HC Deb 27 November 1980 vol 994 cc663-83 10.16 pm
The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Leon Brittan)

I beg to move, That the draft Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act 1980 (Continuance) Order 1980, which was laid before this House on 20 November, be approved. One month ago, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary reluctantly asked the House to give him a number of far-reaching powers to deal with the consequences of the industrial action by prison officers. In doing so, he recognised the genuine concern expressed on both sides of the House, and particularly by the right hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Rees), that those powers should be available for no longer than absolutely necessary.

Accordingly, my right hon. Friend tabled an amendment to the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act 1980 which reduced the period during which the provisions in part I of the Act could remain in force without renewal from three months to one month. Equally, however, he made it clear that, much as he regretted the necessity for the wide powers available under the Act, he would not hesitate to seek their renewal should the prison officers' industrial action and its consequences persist. That is why I must ask the House tonight to approve the order which is now before it.

The House will want to know first of all the position that has been reached in the dispute itself. As we have previously indicated, we believe that a solution is available. It lies in the adoption of a new duty system for prison officers which will eliminate the anomalies inherent in the present systems. Negotiations to achieve that end are being pursued vigorously.

The director-general of the prison service has met the Prison Officers' Association on four occasions since negotiations began and hopes to do so again very soon. In addition, there have been frequent informal but detailed discussions between the Home Office and the POA at different levels on various aspects of the dispute, relating both to its consequences on the ground and to prospects of bringing it to an end. For reasons which will be obvious, I do not propose to go into the details of the negotiations, but, of course, I accept that if the dispute were unduly prolonged the House would quite naturally expect to be informed of the general nature of what the new duty system would offer.

Hon. Members may have seen reports in The Times today which suggest that further progress may be slow. In fact, the Government have reason to assume that if the present negotiations continue to go forward the industrial action being taken by the Prison Officers' Association could be suspended well before a final decision is taken on the new duty system early in January.

I must now, however, go on to remind the House of the consequences of the action that the prison officers have taken in pursuit of their claim for certain meal break allowances, since it is those consequences to which the provisions we are seeking to renew tonight are a response.

Mr. Robert Kilroy-Silk (Ormskirk)

I do not wish to go into the merits of the dispute. However, will the hon. and learned Gentleman give an assurance that when a disputes procedure is established for prison officers, the Government will be prepared to accept as a part of that procedure a provision whereby arbitration will be available to the parties, so that a dispute of the present sort need never arise in future?

Mr. Brittan

I am not in a position to give such an assurance. The hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that to isolate one claim and one point from the dispute as a whole does not serve a useful purpose in the middle of negotiations.

The prison officers' action is essentially of three kinds. First, essential maintenance has been prevented and some workshops have been closed by a refusal to allow contractual work to be undertaken. Secondly, a refusal to carry out certain duties within prisons has led in many establishments to a serious deterioration in conditions for prisoners and the interruption of the normal routine for meals, exercise, work, education classes, association and visits. An inevitable consequence of such action has been to make regimes for prisoners even more barren than the existing stresses on the prison system have already made them. The third kind of industrial action taken by the Prison Officers' Association is perhaps the most serious, in that it disrupts not only the management of prisons themselves but the entire criminal justice system. The prison officers' refusal to receive prisoners sentenced or remanded by the courts is a direct challenge to the operation of that system.

As a result, some 3,500 prisoners are being held in police cells. There have been a number of reports in the press about the poor conditions for prisoners in many such cells. Of course, they are unsatisfactory. The Government have stressed from the beginning of the dispute that the majority of police cells were neither intended nor suitable for prolonged detention. They should not be, and in normal circumstances are not, used for that purpose. At present, however, there is no alternative to the continued detention of large numbers of prisoners in police cells. Moreover, the inevitable result of the failure of one part of the criminal justice system to fulfil its function is to create additional burdens for the other parts. In particular, the police are continuing to have to divert resources away from their primary purposes to look after 3,500 people who should be in prison. I wish to take this opportunity of repeating my thanks and those of my right hon. Friend to the police for the admirable way in which they have coped with this difficult problem.

It was largely to deal with the consequences of this form of industrial action that we asked for, and were granted, the powers contained in part I of the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act. The prison officers' action continues and the problems created by that action continue. Accordingly, I must ask the House for a renewal of those powers.

In doing so, I should give the House an account of how those powers have been used. Section 1 of the Act enables prisoners to be held in places approved for that purpose by the Secretary of State. Two such places have been approved. First, Frankland prison, the new dispersal prison near Durham, has been temporarily opened ahead of schedule and now holds about 600 prisoners. The second is Rollestone camp on Salisbury Plain, which was opened on 4 November and now holds about 300 prisoners. Both Frankland and Rollestone are being run by senior prison staff in co-operation with the Armed Services and the police. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has visited Frankland and my noble Friend the Under-secretary of State, Lord Belstead, has visited Rollestone. They were impressed with the efficiency with which both establishments are operating and with the way in which prisoners are being cared for in far from ideal circumstances. I pay particular tribute to the way in which members of the Armed Forces working in these establishments have adapted to their task. I know that the hon. Members for both places concerned have also visited them.

Mr. Douglas Hogg (Grantham)

Before my hon. and learned Friend leaves the question of the two camps, can he say whether the prisoners held there are remand prisoners or prisoners who are beginning to serve their sentence after conviction?

Mr. Brittan

I think I am right in saying that they are both. If I am wrong, I shall ensure that my hon. Friend is so informed.

I should also like to take this opportunity to deal with several points raised by hon. Members during Committee proceedings on the Act about the operation of the approved places and in response to which I gave a number of assurances. The first relates to the application to the approved places of the prison rules. Section 1 enables my right hon. Friend to modify the prison rules as they apply to the approved places should that prove necessary. The hon. Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk) in particular wanted to be sure that the prison rules covering the most significant provisions for prisoners would obtain in the approved places. I gave him that assurance and undertook to inform the House of any modifications. In the event, my right hon. Friend announced in answer to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Paddington (Mr. Wheeler) on 12 November that the only modifications in respect af approved places were to ensure that references to prison officers applied equally to Service men, where appropriate. My right hon. Friend has also made public, in answer to a question from the hon. Member for Durham (Mr. Hughes) on 12 November, the visiting arrangements for Frankland. Similar arrangements apply to Rollestone. I hope that that meets the points raised by hon. Members.

The second issue which I should mention is that of young offenders. The hon. Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett), supported by a number of his hon. Friends, asked for an assurance that no boys and girls aged under 16 should be detained in an approved place. I was unable to give such a categorical assurance, but I told the House that it was unlikely that this would be necessary as the number of receptions to detention centres and borstals were continuing with only limited delays. That remains the position. I can give no guarantee but, as I told the House in answer to a question from the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley) on 13 November, I can at present foresee no circumstances in which it would be necessary to detain an offender under 16 years of age in an approved place.

The third point raised during proceedings on the Act was that of the arrangements for local involvement in and inspection of the approved places. I gave an assurance then that boards of visitors would be appointed for Frankland and for any subsequent approved places. My right hon. Friend has invited some of those similarly involved in nearby prison establishments to form boards of visitors at both Frankland and Rollestone, and I should like to thank them for this work they have done and the time they have given to it.

The way in which Frankland and Rollestone have operated in far from ideal circumstances is a credit to all those concerned. As the House will appreciate, however, they are simply a response to an emergency and, as such, we would not wish to detain prisoners there longer than is necessary. We shall, of course, consider the question of any further camps as and when necessary.

Section 2 of the Act provides that where a person has been remanded in custody by a magistrates' court he will not be brought before the court at the end of the period of remand unless the court requires. The section also empowers the court to remand a defendant in his absence. This provision was necessary because there was no guarantee that prisoners produced on remand would be allowed back to prison during the course of this dispute, and it was also necessary to relieve the police from the requirement of producing prisoners at courts often many miles away. Those considerations remain as valid now as they were a month ago. The need for the provision is just as great now as when the Act was passed.

A number of hon. Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Grantham (Mr. Hogg) and the hon. Members for York (Mr. Lyon), Ormskirk and Heeley, expressed particular concern about this during proceedings on the Act. In response to that concern, I undertook that the courts would be asked by a Home Office circular to give the most serious consideration to the granting of legal aid on the first occasion the defendant appeared before the court if the court decided to remand him in custody. Courts were so advised as soon as the Act came into force. We have made inquiries of a number of courts about the operation of section 2, including a check as recent as yesterday, and we have no reason to suppose that the arrangements I described to the House are not working as they were intended.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York)

The Minister's assurance is all very well, but has he any statistics that may help us to form a judgment for ourselves? How many applications for legal aid in those circumstances have been refused?

Mr. Brittan

I do not have statistics to support my statement. Statistics may be available at a later date, but I assure the hon. Gentleman and the House, as I have already done, that those concerned at the Home Office have made a series of serious checks, and I am sure that if there was any evidence that the provisions that I foreshadowed when we dealt with the Bill were not working it would have come to light. It is significant that there is no suggestion that they are not working.

I turn now to the powers contained in sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Act to enable the Home Secretary to reduce the number of people in custody, by directing the release of persons committed or remanded in custody, by restricting the powers of the courts to commit to custody for non-payment of money and to direct the early release of prisoners not more than six months from the time when they would otherwise be released. When these provisions were debated during proceedings on the Act, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and, in another place, my noble Friend the Lord Chancellor made it quite clear that the Government were reluctant to use the powers contained in sections 3, 4 and 5 and would do so only if absolutely necessary. Despite the continuing pressure on the police and those involved in running the temporary accommodation, we have not used these powers.

About 1,000 extra places have been made available in the approved places to relieve the burden on police cells. More significantly, there has been a most welcome fall in the number of prisoners in custody. The prison population before the dispute began stood at a little over 44,000. There are now about 41,200 people in total in prisons, police cells and in Frankland and Rollestone. That is a fall of almost 3,000. We shall be analysing the reasons for that fall and, as my right hon. Friend said in the House on 13 November, it may be that some good will emerge in this respect at least.

We have therefore got by. But we shall need to have the powers in sections 3, 4 and 5 available to us. If we can avoid using them, we shall. Nevertheless, if circumstances require, my right hon. Friend has indicated that he will not hesitate to use those powers.

This dispute must be settled on terms which look to the future rather than the past. I very much hope that the current negotiations will enable that to happen, but we consider that it is imperative for the present powers to be renewed, and I ask the House to agree to that being done.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett (Stockport, North)

The Minister has not indicated any real hope that within the next four weeks there will be a clear settlement of the dispute. What proposals does he have for bringing the order back to the House in a month's time, bearing in mind that it will run out during the Christmas Recess? If we did not debate it before the recess, we would be debating it almost at the end of its period of operation. Will the order be brought back to the House before the Christmas Recess?

Mr. Brittan

If necessary, it will be brought back. As I said, I very much hope that the current negotiations will enable the dispute to be settled on terms which look to the future rather than the past, but we consider it imperative for the present powers to be renewed. Therefore, for the reasons I have given, I ask the House to agree to that being done.

10.34 pm
Mr. Merlyn Rees (Leeds, South)

The alteration made in the original Bill, requiring the Government to seek an extension from this House, was a wise one because of the speed with which the original legislation went through the House, and in any event because the tenor of the Bill severely weakened the rule of law. For those reasons, the House is considering the matter at monthly intervals.

My hon. Friend the Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett) has just received from the Minister a proper reply to his question, but there is one additional matter that I should like to raise. It relates to the fact that the Christmas Recess will come probably before the month is up, and that the Minister has assured us that we shall be dealing with the matter in the House if the dispute is still going on.

The Minister was light on figures tonight, and perhaps we understand why, but if the Government come back to us in three weeks' time, we should like to have the statistics laid out in an appropriate form. If they cannot be printed because of the shortage of time, perhaps they can be placed in the Library. The Minister mentioned the fall in the prison population. Next time we ought to be able to begin the evaluation of the reasons for that fall. What has happened in the dispute has given us all food for thought about what we could do about the size of the prison population.

The Minister has told us what he can tell us about the state of play in the negotiations. There have been four formal meetings and there is to be another formal meeting shortly. There have also been a number of informal meetings. We hear about the new duty system. Apparently the new system, at the least—I put it no higher than that—might make it possible for some of the problems of the Prison Officers' Association to be dealt with. I do not want to deal with them now. But while the dispute continues, prisoners are not being allowed into gaol. Problems do not arise only because of the legislation; they would arise anyway. In addition to prisoners not being allowed into gaol, the regimes for the treatment of prisoners, whatever their crimes, are wrong, or barren, or whichever word one cares to use.

Is the prison officers' dispute equally hard in all establishments? Is it the case that no prisoners are being admitted to any prison establishment other than the new ones that are called prison establishments? It is important to know the answer to that question. Is the dispute more difficult in some types of prisons than in others?

The Minister has given us figures about Frankland and Rollestone, on Salisbury Plain. From what I have heard, the conditions in these camps appear to be better than the conditions in some of the prison cells. The last thing that I want is for the dispute to continue, but if there is any chance of its continuing I hope that other camps are being prepared.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

From what I have heard, I would agree with my right hon. Friend that in some instances the conditions are better, but there appear to be some problems with people on remand in getting visits both from their relatives and from their solicitors.

Mr. Rees

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his intervention, but I want to talk mainly about the remand position, because I understand that the main powers being used by the Home Secretary are those affecting remand. I realise the difficulties when matters are in a fluid state, but the question of remand should be an important one for this House. What proportion of prisoners are able to be afforded the normal remand procedures?

When we last debated the matter, several hon. Members raised the question of remand in the context of distance. We realise that if a prisoner is taken from, say, London to Bodmin, it is a long enough distance to make the problem of coming to court within seven days a difficult one. Even if, under the new arrangements, a lawyer appears in court within the seven-day period, it remains important that a person in Bodmin, for example, should be taken to court within a 14-day period. Has anything been done?

My hon. Friend the Member for Stockport, North pointed out the problems of those on remand in the new camps, which are some distance from towns. The National Association of Probation Officers raised a number of issues. A particular group of people took my eye. The association referred to: The person of no fixed abode, and the problem drinker or recidivist, who might be suitable for supportive accommodation such as a bail hostel. Following a recent mention in the press about the under-use of some of these hostels, there is evidence that they are being used more fully, but difficulties still exist in making assessment and referral in a person's absence from court The association then mentioned the problems of a disturbed woman in a London court. The problem involved a particular type of prisoner for whom, the association claims, difficult problems have arisen in the past month.

The Minister gave us figures, 44,000 down to 41,200. Has more bail been given? There is a good reason for having the statistics next time. When I was Home Secretary some police forces, particularly the Metropolitan Police, argued about the adverse effect of bail. If more bail is being granted, is it being granted to certain types of prisoner? Have people been breaking their bail bonds? Has the problem become worse as a result of any increase in bail?

We heard about the escape from police cells. Have there been many escapes from police cells? Are escapes from police cells occurring at a proportionately higher rate than escapes from Army camps? That is important, because it concerns the general public. Whatever problems the Government face we should consider that.

What about cost? When we debated the money resolution, the position was not clear. What is the extra cost to local police authorities of police cells and police guards? In the London area, the precept comes from the GLC and the rest comes directly from the Exchequer. The procedure is not the same for the provincial forces. We should be interested to know the cost of the dispute in different parts of the country.

Although the subject may have been dealt with, I am not sure who is paying for the Army camps and what the total cost is. Sections 3 and 4 temporarily end the power to commit a person to prison for failure to pay a sum of money. I should like to know the numbers involved. What are the implications? In the early hours of the morning, when we debated this measure, I praised these sections. I received a number of letters—not a lot—complaining about my attitude. They said that those who did not pay fines or maintenance deserved to go to gaol.

There is growing concern about divorce and the 1973 Act. It is important to have figures. If they cannot be provided tonight, I shall understand.

The Government face two disputes. One of those disputes involves the firemen. I should be out of order to discuss that, but the Government have got themselves in a mess, and they are wrong.

If there is action by the prison officers, whatever we may feel about the justice of the claim by the Prison Officers' Association the Government must take steps in the public interest. It is our duty to look closely at the legislation and at the results of Government policy. I apportion no blame—indeed, I was involved at the time of the May report—but if there is to be agreement on this matter after formal and informal meetings I hope that it will be reached soon.

In view of the conditions in the police cells, the problems of remand, the Army camps in Durham and on Salisbury Plain, and the regimes in the prisons, it is time that the dispute was ended. We read of the occasional escape, but we do not know half of the problems caused by the fact that offenders are not going to normal prisons.

If we can step in in this way through necessity, surely, whether the dispute is settled or not, we can do something about the numbers in gaol. There are now 41,200 people in our gaols. The figure should be brought down to about 30,000. There are too many people in gaol. If we can interfere to deal with the situation because of a strike, we can interfere to deal with it without a strike. We could surely establish a better regime, if that is the right word, for the prison officers, in view of the problems that they face and the problems that they have caused. The only way to deal with the matter in the long run is for a prison officer to be not a turnkey but a professional, working with other professionals. The prison officer cannot carry out that role when there are more than 41,000 prisoners in our prisons.

It is sad to come to the problem in this way. However, we have asked questions tonight and we shall continue to press the Government on the size of the prison population.

10.47 pm
Mr. John Farr (Harborough)

I welcome what my hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State said tonight. However, I should like to back up the questions that have been put to him by the right hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Rees), particularly on the cost of the exercise so far. The Minister did not say anything about the cost, but it would be of interest to know what the cost has been so far. It is not clear whether the cost of the military operation is included in any costs that have been incurred.

Like hon. Members on both sides of the House, I welcome the reduction of about 3,000 in the prison population. However, I am sad that this reduction was caused by this set of circumstances.

The newest top security prison—Gartree—is located in my constituency. I have felt for a long time that we should not have so many people crowding our prisons. But we have not been able to keep up to date with the prison building programme. I am glad that there has been an 8 per cent. or 9 per cent. reduction in the prison population in a month. I hope that the numbers do not soar again.

Gartree is an all-male prison, and I have always had friendly relations with the prison officers there. They vote for me, anyway. Indeed, I shall be attending a Prison Officers' Association darts competition next week. On the occasions when I have met prison officers I have found them to be reasonable people, who carry out a difficult job involving the dregs of the underworld. Some of the prisoners at Gartree come from the dregs of life, and prison officers have to associate with them. One wonders how prison officers, as a body, remain so unsullied by those with whom they have to deal in the course of their duties.

In my talks with prison officers it has struck me that they are not being particularly unreasonable in suggesting to the Home Office that the solution should lie in a form of independent arbitration. All hon. Members want this dispute to end. It has dragged on for four weeks. I do not believe that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is right in merely digging his heels in and expecting the dispute to go away.

Another characteristic of prison officers is that they are very determined people. From talking to them as friends in my constituency, I know that they believe that they are right. They have experienced independent arbitration in the prison service before, and fairly recently. There is a precedent for it. Surely, whether or not there is a precedent, if the Government's case is safe and sound, and right and proper, the matter will be arbitrated in favour of the Government.

I urge the Government to think about the possibility of not continually saying "No" to arbitration, and to see whether an attitude that is a little more humane cannot be adopted by the Home Office towards prison officers. They do not have a militant record. They are not a militant group. They do probably the most unpleasant job in the country. I hope that my hon. and learned Friend will consider what I have said.

Will my hon. and learned Friend say something about the conditions at Gartree prison in relation to the wing that was wrecked in the riot three years ago? That wing has been completely repaired and renovated, at vast expense to the taxpayer, but it has not been put into use for many months. Is it a matter of policy to keep at Gartree three prison officers for every two prisoners, which has been the establishment there ever since the riot? Is it intended to put massive reinvestment in repairing D wing into use by putting prisoners back into it, where they were before? If that is the case, is the implementation of this action being held up through the actions of the POA? In other words, can my hon. and learned Friend give an assurance that once this dispute is settled, in the public interest there will no longer be wasteful inactivity in this great public asset?

Otherwise, I support the order.

10.53 pm
Mr. Stephen Ross (Isle of Wight)

I very much welcome some of the remarks of the hon. Member for Harborough (Mr. Farr). Like him, I feel that this matter should have gone to arbitration long ago. I know the reasons that the Government have put forward, but I hope that there will be a Division against the order, when I shall vote against it. I happen to think that the Home Office is still not moving anything like fast enough.

The other morning I heard the chairman of the Prison Officers' Association, Mr. Steel, saying that relations with the Home Office had never been worse. I wonder, therefore, whether it is true to say that if the new duty rota is agreed—one hopes that the rota will be expedited—it will bring the dispute to an end.

The Minister has given no figures about the number of prison officers who have already been put on report. What will happen to them? At Camp Hill prison some were being put on report a month ago for failing to carry out orders. The whole system is being fouled up.

As I rightly said a month ago, in the Isle of Wight there are three prisons, and the dispute does not concern officers there but they have come out in sympathy with their colleagues. The same thing has now happened in Northern Ireland. It must be an absolute disaster for this to happen in Northern Ireland.

I have the greatest respect for prison officers in Northern Ireland, particularly those in the Maze. They are very brave. They are in a traumatic situation. There is loyalty in the service, so they are out in sympathy. The dispute cannot be allowed to continue. We need much more effort to bring it to a conclusion. That may mean arbitration. The POA has said that if it loses it will accept the decision. It would be one way to get over a dispute which has cost a great deal of money and will cost a great deal more.

We have all received the report containing the view of probation officers. They are concerned about the effects of the dispute and they instance a number of cases where problems have arisen. They point out that 16-year-olds have been shut in cells for up to 24 hours a day. In addition, other prisoners who come before the courts and are due for parole cannot get back into prison and, therefore, lose their parole. That cannot be satisfactory. We must not allow the dispute to drag on.

If the Home Office got a move on, it could settle the dispute in 24 hours. Planning permission was given for a factory in my constituency in 24 hours. No one believes that it happened, but the factory was built in about three months. There must be a much greater effort to settle the dispute.

Relationships between prison governors and officers have been spoilt. I cited the case of Albany prison during our previous debate. I had a letter today from the governor, who is about to leave. He has done a first-class job. Relations between the governor and his officers have been excellent. A few years ago, Albany probably had the worst problems of any prison in the country. Things have improved, but a new governor will have to take over while the dispute is upsetting relationships between management and men. It should have been settled, and I hope that we shall not have to consider another renewal of the Act.

10.57 pm
Mr. John Wells (Maidstone)

We are having an inevitable second bite at dealing with the symptom. We are not dealing with the fundamental illness.

The previous Government and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary have moved in the right direction in seeking to give the prison service greater autonomy under the director-general, but a fundamental error, which affected the happiness of the prison service, was made when the Prison Commission was abolished. Until there is greater autonomy for the service, under the director-general, we shall have continuing trouble.

My hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Mr. Farr) said that he would have a lovely time at the POA dance but that all the prison officers in his constituency are male. I am more fortunate. As well as Maidstone prison, I have a beautiful borstal for girls in my constituency, so I have a broader selection of people to advise me.

I am convinced that until we get a happier prison service, in all its ramifications, we shall have continuing trouble. Of course, I support the order and the Act, but the lessons learnt from the dispute must be taken to heart and we must deal with the illness and not with the symptoms.

10.59 pm
Mr. Clive Soley (Hammersmith, North)

I hoped that the Minister would tell us that he did not intend to renew the Act. He ought to ask himself whether, if he had listened to the part of our previous debate in which we emphasised the parts of the May report that suggested arbitration, he would need to ask for a renewal and tell us that the Act will have to be renewed again before the Christmas Recess, which is what he implied.

Mr. Brittan


Mr. Soley

There is good reason to suppose that that will happen. If we had gone for arbitration, we would not have needed the emergency powers and it would have cost us far less in the long run. It would also have cost far less in terms of human misery and suffering and, in some cases, possible death.

I have received at least one query regarding a prisoner who was supposed to have been locked up in his cell for 22 hours a day and committed suicide. The Minister knows that people are under pressure. I am sure that I shall receive a response to the query in due course. The nature of the problem is far too serious to be regarded as a matter to be faced out with the POA simply because there could not be arbitration. Arbitration was possible. The Minister might have won his case without any of the draconian powers that have been taken.

I should like to refer to the problem of bail and the conditions in which some people are being held. I accept the Minister's assurance about young people. It is, however, known that 17, 18, 19 and 20-year-olds are being held in police cells for long periods along with people who have multiple social and psychological problems beyond their experience. The effect is bound to be traumatic. Is it claimed that because there are no 16-years-olds in this position we are doing well? I would not have thought so. It is shameful, in my view, that anyone under the age of 21 should be held in those conditions.

What about the adolescent who is psychologically disturbed? What checks are made on teenagers with a history of disturbance held in these conditions? There are none. What about psychiatric and probation reports that are normally requested? Are they being prepared? Is there good, solid evidence to show that probation and psychiatric reports are being prepared where needed?

The single, vagrant person, who is least able to speak for himself, can easily go to the bottom of the pool. Why are many bail beds in bail hostels empty? There can be only one reason. The effort normally made in a court to fill these beds cannot be made owing to the circumstances. These are questions on which we need answers soon.

I cannot hold back from recalling how, during the 1979 election campaign, the present Government, and particularly the Home Secretary, laid stress on law and order. They were going to get tough with criminals. They got tough all right. They got tough with habeas corpus. The prison population is going down. I am not opposed to that. The prison population is far too high and conditions in the prisons are far too bad. We shall not get good prisons until the number of prisoners is brought down. What we have seen is the Home Secretary waltzing through the penal system, unlocking the doors and throwing away the keys. This is the man who was going to get tough.

In my constituency, the Conservative candidate made great play of the fact that his party would get tough and lock people up. The Government are doing the exact opposite. Fortuitously, a degree of penal reform has been achieved because the Home Office chose to have a fight with the POA. I cannot escape the conclusion that the fight is about who runs the prisons. I want the Home Office, not the POA, to run the prisons. The issue is now different. Over the past two years, the prison officers have learnt a lot from their own experience. I do not believe that this industrial action was wanted by the officers one iota. They would have been only too willing to accept arbitration.

Let us consider the negotiations. I understand that at its delegate conference on 16 and 17 December the POA will consider suspending the action, but it will consider doing so only if it receives clear guidance from the Home Office on what it is being offered. Having talked to members of the POA at some length about the matter, I know that it is no good asking them to go to a special delegate conference with general terms about what can come from a new duty rota system. They will need much clearer guidance than that on what they are being offered.

The association intends to put what the Government offer it to the whole of its membership. That is exactly what this Government have been asking of the trade union movement. Therefore, the Minister had better get it right. If he does not, he will get a resounding "No" from the association, and then the Government will be hoist on their own petard, because a resounding "No" will be the result unless the offer makes sense to the officers concerned.

It would be infinitely better if in the first instance the Minister had accepted the idea of reintroducing the May committee, or a small sub-committee of it, for a short period to arbitrate on the lines of the paragraph in the committee's report that I cited when I spoke a month ago.

Whatever happens, will the Minister give a more positive response than he has done so far to the idea of setting up permanent arbitration machinery, so that we never find ourselves in this position again? I strongly resent Governments of any colour returning to the House increasingly often in this century to renew emergency powers that go on month after month and in some cases for many years. That is slowly whittling away at our democracy. I find it offensive, and above all in this instance I find it totally unnecessary.

11.7 pm

Mr. Douglas Hogg (Grantham)

As always, I listened with considerable care to the hon. Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Soley), but it seemed that tonight he made two very unfair criticisms of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. He began by saying that my right hon. Friend had unlocked the doors and thrown away the keys of the prisons. That seems to indicate that the hon. Gentleman did not listen to what my hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State told the House. The only powers that give anything like that ability to my right hon. Friend are those contained in sections 3,4 and 5 of the Act. As my hon. and learned Friend made perfectly plain, no orders have been made under those sections. Therefore, that criticism not merely is unfair but displays deafness or ignorance.

Mr. Soley

I think that the hon. Gentleman misheard me. What I said was that, in effect, the Home Secretary had waltzed through the penal system unlocking the doors. The fact is that the number of people in custody has dropped. That is what I am saying. If my language is colourful, that is fine; that is what it means.

Mr. Hogg

The hon. Gentleman has opened up another possibility—not that he is deaf or ignorant but that he did not know what he was saying. I have accurately recounted exactly what he said, and he cannot get round it.

The hon. Gentleman illustrates the weakness of his argument by making the latter point. He has stressed how the number of those in custody has fallen, and he is right. But it is entirely inconsistent then to argue that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has at the same time destroyed habeas corpus. The hon. Gentleman cannot reconcile the two.

In fact, maybe as an unexpected result of this legislation, the number of those granted bail has increased significantly. Therefore, the hon. Gentleman's criticism of my right hon. Friend is entirely devoid of merit and shows surprising ignorance from somebody of his background.

However, I share some of the hon. Gentleman's anxiety. Like other hon. Members, I am concerned about section 2. I have a number of questions concerning its operation. I imagine that since the passage of the Act the vast majority of prisoners remanded in custody will have been held in custody for about four weeks without their having been brought back before the courts. How many instances have there been, therefore, of courts making orders under the two provisions of the section which enable a court to require an offender to be brought back before the expiration of the remand period? These are detailed questions, but they are important because they go to human liberty. If my hon. and learned Friend cannot give an oral answer I shall be content with a written reply, although I should hope for the former.

Mr. Keith Best (Anglesey)

It is my experience within the past few weeks in the courts that in some cases prisoners have been brought back before the courts where it was thought likely that they would be granted bail, even though they had already been remanded in custody. Will my hon. Friend ask my hon. and learned Friend to clarify upon whose fiat that is done? Who decides who will be granted bail and, therefore, determines whether prisoners will be brought back before the courts?

Mr. Hogg

My hon. Friend has put the point so eloquently that my hon. and learned Friend will no doubt deal with it when he replies.

Another matter I wish to explore concerns offenders who are held in designated places under section 1 or in police cells. Is my hon. and learned Friend satisfied with the arrangements for those prisoners having access to friends and relatives but more particularly to their legal advisers? It is most important that offenders in custody should have early access to their legal advisers. My suspicion is that there is no privacy in police cells. Is my hon. and learned Friend content with the arrangements made in police cells to enable offenders to see their legal advisers in privacy so that confidential information can be exchanged?

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

Some solicitors seem to feel that they are being asked to appear in court almost by proxy for their clients without having had the opportunity to see them. They are therefore unable to satisfy the court that they have seen their clients and that they know that their clients are in good health.

Mr. Hogg

That is a valuable point, but that has always happened. If it is happening now, as I suspect, it is a result not of the Act but of practice and procedure in magistrates' courts over many years.

I seek the Minister's confirmation that he is satisfied that in the majority of police cells or police stations offenders have facilities to discuss confidential matters with their advisers.

11.14 pm
Mr. Robert Kilroy-Silk (Ormskirk)

A great many questions have been put to the Minister, but one fundamental one has not been. When will the dispute be settled, and why has it not been settled before? The Government have a nerve coming back to the House after pushing the Act through Parliament, disrupting the parliamentary timetable by their refusal to deal with the prison officers' claim, and having been given by Parliament a month in which they could have reached an honourable and negotiated settlement.

They have indicated once again their obstinacy and recalcitrance in dealing with what the hon. Member for Harborough (Mr. Fair) described as a decent, law-abiding, hard working group who feel that they have a legitimate and justifiable grievance, to whom the Government refuse to listen and with whom they are still less prepared to negotiate.

It is inconceivable that a Tory Government, elected on a law-and-order platform, should ride roughshod over the judiciary as they did when enacting the legislation, and that they should have failed so completely to deal with the industrial relations problems in our prison. As a result, they have caused enormous disruption in the prisons, the courts, and the police cells, and to the parliamentary timetable. Yet they must still come and beg the House to give them more time. They would not have needed the time if they had been prepared to negotiate an honourable settlement with the prison officers.

The Minister should have given a detailed summary of the negotiations being conducted by the Home Secretary on behalf of the Government. After all, the Government are responsible to the House. We have a right to know what is on the table and being offered to the prison officers. We have a right to know the current sticking points. We should not have to rely upon our own informal, unofficial contacts. The current position should be clearly and openly on the record, so that hon. Members can take a clear view on the merits of the case and the negotiating positions.

Mr. David Mellor (Putney)

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman is slightly spoiling his reputation as a bipartisan expert on the subject by making cheap, partisan points about the dispute. Is he really suggesting that the trouble with the prison officers has developed only since the present Government came to power? If he is, he speaks nonsense. Is he aware that the prison officers have taken issue with the report by the commission that the right hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Rees) rightly set up? The issue should worry hon. Members on both sides. The hon. Gentleman is making cheap party points.

Mr. Kilroy-Silk

My right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Rees) believes that I am attacking him as much as the present Home Secretary. That is not the point. If he was wrong and the Home Secretary is wrong, they are, or were, wrong. The Government are wrong. Irrespective of the merits of the case, the prison officers believe genuinely and sincerely that right is on their side. The Home Secretary believes otherwise. He has said that all the merits are on his side. If that is so, why is he not as confident in the justice of his case as are the prison officers? Why does he not put it to independent, objective arbitration?

Eventually we must settle the dispute. Because of the resentment and frustration engendered by the dispute, the relationships between prison officers and the Home Office will cause enormous problems for the Home Secretary and the prison department when they try to build up morale and, more important, try to persuade the prison officers to agree to the important reforms that we all want. We shall not achieve the co-operation necessary to push through the reforms in the atmosphere of bitterness and resentment that the Government have unnecessarily created and sustained by their blind, obstinate refusal to treat the prison officers as members of a respectable, organised trade union.

That is part of the problem. Neither side seems to know whether the prison officers should be a disciplined, organised force, subject to rules, regulations, commands and discipline, with uniforms, marches and para-military style ethos and atmosphere. They do not know whether the prison officers should behave, as they are, as a work group subject to the normal constraints and procedures of industrial relations, with a disputes procedure and an arbitration and conciliation framework.

If the Prison Officers' Association cannot sort the problem out, the Home Secretary must sort out whether he expects the prison officers to act like any other work force, which wants to bargain collectively and have proper disputes procedures and collective agreements, or whether they are that so-called disciplined and respectable force which they may have once been but clearly by their actions in this dispute and others in previous years have shown that they are no longer.

The Home Secretary's refusal even to attempt to negotiate an honourable settlement will not only affect prison officers but will have serious consequences for the 3,500 people who are today in police cells, denied their basic human rights and, as Conservative Members have reminded us tonight and in previous debates, denied the most fundamental right—to appear in court at regular intervals when on remand.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

Whose fault is that?

Mr. Kilroy-Silk

It is the Home Secretary's fault. He bears the responsibility. That is why his junior Minister is here tonight asking the House for a renewal of the powers. The Home Secretary is formally and constitutionally responsible. He can settle the dispute not on the prison officers' terms—

Mr. Brittan

I suggest that the hon. Gentleman—

Mr. Kilroy-Silk

I do not need the hon. and learned Gentleman to tell me about parliamentary procedure. If he wishes to intervene, he should come to the Dispatch Box. It is within the Home Secretary's power tonight to settle this dispute not on the terms asked for by the prison officers but simply by saying that he accepts the rationale of deciding by independent arbitration the issues in dispute between the parties. He has the responsibility.

Mr. Paul Hawkins (Norfolk, South-West)

I had been hoping to make a brief speech, but the hon. Gentleman will clearly speak for the time remaining.

Surely the May report was arbitration. The matter was settled only a few months ago. Why should we have arbitration over arbitration?

Mr. Kilroy-Silk

Because we live in the real world. We do not live by words like "arbitration" and see them as shibboleths. Conservative Members must realise that. The Prison Officers' Association is sincere and profound in its belief that the May committee was not arbitration. On a number of the claims put by the prison officers, the May committee pointed out specifically that it did not see itself as an arbitrator and was not prepared to arbitrate on those issues. The prison officers do not believe that the May committee arbitrated. We have to deal with their grievances, resentments and industrial action. The only response by the Home Secretary and the Government to every group of industrial workers, including the firemen, is to pick a fight and confront them. They use their parliamentary majority and ability to get through the House Bills and orders renewing them. Those orders deny basic human rights.

Had the Labour Party been in government, Conservative Members would have been vociferous and indignant in opposing such policies. However, they all ask polite, courteous questions of the Minister. They are not interested in the answers. They merely want to get on the record their concern, but they will not take that concern far enough to vote against the Government tonight.

As a consequence of the Government's action, many thousands of people are subjected to degrading and inhuman conditions in police cells. The police are doing a magnificent and tremendous job in extremely difficult circumstances. However, many people in prisons and police cells are being denied basic human rights. In addition, the consequences for industrial relations in the future are horrendous and enormous.

The Home Secretary could have made one significant and important contribution while the dispute continues. It is within his power—and it is within the terms of the Act—to stop the imprisonment of fine and maintenance defaulters and, indeeed, to order the early release of prisoners within prisons. If the right hon. Gentleman found it expedient or appropriate to put that power into the Act, why does he now not use it? If it is not going to threaten the basis of our society or pose a threat to our fellow citizens by the release of fine and maintenance defaulters, or at least their non-imprisonment, and will enable the early release of other prisoners who are not dangerous, why does not the right hon. Gentleman at least take this opportunity to make a constructive and positive contribution to penal reform by insisting that that proposal is implemented?

I ask my hon. Friends and Conservative Members who may actually believe in what they are saying to join me in the Lobby to vote against this measure. We do not expect to win. We know the sheep-like complacency of those on the Government Benches. The Division will demonstrate that this House is prepared to censure a Government who ride roughshod over the prison service, the judiciary and prisoners's rights.

Mr. Best

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Kilroy-Silk

By that means the House will censure the Government for their inability and unwillingness at least to listen if not hear—

Mr. Best rose

Mr. Kilroy-Silk

—the grievances of the prison officers.

11.27 pm
Mr. Paul Hawkins (Norfolk, South-West)

Much of what we have heard appears to have been a defence of wrongdoers and not a defence of those who have been offended against. We spend our time talking about the human rights of prisoners but never think about the human rights of those who have been attacked in the streets by those who are currently in prison. We seem never to think of the victims of oppression and attacks. The thesis of some Labour Members seems to be that we should defend those who are in prison. Those persons need not have been in prison if they did not want to be.

My hon. and learned Friend the Minister is right to introduce this measure. I should have preferred the powers to run for six months from the date of enactment instead of his having to return to the House after one month, but perhaps that was not possible.

My hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Mr. Wells) spoke of basic causes. One of the basic causes of the prison officers' dissatisfaction with their conditions is the immense overcrowding in gaols and the impossibility of any Government providing the immense funds that are necessary to provide new gaols.

I have suggested to the Home Office that it should introduce Army-type prisons. I understand that it has opened one such prison. It should have far more of these gaols. I spent five years in those types of gaol with barbed wire around the outside. It is a type of gaol that has many advantages. I am not suggesting that they should be occupied by those who have committed serious offences of violence, for example. They have considerable advantages for gaolers. They are freed from having to open and shut gaol doors and from having to give the prisoners exercise. The prisoners can have far more exercise and far more of a human life within a large area where they can play games and have ordinary amusements as well as haying the opportunity to mix. I understand that one such camp has been set up on Salisbury Plain.

Such camps would reduce the number of prisoners who are accommodated two or three to a cell. That must reduce the strain on prison warders. I wish to hear my hon. and learned Friend's reasons for arguing that we should not adopt this form of prison on a much wider scale. It is said that those in our prisons are not like those who were prisoners of war. I have received a letter in which it is stated that there is a great deal of camaraderie between prisoners of war but not between prisoners in the sort of prison that I have described. If they attacked each other, and if they had been convicted, would we really worry? Quite frankly, I would not. I think far more of the victims outside, and I want to keep the offenders inside. I would not mind if there were armed guards outside such camps. That is the way in which we must look at this issue. Personally, I believe that we are too namby-pamby about the way in which we treat our prisoners.

Mr. Soley

I am touched by the hon. Gentleman's sudden interest in the victim. Perhaps he will lend his support to the victim support scheme, which many Labour Members have supported for ages. I have never known him to give it any support, still less put his money where his mouth is. Nor have I known him or the Government give such victims financial support.

Mr. Hawkins

The hon. Gentleman spoke so rapidly that I did not quite get his point. Would he like to repeat it?

Mr. Soley indicated dissent.

Mr. Hawkins

Perhaps he will write and tell me what it was. I do not know whether I am supposed to put my money in my mouth or somewhere else, but that was the only part of the hon. Gentleman's intervention that I heard.

If any hon. Member consults his constituents—and this is where I have a criticism of the Government—I believe he will find that the majority feel that we have not done what we said we would do — namely, have real enforcement of law and order.

The first thing that we must do is get the police back on to the streets. They should be walking around the market places and the streets on Friday and Saturday evenings. What is the good of policemen in panda cars? They do not get to know the people who can give the police information. They do not get to know the wrongdoers. I believe that we ought to have far more police on the streets.

Even in the small market town in my constituency, there is never a policeman around on a Saturday night. One used to be able to walk along a pavement without being pushed off by half a dozen people who are liable to threaten any woman who walks by.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Richard Crawshaw)

Order. The hon. Gentleman is going a little wide of the subject of this debate.

Mr. Hawkins

Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am sorry if I have strayed beyond it, but law and order have been mentioned. However, it is perhaps too wide of the subject that we are discussing, and I thank you for your gentle reminder.

I feel strongly that we should make real endeavours to change our whole prison system. We should not put minor offenders into prison, thereby relieving a large number of people who would otherwise go to prison. We should consider putting a large number of non-violent offenders into large, open, barbed-wire, Army-style camps.

Mr. Soley

They would get out.

Mr. Hawkins

I do not think so. We could try the Isle of Wight, which would be a good area for some of these camps.

I honestly believe that that is a way in which to solve a lot of our problems. It would reduce the concern that prison warders rightly feel about the strain of their work. I particularly commend the work that they do in Northern Ireland, where the strain must be immense. The fact that they realise that they are marked men and are liable to be shot at each time they walk to and from their jobs is something that should be highly commended. I am sorry if they contemplate strike action, because I am sure they realise just how serious the situation in Northern Ireland is.

I hope that my hon. and learned Friend will give a full reply to the matter that I have raised. In fact, I wrote to his hon. Friend about it and received a reply, although I did not think that it was a sensible one. However, I believe that such prisoners would have far more freedom within a camp such as I have described.

Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones (Watford)

Does my hon. Friend agree that many of the prison officers who are taking part in this action are unhappy about it?

Mr. Hawkins

A number of prison officers live in my area. Perhaps fortunately, or unfortunately, I do not have a prison in my area. A number of these officers have come to me and said—

Mr. Stephen Ross

It can be arranged for the hon. Member to have a prison in his area.

Mr. Hawkins

The Isle of Wight and I will share one.

I believe that many of the prison officers do not like the type of dispute in which they have become involved under their present leadership or the situation in which they find themselves. They have always been a disciplined force, and that is what they should be. I do not believe that they can be a normal trade union organisation. I consider that they have to be given extra money for being a disciplined force and not going on strike. Nevertheless, I cannot see that fresh arbitration, on top of the May report—which any normal person reading it would consider was arbitration—would be helpful. I sincerely hope that my hon. and learned Friend will be able to convince the prison officers that they can do without a prison strike and that they will not want arbitration, and so I hope — [Interruption.] Does my hon. Friend the Member for Buxton (Mr. Lawrence) want to intervene?

Mr. Ivan Lawrence (Burton)


Mr. Hawkins

He is now apparently tongue-tied.

Many of the prison officers do not want to enter into this type of strike action. They know their responsibilities. They know that people outside depend upon them for their safety and for the safety of their women, children and homes. They know that if they let people out, damage will be done.

Mr. John Wells

I was glad to hear my hon. Friend pay tribute to the work, and the quality of work, of the prison officers, and in particular their anxieties for families, and so on. Another person involved with the prison service to whom I hope my hon. Friend will pay tribute is Lord Belstead, who has brought to his dealings with my unhappy constituents in prison and prison officers in my constituency much more hope than there was under the previous noble Lord representing the Labour Government. I feel that Lord Belstead is doing a good job in getting the prison service on to a better footing.

Mr. Hawkins

I am glad to be able to support that, but—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. Before the hon. Gentleman continues, may I say that it might have been the wish of the House to give the Minister leave to speak again to reply to the debate? There is only seven minutes left for this debate.

Mr. Hawkins

I shall be glad to give way to my hon. and learned Friend. I am sorry to hear that my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone probably has more of his constituents in gaol than he has gaolers. I agree that Lord Belstead is a good Minister, and he has undoubtedly made a great impression on the prison service.

11.39 pm
Mr. Brittan

During the debate a number of points of detail have been raised, which I should like to answer. Also, some rather sweeping general things have fallen from the lips of the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk). For example, he described the treatment of prisoners in police cells as deprivation of basic human rights. That language was characteristically extravagant and equally characteristically unjustified. All the people concerned are in lawful custody, and every effort is being made to give them the maximum possible rights to which they are entitled under the law. That suggestion is wholly without foundation and was included in the hon. Gentleman's speech only in order to eke out the rather thin content that otherwise symbolised it. However, a number of serious points were raised during the debate.

My hon. Friend the Member for Grantham (Mr. Hogg), I am sure unwittingly, bowled me out first ball, because I gave an incorrect answer that I now wish to correct. Frankland and Rollestone camps contain sentenced prisoners, not remand prisoners.

The question of arbitration was raised by a number of hon. Members. I do not propose to go over that ground in detail because the argument has not changed since it was dealt with by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary when we were debating the Bill. The subject matter of the dispute was put to the May committee at the time that it was deliberating, and my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Hawkins) is right in saying that those who seek arbitration are inviting two bites at the same cherry.

Mr. Stephen Ross

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Brittan

No, I am sorry, I shall not give way. There is no time. I wish to answer some of the other points.

It has been suggested that there has not been serious negotiation. That suggestion is unfounded. In my opening remarks I gave details of the extent of the negotiations that have taken place, and I also indicated that the progress that has been made is encouraging. Therefore, there is no truth in the suggestion to the contrary that fell from the lips of the hon. Member for Ormskirk and the hon. Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Soley).

The right hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Rees) asked about the remand provisions. The courts appear to be making directions for the appearance in court of prisoners whenever solicitors or legal advisers appearing for the prisoners make such a request. The courts have shown a readiness to ensure that whenever the person acting for the prisoner thinks that it is in his interest to appear personally in court, that request is granted. I am not saying that there has never been an exception to that, but our inquiries indicate that that is the position.

I was also asked about medical and psychiatric reports. On first admission to police cells, all prisoners are examined in the same way as they are examined on reception at prison.

My hon. Friend the Member for Grantham also asked about the opportunity to meet legal advisers in police cells. Again, the police have been asked and have agreed to ensure that provision for such meeting is made to the best extent possible. He asked me whether I was satisfied as to the conditions in every case. It is impossible to be totally satisfied, because the circumstances in the police cells inevitably vary from place to place. I am satisfied that every endeavour has been made to secure the situation that both he and I want, and that has been overwhelmingly successful.

Reference was also made to the documents sent from the National Association of Probation Officers with regard to the alleged under-use of bail hostels. There are spare places in bail hostels, but that is not a new factor and I do not believe that section 2 of the Act that we are discussing can legitimately be blamed, because the situation has not been affected in that sort of way.

With regard to visits in police cells, the facilities available in police accommodation are limited as to visits but the police are doing what they can to ensure that visits can take place in satisfactory circumstances.

My hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Mr. Farr) asked specifically about Gartree. I understand that the principal difficulty in opening the renovated accommodation has been the need to provide alternative access to the wing in question, There are plans for such provision and there is every intention to make full use of all the accommodation at Gartree as soon as possible.

Those were the principal points that were raised during the course of the debate, and I hope that—

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett rose

Mr. Brittan

I shall not be able to give way, because time on the point is running out. I hope that the House will accept that the powers that have not been used are a significant indication of the fact that the powers that have been used have been used carefully, reticently, and with success.

It being one and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business).

The House divided: Ayes 91, Noes 25.

Division No. 3] [11.45 pm
Alexander, Richard MacKay, John (Argyll)
Ancram, Michael Major, John
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Marlow, Tony
Banks, Robert Mather, Carol
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Bendall, Vivian Mellor, David
Berry, Hon Anthony Miller, Hal (B'grove)
Best, Keith Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Blackburn, John Morris, M. (N'hampton S)
Blaker, Peter Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)
Boscawen, Hon Robert Murphy, Christopher
Bright, Graham Neale, Gerrard
Brinton, Tim Neubert, Michael
Brittan, Leon Normanton, Tom
Brooke, Hon Peter Page, Rt Hon Sir G. (Crosby)
Brotherton, Michael Page, Richard (SW Herts)
Brown, M. (Brigg and Scun) Parris, Matthew
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Chapman, Sydney Pollock, Alexander
Colvin, Michael Proctor, K. Harvey
Cope, John Rhodes James, Robert
Dorrell, Stephen Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Dover, Denshore Silvester, Fred
Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Speed, Keith
Faith, Mrs Sheila Stevens, Martin
Farr, John Stradling Thomas, J.
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Tebbit, Norman
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Thompson, Donald
Garel-Jones, Tristan Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)
Gow, Ian Viggers, Peter
Griffiths, Peter Portsm'th N) Waddington, David
Hawkins, Paul Wakeham, John
Hawksley, Warren Waller, Gary
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Ward, John
Hunt, David (Wirral) Watson, John
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Hurd, Hon Douglas Wells, Bowen
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Wheeler, John
Kershaw, Anthony Whitney, Raymond
Kitson, Sir Timothy Wickenden, Keith
Lawrence, Ivan Wilkinson, John
Le Marchant, Spencer Winterton, Nicholas
Lester Jim (Beeston) Wotfson, Mark
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Loveridge, John Tellers for the Ayes;
Lyell, Nicholas Mr. Tony Newton and
Macfarlane, Neil Lord James Douglas Hamilton.
MacGregor, John
Alton, David McNamara, Kevin
Bagier, Gordon A.T. Parry, Robert
Beith, A. J. Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Campbell-Savours, Dale Price, C. (Lewisham W)
Cryer, Bob Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Dixon, Donald Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Dubs, Alfred Sheerman, Barry
Grant, George (Morpeth) Stott, Roger
Haynes, Frank Tilley, John
Home Robertson, John Welsh, Michael
Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Young, David (Botton E)
Kilroy-Silk, Robert Tellers for the Noes:
Litherland, Robert Mr. Andrew F. Bennett and
Lyon, Alexander (York) Mr. Clive Soley.

Question accordingly agreed to.


That the draft Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act 1980 (Continuance) Order 1980, which was laid before this House on 20 November, be approved.