HC Deb 16 June 1981 vol 6 cc882-902

  1. '(1) It is a contempt of court for anyone other than a solicitor acting in the proceedings in question to use in court any tape recorder or other instrument for recording sound while the proceedings are taking place in chambers or in camera and any such tape recording made by such a solicitor shall not be used for any purpose except for the conduct of those proceedings and shall not be played to the public or any section of the public.
  2. (2) It is a contempt of court for anyone to reproduce any recording of proceedings for the purpose of a broadcast.
  3. (3) Subject to subsections (1) and (2) above it is hereby declared that it is lawful to use in court, and to bring into court for use any tape recorder or other instrument for recording sound and that the leave of the court shall not be required.'.—[Mr. Archer.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Peter Archer (Warley, West)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Speaker

With this we are taking amendment No. 7, in page 4, line 17, leave out clause 10.

Mr. Archer

The clause is almost unique on Report. It is moved precisely because it is thought not to be controversial. It is not intended to be divisive. Among the matters we discussed at some length in Committee was the subject of tape recorders. The two sides of the Committee achieved a wide consensus. I hope to state that consensus as fairly and untendentiously as I can.

We agreed that tape recorders fulfilled precisely the same function as shorthand writers. They probably fill it more accurately, and that entails no disrespect to the very high standards of shorthand writers in our courts. A tape recorder is rather less likely to mishear, and, when it does mishear, at least it is clear that it has misheard. Not having the intelligence of a human being, it does not make an informed guess to fill the gap; so at least it is known when there is a gap. It is probably less susceptible to occasional lapses in concentration and less open to human error, all of which is only to say that shorthand writers are human and, as I said in Committee, I never cease to be amazed at their consistantly high standards. 4.45 pm

There is another sense which was not mentioned in Committee in which tape recorders may be more accurate than shorthand writers. They can record the inflexion of a voice, and all those who have had to appeal a direction to the jury will know that the difference between two directions may lie not in the words—the words may be identical—but in the tone of voice in which they are said.

The tape recorder is less expensive. That may be an important consideration when a litigant of limited means is engaged in a contest with, for example, an opulent company. A tape recorder may be tampered with, but tampered with to about the same extent as a shorthand note if someone is minded to be dishonest. On the other hand, it may take longer to read back a tape recording than it does to ask a shorthand writer to read back a shorthand note. There are advantages in both, and there might be good arguments for continuing to use both in our courts.

A tape recorder may be noisy, although many modern tape recorders are noisless, like other electronic devices. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, West (Mr. Janner) confessed in Committee that he had been out of order without our knowledge for some minutes and was able to tell us the result of the cup final.

A tape recording is more dramatic than a shorthand note. That was the objection of the Phillimore committee. A witness or a litigant might feel inhibited at the thought that an answer might be recorded and, in addition, subsequently broadcast and I appreciate the feelings. This, I suspect, is what was meant in another place by Lord Roskill when he said that tape recorders would be distracting.

Tape recorders and shorthand writers each have their place, and the question certainly is not resolved by exchanging epithets like "Luddite" and "closed shop". In the light of all these considerations, the Committee achieved a wide measure of agreement on what should be the width of the restriction.

First, it seems sensible that the court should have a tape recorder available. As this is entirely under the control of the judge, it does not matter whether or not we say that it shall not be used without the leave of the judge. That does not provide any problem.

Secondly, we believe that a tape recorder should be available to the parties and their advisers, although in the clause we have confined the privilege relating to that specifically to solicitors. We have not even extended it to parties acting in person. To employ a shorthand writer may be very expensive. A tape recorder is less expensive and, provided that it is used only for the purposes of the proceedings, there seemed to be agreement in Committee that there was no objection to this.

The clause provides that it should be open to a solicitor to use a tape recording for the purpose of the proceedings in chambers without having to request the leave of the judge. That eliminates the need for unnecessary applications, and the happily diminishing number of judges who do0 not like modern technology are not tempted. If the tape recorder is noisy, that will not affect the right of a judge to deal with any noisy distraction, whether it is a tape recorder or anything else. Whatever the source of the distraction, he can deal with it.

Thirdly, it was agreed that the tape recording should be available to ordinary members of the public. We would not want a foreigner—who had dropped into our courts because he had heard praises of our legal system—and who turned on his tape recorder to find that he had inadvertently exposed himself to proceedings for contempt and, as the Bill is worded, to have his tape recorder confiscated. I ventured to say in Committee that that was reminiscent of the Anglo-Saxon law of deodand whereby a cart which ran over someone's foot was taken away and burned.

We hope that the law will be administered with discretion, but I hope that the Attorney-General is not regretting one of the more liberal things he said. This is the third time that I have quoted it, but he argued in Committee in another context that it is wrong to have an offence on the statute book in circumstances where one hopes and intends that there will be no prodeedings. It is not enough to say that one hopes that everyone will be sensible and compassionate in administering it. If in certain circumstances it depends on that, in those circumstances it should not be on the statute book.

Members of the public, sitting in the public gallery, are not in a position to apply to the judge. We thought that it was better to have the obligation the other way round—that if a member of the public wished to use a tape recorder it should be open to him to do so. If the tape recorder is noisy of obtrusive an usher can be quietly despatched to ask that person to turn if off or, if necessary, the judge can tell him in open court to do so.

However, that leaves the person who wants to record in order to broadcast the proceedings of the courts. That is basically what troubled the Phillimore committee in paragraphs 42 and 43 of its report which discussed what might arise from the fact that a tape recorder is a more dramatic form of recording what is said. In Committee I was first inclined to equate broadcasting proceedings in court with broadcasting proceedings in the House, although at one time I had entertained doubts about that.

If we want the public to appreciate and co-operate with what is happening and to give their time and attention, as so often they uninstintingly do, they are entitled to hear what is happening. I am one of those who take the view that broadcasting proceedings in the House has transpired to be a great success. It has informed the public. It has not always led to enhanced respect for the House but that is not the fault either of the recorder or of the reactions of the public.

I was inclined to take the view that the public should be able to hear recordings of the proceedings in our courts, but the Solicitor-General for Scotland persuaded me about that. He pointed out that we come here of our own volition, when our electors endorse that volition, whereas litigants and witnesses in the courts are often there not of their own volition. It is hard to expose people to the risk that something they say perhaps in an ill-considered moment or under pressure will be taken out of context and broadcast. That might have an inhibiting effect on the course of justice.

Mr. Michael Brotherton (Louth)

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman make it clear that he has no desire whatsoever for the proceedings in any court to be recorded and broadcast, because new clause 1, with which I have great sympathy, says nothing about the courts being recorded for broadcasting purposes? It is important that he reiterates the point that he has just made.

Mr. Archer

I thought that I was in the process of doing that, no doubt at inordinate length, but if the hon. Gentleman will forgive me I shall say it in one sentence as clearly as I can. After the debate in Committee and after listening to the Solicitor-General for Scotland, I was persuaded. The Opposition agree that we do not wish the proceedings of the courts to be broadcast. That is the express reason for the form in which we have drafted the new clause.

We emerged with a reasonable balance in the new clause. That balance reflects the consensus in Committee. As my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price) pointed out in his point of order, he tabled new clause 3 in virtually the same terms as new clause 1, but, with his customary restraint, in rather more restricted terms. I appreciate, as he does, why new clause 3 was not selected, but the Opposition would not have objected to the clause in the form in which it was drafted by my hon. Friend. We should not wish to be less restrained because there is a good reason for the restraint he offered.

Whether that can be achieved, at this stage I venture no opinion until I know what consensus there is in the House. However, I should not have thought that it was beyond the wit of all hon. Members together, if the House clearly evinced a wish to introduce a new clause in the form drafted by my hon. Friend, to find a way of doing it.

In Committee the Attorney-General was kind enough to say that he would like to think again about the matter, in the light of the opinions expressed in the debate. It might be uncharitable of me to suggest that that was possibly not wholly uninfluenced by the reflection that in Committee he would not have carried the Government's position on a Division. We accepted with joy in our hearts that the Attorney-General would think about it. We had great hopes. In any event, I am a natural optimist. I shall not elaborate further on our reasons for the new clause but shall allow the Attorney-General the opportunity to announce the result of his reflections.

Mr. S. C. Silkin (Dulwich)

I did not have the advantage of being selected as a member of the Committee. Sometimes that is a disadvantage and sometimes it has the advantage of giving one the opportunity of bringing a fresh mind to bear on the problem. I have read the report of the proceedings in Committee and have tried to bring that fresh mind to bear.

Generally, I welcome the new clause so persuasively argued by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer). At the same time I make two criticisms of it. I criticise it as it is too restrictive in two different ways. First, it is too restrictive in confining the use of the tape recorder to those who have something to do with the litigation.

I can see no disadvantage in tape recorders being freely used, provided that there is an ultimate power in the court—as there would be under the new clause tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price), which has not been selected—to refuse to allow a tape recorder to be used in any circumstances, if it is likely to interfere with the administration of justice or is distracting either because it is noisy or because the witness is in difficulties as a result of the recorder being used.

Even if the new clause were extended to allow tape recorders to be used freely in court, one would not find a battery of tape recorders facing a witness as they would still be rarely used. However, I see no reason why those who wish to use them—for example, the press—should not be allowed to do so. If the press had been allowed to use tape recorders in the great case which led to the Harriet Harman matter there might not have been a Harriet Harman case, because the journalist concerned could have made a recording of what was said and would not have had to resort to Miss Harriet Harman's recollection of what was said or of the documents that had been quoted in the court.

I have taken the trouble to look through the records referred to in "Erskine May" so far as the House in concerned, but I can find no suggestion in "Erskine May" that it would be a contempt of the House for an hon. Member, or possibly even a member of the public, to have a tape recording of what was said. For all you know, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I may have one in the capacious pockets of my suit—although, in case I am in danger, I hasten to assure you that I have not. However, what difficulty would there be if I had, unless it was a tape recorder that made sufficient noise to distract other right hon. and hon. Members?

5 pm

There was an occasion in 1819 when a member of the public was found to be in contempt of court when taking notes of what was said in the House and then refusing to desist when an Officer of the House asked him to do so, but 1819 is a long time ago, and since then we have agreed that it is not a contempt of the House for our proceedings to be reported.

I regard the new clause as unduly cautious. I take a much more radical view of the matter, but I understand that it is an attempt to compromise and to follow what Phillimore discussed, so I go along with it.

However, there is one other respect in which the new clause is unduly restrictive. My right hon. and learned Friend gave some weight to this factor, but did not deal with it adequately. It restricts the operation of the provision to a person who is a solicitor acting in the proceedings.

I was interested to observe that a new clause purporting to give a monopoly to solicitors is put down in the names of three eminent members of the Bar. If I were not full of trust for my right hon. and learned Friend, it might occur to me that there may be a few months during which he will remain in private practice, and here he is seeking to give an advantage to members of the other profession who may be providing him with the wherewithal to practise. However, I have no such suspicion. I trust him far too much for that. I hope, in any event, that it will be only a few months before he resumes his rightful place on the Government Front Bench.

However, the effect of making the restriction is that a person who does not have the advantage of being represented by a solicitor does not have the advantage of being able to use a tape recorder to record the proceedings, and, indeed, may have far more need to do so than somebody who has the advantage of being represented. I say nothing of the advantage that it might be to counsel, because a solicitor, if counsel wants it done, no doubt will do it for him.

However, why should the unrepresented defendant be denied the opportunity to make his tape recording and the represented defendant have the advantage that the solicitor should do so for him? An important principle is involved. We should make no distinction that gives advantage to the represented as opposed to the unrepresented defendant, and the principle is being infringed by the wording of the new clause.

Mr. Archer

My right hon. and learned Friend will appreciate that subsection (1) relates to proceedings in chambers. The thinking behind it is that one hopes that a solicitor can be relied on not to abuse the privilege—and he would be subject to disciplinary proceedings if he did. A member of the public would fall within subsection (3).

Mr. Silkin

I am grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend for explaining that. Even so, a distinction is plainly being made between the represented and unrepresented defendant, which in principle is undesirable. If the new clause is accepted, I certainly hope that at a later stage any such distinction could be removed. I should have thought that my right hon. and learned Friend would agree that it must be a cardinal principle that a person should not be unduly advantaged by being represented. He is already advantaged by having representation; he should not have some additional advantage created by the law merely because he happens to be represented in court.

I welcome the new clause, with the reservations that in two respects it is unduly restrictive.

Mr. Ivan Lawrence (Burton)

I am against the new clause in principle because it appears to say that we should not trust the judges to decide whether in a particular case with a particular application it would further the proceedings of justice to allow tape recorders to be used. It says that the public shall decide. I am afraid that I am strongly against the clause, because my experience from practising in the courts is that the public cannot always be trusted to observe the proprieties, certainly of criminal trials.

At present, it is necessary to apply to the judge for permission to use a tape recorder. The application is made and, in his discretion, the judge will grant it if it is sensible and the recording will in some way help counsel or solicitors to conduct the case properly or the judge to have an accurate record of a part of the evidence.

An application does not have to be made by shorthand writers. All judges allow them to have tape recorders to help them with their reports. Doubtless, if members of the press were having difficulty in hearing and would be assisted by having a tape recorder near to the witness, the judge would grant the application. In practice, there is a right to use the modern technological aid of tape recording, which I imagine would seldom be refused by a judge if the application were properly made.

However, the right excludes the public. The public should not have the right to use a tape recorder in a court of law. They are there to see that justice is done. They have an important role as observers. Those who cannot get into court can read a report in a newspaper, so there is every reason for having accurate reports of court proceedings in the newspapers.

However, that is the limit of the public's activity. They are not participants in the criminal or even civil process. Lawyers do not speak to the public in the public gallery. The public are not invited to come down to express their views. They are silent observers to see that justice is done.

If we allow the public, as of right, to come in with tape recorders, they may use them surreptitiously. They may abuse the privilege by sending in a sealed envelope, anonymously, to any press agency the content of what they have recorded. One can buy in the shops magazines and publications that tread close to breaches or offences of the law in what they publish. This will be grist to the mill of the furtive member of the public who uses a tape recorder. It is undesirable that this right should be given to any member of the public who might abuse it.

Mr. Christopher Price

I am trying to follow the hon. and learned Gentleman's argument. What is the difference in principle, given the fact that it would be a criminal offence to use such tape recordings for broadcasting, between a member of the public taking a shorthand note in court and sending that note to a newspaper or a magazine and a member of the public sending a note based on the transcript of a tape recording? Where does the difference lie?

Mr. Lawrence

The difference is always a question of degree. It allows more situations to arise in which breaches of the law might take place without the authorities being able necessarily to attribute blame. One knows that statements appear in magazines that are currently on sale. One would very much like to know who made the statement so that proceedings may be brought or some investigation made. The proposal means opening opportunities for abuse wider than is already possible. That is one reason why I oppose the public having an automatic right of access to tape recorders over which the judge does not necessarily have control because he does not necessarily know that tape recorders are being used.

Mr. Keith Best (Anglesey)

I appreciate my hon. and learned Friend's fear. Assuming that the present Bill will not inhibit certain publications from taking an interest in proceedings which can be attended in any event by members of the public, who can take a shorthand note, what does he consider the greater abuse—an accurate report of those proceedings or an inaccurate one heard by someone whose shorthand is defective?

Mr. Lawrence

As my hon. Friend knows, with his experience, no doubt, of the use of tape recorders in court, a difference of opinion can often arise over exactly what is stated on the tape recorder. If the tape recorder is not the type that picks up the sound from a particular direction, the noise reproduced by the tape recorder is sometimes a garbled and jumbled mess. It is possible for someone to misunderstand what is stated on the tape recorder. I do not seek to pursue that argument. If it is a valid point, it should be weighed against the point that I make. The number of valid points against the proposal outweigh the invalid points that are made.

The second danger in the public having easy access to tape recorders in criminal trials is that tape recorders in small courts can be very distracting. We discussed this matter in Committee. A person came to that Committee with a tape recorder that was more or less silent. Not all tape recorders are silent. It is extremely distracting for witnesses and for juries in some of the smaller courts, which unfortunately have to be used because of the shortage of courts, if incidental noise occurs off stage.

One hears in these courts people using pile drivers up the street and people banging on construction equipment. Sometimes, even the tearing out of pages from a notebook causes everyone to look in that direction because the noise is so distracting. This proposal imports into court the likelihood of more noise and more distraction, which will take away not only the concentration of the witness, but also the concentration of the jury, which may often be more important.

Mr. S. C. Silkin

Would that problem not be eliminated if the judge had complete discretion to stop the use of a tape recorder if it proved distracting?

Mr. Lawrence

In that case, there is no point in changing the situation. The judge at present has a discretion. One can apply to the judge for permission to use a tape recorder. There does not seem much point in changing the rule to give the judge an overriding discretion to rebut a right that it is thought should be introduced through the new clause.

This is not one of the most important issues in the Bill. It seems, however, a small move to undermine the authority of the judge and to unsettle some of the processes of our courts for no purpose that is sufficiently important. It would be important in providing technological aids to lawyers, solicitors, barristers, and journalists. However, they have the right already to apply to the judge. In proper cases, the judge would, no doubt, never refuse permission.

It seems unnecessary to throw over something that seems to work adequately and well and to make an advance that will give the public an opportunity perhaps to interfere with the orderly process of justice. I am therefore opposed to the new clause.

5.15 pm
Mr. Christopher Price

I am sorry that we are discussing a new clause tabled by my own Front Bench. When we made our deal in Committee, I thought that the logic of the pledge given by the Attorney-General was that he would take the necessary action and hon. Members would then be able to debate a new clause on the lines of the consensus that the Committee had reached.

It is worth recalling exactly what happened in Committee. At the beginning, I had tabled an amendment broadly on the lines of that now proposed by the Opposition Front Bench, but without the total prohibition on broadcasting. From that point of view, I agree that my amendment was defective for the purposes that I intended. The early ministerial responses from the Solicitor-General for Scotland were to the effect that the Government would have nothing to do with the amendment. The assumption was that the amendment would be voted down. However, as the Committee stage progressed, not only the two Conservative Members connected with the newspaper business, but one or two hon. Members connected with the legal profession began to make it clear that they saw the logic of the situation. They saw that a tape recorder is no more and no less than a piece of electronic shorthand that can be useful in making sure that a report of proceedings is accurate rather than inaccurate.

The Attorney-General found himself in a difficult position. Instead of being able to advise his colleagues, as he had intended, to vote against the amendment, he discovered that if he had done so, the amendment would, nevertheless, have been passed. The right hon. and learned Gentleman therefore used the words: I appreciate the sense of feeling on both sides of the Committee. I think that the feeling is that the amendment is right in principle. I also sense that it is probably agreed by the majority of hon. Members that publication in the sense of reproduction of the tape is unacceptable."—[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 14 May 1981, c. 218.] In the context in which matters were discussed in Committee, the assumption was that the Attorney-General, having admitted that the amendment was right in principle—this has been the assumption on all the Standing Committees on which I have served when such words have been used by the Government—that this was shorthand for the right hon. and learned Gentleman saying "I will go away, and I will bring back an amendment to the Floor of the House which accurately reflects the consensus at which the Committee has arrived".

That is what I expected would happen, and I am sorry that it has not happened. I do not want to accuse the Attorney-General of breaking pledges, because I do not believe that he has done so. I know that he has problems. However, there are rules of cricket, so to speak, in Standing Committees, and what he has done on this occasion is not quite cricket. I am genuinely sorry about that.

I shall say a little about the objections to the new clause, and the arguments for it. As the Attorney-General has not yet spoken, perhaps I might put a couple of points to him now. In last Saturday's edition of The Times I read a headline which clearly had nothing to do with me, because I had been away from the House for a couple of weeks. I have discovered that that is an unwise thing to do. The headlines read: Attorney-General refuses to shift over court tapes", and the article was by the paper's eminent legal correspondent, Mr. Berlins. He said in his article, and one knows the contacts that these journalists have with the legal establishment: Sir Michael's intention is to meet criticism of the clause by undertaking to issue a circular to judges exhorting them to grant permission to use tape recorders liberally". If that is to be so, it is no substitute for what should happen.

If we are to be told about some direction to judges, I hope that we shall be told about the small print rather than the large print, because on it will depend whether judges will take any notice of the direction. I should like to know exactly what the Lord Chancellor intends to say in any such instruction, and exactly the terms in which it is to be cast. It must be a real practice direction and not a phoney one. As there was a consensus in Committee, that consensus should be reflected in practice in the courts.

The Attorney-General must realise that clause 10—as it has now become—was drafted in a wholly different atmosphere. It was drafted in what I shall call the Phillimore atmosphere of thinking—in other words, that tape recorders are a frightening new gadget and should only be used sparingly. Phillimore had a somewhat sour attitude to tape recorders, and I do not think that it is unfair to say that.

The consensus in Committee was reached in a quite different environment. The majority in Committee—I realise that the hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) was not of the majority—a Committee composed of lawyers, and not ordinary folk, as one might have found in another Committee, were determined not to be sour about tape recorders, but to be as liberal as possible in their use.

I do not know whether any amendments will be pushed to a Division today, but I hope that when the Bill goes to another place the wording of clause 10 will be looked at again to make sure that it accords with the consensus which the Attorney-General accepted in Committee and which we therefore have a right to expect now to be Government policy.

One reason why I do not accuse the Attorney-General of breaking a pledge is that we all had reason to be grateful to him in Committee. We obtained a number of concessions that we had not expected. Moreover, I recognise that he is the under-chauffeur, as it were, of the Bill, and not the driver. I am sure that he has problems with the Lord Chancellor. I do not want to stir up the matter or to draw undue attention to it, but anyone reading the report of the Committee stage of the Bill in the other place and comparing it with the Committee stage of the Bill in this place could be excused for wondering whether they were debating the same Bill. The two Committee stages took place in wholly different atmospheres and the Government Front Bench responses had wholly different tones. In my view, it shows the superiority of the Attorney-General over the Lord Chancellor, and the House of Commons over the House of Lords. However, I shall not dwell on the matter.

The Attorney-General faces another set of problems, which it is right for me to mention. In Committee I made a remark which the Attorney-General categorised as a wild pronunciamento. I said that the reluctance to use tape recorders in courts was something to do with what I described as a nasty little monopolistic Mafia of shorthand writers who charge ludicrous fees for a transcript of proceedings to the point where the ordinary defendant"— the ordinary non-legally aided defendent— who is trying to appeal is frequently … precluded from getting the transcript he wants".—[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 14 May 1981; c. 205.] There were shock horror reactions from the lawyers around me, as though shorthand writers were the nicest possible people. Sure enough, the moment a report appeared in The Times, our mail was full of pleas from such organisations as the National Society of Stenotypists and the Institute of Shorthand Writers practising in the Supreme Court of Judicature, justifying everything that I said in Committee.

One plea came from Miss Wason, who said in a recent letter to The Times "Think of the poor witness in the criminal case who might have his or her voice reproduced", or words to that effect. Writing to us, her words were quite different. It is not "Think of the poor witness", but "Think of the poor shorthand writer". I shall quote from her letter: Although shorthand writers in the past have not been militant, feelings are bound to run high over this issue and there may well be a call for industrial action throughout the courts". I did not associate the Government with immediate collapse in the face of threats of industrial action. However, whatever the real reason for the Attorney-General's retreat on the issue, this appears to be one. I had never associated the Government with a belief in closed shops and Luddism, but in retreating the Attorney-General is backing the Luddites.

The Attorney-General gave a pledge in Committee which he is obliged to deliver. The argument in Committee was straightforward: tape recorders equal shorthand; both can be fixed, if someone wants to abuse them; both can produce a more accurate record. No one suggested that tape recorders were a substitute for shorthand. I spoke to the chairman of the parliamentary committee of the Guild of British Newspaper Editors this morning, and he insists that newspaper editors see tape recorders as simply a help, an aid, an adjunct to the shorthand writer, to get bits right that he might have got wrong.

5.30 pm

I regard this as essentially an issue about openness in our courts, because the Harman case would not have been pursued by the Home Office had journalists been able, as of right, to sit on the press benches with tape recorders. Some journalists have wrists of steel and can continue writing for some time. However, a problem arises not when witnesses are being questioned, but when documents are read out—documents that the Home Office does not want revealed because they contain information about the prison system that it does not wish to be made public—at a far faster pace than is normal in the usual intercourse of legal question and answer. A tape recording can be a tremendous advantage in those circumstances.

The problem is that everyone connected with the courts has a conservative streak. Many banisters are not keen on tape recorders being used in court. Many newspaper editors feel that, because they started at 15 years of age and learnt shorthand, so must everyone else. Those attitudes are no more and no less than a refusal by conservative professions to come to terms with a sensible, useful, modern aid which helps the accurate reporting of what should be an absolutely open system of justice.

For those reasons, I am sorry that the Attorney-General has not tabled a suitable amendment. I shall listen carefully to his remarks before deciding whether to try to persuade my colleagues to press either the new clause or the amendment which would strike out the provisions in the Bill. I shall have to decide whether I am satisfied with what he has to say.

Mr. Brotherton

I found it a fascinating experience to sit on the Committee. There were 14 lawyers, two Christians and the hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price). We had an interesting time.

I shall be brief. I am a sailor, and I recall my right hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General for Scotland speaking about tape recorders in court. I do not know whether it is right to tell the House that he had a word with me outside the earshot of the Hansard reporter. When I rose to intervene in his speech, the Whip said, "Sit down, shut up, what are you doing?" I said that I would proceed.

I asked my right hon. and learned Friend to pay attention to the fact that a number of Conservative Members in Committee, together with the hon. Member for Lewisham, West and members of the Opposition Front Bench, thought that it would be right to pass an amendment in Committee to make it possible for tape recorders to be used in court. My right hon. and learned Friend gave me to understand that, if I offered him the opportunity to think again, he would come to the Floor of the House and change the wording of the Bill. I understand that he is about to renege on that undertaking. If he does so, I shall vote against the Government tonight.

Mr. Best

I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Brotherton) is one of the two Christians who served on the Committee. I am still trying to work out who the other might be. Perhaps that will become clear during the course of the debate.

I am disappointed that my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General has not tabled a suitably phrased amendment, bearing in mind what he said in Committee. I do not accuse him of being disingenuous in any way. The hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price) quoted some of my right hon. and learned Friend's words in Committee. I shall continue the quotation. He said: I undertake to reconsider the matter before Report but only in the sense that we might be inclined to broaden the scope of those who may use the facility, but certainly with the strictest restrictions on what can be used for other than what I might call proper reasons for those who are there. If that meets with the Committee's approval, I shall look at it again before Report."—[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 14 May 1981; c. 218.] He was doing nothing more than agreeing to consider the matter again. However, to my untutored ear it appeared to be a good indication—I know that other Members thought so also—of what would happen.

If we had been able to listen to a tape recording of my right hon. and learned Friend's words, rather than reading the cold lines in Hansard, we might have detected a little of that great persuasion that we have come to associate with him and which, perhaps, convinced us that we should not press the amendment in Committee. We thought that the matter would be put right on the Floor of the House.

I am sorry that we are discussing the new clause tabled by the Opposition Front Bench, rather than the new clause tabled by the hon. Member for Lewisham, West and myself. Had we discussed the latter, with the addition of subsection (3), it might have assuaged not only the fears of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) but the fears of my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General.

The new clause contained a caveat that members of the general public should be able to use tape recorders in court, except that the court may make an order prohibiting the bringing into court of such tape recorders or instruments for all or part of the proceedings in question, on the grounds that there is a substantial risk that such recording will interfere with the course of justice in those proceedings.'. Surely there is nothing offensive about that. Indeed, it would encompass all the problems that have been raised. The right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer) was good enough to say that that amendment was acceptable. Had he seen it before he tabled his amendment, he might have supported it rather than his own.

It is not in contention today, nor was it in Committee, that tape recorders are an accurate measurement of proceedings and should be encouraged. That was said by Phillimore on page 19, paragraph 42 of his report: We see no objection in principle to the use of recording machines. For many purposes they are no more than a modern substitute for shorthand, and in some courts they are officially used as such. The main objection to the use of recorders is that they produce a more dramatic but not necessarily more accurate record of what occurred in court. We consider that it would be particularly undesirable for recordings to be broadcast or otherwise made public especially since, in the wrong hands, they can be tampered with so as to produce a false record of what occurred. That objection is dealt with in the new clause that we are discussing and in new clause 3.

I was in a Crown court recently when I happened to notice that the shorthand writer was using a tape recorder. I said to her, "Surely you are not using one of these fiendish machines?" Perhaps she had not read the report in The Times or had not heard of our proceedings on the Floor of the House or in Committee. She replied, "Of course. It helps me a great deal. It is much more accurate than I can be but, of course, I still take notes." That is a proper approach to the use of tape recorders. If they are available to enhance accuracy, which seems to be generally accepted, why is it that some of us are so coy about their use for the accurate reporting of proceedings?

It seems that my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General will say that he will issue a circular to the judiciary suggesting that tape recorders should be allowed for use in court unless there are good reasons to the contrary. If the issue is to be left entirely to the judge's discretion, I suspect that we all know what the answer will be. I envisage that very few members of the judiciary will welcome with open arms the use of tape recorders. Apart from anything else, a tape recorder may capture a number of asides a shorthand writer may not. However, the abuse of tape recorders lies not in the recording of asides but in broadcasting asides or causing them to appear in official reports. No one is suggesting that the use of a tape recorder would ensure that that occurred.

If the approach is taken by my right hon. and learned Friend that I anticipate, there will be a great conflict. If I am correct in my discernment of the judiciary's attitude, I suspect that not many judges will take kindly to a circular from my right hon. and learned Friend to the effect that they should use tape recorders. It would be wrong for any member of the Executive to direct a judge how to conduct proceedings in his court. 5.45 pm

I shall deal with the two objections voiced by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence). He was concerned about the publication of proceedings in court by certain underground journals or less reputable journals. Secondly, he said that the noise of tape recorders would be distracting. Even of the clause is enacted unamended, I do not think that that will deter underground journals that fly in the face of the law of contempt and publish material from proceedings in court in cases in which they have a particular interest.

With respect, my hon. and learned Friend's argument about noise must be spurious. No one has pretended that the inherent jurisdiction of a judge to control the way in which his court operates will be destroyed by the new clause or by the Bill as it stands. It is axiomatic that if anything is done in a court room which is distracting to the proceedings, the judge has an inherent right to prevent that interference, whether it be from a tape recorder, people talking too loudly, or somebody using a squeaky pen. All those distractions come within a judge's jurisdiction.

On balance, I think that the amendment, or something like it, should be incorporated in the Bill. I should have preferred new clause 3. However, I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend will give these matters serious consideration. He now has the measure of the opinion of the House and he properly took the measure of opinion in Committee when the issue was discussed. Many of us wish to see the use of tape recorders except when it will risk interfering substantially with the course of justice.

The Attorney-General

It is true that we had a useful discussion in Committee. It is right to say that we have had a useful discussion today. I shall put the record straight so far as I can. It was clear to me in Committee that there was strong feeling that the clause as it stood might be too restrictive in the sense that judges would perhaps not be willing, in cases where common sense should dictate that they should be willing, to grant such facilities to counsel or solicitors, or perhaps to journalists or to certain members of the public who have an interest. For example, a member of the Gaming Board for Great Britain attending a hearing for renewal or refusal to renew a gaming licence might feel, especially if he did not have shorthand—I suspect that he would not—that it would be useful to have as accurate a report as possible to enable him to report back fully to his fellow board members.

In Committee I said: I undertake to reconsider the matter before Report but only in the sense that we might be inclined to broaden the scope of those who may use the facility. Following that undertaking I spoke about strict restrictions. The hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price) responded and said: As I see it, the consensus of the Committee would be to allow, by statute, the parties and the official press to use tape recorders in court, but I do not think that there would be a consensus to allow visitors in the public gallery to do so. That is interesting because that is exactly what is now being said.

The amendment would go far wider than that which received the Committee's consensus. The hon. and learned Member for Abertillery (Mr. Thomas) said in an intervention while my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General for Scotland was speaking: Different factors apply to accredited reporters in court. Does the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that different factors apply to members of the public?"—[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 14 May 1981, cc. 217–218.] I read that as meaning that members of the public were not to be granted the privilege. I suspect that everybody did and I suspect that the hon. and learned Gentleman intended that meaning.

However, the new clause takes a contrary line. If there is any talk of breach of faith, in my view, the breach lies just as much with those who framed the amendment to cover the general public when the consensus of the Committee was clearly that the general public should not be concerned. I shall come to what I suggest will fit in exactly with what I said in Committee, namely, be inclined to broaden the scope of those who may use the facility. I say to my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Brotherton) that I deplore the repetition of what was said between a Minister and one of his Back Benchers. I do not accept the accuracy of my hon. Friend's version.

Mr. Brotherton

It was merely because of the attitude of my right hon. and learned Friend to the amendment that I felt that I had to make certain remarks. I for one would defend the accuracy of my remarks.

The Attorney-General

The problem which was considered with great care after our proceedings in Committee was to ensure that those who I thought the Committee believed should be entitled to these facilities were covered by an amendment or by some other method, bearing in mind the recommendations contained in the Phillimore report.

I remind the House of the recommendation made by Phillimore in paragraph 42. That was an important consideration for my noble Friend and me. That paragraph states: The basic principle in all such matters is that a court must have power to regulate its own proceedings". Paragraph 43 states: no mechanical recorder should be used in court without the prior leave of the judge. That is all that the clause is seeking to achieve.

Perhaps an impression is given by the wording of what is now clause 10 of an intention to suppress the use of recorders in court. That is not the intention. I have been told that if a member of the public wishes to use a tape recorder in court, he can make an application in advance. There is a recent example of a student in the North who has asked for permission to record certain types of proceedings for purposes of academic study. That matter is now under consideration by the judges in the area where the student wishes to operate his tape recorder. Therefore, it is possible not only for barristers, solicitors and members of the press to use tape recorders, but for the public also to do so.

The deprivation of the control which is always exercised by the court is a serious objection to the amendment. It creates a statutory right to bring in and use tape recorders, however bulky, noisy and inconvenient they are to others, however distracting they may be, however much they may worry a nervous witness, particularly in a rape case, for example, and however much they may be used in cases in which the public as a whole would flinch at the idea of tape recorders being used, such as the recent Sutcliffe case.

In that case 84 journalists attended the court, many of whom were foreign. If they had been allowed to use tape recorders, they would have been able to record everything, to go back to their countries and play back the proceedings over the local radio stations, some programmes on which are beamed to the United Kingdom. They could also be selective about what was played back. That would be a matter of great embarrassment not only to the witnesses; in certain cases the jury might be reminded of selective parts of the evidence which, in my view, would not assist it in coming to a true and impartial verdict.

Mr. Christopher Price

Unlike the right hon. and learned Gentleman, I am not learned. When we discussed various other clauses in Committee, it was said that, whatever we put in the Bill in terms of declaratory legislation, ordinary common law rights might override it. Would not it be true that even this amendment, which says that it is legal to use tape recorders, would not inhibit the right of the judge or whoever was in charge of the court to insist that anything which was noisy or distracting, even if it were a tape recorder, should not be used?

The Attorney-General

With respect, if the amendment became law, it would provide an absolute right by statute that any person in court could use a tape recorder and could not be stopped by the judge. All that the user would have to do would be to point to subsection (3) to say that he has an absolute right which is given to him by Parliament and that the judge cannot stop him.

Mr. S. C. Silkin

Is not the difficulty that, if the new clause is carried, it could be amended in another place in a way which would meet the difficulties to which the Attorney-General has properly drawn attention? On the other hand, if the new clause is not carried in this House, the other place is stuck with the Bill as it stands. There is no way of altering it in order to relax it.

The Attorney-General

As one would expect, the right hon. and learned Gentleman, my predecessor, is absolutely right.

For solicitors and counsel there are the advantages of the professional conduct committees with the Bar Council, the Senate and the Law Society. Therefore, there is a measure of discipline in that case, particularly as regards what use may be made of the tape recording later on. It would be impossible to exercise any control over the public. With regard to broadcasting, it would perhaps be possible to reach the station which was making the broadcast unless it was one of the pirate stations.

It would be possible to turn round the provision so that tape recorders were allowed, subject to order by the court to the contrary. That has also been considered. I doubt whether it would make much practical difficulty, but there are arguments in favour of a rule of requiring prior permission. I shall set out one or two.

The main advantage is that a requirement prior to permission serves to notify not only the judge, but the parties, that proceedings will be recorded. There may be occasions when, for good reasons, a party, as well as the judge, might not want a particular part of the proceedings to be recorded. For example, it is common practice for witnesses in criminal cases to be sent out of court until their turn comes to give evidence so that they cannot tailor or trim their evidence in respect of questions which might have been asked in cross-examination earlier on. Staff on duty at criminal courts are told to be on watch for and to prevent anyone who appears to be coming out of court to brief waiting witnesses on what evidence has been given.

It is improper in court—and it can be stopped by the judge—even to take a note unless one is a counsel, a solicitor or a party. An ordinary member of the public can be stopped from taking a note. That is because there might be a briefing of other witnesses. I suppose that it would be impossible to prevent a waiting witness from being slipped a cassette tape in a hidden way. If that court or the parties were unaware that recording was going on, they could not be alerted to the dangers which I have described.

It is also interesting to see how the professional bodies have dealt with the matter. The Bar Council recently issued a guidance note that counsel should seek the leave of the court before using tape recorders. The Law Society has expressed no view. It does not seem to oppose clause 10 because in its memorandum on the Bill it states simply, without comment, that the clause implements Phillimore's recommendation 32.

I repeat a point that has already been made. I do not see why counsel should be excluded from the privilege when in chambers or in those circumstances because often counsel turns up with a solicitor's clerk who may know nothing about the case, when the solicitor is not there. The need for him to be able to record the proceedings is just as great. The present situation, before clause 10 becomes law, whether or not it is amended, is that the courts have power to grant that facility.

I emphasise that there is no question of intending to suppress the use of tape recorders. There is no objection in principle to it. I have made it clear that I believe that there are many occasions when counsel, solicitors, the parties and certain members of the public with an interest in the action or proceedings should properly be allowed to use tape recorders. I hope that the courts will be flexible, particularly if there is no official note of the proceedings—for example, county courts, magistrates' courts, coroners' courts—and on those occasions lawyers often appear alone, and there is no one to take a note for them. Tape recorders are also helpful for recording a judgment in a county court.

My noble Friend believes that the county courts should be ready to accede to requests from legal representatives and responsible court reporters for permission to use tape recorders, unless there are good reasons for not doing so. Subject to consultation with members of the circuit bench, the Lord Chancellor is prepared to issue formal advice to that effect.

Similar advice may be given by the Home Office—consultations are not complete there—to magistrates' courts and coroners' courts. In higher courts, the point is less important to an extent because an official note is taken. My noble Friend hopes that in that case, too, a reasonably flexible attitude will be adopted.

Mr. Lawrence

Instead of a Department of State having to churn out endless pieces of paper to the various courts, would it not be simpler for the Attorney-General to ensure that a practice direction is given, which could be cited by any counsel or solicitor who is appearing in those courts?

The Attorney-General

My hon. and learned Friend anticipated me by 10 seconds.

Mr. S. C.Silkin

Will the Attorney-General be good enough to bring to the attention of his noble Friend my point about the unrepresented defendant?

6 pm

The Attorney-General

I shall, of course, do that. That matter concerns me, too. Such a defendant must be entitled to exactly the same privileges or rights. One of the advantages of this solution is that it gets round the difficulty of defining a reporter, which, in spite of the skill of Miss Harman, still exists. I had originally thought that she would be coming to see me with two Members of Parliament. Interuption.] Perhaps the hon. Member for Lewisham, West would do me the courtesy of listening to this point, as he often says to me. I thought that Miss Harman was coming with the hon. Gentleman and another member of the Committee. Neither in fact turned up. In spite of that, however, I saw Miss Harman alone for nearly an hour. I hope that that is appreciated.

Mr. Christopher Price

With regard to the accuracy of the Attorney-General's comments, my difficulty was that I was away on parliamentary business for a couple of weeks. I was willing to give my time at any time during the week that the House was in recess, but I was told that not only the Attorney-General, as was wholly understandable, but all his officials who might be dealing with the matter were also in recess. It was therefore not possible for me personally to discuss the matter. I know that these coincidences happen. It has been an unfortunate set of circumstances.

The Attorney-General

I do not think that that applies to all the officials.

Reference was made to The Times. I do not wish there to be any misunderstanding. I approved of Miss Harman being able to give a summary of the results of our discussion. She was entitled to give the interview and to say what she did. I have no complaint about that.

I believe that practice directions, rather than circulars, are the best way to do this. These would be from heads of division, such as the Vice Chancellor, the President of the Family Division and the Lord Chief Justice. I understand that they are all willing to do this. Anticipating that I might be asked a little more about the fine print, I spoke to the Lord Chief Justice today. I have his authority to say that the kind of words that he has in mind would be: Judges should in proper cases treat applications to use tape recorders in court sympathetically. I should have thought that that was quite a good indication from the head of the Queen's Bench Division.

Mr. Christopher Price

I am grateful to the Attorney-General for coming with those actual words. To my layman's mind, however, the word "proper" begs a whole range of questions which I cannot at present answer. Could the Attorney-General go a little further on what he and the Lord Chief Justice think is meant by "proper cases"? I understand that "sympathetically" means that, although judges have a right to ban tape recorders if there is good reason, they should not do so, as it were, capriciously. However, the idea that there are two kinds of case—one in which it is proper to use tape recorders and another in which it is improper—I find puzzling. If the Attorney-General would fill in a little on that, it would be helpful.

The Attorney-General

This was done rather speedily at lunchtime. The word "proper" may not be necessary. There will be cases in which the parties must be able to say whether or not they agree. There may be cases involving very personal and private matters in which a witness may become extremely distressed and may be clearly put off from giving her evidence, in which case the judge may decide that the tape recorders should be stopped for a while. There are cases in which there are galaxies of counsel and solicitors where it would be unnecessary. Again the recent Sutcliffe trial is an example. I think that the public would have been appalled if they had thought that that was being recorded, particularly by foreign reporters.

In answer to the right hon. and learned Member for Dulwich (Mr. Silkin), with regard to its being no contempt for a Member of Parliament or the public to record in the House, the advice that I have been given is totally the contrary with regard to anybody other than a Member of Parliament, and I understand that the position of a Member of Parliament is not clear. I am told that it is absolutely forbidden for any member of the public to bring any recording device into the House.

Mr. S. C. Silkin

There is no record of any such case in "Erskine May", other than the note-taking to which I referred.

The Attorney-General

I understand that the instructions from the Serjeant-at-Arms' office is in accordance with that.

The amendment refers to there being no publication of recordings. It also draws a distinction between proceedings in private and in public. A recording of proceedings in public can apparently be published so long as it is not broadcast. The curious situation might therefore arise in which the voice of a witness or of the accused—I cite once again the Sutcliffe case—could be used in the sound track of a film or in the sound effects of a stage performance. I cannot believe that anyone would regard that as right.

For the reasons that I have given, with the practice directions to which I have referred encouraging judges to allow the use of tape recorders, this provision has the advantage of achieving what I believe is essential in maintaining the ultimate control of a court in the hands of that court. I hope that the House will feel that that goes far enough and that the new clause is not necessary.

Mr. Archer

That is a disappointing reply. So Mr. Berlins is right. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price), I had considered that the Committee was told by the Attorney-General that if we did not divide at that time, when the provision would clearly have been carried, that might be recognised with a quid pro quo. I was not speaking of bad faith. I have not done so and I still do not; nor am I accustomed to being accused of it. Our debates might be more constructive and less acrimonious if terms of that kind were not used.

I appreciate that the hon. Members for Louth (Mr. Brotherton) and Anglesey (Mr. Best) feel let down. The Attorney-General raised our expectations, although we fully appreciate his difficulties. We read carefully what he said in Committee and tried to reflect it in the new clause, although clearly the precise breadth of the new clause was open to discussion. I also read what my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West said. He clearly said that none of us wished court proceedings to be broadcast. If the Attorney-General would do me the courtesy of listening, he would appreciate why we intend to divide the House. The language of the new clause faithfully reflects our desire not to have court proceedings broadcast.

It is clear from the debate where the consensus in the House lies. I fear that the hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) was a voice crying in a wilderness that he does not even share with the ghost of Phillimore. I believe that in other circumstances we could have done a deal. There was a great deal of force in what my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dulwich (Mr. Silkin) said. I do not see why that could not have been accommodated, given good will on all sides.

We appreciate, of course, the advantage of the advice being circulated by the Lord Chancellor and the Home Office and of the practice directions, but they are no substitute for a clause in the Bill. We therefore propose to divide the House. I hope that Back Benchers on both sides will help to bring home to the Government the consequences of ignoring what is clearly a consensus across the Floor of both the Committee and the House.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 96, Noes 150.

Division No. 221] [6.10 pm
Allaun, Frank Hooley, Frank
Alton, David Howell, Rt Hon D.
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Howells, Geraint
Beith, A. J. Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Bennett, Andrew (St'kp't N) Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Brotherton, Michael Leighton, Ronald
Buchan, Norman Lestor, Miss Joan
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Callaghan, Jim (Midd't'n & P) McCartney, Hugh
Canavan, Dennis McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Carmichael, Neil McElhone, Frank
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S) McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Cook, Robin F. McNally, Thomas
Cowans, Harry McNamara, Kevin
Craigen, J. M. Maynard, Miss Joan
Crowther, J. S. Mikardo, Ian
Cryer, Bob Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Cunliffe, Lawrence Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby)
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Mitchell, R. C. (Soton Itchen)
Dalyell, Tam Morris, Rt Hon C. (O'shaw)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Dewar, Donald Newens, Stanley
Dixon, Donald O'Neill, Martin
Dobson, Frank Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Dormand, Jack Pendry, Tom
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Penhaligon, David
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. Price, C. (Lewisham W)
Eastham, Ken Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Evans, loan (Aberdare) Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Ewing, Harry Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Faulds, Andrew Rooker, J. W.
Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)
Freud, Clement Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Garrett, John (Norwich S) Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
George, Bruce Silverman, Julius
Graham, Ted Skinner, Dennis
Grant, George (Morpeth) Soley, Clive
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Spearing, Nigel
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Steel, Rt Hon David
Hogg, N. (E Dunb't'nshire) Stoddart, David
Home Robertson, John Strang, Gavin
Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery) Wigley, Dafydd
Thorne, Stan (Preston South) Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Tinn, James Winnick, David
Wainwright, H. (Colne V)
White, Frank R. Tellers for the Ayes:
Whitehead, Phillip Mr. Frank Haynes and
Whitlock, William Mr. James Hamilton.
Atkins, Robert (Preston N) Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Lester, Jim (Beeston)
Benyon, W. (Buckingham) Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Berry, Hon Anthony Lyell, Nicholas
Blackburn, John McCrindle, Robert
Boscawen, Hon Robert Macfarlane, Neil
Boyson, Dr Rhodes MacGregor, John
Braine, Sir Bernard MacKay, John (Argyll)
Bright, Graham McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)
Brinton, Tim McQuarrie, Albert
Brooke, Hon Peter Madel, David
Brown, Michael(Brigg & Sc'n) Major, John
Bruce-Gardyne, John Marlow, Tony
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Mates, Michael
Budgen, Nick Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Butcher, John Meyer, Sir Anthony
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Mills, Peter (West Devon)
Chapman, Sydney Moate, Roger
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th, S'n) Molyneaux, James
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Monro, Hector
Clegg, Sir Walter Montgomery, Fergus
Colvin, Michael Murphy, Christopher
Cranborne, Viscount Myles, David
Dickens, Geoffrey Neale, Gerrard
Dorrell, Stephen Needham, Richard
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Nelson, Anthony
Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Neubert, Michael
Eggar, Tim Newton, Tony
Elliott, Sir William Page, Rt Hon Sir G. (Crosby)
Fairbairn, Nicholas Page, Richard (SW Herts)
Fairgrieve, Russell Percival, Sir Ian
Faith, Mrs Sheila Powell, Rt Hon J.E. (S Down)
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Price, Sir David (Eastleigh)
Fisher, Sir Nigel Proctor, K. Harvey
Fletcher, A. (Ed'nb'gh N) Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Forman, Nigel Rathbone, Tim
Fox, Marcus Renton, Tim
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) Rifkind, Malcolm
Garel-Jones, Tristan Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Glyn, Dr Alan Roberts, M. (Cardiff NW)
Goodhew, Victor Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Goodlad, Alastair St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon N.
Gow, Ian Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Gower, Sir Raymond Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Gray, Hamish Shelton, William (Streatham)
Greenway, Harry Skeet, T. H. H.
Griffiths, Peter Portsm'th N) Speed, Keith
Grylls, Michael Spence, John
Gummer, John Selwyn Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Hamilton, Hon A. Squire, Robin
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Stanbrook, Ivor
Hampson, Dr Keith Stanley, John
Hannam, John Steen, Anthony
Haselhurst, Alan Stevens, Martin
Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Stewart, A. (E Renfrewshire)
Hayhoe, Barney Stradling Thomas, J.
Heddle, John Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Henderson, Barry Tebbit, Norman
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Hunt, David (Wirral) Thompson, Donald
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Thornton, Malcolm
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Trippier, David
Kaberry, Sir Donald Viggers, Peter
King, Rt Hon Tom Waddington, David
Knox, David Wakeham, John
Lang, Ian Waldegrave, Hon William
Lawrence, Ivan Walker, B. (Perth)
Lee, John Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir D.
Le Merchant, Spencer Ward, John
Watson, John Wolfson, Mark
Wells, John (Maidstone) Younger, Rt Hon George
Wells, Bowen
Wheeler, John Tellers for the Noes:
Wickenden, Keith Mr. Carol Mather and
Williams, D.(Montgomery) Mr. John Cope.

Question accordingly negatived.

Mr. Speaker

I have given considerable thought to the representations made by the right hon. and learned Member for Aberavon (Mr. Morris) and by the hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price), but I cannot alter the selection list.

Mr. John Morris

I am obliged to you, Mr. Speaker, for your consideration of my representations.

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