HC Deb 28 January 1976 vol 904 cc463-95

  1. '(1) If a person who knows or believes that he has information which might be of material assistance—
    1. (a) in preventing an act of terrorism to which this section applies, or
    2. (b) in securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of any person for an offence involving the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism to which this section applies,
    fails without reasonable excuse to disclose that information as soon as reasonably practicable to a constable, or in Scotland to a constable or the procurator fiscal, he shall be liable—
    1. (i) on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to a fine not exceeding £400, or both, or
    2. (ii) on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to a fine, or both.
  2. (2) Proceedings for an offence under this section may be taken, and the offence may for the purpose of those proceedings be treated as having been committed, in any place where the offender is or has at any time been since he first knew or believed as mentioned in subsection (1) above.'.—[Dr. Summerskill.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Dr. Shirley Summerskill)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take new Clause 4 and new Clause 5, both entitled Withholding of information about acts of terrorism, and Amendment No. 38.

Dr. Summerskill

The new clause creates a new offence of failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism connected with Northern Ireland affairs occurring within the United Kingdom, and various consequential changes are made through Amendment No. 38.

My hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham) moved a similar clause in Committee—he had also spoken on it when the Bill was first considered by the House—and argued persuasively that an offence of this nature should be created and that the practical difficulties about introducing it could be overcome.

The Government now take the view that the Bill could, with advantage, include a provision of this kind. The effect of subsection (1) of the new clause is that it will be an offence, without reasonable excuse, to fail to disclose information as soon as reasonably practicable to the police which might be of material assistance in preventing an act of terrorism in any part of the United Kingdom connected with Northern Irish affairs or in securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of any person for an offence involving the commission, preparation or instigation of such an act. We believe that the clause should refer both to acts of terrorism which are about to be committed and ones which have been committed. Indeed, the former provision is important if the new clause is to make a practical contribution to forestalling terrorist incidents.

My hon. Friend's clauses were limited to arrestable offences, those carrying a statutory penalty of at least five years. The Government's clause applies where the information relates to any offence. There are some serious offences of a terrorist nature which are common law offences and are not within the scope of the term "arrestable offence". In any event, it is most unlikely, bearing in mind the nature of terrorism, that the act of terrorism to which the information relates will be other than a very serious offence.

It may not always be clear exactly where the offence of failing to give information occurs, if the defendant is moving around the United Kingdom, and to avoid any doubts which might otherwise arise subsection (2) makes it clear that the defendant may be prosecuted in any place where he has been since he first became aware of the information. The offence is a hybrid one subject to a maximum penalty on summary conviction of six months' imprisonment or a fine of £400, or both, and on conviction on indictment to five years' imprisonment or a fine, or both.

Our consequential amendments have the effect of enabling the power to examine people at the ports contained in Section 10 to be exercised in relation to persons suspected of committing the new offence.

Mr. Michael Alison (Barkston Ash)

On behalf of the Conservative Opposition, I want to thank the Government for tabling the new clause. I wish to congratulate the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham) since the arguments he deployed in Committee obviously appealed to the Government and led to the new provisions. It does not seem to relate to the provision referred to by the hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo)—namely, as some kind of window dressing. I believe that the clause will have a practical effect.

Its practical effect is most likely to occur—and perhaps the Minister would reflect on this—in circumstances to which the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury referred in Standing Committee. Let me quote what the hon. Gentleman said: The situation in practice is more likely to be that a prosecution is brought against 10 people, for example, for a given outrage, two of them being charged with committing the act and comprising to do it, and the others being charged formally only with conspiracy. It may be that the jury is satisfied that some of the accused did it and that some of them conspired to do it, but is not satisfied that others of them conspired to do it. The jury may, on the evidence, be satisfied that those persons knew about it and could have informed the police. I suggest that that is a realistic scenario. As the law stands, the people found to have knowledge but who did not conspire could not be convicted of anything. I suggest that that is a situation which we should remove."—[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 16th December 1975; c. 149.] That seems to be a realistic scenario. If that is the situation the Minister believes is likely to be caught by the new clause, as I suspect, will she comment on the hypothetical case advanced by the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury involving a group of 10, two of whom are found guilty of the offence, a further five are found guilty of conspiracy and the remaining three cannot be found guilty either of conspiracy or of committing an offence? After the new clause is enacted, could one of those people subsequently be tried for an offence under the new provision? It would become evident during the trial that he or she must have known what was going on, although one could not pin a precise conspiracy or felony on the person concerned.

If that is the scenario, I am anxious to know at what point the new offence is likely to bite. This is the situation that will arise for people on the fringe of an outrage. They can be charged with a major offence, but the chances are that they will be the small fish at the bottom of the net. It should be possible to apply to them the new clause, and perhaps the Minister can enlighten us whether that is the case.

If those concerned have to be tried separately on different charges at a different trial, the matter could be dealt with by way of summary conviction, but the penalty in the provision is on the low side. In a magistrates' court the fine should be at least £1,000 where people are very much part of the group who perpetrate the offence.

I should like to mention one drafting point. It is surely novel in parliamentary terms to seek to pin down what a person believes to be an offence. The first part of the clause reads: If a person who knows or believes that he has information which might be of material assistance …". I do not see how one can establish what a person believes. I can visualise a situation in which it can be said categorically that somebody must have known what was to happen and could not fail to have been aware of the situation, but to try to pin down what is in somebody's mind surely envisages an intolerable burden of proof. It may be that there are common law precedents for this wording.

5.15 p.m.

Mr. Beith

Has the hon. Gentleman considered the possibility that the person concerned might wish to advance the defence that he knew that certain things were to take place but did not believe that they were related to the commission of an offence?

Mr. Alison

If that is the offence, how do we prove the erroneousness of the disbelief? Surely there is nothing to be gained or lost.

Mr. Edward Lyons (Bradford, West)

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that when a person is charged with handling or receiving stolen goods, the concept is that the person concerned knows or believes them to have been stolen. That is the standard test. These words have been taken from that wording and they come up in almost every court every day of the week. The proof is based on knowledge or belief that property is stolen. There at other objections to the new clause, but certainly on that point the hon. Gentleman is in error.

Mr. Alison

I know that that comment comes from a practising barrister, and to reassure me the hon. and learned Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Lyons) brings his legal knowledge to bear. However, I still see a marked difference between the receipt of stolen goods where a recipient has such goods in his hands and, on the other hand, a belief that their origin brings an awareness of the character, nature and origin of the goods. There is a dividing line which should be made clear.

We welcome the new clause, but I hope that the Minister will deal with the matters I have raised.

Mr. George Cunningham

As the initiator of this change, I should like to offer my views, unauthoritative though they be, on the final point mentioned by the hon. Member for Barkston Ash (Mr. Alison). The comparison mentioned by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Lyons) relates to Section 5 of the Criminal Law Act 1967, a provision on which I based my amendments last year.

The purpose of Section 5 of the 1967 Act is to make it an offence not to give information to the police about an arrest-able offence as long as a bribe has been accepted for not giving the information. The wording is very similar to the drafting put forward by the Government and myself. It says: Where a person has committed an arrestable offence, any other person who, knowing or believing that the offence or some other arrestable offence has been committed, and that he has information which might be of material assistance in securing the prosecution or conviction of an offender … and so on. So the concept is not new to our criminal law. It is a heavy burden of proof, but where it is proved to the satisfaction of the jury, there is ample precedent for making it a criminal offence.

The hon. Member for Barkston Ash seemed to think the normal procedure would be that when some people had been tried for a substantive offence, they could then be tried for not having provided information. I do not think that would be the situation. I think the police will charge people with a number of offences at the same time. It is very common for a person to be charged with a serious and a lesser offence and to be acquitted of the serious charge but found guilty on the lesser offence.

I understand that it would not be possible for a court with no charge before it in respect of a disclosure of information offence to find a person guilty of such an offence after acquitting or convicting him on a substantive offence, although there are cases where a court can convict in some circumstances. For instance, a man can be convicted of attempting an offence even if he has been charged and tried with committing it.

I thank the Government for accepting the substance of the amendments I suggested a year ago and for improving my poor drafting. I understand why they have extended the coverage to non-arrestable offences. However, if there are serious offences, such as kidnapping, which are not technically arrestable, I wonder whether Section 5 of the 1967 Act should not also be extended to these offences.

The Government also appear to have done something which is a little different from what would have been achieved by my amendments. There appears to be no provision for acquiring the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions or the Attorney-General to a prosecution. The Criminal Law Revision Committee of 1965, when recommending the provisions in Section 5 of the 1967 Act, attached importance to the necessity of having the approval of the DPP because it does not want over-zealous policemen, or procurators-fiscal in Scotland, bringing actions against spouses for not giving information in respect of a spouse. The Government have obviously decided that this is not a weighty argument in this case, so I wonder whether it is right to continue it in respect of the 1967 Act. However, I thank the Government for going as far as they have gone.

Mr. Powell

I am glad that the efforts in Committee of the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham), which were industrious and protracted, have borne fruit in this new clause, among other places.

I wish to ask the Minister one question which may be of substance. There is a reference in the new clause to disclosing the information to a constable. Could the Under-Secretary spend a few moments explaining the ambit and meaning of "constable" in this context because there is an important point annexed. There are many circumstances in which a person having information, and wishing to deal with it in a public-spirited manner, would be frightened to communicate directly with the police and might choose a more indirect method of communication which he was reasonably sure would result in the information being received and acted upon in the proper quarters. I understand that this clause will apply in Northern Ireland, and there are many parts of the Province where perfectly law-abiding citizens who become aware of this kind of information would be in fear of their lives if they brought it to the attention of the police, but who might, nevertheless, wish to bring it to notice in a safer manner and who ought to take reasonable steps to do so.

The clause makes the offence unduly restrictive or the onus unduly heavy by saying that the information must be disclosed to a constable, apparently, according to the wording of the clause, directly. I hat is the main point to which I would [...]e glad if the Under-Secretary could address some remarks.

With reference to the matter raised by the hon. Member for Barkston Ash (Mr. Alison), having listened to the semi-parallels adduced by the hon. and learned Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Lyons) and the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury, I wonder whether the words "knows or believes" in line 1 of the new clause have got themselves attached in the wrong place. Of course a person will always know that he has information. There is no question of his just believing that. There is no difference between one having information and knowing that one has it. But a person may genuinely not be sure whether that information would be of material assistance. He is aware that Murphy—I have not chosen the name with any prejudicial intention—went down a certain road at a certain time, but he may not know that Murphy was going down that road to commit a breach of the law. If the Under-Secretary is looking at the point raised by the hon. Member for Barkston Ash, perhaps she could take this point into consideration.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Stan Thorne (Preston, South)

Some of us are unhappy with the Bill itself, let alone the new clauses. I fully support what was said by the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) about lines 1 and 2 of the clause. I also support what the hon. Member for Barkston Ash (Mr. Alison) said. I warn him that I shall be making a speech in his constituency in the near future.

The clause begins as follows: If a person who knows or believes that he has information which might be of material assistance". What does "might" mean? I do not know. I am confused about it and if my speech is confused, that is why. I accept what was said by the right hon. Member for Down, South about the difficulty of determining whether the information is of material assistance. A person who has seen two people lurking about suspiciously may temporarily dismiss that information from his mind because he has so frequently seen similar occurrences. If that person is asked about what he has seen and happens to reply in an Irish accent, he may be in danger. How can he prove that he did not know about what subsequently happened? The clause places a considerable onus on the ordinary man in the street to prove a set of negatives, which is extremely difficult.

Mr. George Cunningham indicated dissent.

Mr. Thorne

It is all very well for my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham) to nod his head. I have been aware during the past half hour that this is a matter to be argued by lawyers and banisters, not by laymen such as myself. One wonders whether this sort of legislation is deliberately designed to fill the pockets of members of the legal profession, who spend a great deal of time arguing what is meant by a simple phrase.

In line 5 there is a reference to "preparation". A great many operations are involved in preparing to carry out acts of terrorism with which, quite by accident, a person could be connected. There is a man at present in Long Kesh who was asked by a complete stranger to be given a lift on his motor cycle. Subsequently, when that stranger was riding on the pillion, he said "Take it easy, Jack, I have a bomb on board". Eventually the motor cycle was identified, and no explanation could satisfy the police that its owner did not know that the man to whom he had given the lift intended to commit an act of violence. He might be guilty or he might not. I do not know the answer, but there is an element of doubt.

In line 7 there is a reference to "reasonable excuse". How do we interpret "reasonable"? Barristers and judges may have a method of determining what "reasonable" means, but I have not.

There is only one course open to us and that is to reject the clause. My main reason for saying that is the evidence we have of the operation of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act. Of the number of people taken into custody, the number subsequently charged is an infinitesimal proportion. How many more will be dragged into the net by this legislation? Shall we subsequently be talking of 0.1 per cent. of the people taken into custody who are charged with an offence under this clause? We should reject the clause.

Mr. Lawrence

I join in expressing congratulations to the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham) on introducing this new concept and thereby helping to make the Bill more effective. Just how far it will be more effective we must wait to see.

I do not agree with the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Thorne). The efficacy of the clause will not be impaired if no prosecutions are brought under it. Such a clause can be used as a legitimate lever in any criminal matter—particularly the disgusting crime of terrorism—to oblige a person to give information that he would not otherwise give which might provide the means of tracking down the more efficient terrorists. In due course we shall not look only to see whether prosecutions have been brought under the clause. We shall wish to know whether information has been obtained as a result of the clause, even though no prosecution is brought.

I ask the Under-Secretary of State to consider the argument put forward by the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury concerning the Director of Public Prosecutions. It may not be desirable for a charge to be preferred against someone who refuses to give information, even though, according to the terms of the clause, he has committed an offence. It may not be desirable that those about whom information is given should know who has given it. When we reach the area where it is more important to encourage the giving of information than to bring charges on relatively minor aspects of terrorism, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney-General should first be consulted.

Before I came to the House, as a practising barrister I was in almost daily contact with the phrases used in the clause. Handling stolen property is a common form of offence dealt with in our criminal courts. I support the wise assessment of the value of the first sentence in the clause made by the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell). It is nonsense to put it in that way. The clause begins: If a person who knows or believes that he has information which might be of material assstance". That is the sort of nonsense about which judges complain and of which lawyers make a good deal of meat. The way in which that form of words, which is shorthand for the mens rea—the mental element of guilt—in a criminal offence, is normally applied is after the substantive act—actus reus—has been proved. If a person has information the question has to be asked whether he knows or believes that it would be of assistance. That is the way in which that phrase is employed in the Theft Act and other legislation. That is easily understood by lawyers and judges. Not a penny of public time or money would be involved in putting the words round in the correct way.

I come to "reasonable excuse". Notwithstanding the strictures—which were unjustified, and merely showed that the Home Secretary did not quite understand my argument—upon the opaqueness of my reasoning on new Clause 1, I see with pleasure that the Government have employed in new Clause 3 my suggestion in Committee and added a defence of "reasonable excuse". A "reasonable excuse" is that excuse which is reasonable in all the circumstances, and the best people to judge that are 12 good men or women in a jury. The law has no difficulty in dealing with the concept of "reasonable excuse", which is easily explained to juries, and if the juries think that a person has a reasonable excuse for not doing that which the offence requires, they will acquit.

Subject to the reconsideration of the functions of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney-General, and the amendment to subsection (1), I support the clause and welcome it. I hope that the Under-Secretary will ensure that the clause is amended at least in these respects before the matter comes to be considered in another place.

Mr. Mikardo

I start my consideration of this clause from a proposition which I am sure will command the support of the whole House. It is that we have to find the best way as far as is humanly possible of preventing any act of terrorism from being committed. If one has been committed we have to find the best way of bringing the criminal to justice. I hope, therefore, that anything I might say in derogation of this clause will be considered against that background.

I would be the last person to try to create a situation in which a chap who should be giving information does not, and gets away with it, or in which a chap who has committed a crime gets off free. However, we have all been conscious of the fact, and we have been agonised by it throughout the proceedings on this Bill, its predecessor and other related Bills, that we have a duty to hold a balance between, on the one hand, the prevention of crime and the punishment of the perpetrator, and, on the other hand, intolerable incursions into the liberties of people and intolerable dangers of people being punished when they are not guilty of any offence.

The clause upsets that balance. My hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham) is, as we all know, a modest man. In my judgment he is unnecessarily modest, and he is being ridiculously modest in suggesting that the wording of new Clause 3 is better than the wording of his new Clauses 4 and 5 which cover the same ground. His clauses may have certain defects—I did not quite follow the point about arrestable offences—but they could have been put right by Government amendments. They could even be put right in a way which the Home Secretary has forecast in respect of another matter. However, what makes my hon. Friend's new clauses superior is that they refer to knowledge and not to belief. That is of major importance. New Clause 5 refers to Any person who, knowing that an explosion not "believing" that he knows about an explosion. It does not refer to a person "knowing or believing" that he has information—

Mr. George Cunningham

What my hon. Friend says is perfectly true in respect of new Clause 5. However, new Clause 4 uses the phrase "knowing or believing" and it is that clause which relates to the situation where an offence has been committed and not simply to knowledge that a bomb is to go off at some future time.

5.45 p.m.

Mr. Mikardo

Perhaps we could devise another clause to get rid of the defects in all the other clauses, since it is manifest from the debate so far that none of them is perfect. The use of the word "believe" present difficulties in two different and, in a way, opposite respects. First, the situation arises in which a person is to be prosecuted because he has no reasonable excuse for not disclosing information. The man is regarded as guilty because he believed that he had information.

Let us imagine what happens in the court. The authorities are not detaining without any onus of proof. The charge must now be proved. What authority, including the Director of Public Prosecutions, considering whether to bring a charge and taking into account, as these authorities always quite properly do, the chances of securing a conviction, will believe that it can get a court to accept that the defendant believed that he had information? Presumably he is on that charge because he cannot be charged with actually having the information, which is an easy charge to prove or to disprove. The prosecutor will be charging the defendant with believing that he had information, but how will be know that the defendant believed that? How can I conceivably know what any hon. Gentleman is believing at this moment, and how can any hon. Gentleman know what I believe? The prosecutor will be unable to make that charge stick.

I am a layman, not a lawyer. I must say to my hon. Friend the Member for Preston (Mr. Thorne) that one advantage I have gained from being in this place for a long time is that I am no longer being used by lawyers, and I am no longer impressed by their constant arrogation unto themselves not only of a condition of omniscience but of a condition of intellectual superiority over all their fellow men. They do not get away with that with me.

Even though I am not a lawyer, I cannot see a parallel between a person believing he has information and someone believing that goods which are offered to him have been stolen. If someone were to offer any one of us a gold sovereign for £5 or, which is perhaps more relevant, a pound of potatoes for 3p, we would have fairly solid grounds for suspecting that those potatoes had been stolen. Nothing of the sort could apply in this case.

Mr. Alison

I am listening with fascination to the hon. Gentleman's line of argument about belief. In this context it must almost certainly be a defence to say "I might have believed it at the time but I am an apostate. I no longer believe it. I have changed my mind."

Mr. Mikardo

The hon. Gentleman has made a very powerful point. I said that he cannot conceivably know what I believe. If he cannot know what I believe now, he certainly cannot know what I believed last Tuesday.

We therefore are to create an offence which no one can prove upon the offender, and that seems to be a nonsense. The use of the word "belief" has a reverse and, possibly, an even worse effect. I spoke about holding the balance between justice and civil liberty. We in this country would never want to create the sort of informers' society which exists in totalitarian countries. I know of nothing more horrible than that. After all, a person who believes that he has information about a chap might be that chap's child. How strongly and rightly we object to the practice in some societies where children are encouraged to snoop and inform upon their parents, where workers are encouraged to snoop and inform upon their workmates, where people are encouraged to snoop and inform upon their neighbours.

The problem here is additional, because if I inform on someone under the provisions proposed in new Clause 3, that man can be proceeded against, unlike the case in almost every other situation, without any burden of proof. All hon. Members have had the experience of someone coming to them with little whispers that "Joe Bloggs is up to this and that and the other bit of no good." If such people went to the police, the first reaction of the police would be, "Can this be proved?" They would take the view that they would not waste time thinking about Joe Bloggs and his alleged misdeeds unless there was hard evidence. But in the case of people informed upon under this legislation, they are taken into detention at once and asked questions afterwards.

If, for example, I wanted to get rid of my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, South for a few days because I did not like the way he was talking, all I would have to do would be to go to the police and say, "I believe that that fellow Thorne is up to no good." These provisions are an encouragement to that sort of thing. I could make the thing stick even more if, instead of choosing my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, South, I chose my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. Duffy) and the hon. Member for Barkston Ash (Mr. Alison). I could say, "I believe that those two are up to no good because they are Pat and Mike and therefore they have to be viewed with suspicion."

I am putting the case lightly, and perhaps it sounds flippant. But I am not flippant about it. I take it very seriously indeed. These provisions are an encouragement to irresponsible informers. That is, above all, damaging in terms of this Bill, because it is one under which a chap can be put into detention and the questions asked afterwards. We know that the overwhelming majority of those who have been put into detention have been released without charge against them and without even suspicion after a whole. Therefore, there is a tendency to grab them first and to ask questions afterwards. I do not think it right that we should set in motion such operations on the basis of belief or, as in the case of new Clause 1, of suspicion.

Mr. George Cunningham

If a person were, without sufficient ground, to give bogus information to the police of the kind my hon. Friend seems to be thinking about, that person would himself be committing the criminal offence, under the Theft Act, of wasting police time. No one is encouraging a person to give bogus information. I ask my hon. Friend whether he has had bombs go off in his constituency. I have had them go off in mine. As the law stands, if someone knows that one is going to go off that night and he does not give information to the police, he is not guilty of an offence. That is the situation to which my hon. Friend must address himself. If it is discovered and if it is proved that a person could have given information and saved lives and maimings as a result, do we want to say to him, "You have committed no offence. We deplore what you have done but we are not going to charge you with any offence"?

Mr. Mikardo

That is not the point at all. I am in favour of a clause which does penalise a man who has information and does not disclose it. I have said so from the start. But I say that none of the new clauses we are discussing would do the job in a way whereby innocent people would not be proceeded against. My hon. Friend says that if I give bogus information to the police, they can proceed against me. But he should note that under this proposal they could not do so because I could always say, "I believed that it was true", and they could never prove that I did not believe that it was true.

Mr. Mark Carlisle (Runcorn)

On what basis does the hon. Gentleman suggest that this proposal will make it more likely that people will give bogus information against others for the purpose of getting them locked up merely because there is an offence of not giving information when one has genuine information? I do not see the connection between the two.

Mr. Mikardo

The connection is precisely the point I was just making when the hon. and learned Gentleman interrupted. If people have information which they cannot substantiate, they are hesitant to give it for fear of that fact recoiling upon their heads in proceedings taken against them. But if they have 100 per cent. protection against such proceedings being taken against them and are simply able to say, "It turned out to be bogus but I believed that it was true", that is encouraging people to be irresponsible.

I am not saying that people are villains and are going to go to the police with bogus information. I am saying that these provisions will make them less careful because they will have a defence. They can say that they believed that it was true.

It is because I believe that new Clause 3 contains the danger of a snoopers' charter or of creating an informers' society that I find myself unable to support it. Notwithstanding his modesty, I would have had a go at supporting the work of my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury, but since one is not likely to have an opportunity of doing so, especially as he himself has abandoned the ring, I fear that I am in a position in which I cannot do other than refuse to support new Clause 3.

Mr. Edward Lyons

One gets used to attacks on lawyers, although sometimes they intend not to oppose their attackers but to give them support. But sometimes we do not agree with the arguments of those who are so critical of us. It is nonsense to talk of lawyers always having an intellectual superiority. Nowadays, it is taking more and more courage for lawyers to open their mouths at all before some members of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Whereas the formula "knowing or believing" is common in English law and in itself does not arouse misgivings in my breast, there are matters in new Clause 3 which worry me. My hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo) referred to new Clauses 4 and 5, put down by my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham). I tend to agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow that they are in many ways to be preferred to new Clause 3. In their case, it would be a prerequisite that an arrestable offence would have had to have taken place before anyone else could be charged with anything. It is also implicit in new Clause 5 that an offence had to be known to be about to take place.

Under new Clause 3, however, it seems that if an eccentric believes that an offence is to be committed when in fact it is not going to be committed, when it is a figment of his imagination, he can still become victim. It is not necessary under this clause to prove that an offence was ever intended by the principals. It has only to be shown that a person believed an offence was intended.

Under the Theft Act, where there is a charge of handling or receiving stolen property, it is a prerequisite that it must be shown that the property was stolen before considering whether the person charged believed that the property was stolen.

There seems to be no requirement in the clause to prove that anyone was planning a terrorist act, or had committed it, before a man can be charged with failure to disclose a belief that he had information which might prevent it.

6.0 p.m.

Mr. Lawrence

Would not the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that that is another reason why the DPP should be brought in to consider whether there should be a prosecution under this clause?

Mr. Lyons

It seems to be a reason for tightening up the wording of the clause. The first prerequisite ought to be that there is evidence that the principal offence has taken place, or was planned, before anyone can be convicted of not giving information about it.

Secondly, although a man can be convicted for failing to disclose his belief that he has information which might be of material assistance, there is no burden on the prosecution to show that the information would have been of material assistance. In addition to the accused person believing that he has information which might be of assistance, there should be a burden on the prosecution to show that, had the man given the information, it would have been of assistance and not irrelevant. It could be totally irrelevant information, and yet the man could be convicted for withholding it. There is, therefore, the question not only of the man's belief but whether the information was relevant. Would it have been of material assistance? It is for these reasons that I am rather unhappy with the wording of the clause.

It is true that the offence in the clause comes into the category of a lesser offence. To that extent it will reduce the number of convictions on more serious charges, because juries often opt for the easy course of convicting on the lesser charge. On the other hand, it is also true that there will be more convictions of persons who are on the fringes of terrorism and who sympathise with it.

I should like to hear from the Minister what precautions exist to prevent prosecutions where there is no evidence that a terrorist offence was planned. That aspect worries me. I should also like to know what precautions there are to prevent prosecutions where the information was of no relevance, the belief having been held by a man of curious mental processes.

I apologise to the Minister that I now have to take the chair at the meeting of the Home Office group upstairs, and cannot therefore be present to listen to the answer, but I hope to learn of the answer before I am called upon to vote—if there is a vote—on this clause.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

Considerable doubt about the clause has been shown in our minds by several hon. Members and therefore it would be useful to have some examples taken over the last six months during which the legislation has been operating without this clause. Are there any instances where the clause would have prevented terrorism in some way? Because of the many doubts, we must be clear about the necessity to include the clause.

There would seem to be two possible reasons for the clause. One may be the desire, once an event has happened, to make sure that as wide a group of people as possible will be punished for it. I can understand that attitude, although it is far more important to make certain that we catch those who instigated the offence rather than those who may have been caught up on its fringes.

The other possible reason is that the authorities are disturbed about insufficient information being given. Information will be given only if the political climate is right. That is the key. We have to ensure that in every community people will want to provide information rather than having to be threatened before providing it. That is one of the main drawbacks of the clause.

If people are to be encouraged in any way to come forward with information, the need for it must be made widely known. There may be a kind of balance of terror involved, so that they may have serious reservations about what action to take. One wonders whether the penalties in the clause would persuade people to act in one direction rather than another. A consequence of giving information might be revenge on them. It does not seem to be a very good idea for the Government to have to threaten people to persuade them to come forward with information.

One of the major problems for the police on many occasions is how to sort out useless information from valuable information. I wonder whether this measure, if well-publicised, will result in the production of a large amount of useless rather than important and relevant information.

I am anxious about hindsight in this respect. All of us in our everyday lives have experienced a chain of events. We may not have known which course to follow at the time, but afterwards the right course might have appeared obvious. One of the most dangerous aspects of the clause is that at the end of a case a jury, knowing all the facts, might think that it was obvious to someone that he should have supplied information when during the course of the events it was nothing like as obvious to the person involved.

New Clauses 4 and 5 appear to have many advantages. I particularly stress that new Clause 4 refers to an offence having taken place. That concentrates the mind. It makes it clear to a person that something has happened and that he ought to be searching his mind about whether he knows anything about it.

New Clause 5 contains the words "about to occur", which produce some sense of immediacy. There are some advantages in the use of these words, and another is the fact that the DPP is involved.

Although I have great reservations and cannot see the need for any of the three new clauses, if we are to have anything of this sort in the Bill I prefer new Clauses 4 and 5 to new Clause 3. I hope that the Minister will be able to give the assurance that in the last 12 months a need for the clause has been positively found and that many things could have been done had it been included.

Mr. Litterick

I hope that every hon. Member shares my anxiety that in considering this legislation we shall not throw out the libertarian baby with the antiterrorist bath water. I hope that we shall not allow ourselves to be intimidated into not opposing measures which our minds tells us are daft, inconsistent, or likely to be unfair, simply because we do not wish to be seen in our constituencies as being remotely in favour of terrorism. My concern is for the vast majority of people who are not terrorists and are never likely to be. I echo the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo) and my hon. Friend the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Thorne) concerning the vagueness and ambiguity of the words used. These offences are being created against the background of an Act which has already created huge powers for the police—powers of discretion, powers to arrest and powers to detain.

Apparently, this type of offence is not like some other offences in other legislation, because the police have powers to hold people for days on end under this legislation. Having been denounced by a fellow citizen who may or may not have a malignant intention, who may or may not have a serious social intention and who may or may not be deranged, it is difficult for the citizen to disentangle himself from the hassle in which he is involved, because the police, who may be mistaken about the sanity or motivation of the individual who gives them the information, will naturally feel that they have to vindicate their actions. They will try as hard as they can—which generally will mean keeping the victim incarcerated for days on end—to show that they have done the right thing. In saying that I am not attacking the police. It is a perfectly natural way for them to behave, because they are human and they have professional pride.

This legislation encourages people to the notion that informing is good. The Government would like to dress it up and say that they are trying to encourage the responsible citizen. I argue that they are doing the opposite. They are encouraging the worst elements in our society to inform and to denounce. They are creating an atmosphere that will be poisonous.

It has been said already that no one as yet has brought forward examples of specific situations during the operation of the Act in which the clause would have been of assistance. However, I can cite an instance in which the kind of information that this clause is intended to elicit has been given, and it may illuminate the way in which the police are inclined to interpret information of this kind.

During the Second Reading debate, I mentioned a constituent of mind whose house had been raided and turned over by the police, following which he was detained. Since then I have discovered the basis on which the police acted. Strangely, it turned out that my constituent was denounced by a relative who was an alcoholic. He was seriously ill as a result of his condition, and he had conceived a grudge against my constituent. He felt that my constituent had inflicted damage and therefore that he should be repaid.

The police acted on this information. In so doing, as I pointed out in my Second Reading speech, they revealed certain other aspects of police mentality. First, they acted on this flimsy testimony that my constituent might be implicated in terrorist activity. Secondly, having got themselves into his house, they exercised their discretion to judge him on the basis of evidence which they found in the house of other associations which no one in this House would suggest had any remote terrorist potentiality. They were associations with organisations like Amnesty International and the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

My point in mentioning this matter again is that the police are given a great deal of discretion to make judgments. This clause encourages individual citizens to make subjective judgments about other citizens, not so much about what they have done or may have done, but about who they are and what they are.

A man could be suspected by the police of knowing information which the police might regard as potentially valuable simply because he worked alongside a man, on the basis that anyone working alongside a man for a number of years is bound to know something about him, about his friends, about which organisation he has joined and about his beliefs. We know from the many reported cases under the Act that the police have displayed a very unhealthy interest in people's beliefs. They want to know who is a Communist or who thinks he is a Communist. They want to know who is a militant or who thinks he is a militant. They want to know who might be interested in the affairs and activities of Amnesty International or the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

I submit that this clause encourages everyone to adopt that kind of hideous psychology and to look upon his neighbour as someone who might be denounceable and towards whom he should feel hostility. This leads very easily to the attitude "Anyone who thinks differently from me should be denounced and, having been denounced, should be detained and interrogated", and then the whole hassle of the anti-terrorism legislation procedure begins for yet another unfortunate citizen. I shall oppose new Clause 3 for these reasons.

6.15 p.m.

Mr. Carlisle

It was not my intention to intervene in this debate. However, I must challenge the remarks of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Litterick).

The hon. Gentleman said that he objected to the clause because it gave the impression that informing was good—implying that informing is always bad. But we must be realistic and consider the interests of society. The clause says simply that anyone with information which he either knows or believes will be of material assistance in stopping or preventing a terrorist act has a duty to take that information to the police and, indeed, that he will be guilty of an offence if he does not.

If we consider the interests of society, we must all realise that it is to the advantage of society and in the interests of society that people with information of that kind should come forward. It is not to say that informing is always bad. It is in the interests of society to make it clear that informing to the police in those circumstances should be encouraged if by encouraging informing we can avoid a terrorist act which will cause the deaths or the maiming of innocent people.

I come new to this debate, not having served on the Standing Committee. But, having listened to the debate, I support the principle behind the Government's new clause and those tabled by the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham).

I believe that the argument of the hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo) about "believing" as an alternative to "knowing" is nonsense. I may have some information which I know to be of material assistance in preventing an act of terrorism. Equally, I may have information which, although I cannot say with certainty I know to be of material assistance, nevertheless I believe to be of material assistance in preventing an act of terrorism. I have just as much a duty to take information to the police which I believe to be of material assistance in preventing an act of terrorism, even if my belief turns out to be wrong, as if I know it to be of material assistance.

In my vew, the Government's new Clause 3 would be considerably weaker if it contained no reference to "knowing" or "believing". A person may be in a position where he believes strongly that an explosion is about to take place and that it is his duty to attempt to stop it. However, the police may never be able to prove that he knew it was likely to happen because something else may intervene to prevent the explosion.

I cannot see that having a provision in our law which makes it a criminal offence for anyone not to bring forward information which he believes genuinely or which he knows will be of assistance in preventing an act of terrorism will in practice encourage bogus references to the police. I believe that its existence as a criminal offence will encourage people with such information to come forward and, therefore, it will avoid the act of terrorism itself.

Therefore, although I agree with the comments about the position of the words "knows or believes" in the first line of the new clause and take the view that it could be looked at again, I believe that the principle behind the new clause is right. I hope very much that it will be passed by the House.

Mr. Gerard Fitt (Belfast, West)

Like many of my hon. Friends I have always had sincere reservations about this type of legislation. There are many aspects of it which could never really be enforced. However, I have listened to the academic arguments. I am glad to see that the right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Whitelaw), the former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, is present, because he has been to Northern Ireland and he will know the circumstances in which this type of legislation could operate.

I fully understand the principles behind the Bill. I fully support my hon. Friends who want to stop terrorism being perpetrated in this country and who take the view that the receipt of information may prevent terrorist acts from being carried out. Certain parts of the Bill will apply to Northern Ireland, but I am not certain whether this clause will do so. If it does, I state here and now that there are certainly thousands of people in Northern Ireland—I do not say thousands and thousands—who know the identity of people who have been engaged in acts of terrorism and who are associated with terrorist organisations. However, either because they do not want to be labelled as informers or, more importantly, because they are afraid of reprisals, those people do not let the authorities know.

The clause states that a person can be fined £400 if, without reasonable excuse he does not make the information available to the authorities. What can be classed as a more reasonable excuse than for a person to say "I did not give the information because if I did I should be shot dead"?

A week ago yesterday I attended the funeral of a young boy called Desmond O'Brien whose body was found the previous Sunday. He had been shot by the IRA on the grounds that he was a police informer. I do not know whether that is true, but the IRA issued that statement. The relatives of the boy have consistently stated that he was not a police informer. However, the fact is that the boy's body was found in the Hannah-town Road and he was shot for being a police informer.

I freely concede that there are many people in what could be called the difficult areas of Northern Ireland and especially in Belfast who may have information about, or at least a suspicion that they have, people who are engaged in terrorist activities. I agree with the observations of the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) about information being given to a constable. In Northern Ireland it is quite unrealistic for any person to give information to a constable. That is why there is a confidential telephone.

Mr. Beith

In my view the confidential telephone would constitute the giving of information to a constable.

Mr. Fitt

I think that that would have to be clarified by the Minister when she winds up the debate.

If a person is charged under this new clause with not giving information, a reasonable excuse to advance to any jury would be that of self-protection and self-preservation. The accused person could say, "I was afraid to give the information on the ground that I might forfeit my own life by so doing."

Mr. Ron Thomas (Bristol, North-West)

Or the lives of the members of his family.

Mr. Fitt

Yes, indeed. The Bill is dealing with terrorists, and terrorists are ruthless people who have no hesitation or compunction about shooting people who may be opposed to what they believe they are justified in doing.

Mr. Mikardo

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend's observations, but there is an additional point. When a chap is accused of having had information and not giving it, what will happen if he says "But I did give it—I gave it over the confidential telephone"?

Mr. Fitt

Exactly, that is certainly another valid point. However, if a man gives information to the police which indicates that he suspects someone of being engaged in the commission of a terrorist offence, his information would be evidence and he would have to appear before the court. Moreover, he would be a witness for the prosecution and his name and address would probably be made public. I stress that the people involved in acts of terrorism are ruthless. If they did not take the informant's life, they could easily intimidate him by attacking his family.

Therefore, people would be extremely reluctant to give evidence on behalf of the prosecution because that evidence may lead to the loss of their own life. I do not envisage any way in which the Government could entice such people to go into the witness box. People's lives are more precious than any telephone call or any information which they may wish to give to the police. At present in Northern Ireland there are many thousands of people who through absolute fear—not because they support the terrorists' actions—are not prepared to give information to the police.

I believe that if the State is to enforce this law and inflict penalties, it has a duty to give some protection to those who give the information. I am not in any way supporting informers, but certainly if the State is to impose a penalty on someone for not giving information and therefore making it obligatory for him to give information, it must protect that person. Will it give police protection at the man's home or place of employment? Will that protection last for a day, a week, two years, 10 years or a lifetime? Terrorists have long memories, as has been proved time and time again throughout the centuries of the Irish conflict and Anglo-Irish relations.

Having listened to the arguments, especially those advanced by my hon. Friends, I do not believe that the clause is worth the paper on which it is written. I do not believe that the Government can force or coerce people to give information. That is an absolute impossibility. In my view people will be more concerned about the protection of their own lives than about any threats which are contained in the Government's new clause.

Dr. Summerskill

I shall reply briefly to most of the many points which have been raised. The hypothetical situation raised by the hon. Member for Barkston Ash (Mr. Alison) in which he asked the fate of the three remaining people was well answered by my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham) who said that in practice the prosecution would probably charge them with an alternative offence right from the start.

There has been a great deal of discussion about the words "knows or believes". I agree with the comments of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Lyons) and my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury who referred to the Criminal Law Act 1967. The word "believes" is referred to in Section 5 of that Act which makes it an offence for a person to accept a bribe for not disclosing information which he knows or believes would assist in a conviction. I believe that it is no more difficult in principle to prove "believing" in the courts than to prove "knowing". "Believes" is not in the wrong place in the sentence. The concept is perfectly simple. It is an offence to know or believe that one has information which might be of assistance and not to disclose it. The wording follows that which is contained already in an existing Act.

The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) suggested that "believes" was not even necessary in the clause. However, a person may have information which he may not actually know will be of material assistance, but he may believe that it will be. If we did not include the word "believes", a person might say that he did not have definite knowledge and thus avoid conviction. This experience is borne out in the operation of provisions relating to the disclosure of information about the accepting of bribes, which I have already illustrated.

6.30 p.m.

Mr. Powell

The hon. Lady just now, in referring to the existing law, herself rightly attached the alternative "know or believe" to the question of the information being of use in securing a conviction. My only point is that that is where it should be in this legislation.

Dr. Summerskill

I think that everybody who reads this first sentence will appreciate exactly what it means, though I realise that the right hon. Gentleman is a stickler for accuracy in drafting. But we are all discussing the same thing as it is written into the clause.

I assure the House that the Attorney-General's consent will be required before proceedings can be taken for an offence under the new clause. This is covered by Government Amendments Nos. 68 and 69 to Schedule 3. I hope that that reassures the many hon. Members who have conjured up hypothetical situations.

We have had some discussion of what would be a reasonable excuse. Here again, in most cases one would not expect to get that far, because the Attorney-General would have to agree to proceedings.

Mr. Keith Stainton (Sudbury and Woodbridge)

I have not studied Amendments Nos. 68 and 69, but, if I understand the Minister correctly, this would then become a discretionary matter in the hands of the Attorney-General. By what criteria would he operate?

Dr. Summerskill

tie would operate by the criteria that he uses in any prosecution. This is a safeguard against many situations that worry my hon. Friends.

Mr. Stainton

I am sorry to insist on this, but, although not a lawyer, I am concerned about this situation. If discretion is to do with facts or the law or the interpretation thereof, which is what the fiat of the Attorney-General is all about in the generality of the law as it stands, that is one thing; but if it is to do with discretion in terms of consequences, as described by the hon. Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt), in terms of fear and attack upon parties, which must cross his mind when he makes his decision, that is an entirely different area.

Dr. Summerskill

I can only say that the Attorney-General's consent will be needed before any proceedings can be taken in respect of an offence committed under the new clause. After all, this is not a unique situation for the Attorney-General. This assurance was in fact requested by my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury.

Mr. George Cunningham

Is it not a fact that, when the Criminal Law Revision Committee in 1965 drew up what has become Section 5 of the Criminal Law Act 1967, it positively recommended that the approval, it said, of the DPP should be sought, and that that is what the Act provided should be required? Is not the approval of either the DPP or the Attorney-General a common feature in what one might call security-type offences, where there may be considerations relating to the desirability of prosecuting someone for an offence, even when there is evidence for it?

Dr. Summerskill

It is a safeguard against vexatious proceedings, which is what was disturbing my hon. Friends. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bradford, West, who kindly told me that he would have to leave, raised several points on this matter. Under both the Government's new clause and my hon. Friend's new clause it would be an offence not to disclose information about a forthcoming terrorist offence, but the difference is that my hon. Friend's clause envisages one knowing that the offence is to occur whereas the Government's new clause is related to information which, if given to the authorities, might prevent an incident.

One can never know whether a future event will take place—it is an academic point, to some extent—but it would not be enough simply to confine the offence to a case in which one had absolute certainty that an incident would occur. No one is suggesting that proceedings will be brought where the information was about something quite imaginary or where it would have been of no assistance. Here again, the Attorney-General's discretion will act as a safeguard.

However, I appreciate, in the general atmosphere of this debate, that, although many hon. Members opposite give full support to the Government's new clause, many of my hon. Friends prefer the other new clause and that some would say "A plague on both." I therefore assure the House that the Government will look at both the new clauses between now and the next stage of the Bill in the House of Lords to see whether a compromise can be reached.

Mr. Powell

Will the Minister be kind enough to refer to the problem attaching to the expression "to a constable", which was mentioned by the hon. Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt) as well as myself?

Dr. Summerskill

I am advised that the confidential telephone in Northern Ireland terminates in a police station, so a person using it is disclosing information "to a constable".

Mr. Powell

I apologise for interrupting the hon. Lady again, but surely if a person in this situation, being in considerable fear, went, for example, to a Member of Parliament—

Mr. Beith

Or to the Army.

Mr. Powell

—or to any other person in a position of responsibility who he thought would be reasonably likely to pass the information on, surely that would be a course of action upon which action for an offence ought not to be based.

Dr. Summerskill

Yes, that could classify as a reasonable excuse. If he had made an attempt to pass the information on, he could plead the failure of the intermediary as a reasonable excuse.

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I am in some difficulty in knowing whether the Minister is giving way or whether she has concluded her speech. Is she giving way?

Dr. Summerskill

I finished my remarks, having given that undertaking.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The hon. Lady has replied. The Question is—

Mr. Whitelaw

Just before the Question is put, I would apologise for not having been here throughout the debate, but I had a most important engagement elsewhere. I therefore speak with some diffidence, but I have heard some of the points at the end of the debate.

I think that the House would be grateful if the Government would consider their new clause carefully. We certainly support its principle and if there is a Division, we will support the Government. However, we also have the right to point out that the point made by the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) about the phrase "knows or believes" is important and should be considered. Also, from my own experience in Northern Ireland, I know that the words "to a constable" have considerable significance.

This is a genuine difficulty which should be carefully considered. If the Government, while adhering to the principle of the new clause, would look at these points again, perhaps that would be the best way to proceed. Otherwise, if there is a Division, we will support the Government.

Mr. Ron Thomas

The Minister mentioned the safeguards in regard to proceedings, but did not say anything about the rôle of the police, which would be of great importance. If someone is arrested against whom there is concrete evidence, there would be considerable pressure on the police to think about the people with whom he had been in contact. They would have a responsibility to take some or all of them into custody because they had been in contact with the suspect and should therefore have believed, if they did not know, that that person might have committed an act of terrorism or some such thing.

Therefore, the rôle of the police is very important. My hon. Friend has said nothing about it, and so I am uncertain about the clause. I cannot support it unless we have more information.

Mr. Beith

At least some of us initially read the clause supposing that it would follow Clause 2 and, being in Part I, would not apply to Northern Ireland. It seems to me that the draftsmen thought in those terms. It is obvious from the points raised in the debate that it was not drafted with Northern Ireland in view, but the Minister has since nodded assent to the proposition that the clause applies to Northern Ireland.

As for the general issue of fear of the consequences of disclosure of information, if the defence of fear is accepted in one court it must be accepted in almost every court and in every instance in Northern Ireland.

The fact that the constable is the defined person by whom information may be received, rather than the Member of Parliament, the Army or anyone else, makes it clear that the clause was not drafted with Northern Ireland in mind.

If the hon. Lady remembers these matters when she reconsiders the clause, and if her noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State introduces another clause in another place, we shall get a lot further.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

The clause is in principle valuable, but its history gives an indication of the difficulties suffered by people in charge of Bills when they try to be helpful and listen to arguments. The clause was not in the original Bill. It was persuasively suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham) in Committee, and was opposed by no one then. I thought that my hon. Friend's arguments were better than those in my brief, which were against accepting the clause.

Because I believe the clause is right in principle, I ask the House to support it. Our difficulty is in a sense a difficulty of our proceedings. The alternative is to be hopelessly rigid and gain nothing from discussion in the House, and I do not believe in that.

The clause has entered our proceedings at a fairly late stage, and needs detailed examination after this debate. I propose to carry out that examination. I ask the House to accept the clause in principle on the undertaking that I shall carefully study the Official Report of the debate and see what form the clause should take when it goes to another place.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 196, Noes 24.

Division No. 42.] AYES [6.44 p.m.
Alison, Michael Berry, Hon Anthony Bray, Dr Jeremy
Armstrong, Ernest Biggs-Davison, John Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)
Ashton, Joe Bishop, E. S. Buchan, Norman
Bain, Mrs Margaret Blenkinsop, Arthur Buchanan-Smith, Alick
Bates, Alf Boardman, H. Butler, Adam (Bosworth)
Beith, A. J. Boscawen, Hon Robert Campbell, Ian
Carlisle, Mark John, Brynmor Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Carson, John Johnson, James (Hull West) Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)
Cartwright, John Jones, Dan (Burnley) Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) Judd, Frank Rifkind, Malcolm
Conlan, Bernard Kilfedder, James Rooker, J. W.
Cope, John Kilroy-Silk, Robert Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Corrie, John Lambie, David Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Costain, A. P. Lawrence, Ivan Ross, William (Londonderry)
Crawford, Douglas Lawson, Nigel Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Crawshaw, Richard Le Marchant, Spencer Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Crouch, David Lester, Jim (Beeston) Rowlands, Ted
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Shepherd, Colin
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Loveridge, John Shersby, Michael
Deakins, Eric Luard, Evan Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C)
Dempsey, James Luce, Richard Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)
Doig, Peter Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Sims, Roger
Dormand, J. D. McCartney, Hugh Skeet, T. H. H.
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James McCusker, H. Small, William
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth McElhone, Frank Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Eadie, Alex Macfarlane, Neil Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) MacFarquhar, Roderick Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Elliott, Sir William McGuire, Michael (Ince) Spriggs, Leslie
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Mackenzie, Gregor Stainton, Keith
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Mackintosh, John P. Stanbrook, Ivor
English, Michael McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Marks, Kenneth Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Evans, John (Newton) Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Stradling Thomas, J.
Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Marten, Neil Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Eyre, Reginald Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Fernyhough, Rt Hn E. Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Ford, Ben Millan, Bruce Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Fox, Marcus Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
Freud, Clement Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen) Tinn, James
George, Bruce Molloy, William Tomlinson, John
Golding, John Molyneaux, James Tomney, Frank
Goodhart, Philip Monro, Hector Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Goodhew, Victor Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)
Gourlay, Harry Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester) Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Moyle, Roland Ward, Michael
Graham, Ted Mudd, David Watt, Hamish
Grant, George (Morpeth) Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King Weatherill, Bernard
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Nelson, Anthony Welsh, Andrew
Grist, Ian Normanton, Tom White, Frank R. (Bury)
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Oakes, Gordon White, James (Pollok)
Hannam, John O'Malley, Rt Hon Brian Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Harper, Joseph Oppenheim, Mrs Sally Whitlock, William
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Osborn, John Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Hart, Rt Hon Judith Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Hatton, Frank Palmer, Arthur Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Havers, Sir Michael Pardoe, John Winterton, Nicholas
Henderson, Douglas Park, George Woodall, Alec
Hooson, Emlyn Parkinson, Cecil Woof, Robert
Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Pavitt, Laurie Wrigglesworth, Ian
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Penhaligon, David Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Percival, Ian Younger, Hon George
Hunter, Adam Perry, Ernest
Hutchison, Michael Clark Peyton, Rt Hon John TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch Mr. David Stoddart and
Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Price, C. (Lewisham W) Mr. James A. Dunn.
Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford) Raison, Timothy
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Skinner, Dennis
Bidwell, Sydney Heffer, Eric S. Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Lamond, James Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Canavan, Dennis Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Wigley, Dafydd
Colquhoun, Mrs Maureen Lee, John Wise, Mrs Audrey
Corbett, Robin Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)
Cryer, Bob Newens, Stanley TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen) Noble, Mike Mr. Ian Mikardo and
Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W) Parry, Robert Mr. Tom Litterick.
Flannery, Martin Rodgers, George (Chorley)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

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