HC Deb 27 October 1981 vol 10 cc817-36 10.14 pm
The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Patrick Mayhew)

I beg to move, That the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act 1980 (Postponement of Repeal) Order 1981 (S.L. 1981, No. 1358), a copy of which was laid before this House on 28th September, be approved.

The House will recall that the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act 1980 was passed last October in order to deal with the effects of industrial action which prison officers were taking at that time. The main feature of that action was a refusal to receive inmates at any establishment with a population exceeding certified normal accommodation. Given the chronic situation of overcrowding, this threatened a breakdown of the criminal justice system. It meant that large numbers of prisoners had to be lodged outside the prisons, either in police cells or in other temporary accommodation.

Part I of the Act contained a number of temporary provisions which came into force forthwith and which, by virtue of section 8(1) of the Act, remained in force for an initial period of one month. At the end of that period, the industrial action was still continuing, and an order was made under section 8(2) of the Act to provide that all the provisions of part I should continue in force for a further period of one month—that is, up to 28 December 1980. Subsequently, two more continuance orders were made under section 8(2), although the latter of these, which expired on 28 February 1981, provided that only sections 1 and 2 should continue in force. No further continuance order was made, and accordingly none of the provisions of part I has been in force since last February, following the suspension of the industrial action by prison officers.

That action remains suspended only for the time being, pending the final resolution of the dispute.

The order before the House tonight does not bring any of the provisions of part I once more into force. What it does, as its title indicates, is to postpone their repeal, which would otherwise occur automatically on 28 October of this year. It enables them, as it were, to remain dormant, capable of being activated in the future but only by a further order approved by Parliament under a procedure laid down in the Act. This postponement of repeal is necessary because section 8(6) of the Act provides that part I of the Act is to be repealed 12 months after the date on which the Act was passed.

However, my right hon. Friend may, by order, postpone for up to 12 months at a time, if Parliament approves, the date from which the repeal provided for in subsection (6) is to have effect. There is no provision for selective extension. The whole of part I must be either repealed or retained. Accordingly, the order postpones the repeal of part I from 28 October 1981 to 28 October 1982.

I now turn to the detail of the provisions whose repeal is postponed by the order, asking the House as I do so to bear in mind that none of these provisions is once again brought into force by the order that we are now considering.

Section 1 permits the establishment of temporary prison accommodation in any place in England and Wales approved for the purpose by the Secretary of State, and provides that anyone charged with the task of running such establishments shall have the powers and protection which prison officers have. The House will recall that it was under the provisions of this section that temporary accommodation was opened last winter at Frankland in County Durham and Rollestone Camp in Wiltshire. These were "approved places" under section 1.

Section 2 provides powers for a magistrates' court, having once remanded a defendant in custody, further to remand him without his being brought before the court. The House will recall that during the industrial action by prison officers last winter large numbers of persons remanded in custody were held in police cells up and down the country. Whilst normally remanded prisoners are accommodated quite near to the court which remands them, this was not always possible in the situation which obtained at that time and some had to be held at a considerable distance from the court. It would have been impossible for all prisoners held on remand in such circumstances to be produced in court every eight days. Section 2 therefore provides for a person who has once been remanded in custody in his presence to be further remanded in his absence unless the court has given a direction requiring him to be produced in court. However, the section also makes it clear that the magistrates' court retains its power to request a person remanded in custody to be brought before it at any time before the end of the period of remand. The section does not affect the requirement that there should be weekly remand hearings. No evidence came to our notice that the operation of section 2 worked to the disadvantage of defendants.

Mr. Bob Cryer (Keighley)

So far, the Minister has rightly outlined the provisions. However, does he intend to move on to the reasons for the deferment of repeal£ Surely he does not visualise that there will be any further dispute with the prison officers. That was the initial cause of the legislation. If the dispute is over and done with, it would breed greater confidence?from the point of view of both the prison officers and the Home Secretary?if the dispute were done away with completely. I hope that the Minister will go into the reasons for this provision.

Mr. Mayhew

I had looked forward to giving the reasons. However, I thought that it might be more logical to complete the description of the provisions before doing that.

The remaining sections of part I contain a variety of provisions which, when they are in force, enable the Secretary of State to take exceptional action to prevent a breakdown of the penal system. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State assured the House, when first seeking these powers, and I repeat the assurance now, that he would not use these powers unless it became absolutely necessary. Fortunately, it did not become necessary last winter to use any of the powers in sections 3, 4 or 5; and I certainly hope that it will not become necessary in the coming 12 months.

Section 3 contains power for the Secretary of State to release persons committed or remanded in custody, but only if he is satisfied that it is necessary to do so in order to make the best use of the places available for detention. Section 4 contains a power for the Secretary of State to remove a magistrates' court's power to commit persons to prison for failure to pay any sum of money or for want of sufficient distress to satisfy any sum of money. Section 5 contains a power for the Secretary of State to direct that prisoners of a specified class shall be released up to six months earlier than they would otherwise be released. Here again, he may do so only if he is satisfied that it is necessary to do so in order to make the best use of the places available for detention.

I emphasise again that the order does not bring any of the provisions of part I into force. That would require a separate and further order under section 8(2), which would have to be either approved in draft by both Houses or, in case of emergency, approved within seven days of being made. My right hon. Friend has no reason at present to make any such order and no intention of doing so. Since the end of January this year, when the Prison Officers' Association suspended the industrial action that occasioned the Act—I turn to the point raised by the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer)—the Home Office and the POA have been negotiating the terms of a new agreement to cover working arrangements in all the various types of prison department establishment. We are certainly hopeful that those negotiations will have a satisfactory outcome. On the other hand, it is only prudent to recognise that the POA's industrial action last winter was merely suspended—and remains merely suspended—pending the outcome of the negotiations on the new duty arrangements to which I have just referred.

Mr. Christopher Price (Lewisham, West)


Mr. Andrew F. Bennett (Stockport, North) rose—

Mr. Mayhew

This situation obtains at a time when the prison service is still under very severe strain from the pressures of overcrowding and decaying buildings. While I do not think it likely that there will be any recurrence of industrial action on a large scale or that difficulties will arise from any other cause with which the prison system will be unable to cope, it plainly remains a possibility. Plainly it is right, accordingly, that part I of the Act should not be repealed at this stage and that the powers that it confers should remain available as an insurance against the risk of a breakdown in the criminal justice system capable of being brought into operation if circumstances demand and Parliament so resolves.

Mr. Christopher Price

Is the Minister really saying that his desire to keep this part of the legislation is simply part of the Government's package of anti-union legislation? Is he saying that they wish to keep the legislation to strengthen their part in negotiations with the Prison Officers' Association?

Mr. Mayhew

On reflection, the hon. Gentleman will not think that that is a particularly sound intervention. The reasons were made clear when the Act was introduced and when the powers were last renewed in January this year. Then the hon. Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill) said that it was regrettable that it was still necessary for the powers to be renewed. It was made clear then that the legislation was necessary to guard against a possible breakdown in the criminal justice system occasioned by the prison officers' dispute. Almost everybody recognises that a duty of the Government is to ensure that the criminal justice system does not break down, for whatever reason. There is no question of a campaign against the unions, as the Prison Officers' Association would concede immediately. We are engaged in an exercise to ensure that in an emergency the prison service is able to cope with the consequences of further industrial action or of gross overcrowding in the prisons arising from that or some other reason.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

What is the Minister's intention, if and when the dispute is settled? Will he give the House a guarantee that as soon as the prison officers call off their action, rather than merely suspending it, he will come to the House and repeal all this legislation?

Mr. Mayhew

The order is designed to postpone the repeal of the Act for the next 12 months.

Under the terms of section 8(7) of the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act 1980, my right hon. Friend has made the order which is before the House to postpone until October next year the repeal of part I and section 8(1) to 8(5) of the Act.

By virtue of section 8(8) of the Act, the order will cease to have effect 40 sitting days after the date on which it was made unless before the expiry of that period the order has been approved by resolution of this House and another place.

I hope that it will not be necessary within the next 12 months to ask the House to approve the activation of any of the provisions in part I, either on account of renewed industrial action or as a result of other intolerable pressures on the penal system. I believe that it would be imprudent to allow part Ito be repealed now. I ask the House to agree that the order to postpone repeal be approved.

10.28 pm
Dr. Shirley Summerskill (Halifax)

The Minister asks the House to agree that the Act should remain on the statute book for another year. I am wholly unconvinced by the Minister's justification for doing that. We believe that the Act should be repealed tonight. It now serves no useful purpose, as the Minister has admitted. It contains far-reaching provisions and powers which are objectionable and which represent a serious infringement of basic civil liberties—the rights of detained people.

Originally the Act was intended as an exceptional, emergency and temporary measure. If the circumstances arise again and similar provisions are required, the Government should come back with another Bill which can be passed if necessary in one day, as was this Act. That Bill can be considered by Parliament in the light of the special circumstances prevailing at that time if the need ever arises.

The Act was placed on the statute book to deal with an unprecedented crisis in the prison system caused by the prison officers' industrial action. The serious repercussions of the strike—the fact that it led to several thousand prisoners being held in police cells—meant that unprecedented measures had to be taken by the House. There was excessive pressure on the police and standards of security were falling.

The official Opposition did not oppose the Bill in Divisions in October 1980 because we appreciated the urgent need for its provisions to be available if required as long as the industrial dispute was in progress. When the Home Secretary spoke on Second Reading on 28 October 1980 he said that it was the industrial action that had been taken by the Prison Officers' Association that had made the Bill necessary. The same argument was advanced on successive occasions by Ministers when orders were renewed. Tonight we hear from the hon. and learned Gentleman that the Act is being retained on the statute book for other possible "disruptions" within the prison service and because the prison population is getting out of hand. An extended use of the provisions in the Act is now being admitted which has never before been revealed when the measure has been discussed in previous debates. The argument previously has always been confined to the prison officers' dispute.

It is unnecessary to have the Act on the statute book now that the dispute has been suspended. The Home Secretary said on Second Reading that he would not seek to rush the then Bill through the House unless the circumstances demanded it. Today there are no special circumstances that demand that the legislation that is before the House be retained. The dispute has been suspended. We understand that Frankland prison and Rollestone camp are empty and not in use and that police cells are not in use for prisoners. There is no need for the Act.

Our original objections to the Bill were, to some extent, placated because the provisions were only temporary. Those words were even incorporated in the Bill's title. However, a year later we are being asked to extend temporary provisions which it is admitted are not in use and which the Minister hopes will never be used.

If it were said that the Act would help to reduce the prison population, that might be of some encouragement. On 20 October that population was 43,837. The Act had no effect on the numbers in prison since the suspension of the prison officers' dispute. Indeed, the prison population has increased. At the end of the strike there were 40,000 in prison and now there are 43,837. The retention of the Act on the statute book has not led to a decrease in that population. We should find the real reasons for it decreasing during the prison officers' dispute and learn some lessons from them.

The purpose of section 1 was to establish temporary additional accommodation. We are told that Frankland prison and the camp are not in use. Section 2 was intended to minimise the workload of those responsible for detaining committal and remand prisoners. That was at a time when prisoners were distributed in police cells throughout the country, but that is no longer so. Great anxiety was felt and is still felt by the Opposition about the repercussions of section 2. It contains unprecedented powers. It is wrong that it should be retained on the statute book for the convenience of the prison administration or that of the Home Office.

Section 2 could lead to remand prisoners losing their long-standing and automatic right to appear in court every eight days. They could remain in cells, unknown to the probation service, and without legal advice. The Law Society, the probation officers and the Howard League for Penal Reform are all strongly opposed to such a system which could remove a valuable safeguard. That section is the most unacceptable part of the Act. The fact that it is not now being used is no justification for keeping it. On the contrary, it is a reason for repealing it tonight.

Sections 3, 4 and 5 have never been used by the Government at any stage, so there is even less justification for asking Parliament to renew them, and for them to remain on the statute book for yet another year. Section 3 is a reserve power. It authorises the release of unconvicted and unsentenced prisoners who courts have decided should be kept in custody, in order, as the Home Secretary said, to make the prison or police cell place available for a more dangerous prisoner. As that power has never been used during the last year, when does the Minister envisage its use in the future, and in what circumstances?

The Home Secretary justified section 3 on Second Reading on the grounds that he must have available to him the power, if necessary, to act in order to make the best use of places available for detention. With regard to section 3, he said: I am putting forward proposals now—I have made clear that I do not like them—because I am forced to do so by the sort of industrial action taken by the prison officers…I am faced with a totally abnormal situation…I have to take whatever action is available to me to deal with an extreme position.—?[Official Report, 28 October 1980; Vol. 991, c. 220–21.]

How can it now be justified to keep section 3 on the statute book when the Home Secretary does not like it and is not forced to keep it by any industrial action of the prison officers, when he is not faced with a completely abnormal situation, and does not have to deal with an extreme position? All the reasons which he gave for including the section in the first place are non-existent now. There is no justification for keeping it in the Act.

Mr. Christopher Price

Is it not true that another reason why it is wrong to keep an administrative rather than a judicial review of the situation in prisons is that the Government lose time and again in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg on this issue—that there should be proper judicial review, and not administrative review? Yet the Government keep section 3, which goes against everything that they have signed in the European Court in Strasbourg.

Dr. Summerskill

I am sure that the Minister can answer that point, which is good. We eagerly await his reply.

Section 4 restricts the powers of the courts to imprison for non-payment of money. The Opposition support an increase in the types of non-custodial offences and an increase in non-custodial sentences. Section 5 authorises the early release of prisoners. We support shorter sentences wherever possible and appropriate. Ironically, those two sections have not been used by the Government, who are always saying that they are reluctant to legislate for either of those things. The Opposition are always urging more non-custodial offences and an increase in non-custodial sentences and, where possible, shorter sentences, and every time we mention that, the Home Secretary or the Minister says that he has exhorted the courts to do that and would rather not put it on the statute book. Yet here it is on the statute book, and here is a Minister asking the House to keep it on the statute book for another year as a temporary provision.

Sections 4 and 5 are measures that we have been asking to be incorporated in legislation rather than relying on exhortations to the courts. But the legislation that we wish to see should not be included in a temporary provisions Act which was originally passed, hurriedly and in crisis, in one day and which is now being renewed late at night in an hour and a half. We want those measures to be introduced as permanent legislation and placed on the statute book after very careful consideration.

Parliament originally passed this legislation to respond to the specific crisis of the prison officers' dispute in a specific way. There is no comparison between the situation now and that which existed a year ago. There is no need whatever for these unprecedented powers to remain on the statute book any longer.

If and when, regrettably, another crisis arises—I am referring to a prison officers' dispute and nothing else, because the Act was intended to deal with the repercussions of that and nothing else, although the Minister casually added a few other circumstances as he went along?the circumstances and needs at that time must be carefully considered. The circumstances may be utterly different from those a year ago. After careful consideration, a Bill appropriate to that situation can be introduced?if necessary, in one day and one night, as we did with the present Act.

There is, therefore, no justification for keeping these temporary provisions and my right hon. and hon. Friends and I will be voting tonight to repeal the Act.

10.42 pm
Mr. Douglas Hogg (Grantham)

In opening, my hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State mentioned two emergency prison camps. There is a third, at Beckingham in my constituency. I shall say something about that camp in a moment. My constituency seems to be unfortunate, or perhaps fortunate, in these matters as we also have Morton Hall. As my hon. and learned Friend will know, the Home Office has already indicated that in respect of Morton Hall, which is a former borstal, there are plans for establishing an emergency prison. I shall therefore be asking my hon. and learned Friend to expand on the plans with regard to those two establishments.

In relation to Beckingham, I begin by congratulating the governor, and his staff, not merely on the kind of prison that he is operating but on the good relations that he has established with the local community. I had the opportunity to visit the prison and to attend a parish council meeting which the prison governor and his deputy also attended. [Interruption.] Does the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham) wish to intervene? It seems that he wishes to go to sleep. I shall not stand in his way.

Mr. George Cunningham (Islington, South and Finsbury)

Get to the order.

Mr. Hogg

I shall come to the order in a moment. I am talking about an emergency prison set up under the order. To suppose that it is not in order to talk about such an emergency prison is to misunderstand the procedure of the House.

I began by congratulating the governor and deputy governor of Beckingham prison, first on the kind of prison being established, and secondly, on the very good relations that have been established with the local community. I had the opportunity to attend a parish council meeting which the governor and deputy governor attended and at which the governor extended a full invitation to all the local residents to visit the prison. In company with many others, I visited the prison and I must tell the House that the kind of prison that the governor is operating is one which in all the circumstances is entirely satisfactory.

Having said that, however, I must ask my hon. and learned Friend whether he can tell us a little more about his plans in respect of Beckingham. I understand that there are about 330 category C prisoners there, and that the future of the prison will be reconsidered in April 1982. Although I am in no way asking my hon. and learned Friend to disestablish the prison—far from it, as it has an important contribution to make in many ways—people in my constituency would like to know how long the prison is to remain at Beckingham. I should be grateful if my hon. and learned Friend could give some indication of the future of this camp.

That also goes for Morton Hall. That is a former borstal establishment, and the Home Office has already indicated an intention to use Morton Hall as an emergency prison. Indeed, it has invited certain people to serve on the board of visitors. From what my hon. and learned Friend said earlier, I visualise that, as prison over-crowding is decreasing, it may not be necessary to use the facilities at Morton Hall. However, my constituents would like some indication of the Home Office's plans for Morton Hall.

Mr. Dennis Canavan (West Stirlingshire)

They are going to send the hon. Gentleman there.

Mr. Hogg

No, but they might send the hon. Gentleman there. He is just the sort of category C person—on the whole harmless, although perhaps given to a little over-indulgence—for whom these kinds of prison are suited.

My point was that Morton Hall could be used for this kind of emergency prison, and it is right that my constituents should know whether the facilities are likely to be used. I should like some clarification on that point.

I turn to a more general topic, which will no doubt encourage the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury. Prisons such as Beckingham accommodate only category C prisoners. Apart from the fact that they are a bit cold and that there is not quite enough work for the prisoners to do, which is a definite drawback, they are an ideal way of accommodating category C prisoners. Although this Act will be repealed in time, I hope that the Home Office will give serious consideration to using facilities of this kind for the accommodation of category C prisoners.

They are more acceptable facilities than the secure prisons. Beckingham has only a perimeter fence. Much more freedom is involved in these prisons than in Pentonville or Wormwood Scrubs. It is a nicer place to be, and I have been in all of them—[Interruption.] I thought that the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan) needed cheering up, so I placed an easy one which would get an easy and cheerful response. I always get easy and cheerful responses from the hon. Gentleman at this hour of the evening.

We must be serious about this. If, Mr. Deputy Speaker, you had to choose—I fancy that you will never have to make this choice?between Wormwood Scrubs and Beckingham, I recommend a small and comfortable berth in Beckingham rather than a small and uncomfortable berth in Wormwood Scrubs. The former may be cold, but altogether it is a great deal more decent.

I try to dress this up to amuse, but it is a serious point. We must provide custodial accommodation for category C prisoners. It is basically wrong to accommodate them in places such as Wormwood Scrubs, Pentonville or Lincoln for that matter. Whenever possible, it is much better to accommodate them in places such as Beckingham. I therefore hope that my hon. and learned Friend will think further about using existing army camps and the like for low-security prisoners. They do not really pose a threat to the local community and on the whole have a more tolerable existence. In addition, the whole system is much more acceptable and, incidentally, much less costly.

10.49 pm
Mr. Robert Kilroy-Silk (Ormskirk)

A year ago, when this legislation was first before the House, the prison officers were entering the fourth week of their dispute for backdated continuous duty credits. A minority of us argued then that it would be far more appropriate if the Government were to refer the prison officers' claim to arbitration than to inflict wide-ranging powers and a major upheaval on the criminal justice and penal system. The Government and the majority of hon. Members did not take that advice. Looking back a year, when we see that the cost of the dispute to the Treasury was about £20 million and, had it been implemented in full, the cost of the arbitration award would have been only £10 million, it appears that we were not wrong and the Home Secretary was not right.

Again, in introducing the legislation Ministers made their distaste clear. They emphasised that it was justified only because of the dispute and the exceptional nature of the circumstances—because of a crisis, a word which was used frequently at the time. It was an unprecedented situation that called for unprecedented and crisis measures. It is, therefore, remarkable that a year later, when the dispute has ended, it is deemed necessary to prolong the distasteful powers and the Minister asks us to extend the legislation.

If there is a dispute or crisis, the Government should ask the House for emergency powers and the House should consider the request carefully. However, we are now asked to legislate temporary and emergency powers for a hypothetical situation. When the legislation came before the House it was necessary because of what was happening. That was the Government's only justification for it. Such justification no longer applies, so there is no defence that we have so far heard for the Government's position.

That fact becomes more apparent when we consider the legislation. For example, it overrides the normal rights of a defendant. Section 2 of the Act allows the courts to remand individuals in custody without a personal appearance in court. Many hon. Members criticised that position a year less a clay ago.

Many of us favour extending from eight to 21 days the period on remand in custody without an appearance in court. I make no excuse for that view. Indeed, the proposal is supported by the parliamentary all-party penal affairs group, of which I am chairman, and most recently by the report of the Select Committee on Home Affairs. However, we always make it clear that the extension of the remand period without a personal appearance from eight to 21 days must be conditional upon the consent of the offender and that he must be legally represented. Under the Act there is no requirement for consent and there does not have to be legal representation. Indeed, no time limit is imposed on the appearance in court of an offender.

In response to representations in the House during the passage of the Bill, the Home Secretary asked the courts to ensure that defendants would be legally represented. On the whole, that has happened. However, according to a Home Office sample survey in December, about 7 per cent. of defendants were not legally represented and did not personally appear in court. It is extremely important for those people personally to have the right to exercise an argument in favour of bail in court. It is important in principle and in practice that each offender should be able to come to court to argue why he should not be remanded in custody.

The principle is long-established and prevents potential abuse or injustice. The practical case is also well known and important. If a defendant is held in custody, he may lose his job or accommodation. Custody may have a severe psychological and practical impact on a defendant's family life and friendships. He certainly cannot persist in finding witnesses, collecting evidence and seeing his lawyer, as he could if he were out on bail.

It is objectionable to override that right unless there are good and clear reasons for doing so. There may have been such reasons in October, but they certainly do not exist today. Many hon. Members on both sides of the House described the section as objectionable in October—in the middle of the prison officers' dispute. If it was objectionable then, it is even more objectionable now when there is no dispute.

Sections 3 to 5 provide the Home Secretary with powers that many of us on both sides have suggested. He has power to release certain non-violent offenders from prison and to restrict the power of courts to impose prison sentences on other categories, notably fine and maintenance defaulters.

We have asked for those powers to be enshrined in permanent legislation. Unfortunately, they have not been used, but I also object to their renewal. I expect the House to object to giving a Home Secretary the amount of executive discretion that is contained in those sections. If we are to have those powers, as I wish, they should be included in permanent, well-considered, coherent legislation. I and other hon. Members on both sides have put that to the Home Secretary, but both he and previous Labour Governments, who have a lamentable record on penal policy, have not heeded that advice.

No one has yet seen fit to resolve the crisis of numbers, which is the real crisis of the prison service, by enacting permanent legislation to reduce the prison population both by reducing prison sentences and by reducing the categories of offenders who can be committed to prison.

The case for permanent legislation, with the objective of reducing the lengths of sentences that can be imposed and restricting the categories of offenders who can be imprisoned, was clearly emphasised by the prison officers' dispute. In September last year, the prison population was 44,000. By January—in the middle of the dispute—it had fallen to 39,500.

As the Home Secretary told the Leicestershire magistrates on 12 February, that dramatic reduction in the prison population was achieved without any threat to public safety—an opinion which he reiterated in oral evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee. Yet by July at the end of the dispute the population was up to an unprecedented 45,500.

The Home Secretary pointed out to the Cumbria probation and after-care service only a few weeks ago that that level could not be sustained. Conditions for both staff and prisoners are intolerable. Those are the Home Secretary's words, not mine, and he has repeated them up and down the country. That opinion was reiterated by the Under-Secretary, Lord Belstead, only a few days ago in a speech to the annual meeting of the board of prison visitors on 12 October. He said that the present situation was not sustainable and was temporary.

The Home Secretary has responded by opening two new prison camps and by recruiting extra staff, but if we are to deal with the crisis in our prisons we must do so by enacting the sort of legislation that successive reports from the House and individual Members have enjoined on successive Home Secretaries. The Home Secretary should have done that two years ago. He did not and he therefore has no justification for asking for a renewal of the Act.

One day less than a year after the legislation was introduced, it is reasonable to ask the Minister of State what steps the Home Secretary has taken in that time to overcome the fundamental industrial relations problems that led to last year's dispute. The problems were clearly recognised by the May committee, which said in its report more than two years ago: One of the features of the present system is that, except in regard to arrangements for taking arbitrable matters to the Civil Service Arbitration Tribunal, no guidelines exist for dealing with grievances and other matters which either staff or management would like to pursue. The May committee went on to recommend that a procedural agreement should be negotiated for the prison service to include a clear statement of what issues are being reserved for national resolution, the nature of negotiations at an establishment level, the time to be allowed at each stage, and so on.

When I raised that matter on Second Reading last year, the then Minister of State replied: We have taken the view that the first priority should be the development of a new attendance system, but we are certainly anxious to make progress towards a new general procedural agreement along the lines recommended by the May committee … The Prison Officers' Association has indicated that it wishes to take the initiative by putting forward proposals on that point. We are awaiting these proposals and we are not saying that that is something which should not be done.—?[Official Report, 28 October 1980; Vol. 991, c. 320.] What has been done since then to negotiate a procedural agreement for the prison service?

The problems of the prison service do not require a continuation of this legislation, which was unjustified a year ago, when the official Opposition should have voted against it, and when willingness by the Home Secretary to go to arbitration would have ended the dispute at considerably less cost than was involved and would not have required the enormous erosion, by precedent if nothing else, of the liberties that we have long enjoyed and respected.

We need permanent legislation substantially to reduce the prison population. That case has been made clearly anti loudly by hon. Members on both sides of the House, not least by the Home Secretary and the Lord Chancellor. The case is clear, overwhelming and convincing. When will the Government introduce that legislation and stop messing around with this unnecessary legislation?

11.3 pm

Mr. Edward Gardner (South Fylde)

I found it difficult to follow some of the arguments that were relied upon by the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk) because it appeared that he assumed that the provisions of the 1980 Act can be used today. They cannot. They lie dormant and will remain dormant until they are revived, if ever, unhappily, the need arises, by an order that will have to be put before the House.

The hon. Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill) said that in her view the 1980 Act now had no useful purpose and was, if I recollect her words correctly, "wholly unnecessary". To test the validity of her argument, one must look back briefly at the reasons why the 1980 Act came into being. We all remember vividly the coincidence of circumstances that brought a new threat of breakdown to our prison system. There was severe overcrowding in our prisons and an industrial dispute by the Prison Officers' Association over payment for certain meal breaks. The hon. Member for Ormskirk told the House that the dispute had ended. I pray that he is right, but the House will remember that, as my hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State said, the dispute was not brought to an end by any firm and final agreement but was suspended. We hope that agreement will be reached and that we shall soon be able to say that we have heard the last of that dispute.

Although for the moment there is, happily, no need for the application of the powers in the 1980 Act, who can say that similar circumstances may not arise in the future?

Dr. Summerskill

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman join my hon. Friend the Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett) in asking the Minister to seek to repeal the Act when the dispute is finally settled?

Mr. Gardner

If the circumstances of an industrial dispute were the only potential additional threat or ingredient that could be added, I would willingly support that request. One does not want to speculate, because there is no real profit in that, but, without using one's imagination very actively, one can envisage a number of other circumstances which could arise.

Mr. Kilroy-Silk

What are they?

Mr. Gardner

I shall not speculate. I am sure that there is no one in this House who would have the least difficulty in imagining a number of other circumstances.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that if that is what the legislation was for it should have been permanent legislation and should have gone through the normal scrutiny in this House? The whole excuse for the legislation was that it was temporary, to deal with a temporary set of circumstances. Surely it is quite wrong to turn temporary measures into permanent measures.

Mr. Gardner

For the purposes of looking at the 1980 legislation, and the order which postpones its repeal, I should like to rely on the unhappy fact that the dispute with the Prison Officers' Association is not yet over. When it is concluded, that may be the wise and prudent moment at which to look again at the legislation. But we are concerned tonight with the present potential for trouble. It is still there. It broke out in 1980 and there is no one in this House—unless he has powers of forecasting which are beyond those held by most people—who can say with the least certainty that there will not be a similar coincidence of circumstances again.

Under section 2 of the Act, a new procedure was introduced to avoid the need for bringing to court every eight days, as the ordinary law rightly demanded, an accused person who had been remanded in custody. I agree entirely that, when applied in normal circumstances, the powers of section 2 are wholly objectionable, but I think it has now become accepted that the application of section 2—despite all its objectionable features?in an emergency taught us that there was a better way of dealing with remands in custody, and that where there was a continuation of remand in custody it was not always necessary to bring the accused person to court.

For ordinary legislation, which protects the accused person who is in custody and who is remanded in custody, of course his consent is needed to a new procedure of this kind. Of course there must be legal aid, and the person must be represented when he is brought before the court. Nevertheless, when that objectionable procedure was used, I do not recollect or know any evidence to suggest that anyone was injured by it. That gives us hope that, with proper protection—that is, with the consent of the accused—and with the right to legal representation, this new procedure should be adopted as soon as possible. I for one would be happy to hear from my hon. and learned Friend tonight that the Government intend to go ahead with legislation to incorporate this innovation.

11.10 pm
Mr. Stephen Ross (Isle of Wight)

I shall be brief, because the hon. Members for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk) and for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill) have already expressed my views adequately.

I bitterly oppose the renewal of this legislation. I opposed it when it was introduced. I always felt that section I was the only part that was necessary. Moreover, as someone who has three prisons in his constituency and who has good relations with the prison officers, I felt very strongly that the dispute should have gone to arbitration at the time and that this legislation was never necessary.

Those of us who know something about the prison service know that relations within it have improved remarkably during the past six to nine months. It is a great mistake on the part of the Government to renew the legislation at this time, because it will break the confidence that has been built up over the past few months, in which prison governors and others have played a leading role.

I have been in the House for nearly eight years, and I believe that I was the first hon. Member to have an Adjournment debate on the prison service—certainly the first for a long time. I warned then, as I have warned since, of the breakdown that would occur in prisons if the lot of prison officers was not improved and if we did not do something about the gross overcrowding. I had hoped—there was something in the press on the subject—that the Queen's Speech next week would contain a radical commitment and promise by the Government to introduce legislation on penal reform. Now I wonder whether our hopes will be dashed. I realise that one does not pre-empt what is in the Queen's Speech, but I sincerely hope that the Home Secretary will not back down from acting on the recommendations that have come from all quarters to deal with the gross overcrowding of our prisons. However, one has doubts when measures of this nature are introduced.

I am sorry that this legislation is to be renewed again. We are too much in the habit in the House of renewing temporary provisions legislation, and this Act is one that could easily have been dispatched to the dustbin. If there is a recurrence of the sort of trouble that we had in our prisons a year or so ago, another emergency Bill could be brought in to deal with it immediately, as the hon. Member for Halifax rightly said. For goodness sake, let us have confidence in the prison officers. Let us show them that we mean to resolve the matter now, and that we do not need the sort of legislation that we are being asked to accept tonight.

11.14 pm
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett (Stockport, North)

The Minister came to the House tonight with only one argument for renewing this measure. It was that the prison officers had only suspended their action rather than withdrawn it. If he had wanted to rest his case on that ground—possibly he could—he ought to have given a clear undertaking that as soon as the prison officers ended the action he would seek to repeal this legislation. If he had given such an undertaking clearly and emphatically, I would have been inclined not to vote against the order. I would have pressed him to be told how far the negotiations were proceeding and how soon they would be successful.

However, the Minister was not prepared to give such an undertaking. He seemed to suggest not only that he wanted to keep the measure for the original purpose but that he was envisaging its use for other purposes. That is completely unfair to the House. The Minister is denying the House the proper opportunities to scrutinise this type of legislation. For that reason, we ought to press him very hard to say that he will repeal this legislation as soon as the dispute is settled.

The Minister may say that within the order there is no opportunity to do that. It would be very simple to introduce a measure to repeal the legislation. It may have to be another Bill, but I could almost guarantee that the Minister would have no difficulty in getting it through Parliament, not in a matter of a day but within minutes.

Mr. Kilroy-Silk

Does my hon. Friend also agree with several hon. Members who have said that to renew this legislation now will inevitably be seen as a provocative measure on the part of the Government? The only justification that the Government gave on the last occasion was that a dispute was in progress. There is not now a dispute in progress. Therefore, it looks as though the Government are deliberately trying to intimidate the prison officers by renewing the measure.

Mr. Bennett

I take my hon. Friend's point. To renew the measure is not in the best interests of conducting negotiations. I press the Minister to give an undertaking that when there is a settlement he will seek powers to repeal the legislation straight away and that he will not, as he hinted, want to keep it for the rest of the 12 months just in case some other problem arises, which would be grossly unfair to the House.

If the Minister wants to activate the legislation, he ought to give an undertaking that he will not do so as a result of a one-and-a-half-hour debate. If the negotiations go wrong, the Minister has a duty to provide a full debate on why the negotiations have broken down and why it is necessary to bring the legislation back into force. A one-and-a-half-hour debate would be wholly unsatisfactory for that. It would need more like the amount of time that was necessary to pass the legislation originally. The point that was made from the Opposition Front Bench was that if it was necessary to have this legislation in the future, we ought to have the process of proper debate and scrutiny in the House and not have such a measure rushed through as a result of a short debate late at night. It seems that it is only as a result of a serious crisis that the House has the right to debate matters and scrutinise legislation.

I come to how the House has been cheated of the opportunity to have a proper debate on all the issues concerned. If the Government had said "We want this legislation for two years, or possibly for longer", we would have gone through the full process of scrutiny, with the opportunity for those outside the House with strong points of view to make them known to Members. All hon. Members involved in this debate, and others, have pointed out that there is much merit in some of the procedures involved, and that if they are properly set up with safeguards, they might go a long way to reducing the prison population. However, as a result of the procedure that the Government have adopted, on every occasion, we have had little opportunity to debate the principles involved. Most of the time has been spent on debating the prison officers' dispute rather than the measures in the legislation.

The Government have a duty to ensure that in the next Session there is an opportunity to debate the possibilities for developing some of these measures, particularly early release and the extension of parole, so that we can have proper legislation on that and do something effective to reduce the prison population.

11.19 pm
Mr. John Wheeler (Paddington)

For one straightforward reason, I find no difficulty in supporting my hon. and learned Friend the Minister in his proposal that the Act should continue. That reason is that the dispute within the prison service has not yet been resolved. That is the nub of the problem.

The Prison Officers' Association has yet to determine, with the prison department, decisions on the negotiations that have been going on for some time. Those of us who are familiar with the prison service know that prison officers, who are scattered among over 100 institutions, find difficulty in deciding exactly what they want. In the light of that, the Government have a clear duty to continue with this enactment, at least for the moment. There is a crisis in the prison service. Upwards of 44,000 prisoners are being held in the prisons of England and Wales. It is beyond dispute that any incident that involved the POA in several key prisons could prove extremely serious. In a matter of hours the Government might want to return to the House to activate parts of the Act.

Even if the House were to accept the order, the constituent parts could not be brought into effect without further debate. The safeguards that all hon. Members seek are amply met. I was glad to hear a fellow member of the all-party penal affairs group—the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk)—talk about the proposals that he and I, along with others, have debated concerning reform of the prison service, the courts and the criminal justice system. The proposal for a 21-day remand period is wholly sensible, provided that there are ample safeguards.

I understand that the special remand period that the enactment enabled the Government to operate recently worked extremely well. I know of no complaints. I should be interested to learn from my hon. and learned Friend the Minister whether he has any evidence of complaints from the Home Office, lawyers, banisters or other interested parties. The procedure worked well. I see no reason why we should not continue to support the Government and, thereby, accept the order.

In the coming months, I hope that the House will have an opportunity to look at aspects of the criminal justice system to see what can be done to relieve overcrowding in our prisons and to resolve some of the problems that have existed for many years. The plain truth is that the Government inherited an abominable legacy in the prison system. Tonight we must recognise that legacy. I urge hon. Members to support the order.

11.23 pm
Mr. Mayhew

I should like to take up the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Paddington (Mr. Wheeler). He was right to say that we took on an abominable inheritance. We took on a nil prison-building programme. Between 1918 and 1955 no new prison establishments were built in this country. The greater part of our prison estate was built in Victorian times—[Interruption]—when the political ideas espoused by the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan) were in their finest flower. It is becoming impossible to use those prisons.

No Government, and certainly no Home Secretary, have done more in recent years to bring home to the public the need to reduce the prison population than the present Government and Home Secretary. Therefore, it is right to approach the difficult issues knowing that the Government took on an abominable inheritance in terms of the prison estate.

Dr. Summerskill

The Minister compares the last Labour Government's prison building plans with those of this Government. Has he opened a prison while in office? I did.

Mr. Mayhew

Perhaps the hon. Lady produced it out of a hat, because it takes between 10 and 12 years to bring a prison from start to completion. This Government are committed to a programme of two prison starts a year, beginning this year and stretching for several years ahead.

I am not surprised that the debate ranged wide. It covered the need to reduce the prison population. I make no complaint about that. It is common ground that, with a prison population so far in excess of certified normal accommodation, it is almost impossible for the prison service to do its full job. It is almost impossible for officers to pay attention to the rehabilitative part of their duties as they would like to do. The conditions for both inmates and those whose job it is to serve in the prisons are often abominable. That is part of the background to the issues that we have to decide tonight.

The hon. Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill) said that if the Act were used to reduce the prison population that might be some encouragement. This Government have drawn the attention of the House and the country to the need to reduce the prison population and, within the overriding need to protect the public, to see how prison sentences might be reduced.

The Prison Officers' Association dispute is not resolved. It was widely accepted in the House when the Act was introduced that the consequences of the dispute necessitated the measures contained in it. The reason was that so great were the difficulties imposed on the criminal justice system by the action that the system was in danger of breaking down.

If that dispute had now been resolved and had been out of the way for some time, we should be in a different position. However, the action has been suspended. It was suspended when we last debated these matters. It had been suspended for about a fortnight when we debated them in February. The situation facing us today is, in essence, no different from the situation confronting us in February when the hon. Member for Halifax said that it was a matter of regret that it was necessary to renew the Act. She did not vote against the renewal of the Act. She said that she thought that it was necessary to renew it.

I say that in essence the situation is no different because the dispute was then suspended, and it remains today only suspended. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Fylde (Mr. Gardner), who has kindly explained to me that he cannot be here at the moment, and my hon. Friends the Members for Paddington and Grantham (Mr. Hogg) have all made that very point.

It would be irresponsible in the extreme were we in those circumstances to allow the Act that was so widely seen to be necessary to leave the statute book through automatic repeal. What the hon. Member for Halifax and other hon. Members on the Opposition Benches do not seem to have hoisted in is that, by preventing the repeal of the Act, we are not activating any of the powers contained in Part I. If my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary wished to use any of those powers he could not do so simply on his own initiative. He would have to tell the House the circumstances in which he wished the powers to be used. The House would be able to examine the circumstances and to see whether it was proper in those circumstances to give my right hon. Friend those powers, having regard to the history of the Act as a whole.

The hon. Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett) has pressed me on this. He asked me for an undertaking that if the dispute were resolved I should immediately come to the House and seek the repeal of the Act. I will not give that undertaking because—and I see no justification for being other than entirely frank with the House—as many who have spoken in the debate have said, the prisons have been in a state of critical overcrowding this year. In July the prison population rose to 45,600, as the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk) said. That was an all-time record. The figure is a little lower at the moment.

Nobody yet knows what the prison population will be over the next few months. If we were confronted with an explosion to a higher figure than that which I have quoted, and if it became necessary urgently to relieve that pressure, this provision would be available. Whether it would be used, whether the House would consent to its use, is a quite different matter.

I thought that the hon. Member for Stockport, North had a fair point when he said that one and a half hours' debate in those circumstances would be insufficient. Therefore, I believe that it would be proper and highly desirable—of course, I do not control these matters—for a longer period of debate to be provided should the Government seek to implement those powers. The hon. Lady said that the whole Act was passed in a day and asked why did not we come back with another emergency Bill. If a day's debate were to be granted on an order seeking to implement the powers the same effect would largely result.

Mr. Kilroy-Silk

Does the Minister realise that he has just made a very important confession? He said that the powers which were given in the Bill for a specific purpose concerning an industrial dispute may now potentially be used by the Government for a different reason, namely, to relieve the pressure of the prison population. That would be a misuse and an abuse of the powers given under the Act. Of course I want him to take measures to relieve the pressure of the prison population, but that should be done by permanent, considered, well-thought-out, coherent legislation, not by the activation of the powers contained in this Act.

Mr. Mayhew

I do not think that the hon. Gentleman listened with his usual care to what was said. I said that the Act would be available. It is a matter of the construction of the Act. Whether it would be used is one hypothetical question, Whether the House would agree to its being used is another. That is why I do not propose to say to the hon. Member for Stockport, North that it would be withdrawn if the prison dispute were settled straight away.

The key to this issue—

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Mayhew

No. I have given way quite a lot. I am going to finish what I propose to say.

The key to this issue is whether it would be wise, at a time when the prison officers' dispute is not complete, to repeal the Act which provides for the implementation of powers that Parliament regards as being necessary. That would not be wise for the reasons so adequately and persuasively explained by my hon. Friends.

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Fylde asked about section 2.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett


Mr. Mayhew

I want to say.—[HON. MEMBERS: "Give way".]—My hon. Friend asked about the powers related to the remand of prisoners in section 2. I agree that to remove the right for a prisoner to come before a court without giving him the opportunity to say "I wish to come before the court" when a further remand is sought is unsatisfactory. That is conferred by this Act. The Home Office has exceptionally given guidelines to the courts on how this power should be implemented. No evidence has reached us that anyone's interests have been adversely affected. But earlier this year my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, in answer to a question in the House, said that it was his intention to legislate, that in future the right to legal aid and to representation should exist and that no one should be deprived of the opportunity to come before a court every eight days on further remand unless he consented. In other words, he should be brought to court every eight days unless he consents to the contrary.

I think that meets the difficulties on this issue referred to by the hon. Member for Ormskirk.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Mayhew

I have given way a great deal. I shall not give way any more. It is essential to remember that if the order is approved—I believe the argument for it has been overwhelmingly made out?no powers in part I of the Act will be able to be implemented. The House will again have to determine whether that is right. In the circumstances, I believe that it is right that repeal of the Act should be postponed. I hope that the House will so decide.

Mr. Kilroy-Silk


Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bernard Weatherill)

Order. The Minister has sat down. I am about to put the Question.

Mr. Kilroy-Silk

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I understood that the Minister had given way so that he could answer the questions that were put to him about the progress that has been made to establish a procedure agreement, as recommended by the May committee more than two years ago. Surely the Minister has the time, and wishes to take the opportunity, to answer that fundamental and important point.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The Minister kept saying that he was not giving way. I took it that he had finished his speech. Is that so?

Mr. Mayhew

Yes, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 138, Noes 70.

Alexander, Richard Garel-Jones, Tristan
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Goodhew, Victor
Ancram, Michael Goodlad, Alastair
Baker, Kenneth(St.M'bone) Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)
Banks, Robert Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Grist, Ian
Benyon, Thomas (A'don) Grylls, Michael
Berry, Hon Anthony Hannam, John
Bevan, David Gilroy Hawkins, Paul
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Hawksley, Warren
Blackburn, John Heddle, John
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Braine, Sir Bernard Hooson, Tom
Brinton, Tim Hunt, David (Wirral)
Brotherton, Michael Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Brown, Michael(Brigg & Sc'n) Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
Bruce-Gardyne, John Johnson Smith, Geoffrey
Bryan, Sir Paul Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Buck, Antony Lang, Ian
Budgen, Nick Lawrence, Ivan
Butcher, John Lloyd, Ian (Havant & W'loo)
Cadbury, Jocelyn Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Loveridge, John
Channon, Rt. Hon. Paul LyelI, Nicholas
Churchill, W. S. Macfarlane, Neil
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th, S'n) MacGregor, John
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Macmillan, Rt Hon M.
Colvin, Michael McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)
Cope, John McQuarrie, Albert
Cranborne, Viscount Major, John
Crouch, David Marlow, Antony
Dorrell, Stephen Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Marten, Rt Hon Neil
Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Mather, Carol
Durant, Tony Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Elliott, Sir William Mayhew, Patrick
Eyre, Reginald Mellor, David
Faith, Mrs Sheila Meyer, Sir Anthony
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Mills, lain (Meriden)
Fletcher, A. (Ed'nb'gh N) Moate, Roger
Fletcher-Cooke, Sir Charles Monro, Sir Hector
Alton, David Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Atkinson, N.(H'gey,) Lamond, James
Beith, A. J. Litherland, Robert
Bennett, Andrew(St'kp't N) Lyons, Edward (Bradf'd W)
Booth, Rt Hon Albert McCartney, Hugh
Callaghan, Jim (Midd't'n & P) McGuire, Michael (Ince)
Campbell-Savours, Dale McKelvey, William
Canavan, Dennis McWilliam, John
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S) Magee, Bryan
Cook, Robin F. Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Cryer, Bob Maynard, Miss Joan
Cunliffe, Lawrence Owen, Rt Hon Dr David
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Parry, Robert
Cunningham, Dr J. (W'h'n) Penhaligon, David
Dalyell, Tam Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Davidson, Arthur Prescott, John
Davis, T. (B'ham, Stechf'd) Price, C. (Lewisham W)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)
Dewar, Donald Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Dixon, Donald Sanclelson, Neville
Dobson, Frank Skinner, Dennis
Dormand, Jack Soley, Clive
Dubs, Alfred Steel, Rt Hon David
Duffy, A. E. P. Stott, Roger
Eastham, Ken Strang, Gavin
Evans, John (Newton) Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Ewing, Harry Tilley, John
Foster, Derek Walker, Rt Hon H.(D'caster)
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Welsh, Michael
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter White, Frank R.
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Whitehead, Phillip
Haynes, Frank Winnick, David
Holland, S. (L'b'th, Vauxh'11) Woolmer, Kenneth
Home Robertson, John
Homewood, William Tellers for the Noes:
Hoyle, DouglasMr. George Morton and
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Mr. Allen McKay.
Morgan, Geraint Squire, Robin
Murphy, Christopher Stainton, Keith
Neale, Gerrard Stanbrook, Ivor
Needham, Richard Stevens, Martin
Nelson, Anthony Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Neubert, Michael Stokes, John
Newton, Tony Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Page, Richard (SW Herts) Teblolt, Rt Hon Norman
Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Parris, Matthew Thompson, Donald
Pattie, Geoffrey Thornton, Malcolm
Percival, Sir Ian Townend, John (Bridlington)
Proctor, K. Harvey Townsend, Cyril D, (B'heath)
Renton, Tim Trippier, David
Rhodes James, Robert van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Wadclington, David
Roberts, M. (Cardiff NW) Waldegrave, Hon William
Rossi, Hugh Warren, Kenneth
Royle, Sir Anthony Watson, John
Sainsbury, Hon Timothy Wells, John (Maidstone)
Shaw, Giles (Pudsey) Wheeler, John
Shaw, Michael (Scarborough) Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Silvester, Fred Whitney, Raymond
Sims, Roger Williams, D.(Montgomery)
Skeet, T. H. H. Wolfson, Mark
Speed, Keith Young, Sir George (Acton) Speller, Tony
Spicer, Jim (West Dorset) Tellers for the Ayes:
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Mr. Robert Boscawen and
Sproat, lain Mr. Selwyn Gummer.

Question accordingly agreed to.


That the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act 1980 (Postponement of Repeal) Order 1981 (S.I., 1981, No. 1358), a copy of which was laid before this House on 28th September, be approved.