HC Deb 20 February 1997 vol 290 c1034
6. Mr. Barry Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the European Court of Human Rights and Ms Alison Halford, former assistant chief constable of Merseyside. [15283]

Mr. Howard

As Ms Halford's case is currently before the European Court of Human Rights, it would not be right for me to comment on it.

Mr. Jones

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree to see me and Ms Halford to discuss this complicated matter? Will the Department make an apology to my constituent for tapping her office telephone, on the understanding that she was an excellent crime buster and not a criminal? Will the Department seriously and urgently consider compensation for my constituent, who has suffered a grave injustice? Some uniformed officers have a great deal to answer for in that distressing case.

Mr. Howard

No. The hon. Gentleman's constituent has taken her case to the European Court of Human Rights and that litigation must take its course.

Mr. Marlow

As Home Secretary in a mature democracy whose courts have an unrivalled reputation throughout the world, has my right hon. and learned Friend ever been tempted to seek to withdraw the United Kingdom from the jurisdiction of that foreign court?

Mr. Howard

I am frequently tempted by all sorts of things, but the advantages of our continued adherence to the European convention on human rights and the European Court outweigh the disadvantages. Therefore, I think that we should continue to adhere to that convention.