§ 4.6 pm
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Michael Howard)
I beg to move,
That the draft Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 (Continuance) Order 1995, which was laid before this House on 2nd March, be approved.At the beginning of last year's debate, I said that successive Home Secretaries had looked forward to the time when they would no longer have to come to the House to argue for the continuation of the exceptional powers first introduced in 1974. I also noted that, for most of the intervening 20 years, that had been very much a hope rather than an expectation. By the time that I came to wind up our short debate last year, the IRA had reinforced the point by launching a number of mortar bombs at Heathrow airport, thereby endangering the lives of many people from this country and overseas.
For nearly six months after that debate, terrorist activity continued at a high level in both Great Britain and Northern Ireland. A further five members of the security forces were killed in Northern Ireland, and a further 96 were injured. On this side of the Irish sea, it was only the skilful interception at Heysham on 12 July of a trailer containing a two-tonne bomb that prevented untold destruction in one of our towns or cities.
Nine days later, a bag containing explosives and other bomb-making material was denied to terrorists only when a passenger on an Oxford-Reading train removed it in the hope that it might contain something more valuable.
As recently as 13 August, the IRA planted two bicycle bombs: one in Brighton, which was safely defused; and the other a device outside Woolworth's in a busy shopping street in Bognor. It was pure good fortune that the Bognor device, and the subsequent bomb found on 22 August in a litter bin outside Laura Ashley in Regent Street, did not produce the same tragic consequences as the two explosions in Bridge street, Warrington.
Since then, the IRA cessation of violence and the subsequent loyalist ceasefire have transformed the situation. For the first time for many years, the people of Northern Ireland can go about their daily business without fear of violence from republican or loyalist paramilitaries. For the first time for many years, the imminent threat of IRA violence in the towns and cities of Great Britain has receded.
The Government have done, and will continue to do, everything in their power to consolidate the ceasefire into a lasting peace. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced on 21 October that we were prepared to make a working assumption that the cessation was intended to be permanent and, accordingly, exploratory dialogue began between officials and representatives of Sinn Fein on 9 December. Shortly afterwards, exploratory dialogue with so-called loyalist groups began. Both sets of dialogue continue.
It remains the Government's earnest hope that those who have previously supported the use of violence to advance their cause can be brought fully and irrevocably 349 within the political process. That of course means that there needs to be substantial progress on the issue of decommissioning arms and explosives.
§ Sir Anthony Grant (Cambridgeshire, South-West)
Has my right hon. and learned Friend read the extraordinary report that Mr. Adams and various IRA people are bringing a case in the European Court to claim vast sums of damages for being excluded from this country? Is he aware that that has caused outrage among my constituents, and no doubt many other people, who feel that it would be monstrous if huge sums of the taxpayer's money were extracted by those people, after all the misery and suffering that they have caused for years? Can my right hon. and learned Friend give us some reassurance about that?
§ Mr. Howard
I can understand the outrage to which my hon. Friend refers. The case was brought in the courts of the United Kingdom. It has been referred, on a point of law, to the European Court of Justice. Reports that the European Commission has made representations in support of the Adams claim are inaccurate. There is an exception in the provisions in the European treaty for free movement of people, for purposes of maintaining security, and I therefore do not share the opinions that have been expressed, in the newspaper reports to which my hon. Friend referred, about the likely outcome of that case.
§ Mr. John Greenway
The speech of my right hon. and learned Friend thus far and the most recent intervention have been about terrorism emanating from Ireland, and possibly from Northern Ireland, spreading into the rest of the United Kingdom. Does he agree, however, that there is great anxiety about the terrorist threat from outside the United Kingdom in respect of other matters?
Is it not the case that the two outrages in the past year, which have involved the serious injury of no less than 18 people, were not the work of the IRA but of an entirely different terrorist threat? In York and Harrogate, no less than five incendiary devices were activated, which were believed to be the work of the animal rights movement.
Obviously, we need those powers, regardless of the continuing peace process in Northern Ireland, which of course we all want.
§ Mr. Howard
My hon. Friend is absolutely right to draw attention to the continuing danger from terrorism, quite apart from Northern Irish terrorism. I agree that we shall certainly need powers to tackle terrorism on a permanent basis. Whether they would need to be precisely the same powers that we have needed in the past 20 years is a matter that falls for consideration. When the appropriate time has been reached, that matter will be given the consideration that it deserves.
§ Rev. Martin Smyth (Belfast, South)
We have been speaking about exclusion orders as well, and we have 350 noticed that there is to be a lifting of exclusion orders as Her Majesty's Government seek to respond to what is happening. Does the Home Secretary agree that, although the Ulster Unionist party has disagreed with the concept of temporary exile within the United Kingdom, the IRA-Sinn Fein have not lifted any of the exclusion orders that they have imposed on the people that they have expelled from their homes—never mind the hundreds that they have expelled from earth?
§ Mr. Howard
I agree with the hon. Gentleman, and let me give him an assurance. The decisions that have been taken about individual exclusion orders by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and those decisions that I have taken, which I shall explain to the House in a moment or two, have been taken on security grounds, and on no other grounds, and will continue to be taken on precisely that basis, and that basis alone.
§ Mr. Howard
I give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks), and then I must make progress.
§ Mr. Terry Dicks (Hayes and Harlington)
Will my right hon. and learned Friend give the House an assurance that, irrespective of what any European Court says about Mr. Adams and his allegation that he has lost his rights by being denied entry, this Government, our Government, my Government, will take no notice, will flatly refuse to recognise his so-called rights and flatly refuse to pay him, or any of his ilk, any money at all?
§ Mr. Howard
I assure my hon. Friend that I shall never authorise any payment of damages as a result of that case.
§ Mr. Howard
No, I must make progress.
The publication of the "Framework for the Future" document means that there is now a comprehensive set of ideas to stimulate political dialogue among parties committed to constitutional methods. But the subject of today's debate is not the political process as such, but its implications for the future of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989. In particular, I wish to explain to the House why, more than six months after the start of the IRA ceasefire, the Government are seeking the continuation of the Act in its entirety for a further 12 months.
Our position since 31 August has been characterised by two complementary responses. As threat levels have reduced and the immediate prospect of terrorist violence has receded, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and I have kept in close contact with our security advisers and have agreed to the lifting of restrictions which have no longer seemed justified in the new situation.
The broadcasting restrictions against Sinn Fein were lifted last September. In October, all the remaining closure orders on border roads in Northern Ireland were rescinded, and the exclusion orders against Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness were revoked. Since then, the presence of the Army on the streets of Northern Ireland has been greatly reduced and the Metropolitan and City 351 police have been able to scale down the high-profile armed patrols which they had been operating in central London.
But we are not prepared to do anything which would expose the people of our country to unnecessary risk. The troubles of the past 25 years have claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people and have injured many more. It would in our view be wholly irresponsible to dismantle our defences while the paramilitary organisations remain intact, while they continue to carry out brutal punishment beatings, while their command structures, weapons and explosives remain in place, and while they retain the capability to resume violence at very short notice.
§ Mr. Julian Brazier (Canterbury)
On the point about dismantling our security apparatus, will the Home Secretary comment on the words of the late Lord Diplock, delivered more than 20 years ago, about dealing with cases involving the security forces? He said:
the jury … should remind themselves that the postulated balancing of risk against risk … is not undertaken in the calm analytical atmosphere of the court-room … but in the brief second or two which the accused had to decide whether to shoot or not and under all the stresses to which he was exposed".Does the Home Secretary agree that, in considering cases such as that of Clegg and the two guardsmen, judges should think about those words very carefully?
§ Mr. Howard
My hon. Friend knows that I am unable to comment on particular cases. However, I agree entirely with the generality of the quotation by Lord Diplock.
§ Mr. Madden
Will the Home Secretary tell the House how often he has visited Northern Ireland since 31 August, how many community and political groups he has met, and how many of those groups have urged him to renew today's legislation? I have paid two such visits to Northern Ireland—the most recent of which was last week—and all the political groups there, Unionist and republican, emphasised the fact that the suspension of the exclusion and detention powers would greatly reinforce the peace process. Why does the Home Secretary disagree with them?
§ Mr. Howard
I have no doubt that we shall hear from the political representatives of the people of Northern Ireland in due course during the debate.
The hon. Gentleman stretches the credulity of the House if he suggests that it would be more sensible for the House to base its judgments on his reports—after two visits to Northern Ireland—than on the very careful examination of the question which was undertaken by Mr. John Rowe, to whose report I am about to come. He undertook extensive consultation in Northern Ireland, he talked to many people, and he reached a clear view about the necessity of the provisions.
I have not been to Northern Ireland since 30 August, but those members of the Government who have direct responsibility for Northern Ireland are there day after day, and they are in an excellent position—a position infinitely superior to that of the hon. Gentleman on the basis of his two visits—to form a view.
Against the background to which I have referred, let me return to the specific provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and explain why we believe it would be premature to allow any of its provisions to lapse.
352 First, we have given proper weight to the conclusions reached by Mr. John Rowe QC, who has carried out the customary annual review of the legislation. I am sure that members of all parties will want to record their thanks to Mr. Rowe for a thorough report, produced in the light of very widespread consultations.
Mr. Rowe's clear conclusion, reached at the end of an entirely independent scrutiny, was that the Act should now be renewed in its entirety for a further 12 months. He recognised that the moment might come when one or more provisions of the legislation would no longer be necessary, and he rightly observed that the making of this order would not rule out the possibility of change during the next 12 months. An order can be made under section 27 of the Act at any time to discontinue specific provisions of the Act, and he recommended that the Government should keep that possibility in mind.
That was Mr. Rowe's recommendation. In explaining why the Government have decided to accept it, I want to deal particularly with the powers of detention and exclusion, which remain the most exceptional features of the legislation. I also intend to say something about the longer-term future of the legislation, if, as we all hope, the present cessation leads to a lasting peace.
First, there are two aspects to the continuing need for the powers. Since 1984, a substantial part of the legislation has been available for use, in respect of not only Northern Irish terrorism but international terrorism. I need hardly remind the House that the single most devastating terrorist crime in this country was not an act of Irish terrorism, but the Lockerbie air disaster, in which no fewer than 270 people were killed.
Since then, the threat to this country from international terrorism has not gone away. The car bombs outside the Israeli embassy and Balfour house last July were a reminder of the particular vulnerability of the Jewish community. The Iranian fatwa against Salman Rushdie remains in force, and, with the growth of Islamic radicalism, we need to remain vigilant against the possibility that Britain will be used as a base for plotting acts of violence overseas and raising money for terrorist purposes.
§ Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)
In what way would the prevention of terrorism legislation that we are considering have done anything about Lockerbie? If the Government want the truth about Lockerbie, they had better talk seriously to the intelligence community, to Sir Peter Marychurch, Sir Colin Figures, American intelligence, Sir Charles Powell and, yes, the former Prime Minister.
§ Mr. Howard
I know of the hon. Gentleman's long interest in Lockerbie and all its ramifications, and I hope he will forgive me if I do not follow him down those byways today.
It is no part of the Government's case that this legislation is the only, or even the primary, weapon in our armoury against international terrorism. The Immigration Acts and the general provisions of the criminal law have a crucial part to play. But if the Prevention of Terrorism Act were simply swept away without any thought to what might need to go in its place, we would undoubtedly be making the job of the police much more difficult. 353 We are not dealing here merely with theoretical possibilities. The recent charges in connection with last July's bombings followed arrests under section 14 of the legislation and extensions for 48 hours beyond the initial two days' detention.
Secondly, the Government agree with Mr. Rowe that it is too early yet to conclude that parts of the legislation are no longer needed in connection with Northern Irish terrorism. Let me take in turn the two key powers of detention and exclusion.
As a result of the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Brogan, there is already a difference in the way in which the powers of detention operate between international terrorism and Northern Irish terrorism. The Act allows the police to detain suspects for up to 48 hours on their own authority, and up to a maximum of five days beyond that on my authority or that of my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland and for Scotland.
In the light of the Brogan case, however, we gave an assurance that, in international terrorism cases, the period of extension would not exceed 48 hours. We are satisfied that our practice in such cases is already fully consistent with the requirements of the European convention on human rights.
We concluded that we could not sensibly agree to a similar restriction in Northern Irish terrorism cases, given the exceptional risks posed to the security of this country. We therefore made a specific, narrowly drawn derogation from the convention to enable us to retain executive extensions of detention for a maximum of five days. The validity of that derogation was subsequently upheld by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Brannigan and McBride.
§ Mr. Chris Mullin (Sunderland, South)
This is what worries many of us who oppose parts of the Act. If people can be detained for seven days and nights, it will be possible to get anyone to confess to anything during that time. Does that concern the Home Secretary?
§ Mr. Howard
If there were any substance in the hon. Gentleman's allegation, it might indeed concern me. I must tell him, however, that the history of some of the questioning that has taken place during extended periods of detention gives the lie to his assertion.
§ Mr. Tom King (Bridgwater)
The point, surely, is not the length of the period of detention. Is it not a fact that, in perfect conformity with the European convention, those responsible for the Eksund activities were detained by the French authorities for two years, but it was the authority of a judicial officer that enabled them to be detained in that way? The idea that anyone detained for more than seven days will confess to anything does not accord with the European convention.
§ Mr. Howard
My right hon. Friend is entirely right. It is always essential to keep in mind the distinction between form and substance.
We have continued to keep the need for the derogation under review, and have considered the matter again in the light of the ceasefire. In the first eight months of last year, there were 377 extensions of detention throughout the United Kingdom, the overwhelming majority in Northern 354 Ireland. In the more than six months since then, there have been just 18 extensions, five of them related to international terrorism.
The periods of detention have tended to decrease; the only instance in which detention has exceeded four days since the ceasefire involved the complex investigation of the Newry post office murder.
§ Mr. Seamus Mallon (Newry and Armagh)
I wonder about the Home Secretary's figures. Page 1 of the "Home Office Statistical Bulletin" clearly tells us that 61 people were detained in Great Britain in 1994 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, and that all but one were detained in connection with Northern Irish terrorism. If I heard him aright, the Home Secretary said that five people had been detained in relation to international terrorism. Is the Home Secretary right, or is the statistical bulletin right?
§ Mr. Howard
I think the hon. Gentleman will find that we are talking about different periods of time. I was talking about the period leading up to the ceasefire and the period since then.
Provided that the ceasefire holds, there is every reason to believe that the number of cases in which the police will need to seek extensions of detention will be very small, and the number of occasions on which they request extensions of more than 48 hours smaller still. However, as the Newry incident illustrates, it is too early for us to be satisfied that these powers could be suspended, or our limited derogation from the European convention on human rights withdrawn.
The Northern Ireland paramilitary groups retain the capability to resume their attacks at very short notice, and investigations into past crimes continue on both sides of the Irish sea. The Government accept the view of the police that it would be wrong at this early stage to withdraw any of their existing powers of arrest and detention.
In chapters 5 and 7 of his report, Mr. Rowe analyses the arguments for giving the judiciary responsibility for determining both extensions of detention and exclusion orders. His conclusion is that these processes are properly executive in character and that a judge would
be exercising a function which could be called judicial only because he happens to be a judge by occupation.That point was raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King).
This issue has been extensively debated in the past, and I do not intend to say more about it now, except that, while the need for these temporary provisions remains, we do not believe that it would be right or practicable to introduce an innovation that has been consistently rejected by all those who have taken an independent look at the legislation since 1974, at the invitation of successive Governments.
Exclusion has always been the most difficult part of the legislation, particularly for those of us who are proud to call ourselves unionists. Since the House first debated these provisions in 1974, there have always been some who, while wholly supportive of other parts of the legislation, have had misgivings about denying British citizens access to part of their own country. 355 I understand and sympathise with those concerns, but when faced with a determined terrorist assault on our most fundamental human rights, we have had, reluctantly, to countenance some measures which in more normal times would not be acceptable.
At the time of the debate a year ago, there were 80 exclusion orders in force, nine made by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and 71 by me or my predecessors. By the time of the IRA ceasefire, the figure of 80 had reduced to 74. Since then, my right hon. and learned Friend and I have reviewed the case for each of the remaining orders in the light of the assessment of our security advisers.
My right hon. and learned Friend was able to conclude last month that all his remaining orders should be lifted. On 17 February, I announced that, with the help of the Metropolitan police, the RUC and the security service, I was considering all the 56 orders for which I was responsible. I have now revoked a further 16. There are now just 40 orders in force.
I have considered whether it would be possible to go further and lift all the remaining orders. I have not done so, for two reasons. First, it is clear that, if the ceasefires were to break down, we might receive very little, if any, warning, and without doubt many of the key targets would, as before, be on this side of the water. Secondly, the police remain satisfied that among those still excluded are some who would be likely to play some part in mainland terrorism were it to resume.
I welcome the shift in the position of the Labour party on exclusion orders. Last year, the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Stott), speaking from the Front Bench, described exclusion orders as an example of internal exile of a kind previously practised in this century only by Stalin, Mussolini and Franco. In a radio interview this morning, the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) said that, although he dislikes exclusion orders, he accepts that I should be able to reactivate them with 24 hours notice if the ceasefires were to break down.
What the hon. Member for Blackburn overlooks is that, if all exclusion orders were to be lifted now, there would be nothing to stop those people coming here well before any possible breakdown of the ceasefire, to make preparations for renewed attacks. That is not a debating point. It is a point that goes to the heart of the exercise of these powers in the cause of protecting the safety of our people.
I hope that the hon. Gentleman will deal with that point in the course of his speech. For my part, I shall continue to keep the need for each of the orders under review, but I am not prepared to take unnecessary risks at this stage, in the face of the clear view of the police and our other security advisers.
Let me finally say something about the way forward. The Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 and the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1991 are explicitly temporary pieces of legislation, and it has always been the Government's position that exceptional powers should not be retained any longer than necessary.
There are therefore two questions that will need to be addressed if, as we all hope, the ceasefires continue to hold. First, how long will some or all of these exceptional 356 powers need to be maintained, whether in force or in reserve? Secondly, even in the longer term, will there be a need for some specific, permanent counter terrorism legislation in the light of the continuing threat from international terrorism?
On the first, the Government whole-heartedly accept Mr. Rowe's recommendation that they should keep the need for the existing powers under close review. If the moment comes when one or more of them could be discontinued, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland or I can lay the necessary order under this Act or the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1991 at any time.
Moreover, Mr. Rowe's regular reviews provide a wholly independent assessment of whether the time has come for changes to be made. His PTA report is before the House, and he is now embarking on his separate, annual review of the Northern Ireland legislation, which the House will have the opportunity to debate in about three months. In addition, the House will need to consider next Session what to do before the emergency provisions Act reaches the end of its statutory life in August 1996.
The second question—what permanent counter-terrorism legislation, if any, might be needed if a lasting peace is established in Northern Ireland—is one on which the Government have an open mind. At the right moment, there would need to be a wide-ranging look at all the options. There are a number of ways in which that could be done, but we are persuaded that it would be premature at this stage to try to address these longer term issues. The priority for now is to make much further progress down the road of securing a lasting peace.
There is a better chance now than at any time in the past 21 years that an end may soon be in sight to this long series of annual debates. But the prospects remain uncertain. It is the Government's unshakeable conviction that we must not lower our guard until we can be satisfied that Northern Irish terrorism is really at an end.
If, as we earnestly hope, that day comes, it will be in no small measure due to the skill and fortitude which the police and security forces have shown down the years, fortified by the exceptional powers entrusted to them under this legislation. I pay tribute to them for their work, for which we are all enormously indebted to them. I commend the order to the House.
§ Mr. Dalyell
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. At 23 minutes past 4, according to the Chamber clock, it was the Home Secretary and not I who brought into the debate the subject of Lockerbie. Does he not owe it to his colleagues at least to explain what relevance the measures that we are discussing have to the Lockerbie bombing?
§ Madam Deputy Speaker (Dame Janet Fookes)
I was not in the Chair at the time. I am quite sure that, if Madam Speaker had thought that there was anything amiss, she would have drawn it to the attention of the House.
§ Mr. Jack Straw (Blackburn)
Terrorism is a scourge of far too many societies across the world. It can be an especial cancer for countries that aspire to be democratic, because the measures that are sometimes necessary in a democracy to fight terrorism and reduce terrorist acts can collide with some of the most important features of those 357 democracies, such as the liberty of the subject before the law and the paramount need for an independent and transparent system of justice that applies equally to all.
Every hon. Member shares a complete abhorrence of terrorism and a desire to see it eradicated from all parts of the United Kingdom. It is the Opposition's fervent hope that there should be bipartisan agreement on the measures that are necessary to defeat terrorism. Unfortunately, such bipartisan agreement has proved no easier to achieve this year than last, but our endeavours to obtain such an agreement will continue beyond tonight's vote.
We all owe a particular debt to those in the police and armed forces and in the security and intelligence services for their dedication and for their daily risks. Many of them have paid with their lives in the fight against terrorism, from whatever source. In opening the debate for the Opposition this time last year, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sedgefield (Mr. Blair), who is now the leader of the Opposition, said:
It is not in dispute, and never has been, that we need anti-terrorist legislation. It is not in dispute that the powers…of detention"—of terrorist suspects—
should remain.My right hon. Friend also supported the continuance of the proscription of terrorist organisations and the
"attachment of terrorist funds."—[Official Report, 9 March 1994; Vol. 239, c. 300.]
Last week in a Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, and this Monday on the Floor of the House, the Opposition approved without a Division an order made under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 in respect of international terrorism. Three things, however, are in dispute: the power to make exclusion orders, which are a form of internal exile; the absence of a judicial element in decisions to extend detention; and, above all and especially important at this time, the need for a general and comprehensive review of anti-terrorist legislation.
Had such a review been announced, and had it been able to take into account our concerns in relation to the first two matters that I raised, we should not have voted against the order tonight, but the renewal of the Act comes before the House in a single, take-it-or-leave-it order that the House cannot amend. In those circumstances, and as we have been unable to make progress on any of the matters that I have specified, a parliamentary committee of the Labour party had no alternative but to advise my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote against the order.
§ Mr. A. J. Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
I understand and share some of the hon. Gentleman's reservations, but would he give the same advice to his right hon. and hon. Friends if he believed that they would win the vote tonight?
§ Mr. Straw
If I believed that we would win the vote, we would be in government and the question would not arise. I have dealt with the point. This is a take-it-or-leave-it order. A Division is the only way in which the Labour party can put on record its serious reservations about the way in which the Government have responded to its proposals.
Although the Act to which the order directly relates was passed in 1989, legislation to counter terrorism was first introduced by the then Labour Government in 358 November 1974, four days after the Birmingham pub bombings. That measure passed through all its stages in the House and in the other place in the near record time of 48 hours. There was unanimity on the need for that legislation to deal with what the then Home Secretary Roy Jenkins described as a "wholly exceptional situation" and a "clear and present danger", but, equally, there was wide understanding of the enormity of what the House was doing.
Roy Jenkins, now Lord Jenkins, described the provisions as "draconian" and said that they were "unprecedented in peacetime". Parliament has rightly determined that the use of and justification for such powers must, in consequence, be kept under continual review. Powers were therefore laid down requiring what amounted to annual audits of the exclusion and detention orders made under the Act.
In recent years, those audits have been carried out by John Rowe. From time to time, wider, more fundamental reviews of the merits and future use of those powers have been undertaken by distinguished figures in public life such as Lords Gardiner and Shackleton in the 1970s and Viscount Colville in 1987. Each of those wider reviews re-emphasised the intention that those powers should be temporary. The Secretary of State referred to that earlier when he said that the measures were explicitly temporary.
In his 1975 report, Lord Gardiner said that the continued existence of these powers should be
limited both in scope and duration".In 1978, Lord Shackleton said:
It would be highly regrettable if the view were to gain ground that these powers should in some way slide into part of our permanent legislation. I do not think that they should.Today, the Home Secretary echoed the same point that he made this time last year, when he said that, since 1974,
it has been the hope of successive Home Secretaries that the day would come when the circumstances which made these exceptional powers necessary would cease to exist".He went on to say:
for most of the past 20 years, that has been very much a hope rather than an expectation."—[Official Report, 9 March 1994; Vol. 239, c. 292.]Of course, he was right in his opening remarks today to refer to the continuing terrorist outrages that took place on the day of the debate this time last year right up until the IRA ceasefire in August; but, in the 12 months since that statement in 1994, something exceptional and remarkable has happened. Thanks to the extraordinary tenacity first of the hon. Member for Foyle (Mr. Hume) and then of the right hon. Member for Lagan Valley (Mr. Molyneaux), and thanks to the commitment, to which we pay tribute again, of the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and the determination of all the communities in the Province, effectively there has been a peace, however temporary, since the IRA ceasefire in August. For the first time in 25 years, people in Northern Ireland are enjoying something of the normality of life that we in Britain have taken for granted.
I hope that no hon. Member is sufficiently naive to assert that the situation in the north of Ireland is so stable that lasting peace is now a certainty. Of course that is not the case, and of course it is a fact of life that the paramilitary organisations in both communities remain intact and have the same access to arms and explosives as they had before the ceasefires came into effect. Now is not the moment for complacency; but, to pick up the 359 phrase used by the Home Secretary last year, as the distant "hope" of peace has been replaced by a clear "expectation" of peace, in our judgment now is the time to establish a comprehensive and fundamental review of the future need for prevention of terrorism measures.
The review should be conducted on the basis, to use the words of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, of the
Government's working assumption that the ceasefires are intended to be permanent.The review would be established to consider in the changed circumstances and on the Government's working assumption the need generally for there to be anti-terrorism measures on the statute book and the extent to which it was desirable or practical to include some of them in the general law on police powers and criminal procedures.
We would wish the review to consider, among other things, issues of concern relating to exclusion orders and decisions on the extension of detention. We proposed that the review should be conducted by a High Court judge or someone of similar standing and that the process of the review should be as open as possible, given the subject matter.
As I believe the House is aware, we pressed the case for such a review with Ministers well in advance of today's debate. We believe that in this area, more than almost any other, it is far preferable for matters to be treated on an all-party basis, and, as I said, had such a review been accepted, we would not divide the House tonight.
The Secretary of State's response to our proposals for a review has fallen into two parts, as I observed during a number of interviews that he and I have given. On the one hand, in an interview earlier this morning, the Secretary of State appeared to claim that the J. J. Rowe review into the operation of the Act in 1994 had already met our request but, on the other hand, he appeared to concede our case for a separate and much more fundamental review, as he did a moment ago, but with the caveat that it should not occur yet. Let me deal with those two points in turn.
There has, in fact, always been the clearest distinction between the kind of fundamental review that is now needed, and which was carried out in the past by Lord Shackleton, Viscount Colville and Lord Gardiner, and the annual reviews now carried out by Mr. Rowe. As Mr. Rowe concedes in the opening paragraph of his report, the review examines the operation of the Act in 1994. Although he considers whether there is a need for the Act to continue, he reaches his conclusion exclusively on the basis of how the Act has operated in the past, not on the circumstances in which it might operate in the future.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said that the House had to
take full account of the new situation"—[Official Report, 17 February 1995; Vol. 254, c. 833–34.]which the ceasefires have created; but Mr. Rowe said that, in making his judgment, he took account of the new situation. He said in paragraphs 2 and 3 of his report:
I cannot have regard to such things … I am not part of the peace process".360 However, no fundamental review of the kind that we seek could conceivably do its work unless it did take account of the facts and the reality of the peace process.
The issue of human rights is central to the argument in a democracy about the use of anti-terrorist powers which involve a specific dilution of an individual's human rights. Mr. Rowe says that he "should have regard" to human rights which, he said, he kept "in mind", but he draws his readers' attention specifically to the absence of human rights considerations in his formal terms of reference. However, no fundamental review could possibly exclude such consideration from its terms of reference, because issues of human rights are at the heart of any fundamental review.
§ Mr. Dicks
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that rights and obligations are two sides of the same coin? If we take a certain Mr. Gerry Adams, how can we be concerned about his so-called "right" to come into this country when he has refused to accept his obligations to the rest of society? The hon. Gentleman cannot talk about rights without accepting that obligations go alongside them.
§ Mr. Straw
The hon. Gentleman is, of course, correct to say that rights are balanced by duties. It is a fact of life with which the House and Ministers have had to wrestle since the IRA bombing campaign here in the early 1970s and just before that in Northern Ireland. The basic liberties that we take for granted have been assaulted by terrorist operations. I accepted and acknowledged that in opening my speech. Of course we take account of that. We also, however, have to recognise—this point was made extremely eloquently in Viscount Colville's fundamental review in 1987—that, if we stoop to the level of the terrorist and abandon altogether those fundamental liberties, we have lost the battle against terrorism.
§ Mr. Andrew Hunter (Basingstoke)
The hon. Gentleman may, inadvertently, have done an injustice to Mr. Rowe. The hon. Gentleman said that Mr. Rowe did not take into account the changed circumstances. I draw his attention to paragraph 15 on page 7, where Mr. Rowe makes that very point.
§ Mr. Straw
Indeed; the hon. Gentleman may draw my attention to paragraph 15 because I was coming on to deal with exactly that. I hope that I have done every justice to Mr. Rowe's report, because no purpose is served by seeking to alter the sense of what he said.
In one interview this morning, on breakfast television, the Secretary of State sought to elevate the Rowe review by saying that I had given evidence to it. The implication was that this turned the Rowe review into the fundamental review that the Labour party had sought. Would that that were the case! It is perfectly true, as Mr. Rowe records in the appendix to his report, that he separately saw my hon. Friend the Member for Redcar (Ms Mowlam) and me.
However, those meetings were informal conversations. In no sense were they formal meetings to take detailed and forensic evidence about the future need for this legislation. Moreover, they took place when Mr. Rowe completed his report. I saw him on 31 January and my hon. Friend the Member for Redcar saw him on 2 February. Mr. Rowe formally submitted his report to the Secretary of State on 3 February, the very next day. 361 To deal directly with the point raised by the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter), in paragraph 2 of the Rowe report, Mr. Rowe wholly detaches himself from the peace process. He says:
I am not part of the peace process: I not a member of the Government"—quite right!—
I am not bound by any Government policy.In paragraph 15, however, he makes an important concession to the reality of the peace process and to our argument. As we have heard from the Secretary of State, Mr. Rowe says that, although the whole of the prevention of terrorism Act is needed now,
I do not ignore the facts of the ceasefire or the talks, and if events occur so that one or more provisions of the PTA is no longer necessary, section 27(6)(b)"—which allows provisions to be put into cold storage, as we have heard—
can be used … the Government should keep this section in mind during the coming year.I said a moment ago that the response by the Secretary of State to our calls for a review was to claim at first that the Rowe review was sufficient. Twenty minutes later on the "Today" programme, and again in the House this afternoon, the Secretary of State said something very different, implicitly acknowledging that the Rowe review was not the same thing as a fundamental review. On the "Today" programme he said that, although he hoped that the ceasefire would be permanent, we would still need some anti-terrorist powers, an issue that is not in dispute across the Floor of the House. He said that we faced dangers from international terrorism; of course we do. He then said:
I accept that in that situation there will be a need to look very carefully and to have a review as to what powers we will continue to need for the long term.That is exactly our case for a fundamental review. However, the Secretary of State finished by saying:
But we are not at that point yet.There we have it. The Secretary of State accepts the need for a long-term review. He said earlier this afternoon that we needed a wide-ranging look at all the issues and that he did not consider Rowe to have provided that. The only issue is one of timing. The view of the Secretary of State is, yes, there should be an independent review, but not yet.
I simply do not understand his argument. There were two fundamental reviews in the 1970s and one in the 1980s, despite the fact that the overall security situation remained unchanged and dangerous. However, there has been no fundamental review since Lord Colville's. in 1987. Even if there were no ceasefire, a fundamental review would have been well overdue. Indeed, that point was made by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition this time last year. With the facts of the ceasefire, the case for the establishment of a fundamental review seems to us to be unanswerable and overwhelming.
As I have repeatedly made clear, Labour Members do not, of course, say that, pending the outcome of the review, the operation of the Prevention of Terrorism Act as a whole should be put on ice; rather, we say that, on the working assumption of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland that the ceasefires will turn out to be permanent, the review's recommendations should be available to 362 Ministers and to Parliament to coincide with the time, which we all hope will come, when it is judged that peace in Northern Ireland is permanent.
§ Mr. Howard
I am trying to follow the hon. Gentleman's somewhat convoluted argument, but I am having considerable difficulty in doing so. The hon. Gentleman concedes that lasting peace is not a certainty. There is a difference between us as to when there should be the fundamental review to which he referred, but the House is concerned with whether these powers should be renewed now, in the existing situation. If the hon. Gentleman accepts the uncertainty and if, as he said a moment ago, the existing security apparatus with the powers that sustain it should not be dismantled, why cannot he agree with Mr. Rowe, who said that the whole Act is needed now? Why cannot he agree with the Government, and why cannot his party vote with us in the Lobby this evening?
§ Mr. Straw
By his attitude, the Secretary of State has just explained the reason. He knows that we sought a bipartisan agreement, not on the suspension of the powers but on the establishment of a fundamental review. We had no interest in playing party politics on this issue. I hope and believe that the Secretary of State does not either. It is interesting, however, that, for the first time in my recollection, he has used the term and acknowledged the need for a fundamental review.
I dealt with the issue of the vote in my opening remarks and in answer to the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith). This is a take-it-or-leave-it order. The only way in which we can express not only our opposition to exclusion orders as they currently operate and the fact that the Secretary of State, as I shall explain, is unwilling to suspend their future use, but our reservations about the decisions on the extension of detention and, above all, the Secretary of State's failure, which I continue to fail to understand, to establish a fundamental review which will be without prejudice to the operation of those powers, is by voting against the order.
§ Mr. Day
I find it difficult to accept that the hon. Gentleman mentions that in future we may recognise a permanent peace. Does he agree that the only real sign of a permanent peace is when terrorists hand over their weapons and that, until then, there cannot be real peace, only the hope of it? Given that scenario and the fact that we certainly cannot describe the present situation as permanent peace, why will not the hon. Gentleman ensure 363 that the powers to contain the threat of a return to terrorism are available to the Government of the day if they needed them?
§ Mr. Howard
The hon. Gentleman seems to be saying—I hope that I understand it correctly—that the only issue between him and the Government is the timing, and perhaps the nature, of the review. He also complains that the order is a take-it-or-leave-it order, but there is absolutely nothing in it about a review. So if the only difference between the hon. Gentleman and the Government is the review, why does he not vote for the order, which provides the powers that the police, the security service and Mr. Rowe say are needed if we are to keep up our guard?
§ Mr. Straw
That is about the poorest argument I have ever heard the Secretary of State come out with. I have answered it once already, but I am happy to answer it again. This is a take-it-or-leave-it order, and our concerns should come as no surprise to the Home Secretary because he has known of them for several weeks. If he is anxious to assist us not to vote against the order, he could bring forward what, from what he has let slip this afternoon, is evidently in his mind—the fundamental review, which I suspect he will announce in a shorter rather than a longer time.
I shall now deal with two specific issues that concern us—exclusion orders and extensions of detention. I welcome the Home Secretary's revoking of the 16 exclusion orders. One of the reasons why we believe that a fundamental review is necessary is that, the last time the case for them was examined in such a review, by Lord Colville in 1987, he found that case wholly wanting.
I have given the matter as much attention as I can, and I acknowledge the strong views of those directly involved in the fight against terrorism about the need to maintain exclusion orders. I think that the Home Secretary will accept, however, that those views can never be overriding. Politicians, such as Ministers and Members of the House, must make wider judgments.
Lord Colville looked most carefully at the balance to be struck between the practical case for exclusion orders made by people in the security forces, and such orders' collision with basic liberties. He said:
This power is the most draconian in the present Act. It is only applicable to Irish terrorism".Lord Colville had previously explained:
I have to agree that it is probably an effective way of getting rid of people from an area where otherwise they might cause great trouble; that it disrupts terrorist lines of communication and supply of arms, ammunition and explosives. However I am not convinced that the ends justify these means. I renew my recommendation … that Part II of the Act relating to exclusion orders should not be renewed … or not replaced in the new Bill … I recognise that the alternative is a hard decision, but I express the view that it would be the correct one both in terms of civil rights in the United Kingdom and this country's reputation in that respect among the International Community".364 That is absolutely right. We accepted that view in 1987, and we accept it now. What lies behind it is the fact that exclusion orders apply only to people from Northern Ireland. As the hon. Member for Belfast, South (Rev. Martin Smyth) said, that is one reason why the Ulster Unionists have always opposed them, too.
We note with great approval that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, ahead of the Home Secretary's announcement today, has already announced the lifting of all orders in Northern Ireland. Lord Colville criticised what he described as the burden and the heavy work load that exclusion orders imposed on the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the armed forces in Northern Ireland.
If the peace process continues positively, it is improbable that either the Home Secretary or the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland will use the power in future. We therefore believe that, pending the outcome of the fundamental review that we seek, future use of exclusion orders—de novo use—should be suspended by means of section 27 provisions.
The Secretary of State said that that was all right, but that under section 27(7)(b) there would be a period of 24 hours before the use of exclusion orders could be invoked. In fact, the period is probably shorter than that, but the Secretary of State knows that, given the other powers of detention—we do not suggest that those should be put on ice at this stage—if the security situation changed radically, even if he had exercised his power to put the future use of exclusion orders on ice under section 27, in practice the power could be restored at a moment's notice, first by the use of the powers to detain a person against whom a potential exclusion order was to be made and then, when the order had been laid, as it could be, as a matter of urgency, by the use of the order itself.
§ Mr. Howard
The hon. Gentleman has answered a question that I did not ask him. Will he now answer the question that I asked him in my speech? I said that, if the powers to make exclusion orders were removed, no action could be taken in respect of known terrorists who might want to cross into Great Britain in advance of a resumption of terrorism. If one waited until the point that the hon. Gentleman seems to think appropriate, it might be too late. That is why I said that we had to continue with the powers. Unless we did, we would not be able to keep in place any of the existing exclusion orders—those that I have retained after the review of that I undertook. They would all have to go. That is the question that I put to the hon. Gentleman earlier. May we have an answer to it?
§ Mr. Straw
The Secretary of State is making enormously heavy weather of what is really a simple issue. Either he intends to continue to make future use of exclusion orders, which seems to collide with the peace process, at least while there is a great possibility of a permanent peace, or he does not. If the power to make exclusion orders were put on ice, what would really happen?
The Home Secretary has gone to great lengths to quote Mr. John Rowe's report, and Mr. Rowe drew attention to the fact that the power could be used at some stage in the 12 months following his report—that would now mean during the next nine months. If the security situation 365 deteriorated, as the right hon. Gentleman appears to suggest it may, there is no reason why the power could not be re-established quickly.
§ Mr. Clive Soley (Hammersmith)
I do not think that the Home Secretary is aware of the history here. There was a time, especially in the early 1980s, when the argument against the extended use of the security services, including MI5, which was being considered as an alternative to exclusion orders, was always that the security services were stretched too far. That is one of the big changes since that time.
The security services are no longer overstretched, because of the collapse of the cold war and the changed security situation in Northern Ireland. The Home Secretary himself admitted that there were only 40 people whose movements interested him in connection with exclusion orders. The preference would be to use the security services as they ought to be used and as they are prepared to be used, rather than using internal exile.
§ Mr. Straw
I entirely understand my hon. Friend's point, which is connected with the detail of Lord Colville's argument in his 1987 report.
I shall now deal briefly with extensions of detention. One of the features of democratic societies is that decisions to detain people are made judicially, by a process separate from the role of Ministers and politicians. On Monday, the House re-emphasised its commitment to the need for such a separation of powers, when it agreed without a vote to remove Ministers' discretion on miscarriages of justice and to transfer it to an independent criminal cases review commission.
However, under the legislation before us decisions to extend detention are made by Ministers. In our judgment, that is inherently unsatisfactory, as was recognised by the present Foreign Secretary who said in 1989, when he was Home Secretary:
We continue to look for a judicial mechanism".—[Official Report, 30 January 1989; Vol. 146, c. 65.]Last year, the Home Secretary said that that search had been in vain. I accept that this is not an easy area, and I have read in detail the views of John Rowe and of Viscount Colville in last year's debate on the PTA renewal in the other place. However, there are other examples within our common law system in which a judge effectively makes a judicial decision even though not all the evidence, or even any of it, can be shown to the defendant. Ex parte applications to protect the disclosure of certain unused prosecution evidence provide one example. Another arises when the question is whether public interest immunity should apply to evidence. I do not believe that such a mechanism would be impossible to draw on if the will were there.
The right hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King) was right to say that one of the reasons why this country has got into difficulty with the international courts is not that we treat terrorist suspects worse than other countries do. Despite our reservations about some aspects of the legislation, there is ample evidence to suggest that we treat terrorist suspects better than other comparable countries do.
We get into difficulties because Ministers are involved in decisions on detention, whereas in other countries—those with civil law procedures—a magistrate or some other detached person in the judicial system makes those 366 decisions. That is one of the practical reasons why we should continue to search for a judicial element in extensions of detention and elsewhere within the scheme of the Bill.
For the past 25 years, the people of the north of Ireland have had to live with the ever-present dangers of political violence. Two Members of the House—Airey Neave and Ian Gow—have been murdered by terrorists.
§ Mr. Straw
I am sorry.
All Northern Ireland politicians have lived through periods of mortal danger. The right hon. Member for Strangford (Mr. Taylor) still carries the scars to prove that. We can neither forgive nor forget the terrible and brutal atrocities which have scarred our society. But we also have an obligation to do all in our power to stop those atrocities from happening again.
In the changed circumstances of a sustained ceasefire, now is the time to review precisely what anti-terrorist legislation we need. That would not undermine the fight against terrorism but strengthen it by ensuring that the powers needed for that fight are proportionate to the threat and that they enjoy the consent and understanding of the public of the United Kingdom. Labour wants a bipartisan approach in this area. I greatly regret that the Government have not accepted our proposals to achieve the consensus that we seek. It is for that reason—and for that reason alone—that we will express our regret in the Lobby tonight.
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
Order. Before the debate continues, I must point out that many hon. Members wish to speak. I hope that hon. Members will exercise self-restraint regarding the length of their speeches, so that no one is disappointed in this very important debate.
§ Mr. Andrew Hunter (Basingstoke)
I listened carefully to the precisely constructed arguments of the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw), but nothing he said detracts from my conclusion that it would be irresponsible and indefensible to do anything other than support the renewal of the provisions.
I think that the hon. Gentleman makes two mistakes. First, he gives inadequate attention to the comprehensive and convincing arguments put forward by Mr. John Rowe for renewal. I do not believe that I have read an independent annual report which so convincingly put forward the argument for renewal since the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act came into being.
Secondly, the hon. Gentleman acknowledges that he does not like the powers of detention and the exclusion orders. I respect that, but he makes an entirely false deduction from that premise, and says that, because of that dislike, he and his right hon. and hon. Friends must go into the Opposition Lobby tonight. That is not the case. There is an alternative.
The Opposition could say that the overriding interest of the country is to maintain the fight against terrorism. The hon. Gentleman and his colleagues can put on record to this House, the media and the country their opposition to two significant aspects of the measures. They can 367 nevertheless say that, despite their opposition to those points, the importance of having the means to fight terrorism is so overriding that they will vote with the Government. I suspect that, if the Opposition did that, they might conceivably find that they were not 40 points ahead in the opinion polls, but 42 points. They may feel, however, that they do not need that additional luxury.
There are a number of reasons why we should renew the provisions. The first is entirely related to Northern Ireland, and Mr. Rowe rightly made much of that. He reported that there remains
a very real threat of terrorism connected with the affairs of Northern Ireland".He pointed out that
activity by terrorist groups has not stopped",and referred to assaults, intimidation, robberies, extortion, racketeering, money-collecting, the possession of firearms and explosives and the Irish National Liberation Army's continued reluctance to renounce what it regards as an armed struggle. On Northern Ireland issues alone, there is sufficient justification for the renewal of the measures.
The second reason why the House would be mistaken to do anything other than support renewal relates to international terrorism. It is very often overlooked that, although the genesis of the measures lay with the Birmingham atrocity and a number of other acts thereafter, the United Kingdom remains a focal point for visitors from many nations who have brought to London in particular their own factional interests and who fight their own factional battles.
Last year, only one non-Irish foreign national was arrested under the PTA, but that was an exception. The average figure during the previous 10 years was 33, and the peak year was 1984, when 73 foreign nationals were arrested under the PTA. We must accept that international terrorism continues to be a real threat, and Mr. Rowe rightly drew attention to that. There is justification for the continuation of the Act on the grounds of international terrorism as well.
The third reason why it would irresponsible not to renew the measures is simply—as Mr. Rowe pointed out—that the powers are needed and working. On proscribing, Mr. Row wrote:
In all circumstances it is clear that this part of the Act is needed".On exclusion orders, he wrote:
There is value in the exclusion order preventing terrorism … this part of the Act should be continued".On terrorist funding, he wrote:
These powers of PTA are necessary".On arrest and extension he wrote:
There is a continuing need for the power of arrest under section 14, and the power of extension of detention".Mr. Rowe's conclusion—to which my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary drew attention in his remarks—is:
PTA should be renewed, with every Part as at present enacted.The last reason why we should renew the powers is not insignificant. The police who were on the front line of the fight against terrorism have been found to be using the powers fairly, and they wish them to continue. The House would need a very good reason to deny them those powers, and I for one cannot see what those reasons are. 368 On the grounds that I have outlined, there is a compelling argument for doing nothing other than renewing the provisions.
§ Mr. Roger Stott (Wigan)
I am grateful to have caught your eye so early in the debate, Madam Deputy Speaker. I take note of what you said and I shall try to contain my remarks and be as brief as possible, as I know that other Members want to speak.
I have a vivid memory of being a young Member of Parliament 21 years ago in the Chamber and of being told of the awful atrocity that had occurred at Birmingham. The deaths of those innocent young people on the mainland of Britain was a tragedy, although I realise that similar events had occurred in Northern Ireland for a good deal longer. The response of the House 21 years ago to that event was fairly predictable. All of us were shocked, and the House represented the anger that was felt through the whole of the United Kingdom about that atrocity. Therefore, the Prevention of Terrorism Act was born.
I was present in the Chamber for not all, but part, of the 36 hours it took the House to pass that legislation, and it was placed on the statute book 21 years ago. We passed it because of the feelings which we had at the time about the appalling violence of the IRA. I well remember listening to what I would consider to be the finest speech I ever heard in this Chamber, from Brian Walden, the then Labour Member for Birmingham, Lady wood. It is a great pity that we did not have the cameras in the Chamber on that occasion, so people could go back to look at that speech. All we have instead is the cold print of Hansard.
That was the time when the Act was born. I voted for it, and I continued to vote for its renewal for a number of years thereafter. But, as time went by, I, and my party, began to realise that the draconian powers—those are not my words, but words used by people who have reviewed this legislation—contained in the Act were becoming unsustainable. The erosion of people's civil liberties and human rights, which are clearly contained in the Act, can no longer be sustained.
The Act has undoubtedly produced a very corrosive atmosphere in certain parts of the country and in certain communities. It has been counter-productive to its original intent because it has not prevented terrorism in any shape or form. Because of its draconian powers, it has damaged Britain's standing with the rest of the world. We introduced the measure 21 years ago and the Home Secretary is asking the House to renew it for a further year. Is it not a bitter irony that this Act has come of age during the time of peace in Northern Ireland?
The Government have always said that there is no such person as a political prisoner in the United Kingdom and I agree but, with hindsight, the provisions of the Act have run contrary to that belief. The Act has enhanced the status of prisoners because, as the Home Secretary said, the Government have had to apply for a derogation from the European court, which basically means that we are in a state of war. If that does not enhance their status, I do not know what does.
My hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) said that there appears to be some difference between the way in which the Home Secretary has operated the 369 provisions of the PTA and the way in which the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has operated the emergency provisions Act.
The justification for continuation of the PTA is the possibility that paramilitaries may go back to the gun if peace breaks down in Northern Ireland. The hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) gave the figures earlier. In 1994, only one person was detained under the category of international terrorism, but 1,509 other people were detained under the provisions—I think that that is the right figure—in Northern Ireland and the mainland of the United Kingdom, and nearly 80 per cent. were released without charge. It is difficult to interpret those figures to mean anything other than that the PTA is seen as an anti-Irish Act, and it is seen as such by the vast majority of law-abiding Irish citizens in the United Kingdom.
The Home Secretary has spelt out the justification for the Act and its renewal. The problem with the PTA, from the perspective of the principle of equality under the law, is that, whatever the Home Secretary or any of his successors or predecessors might say, the prisoners have been treated under a legal system that has not applied to ordinary criminals. They have been given a special category and denied the normal rights given to ordinary people in custody and on charge. The state has been seeking the benefit of the odious label, without accepting the need to extend to those suspects the procedural safeguards that are routinely available to non-paramilitary defendants.
The PTA has created special criminal offences for subversives and it gives the Executive wide powers of arrest, detention and exclusion of terrorist suspects, while claiming that they are just ordinary criminals. That is the paradox of the Government's thinking.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn said, it is a pity that there can be no cross-party consensus on the matter. We believe that anti-terrorist legislation is required, and it is a pity that the Home Secretary did not take up the offer of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition and of my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn, because consensus is necessary.
In the past, because of the attitude that the Opposition take, it has been said that Labour is soft on terrorism. I resent that remark. Everyone who has had responsibility for Northern Ireland, as I did for six years on the Opposition Front Bench, has condemned the IRA and other paramilitaries for the atrocities that they have committed—as has every other hon. Member in this House, especially those representing Northern Ireland. My hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) and I—with some risk to my life—have never ceased in our condemnation of the IRA, so I will not take lessons from anyone who suggests that we are soft on terrorism simply because we disagree with the way in which the PTA has been used.
We are debating the renewal of the legislation at a time of peace in Northern Ireland. I was in Belfast and Derry during Christmas week and there was a palpable sense of relief among the ordinary people. Christmas week—a joyous week, when we all celebrate the birth of Jesus—and the people of Northern Ireland were enjoying the freedoms that everyone in this Chamber has come to accept as commonplace, as my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn said. I hope and pray that the peace will 370 continue and that the renewal of the Act will not destabilise the peace process, but I certainly do not think that it will necessarily help it.
Mention was made of exclusion orders and the Home Secretary will be aware that last year I raised the case of John Matthews, a young man from Derry who had been taken in under the PTA. He was in a high security gaol for three months and was brought before a stipendiary magistrate. The prosecuting authorities told the magistrate that they were withdrawing all the evidence against him and the magistrate said, "You may leave this court without a stain on your character," which he did. Five minutes later, he was re-arrested and the Secretary of State signed an exclusion order. Even to this day, Mr. Matthews does not know the reason.
If the boy were guilty of any offence, he should have been tried and brought to justice in the proper way. He should not have been excluded in that way. John Matthews is in Altnagelvin hospital having his wisdom teeth removed. I hope that some of that wisdom will flow around the Secretary of State for the Home Department in future when he considers exclusion orders.
Finally, I saw an interesting piece of news on the tapes yesterday, which read:
The IRA ceasefire has allowed police in London to boost operations against other criminals, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner said today. Hundreds of officers who would otherwise be deployed countering the threat of random terrorism attacks were now working in other areas, said Sir Paul Condon … He was commenting at the launch of the Metropolitan Police Service's first police plan, which, in a reflection of the IRA ceasefire, does not list counter terrorism amongst its top priorities.Those were the words of the chief of the biggest police force in London, and here we are, once again debating whether we should renew the order.
I cannot vote for this order this evening, for the reasons that I have explained. I hope that, next year, we shall not have to go through this process again. I hope that there will be stability and the peace process will solidify. I hope that the constitutional parties of Northern Ireland will get round the table and discuss the issues of the governance of Northern Ireland in a peaceful, progressive way.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley (Antrim, North)
I commend to the House the excellent and probing report on the operation of the PTA drawn up by John Rowe.
How do the majority of law-abiding people in Northern Ireland view the so-called "ceasefire and peace process"? They see that it is to the advantage of the terrorists, especially the IRA, as the IRA can dictate when that peace will be broken. In the interim, the Government are dancing to a tune of concessions in order to keep the Provisional IRA sweet. Mr. Rowe refuses to be won over by IRA blarney or promises that the violence is over permanently. The truth is that the IRA has no intention whatever of decommissioning or surrendering arms. It remains today one of the advanced terrorist organisations in the western world, with the greatest possible killing potential.
I am amazed at Members of this House who visit Northern Ireland and say that all is well. All is not well. If they visited people in the constituencies of hon. Members represented here, they would see that they are targeted by the IRA and the police have warned them that they are in danger. They should go to the homes of people who have 371 been told that, for safety's sake, they must leave the home in which they have lived all their lives. Is that what the House believes peace is?
One has only to look at what has taken place during the period when hon. Members have eulogised the wonderful spirit of peace. Mr. Rowe said that the
risk of terrorism continuing is a real one.That is a factual statement, because terrorism is continuing. The report does not try to mask the reality that the IRA could, at any moment, resume its military terrorism. It has not stopped its vicious and atrocious assaults, nor stopped funding its organisation.
From the Provo ceasefire to the close of last year, there were 70 incidents. Perhaps the House agrees with Mr. Maudling's view that there is an acceptable level of violence. In January, nine vicious assaults took place. I do not know how one draws the distinction between knee-capping a person and giving that person a bit of towel to bite on as nails are driven through a stick into the calves of his legs. I do not know what hon. Members would prefer to have done to them. That is supposed to be peace.
The rate at which the IRA is stealing cars throughout Belfast, taking them to west Belfast, removing their engines' ancillaries and selling them is colossal. It is beyond even the police to reckon how many incidents of that type are happening all over the city. At midnight on 17 January, two soldiers sustained serious head injuries on the Antrim road. On 29 January, two petrol bombs were thrown in Strabane. A man was injured by a shooting incident in Monagh Pass. The Army defused an incendiary device in a shop on the Newtownards road. The Army disposed of a bomb at Woolworth and another bomb in Habitat in Belfast. The Army disposed of a further bomb in North street. A number of Orange halls have been attacked at Maree, Bawn and Pomeroy. In January, five armed robberies in Northern Ireland were all carried out by terrorists. Yet we are told that there is peace.
I remind the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Stott), who talked about the wonderful spirit at Christmas, that we have had IRA ceasefires at Christmas for a very long time. They are nothing new. We need to come down to what is really happening in Northern Ireland and how people there feel. There can be a permanent peace only if the terrorists' arms—their capability to kill, maim, bomb and destroy—are taken from them.
Whereas at first Ministers used the word "surrender", they now use the word "decommission". Today, we heard on our radios and televisions the voice of Mr. McGuinness from Londonderry saying that there can be no question of the IRA giving up any of its arms until the British Army and the RUC give up their arms, and every licensed gun in Northern Ireland is handed in. He said that only then will it be time to talk about the IRA surrendering its arms. Is that the basis on which this so-called "peace" is to be made?
§ Rev. William McCrea (Mid-Ulster)
Does my hon. Friend agree that many people in Northern Ireland have expressed great anger at the Secretary of State's statement in the United States of America that a "token" gesture will be required of the IRA before Her Majesty's Ministers will enter into talks with murderers like Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein?
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
From what we saw on our television screens of the Secretary of State, I was amazed that he went to America to make that announcement. Why did he not tell it to us in Northern Ireland, given that we are most concerned about it?
§ The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Sir Patrick Mayhew)
Does the hon. Gentleman accept that the word "token" never crossed my lips, either in the United States of America or anywhere else?
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
It is not a matter of semantics. What did cross the Secretary of State's lips was the fact that there could be a gesture with a small amount of arms handed over and that faith could be put in the word of the terrorists that they would cease their activities. The Secretary of State will no doubt hear for himself the reaction of people in Northern Ireland.
§ Rev. William McCrea
Does my hon. Friend know that the Government of the Irish Republic and Her Majesty's Government know that there are currently three dumps in the Irish Republic? They know exactly where the arms are. Those weapons have been lost to the terrorists and will be used as that gesture because the IRA can never use those weapons again.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
I have heard it said by those who are acquainted with how the IRA works that the authorities in the south of Ireland are well aware of weapons hidden there.
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
Order. Before the hon. Gentleman replies, may I point out that we are dealing not with the general state of the peace negotiations but with the renewal or otherwise of the provisions against terrorism? I hope that he will address that point.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
Yes, Madam Deputy Speaker, but all the other speakers today discussed relevant matters, and I thought that I would also have the leniency of the Chair. I am glad that I got as far as I did, and I thank you for your leniency.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
I agree that that is what I, and everyone, understood, but now we can see them weakening and weakening until we do not know when Ministers will sit at the table. That is the feeling.
There is a noticeable variance between what the Home Secretary says and what the Northern Ireland Office says. The Home Secretary hides behind Mr. Rowe's report, rightly. I agree with the report; I commend it. However, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland issued a statement on 17 February 1995, and he said:
As Mr. Rowe himself makes clear, most of his work was completed before the PIRA cessation of violence and it was wholly completed before the loyalist cessation. His recommendations do not, therefore, take full account of the new situation which these events created, nor of the Government's working assumption that the ceasefires are intended to be permanent.373 However, when we read the report, we discover that the villain—Mr. Rowe himself—makes an entirely different affirmation. He says:
It is said, at least as to Northern Ireland, that since the ceasefires terrorism has stopped, and talks have started and the Government has a working assumption that the ceasefire is intended to be permanent. The submission was made to me that the PTA should not now be used in any circumstance, and that no use should have been made of it from 31 August 1994 onwards. I have considered these points carefully, but my conclusion remains the same, and I am convinced of it.I do not understand, therefore, why the Home Secretary comes to the House and praises Mr. Rowe and then that statement emanates from the Northern Ireland Office, saying that Mr. Rowe was not fully acquainted with the situation. He has studied the situation, and I believe that he has made a right assessment of what has taken place.
Mr. Rowe says about exclusion orders:
I … have seen a clear indication that exclusion orders can deter excluded persons from engaging in terrorist acts in Great Britain … there is proof that exclusion orders have disrupted the terrorists' plans.Anything that can disrupt the terrorists' plans, anything that can keep a mass bomb from reaching its destination, should be welcomed by every fair-thinking person in the House.
On Victory in Europe day, Winston Churchill made one of his very few impromptu speeches in the House. He said:
the strength of the Parliamentary institution has been shown to enable it at the same moment to preserve all the title deeds of democracy while waging war in the most stern and protracted form."—[Official Report, 8 May 1945; Vol. 410, c. 1869.]That is what we need to do. We need to wage war on those terrorists from whatever side they come, and we also have to keep to the rules of democracy. If a person sets out to take away the life of another person, I believe that the law needs to step in and stop that person committing that crime.
The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) said in the House:
I believe that we have a prime duty to defend the liberties of our constituents, but a Bill of Rights and a whole volume of liberties are of little value to someone who is 6 feet beneath the ground or someone whose body has been dismembered by a bomb."—[ Official Report, 28 November 1974; Vol. 882, c. 699.]Of course at that time he was not so contaminated with IRA/Sinn Fein; he was speaking from his heart about what was happening in this part of the United Kingdom. I would say to the House today—
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
I have given way a great deal. I am beyond my time. I shall be castigated by Madam Deputy Speaker, so I shall not give way.
§ Mr. Mallon
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Is it right that an accusation of that type should be made against the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara)—that he has been contaminated by the IRA—and should not that remark be withdrawn, in the interests of the type of justice that you are talking about?
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
I think it was just about within the bounds of the way that we deal with things here, but I would caution all Members, especially in these delicate circumstances, to remember that we maintain the very highest standard of conduct and manners, especially when referring to other Members of the House.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
If people want to call for the IRA, with its arms still intact, to be brought to the discussion table and 374 treated as a body with constitutional politicians, I for one will call that person a person contaminated by Sinn Fein/IRA, without apology. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North has said very nice things about me, with which the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) would quite agree. I am stating the facts, and I have read from Hansard, and if the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North wants to go back on his own word, that is for him to do.
All I am saying to the House and to you, Madam Deputy Speaker, as I conclude my speech, which has been greatly interrupted—I should really be pleading for accident time—is that the House has a solemn responsibility to safeguard the people of Northern Ireland in the same way that it safeguards the people of the rest of the United Kingdom.
The Home Secretary said that he was a Unionist. As a Unionist, he should be as dedicated to keeping the people of Northern Ireland in safety as he is to keeping in safety any person in the rest of the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. A. J. Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
I do not need to reiterate the list of misery, death and mayhem that originally precipitated the legislation and has kept it on the statute book for so long. That has been done by other hon. Members.
I do not want to dwell at length on the peace process and the current cessation of violence, except to say two things. First, violence has not ceased altogether in Northern Ireland, and several unpleasant incidents have taken place in that period, and therefore some of the Northern Ireland legislation may continue to be necessary for that reason.
Secondly, confidence needs to be maintained and built on, and that must include a decommissioning process whereby arms and explosives come out of the hands of terrorists so that it becomes clear to people that they are not about to resort to terrorism again, or to use the possibility of doing so as a negotiating ploy.
The problem with that is that we shall never know whether we have obtained all the Semtex and whether all the guns have been removed from either side. The world that one hon. Member described, in which not only every gun held by terrorist organisations, but every Army weapon, every RUC weapon and every licensed gun in Northern Ireland had disappeared, is not the real world.
Judgments will need to be made at some time whether the process that is taking place is one in which a return to violence becomes genuinely unlikely or even very difficult for terrorists to undertake. Whoever has ministerial responsibility at that time will have to make that judgment, and he will not be able to do so by simply saying, "It is fine now, everyone. I have got all the weapons; I know that we are all right." That will not happen. I do not envy anyone the job of making the judgment, but that process must begin.
The other side of the coin to building confidence through decommissioning is that the political process must keep going, and all those involved have to be clearly engaged in that process to provide the basis on which confidence can be built on that side.
It would be irresponsible to scrap the anti-terrorist legislation entirely with immediate effect. We shall therefore vote to renew it tonight, although we shall 375 continue to demand a general review of the working of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989. That review should take account of the security position as it develops in the next few months so that parts of the Act that are not effective for security purposes can be scrapped. Anti-terrorist powers are major limitations on civil liberty, which can be justified only if they are essential for security. They should not be treated as bargaining counters in the peace process. Nor should they be determined by negotiations between the Conservative and Labour parties in the hope of enabling Labour to get off the hook in voting against renewal. I do not believe that Labour Front Benchers would recommend that their hon. Friends vote against renewal in the Lobby tonight if they thought that they could win that vote. The Labour party is making a point and, in part, I agree with it.
However, I am not prepared to make that point in that way because I believe that we must keep the powers on the statute book since they may be required for security purposes. We should continue to argue about the speed with which a review can be undertaken and changes made.
I turn to the key elements in the prevention of terrorism legislation. The very fact that the Home Secretary and the Northern Ireland Secretary have revoked a significant number of exclusion orders is a sign that those powers are no longer as valuable as they may have been in other circumstances. The powers should be relaxed on those grounds alone; they should not be relaxed as some kind of boost to the peace process or as an offering to the negotiations.
It must be demonstrated that the exclusion orders are not appropriate for use in current circumstances. Such major incursions into civil liberty and such defiance of the Unionist principle of one United Kingdom are very difficult for the Government to defend unless there is an overriding security reason for doing so. We have so few exclusion orders now that we must be close to seeing their complete removal. We would have to make sure that we could cope with the security consequences of that move and ensure that the people from whom the exclusion orders had been lifted did not pose a threat to this country. There are ways of achieving that goal.
I submit that the powers of detention without charge will need to be either cut back, as has occurred in respect of international terrorism, or put under judicial control. There have been several references to the debate about judicial consideration of detention. Curiously, most of the countries with which we are compared in discussions about human rights have judicial processes for extended detention—a fact of which Mr. Nick Leeson is already aware. Other people who find themselves in trouble and in courts overseas become aware of them pretty quickly also.
We have a rather different tradition and, in some ways, it is a stricter one. In this instance, it has led to the Executive taking responsibility for detaining people without charge for longer than would normally be permitted. Mr. Rowe believes that judges might be seen to be acting as part of the Executive if they were brought into that process. If we must maintain powers for longer detention for any period of time, we may have to try to overcome Mr. Rowe's objections and work out how the judiciary can participate in the process without merely being a servant of the Executive. On the present evidence, 376 I do not think that we will be dealing with the number of cases that initially made that outcome seem very difficult, or impossible, to achieve.
I think that the powers relating to the proscription of organisations are of diminishing security value. Their main importance may now lie in the way in which proscription expresses the revulsion of people in this country at the activities in which terrorist organisations—both republican and loyalist paramilitary organisations—have engaged. People find it very hard to accept the fact that legally permitted organisations carry out acts of terrorist violence within our jurisdiction. However, I think that those powers are of limited usefulness as a security measure.
The powers for the confiscation of funds, the investigation of funds and the transfer of money and money laundering are potentially of continuing importance—especially if there is a possibility of a return to violence. They are also of great significance in relation to terrorism that is not related to Northern Ireland. As has been mentioned already, the House dealt with an order relating to terrorism from the Indian sub-continent only a few days ago. Those powers and the powers of investigation associated with them under section 17 and schedule 7 may be needed in the future.
I think that the border controls and stop-and-search activities at points of entry are likely to prove of continuing importance. If exclusion orders are dropped, it may still be necessary to keep a fairly careful watch on who is crossing from Northern Ireland to Britain or who is travelling in the opposite direction. Those powers may serve a continuing purpose.
Most members of the public, when subjected to the inconvenience created by the powers, recognise that they are important—perhaps more readily than they would in other contexts. When there is broader debate about passport and border controls, I often wonder whether hon. Members know how irritated some of my constituents get about delays with border controls and passports. However, in the context of Northern Ireland terrorism, I think that people are appreciative of the reasons for the powers and co-operate readily when showing their passports or in allowing their luggage or their vehicles to be searched.
The Government will have to review the separate Northern Ireland emergency provisions. If Ministers have to come back to the House for another renewal of the present prevention of terrorism legislation without undertaking a full review, it will be a sign either that the peace process has failed—leaving a heightened security threat—or that they are not keeping up to date with current security requirements.
I do not believe that the mix of security requirements which makes up the legislation in its present form is likely to be what we will need a year from now. Other forms of terrorism may be become more important than Northern Ireland terrorism, so a different mix of powers will be required and we will rely rather less on this emergency legislation than on the general body of law.
I believe that a review is essential, and the Secretary of State recognised that in his remarks today. He believes that a fundamental review of the powers is appropriate, but he does not want to embark upon it as quickly as I would wish. We shall pursue that area of difference with him and we will continue to emphasise our view that some of the features of the legislation must not he regarded 377 as permanent fixtures of our statute book because they represent major incursions into civil liberty. However, we believe that we must ensure that the powers are intact while the review process takes place.
§ Mr. David Wilshire (Spelthorne)
I wish that I did not have to support my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary in the Lobby tonight, but I must support him for the following reason: the Irish Republican Army is still in being. It still
maintains its arsenal; is still recruiting; still targeting; still training; still researching improvised weapons".They are not my words; they are the words of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. There is an additional reason which he did not list when making his speech in the United States: the IRA is still fund-raising.
Extortion and blackmail, and intimidation and the collecting of funds, all for terrorist purposes, still goes on".They are not my words, but the words of Mr. Rowe in his report.
In researching for my speech in this debate, I used two very helpful briefing documents: first, a case for the repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 from the Committee on the Administration of Justice in Northern Ireland; and, secondly, Mr. Rowe's report. I studied both documents very carefully. The CAJ report makes some very interesting points. I share its wish that the Act could be scrapped. I accept that its provisions result in a departure from the ideal standards of civil rights and natural justice. But bombers and murderers deny their victims the most fundamental of human rights: the right to life.
As much as I respect the case advanced by the CAJ, I reject it because it is founded on a false premise. It claims that Northern Ireland's emergency is over; but it is not. As the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) explained, the emergency is certainly not over. All that has changed since we debated the Act last year is that there is a temporary ceasefire which has been called by some—but not all—of the organisations concerned. Would-be negotiators are still supported by evil psychopaths with guns in their pockets and Semtex in their briefcases.
The other document that I considered was Mr. Rowe's report. His research is meticulous and his objectivity is impressive. The report has persuaded me that all of the provisions in the Act must continue for at least one more year. His general conclusions are deeply disturbing. In paragraph 9 of the report, he states:
Since the ceasefires there have been assaults and intimidation, which are terrorist related; likewise robberies of shops and of the person; and they continue to take place. There is extortion still going on, and racketeering, by terrorists: and there are still collections of money being made for terrorist funds".That leads him to a very clear and simple conclusion:
In short there is activity and threat.I find that disturbing, but 1 find his detailed conclusions on each of the provisions equally disturbing.
He turns first to proscribed organisations and states in paragraph 18:
The organisations which are proscribed are still in existence. It is known that they maintain their structures in place, and INLA has not announced a ceasefire. The IRA has done so; but after a robbery in Northern Ireland in the Autumn, and after the ceasefire, when a 378 considerable sum of money was stolen, the IRA acknowledged that it was responsible: a public appeal was made for the return of the money taken, but nothing came of that".He turns to exclusion orders and states in paragraph 22:
there is proof that exclusion orders have disrupted the terrorists' plans.That leads him to support the continuation of the power to make exclusion orders.
Regarding his comments on the funding of terrorism, there is no need to labour the point again, as it has been covered in the debate.
When he turns to arrest and detention, he states in paragraph 42:
At the present time there is still terrorist related activity, and a threat … and therefore there is a continuing need for the power of arrest … and the power of extension of detention.Finally, turning to his comments on port controls, he states in paragraph 68:
It seems to me that … these powers of examination are vital, and my conclusion is that they should be continued.In other words, an expert who was asked to examine the working of the Act during 1994, having done his research, concludes that every part of the Act is still necessary.
There is another reason why I support its continuation. It is a reason that I deeply regret having to raise in the debate, but I am afraid that I take yesterday's statement by my right hon. Friend and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland as a weakening of his stance on the surrender of weapons and explosives. If I understand him correctly, it seems to me that terrorists will be allowed to keep their arsenals for some time to come. All they have to do is make a small gesture of good faith. Can we expect good faith from bombers or good faith from assassins? When in the history of the IRA has it ever shown good faith to anybody?
§ Sir Patrick Mayhew
Of course I never said, and of course it is not the case, that terrorists are allowed to keep their weapons for some time to come. I have said, and the Prime Minister has said, that there is no case for anybody retaining arms which are illegally held. That is abundantly clear and there is no change whatsoever in the Government's position. I said that, before we could sit down with Sinn Fein in the substantive, inclusive political talks, there had to be substantial progress made on the decommissioning of arms. That was said not only by the Prime Minister but by Mr. Bruton. I also said:
In a democracy, parties will not sit down, must not sit down, with another party that implies that if it doesn't get its way, it is prepared to condone a return to violence.
§ Mr. Wilshire
I am grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend for saying that and I am sorry to continue to labour the point, but a press statement from the Northern Ireland Office, which I assume he authorised, stated:
In order to test the practical arrangements and to demonstrate good faith, the actual decommissioning of some arms as a tangible confidence building measure and to signal the start of a process.If I understand that correctly—I am willing to give way to be told that I do not—I take it to be a weakening and I believe that to be wrong. I am sorry, but I cannot support my right hon. and learned Friend in that.
It gives me no pleasure to speak in these terms and I sincerely hope that nobody in the House will have to talk in the same way in a year's time. We have come a very long way since last August and I pay unreserved tribute 379 to all those who have been involved in the process, but the ceasefire has not yet become permanent. Terrorists have not yet called an end to their evil activities. The Act therefore remains necessary.
My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary asks for my support. I assure him that he has it for as long as he needs it.
§ 6.4 pm
§ Mr. David Trimble (Upper Bann)
We in Northern Ireland have enjoyed six months without serious terrorist incident. That is something for which the entire community is profoundly grateful. There has been a continuation of some terrorist activity, but none the less, the existence of the ceasefire is very welcome. Despite that, our judgment, together with that of other parties that have spoken this evening, is that tonight the House must renew the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
We are not out of the woods yet. We still have terrorist organisations which are armed to the teeth and regularly threaten a return to violence if they do not get their way. Scarcely a week goes by without Mitchell McLaughlin issuing a fresh threat of a return to violence.
The hon. Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire) quoted from the speech by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in Washington recently. The part that struck me as significant was the reference to the IRA "still researching improvised weapons". The fact that they are still researching and trying to develop new weapons is clear evidence of the danger that exists.
It is not just our judgment in the House. The Irish Government have formed the same judgment, but although they have repealed the so-called state of emergency dating back to 1939, they have retained the "offences against the state" legislation that provides for special criminal courts and internment. They have retained their legislation, and we must do the same.
I shall not rehearse our arguments on previous occasions, but I shall briefly touch on parts of them. I shall not repeat our position on exclusion orders. We find them objectionable in principle. They are not new. They were not invented in 1974; they were also contained in the 1939 Act, on which the 1974 Act was based. Then and now, they were the recourse of lazy authorities that lit on that provision because it seemed an easy way of introducing control.
As to seven-day detentions, I still remain of the view that it is possible to introduce a sufficient judicial element. There is a problem here that can be solved. I am aware of Mr. J. J. Rowe's comments about judges, but that is not the issue. We are addressing how to introduce a judicial element, not the present High Court judges. That is not the appropriate point. Mr. Rowe's approach is that of one who sees only difficulties rather than trying to find a solution, and I am sure a solution can be found.
While the Act has to be renewed for a further year, it must be the hope of hon. Members that this will be the last renewal, and that, despite the worries and concerns of so many hon. Members about whether the present temporary ceasefire will become permanent, it is important that we do not lose the protection that the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Northern Ireland 380 (Emergency Provisions) Act provide with regard to terrorist acts. It is not wise to leave the United Kingdom without some permanent protection.
There will always be the danger of a renewal of republican violence, and there are also threats from what we have this evening called international terrorism. I shall mention just a few examples.
Groups involved in the civil war in Algeria are said to be using London. There was a murder last week in London which has been linked to an extreme Islamic group, which I understand is banned in some other countries. We may want to consider banning it here. The Pakistani Christians whose death sentences were quashed in Pakistan and who had to leave Pakistan because they would no longer be safe there, could not come to the United Kingdom because they would not be safe here. They had to go to Germany. That is a reflection on our country.
Therefore, while the Act has to be renewed for this year, in the coming year we should undertake a major review of the legislation for the purpose of considering what permanent provision should be made. It remains to be seen whether it will be possible to move to that permanent position in the course of the year, but it is now appropriate for the Government to move in that direction.
I imagine that, if consideration was being given to what permanent provision is needed to deal with terrorism, we would want to retain the port and entry control powers. The powers relating to arrest, search and special offences in the current legislation might be put in cold storage, but available if needed—with, of course, appropriate parliamentary safeguards. Such a review could not be confined to the PTA; it would have to involve the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1991.
§ Mr. Trimble
I am glad to see that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is nodding.
I believe that the form of the review should follow the precedent set by the 1979 Gardiner committee. I do not think it appropriate to involve a High Court judge. We have already expressed that view to the Home Secretary, and I gather from the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) that the Labour party tried to persuade him to follow the same line.
I understand the Home Secretary's caution, and I understand that there are still matters for him to consider; but I hope that he will not delay his action for too long, for action must be taken. He has acknowledged the need for permanent provision, and he has also acknowledged that a review is the best way in which to consider what that provision should be.
As for the stance of the official Opposition, I find it amazing—although we agree with the Labour party on some specific points. The hon. Member for Blackburn said, after referring to the need for a review, that, had such a review been announced, there would have been no vote against the order.
The Home Secretary and others acknowledge that such a review is necessary and will be carried out. The hon. Gentleman went on to say that the only problem was the issue of timing. Is that so important that he must divide the House, and send the wrong signal to terrorists? 381 I pay tribute to the way in which, over the past couple of years, the Leader of the Opposition has tried to change Labour's position. He has succeeded to some extent, but I am sorry that neither he nor his spokesman have had the courage to travel the rest of the way. We know the reason: the Opposition Back Benches contain a number of—well, "scoundrels" might be the appropriate word, but I am not sure whether it is in order, Madam Deputy Speaker.
§ Mr. Trimble
I happily bow to your judgment, Madam Deputy Speaker, and withdraw the term. A number of Labour Back Benchers, however, would defy their leader because of motives of which I do not approve. I shall go no further.
§ Mr. Trimble
As other hon. Members have pointed out, the peace process depends on the surrender or decommissioning of weapons. Through my hon. Friend the Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis), we have made what we consider to be a positive proposal, but time precludes me from giving the details.
I join the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire) in deploring the confusion that seems to have crept into the Government's position. In his statement, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland seemed to be saying that, if some arms were surrendered, Sinn Fein and the rest of the IRA could take their place at the table and talk. Apparently, however—according to what I have been told—the Minister of State said on this morning's edition of "Today" that two stages were involved: "Surrender some weapons and you get into direct talks with Ministers; to get into the all-party talks, you must surrender a substantial number of weapons."
I must caution those outside the House that involvement in all-party talks will require more than a decision by Her Majesty's Government. It will require a decision by other parties—and we ourselves will have to be satisfied that those taking part in all-party talks are committed to exclusively peaceful methods. The onus will be on those other parties to satisfy us of that.
Following the differing statements of two Ministers in the Northern Ireland Office, I have been informed that, in a briefing today, the Government have told the press that they are about to move into bilaterial ministerial talks with the IRA. I hope to hear more about that when the Minister winds up.
I would have liked to explore the matter further, but time prevents me from doing so. I understand that the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) is anxious to speak.
§ Mr. Terry Dicks (Hayes and Harlington)
Let me reassure my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary that I shall support him in the lobby. I feel, however, that, after the confusion caused by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the whole issue could be cleared up for good if he could reassure us—reassure me, in particular—that he will not sit down with any member of Sinn Fein or the rest of the IRA until the IRA has surrendered its weapons. 382 If he cannot give me such a categorical assurance now, I will assume that there has been some slippage in the Government's stance, or that I have completely misunderstood that stance. I am happy to give way to the Secretary of State if he wishes to clarify the position.
§ Sir Patrick Mayhew
I readily take the opportunity offered by my hon. Friend. There has been no slippage. My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister have said time and again—and it does not rest only with us; the Government as a whole take the same stance—that, before inclusive political talks about future structures in Northern Ireland can take place, substantial progress must be made on the decommissioning of arms.
My hon. Friend may not like that; he may wish that I had put it in another, less realistic way. But that is the way in which the Government, the Prime Minister and—for what it is worth, and it is worth quite a lot—Mr. Bruton have put it. That is what must be achieved in the current exploratory phase of the discussions.
There has been no slippage whatever. I hope that my hon. Friend will accept that, and will not go by highly inaccurate accounts in one or two newspapers today.
§ Mr. Dicks
I am grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend. If he were not a lawyer, I would suspect him of being a civil servant. Is he now saying that it is even more essential for the powers that we are discussing to be renewed?
As for exclusion orders, surely the idea is to stop IRA terrorists from coming to this country in the guise of those wanting to take part in discussions, and sending their troops here to be ready if and when things go wrong—ready to take on the British people in all sorts of ways. I suspect that, without exclusion orders—indeed, even with them—we cannot be sure that they have not already taken up their places.
The Opposition have talked of a fundamental review. If introduced now, such a review would only encourage the terrorists in the IRA to believe that what they have achieved so far can be achieved to an even greater extent. They could say, "Look—we have even persuaded the Government to undertake a fundamental review, before putting aside a single gun or anti-tank mortar." I consider it essential to hold back on any such review until we see the colour of their money—until we see how many weapons have been handed over.
The hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Stott) raised the question of wrongful detention. If we are to talk of the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six, I should point out that, to my knowledge, no one has been found guilty of either of those crimes, in which people lost their lives. Oddly enough, neither police force is now seeking any of the terrorists who committed those atrocities.
§ Mr. Dicks
No; the hon. Gentleman is too close to the IRA.
I find it rather suspicious that both police forces have given up looking for the people who committed those dreadful atrocities. The comparison with a person who has been kept in prison for a few weeks is very poor.
Earlier, I raised with my right hon. and learned Friend the question of Gerry Adams and allegations about recourse to the European Court of Justice or the European 383 Court of Human Rights. I am amazed that Mr. Adams—helped by Liberty, which always seems to want to help murderers and terrorists rather than victims—should have the audacity to take the case to one of those courts to try to obtain compensation for the fact that our exclusion orders prevented Mr. Adams from coming to this country.
As I told my right hon. and learned Friend earlier, rights and obligations are two sides of the same coin. How can Mr. Adams or Mr. McGuinness expect people in this country to recognise their rights when they do not recognise their obligations to the rest of us and act in a decent, humane and democratic fashion?
There would be a public outcry in this country if any indication were given that we would follow the line indicated by the European Court. I am amazed that we should even consider such a possibility, and I was grateful for my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary's assurance that the Government would pay no compensation and would not recognise the decision of the European Court, if such a decision were made.
I voted against the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985, because I did not want a foreign country to have a say in the affairs of my country. Northern Ireland is still my country; I am a Conservative and unionist Member of Parliament. It seems odd that people cannot stand up and say clearly, "We will stand by our own people in Northern Ireland. We will ensure that they are listened to and that their views will be accepted by the House." I am concerned that any softening of the power will be a weakening of the Government's stance, perhaps giving the wrong message. All of us—some hon. Members anyway—live under the threat of those people. I am being told not to relax and that I should ensure that my security is as high as it was before the talks began. If that is the case, how can people, especially Opposition Members, say, "Christmas was wonderful. Everything is nice. It is all easing off." By God it is not easing off and I have an awful suspicion that, if the IRA does not get its way, it will return to weapons and bombs and we shall be sorry for any leniency and soft approach.
I am grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend and, as I said at the beginning, he will have my support in the Lobby this evening.
§ Mr. Seamus Mallon (Newry and Armagh)
I appreciate the assurance of the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks) that the voice of the people from the north of Ireland will be heard. I appreciate the opportunity once again to squeeze in whatever few points I can, as we are approaching the end of the debate, on a matter that is affecting my constituents probably more than any other hon. Member's in Northern Ireland or in Britain.
I strongly disagree, however, with the view that the emergency legislation should be renewed. I believe that enormous change is taking place in the north of Ireland, that the community there is crying out for a new beginning, that the Government have not responded with the vision, the courage or the imagination to create a new dispensation of justice.
384 I believe that that refusal shows the Government's lack of appreciation of the fact that six months of peace and what has gone on within the community have created a radically new context within which the prevention of terrorism Act will work in future. I believe that their refusal to change has made it more difficult to start the essential work of obtaining confidence in and constructive support for a system of justice. It is a uniquely significant opportunity for us to reverse the trend that exists in the north of Ireland, to build a new system of justice that can command support and confidence and can strengthen human rights protection in Northern Ireland and for Irish people in Britain.
I believe that it is essential that a move is made now to create a new system of justice, one that is in tune with the mood of hope and peace. I believe that the political process and justice—we should not forget this point—are not separate entities within Northern Ireland. They are interlocked. They are interdependent, and one cannot be progressed in isolation from the other, as we will learn as we go further down the road. This is an opportunity lost, in my view, because the refusal even to soften the contours of the Act makes our difficult task in Northern Ireland all the more difficult.
Many tributes have been paid to Mr. John Rowe, in relation to his report. I shall try to be honest. I believe that the report is flimsy. It is riddled with contradictions and, indeed, inaccuracies. It is a report on which no Government could base their future thinking. It is something that bears examination.
I make this point strongly. In the context of whatever further examination is to come, I make the plea now, on behalf of good sense, that Mr. John Rowe QC does not carry out that review. His job was to carry out a review of the legislation, yet in effect he has asked the Government, under section 27(6)(b), to review their own legislation. He has refused to do so. The contradictions run right through his entire report.
Let us start at the very beginning. Mr. Rowe tells us:
a careful assessment must be made of the present situation in N.I. in order to judge the continuing need for the PTA".He then proceeds to ignore that dictum, going so far as to observe, in the very same paragraph:
I must reach a view without thinking what its effect might be".What a luxury; what myopia for someone to have who is reviewing a piece of legislation as stringent and draconian as this. He says:
I cannot have regard to such things.Peace is what he is talking about. He also says:
I must reach a view without thinking what its effect might be"?He is talking about peace and the changing situation.
Then, of course, on page 10, he tells us:
However, I am allowed, I am sure, to have regard to current events.
§ Mr. Mallon
I am not giving way. I have been present since the debate began. I shall give way, as I would not like to be accused of pique.
§ Mr. Howard
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for reconsidering. Both he and the hon. Member for Blackburn have misrepresented Mr. Rowe's attitude to the question. On page 2 of the report, when Mr. Rowe says that he cannot have regard to such things, what he is saying, quite clearly, is that he cannot have regard to signals. Those are political matters, and he is not a politician. 385 He does go on the say, as the hon. Gentleman says, that he can have regard to the current state of the situation in Northern Ireland in the context of making an assessment as to the risk and threat from terrorism. There is a clear distinction between those two, and Mr. Rowe has correctly and clearly identified that distinction.
§ Mr. Mallon
I thank the Secretary of State. I am glad that I gave way to him. The reality of the situation is that, in the very first page of the report, Mr. Rowe contradicts himself twice, and does so twice in the next paragraph as well.
Let us not end there. Let us look at his observations in relation to exclusion orders. Exclusion orders, let us remind ourselves, have been revoked by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. The Home Secretary says that he will revoke most of his. Even Lord Colville accepted the evidence against exclusion orders, because they are a political decision, made by politicians, without any element of judicial review. They are made without the person concerned knowing the reasons why the decision was made.
Mr. Rowe tells us, in paragraph 27:
anyone with experience of such applications—for a judicial review—
knows what a strain they are"—oh, dearie me—
in the sense that the natural rules are not fully in place.The natural rules of what? The natural rules of justice. The man is talking about a judicial input into the decision-making process in relation to exclusion orders.
He goes further. Because the person's position would not be put, the judge therefore
would not be hearing both sides: the rules of natural justice would simply be absent.Those are the word of the man, the QC, who has given his judgment on exclusion orders. If that is his view of judicial input, how can he advocate that exclusion orders, which are based on the decisions of politicians who are advised by civil servants, without any argument against or legal representation, be kept intact, as he has recommended?
In relation to arrest and seven-day detention—section 14—I remind the House that, in 1994, 353 extension orders applied in the north of Ireland. Mr. Rowe tells us that applications for an extension state the ground of arrest. On a substantial number of occasions, especially in Northern Ireland, the reason is described not as evidence or even circumstantial evidence but as "reliable intelligence".
The precise details and source of the intelligence are not stated, and I have not seen them.In paragraph 34 he states:
I have read the file relating to each one.He drew the conclusion:
The second part of the review is, in broad terms, to see if the powers have been fairly and properly exercised. My view is that … they have".His view is that they have been fairly exercised, but he has not seen the intelligence and does not know the basis on which decisions were made. However, he declares that the powers have been "fairly and properly exercised". Any lawyer would question the validity of that judgment in relation to both those matters.
386 There is suspicion or belief that section 14 of the PTA and sections 17 and 18 of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act are being used to trawl for information. Innocent people are arrested and detained for up to seven days in search of information. We should not be surprised by that, because a former Home Secretary, Sir Leon Brittan, told us that that was exactly the case, and he gave the reasons.
The use of the powers of detention under the legislation has acted, first, as a deterrent to persons other than the people who have been detained.The law in this country is being used as a deterrent against people other than those who have been detained. That is sustained and supported by John Rowe QC.
Sir Leon went even further, when he was questioned by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley). The right hon. Gentleman said:
Will the Home Secretary make this point absolutely clear as it is crucial to many of us? Is he saying that it is right in a free society to detain innocent people without charge for the purpose of obtaining information from them?The Home Secretary's reply was remarkable. He said:
It has been made clear not by me but by the courts that that is a legitimate and necessary use of the power."—[Official Report, 24 October 1983; Vol.47, c.55–6.]That finds favour with John Rowe QC, who has written this review which had garnered so much support and confidence. People in Britain should be asking the question that I am asking, because there are victims of the Prevention of Terrorism Act in this country's legal and judicial system, and its process of justice is one of those victims. People should look carefully at that.
Schedule 5(16) relates to ports and border controls. There is not a word as to how the legislation there may be softened. A person can be held for up to 12 hours without even a reasonable suspicion. People may ask, "Held by whom?" It does not have to he by a police officer. Anyone can lose his liberty for up to 12 hours at the whim, not even on a reasonable suspicion, of someone who is not a police officer.
Mr. Rowe thinks highly of that, because he says:
The checks on these persons not hitherto known were selective or random steps.That is again a random trawl for information. Because of the issues that face us, we must look at those salient points, and sincerely and legally question the validity and veracity of the report by John Rowe QC.
The loss of mutual respect between state and citizens cannot be restored by attempts to cling to unjustifiable powers which degrade the individual by making him vulnerable to the arbitrary and capricious exercise of those powers. Those are not my words—they are much too flowery. They are from a legal authority in the North of Ireland.
The Prevention of Terrorism Act is part of the past, and must be consigned to the lumber room of history to gather dust, rather than remain an active factor in shaping the future. The justification for its continued existence, a present and real immediate threat to the life of the nation—an emergency, as it is termed in the European convention on human rights, threatening the life of the nation—having passed, the Act ought not to be reviewed. 387 A new, imaginative approach should be brought to the whole problem. We are sticking in the past, at a time when we should be leading the community in the north of Ireland and in Britain into a future with a new system of justice that will never make the mistakes of the past.
§ Mr. Clive Soley (Hammersmith)
For the first time, the debate on this legislation is taking place in the context of peace in Northern Ireland. It is sad that some Unionist Members and some Back-Bench Tory Members do not seem to recognise the impact that our debates on this issue can have. I pay tribute to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Prime Minister for the way that they responded to peace process developments in Northern Ireland. All hon. Members, including Unionist Members, owe a debt to the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister. Perhaps we should bear that in mind in the debate.
Every time we look at the Act, we need to remind ourselves that it is a double-edged weapon. The vast majority of people who are picked up under the Act are never charged, let alone convicted—in many years, it is 90 per cent.—and, as my hon. Friend the Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) has said, the reason is that the Act is designed to collect information.
That is why it has played into the hands of the terrorists, and why I said to the Home Secretary, through an intervention in the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw), that there has always been an alternative. It was to use the security forces, and that argument is infinitely stronger now that the security forces are not as stretched as they used to be. That applies to MI5 because of the collapse in the cold war, and in Britain because of the lack of the threat of Northern Ireland terror.
The Home Secretary missed an opportunity to respond in the way that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Prime Minister responded, by making it clear not just that he wished to get rid of the legislation—I can understand that—but that it was his intention. If only he could say, as he avoided saying on the radio this morning, "I want to get rid of this Act, and I will get rid of it if the peace process continues."
The fact that he did not do that has led many people to worry—I put it no higher than that—that he wants to keep it on the statute book as a general Act to use against terrorism from whatever source. I hope that he is not saying that, and that at some stage he will take the opportunity, although not in the middle of my speech as I have only about two minutes left, to make it clear that he intends, whether in one year or five, to get rid of the Act if the peace process continues. That is what we need to hear.
The objections to the legislation by some Opposition Members are sometimes treated as related to a civil liberties issue. Some hon. Members make that mistake. It is not a civil liberties issue. The legislation has always been a fundamental threat to our constitutional assumption of separation of power between the judiciary and the Government.
Currently, a politician can decide whether a person should live in one part of the United Kingdom or in another. Under quite a bit of pressure, not least from me 388 when I gave evidence in writing, that led Lord Colville to say that this was internal exile. It is the first time that it has existed in this country since Henry VIII. A politician should not have that power, not just because of civil rights but because of our constitution.
Similarly, a politician—the Home Secretary—should not have the power to decide that the police can detain a person and question him. A politician decides both those issues, and that is a fundamental assault not just on civil liberties but on our constitution. The danger is that that will become permanent. Again, the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh referred to that.
The Prevention of Violence (Temporary Provisions) Act 1939 was introduced to deal with a number of acts of terror that died out in 1940. The Act was kept on the statute book until 1954. We are in danger of keeping the Prevention of Terrorism Act on the statute book for a similar length of time. We need to sow confidence in the peace process. The Government have made enormous moves on this matter, and I pay my compliments to them. Why not have trust and confidence in the people of Britain and of Northern Ireland, and say that we can stop using these powers?
The Government have an opportunity today to secure automatic agreement if they stop using exclusion orders and detention powers that are used by a politician to take people in for questioning, and if they give a commitment to review or to end the use of the Act as long as the peace process continues. This is not just about party political agreement, but about many hon. Members' conviction that we in Britain have never had this opportunity before.
Despite all the bombings and killings that took place, in the previous century as a result of Northern Ireland affairs—we forget that there were many of those—the Victorians never introduced internal exile or gave power to a politician to hold people in police stations. They were right not to give that power. Every hon. Member who agrees that this policy is counter-productive, undermines the peace process and, above all, threatens all the things for which the House and this country have stood for hundreds of years will join me and my colleagues in the No Lobby tonight.
§ Ms Marjorie Mowlam (Redcar)
I welcome the Home Secretary's announcement of the lifting of 16 of the 56 remaining exclusion orders. We note his willingness to continue to review the remaining exclusion orders on an individual basis.
As he is aware, the exclusion orders deny the right of a United Kingdom citizen to live where they choose. That aspect of the matter was included in the joint framework document, where both the British and Irish Governments pledged to encourage the adoption of a charter or covenant of fundamental rights within their respective jurisdictions, both in the Republic and in Northern Ireland.
A number of fundamental rights were included: the right to freedom of expression of religion, the right to seek constitutional change by peaceful and legitimate means, and the right to live wherever one chooses. We wanted the Home Secretary to acknowledge today the aim of his Government in that joint framework document, and to consider the necessity of the future use of exclusion orders. He and other hon. Members, including the hon. 389 Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley), have argued that the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1994 should be renewed in its entirety on the advice of the latest operational audit produced last month by J. J. Rowe QC.
He did so advise, but he also stated that the Act
should be kept under review in the next twelve months.It is more that a question of timing. The valuable and detailed speeches from the hon. Members for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble) and for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) pointed out some of the problems in the report. They showed that, if the Home Secretary could have been clearer tonight about his intention, his desire for and his timing on a general review, some of the difficulties that we have had in the House would have been avoided.
The position is uncertain. As the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) said, it has always been difficult to strike a balance between understandable and necessary caution and a response to an evolving and changing peace. The Home Secretary said that he did not want to lower his guard. He should not, but he could raise his sights. Occasionally, caution is needed; occasionally, courage is needed too.
The hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Stott) drew an interesting analogy with what Sir Paul Condon, Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, said yesterday. He stated that terrorism was no longer among the six priorities in his policing plan for the new financial year. The police have ended armed road blocks, and the redeployment of officers from central London has started. Of course, Sir Paul stated that he had kept his anti-terrorist operations intact, saying:
You don't dismantle anything you might need at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning".Like Sir Paul, we are asking the Home Secretary to propose a change of priorities. We should have a general, full and independent review of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, consider how one can suspend the power to make exclusion orders under section 27, and introduce a judicial element, as the hon. Member for Upper Bann said, to approve extended prevention orders. In that way, the Home Secretary could acknowledge the changes that are taking place, but keep the process in perspective.
It is not the case. as the hon. Members for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire) and for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter) implied, that Labour Members are opposed to anti-terrorist legislation. In the debate, we have readily acknowledged the need for it. We support proscription, to which the hon. Member for Spelthorne referred. We support the need for anti-terrorist legislation in relation to terrorist funding.
Only last week upstairs, without a Division, we let through an order that was part of the PTA to facilitate seizure of assets. That went through without opposition, and it was approved by us. The changing nature of terrorism legislation is the reason why we want to have a review now. The changes in international terrorism could have been taken into account in the months ahead.
The PTA has been a contentious piece of legislation because it gives powers to politicians, police and courts that go beyond those granted by ordinary law. In the past 20 years, unity has existed among hon. Members on both sides of the House, not only in our utter contempt for people dedicated to the indiscriminate and deliberate killing of innocent people, but in our sympathy for the trauma and pain of individuals and families who have 390 suffered as the maiming and death have continued. They include Robert Bradford, who was not mentioned earlier. Like his friends and family, he will not be forgotten.
At the same time, it is important to give our support and thoughts to the families of people serving in the Army and police, who still suffer the loss of those near to them. We should like readily to acknowledge the efforts of the men and women in the police and the Army over these extremely tense and difficult years to minimise and contain the violence.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) said, the PTA was introduced by a Labour Government and supported by the Labour party for a number of years. Labour Members' concerns grew because what was initially a temporary measure began to look more and more permanent.
It also became clear year on year that, in a civilised society, it is wrong in principle to detain a suspect for nine days without judicial involvement, and to oblige a man or woman through the use of exclusion orders to live in parts of the country stipulated by politicians. In a civilised society, Governments cannot ignore the rule of law; otherwise, by their very actions, they destroy what they are trying to protect and defend.
Today, hon. Members have acknowledged that last year my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition tried to achieve cross-party co-operation for an independent review. We were unsuccessful.
§ Ms Mowlam
I am sorry that the hon. Lady does not find it surprising. Last year and this year, we have done our best to reach an agreement across the House. We supported the Government on the Downing street declaration, and on the framework document. We tried again to achieve bipartisan consensus on this issue. The hon. Lady should acknowledge that this year the position has moved on considerably. We have had more than six months of peace in Northern Ireland. Informal talks are beginning on how that process can move forward.
As we have often done in the House, we acknowledge and applaud what has been done by the Prime Minister, Northern Ireland Members, politicians in Dublin and. above all, the people of Northern Ireland, who deserve the peace process to continue, and who have worked desperately in the past six months to keep it going. We support the efforts of all the politicians and people in the peace process. We will continue to work constructively to try to achieve peace.
I say to hon. Members on the other side of the Chamber that we want a general review by a person of independent and high status, the introduction of judicial approval for detention order extensions, and suspension of the powers to make exclusion orders. Suspension is not possible under section 27. The Government should agree not to use those powers while the peace process continues.
After the vote tonight and in the months ahead, we will continue that policy, because we believe that it is important. Such legitimate demands have wide support in the House this evening. We do not want to divide the House on the order, but we shall do so. I hope that, in the months ahead, we will not have to do so again as the peace process develops.
§ Mr. Howard
This debate takes place against a different background from that of recent years, and all hon. Members who have contributed to it have remarked on that fact.
My hon. Friends the Members for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter), for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire) and for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks) were robust in their support for the need for these provisions. My hon. Friends the Members for Basingstoke and for Spelthorne based their speeches on careful analyses and assessments of the Rowe report. In relation to the matters causing them concern, I commend to my hon. Friends the Members for Spelthorne and for Hayes and Harlington the words of my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. I suggest that they study his words carefully; if they do so, I am sure that they will find that their anxieties are allayed.
The hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Stott) launched into a diatribe against the order and its provisions, and ended up calling for consensus. I must tell him and the Labour party that, so long as there remains a risk and a threat, there cannot be a consensus based on a suggestion that we should lower our guard, dismantle our defences against terrorism or remove powers that are necessary. That is the truth of the matter, but, of course, Opposition Members do not like to be reminded of it.
The truth is that Opposition Members will vote for the dismantling of all these provisions, and they will vote for the removal even of those powers that they regard as necessary.
§ Mr. Howard
They will vote in that way not because, as the hon. Gentleman just said, they have no option, but because, as the hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble) pointed out, their leaders do not have the courage to face out their Back Benchers who will never support this legislation. If people ever want to know how a Labour Government would behave, they should study carefully the Labour party's attitude to this legislation, and they will find no better or more accurate guide.
The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) made a characteristic speech, although it was not always clear to me whether he was supporting the order. I suggest that the order itself is the strongest indication of the Government's determination to protect the security of the people of the United Kingdom—those in Northern Ireland and those in Great Britain. That is what the powers in the order are all about, and that is why I am asking the House to renew its provisions this evening.
The hon. Gentleman raised one issue in particular that I should like to explain. It was in relation to Mr. Rowe's report on the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The hon. Gentleman suggested that my approach was different from that of my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Secretary. However, my right hon. and learned Friend's answer of 17 February to which the hon. Gentleman referred was about a different report by Mr. Rowe—his separate report on the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1991—which was substantially completed before the ceasefire. Indeed, that report did not fully take account of the new situation, but 392 the more recently completed review of the PTA emphatically does so. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will take that explanation on board.
The right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith), like the hon. Member for Upper Bann, asked for further consideration to be given to judicial involvement in the detention and exclusion procedures. I understand the concerns that lie behind that request. Both hon. Gentlemen said that they were sure that a way could be found to achieve that, but did not identify that way.
That is the difficulty—a real, practical difficulty—to which no solution has been found by any independent reviewers who have considered such matters in the past. It is easy to say, "A way must be found," but less easy to find and identify it. I have examined the matter myself and come to the conclusion that the difficulties in the path of finding the solution are indeed formidable. I do not believe that they could easily be overcome.
There was great strength in the intervention by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King). We must always be keen in these matters to avoid confusing form with substance, and I think that there is a considerable danger of our doing so. Mr. Rowe got it right when he talked in his report about the need to avoid a situation in which a procedure was regarded as judicial simply because the person carrying it out was a judge. There is a great deal of force in that observation.
§ Mr. Trimble
I thank the Secretary of State for giving way, especially as time is short. The right hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King) was referring to how the problems were avoided in France where there can be a judicial review with extensive detention. To pray in aid what the right hon. Gentleman said in fact points up the fact that there is a solution if only the Home Secretary looks to France.
§ Mr. Howard
I confess that I understood my right hon. Friend's intervention in an entirely different way. He was pointing out that we have the substance, which achieves the maximum protection of the liberties of the individual by the strict limit—a matter of days—that we place on detention of this kind, whereas other countries may have more of the form. However, if one looks at the substance and finds that someone can be detained for two years in some circumstances, one can but conclude that this country's approach is far superior on every count, including that of protecting the liberties of the individual.
§ Mr. Mallon
Is it not the case that, where the judgment is being made on intelligence, not evidence, a judicial review will not work, and that, where the judgment is being made on evidence, there is no call for the judicial review? The problem is that people are being held for seven days, not on evidence but on intelligence.
§ Mr. Howard
The hon. Gentleman misunderstands the entire basis for these provisions. If there is evidence, people are taken before a court and convicted, but, in the kind of emergency that we have been facing, one has to take action against people where there is no evidence that would warrant a conviction, but where there is intelligence on which one must act if one wants to save lives. That is the reason that we take action based on intelligence, and that is why it is not susceptible to a judicial process. 393 I was sorry that the hon. Gentleman took the line he did, and that he criticised Mr. Rowe and his report. There was no basis for the strictures that he passed on Mr. Rowe, and I hope that he will reconsider his attitude. I fear that the attitude that he displayed demonstrates just how far there is to go before we have a true meeting of minds on the future of Northern Ireland. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will reconsider his position.
The speech by the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) was the most muddled to which the House has been treated for a very long time. He was completely unable to explain why he was inviting his party to vote against the measure. He cannot take issue with its provisions, but is inviting his party to vote against it for a reason that has nothing to do with the measure itself, and nothing to do with the powers contained in the order.
He is inviting his party to vote against it because he says that he wants some different kind of review now, rather than at the appropriate time. It was a disgraceful speech, on a fundamental matter affecting the safety and security of the people of this country, and is explicable only on the basis that the leadership of his party is not prepared to face out those Labour Back Benchers who would never vote for legislation of this kind.
It was not without significance that the only contributions from Back-Bench Labour Members were from those who are opposed root and branch to the legislation. That is the truth that lies behind the fine words of Labour Front-Bench Members. We will not be deflected from our determination to take whatever measures are necessary to protect the lives and security of the people of this United Kingdom. That is why I commend the order to the House.
§ Question put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 314, Noes 212.397
|Division No. 98]||[7.00 pm|
|Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)||Brandreth, Gyles|
|Aitken, Rt Hon Jonathan||Brazier, Julian|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)||Bright, Sir Graham|
|Alton, David||Brooke, Rt Hon Peter|
|Amess, David||Brown, M (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)|
|Arbuthnot, James||Browning, Mrs Angela|
|Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv)||Bruce, Ian (Dorset)|
|Ashby, David||Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)|
|Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy||Budgen, Nicholas|
|Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E)||Burns, Simon|
|Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)||Burt, Alistair|
|Baker, Rt Hon Kenneth (Mole V)||Butcher, John|
|Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)||Butler, Peter|
|Baldry, Tony||Butterfill, John|
|Banks, Matthew (Southport)||Carlile, Alexander (Montgomery)|
|Banks, Robert (Harrogate)||Carlisle, John (Luton North)|
|Bates, Michael||Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Lincoln)|
|Batiste, Spencer||Carrington, Matthew|
|Beggs, Roy||Carttiss, Michael|
|Beith, Rt Hon A J||Cash, William|
|Bellingham, Henry||Channon, Rt Hon Paul|
|Bendall, Vivian||Clappison, James|
|Beresford, Sir Paul||Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ru'clif)|
|Booth, Hartley||Coe, Sebastian|
|Boswell, Tim||Conway, Derek|
|Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)||Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia||Coombs, Simon (Swindon)|
|Bowden, Sir Andrew||Cope, Rt Hon Sir John|
|Bowls, John||Cormack, Sir Patrick|
|Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes||Couchman, James|
|Cran, James||Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)|
|Davies, Quentin (Stamford)||Hunter, Andrew|
|Davis, David (Boothferry)||Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas|
|Day, Stephen||Jack, Michael|
|Deva, Nirj Joseph||Jackson, Robert (Wantage)|
|Devlin, Tim||Jenkin, Bernard|
|Dicks, Terry||Jessel, Toby|
|Dorrel, Rt Hon Stephen||Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)|
|Dover, Den||Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)|
|Duncan, Alan||Jones, Robert B (W Hertfdshr)|
|Duncan-Smith, Iain||Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine|
|Dunn, Bob||Kennedy, Charles (Ross, C&S)|
|Durant, Sir Anthony||Key, Robert|
|Dykes, Hugh||King, Rt Hon Tom|
|Eggar, Rt Hon Tim||Kirkhope, Timothy|
|Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)||Kirkwood, Archy|
|Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)||Knapman, Roger|
|Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)||Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)|
|Evennett, David||Knight, Greg (Derby N)|
|Faber, David||Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)|
|Fabricant, Michael||Knox, Sir David|
|Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)||Kynoch, George (Kincardine)|
|Fishburn, Dudley||Lait, Mrs Jacqui|
|Forsyth, Rt Hon Michael (Stirling)||Lamont, Rt Hon Norman|
|Forsythe, Clifford (S Antrim)||Lang, Rt Hon Ian|
|Forth, Eric||Lawrence, Sir Ivan|
|Foster, Don (Bath)||Legg, Barry|
|Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)||Leigh, Edward|
|Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)||Lennox-Boyd, Sir Mark|
|Freeman, Rt Hon Roger||Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)|
|French, Douglas||Lidington, David|
|Gale, Roger||Lilley, Rt Hon Peter|
|Gallie, Phil||Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)|
|Gardiner, Sir George||Lord, Michael|
|Garnier, Edward||Luff, Peter|
|Gill, Christopher||Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas|
|Gillan, Cheryl||Lynne, Ms Liz|
|Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles||McCrea, The Reverend William|
|Gorman, Mrs Teresa||MacGregor, Rt Hon John|
|Gorst Sir John||MacKay, Andrew|
|Grant, Sir A (SW Cambs)||Maclean, David|
|Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)||Maclennan, Robert|
|Greenway, John (Ryedale)||McLoughlin, Patrick|
|Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)||McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick|
|Grylls, Sir Michael||Maddock, Diana|
|Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn||Madel, Sir David|
|Hague, William||Maginnis, Ken|
|Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archibald||Maitland, Lady Olga|
|Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)||Major, Rt Hon John|
|Hampson, Dr Keith||Malone, Gerald|
|Hanley, Rt Hon Jeremy||Mans, Keith|
|Hannam, Sir John||Marland, Paul|
|Hargreaves, Andrew||Marlow, Tony|
|Harris, David||Marshall, John (Hendon S)|
|Harvey, Nick||Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Martin, David (Portsmouth S)|
|Hawksley, Warren||Merchant, Piers|
|Hayes, Jerry||Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)|
|Heald, Oliver||Mitchell, Sir David (NW Hants)|
|Heath, Rt Hon Sir Edward||Moate, Sir Roger|
|Heathcoat-Amory, David||Molyneaux, Rt Hon James|
|Hendry, Charles||Monro, Sir Hector|
|Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael||Montgomery, Sir Fergus|
|Hicks, Robert||Nelson, Anthony|
|Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence||Neubert, Sir Michael|
|Hill, James (Southampton Test)||Newton, Rt Hon Tony|
|Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)||Nicholls, Patrick|
|Horam, John||Nicholson, David (Taunton)|
|Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)|
|Howard, Rt Hon Michael||Norris, Steve|
|Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)||Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley|
|Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)||Oppenheim, Phillip|
|Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)||Ottaway, Richard|
|Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)||Page, Richard|
|Paice, James||Stern, Michael|
|Paisley, The Reverend Ian||Streeter, Gary|
|Patnick, Sir Irvine||Sumberg, David|
|Patten, Rt Hon John||Sweeney, Walter|
|Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||Sykes, John|
|Pawsey, James||Tapsell, Sir Peter|
|Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth||Taylor, Ian (Esher)|
|Porter, David (Waveney)||Taylor, Rt Hon John D (Strgfd)|
|Portillo, Rt Hon Michael||Taylor, John M (Solihull)|
|Powell, William (Corby)||Taylor, Matthew (Truro)|
|Rathbone, Tim||Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)|
|Redwood, Rt Hon John||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Rendel, David||Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)|
|Renton, Rt Hon Tim||Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)|
|Richards, Rod||Thornton, Sir Malcolm|
|Riddick, Graham||Thurnham, Peter|
|Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Robathan, Andrew||Townsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)|
|Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn||Tracey, Richard|
|Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)||Tredinnick, David|
|Robinson, Mark (Somerton)||Trend, Michael|
|Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)||Trimble, David|
|Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Ross, William (E Londonderry)||Tyler, Paul|
|Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela||Walden, George|
|Ryder, Rt Hon Richard||Walker, A Cecil (Belfast N)|
|Sackville, Tom||Walker, Bill (N Tayside)|
|Sainsbury, Rt Hon Sir Timothy||Wallace, James|
|Scott, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas||Waller, Gary|
|Shaw, David (Dover)||Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)|
|Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)||Waterson, Nigel|
|Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian||Watts, John|
|Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)||Wells, Bowen|
|Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)||Wheeler, Rt Hon Sir John|
|Shersby, Michael||Whitney, Ray|
|Sims, Roger||Whittingdale, John|
|Skeet, Sir Trevor||Widdecombe, Ann|
|Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)||Wiggin, Sir Jerry|
|Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)||Wilkinson, John|
|Smyth, The Reverend Martin||Willetts, David|
|Soames, Nicholas||Wilshire, David|
|Spencer, Sir Derek||Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)|
|Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)||Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)|
|Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)||Wolfson, Mark|
|Spink, Dr Robert||Wood, Timothy|
|Spring, Richard||Yeo, Tim|
|Sproat, Iain||Young, Rt Hon Sir George|
|Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)|
|Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Steel, Rt Hon Sir David||Mr. David Lightbown and|
|Steen, Anthony||Mr. Sydney Chapman.|
|Abbott, Ms Diane||Brown, N (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)|
|Adams, Mrs Irene||Burden, Richard|
|Ainger, Nick||Byers, Stephen|
|Allen, Graham||Caborn, Richard|
|Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)||Callaghan, Jim|
|Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale)||Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)|
|Armstrong, Hilary||Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)|
|Austin-Walker, John||Campbell-Savours, D N|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Canavan, Dennis|
|Barnes, Harry||Cann, Jamie|
|Battle, John||Chisholm, Malcolm|
|Bayley, Hugh||Clapham, Michael|
|Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret||Clark, Dr David (South Shields)|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Clelland, David|
|Berry, Roger||Coffey, Ann|
|Blair, Rt Hon Tony||Cohen, Harry|
|Blunkett, David||Connarty, Michael|
|Boateng, Paul||Corbett, Robin|
|Boyes, Roland||Corbyn, Jeremy|
|Bradley, Keith||Corston, Jean|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Cousins, Jim|
|Cox, Tom||McKelvey, William|
|Cunliffe, Lawrence||Mackinlay, Andrew|
|Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)||McLeish, Henry|
|Dalyell, Tam||McMaster, Gordon|
|Darling, Alistair||McNamara, Kevin|
|Davidson, Ian||MacShane, Denis|
|Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)||McWilliam, John|
|Davies, Ron (Caerphily)||Madden, Max|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'l)||Mallon, Seamus|
|Dewar, Donald||Mandelson, Peter|
|Dixon, Don||Marek, Dr John|
|Donohoe, Brian H||Marshall, David (Shettleston)|
|Dowd, Jim||Martlew, Eric|
|Eagle, Ms Angela||Maxton, John|
|Eastham, Ken||Meacher, Michael|
|Enright, Derek||Meale, Alan|
|Etherington, Bill||Michael, Alun|
|Evans, John (St Helens N)||Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)|
|Ewing, Mrs Margaret||Milburn, Alan|
|Fatchett, Derek||Miller, Andrew|
|Fisher, Mark||Moonie, Dr Lewis|
|Flynn, Paul||Morgan, Rhodri|
|Foster, Rt Hon Derek||Morley, Elliot|
|Foulkes, George||Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wy'nshawe)|
|Fraser, John||Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley)|
|Fyfe, Marie||Mowlam, Marjorie|
|Galbraith, Sam||Mudie, George|
|Galloway, George||Mullin, Chris|
|Gapes, Mike||Murphy, Paul|
|Gerrard, Neil||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon|
|Godman, Dr Noman A||O'Brien, Mike (NW'kshire)|
|Godsiff, Roger||O'Brien, William (Normanton)|
|Golding, Mrs Llin||O'Hara, Edward|
|Gordon, Mildred||Olner, Bill|
|Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)||Parry, Robert|
|Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)||Pearson, Ian|
|Grocott, Bruce||Pendry, Tom|
|Gunnell, John||Pickthall, Colin|
|Hain, Peter||Pike, Peter L|
|Hall, Mike||Pope, Greg|
|Hanson, David||Powell, Ray (Ogmore)|
|Hardy, Peter||Prentice, Bridget (Lew'm E)|
|Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)|
|Henderson, Doug||Primarolo, Dawn|
|Heppel, John||Purchase, Ken|
|Hill, Keith (Streatham)||Quin, Ms Joyce|
|Hinchliffe, David||Radice, Giles|
|Hodge, Margaret||Randall, Stuart|
|Hood, Jimmy||Raynsford, Nick|
|Hoon, Geoffrey||Redmond, Martin|
|Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)||Reid, Dr John|
|Hoyle, Doug||Robinson, Geoffrey (Co'try NW)|
|Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)||Roche, Mrs Barbara|
|Hutton, John||Rooney, Terry|
|Ingram, Adam||Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)|
|Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)||Ruddock, Joan|
|Jamieson, David||Salmond, Alex|
|Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Mon)||Sedgemore, Brian|
|Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)||Short, Clare|
|Jowell, Tessa||Simpson, Alan|
|Keen, Alan||Skinner, Dennis|
|Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn)||Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)|
|Khabra, Piara S||Smith, Chris (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)|
|Kilfoyle, Peter||Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)|
|Lewis, Terry||Soley, Clive|
|Liddell, Mrs Helen||Spearing, Nigel|
|Litherland, Robert||Spellar, John|
|Livingstone, ken||Squire, Rachel (Dunfermline W)|
|Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)||Steinberg, Gerry|
|Llwyd, Elfyn||Stevenson, George|
|McAllion, John||Stott, Roger|
|McAvocy, Thomas||Strang, Dr. Gavin|
|McCartney, Ian||Straw, Jack|
|Macdonald, Calum||Sutcliffe, Gerry|
|McFall, John||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)|
|McGracy, Eddie||Timms, Stephen|
|Tipping, Paddy||Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)|
|Touhig, Don||Wilson, Brian|
|Turner, Dennis||Wise, Audrey|
|Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold||Worthington, Tony|
|Walley, Joan||Wray, Jimmy|
|Warded, Gareth (Gower)||Young, David (Bolton SE)|
|Wareing, Robert N|
|Watson, Mike||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Wigley, Datycld||Mr. Joe Benton and|
|Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'nW)||Mr. Eric Clarke.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ That the draft Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 (Continuance) Order 1995, which was laid before this House on 2nd March, be approved.