HC Deb 28 October 1976 vol 918 cc688-9
8. Mr. Thorne

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is his policy in respect of special interrogation centres in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Mason

There are no special interrogation centres in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Thorne

May I urge my right hon. Friend to beware of those bringing warm welcomes today in regard to his policies in future? Is he satisfied that the conditions under which prisoners are dealt with in Northern Ireland fully accord with the conventions laid down by the International Court of Justice at The Hague and other bodies?

Mr. Mason

I am always wary of politicians conveying thanks and paying warm tributes to political opponents. It would have been very nice had my hon. Friend conveyed his. Nevertheless, I know that he takes a great deal of interest in Northern Ireland affairs and I look forward to working with him.

Regarding the law and The Hague rules, I should inform my hon. Friend that the Emergency Provisions Act and the operations of the Prevention of Terrorism Act make some difference because of the special circumstances prevailing in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Mates

In view of what happened as a result of the interrogation centres in Northern Ireland, why is the right hon. Gentleman so reticent about answering the Question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten)? Why has he transferred it to the Ministry of Defence? Has the Northern Ireland Secretary washed his hands of this matter? If this is a long-standing arrangement, will he tell us what the position was when he was Secretary of State for Defence some weeks ago?

Mr. Mason

The Question has been transferred to where the prime responsibility lies. There is another Question on the Order Paper today, and, provided that the House is not too dilatory, we might reach it and get the reply to it.

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