J.||Dykes, Hugh|
|Bellingham, Henry||Eggar, Tim|
|Bendall, Vivian||Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter|
|Beresford, Sir Paul||Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)|
|Blackburn, Dr John G.||Evans, Roger (Monmouth)|
|Body, Sir Richard||Evennett, David|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Faber, David|
|Booth, Hartley||Fabricant, Michael|
|Boswell, Tim||Fenner, Dame Peggy|
|Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)||Forman, Nigel|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia||Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)|
|Bowden, Andrew||Forsythe, Clifford (Antrim S)|
|Bowis, John||Forth, Eric|
|Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes||Foster, Don (Bath)|
|Brandreth, Gyles||Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)|
|Brazier, Julian||Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)|
|Bright, Graham||Freeman, Roger|
|Brooke, Rt Hon Peter||French, Douglas|
|Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)||Gale, Roger|
|Browning, Mrs. Angela||Gallie, Phil|
|Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)||Gardiner, Sir George|
|Burns, Simon||Garnier, Edward|
|Burt, Alistair||Gill, Christopher|
|Butcher, John||Gillan, Cheryl|
|Butler, Peter||Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair|
|Butterfill, John||Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles|
|Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)||Gorman, Mrs Teresa|
|Carlile, Alexander (Montgomry)||Gorst, John|
|Carlisle, John (Luton North)||Grant, Sir Anthony (Cambs SW)|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)|
|Carrington, Matthew||Greenway, John (Ryedale)|
|Carttiss, Michael||Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)|
|Cash, William||Grylls, Sir Michael|
|Channon, Rt Hon Paul||Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn|
|Clappison, James||Hague, William|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Hamilton, Rt Hon Archie (Epsom)|
|Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ruclif)||Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)|
|Coe, Sebastian||Hampson, Dr Keith|
|Colvin, Michael||Hanley, Jeremy|
|Congdon, David||Hannam, Sir John|
|Conway, Derek||Hargreaves, Andrew|
|Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)||Harris, David|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Montgomery, Sir Fergus|
|Hawkins, Nick||Moss, Malcolm|
|Hawksley, Warren||Needham, Richard|
|Hayes, Jerry||Nelson, Anthony|
|Heald, Oliver||Neubert, Sir Michael|
|Heath, Rt Hon Sir Edward||Newton, Rt Hon Tony|
|Hendry, Charles||Nicholls, Patrick|
|Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael||Nicholson, David (Taunton)|
|Hicks, Robert||Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)|
|Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence L.||Norris, Steve|
|Hill, James (Southampton Test)||Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley|
|Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)||Oppenheim, Phillip|
|Horam, John||Ottaway, Richard|
|Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Page, Richard|
|Howard, Rt Hon Michael||Paice, James|
|Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)||Paisley, Rev Ian|
|Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)||Patnick, Irvine|
|Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W)||Patten, Rt Hon John|
|Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)||Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey|
|Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)||Pawsey, James|
|Hunter, Andrew||Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth|
|Jack, Michael||Pickles, Eric|
|Jackson, Robert (Wantage)||Porter, Barry (Wirral S)|
|Jenkin, Bernard||Porter, David (Waveney)|
|Jessel, Toby||Portillo, Rt Hon Michael|
|Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey||Powell, William (Corby)|
|Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)||Redwood, John|
|Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)||Rendel, David|
|Jopling, Rt Hon Michael||Renton, Rt Hon Tim|
|Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine||Richards, Rod|
|Kennedy, Charles (Ross, C&S)||Rifkind, Rt Hon. Malcolm|
|Key, Robert||Robathan, Andrew|
|Kilfedder, Sir James||Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn|
|King, Rt Hon Tom||Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)|
|Kirkhope, Timothy||Robinson, Mark (Somerton)|
|Kirkwood, Archy||Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)|
|Knapman, Roger||Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)|
|Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)||Ross, William (E Londonderry)|
|Knight, Greg (Derby N)||Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)|
|Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)||Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela|
|Knox, David||Ryder, Rt Hon Richard|
|Kynoch, George (Kincardine)||Sackville, Tom|
|Lait, Mrs Jacqui||Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas|
|Lang, Rt Hon Ian||Shaw, David (Dover)|
|Lawrence, Sir Ivan||Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)|
|Legg, Barry||Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian|
|Leigh, Edward||Sims, Roger|
|Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)||Skeet, Sir Trevor|
|Lidington, David||Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)|
|Lilley, Rt Hon Peter||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)|
|Lord, Michael||Soames, Nicholas|
|Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas||Spencer, Sir Derek|
|Lynne, Ms Liz||Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)|
|MacGregor, Rt Hon John||Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)|
|MacKay, Andrew||Spink, Dr Robert|
|Maclean, David||Spring, Richard|
|McLoughlin, Patrick||Sproat, Iain|
|McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick||Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)|
|Madel, David||Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John|
|Maitland, Lady Olga||Steel, Rt Hon Sir David|
|Malone, Gerald||Steen, Anthony|
|Mans, Keith||Stephen, Michael|
|Marland, Paul||Stern, Michael|
|Marlow, Tony||Streeter, Gary|
|Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)||Sumberg, David|
|Martin, David (Portsmouth S)||Sweeney, Walter|
|Mates, Michael||Sykes, John|
|Mawhinney, Dr Brian||Tapsell, Sir Peter|
|Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick||Taylor, Ian (Esher)|
|Mellor, Rt Hon David||Taylor, Rt Hon John D. (Strgfd)|
|Merchant, Piers||Taylor, John M. (Solihull)|
|Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll Bute)||Taylor, Matthew (Truro)|
|Milligan, Stephen||Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)|
|Mills, Iain||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)||Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)|
|Mitchell, Sir David (Hants NW)||Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)|
|Moate, Sir Roger||Thornton, Sir Malcolm|
|Molyneaux, Rt Hon James||Thurnham, Peter|
|Monro, Sir Hector||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)||Whitney, Ray|
|Tracey, Richard||Whittingdale, John|
|Tredinnick, David||Widdecombe, Ann|
|Trend, Michael||Wiggin, Sir Jerry|
|Trotter, Neville||Wilkinson, John|
|Twinn, Dr Ian||Willetts, David|
|Tyler, Paul||Wilshire, David|
|Viggers, Peter||Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)|
|Walden, George||Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)|
|Walker, Bill (N Tayside)||Wood, Timothy|
|Wallace, James||Yeo, Tim|
|Ward, John||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)|
|Waterson, Nigel||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Watts, John||Mr. David Lightbown and|
|Wells, Bowen||Mr. Sydney Chapman.|
|Abbott, Ms Diane||Cunliffe, Lawrence|
|Adams, Mrs Irene||Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)|
|Ainger, Nick||Dafis, Cynog|
|Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)||Darling, Alistair|
|Allen, Graham||Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)|
|Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)||Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)|
|Armstrong, Hilary||Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)|
|Ashton, Joe||Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'I)|
|Austin-Walker, John||Denham, John|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Dewar, Donald|
|Barnes, Harry||Dixon, Don|
|Battle, John||Donohoe, Brian H.|
|Bayley, Hugh||Dowd, Jim|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Dunnachie, Jimmy|
|Benton, Joe||Eagle, Ms Angela|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Enright, Derek|
|Berry, Dr. Roger||Etherington, Bill|
|Betts, Clive||Evans, John (St Helens N)|
|Blair, Tony||Ewing, Mrs Margaret|
|Boyce, Jimmy||Fatchett, Derek|
|Bradley, Keith||Foster, Rt Hon Derek|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Foulkes, George|
|Brown, N. (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)||Fyfe, Maria|
|Burden, Richard||Gapes, Mike|
|Byers, Stephen||George, Bruce|
|Caborn, Richard||Gerrard, Neil|
|Callaghan, Jim||Godman, Dr Norman A.|
|Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)||Godsiff, Roger|
|Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)||Golding, Mrs Llin|
|Campbell-Savours, D. N.||Gordon, Mildred|
|Canavan, Dennis||Graham, Thomas|
|Chisholm, Malcolm||Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)|
|Clapham, Michael||Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)|
|Clark, Dr David (South Shields)||Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)|
|Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)||Grocott, Bruce|
|Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)||Gunnell, John|
|Clelland, David||Hall, Mike|
|Clwyd, Mrs Ann||Hanson, David|
|Coffey, Ann||Hardy, Peter|
|Cohen, Harry||Harman, Ms Harriet|
|Connarty, Michael||Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton N)||Hendron, Dr Joe|
|Corbett, Robin||Heppell, John|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Hinchliffe, David|
|Corston, Ms Jean||Home Robertson, John|
|Cox, Tom||Hood, Jimmy|
|Cryer, Bob||Hoon, Geoffrey|
|Howarth, George (Knowsley N)||O'Hara, Edward|
|Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)||Patchett, Terry|
|Hoyle, Doug||Pendry, Tom|
|Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)||Pickthall, Colin|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Pike, Peter L.|
|Hume, John||Pope, Greg|
|Hutton, John||Powell, Ray (Ogmore)|
|Illsley, Eric||Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)|
|Ingram, Adam||Prescott, John|
|Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)||Primarolo, Dawn|
|Jamieson, David||Quin, Ms Joyce|
|Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side)||Radice, Giles|
|Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Môn)||Redmond, Martin|
|Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)||Reid, Dr John|
|Jowell, Tessa||Robertson, George (Hamilton)|
|Keen, Alan||Roche, Mrs. Barbara|
|Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn)||Rooker, Jeff|
|Khabra, Piara S.||Rooney, Terry|
|Kilfoyle, Peter||Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)|
|Leighton, Ron||Rowlands, Ted|
|Lestor, Joan (Eccles)||Ruddock, Joan|
|Litherland, Robert||Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert|
|Livingstone, Ken||Short, Clare|
|Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)||Simpson, Alan|
|Llwyd, Elfyn||Skinner, Dennis|
|Loyden, Eddie||Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)|
|McAllion, John||Smith, C. (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)|
|McCartney, Ian||Smith, Rt Hon John (M'kl'ds E)|
|Macdonald, Calum||Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)|
|McFall, John||Soley, Clive|
|McKelvey, William||Spearing, Nigel|
|Mackinlay, Andrew||Steinberg, Gerry|
|McLeish, Henry||Stott, Roger|
|McMaster, Gordon||Strang, Dr. Gavin|
|McNamara, Kevin||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)|
|Madden, Max||Tipping, Paddy|
|Mahon, Alice||Turner, Dennis|
|Mallon, Seamus||Vaz, Keith|
|Marek, Dr John||Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold|
|Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)||Walley, Joan|
|Martlew, Eric||Wardell, Gareth (Gower)|
|Meacher, Michael||Wareing, Robert N|
|Meale, Alan||Watson, Mike|
|Michael, Alun||Wicks, Malcolm|
|Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Milburn, Alan||Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)|
|Miller, Andrew||Wilson, Brian|
|Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)||Winnick, David|
|Moonie, Dr Lewis||Wise, Audrey|
|Morgan, Rhodri||Worthington, Tony|
|Morris, Rt Hon A. (Wy'nshawe)||Wray, Jimmy|
|Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley)||Wright, Dr Tony|
|Mowlam, Marjorie||Young, David (Bolton SE)|
|Mullin, Chris||Tellers for the Noes:|
|O'Brien, Michael (N W'kshire)||Mr. John Speller and|
|O'Brien, William (Normanton)||Mr. Jon Owen Jones.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ That the draft Northern Ireland (Emergency and Prevention of Terrorism Provisions) (Continuance) Order 1993, which was laid before this House on 20th May, be approved.