Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment to Question [26th March].
That this House regrets the action of Her Majesty's Government in refusing political asylum to Chief Enahoro.—[Mr. G. Brown.]
Which Amendment was, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:
mindful of Great Britain's tradition of granting political asylum here to persons who might otherwise he exposed to unjust or oppressive treatment in their own country, is confident of the fair and impartial administration of justice in Nigeria and upholds the decision of the Secretary of State for the Home Department to return Chief Enahoro to stand his trial there".—[Mr. H. Brooke.]
§ Question again proposed, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.
§ 3.50 p.m.
§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)
This is a resumption of the debate which was adjourned on 26th March. In the rather complicated course of the discussions on this issue, three separate questions have emerged.
There is, first, the legal point—the meaning and effect of the second charge against Chief Enahoro. This was raised, very properly, if I may say so, by the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown), when it was brought to his notice. It was certainly his duty to bring it to the attention of the House. It was equally proper far my hon. and 1288 learned Friend the Attorney-General to be unwilling to commit himself to a definite opinion without consideration.
The second broad group of arguments resolves itself into the question, in effect: have we confidence in the Nigerian Government? Whatever may be the law, whatever may be the protestations of the Nigerian Government, are we content to send this man back on this charge?
The third question which has arisen, and which, I think, interests many, if not all, hon. Members, is the nature of a political offence, the traditional right of asylum which was given in this country over many years and even generations to foreign refugees and the effect of the Fugitive Offenders Act operating within the old Empire and now operating within the new Commonwealth.
On the question of the legal points, there is, I think, now no doubt. There were two separate points. There was the point raised in the course of the debate by the right hon. Member for Belper. This is now agreed to be a bad point by all concerned. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I understood that the general view was that that was a bad point. I do not mean a bad point in the sense that it was a wrong point. I mean that it would not hold water. I understand that that view is shared by all the lawyers.
Then there was another point of a similar kind, perhaps even mare refined, which was brought to my hon. and learned Friend's attention a little later. On this, he gave his opinion yesterday with equal firmness as on the first point. I do not think that anyone now seriously questions that in giving that view the Law Officers have rightly advised the Government on this issue. I think that it is fair to say—and I believe that the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) and his colleagues will agree—that in raising these legal points they were not bringing a charge of a sort of Machiavellian plot by the Nigerian Government. I heard no insinuation that the Nigerian Government subtly inserted this particular form of charge with the intention of claiming a death penalty, as it were by stealth.
Indeed, it would have been rather foolish of them to do so, as they know that this very interpretation has already been rejected by the Nigerian courts. That governs Nigerian legal practice. It would 1289 have been the depth of duplicity to do so, because if one sets out three charges, the first carrying a maximum of life imprisonment, the second seven years and the third two years, then to put one in the middle, intending it in a kind of obscure, hidden way to be possible of carrying the death penalty, would be dishonest, dishonourable and, indeed, a monstrous thing to do.
Right hon. Gentlemen opposite quite rightly treated this aspect as a legal subject. As far as I know, and as far as the law is concerned on this point, there is no doubt that the capital sentence cannot now, it is clear, be attached or passed in connection with the second charge.
I should tell the House that the Home Secretary received this morning from Chief Enahoro's solicitors a request that Her Majesty should be advised to refer to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council the question whether Chief Enahoro is liable to the death penalty under the charges which he faces. The Government do not think that such a reference is either necessary or appropriate in the circumstances. The advice given by the Attorney-General is clear on both points. On the second point, which was raised later, his view coincides with the view taken by the Nigerian High Court when it was put before it.
I ought now to make a reference to the assurance which I personally gave in intervening when the House last had this matter before it. This assurance was very clear, and I repeated it several times, although in different words. What I said, in effect, was this: if the point raised by the right hon. Member for Belper should prove to be valid, then the Government would not return Chief Enahoro unless the Nigerian Government gave an undertaking that Charge 2 would be withdrawn and that no new charge would be substituted for it which might carry the death penalty. That is perfectly clear. If it were not proved to be valid or if it appeared to us not to be valid, then, of course, my assurance did not apply. It was that contingency.
Since, as I say, it has been generally accepted that the legal points, very properly raised, are proved to be without validity, there is nothing for me on which to press the Nigerian Government as a result of my assurance to the House on 1290 that day. However, while the legal question was in doubt, I naturally entered into communication with the Nigerian Government, and so, immediately after the debate and before I heard the Attorney-General's final opinion, I caused an approach to be made through the High Commissioner in Lagos, who discussed with the Nigerian Prime Minister and his colleagues the situation which had arisen.
Lord Head explained that, in view of the assurances I had given to the House, I wished to be quite sure that Charge 2 did not carry the death penalty or, alternatively, if it could be construed to do so, that it would be withdrawn and that no other charge attracting the death penalty would be put in its place.
In reply, the Nigerian Government made it clear that they were most reluctant to give such assurances—and for these reasons: first, in their view it was obvious that Charge 2 did not carry the death penalty. This was the view of their professional advisers, in whom they had great confidence, and this had been publicly confirmed by the ruling of their court. This, indeed, confirmed the information on the character of the charges which had been given to us by the Nigerian High Commissioner in London.
The Nigerian Prime Minister and his colleagues therefore felt—and I must say that I have great sympathy with them—that to ask for a further assurance implied a lack of confidence in the impartiality of the Nigerian courts or in the good faith of the Nigerian Government.
Happily, the need for any further undertakings has been removed by the opinion given by the Law Officers and, I believe, not seriously challenged—that the point, however right it was to raise it, is not effective and is invalid.
§ Mr. George Brown (Belper)
When Lord Head put this to the Prime Minister of Nigeria, and was given the reply that the Nigerian Government took the view that the death penalty did not apply, did Lord Head ask why, in that case, the Senior Crown Counsel included a statement to the contrary in the affidavit?
§ The Prime Minister
The whole question of the affidavit has clearly been shown to be absolutely irrelevant to the position of what the law means. If that 1291 is to be raised again, the Attorney-General can explain it in the legal formula which is appropriate to it. It has no bearing on it.
I have dealt with the legal question which was raised in the previous debate.
§ Mr. Frank Bowles (Nuneaton)
The Prime Minister keeps talking about the Government of Nigeria prosecuting. The Government in this country do not prosecute. Is it not for the Attorney-General, or the Director of Public Prosecutions? Is it the Government there who institute prosecutions?
§ The Prime Minister
I am glad that that intervention has been made, because it is one of the points which they put to us, that they followed our procedure. Although, in these very special cases, they might be asked to give an assurance, it was actually, as the hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Bowles) very properly said, a matter for the Attorney-General, who, I understand, is a very distinguished lawyer.
I have dealt with the legal question and I turn to the second question which was in our minds in the previous debate before the legal point arose—a fundamental question, not a legal question: have we confidence in the Nigerian Government? Or, to put another way, have we such lack of confidence that we fear that while getting this man back on one charge they would present another which would carry a capital punishment? Of course, this is theoretically possible. It is even practically possible for any Government under an extradition treaty, any foreign Government under any extradition treaty, or any Government of the Commonwealth operating under this Act, to commit a breach of faith. It is possible.
It is even possible that such a Government, having got a man back on one charge, should not put him on trial at all, but keep him permanently immured. It is even possible that they might do something worse—condemn him without trial. This may be true of any Government to whom extradition treaties or the Fugitive Offenders Act apply. Once a man has left the jurisdiction of this country we have no longer any physical control over him, but what we have to decide here is not whether it is 1292 theoretically possible, but, can we concede that it is within the bounds of reasonable possibility? First, it would mean that we regarded that Government as of such a character that we could have no faith in them at all—that it had become a tyranny of one man or one party, or because, in addition to the abandonment of constitutional and parliamentary machinery, it had abandoned any freedom for the individual under the law.
Of course, if we thought that, then these legal points would be of no importance—none at all. The assurances I gave on them would be of no importance. Both the courts and the Home Secretary ought to have rejected this application under the terms of the Act. They should have reached a conclusion that the man would not have a fair trial. They should have held the view—I quote the words of the Act—thatTo return him in all the circumstances would be unjust, or oppressive, or too severe a punishment.I do not believe that with all the interest that this case has very properly excited anyone has wished to make an attack of this kind on the integrity of Nigerian justice, or on the honour of the Nigerian Government. Both of them command our respect.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
Why does the Prime Minister suggest that it would be improbable, on behalf of the Nigerian Government, having obtained the return of this man on one charge, to prefer another charge? When we obtain the return of somebody here by extradition proceedings we frequently prefer another charge and different charges. When magistrates commit a man for trial different charges are frequently preferred.
§ The Prime Minister
In an extradition treaty that is exactly what we do not do. We have made complaints of other Governments that they have done it and we have objected to a breach of the spirit of the treaty. It would be a very dishonourable thing to do to set up these three charges and then not to try the man at all, or to shoot or hang him. That would be an act of a tyrannical Government and it would be a very wrong thing to do.
1293 I must say a word about the responsibility placed on the Home Secretary. He has to make in these matters decisions which are difficult and sometimes painful, but they are actually quasi-judicial decisions and they put a very heavy responsibility upon him. They are not Government decisions; they are his own decisions. They come into the political field only when, as in this case, what amounts to a Motion of censure is put forward in the House against the Home Secretary for the way in which he has discharged his duty.
While I think, and trust, that this is an exceptional case, we should all be sorry to see a situation arise in which the jurisdiction functions of the Home Secretary were transferred from a decision of the responsible Minister to a trial by the House of Commons. The House of Commons has a perfect right to complain, criticise, and if it wishes, censure. At the same time, the Minister is responsible for the decision and I have to remind the House what he has to do. First, he has to consider what the courts have said. The courts, including the magistrates' court, have to decide whether there is "a strong or probable presumption" that the accused committed the offence with which he is charged.
Where application is made to the superior courts, as it has been here, they have not merely to decide the question of fact—whether it was reasonable for the magistrate on the evidence before him to find that there was a strong or probable presumption of guilt. They have also to consider other and very important matters. They have to consider whether, having regard to all the circumstances, it would be—to quote from the Act—unjust, or repressive, or too severe a punishment to return the fugitive".There are many other things they would take into account of any evidence put before them as to whether the accused is likely to have a fair trial. That is the first barrier or safeguard, as I would call it, in the Act.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
Is not the real difficulty here that everybody acknowledges that the character of the offences charged was in itself political and that in the extradition treaty, agreement or Act the courts would give effect to that and that they would not consider the charge, or a fair trial, or the 1294 kind of penalty at all, whereas under the Fugitive Offenders Act the courts are precluded from giving any effect to what is the relevant consideration?
§ The Prime Minister
I was coming to that part in a later passage of what I have to say. They have a right and, I repeat, an important duty, to say: would it be unjust, or would it be oppressive or too severe a punishment? That is their duty. That is the first safeguard and, in considering that, they are entitled to consider all the circumstances, the character of the Government, the situation in that country, and so forth.
The Home Secretary acts as a kind of second barrier, or safeguard. Even if the courts take the view that we are not justified in refusing an application for the return of a fugitive in a particular case the Home Secretary cannot, unless he thinks it just, order his return. In reaching that decision, apart from the guidance which he gets from the courts, he must take into account other matters which were perhaps not before the courts, but which are relevant to the broader issue.
I can well imagine situations—I will be very frank with the House—in which the Home Secretary might feel it unjust. I can think of them. If, for instance, he felt that the Government and judicial system of the country concerned had fallen altogether away from the standards which we regard as the essential conditions of a free society, or from the proper administration of justice, or from the independence of the judicial system, then he would be right to refuse consent on the ground that it would not be just.
On the other hand, if he refused consent on such a ground where there is no other question of fact or law which is an obstacle to the man's return, then it is, in effect, to pass such a judgment against the Government of the country making the application. It is this point that I wish particularly to stress and all that it implies.
I now come to the third point. Perhaps the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) will bear with me for not having answered immediately his intervention. It is the point: is the Fugitive Offenders Act out of date because it was passed in 1881? Is it inconsistent with what many people feel about political asylum?
1295 Is it really right that political asylum, which through a very long period has been afforded here to foreign rebels against tyrannical rule, should be refused to citizens of the Commonwealth? What ground is there for this distinction between a refugee from the Czar in the nineteenth century, or from the present Russian Administration in the twentieth century, or from the Iron Curtain countries, and refugees from the Commonwealth? That is the point which, I think, has worried hon. Members and to which I should like to give a little attention.
We have a very long tradition that we give refuge to a political offender. We have interpreted that word rather widely—not merely an agitator, or an inconvenient and irritating propagandist, but even to men who have been driven to acts of rebellion, sometimes on grounds of repressed minorities—I can think of many cases in the nineteenth century; so can other hon. Members—and sometimes on grounds of a general protest against a tyrannical or undemocratic form of government. That is a very long tradition, but it has never applied to countries within our Empire or within our Commonwealth. Some people think that it ought to, perhaps, but it does not.
Under the present law, there is no doubt whatever that the claim of the Nigerian Government for the return of this man is sound, and to refuse it could only be based upon a judgment that they have fallen away from the kind of standards which the countries of the Empire tried to follow and were able to follow when this law was passed. Nigeria is a country which has scrupulously observed both the letter and the spirit of the institutions which we bequeathed to her. Her judiciary is independent of the Executive. Her courts command respect not only in that country, but in our country.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria has recently been made a member of the Privy Council in order that he may be invited to serve on the Judicial Committee. This was widely welcomed in Nigeria, not merely as a recognition of the Chief Justice's eminence as a lawyer but as a tribute to the way in which justice is administered in the courts under his jurisdiction.
Moreover, it is against a Government of this character that Chief Enahoro and 1296 his leaders and other associates are accused of subversion and an attempt to overthrow the regime by armed revolt and an attempt to overthrow the regime by force. These are the alleged charges. Happily in spite of bitter political quarrels over many generations sometimes even reaching points of violence it has been so long since this country has had any experience of a movement against the Constitution itself that we are apt to forget what a terrible thing it is to a country and how serious may be the consequences. Broadly speaking it is more than 300 years in England and over 200 years in Scotland since there has been any serious attack on the Constitution itself.
This so-called political offence is not a light one. It is no mere agitation and the making of seditious speeches that we are accustomed to hear and do not always take very seriously. The alleged crimes if they are true are very serious, and especially serious against a country newly established, with only a very short background of its independent life and honestly striving to carry out the traditions of a free society.
Nevertheless, in view of the fact that some of the Commonwealth countries have passed laws which have the effect of depriving the United Kingdom of the right to make use of this Act, although not, I believe, denouncing it for themselves, there is certainly a strong case for discussing with our partners in the Commonwealth to what extent it would be desirable for this law to be reviewed. Indeed, I think that it would be right for us to initiate such discussions, but that is very different from an arbitrary denunciation on our part.
What I would resent, and what, I think, the House would resent, is the suggestion that the Fugitive Offenders Act was quite all right when the Empire consisted of three or four countries of British or European descent, together with the Colonial Territories administered by British officials, but that somehow or other it has become quite unsuitable to the conditions of the new Commonwealth. That, I think, is an offensive suggestion, based upon a rather arrogant sense of our superiority.
What the Home Secretary has a right, and, indeed, a duty, to do under the law is to satisfy himself that the return 1297 would be just, and in making that decision he has a right and a duty to take all circumstances into account. He has not the right by his decision to abrogate the law.
I think that I have dealt with the three major questions which have caused anxiety, and natural anxiety, to hon. Members on both sides of the House. Today, the only question is this: is the House going to censure the Home Secretary for carrying out his duty in strict accordance with the terms of the law and alter full consideration of what the courts have decided and the matters brought to his attention? Although he is satisfied that the Chief will get a fair trial, a just trial, on the charges, is he to refuse to return him merely because, by some, the Fugitive Offenders Act is said to be obsolete or obsolescent?
I have heard it argued that it is wrong that a foreigner should be treated better in our courts than a Commonwealth subject or citizen. The fact is that this law applies equally to any fugitive from one Commonwealth country to another, irrespective of his nationality, and this law discriminates not against Commonwealth citizens but in favour of Commonwealth countries. That was its purpose. It was believed, I think rightly, that they ought to have confidence in each other and that they were part of a system in which they had special obligations one to the other.
Nevertheless, to balance the rights given to the Commonwealth countries under this Act, the safeguards—the two safeguards, the courts and then the Home Secretary—that I have referred to were introduced, and they are fully operative. I cannot believe that the Home Secretary can be censured for carrying out honourably and conscientiously the duty placed upon him by Parliament.
Are we then, by implication, at any rate, to censure—and I would almost say "insult"—the Nigerian Government? Are we to say that we have no confidence in the integrity of that Government, or in their Law Officers, or in their courts? Are we to declare that we doubt their good faith? Are we to say that we fear that they would commit what would be really the discreditable, and indeed, monstrous, act of getting him back on one charge and then putting him on trial on another? If that is the 1298 message which is to go out from this House it would be, in my view, a disastrous day for the whole life and future of the modern Commonwealth for which we have worked and done so much.
§ 4.18 p.m.
§ Mr. George Brown (Belper)
I feel that the Prime Minister cannot have made many hon. Members happy about large parts of the speech that he has just delivered. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] Large parts of it were very dangerous doctrine indeed. The Prime Minister went very near, as hon. Members will see if they read carefully what he said, to identifying which members of the Commonwealth he regards as trustworthy in this respect—[HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."]—and which he does not.
The right hon. Gentleman made it very clear that certain conditions, in his view, are met in Nigeria, and that, therefore, we can happily return a fugitive offender to them. But, using that gravity and slow mode of speech that he uses when he wants to impress the House that he is being very grave, he went on to say that he could well imagine—and he was talking about the Commonwealth—nations in the Commonwealth where that would not exist.
I suggest that hon. Members opposite are jeering without really thinking. The point is that it will be exceedingly difficult for this House ever to refuse to return a fugitive offender in the light of what the Prime Minister has said this afternoon, The right hon. Gentleman has himself recognised—and he actually said this—that any refusal to return a fugitive offender within the Commonwealth will be to convict the governmental and judicial system of the other country of not matching up to these requirements.
The day we say that about one of the fellow members of the Commonwealth there will be the very disastrous results to which the right hon. Gentleman referred towards the end of his speech. That is why it has been the case from this side of the House that these considerations should not be introduced. We have already refused to return people to Cyprus. Presumably, therefore, the Prime Minister is committed to the view that the Government of Archbishop Makarios and Mr. Kutchuk does not measure up to the requirements which 1299 Nigeria does. By his own speech this must be the case, for this must be the corollary to what the right hon. Gentleman said.
It would have been far better had this debate not been taken on to that dangerous course by the Prime Minister. It is not necessary to our purpose to reflect or animadvert on the legal or Parliamentary system in Nigeria. I have made it clear from the beginning, when speaking from this Box, that I did not wish to do so, that I had no desire to do so, and that even if it were part of the case—which it is not—it is totally irrelevant. Thus, I say that it would have been better had we kept the discussion the way it was, even if the decision is to send the man back in this case. Let us be clear that this part of the argument should have nothing to do with the discussion if we wish to keep ourselves free in other cases perhaps to take a different decision.
§ Mr. Stanley R. McMaster (Belfast, East)
Is the right hon. Gentleman suggesting that he would skate over this in order to deceive the House?
§ Mr. Brown
I think that a representative in this House of Northern Ireland had better go very carefully. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] If we had to be satisfied that the Parliamentary system in Northern Ireland was operating in accordance with the precedent set down there, it would take a lot of satisfying. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] However, we are not discussing that aspect today. We are discussing Nigeria and not Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. Brown
What we are discussing today, in the submission of my right hon. and hon. Friends—and, I would have thought, quite a number of hon. Members opposite who are prepared to approach this as impartially as one can—is the culmination of an appalling record of muddle on the part of the Government, of shuffling and of inadequacy when it came to knowing or being able to explain the basis on which they took their decision. Worse than that is the degree of interference that seems to have gone on.
1300 The Prime Minister referred to what he had put to the Jamaican Prime Minister. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I should, of course, have said "the Nigerian Prime Minister", and I beg the pardon of the House. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] There must be something the matter with hon. Members opposite when they make so much noise about a little point like that. Let us not consider this as the real measure of what has happened in regard to Nigeria. One of the things hon. Members opposite should ask themselves is whether the operations of the Commonwealth Relations Office and the British High Commissioner in all this have not been far beyond what was permissible.
Lord Head, our High Commissioner—to whom the Prime Minister referred—gave a Press conference in Ibadan, the details of which were published in West Africa on 6th April. The report stated:Lord Head is known to feel strongly on the case. At a Press conference in Ibadan last week he said that all that had happened was that certain of Enahoro's supporters had succeeded in lobbying certain Members of Parliament on his behalf.As a description by our High Commissioner in Nigeria of Parliamentary processes in this country I would have thought that a very miserable business indeed—and a very doubtful operation on the part of the High Commissioner of this country acting in that capacity.
What we have now achieved is, I think, more ill-will in Nigeria over the way in which this has been handled and the pressures applied to them, and the remarks of Ministers, than if Ministers had acted in accordance with the position had the Extradition Act applied here in the first place. I believe that there would have been less resentment than at present exists in Jamaica—[HON. MEMBERS: "Wrong."] I mean, of course, Nigeria—if that had been done in the first place.
In his speech the Prime Minister dealt, first, with what he called the "legal point". Let us, if we can, get this clear. Although this point turns on an argument about the legal meanings or construction of a Statute, there is, of course, more than a legal point if, by that, one means a narrow and relatively unimportant point. The whole question of what penalties apply is relevant and exceedingly important and the points I raised 1301 the other night—and which subsequently came out in discussion between my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) and the Law Officers—still remain germane to the decision we must take today.
I do not agree with the Prime Minister's description of the situation now. It is perfectly true that what is called "the second point"—that is, the question whether the relevance of the penalty provided under Section 37(2) of the Nigerian Code, which is death—is a stronger point than whether the same penalty under Section 37(1) applies to the charge under Section 516. That emerged, but no one has agreed with the Law Officer, except the Law Officer himself, that there is no doubt at all about the first point—Section 37 (1)—and certainly no one has agreed with his view that the penalty provided under Section 37(2) is not in question.
It remains our view that the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General is quite likely wrong on the second point. Certainly, there is doubt on this point. The Prime Minister has not answered this today, nor has any other Minister, and we must remember that a tremendously important question needs to be answered: why, in the affidavit which was sworn by the Senior Crown Counsel of Nigeria, which was attested by the Federal Minister of Justice of Nigeria, in his capacity as Federal Minister, did that affidavit specifically draw the magistrate's attention to the fact that another penalty, other than that provided under Section 516, was, in fact, available and that the other penalty was death? It is no use saying that they have not asked about this; it is no use saying that it does not arise, for it must arise. The magistrate took the original decision to return this man on the basis of the evidence put before him.
The Prime Minister said that the affidavit was irrelevant, but it cannot be. The affidavit was a sworn and vital part of the evidence on which the magistrate took his decision. If, therefore, it is said by the Attorney-General—and, of course, it must follow from his own decision—that the affidavit was wrong in a material fact that must affect the proceedings in the court. On the other hand, if it is held that the affidavit was not wrong, it remains true that 1302 it was the view of the Crown Counsel and the view of the Federal Minister of Justice that another penalty, namely, death, was open for imposition by those trying this case.
Whether or not the Attorney-General is right or wrong in his opinion, it is in fact, so far, the opinion of the Attorney-General of Her Majesty's Government. It is pretty clear from the affidavit that the opinion of the Federal Minister of Justice in Nigeria and the opinion of the Crown Counsel were the other way round—and these are the Nigerian ministerial officials laying the information on which action is taken.
They are not, however, the only people. It is significant that when dealing with this matter yesterday the Attorney-General quoted Section 516 without reference to the exemption where provision for another penalty is made elsewhere. The hon. and learned Gentleman left that out, and it is a rather extraordinary thing to have left out since the whole argument turns on it. Not only was it the prosecution's view that another penalty was open, not only is it the view of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newport even now, that under Section 37(2) another penalty is open, but it is the view of everyone else in Nigeria.
I have here, the Official Report of the speeches made on this subject in the Nigerian House, in which, quite clearly, it is the view of the Opposition spokesmen there that the death penalty applies. The Report contains a very clear statement by the Opposition Chief Whip, speaking in that House—column 240 of the Official Report of Debates there for 1st April—if hon. Members would wish to see it. So the Opposition there takes the same view.
I have received, as no doubt have other hon. Members, a lengthy memorandum from the leading defence counsel at the treason trial now proceeding over there. The whole purpose of that memorandum is to set out his view, as leading counsel for the defence, that the death penalty is applicable—not that it will be imposed, but that it is applicable. We therefore have the defence counsel saying so, we have the Opposition there saying so, we have a Minister saying so, and we have the Crown Counsel saying so. Frankly, the only person not saying so is our 1303 Attorney-General, and we are bound to take into account this extraordinary division of opinion.
The Prime Minister may prefer the opinion of his own Attorney-General to that of everyone else, but I must put it to him that if everyone else takes the other view there must at least be some doubt about it, and if there is some doubt about it the Prime Minister's assurances to us the other night are not met merely by referring to the Attorney-General's view as something that has to carry. There is a remaining doubt about it, and no one else is at all as sure as the Prime Minister proclaims himself and his hon. and learned Friend to be.
There remains, too, the doubt about whether this charge can be redrawn. The Prime Minister made much of the fact that it would be odd to make the No. 2 charge on a warrant containing three charges the one that carried the higher penalty; I believe he actually said that it would be rather dishonourable and monstrous to slip it in in that way. But suppose that when this man goes back that charge is redrawn and is made the first charge, as it easily could be—there can be no assurance for this House so long as the matter is in as much doubt as it is.
The Attorney-General said yesterday, and the Prime Minister repeated it today, that we did not need to go on discussing whether the penalty was that provided under Section 37(2) because it had been decisively rejected by the Nigerian courts—let the House note the language "decisively rejected by the Nigerian courts." He used the plural—the Attorney-General used the word "courts" yesterday, and that is important, because a bit of the doubt I have about this is caused by the imprecision of the Attorney-General's language on a matter that needs to be tremendously precise [HON. MEMBERS: "What about your own?"] The Attorney-General carries responsibility that I do not carry, which makes it much more important. At the moment, a man's life and liberty is in his hands. I might be forgiven a little imprecision, but the hon. and learned Gentleman cannot be if his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is to exercise this responsibility on his advice.
1304 I asked yesterday that we should be told before today, or by today, what the case was that had been settled in the Nigerian courts, so that we could see its relevance. We have had no further information from the Government, but last night I asked the Attorney-General's office to what he was referring. I was told that he was referring to the Awowolo case, now proceeding. We have made such check as we can, and what appears to have happened is the following.
At the conclusion, I think, of the prosecution's case—but, at any rate, at some stage in the case—a submission was made by one of the counsel representing one or other of these men that, in view of what had been said, and of the nature of the charge and the fact that it might attract a penalty under Section 37(2), the trial was being wrongly conducted because there was no jury present as required by the Code for a capital charge.
That submission was over-ruled by the trial judge, who sits alone, and I therefore presume that the trial is proceeding. But that decision is appealable in the Nigerian Supreme Court, and to say that the Nigerian courts have decisively rejected something which, at the moment, is merely the over-ruling by the trial judge of a submission by counsel goes far beyond any meaning that those words could be made to bear.
It is not as decisive as that, it is not as settled as that. Therefore, to say, as the Attorney-General said yesterday, that we do not need to concern ourselves with this case because this point is settled is, in my view, misleading the House—whether he did it deliberately or accidentally. Therefore, that uncertainty, that dubiety remains, and I must say frankly that in the light of that doubt we cannot accept either the Attorney-General yesterday or the Prime Minister today as having effectively disposed of the real kernel of the matters that we raised under this head the other day. On that ground alone, I believe that the exercise by the Home Secretary of his discretion to return this man is, if not censurable, as the Prime Minister said, something that we should certainly do all we can to persuade him not to continue with.
That is on the legal side, but the legal side is not alone for consideration. I turn to other considerations which we 1305 must frankly face. One consideration to which the Prime Minister did not address himself—we do not complain of that, but it does remain—is that which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) raised again yesterday, and which I raised when we first debated this case on the Consolidated Fund (No. 2) Bill, and which must still be resolved.
I refer to what the Home Secretary calls a "misunderstanding", on the basis of which, alone, this man got here. I must put it to the Prime Minister that there is here involved a matter of British honour quite as deep as any honour in our relations with Nigeria. The fact that one man is concerned rather than a whole Commonwealth territory does not, in my view, alter it at all.
In the place in which this man was before coming to this country there was no risk of his being sent back to Nigeria to face this political trial. Before he came here, friends of his, acting very properly on his behalf, saw officials of the Home Office to discover whether he would be safe from arrest, and subsequent deportation, if he came here.
I have seen the people concerned. I have copies of statements from them, which no doubt other hon. Members have also seen, about what took place at the meeting. It is absolutely clear that they believed, when that meeting was finished, that they had received an assurance that he would not be proceeded against in this way were he to come here. It is absolutely clear that he came here only because he had received this assurance.
The Home Secretary says that his official did not, in fact, give that assurance. The man's friend is adamant that he did. The Home Secretary says that another official in his Department was mentioned as somebody who might be consulted. Mr. Enahoro's friend is adamant that there was only the merest passing reference to that official and at no time was he told to see him in order to receive the assurance from him.
It would be a real tragedy if we were to send to Nigeria to stand trial for a political offence, for which life imprisonment or seven years or this disputed death penalty is available, a man who would not be here but for a misunderstanding between the Home Office and his repre- 1306 sentatives about what the position would be if he came here.
I repeat that our honour is involved here. This does not involve us in a breach of faith with Nigeria. We could obviously put this right by saying what the Home Secretary said in the House, when he called it a genuine misunderstanding. The right hon. Gentleman was not suggesting that it was deliberately misunderstood, or that the argument was made up subsequently. We could put ourselves right by letting Chief Enahoro return to where he was before he came here. Let him go back to Eire where he was and let the situation then start from there. We should then be able to say that we are not involved in a breach of faith with the man, and we could not be accused of a breach of faith with Nigeria, because he would not be properly here at all.
Although this was raised with the Home Secretary on the occasion of the very first debate, and this is the third or fourth time that, in one way or another, we have returned to it, this has still not been cleared up. We could not, in honour to ourselves, deport this man under the Fugitive Offenders Act in the light of that misunderstanding remaining uncleared. On that ground, quite apart from the legal ground, I would regard our failure to insist upon the Home Secretary changing his mind as a grave dereliction of our duty, and I would regard the Government's failure to change their mind as a grave dereliction of their duty.
The other issue has been the major issue of our traditional approach to these matters of political asylum, or, rather, political freedom from extradition in political cases. I thought that the Prime Minister today was qualifying the whole basis of this. He may well believe it should be qualified. What he said certainly amounted to a qualification of it.
§ Mr. Brown
I cannot see, as the right hon. Gentleman appears to see, the capacity in 1963, which is totally different from 1881, to make a difference in the requirements which we need from fully independent sovereign members of the Commonwealth and those we need from other Governments elsewhere.
1307 We have never required to pass, nor does the Extradition Act require us to pass, judgment on other Governments or judiciaries in lands from which political offenders have come. It is no part of the Act. The Government may be the friendliest and most democratic and may have the best of all judicial systems. All we and the courts are asked to do is to discover whether or not a crime, be it murder or anything else, is a political crime. Once that is discovered, the man is safe under our law and traditions from extradition. He does not necessarily have asylum here, but he is safe from being extradited.
I do not see how the House can permit the Prime Minister to enter into this extensive qualification of this today by a distinction between friendly and good Governments and unfriendly and bad Governments. If the Prime Minister's view of the situation is to hold the field today, then, clearly, the Extradition Act should be amended to come into line with it. If the Act should not be amended, then the Prime Minister's defence of the Fugitive Offenders Act ought not to stand up. I agree with the Prime Minister that we are well overdue for an amendment of the Fugitive Offenders Act.
I do not dispute the fact that, whatever other people have done who have acted arbitrarily and unilaterally, we ought to have discussions with the Commonwealth before we decide to amend the Act. But if we are to do that—and I interpreted the Prime Minister to say that we were to do it—it is tremendously important that in the interim we do not act in a way in which we would not be able to act once that amendment has gone through.
This man has been here a long time. He has been in prison now for four or five months. There seems to me to be no reason why we should hurriedly deport him to Nigeria at the very moment when not only public opinion clearly thinks that the Act should be amended, but when we are about to enter into discussions to amend it. If the House will permit me, I should like to read a letter which I received from Chief Enahoro. It is as follows:I have been following closely the newspaper and parliamentary reports on my case and I would like to say how grateful I am for the great interest and concern which so 1308 many people are taking in my plight. I think that it has been clearly shown that no one now believes that the Fugitive Offenders Act, 1881, is appropriate to the Commonwealth as it exists today.I appear to be a victim of circumstances in that, in the first place, legislation has failed to keep pace with changing conditions in regard to a fundamental right and that, secondly, I would not even have considered entering the country but for the most unfortunate misunderstanding which arose regarding my safety to come and go as a result of the three telephone conversations which my friend had with the Home Office.The Home Secretary has stated that the offences of treasonable felony and conspiracy for which I am charged under Nigerian law do not carry the death penalty. Nevertheless, the Affidavit sworn by Joseph Diekola Ogundere, Acting Senior Crown Counsel in the Federal Ministry of Justice, filed in the Court here on behalf of the Nigerian Government in support of the Warrant contains the following words.Then he quotes what we have been saying about Section 37(1).
§ Mr. Brown
I am sorry.
The letter continues:It follows from this that the Ministry of Justice were under the impression when drafting this Affidavit that they were dealing with a capital offence but even, however, if the Home Secretary's interpretation of Nigerian law is correct, I am advised that there is nothing in law to prevent the Nigerian Government's amending the charges after I am returned so that I have to face a treason charge.May I, finally, suggest that having been here in prison for the past four months there is no cause for my being returned as a matter of urgency now and that I may reasonably be permitted to remain in the United Kingdom pending negotiations between the United Kingdom Government and its Commonwealth partners to amend the Fugitive Offenders Act.I have put up the proposal that the man should be allowed to return to Eire, where he would have been but for a misunderstanding. I have put this up as one way for the Government. If that is not acceptable to them, I propose that he should be allowed to remain here while discussions proceed about the amendment that we might make to the Act.
I make this proposal all the more firmly and strongly for another reason. The Prime Minister told us, I think, that a request has recently been received from Chief Enahoro's solicitors asking that a special reference of this disputed matter of the death penalty be made to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
1309 The Prime Minister said that this is not necessary because the Attorney-General's view is so clear. I thought that that was putting rather more weight upon the Attorney-General's view than most people would accept. However, since the matter is in doubt, since there are all these different views about it, it seems to me that a reference to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council would be very much in order.
There is an additional interesting point in this connection. It could be of some significance. I am told that the Federal Chief Justice of Nigeria, Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, who, my friends in the law tell me, is a most distinguished jurist and lawyer, is to come here next term to sit as the first African judge of all time as a member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. We welcome this. It will be a very historic occasion when he does. Would it not also be a very suitable occasion on which to make this special reference to the Judicial Committee which will include then the Chief Justice of Nigeria as a member?
I put it very strongly that it is open to the Government to delay the return of this man, to continue discussions with the Commonwealth on amending the Act—which may then alter the whole situation—and, in any case, in the meantime, to arrange for the opinion of the Judicial Committee to clear up the very important point of doubt which is still there.
§ Mr. Brown
Yes, certainly. I regard the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as having a measure of dignity and authority which I am not wholly prepared to accord to the Attorney-General. There is all the difference in the world between the highest judicial decision and an ex parte statement by a retained lawyer.
To conclude, there are, clearly, many grounds on which we can avoid doing something which many people, whatever their views of the legal merits, regard as very distasteful indeed. There are many grounds which do not involve us in conflict with Nigeria. It is interesting that a paper which was founded by Dr. Azikwe—I am not clear whether he is still associated with it—the West African 1310 Pilot, actually concluded a recent editorial by saying that the British can hold Enahoro but they do not need to insult Nigeria. That is very true. We can hold Enahoro. Even people like those associated with that paper recognise this in Nigeria. The question is how to do it on a basis which does not insult or offend Nigeria.
The reason I ventured to take issue with the Prime Minister was that I thought that he was putting the matter on to a ground in which offence and insults were inevitable. I believe that this is not necessary at all. There are several courses of action, any one of which could be taken, any one of which would avoid deporting this man to face this trial and would avoid our breaking faith with our undertakings, or assumed undertakings.
I urge very strongly on the House, partisan feelings aside, that we should best consult our traditions and what we would hope will be our future practices by urging the Government tonight to take one or other of those courses. For this reason, I ask the House to reject the Amendment.
§ 4.54 p.m.
§ Sir Edwin Leather (Somerset, North)
I enter the debate with some trepidation, treading upon ground which, hitherto, has largely been held by the lawyers. So far, we have been concerned mainly with two points: first, the question of justice and liberty for an individual, of which all Members of the House are traditionally jealous and scrupulously careful; second, the legal technicalities of the various clauses and charges and the pregnant argument as to whether the death penalty is or is not involved. I do not wish to get involved in these legal technicalities because, like the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown), I am not legally qualified, and I suspect that, if I were drawn on to that ground, I should end up as addle-pated as the right hon. Gentleman is about it.
The right hon. Gentleman pointed to my hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General and said that a man's life and liberty were in his hands. This is unquestionably true, but it is true also that a great political principle is in the hands of this House. I am very concerned about this great political principle which entails the whole question of the relationship between member countries of the Commonwealth.
1311 So far as he apportioned blame for any damage to our relationships with Nigeria, the right hon. Gentleman endeavoured to make quite clear that he thought that the whole blame rested on Her Majesty's Government. He went out of his way to assure us that he did not reflect on the good faith or competence of the Nigerian judiciary. I accept his assurance, of course, as, I am sure, we all do in the House; but the right hon. Gentleman and those who think like him must face the unpleasant fact that the Nigerians do not accept it. Our relationship with Nigeria has already been strained to an intolerable degree by the fact that the Home Secretary's decision was not carried out without question by the House.
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister referred to the Nigerian judiciary. I think that this is the first time in our controversy here that this subject has been mentioned at all. There is no doubt that the impression given in the country is that at least somebody in this House has cast reflections on the Nigerian judiciary, and there is no argument at all but that this is what many Nigerians think.
As I understand, on any charge on which Chief Enahoro could be arraigned before the court in Lagos, the decision, whatever it was, would be appealable to the Nigerian Supreme Court. The right hon. Member for Belper made great play of the idea of referring the question on appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. He took the view that, if we did that, the Nigerians would not be offended.
This is completely contrary to all the information which I have. I think that they would be mortally offended and would very quickly come back at us and say, "If this man were convicted in our own courts, he could then appeal to the Privy Council. You are suggesting that we, as a Government or as a judiciary, would in some way interfere with his right to do so". The very fact that we took that course would be, in my view, the gravest reflection on the Nigerian judiciary. I am quite certain that the people of Nigerian not only would take it so, but have already taken it so.
I believe—I should be very surprised if I were contradicted by the right hon.
1312 Gentleman—that the Supreme Court of Nigeria contains not only justices of the greatest eminence at the Bar but expatriate justices. I cannot readily think of any other country in the world which has carried objectivity, in its desire to preserve impartiality and integrity, to this extent. There is, I believe, at least one—if not more—British justices who sits as a member of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The Nigerians have every right to say. "We have bent over backwards to show our integrity, and now you question it." All the protests by the right hon. Member for Belper—[Interruption.] I have accepted that the right hon. Gentleman says that he does not question it; I accept it. The Nigerians do not accept it. Their Press and the statements of Members in their Parliament have made this abundantly clear.
This is significant, and hon. Members opposite ought to face it. It is not only Nigerian Government supporters who are most indignant with the Government and with this House of Commons for what we have done. It is members of the Action Group themselves who are indignant with us. It is members of Chief Enahoro's party who are extremely angry with us because, they say, we have denigrated the integrity of the Nigerian Government and of its judiciary.
§ Sir E. Leather
This is something which the hon. Member can read. He can look it up for himself. He pretends to be extremely well informed on African matters. He does not have to be told. These things are in the Press every day of the week.
§ Mr. William Yates (The Wrekin)
This is a major charge between two important legislatures. When my hon. Friend comes forward with a statement like that, I should be grateful if he could refer me to the column in the Nigerian HANSARD.
§ Sir E. Leather
I shall be happy to do so if my hon. Friend likes to see me afterwards. I can say that I would like notice of the question. [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."] I do not withdraw the statement. The right hon. Member for Belper has the HANSARD with him. Perhaps he would oblige by passing it up to my hon. Friend.
§ Mr. G. Brown
What I am looking at is, again, the speech of the Opposition Chief Whip, in columns 239 and 240 of the Nigerian HANSARD of 1st April, in which he goes out of his way to defend the attitude taken in this House by those hon. Members who are opposing the deportation of Mr. Enahoro. He said thatin the House of Commons, Members"—that is, us and those who support us—took great pains to find out the facts surrounding Tony's case. They contacted the Nigerian High Commissioner in London; they interviewed Chief Enahoro in Brixton Prison; they studied the charges preferred against him and they read the record…".He goes on to say:You can accuse Britain of anything but not blindness to their own rights. The British people have a greater interest today than any other country in the world in the continued stability, peace and good government of Nigeria.He goes on, in another column, to say how "wonderful" he finds us because we are taking the line of opposing the deportation.
§ Sir E. Leather
That, of course, is perfectly true—[HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."] No, I will not withdraw. That is perfectly true, but the right hon. Gentleman knows that that is only one speech. He took one sentence from a leader in the West African Pilot. I have not equipped myself with that newspaper, but the right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well the general line adopted by that paper and by many other Members of Parliament in Nigeria, that they are indignant and that they regard what we have done as a grave denigration of the integrity of their Government and judiciary. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Hon. Members opposite cannot, by protesting, alter the fact that that is what people in Nigeria think.
I am making only this one political point, which seems to me to be of tremendous importance, that if we continue to stall and prevaricate, if we adopt any of the courses which the right hon. Member for Belper has endeavoured to urge upon us, we will exacerbate relationships with Nigeria to a most dangerous degree and do irreparable harm to Commonwealth relations. If the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends press the Motion of censure against the Home Secretary, there is no doubt that however hard they try, or however sincere they may be, this will 1314 be interpreted throughout Africa as a vote of censure against Nigeria.
§ Mr. Hugh Delargy (Thurrock)
May I ask the hon. Member a question? I have followed him with as much care as I am capable. Is his case simply that because relations between this country and Nigeria are strained, because many Nigerians are upset and, possibly, feel insulted, we must for these reasons, send this man back? Is not this the old doctrine that one man must die for the people whether he be innocent or guilty?
§ Sir E. Leather
No, certaintly not. I said that I wanted to speak briefly on one point. My right hon. Friend and Leader, the Prime Minister, made the case extremely effectively. I have underlined what I believe to be a fundamental political point, which the party opposite ignores at its peril.
§ 5.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Emlyn Hooson (Montgomery)
A vital question of principle which arises in our debate is in danger of being clouded over by rather partisan feelings on both sides. The Prime Minister posed the question of whether we have confidence in the Government of Nigeria. That is an entirely irrelevant consideration to the debate.
Surely, this difficult situation has arisen because in 1870 we passed an Extradition Act which governed the relationship of our countries with countries which we regarded as equals. Then, in 1881, we passed a Fugitive Offenders Act, which governs our relations in these matters with countries which were then under our dominion. The problem which has arisen in this case has arisen because countries have come of age and achieved independence without, as far as I am aware, anybody noticing the great distinction of principle between the two Acts.
I start from the basis that traditionally we in our country have been a sanctuary to the politically oppressed. I take issue with the Prime Minister when he says that we have afforded asylum to those who have fled from political tyranny. Surely that has not been the basis of the right of asylum which has been granted here to those who have fled their own country. It has not been a question of whether they were fleeing from tyranny but of whether they were coming 1315 here to get relief from what they considered to be political oppression in their own country; even if they fled from a democracy such as the United States of America. I believe I am right in saying that our first extradition treaty with a political exception proviso was with the United States and not with a country that was subject to tyrannical rule.
We should approach this problem, surely, on the basis that our traditions demand of us that in dealing with countries equal to ourselves we have always recognised the principle that people who flee from those countries have the right of political sanctuary here—at least, the right mot to be extradited—and generally the Home Secretary has afforded the right of asylum.
I make no apology for referring directly to the relevant Sections in the Extradition Act, 1870, because there seems to be considerable misapprehension in this House about what exactly are the rights of a man who comes to this country seeking political sanctuary and who is fleeing, as it were, for political reasons from his own country. Section 3(1) of the Extradition Act states:A fugitive criminal shall not be surrendered if the offence in respect of which his surrender is demanded is one of a political character".That is a mandatory requirement. No discretion is allowed. If the offence for which he is sought to be extradited is of a political character, that is an end to it. He cannot be extradited.
Section 3(1) goes on to state:or if he prove to the satisfaction of the police magistrate or the court before whom he is brought on habeas corpus, or to the Secretary of State, that the requisition for his surrender has in fact been made with a view to try or punish him for an offence of a political character".Thus, the second provision is that even if it is sought to extradite him on a charge of, say, murder, forgery, assault or anything of that kind, if he can satisfy the magistrate or the Home Secretary that the motive behind it is of a political character, that again is sufficient to protect him from extradition.
Furthermore, the most elaborate precautions were afforded in the relevant proviso to Section 7 of the Act, which states:If the Secretary of State is of opinion that the offence is one of a political character, he 1316 may, if he thinks fit, refuse to send any such order, and may also at any time order a fugitive criminal accused or convicted of such offence to be discharged from custody.There is another provision governing how this evidence can be brought before a magistrate.
Therefore, it can clearly be seen that when this country was passing the Act which governs our relationship with countries which we regarded as our equals we thought that if a person fled from his country for political reasons he could not be extradited for a political offence or if he satisfied the magistrate that the real motive for extradition proceedings was political. As I say, this principle is what has governed our relationship with equal countries.
I remind hon. Members that in 1877 a Royal Commission was set up to consider the whole question of extradition. It sat under the chairmanship of the Lord Chief Justice of those days. In its report it recommended certain limitations on this political escape clause in the Extradition Act, but Parliament never accepted those suggested limitations.
I wish to quote a decision of the Queen's Bench Division in the case of In re Meunier, decided in 1894, in which Mr. Justice Cave defined what was meant by a political offence. He said:It appears to me that, in order to constitute an offence of a political character, there must be two or more parties in the State, each seeking to impose the Government of their own choice on the other, and that, if the offence is committed by one side or the other in pursuance of that object, it is a political offence, otherwise not.Nothing is said about political offences in the Fugitive Offenders Act, 1881, and the reason for that is simple—because that Act was passed at a time when substantially the government of all our overseas territories was controlled from this country.
§ Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth (Hendon, South)
I think that the hon. and learned Member is inaccurate. The Fugitive Offenders Act expressly refers to treason.
§ Mr. Hooson
I think that Section 9 refers to treason, but there is no reference as such to political offences. I will come to the reference to treason in a moment.
Surely it was inconceivable in 1881 that what amounted to a political offence in 1317 a Colony could be other than a political offence here. That is the basis of the Act and the reason why no mention is made in it of political offences. But we were not then dealing with equal partners. The Government of Nigeria did not enter into an agreement with us about this Act. This was an Act passed to govern our relationship with the Colonies and other dependent territories. Under Section 6 of that Act, which is the relevant Section for the Home Secretary's consideration, after the court processes have been gone through under the provisions of the Act, a completely unfettered discretion is left with the Home Secretary if he thinks it just not to authorise the return of the fugitive.
I wish to say a few words about Section 10 of the Fugitive Offenders Act, which was considered by the House of Lords last year in the case of Zacharia v. the Republic of Cyprus. Under Section 10 of the Act, to which reference was made by the Prime Minister, a court, if it believes that it would beunjust or oppressive or too severe a punishment to return the fugitive either at all or until the expiration of a certain period",may order that he shall not be returned.
I refer to this decision in the House of Lords simply to make this point. The House of Lords had to interpret the word "unjust" in a judicial manner. "Unjust" in this context surely means unjust according to law. The House of Lords is not entitled to consider the political implications. It has to interpret the Act, and it can only do that by looking at the words in the Act. Lord Devlin, in particular, in his speech in the House of Lords—I am sure that the Home Secretary has already seen this—drew a distinction between what the court could consider under the provisions of Section 10 when considering the word "unjust" and what the Home Secretary is entitled to consider under the provisions of Section 6.
Under Section 6, the Home Secretary has a duty to exercise his discretion whether or not the offence for which the return of the fugitive is required is political. Even if the alleged charge were murder or forgery, the Home Secretary would still have to exercise his discretion and, in so doing, certainly would have to consider the matters which he adumbrated in the House the other day, such as 1318 whether the man concerned would have a fair trial in the country which sought his extradition or whether evidence would be properly obtained. He would have to consider all those matters in any event whether or not the offence for which the return of the fugitive was required was political. Surely the difference in this case is that the return of Chief Enahoro is required for a political reason. There is no doubt that treason is a political offence, and, even if it were not clearly so, the motives for requiring his return are political.
I submit to the Home Secretary that, unfortunately, in this case a situation has arisen because no one anticipated or foresaw that circumstances had so changed since the passing of the 1881 Act. Our Colonies have grown up and have grown to maturity and have now reached full independence. Surely they are now in a position to be regarded and treated as equals. In those circumstances, why should the law applying between ourselves and Nigeria be different from the law applying between ourselves and the United States on extradition matters? Surely this is one matter which the Home Secretary should consider in the exercise of his discretion under Section 6.
§ Mr. David Renton (Huntingdonshire)
The hon. and learned Member has based his whole argument, as I understand it, on the assumption that at the time that the Fugitive Offenders Act was passed all of Her Majesty's Dominions and Colonies were governed from London. In fact, Canada was already independent by then, and there were several self-governing Colonies and provinces by then. Surely the hon. and learned Gentleman's assumption is not correct and, therefore, his argument must fall to the ground.
§ Mr. Hooson
What I said was that substantially our overseas territories were governed from here. I think that I am right historically in saying that Canada was the only country which had self-government at that time.
§ Mr. Hooson
I am obliged for that intervention.
It seems to me that the Home Secretary, in exercising his discretion in this case, has considered all the matters which would be relevant even if this had not been a political offence. What he has not satisfied the House about—certainly he has not satisfied me about this—is that he has also taken into consideration the vital fact that this is a political offence and that, since it is a political offence and Nigeria is an equal member of the Commonwealth, as entirely independent, is permitted to go its own way and to decide its own future and to impose its own laws, the right hon. Gentleman should have undoubtedly exercised his discretion in favour of Chief Enahoro—on that ground alone.
It would be quite monstrous at this stage to return Chief Enahoro for trial on a political offence. Much has been said of the injured feelings of people in Nigeria who, perhaps, have read our newspapers and seen extracts from speeches which might have given offence. Surely this is a risk which the Government should have foreseen when the request for the return of Chief Enahoro was first made. It should at that stage have been made clear discreetly by the Home Secretary that he would not exercise his discretion in favour of the Nigerian Government, not because of the particular facts of this case, but because of the general principle that we in this country do not return a political fugitive to an independent State. Why should there be this distinction between countries which have very much more in common with us and countries which are sometimes alien to us? For example, why is it that a man who comes from the United States of America is in a far more favourable position regarding extradition than a Commonwealth citizen from Nigeria?
Surely the damage which has been done in the public relations between ourselves and Nigeria stems largely from the way in which this matter has been handled by the Government. That must follow, of course, when the quality of the law, the standard of administration of justice in Nigeria, have been called into question in the Press, if not in this House. That is much to be regretted, but I do not think that it is relevant to our present considerations. Neverthe- 1320 less, it has happened. Why has it happened? Because the Government have taken the course which they have taken when there was a simple, easy way out in accordance with a principle. It is the principle that we in this country never agree to extradition for a political offence to an independent country.
I believe that even at this stage the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary should reconsider the matter and make the most difficult but greatest political acknowledgement that any politician can make, and that is to say that he was wrong and that he did, in fact, exercise his discretion wrongly. It is not too late to retrieve the position.
§ 5.22 p.m.
§ Mr. David Renton (Huntingdonshire)
I am sure that the House has listened with interest to the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson), but I must say, speaking for myself, although I was greatly interested by what he said, that I find myself in disagreement with a very great deal of it. I will in the course of my remarks endeavour to pick up some of the points which the hon. Gentleman made, especially about extradition, because, with respect to the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) and to hon. and right hon. Members of the Opposition who have spoken on previous occasions about this matter, I think that there is very great confusion in their minds about extradition based on the Act of 1870 and action taken under the Fugitive Offenders Act of 1881.
In my opinion, the law is right and has stood the test of time well and is wholly applicable in principle to the not very greatly changed circumstances to which the hon. and learned Gentleman referred, which I will explain further later. I say that the law is right and still applicable. I say that the law has been rightly explained and interpreted by the Law Officers and by the Government in relation to this case, and I say that the Home Secretary's decision is not only right but, in my opinion, inevitable in the circumstances which we now have.
The right hon. Member for Belper accused my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister of having come very near to saying something! What the right hon. Gentleman said that the Prime Minister 1321 had come very near to saying was that there were members of the Commonwealth which could be trusted and those which could not. The Fugitive Offenders Act of 1881 was, rightly or wrongly, based on the assumption that there were certain Protectorates and Colonial Territories which had reached a standard in the administration of justice that could be accepted and that there were others which had not.
Owing to the immense variety of political institutions within the Commonwealth, the tremendous variety of legal systems, some of them even tribal, and also the great variations in the degree of control exercised by Whitehall, it was necessary to have a provision in the Fugitive Offenders Act which enabled the Home Secretary when exercising his discretion under the Act to be selective and to decide whether, if an offender were returned, he would receive justice or not.
§ Mr. Paget
Surely that is plainly wrong. The Fugitive Offenders Act does not only apply to this end. It applies to the Protectorates or to whatever is considered in their relation to us. That discretion contained in the Act has nothing whatever to do with competence in the courts. If the offence was relatively trivial or the man was ill, or a number of other things like that which quite often arise, it is not in proportion to take him half-way round the world.
§ Mr. Renton
The hon. and learned Gentleman will no doubt have the opportunity of developing that theme if he catches your eye, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but in view of Section 6 of the 1881 Act I do not see how he can hold that view.
The Fugitive Offenders Act was always intended to be a matter of common convenience within, formerly, the Empire and now the Commonwealth, a way in which the countries and territories of the Empire and then the Commonwealth could bring to justice people who had found their way to each other's shores. The common interest in bringing people to justice is, I should have thought, just as strong now as it was then.
The Extradition Acts have an entirely different foundation. The original one was a prelude to a series of treaties between this country and foreign countries which, within the limits of those 1322 treaties, also enabled the countries which were parties to them to bring offenders to justice. The fundamental difference, and it is a very important difference, between the Extradition Acts and the Fugitive Offenders Act is that the Extradition Acts expressly excluded political crimes and the Fugitive Offenders Act did not. Mot only did the Fugitive Offenders Act have no exception in favour of political crimes, but it expressly referred to the offence of treason as an offence to which the Act applies.
Although I know that the Government have taken a more generous view in this case, I think that, on the strict interpretation of the Act, if a charge of treason had been pursued against Chief Enahoro the Government would legally have been perfectly justified under the Fugitive Offenders Act in sending him to Nigeria for trial.
The right hon. Member for Belper in seeming to suggest that all countries and territories of the Commonwealth must be trusted or none of them seemed to be inferring that we ought to trust all of them. If all of them are to be trusted, I should have thought it followed that subject to other considerations, which I agree arise, Chief Enahoro could safely be sent to Nigeria. But if no territory is to be trusted and if we are to assume that in all cases we have got to look to the merits of the case ourselves and never let the local courts decide, then I should have thought that the whole movement towards self-government, in other words, the whole of the policy of "the wind of change", must be regarded as a deception and a sham. I am sure that the Opposition did not intend that and, therefore, we have to consider the other factors which, in my opinion, are much less important than those I have already mentioned.
On the facts of the case, a great deal of reliance has been placed by the right hon. Member for Belper upon the original affidavit which was produced in support of the application to our courts. But surely that affidavit, important though all affidavits are or should be, must be regarded as having been superseded by assurances by the Nigerian Government, and if we have faith, as we are entitled to have, in the Nigerian Government, then these assurances must be accepted.
§ Mr. David Weitzman (Stoke Newington and Hackney, North)
Would the right horn, and learned Gentleman agree that there is no assurance whatever that if this man is returned to Nigeria the charge against him will not be amended or a second one added to involve the death penalty?
§ Mr. Renton
Far be it from me to add to the reply which the Prime Minister gave to that very point. I should have thought that the Prime Minister's reply was really an end of the matter.
§ Mr. John Strachey (Dundee, West)
Perhaps I misheard him, but I understood that the Prime Minister's reply was that the Nigerian Government did not desire to give assurances—perhaps rightly. So I am astonished to hear the right hon. and learned Gentleman saying that the Nigerian Government gave assurances. It was a main part of the Prime Minister's argument that they did not.
§ Mr. Renton
The right hon. Gentleman can place what interpretation he likes upon the Prime Minister's reply. It will be in HANSARD for him to see. I understood it clearly to be to the effect that there is not the slightest need to ask the Nigerian Government for assurances; that we have had our discussions with the Nigerian Government and they have given those assurances for which they were asked; and that there is no need to press them further on this matter. I should have thought that was a perfectly sound and sensible attitude to adopt in this case.
§ Mr. Renton
I have given way a very great deal. I trust that the hon. Gentleman will allow me to proceed. He will realise that I do not wish to take up too much of the time of the House.
I have just one final point. The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery, if I understood rightly, suggested that we should now rewrite the 1881 Act, and the right hon. Member for Belper said that the Home Secretary should defer a decision in this case until we had done so. I have already attempted to give my answer to the hon. and learned Gentleman; namely, that in my opinion the 1881 Act, although originally produced in somewhat different circumstances from 1324 the present, is essentially sound in principle in its application to the circumstances of today because it is based now, as it was then, on a common interest on the part of members of the Commonwealth in bringing offenders to justice. It surely is significant that at the time when the Statute of Westminster was written and at the times when we were giving self-government to the various Colonies which have achieved that status since the war, there was, so far as I know, no suggestion that the Fugitive Offenders Act, 1881. should be rewritten.
I would add that if it were to be rewritten and if it were to be made effective, it would have to be in very much the terms in which it is now. I know that hon. Members opposite say, "We should write into it a right of political asylum". But that, again, brings to mind the confusion which I think there has been between the Extradition Acts and the Fugitive Offenders Act. The right of political asylum is certainly one of which this country always has been very proud, but it has not been without its limitations.
§ Mr. Hooson
On the argument that we have a common interest with Nigeria in the return of a fugitive, would not the right hon. and learned Gentleman also agree that on the basis of that argument we equally have a common interest in the return of a fugitive to the United States of America, which is one of our allies? If the right hon. and learned Gentleman's argument is well founded, does not that make nonsense of the provision in the Extradition Act that people should not be extradited for a political offence?
§ Mr. Renton
The hon. and learned Gentleman almost tempts me to reminisce on the subject of Captain Galvao. I myself had to answer Questions on this subject on the Floor of the House. The hon. and learned Gentleman may care to turn up those answers. It is a fact that the right of asylum may to some extent have been further modified—I have mentioned already that it has had its limitations—when we enter into defensive alliances, at least to the extent that—[Interruption.]—I made this absolutely plain at the time—at least to the extent that we would not allow this country to be used as a base for a revolution against a fellow-member of 1325 a defensive alliance. However, this is a very great digression from the case of Chief Enahoro, and I do not propose to pursue it any further.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
Had not the right hon. and learned Gentleman better be a little careful in what he is now saying? He held high office in the Home Office for many years. Is he not in danger of spilling some official beans? Does he subscribe to the doctrine that political asylum applies only to one's enemies and not to one's friends, and applies only where the country which is seeking to bring a man back is a non-democratic country?
§ Mr. Renton
I know the hon. Gentleman too well. I have crossed swords with him too often. I shall content myself with saying that I have said nothing today that adds one word to what I said when he used to question me across the Floor of the House on this very subject. He can turn up those questions and answers in HANSARD.
In conclusion, I would, with great humility and, I hope, without sounding pompous, make a plea for Commonwealth solidarity in this matter. We shall not advance the great cause of the Commonwealth and of giving independence to countries which we think are fit for it, a course which hon. Gentlemen opposite have always boasted they supported, by making somewhat niggling and legalistic points which prevent the normal pursuit of justice as between members of the Commonwealth. I do not think that, if we attempted to amend the Fugitive Offenders Act in the way that has been suggested, we should be advancing the cause of Commonwealth justice. But one thing is abundantly plain, and that is that the Home Secretary has made a decision which is completely within the letter of that law and within the spirit of Commonwealth co-operation.
§ 5.38 p.m.
§ Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)
I am sure that the right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Mr. Renton) will forgive me if I do not embark on a long examination of the circumstances in which the Fugitive Offenders Act was passed and whether or not conditions have now changed sufficiently, 1326 as I think, and as I believe a great many other hon. Members think, to require some amendment of the Act. I would prefer to confine my remarks to what I think is the quite short, simple, acid test of this question, which is as follows.
Under the Act as it stands—let us forget for a moment that it is due for overhaul and, perhaps, modification—the Home Secretary has to decide the simple question whether or not it is just to send this man back to Nigeria. It seems to me that in coming to a decision on that simple question the House is still left in considerable doubt about one matter, namely, whether the Home Secretary, in exercising his discretion, did or did not consider that the man might be exposed to the death penalty. There is still confusion about that because, on 1st March, the Home Secretary said:Let me add, because there have been misconceptions and misstatements about this, that there is no question of Chief Enahoro being sent back to stand trial for his life.Later, he said:I have already explained that the charges he faces do not involve the death penalty."—[OFFICAIL REPORT, 21st March, 1963; Vol. 674, c. 601–3.]The right hon. Gentleman may have considered it or not, but at that time he thought that there was no possibility of the death penalty being involved. Then we had a debate late at night on 26th March, on a Motion of censure. It then became apparent to the House that there might be the possibility of the Chief being exposed to the death penalty. Accordingly, the Prime Minister intervened. Twice he said that there could be no possible question of Chief Enahoro being returned to Nigeria if there was any question of the death penalty being enforceable by the Nigerian courts. The Prime Minister stated that in column 1285 on 26th March.
The Prime Minister gave a categorical assurance that if there was any charge against the Chief in respect of which the death penalty was involved, he could not possibly be returned, and the whole House accepted that assurance. The debate was then adjourned in circumstances in which, I am sure, if that assurance had not been given, the Government would in all likelihood have been defeated on a vote of confidence.
1327 The question I ask myself is, what on earth has that to do with the question of justice in Nigeria? There is nothing whatever in the Fugitive Offenders Act which makes any discrimination as regards the penalty, whether it be death or anything else. The Government have stated, through the Prime Minister, that it would not have been just to send this man back to Nigeria if he had been exposed to the death penalty. But the only basis on which the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary or the Attorney-General could say that and ask us to accept it—which we did—was on the basis that if death were the penalty, or if there were any risk of the penalty of death, then there was doubt about the Chief getting justice, for it is only if there is doubt about justice that the Home Secretary can exercise his discretion not to send a man back but to grant him asylum.
If one is considering embarrassment to the Government of Nigeria, or doubt about the integrity of the Nigerian courts, it matters not what the penalty is. One cannot argue that the Nigerian courts will administer justice provided they do not have to exercise the death penalty but that there is doubt about their capacity to administer justice if they are able to exercise the death penalty. Surely the case is that the British Government have stated, as the Attorney-General and the Prime Minister quite rightly stated, that if there were a question of the death penalty being involved it would be manifestly wrong, under the terms of the Fugitive Offenders Act, to send this man back. This being so, the Home Secretary surely has no possible reason for rejecting the conclusion, nor can it be just, not to send the Chief back even if the death penalty is not involved.
Precisely the same reasoning ought to apply, whether there is doubt about the death penalty or not, to penalties less than capital. In applying the test as to what is just—to try to assess what the Nigerian courts are likely to do and whether they can possibly be influenced or not in a case involving treason and, therefore, the right of asylum—the penalty is irrelevant. There is nothing in the Fugitive Offenders Act which says that the Home Secretary can grant asylum to a man if he is in danger of his life but cannot grant it if all that is at risk is his liberty.
1328 On the contrary, every statement made by the Home Secretary and the Attorney-General in enunciating this classical doctrine of asylum has made it clear again and again that the doctrine, whether under one Act or another, is that asylum is granted, for cherished and respected reasons which have arisen over the centuries, to a man if he appears to be in danger of life or liberty on political grounds or grounds or religion or race.
It really is bedevilling the question to maintain that there is a vital distinction depending upon whether or not the capital penalty is a possibility. It is recognised by the Government that if the possibility of the capital penalty were involved it would be wrong to send the Chief back. There may be some doubt about whether the death penalty is involved, although the Attorney-General does not think that there is. Other people think that there is doubt, however.
The Nigerian Government have been asked for certain assurances. Whether or not they have given them does not seem to me to mater. I assert that the Government, through the Prime Minister and with the assent of the Home Secretary and the Attorney-General, have recognised that were the death penalty involved it would not be just to send this man back. They could only come to that conclusion if in these circumstances there were some reason for doubting the complete integrity and impartiality of the Nigerian courts. This assumption having been made with the assent of this House, whatever embarrassment it may cause the Nigerain Government is irrelevant because, in all matters of extradition, we decide on matters of justice but never on the question of embarrassment to a foreign country or even a Commonwealth country. The consideration of embarrassment to another country is always inherent in any question involving the right of asylum.
Therefore, it is surely as plain as a pikestaff that, once it has been recognised that were the death penalty involved it would not be just to send this man back, precisely the same reasoning must apply if the case involves a penalty less than death, for if one does not accept that corollary one is writing into the Act something which is not there. The only relevant consideration is the question: is it just to send him back? If it is not 1329 just in one set of circumstances, because a certain penalty is involved, it is not just in another set of circumstances involving another penalty.
The Home Secretary and the Government have reduced this case to a state of complete muddle and confusion. For all the reasons I have given, and for those given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown), there should be no possible doubt that the only reasonable, the only sensible, the only just thing to do is to grant this man political asylum.
I do not think that we can pay attention to the argument about the effect this would have in Nigeria. Any damage that might have been done is irrelevant. But if damage can be done it has been done already. What greater damage can be done in this case than the recognition that the House has already made that if the death penalty were involved there would be no question of sending Chief Enahoro back? That having been the consensus in the House, surely we should not worry any longer about that aspect.
I would in conclusion add one thing because I see the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) in his place. I thought that his letter to The Times yesterday was a real masterpiece of absurdity. It seemed to me to reduce this argument to an absolute absurdity to say that the whole existence of the Commonwealth depended upon sending this man back to Nigeria, and that if we did not do so we should have broken the last real link that holds the Commonwealth together. I cannot believe that the hon. Member or anybody believes that.
Surely the ties of the Commonwealth are founded in conceptions of justice, and I think that we should expect the nations of the Commonwealth to have complete regard to the common law doctrine of asylum. I am convinced that no harm whatever would be done to the vital interests of the Commonwealth by granting this man the liberty and the right of asylum to which he is clearly entitled, and, equally, I think that unless this House condemns the action of the Home Secretary it would be betraying some of the highest ideals and traditions of this country.
§ 5.51 p.m.
§ Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth (Hendon, South)
This case is a complicated one and raises almost as many issues as the days on which we have debated them. I want to be brief and not to try to cover every issue. I will, of course, mention the one just referred to by the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher). I personally regret the assumption which was made in the Opposition Motion, or, perhaps I should say, implied in the Opposition Motion, that this case has been or can be dealt with on a basis of political asylum. To my mind, that is altogether the wrong criterion to apply, but it is, of course, the only criterion on which we can vote, because it is the issue which is before us.
I am not saying that the Home Secretary should never have regard to political considerations in dealing with cases falling under the Fugitive Offenders Act. There are certain cases where the Home Secretary in his discretion should have regard, indeed must have regard, to political considerations. It may well be that cases can arise where political considerations will give rise to prejudices of a kind which will prevent a fair trial, and so on. If he has any reason to think that the trial will be unfair, or that any oppressive result can happen, then I quite agree that political considerations are relevant, and, indeed, may easily be paramount. He has to consider each case on its merits.
The Motion that we are discussing, that is to say, the Motion moved by the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown), really states a quite general proposition. In effect, the Motion says that Chief Enahoro ought not to be sent back to Nigeria because the offences charged against him are political offences. In other words, simply on the general ground that whenever we get a political offence charged, the law ought not to be allowed to operate. The right hon. Member for Belper, in his speech on 21st March, stated the Opposition's case very clearly. He said:There is no valid reason why, in 1963, we should apply a different test in the case of Commonwealth citizens from that which we apply in the cases of citizens from elsewhere. Summed up in one sentence, that is the case.He went on to say:Why should we argue a totally different case if it happens to be a member of the 1331 Commonwealth from that which we argue about a French, or Spanish, or Russian, or any other citizen?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 21st March, 1963; Vol. 674, c. 583.]That is the case which we are now engaged in debating.
My remarks will be directed to that particular issue which is, I believe, the most relevant. Ought we to treat a fugitive from a Commonwealth country in a way different from that in which we treat a fugitive from a foreign country? Put in another way, I think that the question can be fairly stated: ought the law to treat British subjects and aliens alike? If we put the question in that way, I think that everyone in the House will answer it immediately and in the negative. We answered this very question last year when we had the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill before the House, and hon. Members on both sides rightly said that we must treat British subjects from the Commonwealth differently from aliens.
§ Mr. Strachey
The hon. Member said that we should all unhesitatingly say "no" to the proposition that we should treat them alike, but should we not also, and even more unhesitatingly, answer "no" to the proposition that we should treat Commonwealth citizens worse.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
That is exactly the point to which I propose to direct my remarks.
British subjects are not, of course, treated as being the same as aliens in our law. British subjects, for instance, have still far greater freedom of access to the United Kingdom than aliens. They have far better rights to remain in it. British subjects can become Members of this House. There are many public offices which can be held by British subjects and not by aliens. The status of being a British subject carries very important rights indeed. That status is based on the principle of belief, that is to say, the loyalty which each one of us owes to the Crown, as head of the Commonwealth.
The duty of allegiance applies equally to all British subjects, whether they live in this country, whether they live in one of the Commonwealth countries which is not a republic, or whether they live in one of the republics which is now a member of the Commonwealth.
1332 This is not merely a personal matter. It is a duty to respect the institutions constituted under the Crown and not to seek to overthrow them by violence. It is a duty binding on every British subject in every part of the Commonwealth. Those are the duties affecting all British subjects, and the duties and the rights of British subjects are inseparable. We cannot have one without the other. That is the reply to the right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey). If we do something to diminish the duties, then to that extent we shall lessen these rights.
The combination of duties and rights is the peculiar mark of a British subject. It is that which constitutes the British Commonwealth of Nations. If we remove the obligations, the removal of the rights will follow very shortly afterwards. It always has been so. Hon. Members opposite would be the very first to argue that where we have duties and rights combined and we seek to remove the duties, then the rights will not long remain. If we remove the duties of allegiance, the only duties affecting British subjects, we shall not be long before we see the rights following them.
§ Mr. Fletcher
The hon. Member referred to the Commonwealth Immigrants Act, by which we considerably reduced the rights of British subjects without affecting their duties or the validity of the Commonwealth.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
Everybody in the House had grave misgivings about what we were then doing just because it would begin to undermine the very principle which I have mentioned. In fact, we did it only because we had to deal with a matter of urgency—and temporary urgency. We carefully inserted into the Bill that it was not to be a permanent Measure, but it was urgently needed for a particular practical reason.
What is being argued by the Motion and by the hon. Member for Islington, East is that no British subject ought to have any higher obligation than an alien. He is arguing for the total removal of all these obligations.
§ Mr. Fletcher
I am arguing for the modification of the Fugitive Offenders Act to bring it into accord with modern conditions, and I am saying that it would 1333 be a much less radical alteration of the position of British subjects than was the Comonwealth Immigrants Act.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
I could not agree more strongly with the hon. Member. That was precisely what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced this afternoon that he intended to put in hand. But what the hon. Member said is something quite different. He said that we start from the premise that we ought to strike out treason and political offences from the content of that Act. I say that if we strike these out, then we strike out the whole basis of allegiance, and if we strike out the whole basis of allegiance then very shortly afterwards the rights which attach to the duties of allegiance will disappear. I think that that would be entirely wrong and that it is a course which no one in the House wishes us to take.
I am not arguing the particular question of Chief Enahoro. I am arguing the larger question which is raised in the proposal before the House. I am saying that the basis for that proposal is entirely wrong and that for that reason, if for no other, I would vote against the Opposition Motion. When we come to the particular case, having regard to the facts disclosed and to the arguments on the other issues, I am completely content that the Government have followed the right lines, and I shall have no hesitation in supporting them on the Amendment in the Lobby.
§ 6.4 p.m.
§ Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough)
One of the best things which can be said about the House of Commons is that when the liberties of a man are concerned, all of us will give earnest and serious consideration to his case. That is true about hon. Members opposite as it is true about hon. Members on this side of the House. If one looks at the records of the proceedings of the House over the last 200 years, one finds that some of the most impressive debates which have taken place in this assembly have been on the liberty of only one individual.
Another striking fact, if one looks at these debates in Parliamentary history, is how often opinions have changed according to the arguments in the debate. I will make a particular appeal 1334 to the Home Secretary, even at this late hour, not to close his mind to other proposals for a solution to the very difficult issue in his hands. The fact that Parliament has spent three days in discussing this issue indicates the gravity in which it is held in each party.
I want to say at once that I differ from some of the speeches which have been made from this side of the House during the three days of our debates. I do not believe that Chief Enahoro is or ever was in danger of the death penalty. The discussions which have taken place about the interpretations of the law do not seem to me to meet the fact that not one of us who knows the membership of the Nigerian Government, who knows the man in Nigeria who is now the Attorney-General, and who knows the spirit in which he has approached this problem, can believe that Chief Enahoro would have suffered the death penalty.
The unfortunate impression has grown within Nigeria that the attitude of those of us who oppose this deportation is one of regarding their State as second-class and inferior—that we know everything and that we can judge better than they can judge. I want to emphasise quite as emphatically as with my former point that, far from taking that view, I regard the Nigerian Government as one of the most outstanding Governments in the whole Continent of Africa in their tolerance, their patience and their fairness.
Before the events which arose in the Western Region last year, nearly everyone in the House regarded the Government of Nigeria as a model. We recognised the statesmanship which was shown by its leaders, those from the Eastern and Western Regions, who might have had their own independence much earlier than independence was granted for the whole of Nigeria and who quite deliberately said, "We will postpone our own independence in order to secure the unity of the Federation." All this, and the way in which there has been formed in Nigeria a coalition Government of one of the most radical parties with the Conservative Party of the North, shows an attitude of the mind which is completely different from any picture given in this House that that Government is authoritarian, totalitarian or tyrannical. That 1335 should be said emphatically from these benches.
Thirdly, I do not believe that we have any right to make the decision tonight because of any suspicion of the independence and impartiality of the judiciary in Nigeria. It is one of the remarkable facts of Africa that even when there has been tyranny in a country the judiciary, and particularly the higher ranges of it, has shown its independence and impartiality. This was true of Kenya even during the worst months of Mau Mau. It was even true of the Republic of South Africa until the Government there began to pack the judiciary with their nominees. This is emphatically true of Nigeria. If anyone tonight suggested that we ought to reach a decision on the ground that justice would not be extended by the courts of Nigeria, he would be unaware of what is happening in Nigeria, and unaware of the character of those who are responsible for its judiciary.
Having said that, I acknowledge that there are differences between the African States and this country. In African countries political offences are regarded with much more gravity than they are regarded here, and the punishment for them may be more severe. They are new nations which are being built up from diverse racial elements and diverse religious elements. In those circumstances, if someone resists the emergence of nationhood, there is the danger that he may be regarded as a traitor to the aims of that nation. Because of this, a different attitude is adopted towards political offences from that which we adopt. We differ from them, but we ought to understand their situation. We criticise, as many of us have done in the case of Ghana and the United Arab Republic, but we understand. This ought not to mean, however, that we are prepared to sacrifice our stand for political liberties in any way.
The hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) built up a picture of the Commonwealth on the basis that all its subjects show an allegiance to the Crown, and that that allegiance requires the Governments of the Commonwealth to have a closely integrated legal association which means that if a subject in one territory earns the displeasure of the Government there, and leaves the country for another part of 1336 the Commonwealth, the Government of the country to which he goes would be required to deport him to his own country.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
The hon. Gentleman has somewhat overstated what I said or suggested. The person concerned would have to commit an offence to bring himself within the Fugitive Offenders Act, and that would be a pretty serious offence.
§ Mr. Brockway
I shall amend what I said. Instead of saying "displeasure", I shall say "commits an act which is regarded as an offence" by the Government of the country in which he lives.
I should despair of the future of the Commonwealth if it were dependent on that theory. This Commonwealth in which we believe must be based on a concept of liberty and democracy. It cannot possibly be based on the principle that a member of the Commonwealth who commits a political offence can be sent back to a country in the Commonwealth, while an alien who is not a member of the Commonwealth has the right to remain here.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
The hon. Gentleman is inaccurate, because the Fugitive Offenders Act applies both to British subjects and to aliens. It applies to those who, either by virtue of being British subjects or as residents owe allegiance.
§ Mr. Brockway
I am entirely accurate. The difference between the two Acts is that if a person is an alien refugee in this country he can claim the right to political asylum.
§ Mr. Brockway
I shall not give way again. I have done so continually, and I claim that I am correct in what I am saying.
The difference between the two Acts is that an alien who comes to this country as a political refugee need not be sent back to his country, whereas a Commonwealth subject who comes here after committing what is regarded as a political offence is in a worse position than an alien and is more likely to be returned to his country.
The hon. Member for Hendon, South, has held high office in the Home Office.
1337 I believe that he is a learned gentleman—[Laughter.] You interrupted me, and you are now laughing about it.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. We must address our observations to the Chair. I was not interrupting the hon. Member.
§ Mr. Brockway
Mr. Speaker, I would be the last Member to suggest that you would interrupt or laugh on an occasion like this, and I apologise.
I return to the argument which I was putting and which, I thought, was gaining the consideration of a large proportion of hon. Members before I was interrupted. I was arguing that although the African countries have a different attitude to political offences, this country ought to stand firmly by its historical record of granting political asylum.
§ Mr. Brockway
No, the hon. Gentleman may not. Mr. Speaker, you have only just come into the Chamber. I have given way again and again, and my argument has been interrupted many times. I think that I have been reasonable in giving way on so many occasions, and I do not propose to do so again.
I come back to my argument. I was saying that the African countries regard political offences more seriously than we do, and they therefore demand that those who take refuge here should be returned to them. While we understand their attitude, I believe that we must cling dearly and firmly to our record of granting political asylum. We must remember the contribution which this country is making to the pattern of human society. One of the biggest contributions which this country has made in that respect is the hospitality which it has given to political refugees from other countries.
I am glad that the Home Secretary has come into the Chamber, because I wish to make a particular appeal to him. He may remember that one of the last debates of this kind in this House was over the case of a Spanish stowaway called Joaquim Perez-Selles. A member of the Government with, if I may say so, a longer standing in the House than the right hon. Gentleman, first decided that Perez-Selles must be returned to Spain. But under the influence of the contributions during the debate he came 1338 to another conclusion, and agreed that this man should be allowed to go to a country other than Spain, where he would have suffered imprisonment.
I wish to make a very earnest appeal to the Home Secretary tonight to repeat that concession in a generous spirit such as was exhibited by the then Home Secretary. There are greater grounds for such a concession now than there were on that occasion. Chief Enahoro did not come here from Nigeria, but from Ireland. Whatever the explanation may be, the right hon. Gentleman will not doubt for one moment that Enahoro and his friends believe that an assurance had been given that Enahoro could stay here without being imprisoned.
Under those circumstances, I beg the right hon. Gentleman not to insist that Chief Enahoro should be sent back to Nigeria and that this debate should result in the same decision as did the last debate. Instead of going to Nigeria, Chief Enahoro should be allowed to return to the country from which he came. I find it difficult to believe that the right hon. Gentleman can resist an appeal of this kind, and if he will agree to it—I think that it represents the opinion of hon. Members on both sides of the House—we might avoid the conflict which otherwise will occur at the end of this debate.
§ 6.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Dudley Smith (Brentford and Chiswick)
I wish to add my voice to the eloquent plea of the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway). I hope it is possible, even at this late stage, that the Home Secretary may feel able to consider it.
I think that we have a good Government, a progressive and an enlightened Government. It is a Government which I support on nearly every issue. But I am completely sincere when I say that regarding Chief Enahoro I think the Government are grieviously wrong. I do not intend to repeat the arguments which I adduced when I was fortunate enough to be called to speak in the last debate on this subject. But I think there are a number of issues still unanswered even after this second debate and that it would be worth while to delve into them.
At the outset I must indicate the reason for my personal interest in this case since the general interest in it has heightened after the one and a half 1339 debates that we have now had. Several people have approached me and asked, "Why are you taking such an interest in the case of Chief Enahoro?" For the benefit of those who did not hear the last speech I made on this subject, I must make clear that Chief Enahoro is by way of being a temporary constituent of mine. He was arrested in Chiswick while in a flat belonging to some of my constituents, and they approached me on his behalf. Enahoro himself appealed to me, and as a result of this approach I felt it my duty to look into the case on his behalf. I have gone through a considerable amount of evidence, and as a result of what I have seen and heard I believe, frankly, that he has an excellent case for being allowed to remain here.
I wish, first, to go into the question of the death penalty. I understood right from the start of my inquiries that the death penalty was involved. Enahoro's solicitors assured me that the capital offence was there, even after the statement yesterday by the Attorney-General. Enahoro himself believes that he would face a capital charge if returned to Nigeria. He told me so when I saw him in Brixton Prison. I call in aid the leading article in today's issue of the Daily Telegraph which states:We now have the Attorney-General's opinion that Chief Enahoro, if returned to Nigeria, would not face the death penalty. This opinion is backed with a wealth of arguments which would in other circumstances be pretty well conclusive. Against it, however, must be set the fact that the affidavit in which Nigeria's Crown Counsel applied for Chief Enahoro's return to Nigeria specifically says that the charges do carry the death penalty; it says it twice, indeed. The Attorney-General may well be right in law, the Crown Counsel mistaken. But (there seems to be at the very least an element of doubt, of which Chief Enahoro should surely receive the benefit.In addition to that evidence there are a considerable number of people, besides other hon. Members, who feel that he does face the death penalty. These are politicians in the Nigerian Assembly—we have heard them quoted by the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown)—and also some legal luminaries in Nigeria. Only last week we received a reasoned argument from the leading defence counsel at the trial, which I quoted to the Home Secretary in a 1340 supplementary question. Mr. O. A. Akintoye disagrees with the Attorney-General. In his view, Enahoro is charged on the second count with conspiracy to commit treason and not conspiracy to commit treasonable felony. He says:A careful reading of the count and section 37(1) of the Criminal Code reveals that the draftsmen of the count had his eyes and mind on conspiracy to commit treason.In view of some of the allegations and comments, I should have thought that there is a real doubt about this Nigerian not facing a death penalty, and that it would be fair, in the circumstances, to give him the benefit of that reasonable doubt which must remain in the minds of so many people.
I am not a barrister and therefore 1 often hesitate to tangle with hon. Members who are barristers when they speak in this House. But why on earth was the question of the death penalty ever mentioned in the affidavit if it had no relevance whatever? To me that seems incomprehensible. If my hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General is going to speak again—I do not know whether he is—he may be able to deal with this point. In its leading article this morning the Guardian takes up the point. It states:In his view "—that is the view of the Attorney-General—the two paragraphs referring to the death penalty had been included only to show the penalty for the principal felony, not the penalty for the lesser offence of conspiracy. He implied that these paragraphs were necessary in order to demonstrate that the offence was sufficiently serious for the Fugitive Offenders Act to apply to it. Yet if he is correct in stating that the maximum relative penalty is seven years, then there was no need for these two paragraphs in the affidavit. The charge was already serious enough to come under the Act.Later in the article it states—this is, perhaps, the most relevant point of all:Two weeks ago the Prime Minister said that Chief Enahoro would not be extradited unless it was clear 'beyond peradventure' that the death penalty did not apply. The doubt remains.I feel that that doubt does remain.
Irrespective of that I should like to make a submission to the House on other issues in defence of Chief Enahoro. I cannot stress too strongly—I think that the Home Secretary will appreciate this point—that the right hon. Gentleman has 1341 absolute discretion in a case of this sort. What decision he arrives at is entirely a matter for him. My right hon. Friend is perfectly able to resist the persuasion of people like myself, and of others who feel that the Chief should go back. It is misleading to bring in the question of whether a government will be offended, or whether a government is friendly or is an antagonistic government. The whole case rests in the individual. I also think that my right hon. Friend is not bound to deport anybody under the Fugitive Offenders Act, and that, perhaps unwittingly, he has given the impression that he is bound to do so, particularly in this case.
Why should my right hon. Friend exercise his discretion in favour of this Nigerian? First, I think because Enahoro came to this country, as we have heard today, under a misapprehension. It was a regrettable misapprehension. We have heard it gone into in detail today, but undoubtedly this man thought—and three specific telephone calls were made on his behalf by a very responsible person—that if he came to this country, he would be safe and would be granted asylum.
He knew very well what charges were to be levelled against him in his own country and he realised that he had to get out before he was caught. He went first to Ghana, then on to Dublin and finally to this country. As there was this very grave misunderstanding—and one accepts the assurance given by the Home Office that it was a misunderstanding—the Home Secretary should exercise his discretion in Enahoro's favour.
I should have thought that in a case of this sort it was extremely relevant to take into account the circumstances of the people involved. The man who did this inquiry on behalf of Enahoro is a perfectly responsible citizen and a man of some standing in the business world. Enahoro himself is not some illiterate, spear-carrying savage but a completely Westernised Nigerian and well educated, as was revealed by the letter read out today by the right hon. Member for Belper. He has been to this country many times and has been here on official visits. He has two sons being educated in this country and they are going on to Marlborough School, one not unknown 1342 to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. He also belongs to a well-known London area golf club and is a man who obviously would not have come to this country unless he had been absolutely satisfied in his own mind that he would be given political asylum.
Secondly, I base my appeal for the discretion of the Home Secretary on the fact that the Fugitive Offenders Act is admitted by most people today to be out of date. We all more or less agree that it was passed in a colonial era, but times have changed very significantly. As a result, whichever way one looks at it and whatever is said by my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth), if Enahoro is sent back he will be receiving treatment less fair than a foreigner would get in the same circumstances. Surely that is wrong. Surely if we believe in the cause of the Commonwealth—and I certainly do and I am sure that everybody in the House does—Commonwealth citizens in times of trouble should be entitled to exactly the same consideration as a foreigner would receive in comparable circumstances. I do not think that it flows from that that there is discrimination against Governments in the Fugitive Offenders Act.
Thirdly, I base my appeal to the Home Secretary for his discretion, even at this late stage, on the fact that political asylum is likely to be granted in cases of this sort when the Fugitive Offenders Act is altered. After our debates, it looks very likely that the Act will be changed. It would surely be very tragic indeed if this were the last case to be decided before that change took place, a case which has aroused tremendous interest and a good deal of passion on both sides of the House and one in which there is considerable merit in the case for the defence.
Nevertheless, despite those three appeals which I make to the Home Secretary, the main argument overall must be that the Home Secretary should exercise his discretion, because by any count Enahoro is a political offender. It has been said—and it has been said in the House and I have heard it said outside the House—that the evidence presented against him involves bombs and guns and military training and efforts to bring about a coup d'état in his country; to 1343 overthrow the constitution by unconstitutional means.
I must say quite honestly that although those allegations are perfectly fair so far as I know, they are strongly contested by Enahoro and his legal advisers. It is not for me to challenge the authenticity of the evidence which has been presented in the treason trial in Nigeria, but I say perfectly sincerely that it is not unknown for evidence to be rigged in political trials in various parts of the world, and we have always to bear that in mind.
I accept that assurance of the Government that the Nigerian judiciary is first class and scrupulous, but what can a judiciary do if evidence happens to be tailored to the needs of the prosecution, even if it appears to be perfectly legitimate when it comes before the court? Fair trials do not always begin and end in court. There is the question of how the evidence is obtained and how it is presented, and the whole question of whether it is subject to cross-examination. Certainly some very disturbing evidence has come to this country to those of us who are interested in this case. It may be that three-quarters of it is not true, but if only a title of it is true, that would make the case for Chief Enahoro.
So far as I can trace, a number of allegations which have been made by some of the accused have not been rebutted. There is also the question of a man named Ceulman, an interrogator of Dutch Afrikaans extraction, against whom the most serious allegations have been made. So far as I know, this individual has never been called in the treason trial.
I referred to this the last time I spoke on the subject and my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) went into some of the details. While I was speaking, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary interrupted me and said:I could say a good deal about certain matters which my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) read out, but those matters are sub judice in Nigeria and we must be careful what we say. I think that all of us must be careful in reaching judgments on matters which are now before the Nigerian courts for judgment there."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st March. 1963; Vol. 674, c. 641–2.]1344 I thought that was fair and I did not pursue the matter in the course of the debate, but if the matter is sub judice there, could we not wait until the trials are over before sending Enahoro back, so that we can better study the evidence presented and look into the allegations—and I put it no higher than saying that they are allegations—about some of the evidence presented in this case?
The evidence which I have read certainly leaves doubt in my mind, and I know that it leaves doubt in the minds of some of my hon. Friends who are very worried about this case. I know that the Home Secretary has read this evidence and I shall be very surprised if he says that it does not leave doubt in his mind. It may be wrong and it may be inconclusive, but there seems to be an element of truth in it.
Those who are for sending Enahoro back to Nigeria use the very compelling argument that we must trust the Commonwealth and that if we do not let it stand on its own two feet, the Commonwealth in general and Nigeria in particular will be gravely insulted over this case. Some of my hon. Friends have even gone so far as to say that those of us who are concerned are doing irreparable damage to the Commonwealth by fighting the case of Chief Enahoro.
May I say that is that I do not see it in the same light. Nigeria may well be angry about this issue and in some respects she is entitled to be angry about it, but I am sure that she will not leave the Commonwealth if we do not send Enahoro back. I am sure from some of the speeches which have been made in the Nigerian House of Assembly that that is the thought furthest from the minds of many of the people taking part in the Government there. I say again that this is a political matter and should be treated as such. Political trials of a comprehensive nature should always be regarded with the gravest of suspicions, whether they are in or out of the Commonwealth and without taking into account the nature of the country concerned.
I am well aware that by my stand I have displeased the Government. I have displeased the Whips. I have displeased even some of my constituents who have asked why I should rush about and worry so much about the affairs 1345 of a man who is not even English and who is concerned with a country which does not particularly affect us. I must say that I am unrepentant and still not convinced by the arguments produced against me in this matter. It gives me no pleasure whatever to say that today, for the first time in my political career, I shall be forced to vote against the Government, but I feel that at least I owe this to Chief Enahoro as a gesture of my good faith in conducting his case for him.
It may be misguided, because people can make mistakes and time may prove me wrong, but I think that I am doing the just and humane thing for Enahoro in taking up his cause, and I think that exactly the same applies to those of my hon. Friends who have worked very assiduously on his behalf. He came to us for assistance in his hour of trouble and I am only too sorry that there are signs, which we have seen today, that we have failed him. But at least we have achieved this—that when he gets back he will get fairer and better treatment than might have been the case if this had not become such a grave issue in this country.
Finally, and I stress this above everything else, I am convinced that there is here a great and strong issue. It is the principle that the individual, however famous or however obscure, must always be regarded as more important where life and liberty are concerned than all the expediencies of Governments and all the nuances of diplomacy. The individual is greater than the State, and that must always be the case. The principle of political asylum is a great and cherished principle and one which it is vital we should preserve in this country. It appears that tonight we are to throw it overboard. All I can say is that I hope we do not live to regret it.
§ 6.40 p.m.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
We have just heard a very fine and a very eloquent speech. Over forty other hon. Members on the other side of the House signed the same Motion as the hon. Member for Brentford and Chiwick (Mr. D. Smith). If they had his courage, they could still save Chief Enahoro and, in the process of so doing, they could do much to restore the waning-reputation of this House. They would not bring about the resignation of the Government. Whatever 1346 else happens, the Government will not resign. Perhaps some Members on the Government side will still have the courage to do that. It is within their power.
I agree with the hon. Member that Nigeria has reason to be offended with us. We could have said to Nigeria, "In 1881, when this Act was passed, it was passed upon the basis of a common subjection to what was then the British Empire. Treason as described in the 1881 Act was a common offence against that common authority. These are no longer the circumstances, now that we have free and independent nations. It has never been our custom to return those charged with political offences to other free and independent nations.
"Therefore, we cannot exercise the discretion under this Act in that sense. It has been contrary to our universal custom. We recognise your freedom. We recognise your independence. We treat you as we would treat our old friends and kinsmen and our allies. We treat you as we would treat the great American Republic. We treat you as we would treat the French Republic. We treat you as we would treat any other free and independent nation, because that is our custom". If we had said that, Nigeria could not have taken offence.
Instead of that, we did a most peculiar thing. We took up a half-way house. We said, "We will return you this man as long as we are satisfied that, if we do so, his life will not be in danger". That seems to me to be a profoundly offensive thing to say to the Nigerians. We say to them, "We are not treating you as a free and independent and equal country. We have not that sort of confidence in your courts. We are prepared to allow you to deal with a minor offence which does not carry the death penalty, but we do not think that you are fit to deal with a matter if it is capital". If the Nigerians take exception to that, I can agree with them, for, after all, the offence of treason is capital here as it is in Nigeria.
As that undertaking was given, and given by the Prime Minister, it is one which we have to examine. If Chief Enahoro is returned to Nigeria, is he in danger of a capital charge? My answer to that without any hesitation whatever is, "Yes, he is in danger of a capital 1347 charge". I will not go into the argument with the Attorney-General as to whether this is so on Charge 2. The hon. and learned Gentleman may be right or he may be wrong. Some lawyers have taken one view, and some lawyers have taken the other. What I am saying is that, if the Chief is returned to Nigeria, the Nigerian Government can, and can quite properly, prefer a capital charge. The Prime Minister said in his speech that to say that they would get him back on one charge and then prefer another would be a gross insult to the Nigerian courts and that it is something which no civilised nation would do.
I say this to the learned Attorney-General. It is something which we do. It is something which we have done. It is something which we do regularly. When we obtain people, both under this Act and by extradition proceedings, the charges which we prefer before the jury are, I will go so far as to say, generally different charges from those on which the man is obtained.
The procedure is this. First, charges are laid and a warrant is sworn. That warrant is the basis of the extradition proceedings. The man is then brought back here. There is the preliminary hearing before the magistrates. That hearing begins on the charges in the warrant. At that time additional evidence may be obtained and other charges may be preferred. At the end of the magisterial proceedings, counsel in charge of the prosecution—it may be the Attorney-General—considers the evidence and then he drafts the indictment. The indictment may, and quite often does, contain charges which are quite different from the ones originally preferred. That is the normal process of our law.
Extradition cases very often concern financial frauds of great complexity. It is very often absconding financiers who are returned. Nearly always, in those cases, by the time it comes to drafting the indictment the indictment is materially different from the charges originally preferred.
§ The Attorney-General (Sir John Hobson)
The position is that under extradition treaties there is an obligation on each side, both the returning side and the other side, not to prefer additional charges. It may be that some technical 1348 alteration is made in the form of the indictment, but it is a treaty obligation on this country, if it obtains the return of a fugitive, only to prefer the charges for which his return is obtained.
Conversely, we do not return anyone under an extradition treaty to another country unless that country, by its treaty, is responsible for seeing that only those charges are preferred and that the person returned has the opportunity of leaving the country before further charges are made.
§ Mr. Paget
I was coming to that point in a moment.
This applies only to charges which are not extraditable. The treaties contain the provision, and our undertaking is that, if we obtain a man back on charges for offences which are extraditable, we will not prefer charges which are not extraditable and not within the treaty. In fact, the charges are normally and regularly changed. There have been cases in which protests have been entered because charges which were not extraditable have been preferred when we have handed people into extradition. The learned Attorney-General will be familiar with the cases. So long as the charges are extraditable, different charges can be preferred.
But we are not here dealing with the Extradition Act. We are, in fact, dealing with the Act of 1881 in which there is not even a reservation as to non-extraditable offences. Under the Act of 1881 there is nothing at all to prevent the presentation of any charges, whether or not they are included in the Act. Why should there be? The answer is that the basis of the 1881 Act was precisely that this is a common subjection; that this was the British Empire and a common authority with which we were dealing.
So, unlike the extradition position which is limited to non-extraditable offences, there is no limitation at all under that Act. Both we and the Nigerian Government can prefer any charge which is justified by the evidence. If the evidence which has been presented—and I am not at this point saying whether or not it is true—is accepted, it quite certainly does support a capital charge of treason. This undertaking having been given, it is hypocritical to say that this man does not run the risk of a capital charge if he is returned, for, of course, he does.
1349 The next point of great importance is the Prime Minister's request to the Nigerian Government for assurances either that the second count—or the second charge, because it is not a count—would be withdrawn if it were a capital one, and that no further charge carrying the death penalty would be presented. That was a grossly improper thing to do. To ask for those assurances was indeed grossly improper and the Nigerian Government are overwhelmingly right in refusing to do so.
I will put this from the other point of view. Suppose one of the other members of the Commonwealth were to say to us, "If we return this man", who, perhaps, is charged with capital murder or treason, "we want an assurance from you, first, that the judge will not pass the sentence called for by the law, or, secondly, that the Home Secretary, in pursuance of his own judicial and absolute discretion, will exercise that discretion by ordering a reprieve; or that the Attorney General, in pursuance of his judicial discretion, will no: prefer charges involving the death penalty, even if the evidence would support those charges".
Any Government which gave those assurances would demonstrate quite clearly that the judiciary and those who exercise judicial discretion are subject to the Executive. To give such assurances would be to give an assurance that our judiciary is not independent.
§ The Attorney-General
The hon. and learned Member will perhaps be aware that, under our Treaty with Israel, Israel is not prepared to return to this country any person who would be on a capital charge. It therefore requires a certificate from the Director of Public Prosecutions that the charge is not capital. This is clearly the procedure.
§ Mr. Paget
What has that got to do with this case? There are many extradition treaties which contain many charges which are not extraditable. I am discussing, where a capital charge is extraditable, the question of the Executive giving assurances by which the judiciary and those who exercise it are bound.
If there is any doubt as to the judicial discretion involved in withdrawing a charge or in not presenting one, I would remind the House of the Campbell case, on which the first Labour Government 1350 fell. It fell precisely because the then Attorney-General in the Labour Government, Sir Patrick Hastings, was accused of having exercised his discretion to withdraw a charge for political reasons. Sir Robert Home, speaking on the censure Motion which overthrew that Labour Government, said in this connection:I was saying that if the administration of the law should become subject to any considerations of political expediency then justice, as we have known it in this country for centuries, would disappear. Civilised communities can only enjoy full liberty if the political executive is excluded from interference with the mechanism of the administration of justice. It is for that reason that the very salutary rule has been observed in this country that the Attorney-General, in forming his opinion on matters of prosecution, is entirely free from any political influence whatsoever."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th October, 1924; Vol. 177, c. 581.]These were precisely the assurances for which we were asking the Nigerian Government.
The rôle of the Home Secretary in these proceedings has been a sorry one. He has on a number of occasions misled and deceived the House. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I hear hon. Members opposite saying "No", but let us consider what the right hon. Gentleman has said. On the 21st of last month he said:This is a grave matter. It deserves the most thorough and responsible thought that I am capable of giving to it.He went on:I do not recollect any application having been made for bail.There have been three applications, to the magistrates' court and to the divisional court. The right hon. Gentleman then said:… there is no question of Chief Enahoro being sent back to stand trial for his life."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st March, 1963; Vol. 674, c. 593–4, 601.]At that point the Nigerian Government's affidavit supporting the warrant for Enahoro's arrest, signed by the acting senior counsel for Nigeria, the Federal Attorney-General and the Minister of Justice, stated flatly that the second charge against him carried the death penalty.
The liability to the death penalty at that point was mentioned and accepted in the magistrates' court, in the divisional court and in the Appeals Committee of the House of Lords. At that point the one dissenting voice that subsequently emerged, the voice of the Attorney-General, had not been heard. Indeed,
1351 it was a week or a fortnight after this that the Attorney-General told us that he had not had time to consider the matter. At that point, at which there was unanimity of opinion everywhere that this man was on a capital charge, the Home Secretary said in the House the words I have just quoted, that is,… there is no question of Chief Enahoro being sent back to stand trial for his life.Later replying to a Question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for New-castle-under-Lyme (Mr. Swingler), the Home Secretary said:The hon. Gentleman is completely misinformed about the content of this affidavit. There is no reference … to the death penalty being a penalty for any of the charges on which Chief Enahoro's return was sought."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th April, 1963; Vol. 675, c. 625.]I shall not read the affidavit again. Everyone, of course, agrees that it was in the affidavit in the clearest of terms.
Finally, the right hon. Gentleman said:The information I have given to the House is strictly correct."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th March, 1963; Vol. 674, c. 1278.]Really! That is his performance in guiding the House.
We now come to the question of this decision. It is a judicial decision—a discretion; a discretion as personal, as judicial, as the discretion with regard to the recommendation of mercy on a capital charge. The Prime Minister tells us, "We have decided that Chief Enahoro is to return." Who is "we"?
I refer again to something said by Sir Robert Home in the debate to which I have referred, when Mr. Ramsay Mac-Donald was Prime Minister. Mr. Ramsay MacDonald had used the words "as to what did or did not influence us," and Sir Robert Home said:I do not know whether the Cabinet did arrive at a decision or not, but these remarks suggest that they did, and, if that is so, you have just that improper interference on the part of the political executive with the decision of the Attorney-General which at the beginning I deprecated in the interests of 'the proper administration of the law."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th October, 1924; Vol. 177, c. 591.]And here we have what is, quite plainly, a Home Secretary deciding what "we" have decided, and what he is told to decide—told, primarily, by the strongest man in a weak Cabinet, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations.
1352 In an article written a short time ago, my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) pointed out power had passed from the Cabinet and had become personal to the Prime Minister. When one has autocracy—and we are reaching the point where we have Prime-Ministerial autocracy—and particularly when that autocracy begins to get doddery, one has the most evil of political phenomena—the "creature". That is, the man who is there not for his abilities, not for his eloquence, not for his administrative capacity—but for his obedience. That is, the man who is there because he can be relied upon to do any task, however unpleasant, only that he be commanded to do so—the sort of position of Louis XI's barber, Olivier le Dain.
That is the honourable office held by this Home Secretary in this Government. He has disgraced his office, and he has disgraced the Parliamentary system. This is a shoddy and disgraceful story.
§ 7.3 p.m.
§ Sir Peter Agnew (Worcestershire, South)
This is the third debate that we have had on this subject. The two previous debates have, to some extent, revealed more sense of drama, almost of excitement, but I think that it is true to say that on this, the third and possibly final day, a sense of sheer gravity has been paramount. I do not want to go over too much of the old ground and, not being a lawyer, I do not want to enter into any of the purely legal arguments that my hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General has presented, on which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen of the same profession have remarked and with which they have not always agreed. At the same time, if we look at the legal position, I find myself, as an ordinary Member of the House, doing the unaccustomed task of reading an affidavit.
I am not used to reading affidavits, but I must say that this particular affidavit, in spite of its title, was written in fairly plain English and, rightly or wrongly, I construed it as a deposition or statement made by the Senior Crown Counsel in Nigeria that Chief Enahoro, the subject of all these discussions, is arraigned on a charge that can carry the death penalty if he is proved guilty. I see that my hon. and learned Friend shakes his head again.
1353 One thing that I can say with certainty is that if the Chief were to be tried in this country I would have every faith in the words and opinions uttered by my hon. and learned Friend, but that is not the case. This opinion has bean given under Nigerian law, in Nigeria, and if Her Majesty's Government persist in their determination to deport Chief Enahoro to Nigeria he will pass from the power and the counsel and influence of the British administration of law into the power and control of Nigerian law as administered by the Nigerian judicial department.
In that connection, it is right to note that if the Senior Crown Counsel swore that affidavit, as he did, he swore it before the Minister of Justice, that is to say, the executive head of the administrative side of the judicial department in Nigeria. It is therefore right to point out that our own Attorney-General takes a view different from that of the Attorney-Genera] in the country where the man, if he is sent back, will be tried. That point has to be taken into account in this debate.
It can be said, I think, with the high authority of the Home Secretary himself, that the Fugitive Offenders Act is now regarded as obsolete to the extent that it urgently needs revision, although, of course, these debates have not been appropriate for discussing the exact type of revision required. My memory goes back to the time when I first came to this House just before the passing of the Statute of Westminster. Up to that time, most of our Commonwealth countries, and certainly a country of the status that Nigeria has today, would not have been able to pass laws of their own that were repugnant to anything we do here, and that Statute was intended to accord to the Dominions, as it was then fashionable to call them, the absolute status of sovereign nations. I believe that in failing, as we have failed over all these years, to look again at the Fugitive Offenders Act we have unwittingly left a relic of the old Imperial system that is utterly inappropriate for dealing with the kind of case we now have before us.
The fact has been that in a sense, perhaps a technical one, although I do not think that Chief Enahoro today would take it as technical only, the sovereign status created by the Statute of Westminster has been incomplete in that small 1354 detail in preserving an out-of-date piece of machinery for use in cases such as these. But we are faced with the position that the Fugitive Offenders Act is still the law of the land and the Home Secretary has his duty to do as he sees it.
It is undeniable, however, as others in the debate have shown, that not only in the case of the legal position, to which I have already referred, but also in the circumstances surrounding the whole of what is going on in Nigeria today, a doubt is held whether in the atmosphere of that young, progressive and anxiously democratic country the climate can be such as to give the kind of trial in the full atmosphere which would prevail if the trial were taking place in this country.
§ Sir P. Agnew
My hon. Friend says that that observation is most unworthy. My reply would be that if when this matter was first raised in the House my right hon. Friend had announced that in the case of one independent Commonwealth country, namely, Cyprus, the Act had already been breached by decision of Her Majesty's Government, and that in this case again he proposed to do what would amount to breaching the Act and not send Chief Enahoro back, I venture to suppose—although it is a bold thing to do—that perhaps not one hon. Member on either side of the House would have stood up to suggest that another course be taken.
§ Mr. Norman Pannell (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
Is my hon. Friend aware that in June, 1961, the Cypriot Government refused to extradite one Andreas Afamis required in this country in connection with inquiries into the murder of Arthur Lee on the ground that their Constitution did not permit extradition? Surely, in view of that, the Home Secretary was entitled to use his discretion when they applied for extradition.
§ Sir P. Agnew
I must say to my hon. Friend that I do not believe in the doctrine of tit for tat.
I do not wish to detain the House, but I should like to say a few words about my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. I feel convinced that his approach throughout this gloomy matter has been one of absolute integrity and devotion to duty, which he always shows.
1355 I believe, however, that he has been the victim of an unfortunate obscurity as to the legal position at the outset, which permitted Her Majesty's Government, in a sense, to change their ground and rest it on the liability to the death penalty, as they themselves now see it.
This has placed the Home Secretary, admittedly, in a difficult position. He now finds himself as a one-man court of appeal, and not only in the case of Chief Enahoro. He is placed with the duty and the power, as it were, to have to pass judgment upon the suitability, efficacy and fairness of the judicial system of, it may be, any and all the countries of the Commonwealth. I do not envy my right hon. Friend his task of drawing up a list of the sheep and the goats. It would be well-nigh impossible to do that.
I ask him, even at this very late hour, to review the decision which he seems to have taken and to say to himself that if there can be, as I believe, still a residue of doubt upon this whole matter, then the consideration of the life of one man is a higher one than the prestige of any Government.
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ Mr. John Strachey (Dundee, West)
We are debating again in a remarkable series of debates, as surely every hon. Member will agree, a case in which I think the impulse of every one of us is to do the generous and humane thing by the man whose fate we may be deciding tonight. I doubt whether even those who have firmly made up their minds that the Government would be right in sending Chief Enahoro back to Nigeria do not feel deep regret at the decision which, no doubt quite sincerely, they have taken.
After all, if there were no other considerations—which there are—this would be a simple case, looked at from a human point of view, of a man who came here four months ago on what has been admitted on all hands, and has not been challenged today, a tragic misunderstanding—I put it no higher—with the Home Office, and who has lain in gaol for that period. His offence—and no one challenges it—is a political offence. It may be a very grave one, if it is proved, but there is no doubt that it is a political offence. He may—and I put it no higher 1356 —be at risk to his life if he is sent back. Surely, the impulse of every one of us must be to deplore this and, indeed, to demand that the Home Secretary should reverse the decision which we understand he will announce tonight.
I put aside the consideration which, if I may say so, was rather crudely advanced in the course of the debate that we must send him back simply because to do anything else would undoubtedly offend the Nigerian Government. Relationships with Nigeria and the feelings of the Nigerian Government are very important, but they cannot be decisive for us in deciding this issue. That really would be an abomination. Even if a Commonwealth Government as important and estimable as that of Nigeria is bound to misunderstand our actions, the House must make up its mind to do what it thinks right and do its utmost to explain its actions and make the Government concerned understand.
I join my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) in every word that he said in expressing confidence in the Nigerian Government. I would remind the House again that, as it happens, I am one of the few Members of the House who attended the trial of Chief Awolowo in Lagos which, as it were, is the master trial in this matter. I, too, was greatly impressed by Nigerian justice. If we still strongly urge the course of mercy on the Home Secretary, as we see it, it is not in the least because we doubt those legal proceedings in Nigeria.
I want to come to the story of the action of the Government in recent weeks as it has emerged from the Prime Minister's speech today. The right hon. Gentleman made a most powerful speech. He was warmly applauded from his side of the House, but, if I may say so with respect, I do not think that every hon. Member opposite quite followed what the story was which the Prime Minister had to tell us. The right hon. Gentleman reminded us, absolutely frankly, that he had given us a most binding and strict pledge that Chief Enahoro was not to be sent back to Nigeria unless he could get full assurances from the Nigerian Government that the Chief would not be at risk of death. Next, the right hon. Gentleman told us that he inquired—no doubt, the 1357 Government did it through the High Commissioner—whether Chief Enahoro was or might be charged with an offence which carried the death penalty. As has already been emphasised by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), the Nigerian Government at once refused to give an assurance on this, very understandably and very rightly, I think, because it was an assurance which it was almost impossible for them to give.
What was the next thing? After that, the Prime Minister received an assurance from the Attorney-General, the British Attorney-General in this Government, that in his opinion Chief Enahoro is not in any way in jeopardy on a charge carrying the death penalty if he goes back to Nigeria. The Attorney-General has said that today.
§ Mr. Strachey
He has certainly implied—he will correct me if I am wrong—that Chief Enahoro, if he is sent back, is not in jeopardy of the death penalty, and that, therefore, the Prime Minister's pledge is satisfied.
The Prime Minister tells us that, having received that opinion from the Attorney-General, there is no need even to make any further inquiries of the Nigerian Government. But if this is so, if the opinion of the Attorney-General here satisfies the Prime Minister, why did he make the inquiries of the Nigerian Government at all in the first place? The course of action which he has adopted has, I suggest, the most disastrous consequences because it has given the very maximum offence in Nigeria, but it has produced no assurances whatever from the Nigerian Government, and now, once again, we have had to fall back entirely on the ipse dixit of the Attorney-General. Frankly, that is not satisfactory to us. The hon. and learned Gentleman is, no doubt, very learned in the law, but others take a different view and there remains in my lay mind at least a very real element of doubt as to whether the Chief is or is not in jeopardy of death if returned to Nigeria.
Here one has to speak as a layman. Many hon. and learned Members have spoken in the debate, but the laity, even in a law court, has a part to play.
1358 Laymen, after all, play the part of the jury, and that part is rather important sometimes. If as a lay juryman I had to make up my mind, with the evidence which has been put before me by hon. and learned Members, I should say that I was by no means sure that Chief Enahoro was not in peril of death if sent back.
The Attorney-General sweeps away the whole business of the affidavit very easily and lightly. But what is it all about? As I have endeavoured to understand it, the affidavit appears to make clear that, in the opinion of the prosecuting authorities in Nigeria at least, under one of the charges Chief Enahoro is in jeopardy of the death penalty, by reference to two provisions of Nigerian law read together. I think that I ought to take the House through those provisions very briefly again.
Section 516 reads:Any person who conspires with another to commit any felony, or to do any act in any part of the world which if done in Nigeria would be a felony, and which is an offence under the laws in force in the place where it is proposed to be done, is guilty of a felony, and is liable,"—these are the material words—if no other punishment is provided, to imprisonment for seven years …I turn to the now famous Section 37(2) which reads:Any person conspiring with any person, either within or without Nigeria, to levy war against the Sovereign with intent to cause such levying of war as would be treason if committed by one of Her Majesty's subjects, is guilty of treason, and is liable to the punishment of death …I do not pretend to be a learned lawyer who can tell the House with clarity that I am sure that that means that Chief Enahoro is in peril of his life, but I have heard nothing which convinces me that he is not. I put it to the Home Secretary and the Government that we want a better opinion, with all respect, than that of the Attorney-General on this issue.
I repeat the suggestion made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown). It is perfectly open to the Government to make a reference of this matter to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and obtain its opinion on this one issue: is Chief Enahoro, or is he not, in peril of the capital penalty if he is returned to Nigeria? If that is 1359 not done, there is nothing which the Attorney-General can say which makes us feel that if he is now returned he will not be returned in direct breach of the Prime Minister's pledge. We feel this very strongly.
Now, the second issue, the less humanly exciting and dramatic one but, in the long run, perhaps, the more important issue, the question of the Fugitive Offenders Act and its amendment. Here again I found some difficulty in following the Prime Minister's speech because he seemed to say two things. He indicated quite strongly that he thought that it was now time to begin negotiations with other members of the Commonwealth for the amendment of the Fugitive Offenders Act. But he went on, in almost the whole of the rest of that passage in his speech, to argue strongly, as far as I could see, against amending the Act and for continuing the very great difference between our treatment of Commonwealth citizens and of foreigners in this respect, because he went on to discriminate very clearly among the members of the Commonwealth. In the words of the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir P. Agnew), he seemed to divide the members of the Commonwealth into sheep and goats, to some of which we should quite readily return political offenders and to some of which we should not.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Belper remarked, very acutely I thought, that the Prime Minister came very near to naming which countries of the Commonwealth he thought were, as it were, the sheep and which were the goats. I remind the House that, although the Prime Minister did not go so far as actually to name them, at an earlier stage of the debate the Attorney-General did particularise and discriminate between members of the Commonwealth, to some of which he thought it would be oppressive to return political offenders and to others of which it would not.
I think that I should read his words. He was arguing in reply to myself:The right hon. Member for Dundee, West, and, I think, also the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West, drew the attention of the House to legislation in Southern Rhodesia. There are other countries—I think Ghana was mentioned—in which there is a right of detention without trial … those are, are they not, exactly the sort of considerations which 1360 the Home Secretary ought to bear in mind when he is considering whether he should exercise the power to return a person who is a fugitive from justice?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st March, 1963; Vol. 674, c. 670]I find this the most horrifying doctrine.
The Attorney-General, in a flight of oratory, in another passage of his speech, said that if we amended the Fugitive Offenders Act so that we made it parallel and analogous to the Extradition Act we might not be able to extradite terrible criminals to other members of the Commonwealth. He went so far as to say that that might be interpreted as though we were saying, "Nevertheless, we will never return a person who has ever committed a political offence of any nature, although it might bring down the Commonwealth and lead to the triumph of Communism".
I suggest that the doctrine which we are now hearing from the Treasury Bench is much more likely to bring down the Commonwealth. We shall damage the Commonwealth if we say to one Government, "You are a good Commonwealth Government and we shall return political offenders to you", but say to another Government, "You are a bad Commonwealth Government and we shall not return political offenders to you." Surely the Attorney-General, the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister must see that this is an impossible doctrine. I imagine that the Prime Minister does see it. Otherwise he would not have indicated that he is contemplating amendment of the Fugitive Offenders Act. That is the whole point of amending it.
The Prime Minister said that it was rather arrogant of us to take the view that the Act needed amendment. But why is he initiating discussions to amend it if that is his view? Surely, for the sake of the stability and well-being of the Commonwealth, there must be a clear-cut rule for the Government to follow which enables them not to discriminate between one member of the Commonwealth and another, and that rule can be no other than the familiar rule of the Extradition Act—that the Government concerned have no right to claim extradition of a person for a political offence.
That does not mean, as the Attorney-General pointed out, that we should automatically give asylum to every individual.
1361 The person concerned may be sent somewhere else. He may be deported like any other alien. But it means that we do not have to send back a political offender simply because his political offence occurred in a Commonwealth country and not in a foreign country. That is what we are arguing with the Government.
I put it to the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) that we are facing the realities of the Commonwealth. I followed the hon. Gentleman's argument about allegiance. I take it that he means allegiance to the Crown. But much of the Commonwealth does not owe allegiance to the Crown. By far the biggest part of the Commonwealth. India, is a republic. Therefore, it is impossible to have a sort of pretence Commonwealth in which all these things are true. We are here talking about large independent Governments, and it is no criticism of them to say that their judiciary is not on a higher level than that of great, independent and highly developed countries.
It is absurd to pretend that all the countries of the Commonwealth—Southern Rhodesia, for example—have better laws and better judicial systems than the United States, Holland. France and other developed countries. That is carrying things much too far. We must admit that they are on all fours with other States of the world—neither better nor worse—and we must treat them as such.
The Commonwealth connection is different. It is very hard to define it and to put it into words, and it is a tender plant. But I am sure that if we pretend that it is something other than it really is we do it harm and not good. Therefore, those of us who are profoundly concerned for the future of the Commonwealth—and I think that that applies to all hon. Members; it certainly applies to hon. Members on this side—are worried that these debates may have done harm. But that is not our fault. We think that the trouble lies in the extreme mishandling of the situation by the Government and the extraordinary sequence of events which they have gone through by consulting and then dropping consultation with the Nigerian Government.
The only way to preserve the Commonwealth is to do justice as we see it 1362 and to do the right and humane thing. We therefore ask the Home Secretary to do two things, as he can do under Section 6 of the Fugitive Offenders Act: first, to tell us clearly and definitely that the Fugitive Offenders Act will be amended, because it is producing intolerable results in the present-day world; and, secondly, pending that Amendment, to use his power of discretion, which is in black and white, and say that in all the circumstances, and while that amendment is being made, it would not be just to return Chief Enahoro to Nigeria.
§ 7.37 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Henry Brooke)
I hope that the House will give me leave to speak again, because it is a decision of mine which is under dispute—not a decision of the Government nor a decision of anybody else, but my personal decision. I have listened to this debate with care such as I have seldom exercised in listening to any other debate in this House—for obvious reasons. It has been a debate of a very high order.
I think that the speech which I admired most for its courage was one with which I did not agree, that of my hon. Friend the Member for Brentford and Chiswick (Mr. D. Smith). He has set a magnificent Parliamentary example by the loyalty with which he has served Chief Enahoro, who is not a constituent of his but who happened to be in his constituency. In view of the loyalty which my hon. Friend has shown tonight, I for one will not charge him with disloyalty in any other direction.
It would be right for me to say a few words about the position of the Home Secretary. In the working of the Fugitive Offenders Act, the Home Secretary does not come into the matter until all the court proceedings are past and' over. He has no cognisance officially of the matter until then. Only then does he have to consider it and to decide whether or not he thinks it just—those are the words of the Act—to send the person back to the Commonwealth country where he has been charged with an offence. It is his decision and no one else's. No one else can take the decision for him, despite the totally unfounded allegations of the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), who thought fit to charge me with political weakness.
1363 This is a grave responsibility for the Home Secretary. It is a heart-searching responsibility. This is a decision which I have to take on grounds not of sentiment, advantage, political benefit or political effect, but of justice alone. It must be a fearless decision.
The fact that a person may be liable to the death penalty is not, under the Act, a conclusive reason for refusing to return him. I entirely agree with what the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) said on that. The case might be one of a man who is alleged to have murdered his wife or child in a country where the punishment for murder was death. But Chief Enahoro is not being called back to stand his trial on a capital charge. That is what I have believed throughout, and it was not challenged in the House when I stated it on 21st March. That is certainly what the British courts believed. That is what my hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General has confirmed. While I will not go over his statement to the House yesterday, I should say a word about the particular point that seems to have been puzzling some hon. Members, that is how there came to be any mention of the death penalty in the affidavit.
My right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General explained this yesterday. Hon. Members will find it in columns 1103–4 of HANSARD. Let me, however, go over it once again. A person cannot be returned under the Fugitive Offenders Act unless the offence with which he is charged is punishable with imprisonment for twelve months or more.
It was necessary to show in the affidavit that the offence of conspiracy to commit a felony was serious enough to fall within the Fugitive Offenders Act: that is to say, that it carried a sentence of not less than one year's imprisonment. For this reason, because of the way in which Section 516 is drafted, it was essential to show in the affidavit that the sentence for the principal felony, with which Chief Enahoro is not charged, is not less than one year's imprisonment, because if it had been less than one year the sentence for conspiracy to commit that felony would also have been less than one year's imprisonment. Quite clearly, the offender referred to in paragraph 7 of the affidavit is a person convicted of committing the principal 1364 felony mentioned in the count and not a person convicted of conspiracy to commit that felony but without actually committing it.
I add that the prosecuting authorities in Nigeria could not possibly think that Count 2 carries the death penalty as they have allowed the trial of Chief Awolowo, who is the leader of the alleged conspiracy, to continue before a judge alone, who has no power to try an offence that is punishable with death.
The right hon. Member for Belper and the right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) suggested that the right course for the Government would be to have the case examined by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said, I received a request this morning from Chief Enahoro's solicitors that Her Majesty should be advised to refer to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council the question whether Chief Enahoro was liable to the death penalty under the charges which he faces. For the reasons given to the House by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister at the beginning of this debate, the Government do not think that such a reference is either necessary or appropriate in the circumstances of the present case.
It is significant that the possibility of Enahoro facing a capital charge was never mentioned in the Divisional Court before the Lord Chief Justice and yet it would have been very pertinent to the case, which learned counsel on his behalf was seeking to establish, that it would be too severe a punishment to return him to Nigeria. It was never mentioned before the Appeal Committee of the House of Lords. It was never mentioned even in the petition which Chief Enahoro himself sent to me after all the court proceedings were finished, when he listed the reasons why I should not decide to send him back. There was no mention then of liability to a capital charge.
If I doubted whether a man would receive justice from the courts of the other country, or supposing I thought that even though he was acquitted he was liable to be oppressively treated, most certainly I would not think it just to send him back.
Reference was made to the Cyprus case. There was even a suggestion by my hon. Friend the Member for 1365 Worcestershire, South (Sir P. Agnew) that the decision in that case involved a breach of the Act. There was no breach of the Act, nor was there any suggestion or insinuation of doubt as to the justice of the Cypriot courts. The reason for the decision not to send those two men back was that if they went back, there was good cause to think that they would be in danger of assassination in Cyprus by a gang who were their enemies. It was nothing whatever to do with the integrity of justice in Cyprus.
At the beginning of his speech, the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) criticised my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister for, as he insinuated, implicitly casting aspersions on a Commonwealth country. The right hon. Member then went on himself to cast totally baseless aspersions on the Government of Northern Ireland.
The Fugitive Offenders Act gives the Home Secretary full and unfettered discretion to do whichever he thinks just, to send the man back or to refuse to do so and to release him. When a person has been charged with serious offences and our own British courts have decided that there is a strong or probable presumption of guilt—those are the words of the Act—and when they have also found, as the High Court under the Lord Chief Justice found in this case, that it would not be oppressive, it would not be unjust and it would not be too severe a punishment to send him back, clearly the Home Secretary could not take a different view unless he had reasons of strong substance for doing so. It is, however, open to me to do so if there are compelling reasons.
My duty is to take into account not only what was said before the courts, but everything else which seems to me to be relevant. I have seen hon. and right hon. Members from both sides of the House who have come to talk to me about the case. I have gone into everything they have put before me. I have paid particular regard to the representations of my hon. Friend the Member for Brentford and Chiswick, who has made Chief Enahoro's case his own. I investigated with the utmost care the allegation that the representative of Chief Enahoro had been misled by an official of the Home Office.
I will not go over that again, because the facts as I know them to be were set 1366 out in my earlier speech and anybody can read them. It is, I fear, the case that there was a misunderstanding by the representative of Chief Enahoro, and it had serious consequences, but I am quite satisfied that no one in the Home Office was to blame for that.
What I cannot do is to escape my responsibility by arguing that the offences with which Chief Enahoro is charged are political offences and outside the intentions of the Act, because the Act makes crystal clear that political offences are within it. It mentions not only treason but a number of other offences. It is clear beyond question that it covers political offences.
The other day, the right hon. Member for Belper urged that time and events had amended the Act and that if it was being rewritten now political offences would be excluded. Therefore, he argued that when the charge is a political one I ought ipso facto to decide that it is unjust to return a man. Surely, however, a Minister must treat an Act as it stands and not as it might stand if the words were altered. That must be all the more true of an Act which confers rights and obligations, not on us alone, but on other Commonwealth countries equally. If the Act is to be remoulded, it must be remoulded after consultation with other Commonwealth countries who are affected by it just as closely as we are. We cannot rewrite the reciprocal provisions in an Act unilaterally.
What would we in this country think if a person charged with a treasonable offence here in Britain had been found in, say, Australia or Nigeria and we called upon the authorities there to surrender him and then the Australian or Nigerian Government replied that time had amended the Fugitive Offenders Act so that they did not consider that it should any longer apply to political offences and, therefore, they would refuse to send the man back to stand his trial for a treasonable offence in Britain? I know what public opinion here would say if that argument were used.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves that point, would he not agree that Ghana and India have already amended the Act?
§ Mr. Brooke
I am perfectly aware that certain countries have taken action. Nevertheless, the argument I am developing to the House stands unshaken.
It makes no difference what the nationality of the fugitive may be under either the Fugitive Offenders Act or the Extradition Act. The man may be British, he may be Belgian, he may be a citizen of the Commonwealth, or he may be a citizen of Costa Rica. Neither Act draws any distinction whatever between Commonwealth citizens and aliens. What does make a difference is whether it is a Commonwealth country or a foreign country in which the offence is alleged to have been committed, because the Fugitive Offenders Act applies to the former and the Extradition Act to the latter.
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has said today that we shall set on foot discussions with other Commonwealth Governments on the question to what extent it would be desirable for the Fugitive Offenders Act to be reviewed. It may be a lengthy process. We must seek to achieve Commonwealth agreement, because we certainly could not get on without any Act at all for the return of fugitive offenders.
Whether or not changes are desirable in this Act, I for my part hope that we may always aim at maintaining some closer method of co-operation between Governments of the Commonwealth than may be right in the case of foreign Governments. That, without any doubt at all, is the reason why we have two different Acts now and have had them different for so many years.
But I must come back to where my responsibility lies under the law as it now stands. If I believed that the courts in the other country were unreliable or unjust, I would not think it right to return a man. But I have no ground whatever for fearing any such thing in Chief Enahoro's case, and I say that after having taken into account all the various representations which have—very sincerely indeed, I know—been put forward on his behalf. I come to that conclusion.
The justice of Chief Enahoro's trial will depend on the competence of the Nigerian courts, on their integrity and 1368 on their independence, and in all these respects I have complete confidence in the Nigerian judicial system as regards both the court of trial and the court of appeal. I should hold just the same opinion if the further right of appeal to the Privy Council in London did not exist. It is for the courts in Nigeria, not for us, and certainly not for me, to judge the admissibility and the reliability of all the evidence put before them.
If I thought that a man, even though acquitted in the courts, was liable to be oppressively treated afterwards by the Executive there, I would not return him; but I do not believe that of Nigeria. If I thought there was any other reason why, on balance, it would not be just to return a man whose return was asked for under the Act, I would not return him. But I have gone to great pains to consider every point put before me by Chief Enahoro or on his behalf. I have considered them all with the utmost care and thoroughness.
Having done all that, I can come to no other conclusion than that I think it is just for him to stand his trial before a court of law. And when a Home Secretary has reached such a decision—a decision that is hardest of all for him—I trust that the House of Commons will accept that he has put aside all prejudices and partial affections and has reached it honestly and fearlessly.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
The Prime Minister is reported in column 1286 of the OFFICIAL REPORT for 26th March as stating that a definite undertaking would be required from the Nigerian authorities that no charge would be brought against Chief Enahoro. Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether that undertaking has yet been received from the Nigerian authorities?
§ Mr. Brooke
What the Prime Minister said, and he made it perfectly clear in his speech this afternoon, was that if Charge 2 were found to carry the death penalty—
§ Mr. Brooke
—he would ask for an assurance that that charge would be withdrawn and that no alternative charge carrying the death penalty would be put in its stead. It has, in fact, been 1369 established that Charge 2 does not carry the death penalty, and so the question does not arise.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
Before the Home Secretary resumes his seat, may we clear up this most important point? We understand that Charge 2 has been withdrawn. But is it clear that the Nigerian authorities have given a definite undertaking that no other charge will be preferred in any circumstances? That was the
§ assurance to which the Prime Minister referred.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 218, Noes 274.1373
|Division No. 94.]||AYES||[7.57 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Grey, Charles||Milne, Edward|
|Ainsley, William||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Albu, Austen||Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Monslow, Walter|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.||Moody, A. S.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Gunter, Ray||Morris, John|
|Awbery, Stan (Bristol Central)||Hale, Leslie (Oldham W.)||Moyle, Arthur|
|Baird, John||Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Mulley, Frederick|
|Beaney, Alan||Hannan, William||Neal, Harold|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Harper, Joseph||Noel-Baker, Rt.Hn.Philip (Derby,S.)|
|Bence, Cyril||Hart, Mrs. Judith||O'Malley, B. R.|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Hayman, F. H.||Oram, A. E.|
|Benson, Sir George||Healey, Denis||Oswald, Thomas|
|Blackburn, F.||Henderson,Rt.Hn.Arthur (RwlyRegls)||Owen, Will|
|Blyton, William||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Padley, W. E.|
|Boardman, H.||Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Paget, R. T.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Hilton, A. V.||Pannoll, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W.(Leics, S.W.)||Hohman, Percy||Parker, John|
|Bowles. Frank||Hooson, H. E.||Parkin, B. T.|
|Boyden, James||Houghton, Douglas||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)||Peart, Frederick|
|Bray, Or. Jeremy||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Pentland, Norman|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Hoy, James H.||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hunter, A. E.||Probert, Arthur|
|Callaghan, James||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Proctor, W, T.|
|Carmichael, Neil||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Rankin, John|
|Chapman, Donald||Janner, Sir Barnett||Redhead, E. C.|
|Cliffe, Michael||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Reid, William|
|Collick, Percy||Jeger, George||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Rhodes, H.|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Cronin, John||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Robinson, Kenneth, (St.Pancras,N.)|
|Crosland, Anthony||Kelley, Richard||Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||King, Dr. Horace||Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Lawson, George||Ross, William|
|Dalyell, Tam||Ledger, Ron||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Darling, George||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Short, Edward|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Delargy, Hugh||Lipton, Marcus||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Dempsey, James||Loughlin, Charles||Small, William|
|Diamond, John||Lubbock, Eric||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Dodds, Norman||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Donnelly, Desmond||McBride, N.||Snow, Julian|
|Driberg, Tom||MacColl, James||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||MacDermot, Niall||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Edelman, Maurice||McInnes, James||Steele, Thomas|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mackie, John (Enfield, East)||Stonehouse, John|
|Finch, Harold||McLeavy, Frank||Stones, William|
|Fitch, Alan||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Strachey, Rt. Hon. John|
|Fletcher, Eric||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Mallalieu, J.P.W.(Huddersfield, E.)||Swain, Thomas|
|Forman, J. C.||Manuel, Archie||Swingler, Stephen|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Marsh, Richard||Taverns, D.|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Mason, Roy||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Ginsburg, David||Mayhew, Christopher||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mellish, R. J.||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Gourlay, Harry||Mendelson, J. J.||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Millan, Bruce||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Tomney, Frank||Wilkins, W. A.||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Wainwright, Edwin||Willey, Frederick||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Warbey, William||Williams, D. J. (Neath)||Woof, Robert|
|Watkins, Tudor||Williams, LI. (Abertillery)||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Weitzman, David||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Wells, William (Walsall, N.)||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)||Zilliacus, K.|
|White, Mrs. Eirene||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Whitlock, William||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Irving and Mr. Ifor Davies|
|Aitken, W. T.||Errington, Sir Eric||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Erroll Rt. Hon. F. J.||McAdden, Sir Stephen|
|Allason, James||Farr, John||MacArthur, Ian|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian||Fisher, Nigel||McLaren, Martin|
|Arbuthnot, John||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Fraser, Rt.Hn.Hugh (Stafford&Stone)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Maclean,Sir Fitzroy (Bute&N.Ayrs)|
|Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham)||Freeth, Denzil||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)|
|Balniel, Lord||Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||McMaster, Stanley R.|
|Barber, Anthony||Gammans, Lady||Macmlllan,Rt.Hn.Harold (Bromley)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Gardner, Edward||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)|
|Barter, John||Gibson-Watt, David||Macpherson.Rt.Hn. Niall (Dumfries)|
|Batsford, Brian||Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)||Maddan, Martin|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate)||Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Maitland, Sir John|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Godber, J. B.||Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Goodhart, Philip||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Cos & Fhm)||Goodhew, Victor||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Gough, Frederick||Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Gower, Raymond||Mawby, Ray|
|Bingham, R. M,||Grant-Ferris, R.||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Green, Alan||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Gresham Cooke, R.||Mills, Stratton|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Bossom, Hon. Clive||Gurden, Harold||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||More, Jasper (Ludlow)|
|Box, Donald||Hare, Rt. Hon. John||Morrison, John|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Braine, Bernard||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Neave, Airey|
|Brewis, John||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey|
|Bromley-Davenport,Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Hastings, Stephen||Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hay, John||Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie|
|Bryan, Paul||Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Buck, Antony||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian|
|Bullard, Denys||Hendry, Forbes||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Hiley, Joseph||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Butler, Rt.Hn.R.A. (Saffron Walden)||Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Campbell, Cordon (Moray & Nairn)||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Page, John (Harrow, West)|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Panned, Norman (Kirkdale)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hobson, Sir John||Partridge, E.|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hope, Rt. Hon, Lord John||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Chataway, Christopher||Hopkins, Alan||Peel, John|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Hornby, R. P.||Percival, Ian|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Howard, Hon. C. R. (St. Ives)||Peyton, John|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Howard, John (Southampton, Test)||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Cole, Norman||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Pilkington, Sir Richard|
|Cooke, Robert||Hughes-Young, Michael||Pitt, Dame Edith|
|Cooper, A. E.||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch|
|Corfield, F. V.||Iremonger, T. L.||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Costain, A. P.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)|
|Coulson, Michael||James, David||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Jennings, J. C.||Prior-Palmer, Brig, Sir Otho|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Profumo, Rt. Hon. John|
|Critchley, Julian||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Proudfood, Wilfred|
|Crowder, F. P.||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Pym, Francis|
|Cunningham, Knox||Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Ramsden, James|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith||Rawlinson, Sir Peter|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Dance, James||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Rees, Hugh|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Rees-Davies, W, R.|
|Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F.||Kershaw, Anthony||Renton, Rt. Hon. David|
|de Ferranti, Basil||Kirk, Peter||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Leather, Sir Edwin||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Doughty, Charles||Leburn, Gilmour||Rippon, Rt. Hon. Geoffrey|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lindsay, Sir Martin||Robertson, Sir D. (C'thn's & S'th'ld)|
|du Cann, Edward||Linstead, Sir Hugh||Roots, William|
|Duncan, Sir James||Litchfield, Capt, John||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Eden, John||Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)||Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Russell, Ronald|
|Elliott,R.W.(Nwcastle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Longbottom, Charles||St. Clair, M.|
|Emery, Peter||Loveys, Walter H.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan|
|Emmet. Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Seymour, Leslie||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek|
|Sharples, Richard||Temple, John M.||Wall, Patrick|
|Shaw, M.||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Shepherd, William||Thomas, Peter (Conway)||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold|
|Skeet, T. H. H.||Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)||Webster, David|
|Smithers, Peter||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter||Whitelaw, William|
|Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Spearman, Sir Alexander||Tilney, John (Wavertree)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Speir, Rupert||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Stevens, Geoffrey||Turner, Colin||Wise, A. R.|
|Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)||Tweedsmuir, Lady||Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard|
|Stodart, J. A.||van Straubenzee, W. R.||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm||Vane, W. M. F.||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Storey, Sir Samuel||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Woollam, John|
|Studholme, Sir Henry||Vickers, Miss Joan||Worsley, Marcus|
|Summers, Sir Spencer||Wakefield, Sir Wavell|
|Tapsell, Peter||Walder, David||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Walker, Peter||Mr. Chichester-Clark and|
§ Question put, That the proposed words be there added:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 270. Noes 214.1377
|Division No. 95.]||AYES||[8.7 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Curran, Charles||Hobson, Sir John|
|Alien, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Currie, G. B. H.||Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John|
|Allason, James||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hopkins, Alan|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian||Dance, James||Hornby, R. P.|
|Arbuthnot, John||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F.||Howard, John (Southampton, Test)|
|Atkins, Humphrey||de Ferranti, Basil||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John|
|Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham)||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Hughes-Young, Michael|
|Balniel, Lord||Doughty, Charles||Hulbert, Sir Norman|
|Barber, Anthony||Drayson, G. B.||Iremonger, T. L.|
|Barlow, Sir John||du Cann, Edward||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Barter, John||Duncan, Sir James||James, David|
|Batsford, Brian||Eden, John||Jennings, J. C.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate)||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Elliott,R.W.(Nwc'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Emery, Peter||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Errington, Sir Eric||Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Kaberry, Sir Donald|
|Bingham, R. M.||Farr, John||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Fisher, Nigel||Kerr, Sir Hamilton|
|Bishop, F. P.||Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(Stafford&stone)||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Kirk, Peter|
|Bossom, Hon. Clive||Freeth, Denzil||Leather, Sir Edwin|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Leburn, Gilmour|
|Box, Donald||Gammans, Lady||Lindsay, Sir Martin|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John||Gardner Edward||Linstead, Sir Hugh|
|Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Gibson-Watt, David||Litchfield, Capt. John|
|Braine, Bernard||Gilmour, sir John (East Fife)||Lloyd, Rt.Hn.Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)|
|Brewis, John||Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Bromley-Davenport,Lt.-Col.Sir Walter||Godber, J. B.||Longbottom, Charles|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Good hart, Philip||Loveys, Walter H.|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Goodhew, Victor||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn|
|Bryan, Paul||Gough, Frederick||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Bullard, Denys||Gower, Raymond||McAdden, Sir Stephen|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Grant-Ferris, R.||MacArthur, Ian|
|Butler,Rt.Hn.R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Green, Alan||McLaren, Martin|
|Campbell, Cordon (Moray & Nairn)||Gresham Cooke, R.||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Gurden, Harold||Maclean, SirFitzroy(Bute&N.Ayrs)|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Macleod, Rt. Hn. lain (Enfield, W.)|
|Chataway, Christopher||Hare, Rt. Hon. John||McMaster, Stanley R.|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Harold(Bromley)|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere(Macclesf'd)||Macpherson,Rt.Hn.Niall(Dumfries)|
|Cole, Norman||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Maddan, Martin|
|Cooke, Robert||Hastings, Stephen||Maitland, Sir John|
|Cooper, A. E.||Hay, John||Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest|
|Corfield, F. V.||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)|
|Costain, A. P.||Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)|
|Coulson, Michael||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Hendry, Forbes||Mawby, Ray|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford(Spelthorne)||Hiley, Joseph||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Critchley, Julian||Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Crowder, F. P.||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Mills, Stratton|
|Cunningham, Knox||Hirst, Geoffrey||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Montgomery, Fergus||Rees, Hugh||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|Morrison, John||Renton, Rt. Hon. David||Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)|
|Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas||Thompson, Sir Richard(Croydon, S.)|
|Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Ridsdale, Julian||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter|
|Neave, Airey||Rippon, Rt. Hon. Geoffrey||Thornton- Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Nicholson, Sir Godfrey||Robertson, Sir D.(C'thn's & S'th'ld)||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael||Roots, William||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Turner, Colin|
|Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Orr, Capt. L. p. S.||Russell, Ronald||van straubenzee, W. R.|
|Orr-Ewing, C. Ian||St. Clair, M.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Osborn, John (Hallam)||Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Scott-Hopkins, James||vickers, Miss Joan|
|Page, John (Harrow, West)||Seymour, Leslie||Wakefield, Sir Wavell|
|Page, Graham (Crosby)||Sharples, Richard||Walder, David|
|Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Shaw, M.||Walker, Peter|
|Partridge, E.||Shepherd, William||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek|
|Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)||Sheet, T. H. H.||Wall, Patrick|
|Peel, John||Smithers, Peter||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Percival, Ian||Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John||Webster, David|
|Peyton, John||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Spearman, Sir Alexander||Whitelaw, William|
|Pilkington, Sir Richard||Speir, Rupert||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Pitt, Dame Edith||Stevens, Geoffrey||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Price, David (Eastleigh)||Stodart, J. A.||Wise, A. R.|
|Price, H. A. (Lewisham, w.)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm||Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard|
|Prior, J. M. L.||Storey, Sir Samuel||Woodhouse, C. M|
|Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho||Studholme, Sir Henry||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Profumo, Rt. Hon. John||Summers, Sir Spencer||Worsley, Marcus|
|Pym, Francis||Tapsell, Peter|
|Ramsden, James||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Rawlinson, Sir Peter||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)||Mr. Chichester-Clark and|
|Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin||Temple, John M.||Mr. Finlay.|
|Abse, Leo||Diamond, John||Hynd, H. (Accrington)|
|Ainsley, William||Dodds, Norman||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)|
|Albu, Austen||Donnelly, Desmond||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)|
|Allaun Frank (Salford, E.)||Driberg, Tom||Janner, Sir Barnett|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas|
|Awbery, Stan (Bristol Central)||Edelman, Maurice||Jeger, George|
|Baird, John||Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)|
|Beaney, Alan||Fernyhough, E,||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Finch, Harold||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)|
|Bence, Cyril||Fitch, Alan||Kelley, Richard|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Fletcher, Eric||King, Dr. Horace|
|Benson, Sir George||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Lawson, George|
|Blackburn, F.||Forman, J. C.||Ledger, Ron|
|Blyton, William||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Boardman, H.||Galpern, Sir Myer||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. C.||Ginsburg, David||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W.(Leics,S.W.)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)|
|Bowles, Frank||Gourlay, Harry||Lipton, Marcus|
|Boyden, James||Greenwood, Anthony||Loughlin, Charles|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Grey, Charles||Lubbock, Eric|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mabon, Dr. J Dickson|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||McBride, N.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.||MacColl, James|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Gunter, Ray||MacDermot, Niall|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Mclnnes, James|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hamilton, William (West Fife)||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Callaghan, James||Hannan, William||Mackie, John (Enfield, East)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Harper, Joseph||McLeavy, Frank|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Hart, Mrs. Judith||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)|
|Chapman, Donald||Hayman, F. H.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Cliffe, Michael||Healey, Denis||Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Collick, Percy||Henderson, Rt.Hn.Arthur(RwlyRegis)||Manuel, Archie|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Marsh, Richard|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Mason, Roy|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Cronin, John||Hilton, A. V.||Mellish, R. J.|
|Crosland, Anthony||Holman, Percy||Mendelson, J. J.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Hooson, H. E.||Millan, Bruce|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Houghton, Dougias||Milne, Edward|
|Dalyell, Tam||Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Darling, George||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Monslow, Walter|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Hoy, James H.||Moody, A. S.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Morris, John|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayshire)||Moyle, Arthur|
|Delargy, Hugh||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Mulley, Frederick|
|Dempsey, James||Hunter, A. E.||Neal, Harold|
|Noel-Baker,Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby, S.)||Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|O'Malley, B. R.||Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)||Tomney, Frank|
|Oram, A. E.||Rose, William||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Oswald, Thomas||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Warbey, William|
|Owen, Will||Short, Edward||Watkins, Tudor|
|Padley, W. E.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)||Weltzman, David|
|Paget, R. T.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Skeffington, Arthur||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Parker, John||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)||Whitlock, William|
|Parkin, B. T.||Small, William||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Pavitt, Laurence||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)||Willey, Frederick|
|Peart, Frederick||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Williams, D, J. (Neath)|
|Pentland, Norman||Snow, Julian||Williams, LI. (Abertillery)|
|Plummer, Sir Leslie||Sorensen, R. W.||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Popplewell, Ernest||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Prentice, R. E.||Steele, Thomas||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Probert, Arthur||Stonehouse, John||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Proctor, W. T.||Stones, William||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Pursey, Cmdr. Harry||Strachey, Rt. Hon. John||Woof, Robert|
|Redhead, E. C,||Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Vauxhall)||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Reid, William||Swain, Thomas||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Reynolds, G. W.||Swingler, Stephen||Zilliacus, K.|
|Rhodes, H.||Taverne, D.|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Robertson, John (Paisley)||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)||Mr. Irving and Mr. Ifor Davies.|
|Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
§ Main Question, as amended, put and agreed to.
That this House, mindful of Great Britain's tradition of granting political asylum here to persons who might otherwise be exposed to unjust or oppressive treatment in their own country, is confident of the fair and impartial administration of justice in Nigeria and upholds the decision of the Secretary of State for the Home Department to return Chief Enahoro to stand his trial there.