HC Deb 11 February 1981 vol 998 cc860-2
40. Mr. Ron Brown

asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland how many of those people charged with an offence under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1976 in Scotland during 1980 were subsequently convicted of an offence under a different Act.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

No one was so charged on indictment or complaint and convicted of a different offence.

Mr. Brown

Is not it the case that the "Glasgow Two", namely, Michael Duffield and Kirsteen Crosbie, were charged under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act and were later convicted under a different Act? Is that a sign that the Government intend to harass people on the Left such as those who sell newspapers at football grounds? That is patently obvious to me. The Solicitor-General must explain why this case came about in the first place.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I mean no discourtesy to the hon. Gentleman, but I am afraid that I did not hear the end of his question. I welcome the fact that he is here today to listen to the answer to the question he tabled for our last Question Time, when he was present but did not care to ask it.

The two persons in question were not charged under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1976. They were arrested under that Act. The purpose of their activities was to obtain publicity, which the hon. Gentleman is giving them. They were members of the revolutionary Communist group sympathetic to the aims of the IRA, just as the hon. Member is sympathetic to a revolutionary Communist group elsewhere which is sympathetic to the attitude of the Russians. The hon. Member should have better judgment than to suggest in these circumstances that there is prejudice on the part of the prosecuting authorities in Scotland against anyone of any political party.

Mr. Speaker

Private notice question. Mr. Stewart.

Mr. Canavan

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is there a precedent for a private notice question to be put to the Secretary of State for Scotland and for the Secretary of State to refuse to turn up to answer it? The question involves the loss of 5,000 jobs in Scotland. Therefore, is it right for him to use as an excuse the fact that he is away on business with the Common Market, an institution that has sold Scottish car workers and Scottish fishermen down the river?

Mr. Speaker

There are such precedents.