HC Deb 22 July 1980 vol 989 cc429-61 11.17 pm
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Humphrey Atkins)

I beg to move.

That the draft Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 (Continuance) Order 1980, which was laid before this House on 8 July, be approved.

The hour is late but, in spite of that, I know that the House will expect me, in the customary way, to review the security situation in Northern Ireland in more detail than I am able to at Question Time every month and, of course, to give the Government's reasons for inviting the House to renew certain powers in the Act for a further six months.

Criminal violence of a terrorist nature continues in Northern Ireland and, although the overall level has diminished slightly this year, it remains the case that the terrorists, chiefly the Provisional IRA, have both the desire and the capacity to threaten peace and democracy. Over the last six months Belfast and the areas close to the border with the Republic have borne the brunt and policemen and soldiers, Regular and part-time, have generally been the targets. There have also been some indications of a resumption of inter-sectarian assassinations, an activity which we must not ignore but which, like all acts of terrorism, I utterly and wholeheartedly condemn, whatever the twisted motives of the perpetrators may be.

In sum, 44 people died in the first six months of this year, including a number who apparently had close links with terrorist gangs. The corresponding figure for the last six months of last year was 68. The number of bomb attacks was also slightly lower. This, as I say, represents an improvement, but let there be no misunderstanding—one person killed by terrorists would be one too many. The Government fully understand the anxieties of the people of Northern Ireland and share their longing to live their lives and to go about their daily business free from fear.

The Government's policy for the elimination of terrorism remains the restoration of normal policing throughout Northern Ireland and the arrest, preferring of charges, and conviction, on proven evidence, by the courts of those who commit criminal acts. This is slow and painstaking but I am sure that it is right. The terrorist's objective—and only objective—is to destroy the democratic and legal fabric of our society, built up to protect the citizen while guaranteeing him his rights and freedoms. If we step outside the rule of law ourselves we are helping him to gain his objective. I believe that what is being achieved by using the law shows that we are on the right course.

So far this year 15 people have been convicted of murder or attempted murder and 348 of other terrorist crimes. In addition, 38 people have been charged with murder and 28 with attempted murder. A total of 228 other people have been charged with terrorist-type crimes. This shows the measure of success of the policy which we are pursuing.

The demands which are daily made on the skill and fortitude of both the RUC and the Army shine through all that I have so far said. I want again to pay tribute to their courage, dedication and patience. I must add a particular word of admiration for the men and women who give up much of their spare time to serve in the RUC (Reserve) and the UDR. Their contribution to security, often at considerable personal risk, is a vital part of our total effort.

The terrorist cause is prosecuted today not only against the security forces and the community at large; it is carried on by those now serving sentences for terrorist crimes in the prisons. The so-called "protest" campaign is cynically manipulated by the terrorist leadership as part of its propaganda drive. In this context, I welcome the recent decision by the European Commission of Human Rights, which declared inadmissible the complaints of four protesting prisoners that they had been subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment. Equally important, it has rejected the claim that there is any right to special category status. It has explicitly realised that conditions in the prison are self-inflicted and can be improved immediately if the prisoners want.

We shall continue to apply the same prison regime without discrimination to all prisoners, whatever the supposed motives for their crime. We shall continue to discharge our duty to safeguard their health and welfare.

I must pay tribute to the prison governors and officers in this work. They have carried out their duties with fairness and humanity, against a background of murderous terrorist attacks. Though unarmed and not part of the security forces, 19 officers have been murdered in cold blood in the last five years and more attacked only recently. The service has also borne the brunt of a propaganda campaign of despicable mendacity.

I have described the guiding strands in our efforts to combat terrorism. Cooperation from the Republic of Ireland is no less important. I have been reassured in recent meetings that Irish Ministers recognise our joint interest in co-operating to frustrate the activities of those determined to destroy the State, both north and south of the border. The co-operation of the RUC and Garda is paying increasing dividends, as, for example, in the latter's recent discoveries of arms and explosives. We have stressed to the Taoiseach and his Ministers the importance that we attach to the effective use of extra-territorial legislation. It is good news that three men have now been charged in the Republic under this legislation in connection with the murder of an ex-UDR man in the North.

I have given the background to the draft order now before the House. I receive a wealth of advice about the emergency provisions legislation, so I have every reason for considering thoroughly what I should recommend to the House every six months. The Peace People, for instance, have sincerely attempted to analyse the effects of the Act, thought I cannot go nearly all the way with them. Outstandingly, I have had the benefit of advice from the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights. I take this opportunity of paying public tribute to its outgoing chairman, Lord Plant. I am sure that his successor, Mr. David Bleakley, will continue the commission's good work.

The commission's ultimate objectives are the same as mine, even though we differ as to means. It has again suggested that part of section 2 of the Act should be dropped. This provides that before granting bail in a terrorist case a judge must be satisfied on certain points. They are that the accused will comply with his bail conditions, that he will not interfere with witnesses, and that he will not commit any offence while on bail.

The commission takes the view that these provisions breach the principle that a man should be treated as innocent until proved guilty. I have looked closely at this again. I acknowledge that the section can be represented as reversing the normal onus of proof. It is unusual, and was framed to meet an unusual situation—unusual in two ways. First, the terrorist threat itself; secondly, the previous practice of the Northern Ireland courts. The Diplock committee, which recommended the present law, pointed out that the courts in Northern Ireland did not treat the likelihood that if at liberty the accused would continue to commit other offences as a ground for refusal of bail. Thus, bail was granted in Northern Ireland more freely than at that time in England, and this even in serious terrorist cases.

I have taken into consideration two practical points. First, not renewing the section must be assumed to lead back to something like the pre-legislation practice described by Diplock. Secondly, the practice of the courts is not what a strict reading of section 2 might lead one to suppose. The whole tradition of Northern Ireland courts leads them to be highly conscious of the rights of the individual. Bail is in fact granted in a substantial number of scheduled offence cases. In the year up to the end of March 626 out of 1,405 applications, which is 45 per cent., were granted; and in the previous year 627 out of 1,601, which is 39 per cent. I therefore conclude that the proper course is to renew section 2. But I have acknowledged, and I do again, that it is an unusual provision. If we were to embark on amending legislation in future, I should be prepared to consider whether the section could be improved by drafting. But, as I have stressed, I should be guided by the belief that the current practice of the courts is satisfactory and that change would carry the risk of affecting it adversely.

Mr. A. W. Stallard (St. Pancras, North)

I understand—I am not a legal man, but I have had discussions with legal people in the Six Counties—that judges do not use section 2. I am given to understand that it is often ignored. Is that not a practical reason for considering constructively the repeal of the section?

Mr. Atkins

The hon. Gentleman is not quite correct. There is a case for rewording section 2. I have admitted that already. I do not think that there is a case for dropping it altogether, because of the possibility that we might return to the position that I have described before the emergency arose. We can consider rewording it, but we are not considering that tonight. We are considering whether to renew it or to drop it. It is my judgment that we must keep it for the time being. If amending legislation is produced, we shall consider how best we can deal with it.

Nor do I propose any change as regards section 8, which deals with the admissibility of statements made to the police. This section provides that a statement should be excluded where there is prima facie evidence that an accused was subject to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment in order to induce him to make the statement. The commission has recommended that the section be amended so that the use or threat of violence would have the same effect of excluding the statement. It acknowledges that the courts interpret this section widely, and that the RUC observes higher standards than a strict interpretation of the section dictates. The RUC's conditions of interview, which are today based on the strict and detailed recommendations of the Bennett report, act as the most effective safeguard of the rights of a suspect. The intentions of the commission could be satisfied only by amending the Act. While I understand its concern, I should be more impressed with the need for amendment if I were not clear that the courts are in practice already interpreting the section—whatever its precise language—in very much the sense that the commission wishes.

I have looked again at the other temporary provisions in the Act, and especially at those granting special powers of arrest, which the commission considered to be insufficiently objective. I appreciate its concern; this issue plays an important part in the community's attitude to the emergency. I shall say two things about it. First, I am certain that the manner in which the security forces go about the seeking out of terrorists is responsible, objective and in no way just according to mere whim. Secondly, the nature of terrorism is such that the security forces may often not be in a position to demonstrate publicly that their suspicion of terrorism is soundly based; but one should not conclude from this that it is not reasonable. We must not forget, of course, that these powers of arrest are strictly limited in time; in the case of the police the limit is 72 hours, and for the Army four hours.

I turn now to section 12 which, together with schedule 1, gives the Secretary of State power to detain indefinitely and without trial persons suspected of being terrorists. The House will see that I am not asking for these powers to be renewed on this occasion and will want an explanation why we are taking this step.

I said earlier that the Government are committed to their policy of overcoming terrorism by using, so far as possible, the normal processes of the law. Detention without trial is very definitely not a normal process of the law in democratic countries and indeed its operation offends a fundamental human freedom, far more. I believe, than do any of the other provisions of this Act. This House has always been, and, pray God, always will be, most reluctant to give to any Minister of the Crown such a wide power and would do so only if it were convinced that it was essential for the survival of the State and of the people who make up the State that he should have it and, furthermore, that the State and its people would be better protected if he did have it. The Minister would have to argue that case and, Mr. Deputy Speaker, at this moment I am not prepared to argue it.

Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North)

If, tonight, we drop the ability to detain without trial and if, at some time in the future, the Minister wanted to reintroduce it, how lengthy would that process be?

Mr. Atkins

May I ask my hon. Friend to possess himself in patience? A little later in my speech I come to precisely that point.

I have sought to show that over the last few months there have been modest changes for the better in the security situation in Northern Ireland. The House knows that over the last five or six years there has been a substantial improvement. Many hon. Members will remember that the levels of violence which had to be reported from this Dispatch Box in those days were many times greater than they are now—and that, incidentally, was at a time when people were being detained without trial under the Act. Since those days much has happened.

The policy of successive Governments has been showing results, due in great measure to the growth in strength, experience and efficiency of the RUC and to the ever-increasing skill of the Army. The community has responded to this policy, because it approves of it and sees that it works, with the result that the terrorists are becoming more and more isolated.

I sincerely believe that the reintroduction of detention without trial at this moment would make matters worse, not better. I said "at this moment" deliberately. I have reported to the House my view that matters are slowly improving. But we must not blind ourselves to the possibility that something might happen that would make them take a turn very much for the worse and that I might want to use the power of detention. This could still be done, but with one important proviso, which does not exist today.

Section 12 will remain on the statute book—indeed, it would need amending primary legislation to take it off—and section 33 provides that section 12 can be reactivated by order. Furthermore, section 32 provides that under the "urgent" procedure that order can become operative immediately, with parliamentary approval for its continuance being required within 40 sitting days. So the difference—the proviso that I mentioned—is that, whereas today I can detain people without having to come near Parliament, in future, if today's motion is passed, I shall have to seek Parliament's approval to detain people without trial. That seems to me a proper position for the Secretary of State to be in, and I hope that the House will agree that it is.

Other parts of the Act bear on the liberty of the citizen, and it is not, let me assure the House, without some reluctance that I ask for the renewal of the remainder. These powers are not normal in a democracy but they remain necessary to bring to justice terrorists who pay no heed to democracy. The past six months have shown that while we continue to make inroads into the terrorists' resources, to hamper their activities and to obstruct theoir goals we still have a good way to go before the normal level of law and order is restored throughout Northern Ireland. Let there be no mistake. We will persevere in the course that we have set ourselves, and it is my firm belief that we shall gain our objective, which is the suppression of terrorism, but we need the powers contained in the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act to enable us to succeed. Therefore, I ask the House to approve the motion.

11.38 pm
Mr. Brynmor John (Pontypridd)

As the Secretary of State said, this is a short debate and so, although I am opening for the Opposition, we do not intend to wind up the debate.

As the right hon. Gentleman said, this debate has traditionally concentrated on security aspects of the Province, and I immediately express sympathy for all the victims of violence during the past year, be they civilian, Army, police or prison warders.

I do not intend to make security the theme of the debate. I intend to stick to the subject of the debate, which is whether we renew the legal framework which we had designed to deal with the emergency, for what we are doing tonight is something that we should not do either lightly or casually, namely, re-enacting an exceptional law. It should be done only with the closest parliamentary scrutiny and with reluctance because of its exceptional nature. We must ask ourselves whether exceptional law is needed to deal with the situation, and I reluctantly conclude that it is, which is why I believe that the House should renew these powers tonight.

There are, I suppose, three groups in the House who are looking at these problems. First, there are those who will re-enact the law without many qualms, seeing the result of defeating terrorism as justifying the means—almost any means.

Secondly, there are those to whom the Act is so repugnant that, whatever advice is given as to the necessity for it, they will wish to mark their disapproval of it. A number of my hon Friends have done so in the past, and I have no doubt that they will do so on this occasion.

Thirdly, there are many people who will not want to oppose the renewal of the provisions but who will be very concerned to see that those provisions in the Act are always the minimum necessary for tackling the emergency and are in being for the shortest possible period. Among them I number myself. I have made it quite clear in the past that what we should be aiming for always in these renewal debates is to see how near to normality we can restore the criminal law in Northern Ireland. To enable those who are anxious about the Act to judge how we can do that, we should have at our disposal as much information as possible about the workings of the Act, in order for there to be a sensible debate on it. It would be a sad day for the House if we were to regard such debates as a mere ritual.

That being so, I express my extreme disappointment that once again the report of the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights has not been made available to hon. Members. I tried to forestall this difficulty by asking at Question Time on 8 May this year that the results of the commission's look into the Act should be made available to us in the most suitable form. The Minister of State, the hon. Member for Barkston Ash (Mr Alison), said then: Yes, I shall consider most sympathetically the hon. Gentleman's request, and I shall seek to meet it."—[Official Report, 8 May 1980; Vol. 984, c. 516.] Unfortunately, despite those blandishments, nothing has been forthcoming. Perhaps more surprisingly, nor has any explanation been given to me or the House of why it was not done. This is most disappointing. The continuing absence of authoritative public analysis leads me to a conclusion that I shall develop later.

Before turning to that, let me say how glad I am to see that the Government have responded to the point that I made on behalf of the Opposition in the two previous debates, which was to adopt the commission's suggestion that the Secretary of State's power to detain without trial, which is contained in section 12 and schedule 1 of the Act, be allowed to lapse. I believe that this is the right course, and I welcome the Government's response.

For what else the commission may have tendered by way of advice we must rely on newspapers. I always find it somewhat ironic that newspapers seem to be able to get hold of documents which are always denied to Members of Parliament. From the newspaper reports of the commission's report to the Secretary of State we can identify certain main areas of concern. The first is the lack of jury trial and the nature of the Diplock courts. I think that what the commission is saying is this: granted that that may have been the way in which the matter was tackled at first, when the Act was fashioned, is it any longer as relevant to the Northern Ireland of 1980, and to the legal situation, as it was then?

The second area of concern is section 2 (2) on bail. I have pointed out that this reverses the normal burden of proof regarding bail and puts upon the accused the duty of satisfying the court that he should be granted bail.

The Secretary of State has made great play of the suggestion that if we were to change that provision we should confuse the courts. But all that we should need to do for Northern Ireland is to put in the Act a provision such as is already contained in the Bail Act—a presumption that an accused person is entitled to bail unless the court is satisfied that he will abscond, interfere with witnesses, or commit other offences whilst on bail. I think that it is merely a reversal of the burden of proof. It is not beyond the draftsman's wit to contrive it, because it has been done in respect of the rest of the United Kingdom. That is something that the commission has thought necessary for Northern Ireland.

Thirdly, and probably the greatest area of concern is the reliance placed on witnesses' statements in securing convictions. That is coupled with the interrogation procedures that we have to consider from time to time. There is an obvious connection, and it causes anxiety.

Fourthly, sections 11 and 14 and the powers of arrest and detention are recommended by the commission for amendment. In addition, there is the minor but important matter of whether all the offences scheduled under section 4 need to be kept as terrorist offences or whether some should be terrorist offences only when the DPP certifies that they should be. I am thinking particularly of the inclusion of actual bodily harm, which is one of the most minor of the assault charges but which is a scheduled offence under section 4.

The Secretary of State objected that this is not the time when such changes can be made, though that is exactly what the Government were saying six months ago about section 12 and schedule 1. They may also say that with the material available we cannot judge whether the case is made out. That is in part because they have failed to provide the material to enable us to make the judgment.

However, there is a fair degree of unanimity in articles on the Act by outside commentators. I concede that the Government have a serious point in regard to the material on which we make a judgment and it is a matter that all who wish to see normality in the criminal law begin to be restored must treat seriously.

The standing commission was set up by the Secretary of State to advise him privately. It was not set up to advise the public on the workings of the Act or on its proposals for amendment. It is not geared to informing the public. There should be a great deal more information available to the public on the workings of the Act and a great deal more scrutiny of how it works in practice. A knowledgeable scrutiny of the Act is essential before any changes, even the more radical ones that my hon. Friends want, are contemplated.

The only judicial review of the Act was carried out in 1974-75 by the Gardiner committee. Among other things, it led to the phasing out of detention. Its terms of reference are as apposite to a study of the Act today as they were when the committee was set up: We were appointed: 'to consider what provisions and powers, consistent to the maximum extent practicable in the circumstances with the preservation of civil liberties and human rights, are required to deal with terrorism and subversion in Northern Ireland, including provisions for the administration of justice, and to examine the working of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1973; and to make recommendations.' With the exception that the Act is now a 1978 measure, those remarks are, in all particulars, still apposite. Conclusion 5 was: The continued existence of emergency powers should be limited both in scope and duration. It follows from that conclusion that there should be regular inspections of the Act by such a judicial body.

In my judgment and that of the official Opposition, the time is right for another such judicial review of the Act, with broadly the same terms of reference as the Gardiner committee's. There might even be an advantage in appointing as many of the Gardiner committee as are able and willing to serve on the new review. They have the expertise, because they have considered the matter before. I urge the Government to set up such a review—five or six years after the completion of the previous one—as a means of examining the Act in the light of present-day needs and requirements.

The Secretary of State dwelt long on the change that has occurred in the terrorist scene since the Act was first put before the House. I agree, mercifully, that it has changed. There is a need for scrutiny of whether all the emergency powers are necessary in the form in which they now appear in the Act, five years after the last judicial review. By so doing a great deal of anxiety about the Act and its working would be alleviated or focused on those areas that the committee identified. Succeeding debates would be greatly helped by the information provided.

I hope that the Government will respond quickly to that suggestion. Their duty both to the House and to the country demands no less. It would commend wide acceptance in all parts of the House. Only then can the House feel that it is playing a constructive role in the consideration of the emergency provisions Acts rather than acting as a rubber stamp. The House is at its worst when it acts in that way.

Mr. Kevin McNamara (Kingston upon Hull, Central)

We should vote against it.

Mr. John

With respect, my hon. Friend would throw the baby out with the bath water. Some exceptional power is still necessary to meet an exceptional circumstance in Northern Ireland.

I should like the advantage of a judicial review of, for example, the restoration of the jury system before I made up my mind on that matter. I am not prepared to remove completely in advance all powers in the hope that the jury system will work satisfactorily after its restoration.

Mr. McNamara

My hon. Friend used the phrase "acting as a rubber stamp". If the House does not wish to act as a rubber stamp it can vote against the legislation. It is not right for my hon. Friend to suggest that the House automatically acts as a rubber stamp. People may vote for the legislation because they believe in it.

Mr. John

The analogy of the rubber stamp may be a false one. It may be my hon. Friend's interpretation that the House acts as a rubber stamp when it passes legislation, but my interpretation is that it passes legislation without adequate scrutiny and without fulfilling the duty of informing itself about the vital matter of the parameters of the debate in order to conduct the debate sensibly and properly. It may not wish to oppose, but at least it will have scrutinised the matter properly and fairly and allowed it to pass. My suggestion of the judicial review could have that effect. I hope that the Government will see their way clear to doing that to alleviate the natural concern of many people about the workings of the Act.

11.53 pm
Mr. Peter Robinson (Belfast, East)

I intend to make only the briefest of comments—not because there are not a great many points that I could make but because on a number of occasions I have tried to get across one point to the Secretary of State, which has been dodged. I wish to make that point again tonight in the hope that it will concentrate his mind and I shall receive a reply.

I refer to the deterrent to terrorism. The Secretary of State made it clear that the Government's way forward was conviction on proven evidence in the courts. One of my theories is that when the security forces get people to the courts, the courts do not give severe enough sentences. I tabled a question to the Secretary of State on 23 April. I asked him if he will give the number of persons convicted … over the past four years for terrorist- type offences: and what percentage of this number received non-custodial sentences."—[Official Report, 23 April 1980; Vol. 983, c. 199.] In reply he said that in 1976 962 people were convicted but that 23 per cent. had received non-custodial sentences. In 1978 the figure had increased to 36 per cent., and in 1979 it was a fairly constant 35 per cent. For terrorist-type offences, therefore, over one-third of the people who are found guilty of committing crimes are able to thumb their noses at the police and walk out of the door of the courtroom.

The position is particularly bad in terms of membership of an illegal organisation. I asked the Secretary of State whether he could inform me how many of those who had received sentences for membership of the IRA had received non-custodial sentences. The answer that I received was that in 1976-77 about 50 per cent. of those who had been found guilty of membership of the IRA or other illegal organisations had received non-custodial sentences, and that that figure had increased in 1978-79 to about 76 per cent.

Just think of it. Over three-quarters of the people who are found guilty of being a member of an illegal organisation are able to walk free from our courts. Is that a position that the Secretary of State can defend? Are we at war with terrorism in Northern Ireland or are we not? Surely, if we are we cannot allow those who are found guilty of being involved in the organisations that cause death and destruction in our country to walk free from our courts.

Will the Secretary of State undertake a review of sentencing policy in Northern Ireland and ensure that when a person who is found guilty is convicted in the courts he receives a punishment that fits the crime that he has committed?

I ask the Secretary of State to consider the effect, first, on the law enforcement agencies. What kind of morale is left in the police force when, after perhaps weeks or months of tracking down a criminal, they put together a case, they bring him to court, they are successful in getting the man convicted, but then have to watch as he sticks his tongue out at them and walks through the door? That is happening all too often in our courts in Northern Ireland. I ask the Secretary of State to concentrate his mind on that.

Will the Secretary of State also consider the effect on the terrorist and would-be terrorist? What kind of deterrent is it for those who would wish to engage or would think about engaging in terrorism when they know that their chances of not getting caught are greater than their chances of getting caught? Even if they are unfortunate enough, in their eyes, to be caught, they know that they have a good chance of insufficient evidence being brought against them to secure a conviction. Again, even if they are convicted, they know that they have a very good chance of getting off scot-free.

Will the Secretary of State please consider a review of the sentencing policy in Northern Ireland to ensure that we do not have a position in which the terrorist is laughing up his sleeve at the Government and, indeed, at successive Governments in Northern Ireland? Will he please ensure that the sentence fits the crime?

11.45 pm
Mr. James Molyneaux (Antrim, South)

All of us who have at heart the safety of Northern Ireland citizens have a duty to indicate how that safety and the protection of the law can be improved. Through the exercise of the powers of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978—which in the main we are asked to renew tonight—the security battle has to a great extent shifted to the frontier. It is very important to note that fact. It is no longer accurate for people on this island of Great Britain to refer to the troubles in Northern Ireland. They ought to be facing the fact that in general the battle is being fought out on the frontier—not the border of Northern Ireland but the frontier of the United Kingdom. It is natural that our chief concern is for the United Kingdom citizens along that front line and for the security forces who man it.

Those of us who have taken more than a passing interest in the frontier areas have to tell the Secretary of State that much remains to be done. In County Fermanagh there are 88 frontier crossings capable of being used by vehicles with varying degrees of efficiency. Forty-two remain open. Up to last night at only four were checks being carried out on vehicles.

I understand that one crossing at Lacky Bridge has been progressively cratered, and I ask that the same attention be given to a little bypass lane named Clerkins Lane, which is capable of being used as an escape route for terrorists. Another crossing at Castle Saunderson road could also be blocked without great hardship to the local population. Indeed, hardship should not enter into the consideration when we are seeking to protect the lives of law-abiding citizens of the United Kingdom. We should like assurance that the blocking and guarding of roads will not be only a temporary expedient, but will be continued as long as necessary to secure the safety of Her Majesty's subjects, whether they be in the security forces or not.

We should also like to see uniformity in the pattern of border control throughout the: frontier. At present there is far too much variation.

With regard to the Secretary of State's proposal to allow the powers of detention to lapse, I have always felt that the power to detain is an essential safeguard when the State is under terrorist attack. I appreciate that the power will remain on the statute book in the form of section 12 of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978. However, I find it difficult to see any advantage in allowing it to lapse by excluding section 12 from the continuance order. What is the effective difference between that and not using the power, as has been the case for the past five years? In both cases the power remains but is not being exercised.

There is, however, one important and significant difference. After 25 July, if a situation arose that required the introduction of detention under section 33 of the 1978 Act, the Secretary of State could, if necessary, as he said, employ the "urgent" procedure under section 32. It could not be subsection (3) (a), which requires that a draft order or regulations be approved by resolution of each House of Parliament. Terrorists would be unlikely to wait until they had read Hansard before contacting their travel agents or the Irish Tourist Board. The "urgent" procedure would have to be used, which is provided for, as the Secretary of State said, in section 32 (3) (b).

Is it realistic to suppose that a Secretary of State would put his hand to such an order? It would be kicked around like a parliamentary prayer for 40 days and 40 nights before the Secretary of State's action was approved in retrospect by both Houses of Parliament. There would be hours of protest and complaint that the Secretary of State was acting like a gauleiter by not first seeking parliamentary approval.

However, there would be one great disadvantage. The order would presumably take some time to prepare. How secure would the information therefore be? What range of persons would have to be consulted in the course of its preparation? Would there not be a danger of the moles getting at the secret when the Foreign Office was asked for advice on the desirability of informing Dublin of the impending development, if only to provide time for the organisation of reception committees?

The Government will not receive many votes of thanks for this gesture from terrorist fellow-travellers who, like the terrorists, will regard it as further evidence of the lack of will to defeat them. That seems to be a fact of life.

The Secretary of State, in his original announcement in the letter which he sent out at the time that the decision was made—and we are grateful for the advance notice—used the phrase having considered all that has happened since the powers were last used". We vividly remember, to quote those words, "all that has happened". Because of that, we ask the Government to balance this action, which we are not contesting, by recognising and getting others to recognise, as Paul Johnson put it recently, that terrorism distinguishes between lawful and totalitarian States in favour of the latter. I do not quarrel with the Secretary of State's view that we have to act within the law. I have always supported that position. I ask only that the Secretary of State and his Ministers do all in their power to ensure that the law is applied more vigorously. In that hope, we propose to support the order.

12.6 am

Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

First, I protest that again such a debate as this is taking place very late at night when there are hardly any journalists present. In my opinion, this is not without planning. This serious debate is not being treated seriously, and I make my protest on that basis. For years a few of us have struggled against this Act. I have opposed it throughout, and I shall continue to do so in what I am about to say. But there is a change.

I am opposing the order in a new climate that is developing. It is not the climate that has emerged from the two Front Bench speeches. It is a climate that is developing throughout the Labour movement in which the bipartisan policy has been severely questioned. The time when the Labour Government, for instance, under pressure from many Members, allowed only a half-hour debate in which only orthodox views were called has gone. Throughout the Labour movement there is a severe questioning of the policy of the Labour Party on Northern Ireland. A bigger debate is developing, and it will be mirrored to some extent at the next Labour Party conference, where many things which the leaders of the party have carried out for many years will be questioned.

Northern Ireland, so called—and this place is part of Northern Ireland—was built in a wrong manner. That has caused all this trouble. Let us make no mistake about it—and Conservative Members must listen to this—Northern Ireland has never been governed without special powers since 1922. Indeed, the whole of Ireland before that was governed by special powers.

Mr. John Biggs-Davison (Epping Forest)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Flannery

We have only a short time. The hon. Gentleman will no doubt have a chance to speak.

Since Northern Ireland became an Orange State and an appendage of Britain, it has had to have draconian powers all the time. When a State has to have powers of this nature there is something sick, ill and massively wrong with it. A State which has had to be governed continuously by such draconian legislation, ultimately producing continuing slaughter, has something wrong with it. What is wrong is a lack of democracy, no matter how much the Ulster Unionists may say that there is democracy. They equate democracy with a built-in majority. That majority was arranged by them, by force of arms and against the will of the Irish people. That has caused all the trouble. These acts have always been aimed at the minority Catholic community, in a very sectarian and bigoted manner. That community is composed of the original Irish. The whole of Ireland is really their country.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Down, South)

Why are their names Welsh?

Mr. Flannery

Their names are Welsh as a result of imperialism. Although I seem to provoke hon. Members when I tell the truth, I shall have to do so.

In May 1974, the Protestant community—with whom I have the deepest sympathy, given that they are ruled by their governors on the Benches behind me—provided one third of the convicted terrorists.

Mr. Robert J. Bradford (Belfast, South)

Not only is his history bad, but his geography is terrible.

Mr. Flannery

Despite that, only one-tenth of those interned without trial were Protestants. That shows that the Acts have been implemented in a disgraceful way.

The British people are sick and tired of this running sore. If a referendum were undertaken in Britain, the British people would go further than I would go. They would want the troops to withdraw. I do not want that to happen, because the minority and majority communities do not desire it to happen. Some time ago, the Daily Mirror pointed out that the British people wanted the troops to withdraw. Conservative Members may not believe the Daily Mirror. They believe The Daily Telegraph That is their choice, and I can do nothing about it. As long as the minority community is not properly policed by the RUC, whom they have always distrusted, it will be the main victim of the special powers that are given to the Army and to the police. The hon. Member for Epping Forest (Mr. Biggs-Davison) knows that, but he never says anything about it.

Let us see what this draconian Act—the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978—says. Section 7 states: A trial on indictment of a scheduled offence shall be conducted by the court without a jury. Subsection (2) states: The court trying a scheduled offence on indictment under this section shall have all the powers, authorities and jurisdiction which the court would have had if it had been sitting with a jury. That is just one of the disgraceful draconian powers. The House should be ashamed of passing such an Act.

Section 9 states: Where a person is charged with possessing a proscribed article in such circumstances as to constitute an offence to which this section applies and it is proved that at the time of the alleged offence—

  1. (a) he and that article were both present in any premises; "
God be praised; what a law! It continues:
  1. "(b) the article was in premises of which he was the occupier or which he habitually used otherwise than as a member of the public".
I have given only two examples of draconian powers. I do not have time to read section 19, but it is even worse. I wish that the British people would read that nefarious Act. They do not understand what is being done in their names. We have had enough of such monstrous and draconian powers.

Mr Biggs-Davison rose

Mr. Flannery

Such powers are irrelevant, and they inflame the situation. Conviction can result from confession alone. We all know that Stalin used such methods. When dictatorial powers are used, confessions are used. They become a substitute for the real evidence. It makes one wonder how many innocent people are in gaol in Northern Ireland. It also makes one wonder what a legacy of bitterness and revenge is being nurtured and developed. The Secretary of State conveyed the impression that because terrorism has now lessened it is on its way out. He is dreaming. The reality is that it is not on its way out. That legacy will continue, because this is a political problem.

What are the results of this horrifying Act? First, it denies a fair trial by jury and substitutes confessions obtained by whatever means for real evidence. Secondly, the military and the police use suspicion as substitutes for evidence. We talk about getting rid of the "sus" laws in this country, but the "sus" laws exist on a grand scale in Northern Ireland and are substituted for evidence. Thirdly, it has sown suspicion around the H-blocks in Armagh, a suspicion which should not have been sown except by the surrounding lack of any real political approach to the problem of Northern Ireland. Fourthly, it has made other nations suspicious of the, whole Northern Ireland State, and quite rightly.

Mr. Biggs-Davison rose

Mr. Flannery

The real causes of the continuing emergency are political. There is not the slightest likelihood of these Acts, no matter how they are renewed and no matter how many are passed, ever stopping terrorism. If they did manage to stop it, it would break out again at a later date just as sure as we are in this Chamber, because the reasons for the emergency are political and only a political solution can be effective.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Flannery

The enforced partition of Ireland is the real cause of all the trouble that is occuring in the North. The hon. Member for Epping Forest wanted me to give way. I am feeling a little charitable, so I shall.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, who is very courteous towards those who disagree with him. Why is it that what he calls draconian powers are in force and are used in the Republic of Ireland? Can he explain why that is the case? Is he opposed to that?

Mr. Flannery

I think that draconian powers are used in the Republic of Ireland because the Republic also does not understand the problem and because there has never been a Socialist Government in the Republic. Perhaps if the Republic moves a little nearer to that, it will understand the problem. The sad fact is that the lack of any political solution on the part of the Republic of Ireland, which is going through a scries of changes, and on the part of the North and the Government over here, will result in continued terrorism, because the answers are political. I was just about to give them.

Mr. McNamara

Does not my hon. Friend agree that the need for draconian powers in the South is because of Partition itself, and that if one got rid of Partition there would be no draconian powers on either side?

Mr. Flannery

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. He has put the argument better than I could. As he has just said, enforced Partition is the real and fundamental cause of the entire problem. It will not be solved until we have in view the prospect of a united Ireland. That is a state which the Labour movement in this country is steadily moving towards. Hence, such Acts as the one that we are now debating will never end terrorism. Only the reversal of the disastrous veto on Irish reunification which was given to the Unionists can remove the political and social base of terrorism.

The evidence which comes to us across the Chamber and from the Benches behind me proves almost conclusively that the Unionists, who precipitated all this, have learnt nothing. They wish to return to the old Stormont system. They want to rule in the way that created all this trouble and chaos. They have learnt nothing about the underlying political causes of this terrible problem. Once again, they want to have their form of so-called democracy, where the minority community is held in subjection and where they carry on in whatever way they wish. It will never work. Only a change of heart and mind, and only the abolition of the sectarian bigotry that pervades the Unionists ranks and the extension of real democracy to both communities in Northern Ireland tending towards the ultimate unification of Ireland, will solve the problem. If hon. Members will not turn their minds towards that solution, a growing section of the British people is doing so.

12.20 am
Mr. John McQuade (Belfast, North)

Once more the House is being asked to continue the effect of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978—an occasion that is now beginning to acquire the characteristics of a ritual. The danger is that, as in all rituals, the real meaning and significance is forgotten and the form becomes an end in itself. It is as well, therefore, that I remind the House of the real meaning of the event taking place today.

First, it is an acknowledgement that despite all your fine words and brave phrases on both sides, you have still not subdued terrorism after 12 long years in my small country, which means simply that you are unable to put down a bunch of corner boys and thugs. Secondly, it gives an opportunity for a lot of clever asses to explain why these hoodlums cannot be beaten. You cannot have what is laughingly called a military victory until you have a political settlement. This is nothing more than meaningless claptrap and a pathetic attempt to explain away the obvious inability of a gaggle of namby-pamby cissies to remove us from the thrall of a vicious murder gang.

Thirdly, in complete contradiction, it gives others an opportunity to trumpet that the war against the terrorist is being won. You have been winning it, in case you do not know, for 12 years. The widows of south Armagh will be heartened to hear it. Fourthly, to us in Northern Ireland, it is a reminder, as if we needed it, of your pathetic inability to provide the fundamentals of life in what you choose to call your realm. What a mockery! It is a reminder that since you decided, with your high-sounding morality and your know-all condescension, to take over the role of guardian of the public peace, you have made a criminal mess of it and are showing no sign that you have learnt anything from your experience. Why did you not leave it to us to do what we had done effectively for a couple of generations in protecting the lives of our fellow citizens? You swallowed the very propaganda that is now being used against you. You come with your senseless platitudes and airy inanity, take down our defences, and put nothing in their place, and death and distress have been our legacy ever since.

Is it any wonder that you earn the bitter contempt of so many of my fellow countrymen who, until then, would have laid down their lives for the name of Britain! This is a reminder of your abysmal failure in the streets. The order is also a telling reminder that you have not even the common sense to deal in the courts with whatever ruffians your security forces are lucky enough to catch.

Your continued failure to see the absurdity of a suspected terrorist remaining silent when questioned about his alleged activities and being allowed to shelter behind that silence makes me think that you regard this battle of human misery as some kind of game. Why should his refusal to answer not be regarded as evidence against him? To any man of common sense it should be. Or are you so taken with the English myth of "fair play" that you are trying to regulate the relationship between the public and its butchers by the rules of cricket? You know, you are silly enough to think that there is something praiseworthy in such an idiotic attitude.

Then again, you perpetuate the travesty that allows a terrorist to make—as he does invariably—wild allegations of ill treatment which compel the prosecution to disprove them beyond reasonable doubt, which is often a virtual impossibility. Is it not time that we reversed the burden of proof in such cases so that in one sense at least a proper balance is maintained between the public and the terrorist?

To have to say things such as this after 12 long years really shows the futility of it all. You do not have the gumption to do what has to be done, either in the streets or in the courts. And you do not have the will to allow us to do it ourselves. The only ingenuity that you show is in explaining away your own ghastly inadequacies. The only resolution that you exhibit is a determination not to do the right thing. You reveal all the weakness of a fourth-rate and steadily declining Power—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Richard Crawshaw)

Order. The hon. Member has been in the House long enough to know that when he uses the word "you" he is referring to the occupant of the Chair. I am sure that I have not done any of the things that he is alleging. He must refer to "the Government" or "the hon. Members", not to me.

Mr. McQnade

I take it back Mr. Deputy Speaker—I was referring to the Government. Our widows and orphans are the sufferers from their actions. And to cap it all, the Government are so pleased with their performance that in their depressingly unimaginative paper recently they declared their intention to continue responsibility for what they call security. Is it any wonder that we despair? [Interrruption.]—I challenge hon. Members to say anything that they have to say outside the House.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I propose to call the hon. Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt), but before I do I must tell him that the Minister hopes to wind up at 12.35 am. I hope that he will bear that point in mind.

12.29 am
Mr. Gerard Fitt (Belfast, West)

Having listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Belfast, North (Mr. McQuade), I am inclined to support this kind of legislation.

I oppose this legislation tonight, as I have done since it was first introduced in 1973, because I believe that it is antidemocratic, it takes away the democratic rights of people in Northern Ireland, it is counter-productive and it alienates a whole section of the Catholic minority community in Northern Ireland because of the way in which that Act is implemented.

The hon. Member for Epping Forest (Mr. Biggs-Davison), in an interjection, said that there was draconian legislation in the Republic. In the last eight years, no matter how draconian the legislation might have been, it was nothing compared with what is happening in Northern Ireland. The facts of life are that in Northern Ireland in the last eight years 299, 380 homes have been searched—most of them in the early hours of the morning. About 25,000 people have been detained by the RUC or the security forces for between four hours and seven days.

It is easy to imagine the resentment and bitter animosity that such action can bring about. People have been driven from their beds in the early hours and detained. The young people in the community have been alienated. Most of the people who were interned for scheduled offences before the introduction of this legislation were 9, 10 or 11 years of age.

I oppose the legislation because it is counter-productive. It does not have the effect that was intended. It alienates a whole community. One must have serious doubts and reservations about the way in which confessions are brought before the courts. I recognise that once someone is charged under the legislation there is always a presumption of guilt—even by Members of the House—because the person is charged under the emergency provisions legislation. Once a person is so charged there is a reluctance by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Home Secretary to query convictions for even a second. I put it on record that I know people who are imprisoned under the emergency legislation who should not be imprisoned. I ask the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Home Secretary, to examine again the case of Bernard Conlan, who was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment and died in Wormwood Scrubs.

The Home Secretary found last week that, after a number of years, and after the cases had been thrown out of the Appeal Court, he was able, in conscience, to examine the facts and free two people. The hon. Member for Epping Forest has been involved with me in inquiring into the case of Bernard Conlan and the other people who were sentenced with him. I am convinced that Bernard Conlan was not guilty. He was tried and convicted under the emergency legislation. I hope that we do not have to wait for another book to be published by Ludovic Kennedy before the Home Secretary or the Secretary of State examines the authenticity of such cases.

Recommendations have been made throughout the years to modify the legislation. A succession of Secretaries of State say that they will not keep the legislation on the statute book one minute longer than necessary. Only a few months ago a fellow called Johnny Logan won the Eurovision song contest with a song called "What's another year?" That is how the Government regard this legislation. It has been too long on the statute book.

I ask the Secretary of State and the Home Secretary to look again at the conviction and the death of Bernard Conlan. They should take seriously on board the recommendations made by my hon. Friends. Another review body should be set up to inquire into all the ramifications of the Act to ensure that it is taken off the statute book as quickly as possible.

12.35 am
The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Mr. Michael Alison)

I shall try in the few minutes left before the guillotine falls on the debate, as it were, to deal briefly with the matters raised by all those who have taken part in the debate.

The hon. Member for Pontypridd (Mr. John) was helpful enough to indicate that he thought that the Act should be renewed. He agreed that exceptional laws are needed for exceptional circumstances. We warmly welcome his support in that broad approach. The hon. Gentleman complained that the analysis of the operations under the Act carried out by the standing advisory commission was not available. He has probably seen the annual report, which was published on 6 March 1980 as a House of Commons paper. There is a good deal of material in that document. More recently, a full press release was issued by the commission.

The hon. Gentleman expressed again his misgiving about the bail provisions. I can only refer him to the argument of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. He dealt at some length with his decision to leave the section 8 provisions as they are. The hon. Gentleman will recall that 45 per cent. of those involved in scheduled offence cases get bail, even under the existing arrangements. If we reversed the procedure to what it was before the emergency provisions legislation was introduced, the likelihood is that practically every case would result in the granting of bail. That would be going too far in one direction. The hon. Gentleman made an interesting suggestion—namely, the possible reactivation of the Gardiner committee. That is a relevant thought in the context of the ongoing cycle of renewal, which we shall consider without commitment.

The hon. Gentleman referred to schedule 4 and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. That is not a scheduled offence in any case in which the Attorney-General certifies that it is not to be treated as such an offence. The same applies to murder, manslaughter and a number of other offences associated with terrorism. There is a certain amount of flexibility in the operation of the schedule.

The hon. Member for Antrim, South (Mr. Molyneaux) expressed misgiving about the general uniformity and ration- ality of border crossings policy and the closures of such crossings. The hon. Gentleman will remember that my right hon. Friend recently authorised the closure of several more roads along the border between County Fermanagh and County Monaghan. Earlier in the year a number of other border crossings were closed. The decision to close the crossings is taken on the basis of advice received from the security force commanders, on whose professional judgment we need to depend.

The hon. Gentleman will note that we have 281 crossings along the whole of the border, 137 of which have been made impassable to normal traffic, which is a fairly high proportion.

Mr. Win. Ross (Londonderry)

Does the hon. Gentleman accept that it has not been found possible to carry out the advice of a number of hon. Members in this respect, including myself, until now, and that that advice was given to previous Governments? What sort of professional advice has been taken that seems to have been 10 years behind that given by politicians?

Mr. Alison

It is by no means an agreed operational advantage to close border crossings. The closure of crossings ties troops down in some circumstances. It is a fine balance, and we take the advice of professional advisers.

The hon. Member for Antrim, South referred to the Lacky crossing. On the night of 19-20 July—last Saturday and Sunday—old cars were placed on a cattle crossing a little way from the bridge. A bypass of earlier obstacles was built. The security forces discovered the crossing early on Saturday morning. As they approached they became suspicious that the makeshift bridge might be intended as a "come on". The hon. Gentleman will know the significance of that. They cordoned off the area, thus preventing any effective use of the crossing, and started a clearance operation for bombs. During Monday the Army set off four small explosions and one large one, which destroyed the makeshift bridge. Today an excavator is being used to deepen and widen the gulley at that point. The security forces expect to have completed the operation by now. The layout of the area, with the track on either side of the stream which marks the border, means that further attempts to construct makeshift crossings must remain possible but we intend to keep this road impassable.

The hon. Gentleman referred to the way in which we decided to drop the detention power orders and wondered whether we might not find ourselves caught out by what he called the "moles" getting in and advising possible terrorists that they would be made liable to detention. As he will appreciate, section 32 (3), and particularly (3) (b), of the Act enables the emergency procedure to be used. It might be that a particular suspect who might become the subject of a detention order, were we to reactivate them, would be in police custody at the time, making it possible for him to be detained. There would merely be an extrapolation from the fact that he was in detention, into a more extended form of detention by the activation of these powers. I do not think that the hon. Gentleman would have to worry that the person might get wind of what we were going to do.

The parliamentary debate would be ex post facto. This is the difference between what" we are doing now and the procedure of leaving things as they are. There would have to be the parliamentary debate. This is the difference and it is something that we feel the new circumstances justify.

The hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) had a complaint about the percentage of those charged and convicted of terrorist offences who did not receive custodial sentences. It is true that the percentage of those convicted who do not receive such sentences is high. Sentencing is, in the first place, clearly a matter for the courts and not my right hon. Friend. It should also be noted that the figures relate to those convicted of membership of an illegal organisation and of no other offences. The figures do not include those convicted of a more serious offence, such as murder, possession of explosives or of firearms. They tend, therefore, to relate to those against whom the police have the least substantial evidence and to those on the periphery of terrorism. This is essentially a matter for the courts to decide. Membership of an illegal organisation is the charge in these cases and is the explanation for the num- ber of non-custodial sentences in this category being relatively high.

The hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery) alleged that democracy was sick. I am bound to say that he managed to convey exactly the reverse of the truth. This Act, which we are asking the House to renew, openly spells out some derogations from the normal practice and standards of the rule of law in a free society in which democracy prevails. We come to the House. The whole thing can be openly debated. The facts are known, the derogations are discussed, the press is available to report our proceedings. We make no pretence—

Mr. Fitt

The press is not present.

Mr. Alison

Well, Hansard is there for the next day—at least, we hope it is.

The facts of the derogations are openly and specifically spelt out. I ask the hon. Member for Hillsborough to reflect on the contrast with Socialist countries. He will know that in the Socialist countries their policy is to have a spurious and high-sounding constitution spelt out, elaborating and proclaiming certain alleged civil rights. However, in those Socialist countries in which this spurious catalogue of civil rights is spelt out the secret police—

Mr. D. N. Campbell-Savours (Workington). Which Socialist countries?

Mr. Alison

The Soviet Union is a case in point. The secret police of the totalitarian society prevent the citizens enjoying those spurious rights. This is exactly the reverse of what we are doing.

The hon. Member for Belfast, North (Mr. McQuade) wanted a much more ruthless pursuit of the campaign against the terrorists. The hon. Gentleman is a man of dauntless personal courage, as we all know. He has not been reluctant to arrest armed terrorists and he deserves the utmost respect in this House. The way in which the number of terrorist offences has declined sharply in recent years, not least this year as compared with the last half of last year, is a clear indication of the fact that the policy that we are pursuing, which the hon. Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt) thinks much too draconian, old is nevertheless producing that type of movement towards a much lower incidence of terrorism than would be the case if the policy of the hon. Member for Belfast, North, of a much more ruthless, relentless pursuit of the terrorist was activated. The hon. Member for Belfast, West thinks that we are doing much too much, while his neighbour in Belfast, North thinks that we are doing much too little. Both hon. Members have suffered from the effects of terrorism. I think that the House has just about got it right in the kind of measures that we are taking.

The hon. Member for Belfast, West alleged that there were people in prison who should not be there. We shall look carefully at what he said and at the name that he quoted and the case that he made. This is a matter for the courts, but we shall reflect on what he said. In a democracy that is based on the rule of law and that brings to the House and

Division No. 425] AYES [12.46 am
Alexander, Richard Hamilton, Hon Archie (Eps'm&Ew'll) Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch (S Down)
Alison, Michael Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Proctor, K. Harvey
Arnold, Tom Haselhurst, Alan Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Hawksley, Warren Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Bendall, Vivian Henderson, Barry Robinson, Peter (Belfast East)
Benyon, Thomas (Abingdon) Hogg, Hon Douglas (Grantham) Ross, Wm. (Londonderry)
Berry, Hon Anthony Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Best, Keith John, Brynmor Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Biggs-Davison, John Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Blackburn, John Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Shersby, Michael
Boscawen, Hon Robert Knight, Mrs Jill Skeet, T. H. H.
Bradford, Rev. R. Lawrence, Ivan Speed, Keith
Bright, Graham Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Speller, Tony
Brinton, Timothy Loveridge, John Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire)
Brittan, Leon Lyell, Nicholas Squire, Robin
Brooke, Hon Peter MacGregor. John Stainton, Keith
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe) McQuade, John Stanbrook, Ivor
Cadbury, Jocelyn McQuarrie, Albert Stevens, Martin
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Major, John Stewart, John (East Renfrewshire)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Marlow, Tony Stradling Thomas, J.
Chapman, Sydney Mates, Michael Taylor, Teddy (Southend East)
Clark, Hon Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Mills, lain (Meriden) Tebbit, Norman
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Moate, Roger Temple-Morris, Peter
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) Molyneaux, James Thompson, Donald
Colvin, Michael Morrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester) Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)
Cope, John Murphy, Christopher Wakeham, John
Costain, Sir Albert Myles, David Walker, Bill (Perth & E Perthshire)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Neale, Gerrard Ward, John
Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Nelson, Anthony Wells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)
Fairbairn, Nicholas Neubert, Michael Wheeler, John
Faith, Mrs Sheila Newton, Tony Whitney, Raymond
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Normanton, Tom Wickenden, Keith
Fraser, Peter (South Angus) Onslow, Cranley
Garel-Jones, Tristan Page, Rt Hon Sir Graham TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Goodhart, Philip Parris, Matthew Mr. Carol Mather and
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Patten, Christopher (Bath) Mr. David Waddington.
Grist, Ian
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Home Robertson, John Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)
Campbell-Savours, Dale McKelvey, William Skinner, Dennis
Canavan, Dennis Maxton, John Stallard, A. W.
Cryer, Bob Maynard, Miss Joan Tilley, John
Daiyell, Tarn Mikardo, Ian
Dobson, Frank O'Halloran, Michael TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Fitt, Gerard Parry, Robert Mr. Kevin McNamara and
Flannery, Martin Richardson, Miss Jo Mr. Clive Soley.

Question accordingly agreed to.

discusses openly in the House the provisions for conducting the normal processes of the rule of law, there is nothing that we want to do more than to prevent abuse and to secure the fairest and most just treatment for the citizen. If the hon. Gentleman puts forward a case in which he alleges that there has been a miscarriage of justice, we shall consider it.

I think that in the short time that was left to me I have covered most of the points that were raised. I very much hope that the House will let us renew this Act for a further six months, which I hope and believe will enable us to make even further progress in the containment and ultimate defeat of terrorism.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 105, Noes 20.


That the draft Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 (Continuance) Order 1980, which was laid before this House on 8 July, be approved.