Mr. Sharpies (by Private Notice)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will give an undertaking not to exercise his powers under the Fugitive Offenders Act to deport Mr. Kwesi Armah to Ghana without first having given Parliament an opportunity to consider the matter.
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Roy Jenkins)
Since Mr. Armah's counsel has stated that he is applying to the Appeal Committee of the House of Lords for leave to appeal, it would not be appropriate for me to make any statement about this case at the present time.
While I appreciate that this case may still just be sub judice, and that it would be inappropriate to discuss the merits of it, may I ask the Home Secretary whether he is aware that Parliament is shortly to adjourn for the Christmas Recess? That being so, will he give an undertaking, on the lines that I have asked for, and make a statement to Parliament in adequate time for this matter to be debated, if Parliament should so wish, before the Recess?
§ Mr. Jenkins
I cannot agree that the case is just sub judice. Mr. Armah has 14 days, from 9th December, in which to decide whether to lodge an appeal to the House of Lords. The case is clearly sub judice, but I will bear in mind closely what the hon. Member says, and also what I have no doubt is a widespread interest of hon. Members in this case. I will also bear in mind the Christmas Recess.
§ Mr. Rippon
Before making a decision, will the Home Secretary bear in mind that there are many former Ministers, diplomats and Members of Parliament who have been in protective custody in Ghana for more than 10 months, without any specific charges being made against them? Is he aware that while the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association says that the Ghana Branch is in abeyance, it is in fact, in prison? What are the Government doing about this situation?
§ Mr. Jenkins
To comment upon that, as I believe the House will agree, would 44 be getting near to commenting upon merits of this particular case.