§ Mr. Robert Kilroy-Silk (Ormskirk)
I have the honour and the privilege to present a petition, a similar one to which has attracted 50,000 signatures. I should like to pay tribute to Mrs. Judy Woods and Miss Jacquie Boucherat for the conscientious dedication to this cause and the enormous amount of work they have put in in organising this petition and collecting the signatures. The petition is as follows:
To the honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.
The humble petition of citizens of the United Kingdom sheweth that there is deep concern at current practices at Rampton Hospital;
Wherefore your Petitioners humbly pray that your honourable House will do all in its power toil) ensure that section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1920 should no longer apply to—(1) ensure that local authorities and local hospitals accept their responsibilities for patients at Rampton Hospital who have been declared fit for transfer or discharge and who no longer require the maximum security conditions of Rampton Hospital.(2) effect the transfer of severely subnormal patients from the maximum security conditions of Rampton Hospital;(3) facilitate the increase in the number of nursing staff at Rampton Hospital possessing the qualification in psychiatric nursing of Registered Mental Nurse, and in the number of senior nurses appointed from other hospitals;(4) enable allegations of ill-treatment at Rampton Hospital to be independently investigated rather than, as at present, by Rampton Hospital Staff;(5) effect the implementation of the recommendations of the Elliot Report (1973) for improving the functioning of the hospital; and679(6) ensure that local authorities and local hospitals accept their responsibilities for patients at Rampton Hospital who have been declared fit for transfer or discharge and who no longer require the maximum security conditions of Rampton Hospital.And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, etc.
§ Mr. Joseph Ashton (Bassetlaw)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Rampton hospital is in my constituency. Two investigations are taking place. One of those investigations has been reported to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Therefore, is not the matter sub judice? Surely it is out of order to bring a petition at this stage.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Richard Crawshaw)
I did not hear anything this evening that could be considered sub judice.
§ Mr. Ashton
Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Director of Public Prosecutions is investigating the allegations made in the petition. The Nottinghamshire police have taken almost a year to investigate those allegations. The papers are with the Director of Public Prosecutions. It would therefore be wrong if the House were to accept the petition.
§ Mr. Kilroy-Silk
Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I gave notice to my hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) that I would present this petition, which concerns the special hospital in his constituency. He is wrong to suggest that the matters in the petition are sub judice. He is correct to say that there is a police and a departmental investigation in progress. There is a reference to the latter in the petition. However, the petition concerns allegations that have been made since then—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I do not think that the hon. Gentleman need proceed. The petition has been duly presented. It may be deposited.
§ To lie upon the Table,
§ Mr. John Blackburn (Dudley, West) rose——