§ Mr. Kilfedder
I beg to move Amendment No. 18, in page 3, line 12, leave out from 'terrorism' to 'designed' in line 13.
§ No. 19, in page 3, line 13, leave out from 'elsewhere' to end of line 14.
§ No. 20, in page 3, line 14, leave out 'with respect to affairs in Northern Ireland'.
§ Mr. Kilfedder
We now move to Part II of the Bill, to the part which refers to Great Britain as distinct from the United Kingdom. This is something to which I and my right hon. and hon. Friends take strong exception. I think 842 that I am right in saying that the majority of the people in the Province feel that this is an insult to them, having for six long years suffered terrorism in their part of the United Kingdom.
We heard earlier on Second Reading the view expressed by some Labour hon. Members that the House is taking panic measures as a result of the Birmingham atrocity. Perhaps they are right, perhaps that atrocity precipitated the Bill but we in Northern Ireland have experienced IRA terrorism since 1968. It is a grievous blow to the law-abiding majority of Protestants and Roman Catholics that Parts II and III should make such a radical change. It is offensive to Ulster citizens to have enshrined in legislation for the first time, no matter how temporary it may be—I know that the Secretary of State has said that it may last for six months or for longer—that citizens of the United Kingdom may be deported from one part of the United Kingdom to another—namely, Northern Ireland. That is why we hope that the Committee will accept the amendment which would delete these words:(whether in Great Britain or elsewhere)".I notice that the Explanatory Memorandum says:Clause 3 enables the Secretary of State to prevent acts of terrorism, wherever committed …".I believe that it would improve this measure if we deleted the words specified in the amendment and make it general as in the Explanatory Memorandum. I hope that the Committee will agree. The Secretary of State for the Home Department is widely respected for his views. I regret that in drafting this measure he has found it necessary to make this disturbing distinction between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The presumption that he has made is that in one part of the United Kingdom he can erect a cordon sanitaire to protect it from what he regards as the infection of violence from Northern Ireland.
We are going right back to the days of the Dublin pale. The right hon. Gentleman has turned Great Britain into a pale. Those who live outside the pale, in the United Kingdom outside Great Britain, that is to say in Northern Ireland, have a status of citizenship less than that enjoyed by those living in Great Britain.
§ 3.0 a.m.
§ Mr. George Cunningham
Will not the hon. Gentleman agree that in the past there have been ways in which a distinction has been drawn between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, although not in terms of deportation or exclusion? I am thinking of the provision that existed at one time whereby to take a job in Northern Ireland a man from the Republic or from Great Britain needed to have the approval of Belfast. Although that is not the same distinction as drawn here, it is not an unprecedented measure to distinguish between citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies in this category.
§ Mr. Kilfedder
I have always respected the views of the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham), but I do not accept this argument. He will understand that due to high unemployment in Northern Ireland it was necessary to prevent people taking up jobs which were required for people living in Northern Ireland. However, it is an unacceptable innovation to restrict citizenship in the way that is envisaged in the Bill. It has always been my understanding that one cannot have different degrees of citizenship and that citizens of the United Kingdom cannot be deported from one part of the United Kingdom to another. The proposed change is foreign and alien to all constitutional law.
§ Mr. Cunningham
That is not true. The entity of which the hon. Gentleman and I are citizens is the United Kingdom and Colonies. However, a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies belonging to, say, Hong Kong does not have free right of movement within the international entity which is the United Kingdom and Colonies and which embraces the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.
§ Mr. Kilfedder
Any piece of legislation that comes before Parliament is always described as applying to the United Kingdom, of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. That is the entity. We are not talking about Hong Kong.
On the question of the making of expulsion orders in respect of citizens who have come from the Irish Republic, is the Home Secretary satisfied that the Irish Republic will take them—remem- 844 bering that the Ugandan Asians were not allowed to come into Great Britain without permits, despite the fact that they were British citizens?
It is wrong to use Northern Ireland as a dumping ground for persons who are believed to be engaged in terrorism in Great Britain. The alarming fact is, in respect of persons engaged in terrorism in Great Britain where there is not clear evidence to sustain a conviction, and they are deported to Ulster, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is not legally in a position to intern them. Therefore, they will go back to Northern Ireland to wage war and add to the number of terrorists already there and to make a dangerous situation far worse. I hope that the Committee will accept the amendment.
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins
I am a little doubtful as to how it would be most for the convenience of the Committee for me to deal with this amendment in relation to certain others which follow. I quite understand that the hon. Member for Down, North (Mr. Kilfedder) and probably some of his right hon. and hon. Friends would wish to make points of the sort he has made on Part II of the Bill and on amendments to it.
You clearly thought, Mr. Thomas, that the hon. Member was fully in order in saying what he said on the amendment, although it seemed to me more likely that other hon. Members might wish to make comments of that nature on Amendments Nos. 22 to 25, 32, 38, 46 and 53. If that is the case, I shall confine myself fairly narrowly on this amendment and deal with matters a little more widely when we reach the latter point. I gather that that will be for the convenience of the Committee. Therefore, if the hon. Member will acquit me of discourtesy, I shall not deal with those matters at all widely at this point.
I do not think that the deletion of the words which the hon. Member proposes in the amendment would particularly effectively have the effect which I would not wish to see but which he would wish to see. The reason for the inclusion of the wordswhether in Great Britain or elsewherein the Bill as it stands is that it might be necessary, say, to deal with Irish terrorists who send letter bombs overseas 845 or plan terrorist attacks against British installations abroad. That does not mean that acts of terrorism in Northern Ireland are not grounds for making an exclusion order. This, however, is one of the points which might be dealt with by an adaptation which I or my right hon. and learned Friend will explain under Clause 6(3). Therefore, I do not think the acceptance of the amendment would have the broad effect which is desired to be achieved by the larger list of amendments to which we will come later.
I understand that we are taking also Amendments Nos. 19 and 20. In the interesting debate which we had—it now seems a great number of hours ago—on the early part of Clause 1 when we referred fairly freely to the effect of this on Clause 3 as well as on Clause 1—the effect of confining this to matters relating to Northern Ireland rather than taking it in relation to terrorism more widely—whether or not we reached agreement, we reached a decision on it. I hope, therefore, that we might treat those two amendments as having been covered by the previous debate.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. Powell
I beg to move Amendment No. 21, in page 3, line 15, leave out subsection (2).
I move the amendment for the purpose of obtaining clarification. The exclusion orders which arise under this part of the Bill will apply to two classes of person. As I understand the clause, subsections (2) and (3) apply to both those classes of person. Those classes are, respectively, persons who are not citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies and, secondly, persons who are citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies although they may also have some other citizenship.
In the remainder of Clause 3, and particularly in subsection (4), we are concerned with the second of those classes, whom I might describe as primarily citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. They also are covered by subsection (2), but it is not to the impact upon them of subsection (2) that I wish to refer because that will be covered in the debate which will arise on the next group of amendments. I am therefore solely concerned with the subsection as it applies by virtue of Clause 6 to non-citizens of the United Kingdom and 846 Colonies. When it is so applied it is read with "United Kingdom" substituted for "Great Britain" in line 19. I hope that I have interpreted correctly so far.
I have now reached the point at which I can ask for the clarification which I seek. I do not understand why, in deciding to make an exclusion order against a person who is not a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, it is necessary either for the Home Secretary or, under the powers in respect of Northern Ireland, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, to have regard to the question whether that person's connection with any territory outside the United Kingdom is such as to render the making of an order appropriate.
I can see the point of that consideration in the context to which we shall come with the following subsections. But if for the purposes of the Bill a non-citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies is to be excluded from the United Kingdom, I do not see why one has to consider before taking that decision whether he has special connections with, for instance, France, the Argentine or the Irish Republic.
It is to that point of clarification, and to the function of the subsection in regard to the state of the Minister's mind in making an exclusion order in relation to persons who are not citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, that I move the amendment in an exploratory sense.
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins
The right hon. Gentleman has, as always, put his point with great clarity, although he will recognise that the subsection applies not only to those who are not citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies but to those who arc. I had it in mind just as much to deal with the former category as with the latter, with citizens as well as non-citizens.
While the subsection is not mandatory—it is something to which I would have to have regard—the intention is to meet the point that it would not be appropriate to make an exclusion order which meant sending someone to a country with which he had no meaningful connection. It is intended as a protection against Northern Ireland being used as a dumping ground, as it has sometimes been put. It would not be my intention, in the case of someone who was or was not a citizen, to send him to Northern Ireland unless he had a strong and clear connection with Northern Ireland.
847 Equally, I do not think that it would be reasonable to try to send a non-citizen to the Republic of Ireland, unless he had a clear connection with the Republic. The subsection is meant to make it clear that for both citizens and non-citizens, in the exceptional circumstances in which exclusion orders were used, for exceptional security reasons, the general intention would be to send them back home and not to a country which was in no way their home.
I think that the right hon. Gentleman will agree that on balance that is a protection for the part of the United Kingdom with which he is now most concerned.
§ Mr. Powell
I apologise for taking the question another stage further. Whilst I appreciate what the right hon. Gentleman said about citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, and the purpose of the subsection in that context, I am still not clear as to the working where non-citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies are concerned.
Under Clause 6(1), an exclusion order, when made against a non-citizen, is an exclusion order from the United Kingdom as a whole. In making that order the Secretary of State must still have regard to Clause 3(2), but he must read "United Kingdom" instead of "Great Britain" in applying Clause 3(2). If I am correct, as I think I am, it seems to me that the right hon. Gentleman, if he wishes to make an exclusion order from the whole of the United Kingdom—that is the only order he can make against a non-citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies—cannot do it unless he has had regard to the connection of that person with a territory outside the United Kingdom.
Surely in the case of an exclusion order, as of deportation—though one does not secure the dispatch of a deportee to a country to which he does not want to go, on the whole, one attempts to send him to a place which he accepts—it is not a consideration in deciding whether to deport a non-citizen, and similarly surely it cannot be a consideration in deciding whether to exclude a non-citizen to decide that he has or has not a connection with a particular foreign country.
848 I apologise for having remade, I hope correctly and clearly, the point on which I was endeavouring to concentrate.
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins
I think that the right hon. Gentleman is right in saying that in the case of a non-citizen it could not be a consideration which could be regarded as decisive against deportation or, for that matter, against exclusion, though it would be a consideration regarding where it would be appropriate to deport or exclude the person to.
There is, however, a further point which may help to explain the point to the right hon. Gentleman. Many people have dual nationality—the nationality of the Republic of Ireland, and citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies. In the event of an exclusion order being made against such a person, it would be extremely important and of great value to the right hon. Gentleman and the position he represents that regard should be had to what is in effect the homeland, whether it be south or north Ireland, of the individual concerned. It would not be the intention to exclude such a person with dual nationality to Northern Ireland if his affiliations clearly were with the Republic.
§ Mr. Powell
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his patience. I think that Clause 6 applies to people who are not citizens of the United Kingdom and therefore do not have that duality. However, in the light of the right hon. Gentleman's explanation, I am happy to beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. Powell
I beg to move Amendment No. 22, in page 3, line 22, leave out 'Great Britain' and insert 'the United Kingdom'.
No. 23, in page 3, line 25, leave out 'Great Britain' and insert
'the United Kingdom or any designated part or parts thereof'.
No. 24, in page 3, line 30, leave out 'Great Britain' and insert
'the United Kingdom or that part or parts, as the case may be'.
§ No. 25, in page 3, line 30, at end insert 'or the United Kingdom'.849
No. 32, in page 4, line 4, at end add—
'(8) For the purposes of this section, "designated" means designated by the Secretary of State by an order made under this Act'.
No. 38, in Clause 5, page 5, line 7, leave out 'Great Britain' and insert
'the United Kingdom or the designated part, as the case may be'.
No. 46, in Clause 9, page 7, line 31, at end insert
'"designated" has the meaning given by section 3(8) of this Act'.
§ No. 53, in Schedule 3, page 14, line 24, leave out from 'Kingdom' to end and add 'or Northern Ireland'.
§ Mr. Powell
This is the first of a series of amendments by which my hon. Friends and I seek to raise an issue of great importance and principle and which featured appreciably in the Second Reading debate.
As the Bill is drafted, and considering only people who are citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies—our own people; whether or not they have any other nationality, for this purpose at any rate they are our own people—the Bill makes provision for orders to be made excluding them from Great Britain—by implication, unless they choose to leave the United Kingdom altogether, requiring them to repair to Northern Ireland. There is no similar provision in relation to our people in Northern Ireland for making exclusion orders which would require them to repair to Great Britain. Thus, two results follow.
The United Kingdom for the purposes of these emergency provisions is divided into two parts, Great Britain and Northern Ireland respectively, and those two parts are treated radically differently, in that the exclusion traffic, if I may so describe it, is one-way traffic from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. The natural anxiety which representatives of Northern Ireland feel at any marked differentiation of that kind being made between their part of the United Kingdom and the rest was enhanced by words which fell from the Minister of State in winding-up the Second Reading debate when he said in this context that in Northern Ireland there were available powers of detention which might apply to such persons which were not available and are not being provided inside Great Britain.
850 As hon. Members study the clause they will see that in pursuance of this system of exclusion orders excluding from Great Britain vis-à-vis Northern Ireland, the definition of those who are not liable to be the subject of exclusion orders in subsection (4) almost approaches the definition of a citizenship within a citizenship. In some of the subsequent amendments we shall be considering one or two of the details of subsection (4) but, taking it as a whole, it is a definition of people who cannot be removed and that, as those who lived through the Immigration Act 1971 will recall, is one of the most effective ways of defining a national or a citizen, for it is one of the inherent characteristics of a national of a country that from that country he cannot be removed. He can be punished in it but, in modern times, he cannot be driven out of it.
In the framing of the powers of the exclusion orders, citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies with defined connections with Great Britain are given a kind of citizenship of Great Britain which protects them from being the subject of an exclusion order, and that accentuates the divide which the Bill makes by those provisions between the one part of the United Kingdom and the other part of the United Kingdom.
I am, after all, moving the first of a series of amendments. So, if I may, I will indicate briefly what those amendments will do. I do so not in the temerarious hope that they will be acceptable without more ado to the Government and their legal advisers, but because the intended effect of those amendments illustrates the position which my hon. Friends and I would like to see.
The amendments seek to make the exclusion orders a power to exclude persons either from the United Kingdom as a whole—that raises no problem and we dealt with it on a previous amendment—or from any specified part of the United Kingdom. We propose to give the Secretary of State power by order to designate a part or parts for that purpose. By those means we throw an umbrella over the whole of the United Kingdom. We say reluctantly and in common with almost all hon. Members, that we recognise that some use of this extraordinary power to force a person to move from one part of his own country to another, 851 or to prevent him from moving from one part of his own country to another, must be accepted, but that it must be regarded as a use which is accepted initially in the United Kingdom as a whole but which, given the circumstances, must be applied to a part or parts, left to be designated.
In practice, the result of this would be, and the object of our amendment is, what I might for simplicity call "reciprocity"—that if it is considered necessary, in these exceptional circumstances, to compel a citizen of the United Kingdom to repair out of Great Britain into Northern Ireland, or, if he is in Northern Ireland, not to enter Great Britain, there should be a corresponding power to prevent a person from Great Britain repairing to Northern Ireland or to return him to Great Britain if he has moved to Northern Ireland—in other words, complete reciprocity.
The object of this reciprocity is not only to satisfy the very important principle that we must not—above all not in this context—do anything which calls in question or jeopardises the unity of the United Kingdom. There is also a practical consideration, and while none of us could give numerical value to it, it is a very substantial practical consideration.
No doubt there are persons in Great Britain who are connected with Northern Ireland, who intend remaining in Great Britain to do a mischief here, and who, granted the principle of the Bill, may properly be prevented from either resorting to Great Britain to do it or staying in Great Britain to do it. But then there are also persons in Great Britain who have the purpose of resorting to Northern Ireland to cause a mischief there. These are not exclusively persons who are either of Ulster origin or of Republican Irish origin. They may be, and we all recall cases where they have been, if I may use the expression, "purely Great Britain".
There are, therefore, practical as well as theoretical and constitutional grounds that we should seek to embody the principle of what I have, for brevity, described as "reciprocity" in this Bill—that if there is to be enforced exclusion from Great Britain, and enforced movement, in effect, to Northern Ireland, there should, where circumstances in the opinion of the relevant Minister require it, be provided the 852 possibility of movement in the opposite direction.
I move this amendment in order to give the Government the opportunity to indicate their position on a matter the importance of which, I apprehend, to the United Kingdom as a whole is quite decisive, for reasons already mentioned and well understood to those who represent constituencies in Northern Ireland.
§ 3.30 a.m.
§ Mr. Hooley
I share the concern of the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) about this clause and about the principle embodied in it. I find it the most disturbing and disagreeable part of the legislation.
To the best of my knowledge, we have never had a situation in the United Kingdom in which the Government, especially by executive fiat, with no authority from a court, have been able to move a citizen from one part of the Kingdom to another part on the ground that he or she might be a danger or a nuisance. It is accepted that a person who is a threat or is thought to be a threat to the peace and security of the realm can be put in prison, or apprehended, or put under some form of control in that way. But to designate an area of the kingdom to which he or she must go and remain and, by definition, other areas of the kingdom where he or she may not go and remain, even though that may have been his or her normal domicile for up to 20 years and where presumably his or her family, home and job and whole life have been, is, so far as I know, a completely new principle and a very dangerous one.
The only comparison that I know of is the practice in South Africa, where citizens can be moved out of areas where they have always lived and sent off by administrative action 100, 200 miles or wherever it pleases the authorities to send them, because they are considered a nuisance. This kind of parallel is extremely disturbing. If we are introducing legislation which is comparable with the legislation existing in South Africa, whatever the reasons, I find that profoundly disturbing and a matter to which we as Members of Parliament should give very serious thought.
We shall come later to the safeguards against the use or abuse of this power and against executive authority to do 853 this simply under the authority of the Secretary of State. I shall not go into that aspect now. But, of all these provisions, this is the one that I find the most disturbing. I am extremely reluctant to support it.
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins
I note what has been said by my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley) and the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell), and I deal briefly with my hon. Friend's remarks before turning to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman.
I regret nearly all the provisions in this Bill, though I accept none of them as being in any way comparable with anything prevailing in South Africa. I hope that my hon. Friend will not press that argument.
Nor is my hon. Friend right in saying that this provision is without precedent. Although there was a slightly different citizenship at that time, the Prevention of Violence Act 1939, upon which this part of the Bill is closely based, gave exactly the power to exclude people and to send them in certain circumstances to Northern Ireland. So it is not without precedent.
What is without precedent is the danger with which we are confronted in this island at present. The 1939 Prevention of Violence Act was carried through this House in little longer than we are taking, but not very much, and it was not opposed by the Opposition. That was done after there had been in this country exactly two deaths. The position that we have to look back upon in the past few months is very much more serious. So what is without precedent is the danger. What is not without precedent is this part of the measures that we are taking to deal with it.
No protection is complete, of course. But it would not be right in present circumstances to fail to give an important protection to peaceful British citizens in the way that we are endeavouring to do.
§ Mr. Hooley
I do not dissent from the principle that the Government are entitled to protect citizens against the people of whom we are thinking in this Bill. That kind of protection could be achieved by putting them in prison or in some secure place in the conventional manner, without designating an area to 854 which they are exiled, as it were. What is the objection to that alternative?
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins
I fear that it is broadly the case that terrorists can be convicted of terrorism only after they have committed acts of terrorism. I want to try to deal with them before they have committed acts of terrorism. I believe that that is what necessary protection involves. As to putting them in a safe place here, my hon. Friend seemed to be advocating detention in Great Britain. I do not think that that would be a course that anyone would wish to propose.
The right hon. Member for Down, South stressed that this measure was making a division between two parts of the United Kingdom. I am sure that he will recollect that a short time ago, referring to Part I of the Bill, he said that he welcomed it as bringing the state of the law more closely together within the two parts of the United Kingdom. Therefore, he will not take the point that the whole direction of the Bill is there.
My hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham), who is temporarily not present, in the course of debating an earlier amendment, said that there have been certain significant divisions, often by the choice of Northern Ireland, though not exactly the same as this one.
In the course of a ministerial career going back and embracing a number of ministries, I have carried through a substantial number of Bills—fortunately not many of them at this hour of the morning and not with this degree of pressure—not one of which has applied to Northern Ireland. That has been by the choice of the Northern Ireland authorities and constitution. That applied even when I was Chancellor of the Exchequer and was carrying Finance Bills through the House. The Northern Ireland authorities, broadly speaking, chose to follow the lead given by the Finance Bills, though not always to the exact letter. It was a matter for them to decide according to what they wished to do. We then operated under an arrangement which was the choice of the governing party in Northern Ireland. Therefore, it is not entirely true to say that there has been no division and no difference between the two parts of the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Kilfedder
Surely the right hon. Gentleman agrees that there has been a difference between legislation enacted for England and Wales and that enacted for Scotland on a number of occasions. However, that does not mean that the Scottish people are separated or less British citizens than those who live in England and Wales.
§ Mr. Jenkins
It does not mean that they are less citizens. There is sometimes different legislation for England and Wales from that for Scotland, but a great deal less frequently than seems to be suggested by the hon. Gentleman. My point—I do not wish to press it too hard—is that I do not think that I have carried through a Bill which applied to Northern Ireland, whereas nearly all the Bills that I have carried through have applied to Scotland. The practical difference is quite substantial. I think that is a relevant point.
Nobody wants to create divisions any deeper than are necessary, but it would be idle to pretend that there are not differences between the two parts of the United Kingdom at present.
We greatly regret the position which has arisen in Northern Ireland, particularly since 1969. I do not believe that until we eradicate the root cause of the trouble there we will have complete peace or security in this island. I think that we can all agree about that. We do not wish to shut our eyes or minds to it in any way.
Equally, looking back on the appalling history of Northern Ireland since 1969, I think that there is a duty upon all of us to prevent a similar pattern developing in this island so far as it lies within our power to do so.
The right hon. Member for Down, South said that he attacks not so much the principle of exclusion to Northern Ireland head on as the desire for reciprocity, as he put it. The right hon. Gentleman first took the point, and the amendment seeks to suggest, that the Secretary of State could designate any part of the United Kingdom as being an area to which or from which an exclusion order could be made. I should not think it appropriate to accept that, but even if I did—which I am far from doing—I do not believe that the Committee would for a moment allow me to accept it, because it would mean that in order to deal with a particular 856 danger that arises, regrettably, in relation to one part of the United Kingdom I should have to take arbitrary power to prohibit people in Wales and Scotland, or even in Yorkshire or Cornwall, from going into other parts of the United Kingdom. It seems to me that to take such power would be a most extraordinary step and one that would not be acceptable to the Committee.
When the right hon. Gentleman comes much nearer to reality, to practicality, is when he says that there ought to be reciprocity in the sense that just as it is possible to exclude, subject to stringent conditions, someone who belongs to Northern Ireland from Great Britain if it is thought he is a danger to security—and I stress that these orders will be used in a very limited number of cases—so it ought to be possible to exclude from Northern Ireland somebody whose belonging is in England, Scotland or Wales as the case may be and who is a security risk in Northern Ireland.
I am not persuaded that there is a similar practical problem that way as there is the other way. I think it is possible that people may come over to London or some other city for a short period and perhaps plan acts of terrorism and then return and commit them in Northern Ireland. I should say that in the overwhelming majority of cases the people were not firmly domiciled in Great Britain, in the sense that people have to belong to Northern Ireland for it to be possible to make an exclusion order confining them to Northern Ireland. I should therefore need a little persuading that there was a practical problem as opposed to a theoretical case for reciprocity here.
Furthermore, it would not be possible to amend the Bill at this stage. By that I do not mean at this stage of the night. The Bill would require considerable restructuring for such an arrangement to be possible. A certain amount of restructuring has been done by the insertion of Clause 6—I am afraid it is a complicated clause—which is a peg on which it will be possible for my right hon. Friend to make an order erecting as it were another ring fence around the United Kingdom as a whole against certain undesirable people. That clause was put in to meet what I believe was the rightful desire not only of my right hon. Friend but of the House generally to 857 provide that degree of protection for Northern Ireland. It would not be practical at this stage to provide reciprocity between the two parts of the United Kingdom.
However, what I say to the right hon. Gentleman and the Committee is that I do not see or take any objection in principle on the point of reciprocity, as opposed to the point of the right arbitrarily to designate any area of the United Kingdom as an exclusion area. I see no objection of principle to the point of reciprocity, but I see a certain need to be convinced that it is a practical problem and I see the insuperable difficulty of altering the Bill so as to provide for the matter.
§ 3.45 a.m.
§ Mr. Powell
To avoid misunderstanding, perhaps I could say—probably the right hon. Gentleman understands this—that the proposal to designate specific parts was an attempt to achieve a method of drafting which would set out from the United Kingdom and arrive at the part with which it was desired in practice to operate. I am sure that he does not take it as the view of my right hon. and hon. Friends and myself that it would be desirable to have all kinds of exclusion orders going in different directions inside the United Kingdom. I thought it worth while to clear that up.
§ Mr. Jenkins
I of course accept that from the right hon. Gentleman. I understand what is in his mind here, although, like any other Minister in charge of a Bill, I am bound to have regard to the literal effect of amendments as well as to the intentions of those who draft them. It would not be for the right hon. Gentleman or for me—although to some extent it would be for me or for a future Secretary of State—to interpret the effect of powers which would be so wide-ranging as to be wholly unacceptable.
I do not reject the principle of reciprocity; nor does my right hon. Friend. It is not possible to include it in the Bill. Although I could not give an undertaking. I hope that it will not be necessary to renew the Bill. I hope that we shall need it for as short a time as possible. If it were necessary, it might be possible to do it by order, by a simple repeat of the Bill. There is another option, that of keeping some parts of the Bill in opera- 858 tion by order, but not all. There is the fourth possibility, that it would unfortunately be felt desirable to maintain a Bill with the effect of this Bill for some further period, whether beyond the first six months or, after renewal, still further, although I hope very much that that would not be the case.
If at that stage certain other defects had shown themselves in the working of the Bill, so that it was necessary not to extend it by order but to recast it, as I undertook on Second Reading, I would consider how it was working over the six months, and, if it were regrettably necessary to renew but also necessary to change its working in certain ways, I would certainly consider the possibility of including in the redrafting an element of reciprocity.
§ Mr. Molyneaux
My right hon. and hon. Friends and I welcome the right hon. Gentleman's assurance that he has not closed his mind to the possibility that he may be able to meet some of our requirements if and when legislative changes were necessary in six months. My right hon. Friend the Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) has with great clarity given what I might call the citizenship considerations. Could I, rather less ably, give what I regard as the political considerations and the reasons that we feel that this degree of reciprocity is essential?
It has already been said that the IRA regards any weakening of the Union as a concession to its objectives. This at all costs we must avoid. However much we in this Parliament might explain the finer points of constitutional law, the propaganda experts in the IRA can and will distort the position to brainwash the lower ranks of their organisation who have in the past shown that they are not noted for their ability to think for themselves.
Secondly, the law-abiding majority of the people of Northern Ireland and of Great Britain—I use the word "majority" in its widest sense, because I include the approximately 98 per cent, of the people of Northern Ireland who want no act or part of law breaking or violence—could regard this as open to misinterpretation if we leave this measure just as it is at present. It could even cause uneasiness and alarm. In that kind of unstable 859 situation there would be a temptation for people to take what one might delicately call "extra-parliamentary activities".
Thirdly, this comes at a time when the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and his colleague the Minister of State are striving to lower the temperature in Northern Ireland so that the elections to the Convention can take place in a relatively calm atmosphere. I emphasise "relatively". Their efforts are supported by my right hon. and hon. Friends. We also agree that it is absolutely essential that those elections should be held against the background of political stability, otherwise we cannot expect that the outcome of the elections to the Convention, still less the outcome of the deliberations of the Convention, will be all that the House of Commons would desire.
This is why I welcome the Home Secretary's words. I think that they will provide a great deal of reassurance to people who might otherwise have felt somewhat uneasy about certain aspects of the legislation.
§ Mr. Gow
Under subsection (3) the Home Secretary has power to make an order prohibiting a personfrom being in, or entering, Great Britain.The right hon. Gentleman told the Committee that he hoped and envisaged that the number of orders which he would make if the Bill should become law would be very limited.
Then we come to the question of reciprocity. Is it within the knowledge of the Minister of State that it would have been helpful to him or to his right hon. Friend to have made an order in the months when the Minister of State has held his present office to prohibit somebody from entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain? That is where reciprocity is at its most important level.
§ Mr. Fitt
I believe that an area of unreality is beginning to creep into the debate. Anyone who is realistic will admit that there are very clear differences between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
For many years Northern Ireland insisted on going its own way. It had a Special Powers Act. It had different electoral rolls. It had a different system of local government. It had a different 860 system of allocating houses. It wanted to have its own little kingdom in Northern Ireland and it did not particularly want reforms. Indeed, it bitterly resisted attempts when they were first made in 1968, 1969 and 1970 by the Labour Government to bring about reform in Northern Ireland. Those attempts met with bitter intransigence by the then Government of Northern Ireland. We hear all this talk about them being United Kingdom citizens who accept United Kingdom standards and that there is no difference between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. That is all so much talk. The people who are responsible for it refused in May this year to observe an edict which had the full support of both sides of this House on the bringing into operation of a power-sharing government.
The Ulster Unionists, now protesting their loyalty to the United Kingdom and their acceptance of British standards, told the British Parliament then, "You can have your edicts. We do not accept your attempts to dictate parliamentary or political policies in Northern Ireland." There are, therefore, very clear distinctions.
Take for example the Northern Ireland Act to safeguard employment. Since 1949 a person from this side of the water could not get a job in Northern Ireland without an employment permit issued by the Northern Ireland Ministry of Labour, later the Department of Health and Social Security. The Act was designed to prevent people coming from the Republic and getting work in the North. To sugar-coat the pill the legislation had to apply to people from England, Scotland and Wales—not that all that many people from those countries were anxious to go to Northern Ireland for a job.
This new term "reciprocity" has been introduced into our affairs. It is being used simply to please the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell). He feels that since Britain can exclude people from one part of the United Kingdom and dump them in Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland must have reciprocity, to save face, so that it can dump persons back on Britain. It is highly unlikely that those circumstances will ever arise. One of my hon. Friends referred to legislation in South Africa which enables the authorities to ban people from certain territories 861 and direct them to live in other parts. Under the Bill terrorists and undesirables who may be likely to cause mischief can be transported out of Britain. There are many people in Down, South who believe that the right hon. Member for Down, South came over to Northern Ireland to cause mischief. Perhaps the right hon. Member's aura is following him, and perhaps we are about to set up Bantu reservations in Northern Ireland to which we can expel the undesirables from Britain.
The realities of the situation should be examined. If the Home Secretary ever excludes someone from Birmingham, Coventry, Cardiff, Glasgow or any other part of Great Britain, and sends him to Northern Ireland the circumstances are likely to be that that person was born within the Six Counties. Such a person will be deported on suspicion that he has been giving support to a proscribed organisation and when he arrives in Northern Ireland it will be almost obligatory for the police to arrest him.
He has been sent out of Great Britain on suspicion of giving support to an illegal organisation. The Northern Ireland authorities would have to take that into consideration. The responsibility for such a person would then be transferred to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. There would be only one answer—that man would be interned.
I understand the Home Secretary when he says that he does not like internment. I understand those who say that it offends our concept of democracy. But what is being said is, "You have got internment and we will keep it going." We should be honest about that. If we find an undesirable in Northern Ireland and he is sent over here he will not be interned. He may appear before the courts. There is therefore a clear distinction between what happens in Northern Ireland and what happens in Great Britain. It is surprising to see Northern Ireland representatives clinging to the British with tenacious loyalty—which they signally failed to show throughout their period of domination of Northern Ireland, when they rejected the opinions of this Parliament. Now they say that because they are so British they cannot afford to make any differentiation.
§ Mr. Philip Goodhart (Beckenham)
It would not speed our progress if I were to discuss the events leading to the Ulster Workers' Council strike and the Government's activity, or inactivity, in dealing with it. I am sure that the hon. Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt) has a point when he says that anyone excluded from Great Britain and sent to Northern Ireland would almost certainly be interned. I wonder whether there is any formal obligation on the part of the Government in this country to inform the authorities in Northern Ireland that such a person is being excluded and ought to be watched on arrival.
The Home Secretary has reminded us that the power to exclude certain people from Great Britain and send them to Northern Ireland was enacted in the Emergency Powers Act 1939. I cannot claim to have read all of that debate, but I had the impression that at that time there was no protest from the Northern Ireland Members that that power was included in the Act. This time there has been some protest. There has been some feeling that Northern Ireland was to be a Siberia of Great Britain. When the people of Northern Ireland have suffered so much I do not want to give any foundation to the feeling that we are treating them as Siberians. I ask the Home Secretary whether the powers to which I have referred were ever used. Is there a precedent for sending a person from Great Britain to Northern Ireland?
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
It is to be regretted that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland was not present when the hon. Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt) was making loud affirmations that he fully supported his right hon. Friend. Yet the Social Democratic and Labour Party Chief Whip, Mr. Paddy Devlin, tonight in a letter to the Prime Minister said:The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland was more lethal in the present situation in Northern Ireland than a Provisional IRA proxy bomb.So much for the affirmation made by the hon. Member for Belfast, West.
Whether we like it or not, and whatever interpretation we care to make, it has been declared by this Parliament that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. It has been decided that 863 Northern Ireland citizens are United Kingdom citizens and any Member would justly define the rights of the citizens within his constituency. My right hon. and hon. Friends are saying that we are United Kingdom citizens as a result of a law passed in this House. It was passed not in the old Stormont Parliament but in this House. This House has conferred upon us United Kingdom citizenship. Therefore, we object strongly that for the first time in history a United Kingdom citizen can be expelled from a part of the United Kingdom and sent to another part and that another part of the United Kingdom may be said to be a place to which he cannot go.
It is reasonable tonight for the Northern Ireland Members to bring the matter before the Committee. A young lady came from London to Northern Ireland and committed an outrage. If the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland had wanted to expel that person from Northern Ireland to England it is clear from what the Home Secretary has said that that would not have been possible. We are arguing that it should be possible.
There is another important point which causes me great concern. If a person suspected of terrorism in this country is expelled by the right hon. Gentleman's order, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has no power under the emergency powers to detain. He may only detain on the commission or suspicion of terrorism in Northern Ireland, but not in Great Britain. If the right hon. Gentleman were to detain in those circumstances the suspected person would be brought before the commissioners. It would be pointed out by his legal advisers that he was wrongly detained. Therefore, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has no power to detain an expelled person. It would worry us that one would be expelling a person whom the right hon. Gentleman thinks is going to commit an act of terrorism, and yet legally he would be free in Northern Ireland. This is a very important matter for the safety of Northern Ireland at this time.
§ Mr. Powell
The debate has illustrated the difficulties into which we are placed by the extreme constriction of time and by attempting to draft and pass a Bill in seven days flat, which is what the Government set themselves to do.
864 The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary said that there had been changes in the form of the Bill up to shortly before its presentation. I have no doubt that if there were even the three days which were available in 1939 and a gap between this stage and the next stage of the Bill, it would be found possible to make further improvements. But nobody thinks that this is an ideal method of legislating and we have to take things as they are.
The Home Secretary has said several things which are very important and which I assure him are very helpful to those whom we on this bench represent. In the first place he has done his best by his statement of principle to dispel from the minds of people in Northern Ireland the feeling that they are to be the recipients of a one-way traffic in terrorists. So far as, without alteration of the Bill, the right hon. Gentleman could dispel that by his assertion of principle, he has done so.
The right hon. Gentleman has also accepted that he does not intend necessarily just to renew this Bill, with its imperfections—and more will be discovered—six months at a time so long as it remains necessary. I do not expect there are many hon. Members who think that six months will see out the circumstances which are keeping us here this morning. There will also be in that first six months a good deal of experience that is not available at present simply because of the operation of the Bill during that six months.
The Home Secretary said something which was very unusual for a Minister presenting a Bill renewable by order. He went on record, not as saying that he will not renew it by order or will not renew it as it stands, but as saying that he holds open an alternative of amending the Bill by due legislative process. I do not see how, given the difficulties we are under by reasons of time, the right hon. Gentleman could have done more to bring reassurance to those whose anxieties I and others of my colleagues have attempted to voice.
The problem is not solved, and the right hon. Gentleman will understand it as no discourtesy if we should allow the amendment symbolically to be negatived rather than withdrawn. But I do not want any misunderstanding on that 865 account as to the value which will accrue in Northern Ireland as a result of what the Home Secretary said.
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins
I hope I may be allowed to intervene briefly without prolonging the debate.
I am grateful for the remarks of the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell). I am sure he took note of what I said. I said that I was not opposed to the principle of reciprocity—that I needed to be convinced that there was a practical case for it, but that my mind remained open. I went on to say that if the Bill, regrettably, had to be renewed and there were a number of reasons for altering it, I would seriously consider dealing with this point, but that I would not legislate rather than proceed by order for this purpose alone. That is a point which I should like to put firmly on the record. In reply to the point raised by the hon. Member, my hon. Friend the Minister of State tells me that the answer to his question is "No".
I am not able absolutely to check at present the point put by the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart). One hundred and thirteen deportation orders were made in the first two months and it is highly unlikely that some of them were not to Northern Ireland. However, I am not able to give an absolute assurance about the number of orders. I would have to embrace what number of exclusion orders I thought right in the circumstances, but I do not expect them to be very many.
§ Mr. A. W. Stallard (St. Pancras, North)
May I press my right hon. Friend about this? It seems to be worrying a number of us. We have heard graphic descriptions of the interpretation of this measure by Members from Northern Ireland. Can my right hon. Friend describe how he envisages the mechanics for expulsion? Will a man be escorted to a ship, hovercraft or aircraft? Will he be transported to Northern Ireland and will he then be left free? Will he be freed as he gets on to the ship, hovercraft or aircraft in this country or will he be freed when he gets to the other side?
§ Mr. Jenkins
I think that it will follow the normal mechanics concerning the 866 execution of a deportation order following a court recommendation, which occurs not too frequently but quite frequently. It does not follow that a person's exclusion in Great Britain itself would warrant his detention in Northern Ireland. That must depend on the person's conduct in relation to Northern Ireland.
§ Sir Keith Joseph (Leeds, North-East)
We, too, shared some anxiety about the problems raised by this and related amendments, and we have an amendment down. We should like to express our admiration for the ingenuity of the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) and his colleagues and our respect for the degree to which the Home Secretary has moved very cautiously and in a well-defined way to meet the worries of hon. Members from Northern Ireland.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ No. 28, in page 3, line 36, leave out '20' and insert '30'.
§ No. 29, in page 3, line 36, leave out '20' and insert '5'.
No. 61, in page 3, line 38, at end insert—
'(c) may be in peril of his life if excluded from Great Britain.'
§ Mr. Lane
We ought to pause a moment at this point to ask the Government to make clear the basis on which, with reference to Amendment No. 27, the exclusion in paragraph (a) has been drafted—that is, that the exclusion order cannot be made against citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who are ordinarily resident in Great Britain at the time and have been ordinarily resident throughout the last 20 years. We are taking together one or two amendments to vary the time of 20 years either upwards or downwards.
We know from the Government that they are using the exact precedent of the Prevention of Violence (Temporary Provisions) Act 1939, but they should explain why they have decided to repeat those provisions unchanged. As I understand this provision, we could be dealing here 867 with three categories of individual. The first is someone born in Ulster. The second is somebody born outside the United Kingdom—it might be in America, the Irish Republic, Germany or elsewhere—who has been naturalised as a United Kingdom citizen. The third is somebody who has been a Commonwealth citizen and has become a United Kingdom citizen by registration.
§ Mr. Stallard
When the hon. Gentleman says "Ulster" does he include the three counties in the Republic?
§ Mr. Lane
I am talking of Northern Ireland as it is now.
The wording of the Bill means, I think, that someone who was born in Northern Ireland 22 years ago, say, but came to Britain when he was one year old, would now be exempt from the exclusion order. I ask the Minister for a justification of this. If we arc to take the power at all, which none of us likes, we should err on the side of length to minimise the exclusions.
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon
The time taken as the period during which ordinary residence would count as a bar against the making of an exclusion order is necessarily arbitrary. There can be arguments for 10 or 30 years, or anything in between. The 20-year period follows the 1939 Act. In trying to assess whether it is valid one must make a nice judgment. I am not sure that our 20 years is to be preferred to the 25 years suggested, but the object is to make it clear that if a person has been ordinarily resident in Great Britain for that period it would be wrong in principle to treat him as if he were not so attached to this country that he was capable of being excluded.
I shall listen with care to what is said about Amendment No. 29, but I think that the figure of five given in it would be too low in relation to what we are trying to get at in the clause, which takes exceptional powers that we all regret, but which appears to be necessary at this time if we are to deal with the problem of terrorism.
I cannot offer any rational explanation for choosing 20 years instead of 25 or 30, except to say that to the Government 868 20 seems a fair estimate of length of residence to establish close connection.
§ Mr. Hooley
The Bill accepts the principle that residence in this country for an extended period is a defence against the power to exclude, to report a person from his normal domicile within Great Britain. Therefore, my Amendment No. 29 in no way infringes the principle which is already within the Bill.
We appear to have been working on the assumption that all the people who will be affected by the Bill will have already committed savage crimes such as those which occurred in Birmingham and on the M62. But that is not so. Under subsection (3)(a) people who may be subject to exclusion orders are not necessarily people who have committed such crimes but people against whom it may be alleged that they are preparing or instigating them. This in itself is no mitigation of terrorism, but it means that a large number of people may be swept into the net of suspicion, because the accusation is not that they have committed crimes or necessarily that they have prepared or instigated crimes but simply that the Secretary of State has some reason for thinking so.
Therefore, we need to proceed with some care in the arrangements for checking that there are safeguards against the exercise of this power. One of the safeguards already written in the Bill is that a person cannot be excluded if he has already the qualification of residence. I should think that under this arrangement the hardship and problems which could arise and the consequences of an exclusion for someone who had been resident in this country for as long as 18 or 19 years—which is possible if we accept the maximum of 20 years—would be such that we should have considerable cause before accepting a limitation as wide as that.
I should have thought that a person who had been resident here for more than five years and who had established himself, his family, relatives, and so on, here should have some protection against this form of legislation, though I agree entirely with the Home Secretary that if it was established that he was a terrorist, or was likely to be so, other forms of punishment or constraint would be appropriate in the form of imprisonment or charge before the courts.
869 But I am concerned that the power to deport one of our own citizens away from his or her home and surroundings by a directive of the Secretary of State could be exercised against a person who had spent 15, 16, 18 or up to 20 years in residence in this country with his wife, family, children and relatives and who presumably had a job. We would create, if he did not become subject to the internment we have been discussing, a landless, jobless person who could not reasonably fit into the new situation in which he found himself. Therefore, I have serious reservations about this provision in the terms in which it is written. I should much prefer a different term of residential defence.
I am not sure whether you, Mr. Thomas, would wish me to speak to Amendment No. 61, which is on a slightly different point.
§ The Chairman
I have linked Amendment No. 61 with the other amendments. If the hon. Gentleman thinks that this is the moment to speak to it, he may do so.
§ Mr. Hooley
Amendment No. 61 proposes to insert a new paragraph (c) in page 3, line 38:(c) may be in peril of his life if excluded from Great BritainIn other words, it would be a defence against exclusion if a person could show that by being excluded from Great Britain and sent to Northern Ireland or Eire there was serious ground to suppose that his life might be at risk.
That circumstance is not theoretical. A Roman Catholic in this country who was alleged to be involved in terrorist affairs could be in serious danger of assassination once he arrived in Northern Ireland. It is improper and contrary to practice for a person to be expelled from this country to an area in which there is a strong presumption for thinking that his life might be in danger. Persons have not been deported to their country of origin if it has been thought that their lives would thereby be imperilled. That principle should be laid down in the Bill as an additional safeguard.
§ Mr. Kilfedder
I feel that 20 years is too short a time. A number of persons from Ireland who have appeared before the courts in this country charged with terrorism have been here for close on 870 20 years. Many people with Republican sympathies came to this country ages ago. They may join IRA cells and lie low and. when the time is ripe, they strike. The amendment is a reasonable one which extends that period to 25 years.
In Great Britain there are about 200,000 people from Northern Ireland and over a million citizens from the Irish Republic. Those citizens of the Irish Republic claim dual nationality——
§ Mr. Kilfedder
Yes, but it is a case of the Irish having their cake and eating it. They often say, "Burn everything English but their coal", and "Hurt the British in their pride and in their pocket", but when it comes to money and jobs they are prepared to leave Eire to come to Great Britain. They come because the Safeguard of Employment Act in Northern Ireland prevents them from flooding into Northern Ireland.
If people who have been resident here for 18 years appear before the courts charged with offences of terrorism, it shows that they have not lost their Irish Republican sympathies. The 20 years is too low a limit.
I suppose I am adopting an Irish attitude on this, but perhaps I may be allowed now to consider a contrary argument in view of what the Government spokesman said. Perhaps the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley) is right for one simple reason—that if the Government are going to make expulsion orders in respect of people who come from Northern Ireland and send them back there, it would be better if the Government were restricted to making these orders in respect of persons who have been in Great Britain for a maximum period of five years, because it is clear that when these people go back to Northern Ireland they will not be arrested the moment they land. They can disappear into Republican areas and engage in acts of terrorism. It is difficult enough for the Armed Forces to round up those who are at the moment murdering, maiming and destroying. For that reason, perhaps one should support Amendment No. 61. It is a difficult situation. There are merits on both sides of the case.
§ Mr. Bryan Gould (Southampton, Test)
The effect of this provision is to 871 divide citizens of this country into two classes for the purpose of determining their liability to exclusion. Presumably the point is to differentiate between those who, because of the permanent nature of their residence here, it is thought inappropriate to exclude, from those whom, because it is felt they may owe loyalties elsewhere, it is thought appropriate to exclude.
Surely this can be effected without such a far-reaching and abitrary point of measurement as the one proposed in the Bill. It would mean that Irish families who had lived here for almost a generation, who had homes and jobs here, and. indeed, whose children were born here, could be told that they had failed the test of permanent residence and were uniquely in a class liable to exclusion.
It is my simple concern that this is a wildly inappropriate test. I believe that it would do positive harm on at least two grounds. First, it would divide from the rest of the community for this purpose a substantial proportion of the Irish community living here. We should be saying to them that they are a section of the community under suspicion, not to be trusted, and for that reason to be placed at risk of losing some of the most fundamental rights of citizenship.
Secondly, I know my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary's concern that there should be no backlash against the Irish community. For that reason, I urge him to consider whether this provision will not produce the very reaction he fears. This is important not just on grounds of morality, civil liberty and justice but for our security situation. It would be tragic if, by taking measures which are unnecessarily repressive and discriminatory, we were to lead a section of the community to believe that, on arbitrary grounds, it was being alienated from and therefore made hostile to the rest of the community. We should look carefully at this provision on that ground alone.
But there is another danger. I believe that the introduction of a 20-year residence requirement would be a very dangerous precedent in modern conditions. We have unfortunately over recent years become accustomed to a steady erosion of the concept of citizenship. We have made finer and finer distinctions and created more and more sub-groups. 872 Many people resident here will see this as a further step along a path they have watched with alarm. They will fear that a 20-year residence requirement used here for this purpose may be used on some future occasion for another purpose. Therefore, that is a minor merit of the proposal in the amendment of a five-year residence term. It has the merit of according with the period of residence already specified in Section 2 of the Immigration Act as the test for the right to claim abode in this country. It would be inconsistent to use different terms of residence for the purpose of claiming abode and being able to resist exclusion.
There are two arguments in favour of the Government's proposal. The first is that it is the period of time specified in the 1939 legislation. Surely an argument based on the view that what was right 35 years ago is right now has less weight in the affairs of Northern Ireland. Second, it is suggested that there is something in the events of the past few days which makes 20 years appropriate. I urge my right hon. Friend not to accede to ad hominem arguments of this kind. He has adequate powers of detention and in relation to proscribed organisations to deal with people who are genuinely resident in this country.
I urge my right hon. Friend not to be led into pressing forward a measure which, for the reasons I have tried to explain, would prejudice our security situation and unnecessarily prejudice the civil rights of a large number of people in this country.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.
§ Mr. Powell
This is perhaps the opportunity to put one question which should be formally put and answered before we part with Part II.
Those hon. Members who were concerned with the Immigration Act 1971 will remember the great care which was devoted by the House to the question of the wives and children of persons who 873 were deported under the provisions of that Act.
Expulsion orders are not the same as deportation, but they may have similar effects for the individuals affected by them. My assumption is that, in some way—possibly by order—whatever safeguards and provisions are available for the families of persons deported will be available for persons subject to expulsion orders. It would appear right that they should be.
I am sure that this is a point which the Government will have considered. It would allay some anxiety if the answer could be put on the record, either now or at some convenient stage before we part with the Bill.
§ Sir M. Havers
There is one matter, of which I have given notice, about which I should like reassurance. We have been told by the Home Secretary that those who are made subject to exclusion orders will be kept in custody. I foresee circumstances in which an exclusion order has been made, the person against whom it has been made has been kept in custody, and then the Special Branch or the police express doubts about the validity of the information laid against him.
Knowing the view that the Home Office always takes in these circumstances—and I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would take the same view—the matter by then having been referred to him under Clause 4, he might decide that it would be right to release the man, at least while these matters were further investigated. Probably he would be released on terms providing for him to report daily or twice daily to a police station, and probably providing for him to reside at a specified address during the time required for the Home Secretary to receive advice about these matters. If he went to a hotel, to a hostel, or to stay with friends and those people knew, as they obviously would, that he was a person against whom an exclusion order had been made, under subsection 8(c), those who harboured him—they would be harbouring—would be committing an offence and would have no defence to it. I am sure that that was not intended. It may be that that would be an exceptional case, but it is right that reassurance should be given now by the Minister or by the 874 Attorney-General that in those circumstances there would be no prosecution. It would be a case in which the Attorney-General would have to give leave.
It is unsatisfactory merely to have an assurance from a Law Officer that no prosecution would follow. People would like to know that no offence had been committed, which would be the proper way. I appreciate the difficulties which arise with the speed of this legislation, but I should like some assurance of that kind from either the Home Secretary or the Attorney-General.
§ The Attorney-General
The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) asked about families and was good enough to say that he would appreciate a reply either now or at some later stage. The point that he made will certainly be considered. I undertake that, as requested, the answer will be put on the record, I hope, before very long.
If the situation to which the hon. and learned Member for Wimbledon (Sir M. Havers) were to arise, I should have to consider very carefully whether it would be proper for me to exercise my right to consent to prosecution. However, in practice, I am informed that situation is not likely to arise. There is no provision whereby a man against whom an exclusion order has been made and where it is being considered can be released on what is the equivalent of bail. In practice, during the consideration of his representation, he would be kept in custody. In a case of that kind my right hon. Friend has decided that the evidence placed before him by the police must be sufficient to justify an exclusion order prima facie. Therefore, the equivalent of bail would not be appropriate while considering whether he could properly put an end to the exclusion order. It must therefore follow that the kind of case to which the hon. and learned Gentleman referred could not arise. I might almost go so far as to say that such a case could never arise, but I should not say "never". If the odd case were to arise, the answer would be the one that I have given relating to the exercise of my own powers.
§ Sir M. Havers
I am not altogether satisfied with that reply. I can understand that the situation is unlikely 875 to arise, but it does not seem enough to say that the Attorney-General would give consideration to it. If a man were properly released from custody for the duration of the exclusion order while his case was being considered, an undertaking should be given now by the Attorney-General that in such circumstances no criminal proceedings would follow. Otherwise one would have to advise anybody who might be giving shelter properly to that man not to do it, which must be wrong.
§ The Attorney-General
I can give that undertaking, but I do not think that such a situation will arise. However, on the assumption that someone were released by the Secretary of State while his case was being considered, it would be wrong to prosecute anybody for harbouring him during the period of his release and I would not consent to such a prosecution.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Clause 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill.