HC Deb 27 June 1974 vol 875 cc1709-10
5. Mr. O'Halloran

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement regarding his plans for the renewal of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act.

Mr. Orme

My right hon. Friend expects to lay a renewal order before the House shortly.

Meanwhile, the committee under my noble Friend Lord Gardiner has had its first meeting and has issued an invitation to all interested organisations and individuals to submit evidence in writing.

Mr. O'Halloran

I am grateful for that reply. However, will my right hon. Friend assure the House that when he introduces the order he will amend it so that it will end internment and imprisonment without trial?

Mr. Orme

That is not directly connected with the order as such, but my hon. Friend will be aware that the Government are committed to the ending of internment when the security situation permits.

Rear-Admiral Morgan-Giles

Now that Corporal Foxford, my constituent, has been released on bail—about which the whole House will be very glad—will the Minister say whether he has had or will have discussions with the Ministry of Defence about the desirability or otherwise of soldiers being liable for civil trial following incidents occurring on the spur of the moment under what amount to active service conditions?

Mr. Orme

The Gardiner Committee will consider this problem, and evidence may be submitted to it.

Mr. McNamara

Why are we shuffling off responsibility on to the Gardiner Com mittee when in Standing Committee we fought the whole of this Bill, divided 22 times and resisted many of the powers in it? Why are we behaving in this way?

Mr. Orme

A great deal of the Bill was opposed, but not the Bill in principle. I must ask my hon. Friend to await the renewal order before he pursues the matter further.

Captain Orr

Am I right in thinking that we shall get a renewal order but that there is no question of the amendment of the Act this Session?

Mr. Orme

I hope that the hon. and gallant Gentleman will await the renewal order. There cannot be amendment, but there could be deletions.