HC Deb 03 May 1983 vol 42 cc169-79

Preliminary conditions 1. The power to make an order or issue a warrant under this Schedule is only exercisable if one or other of the preliminary conditions is fulfilled. 2. The first preliminary condition is that a circuit judge is satisfied on the application of a constable that there are reasonable grounds for believing—

  1. (a) that a serious arrestable offence has been committed; and
  2. (b) that there is special procedure material in certain premises; and
  3. (c) that that material is relevant evidence.
3. The second preliminary condition is that a circuit judge is satisfied on the application of a constable—
  1. (a) that there are reasonable grounds for believing that there is special procedure material in certain premises;
  2. (b) that but for section (Access to special procedure materiali (2) above a justice of the peace would have power otherwise than by virtue of this Schedule to issue a warrant to search the premises for the material; and
  3. (c) that it would be appropriate for a justice of the peace or judge to issue such a warrant.

Order to produce or give access to material

4. The circuit judge may make an order under paragraph 6 below if—

  1. (a) the first preliminary condition and the conditions specified in paragraph 5 below are fulfilled; or
  2. (b) the second preliminary condition is fulfilled.
5. The conditions mentioned in paragraph 4(a) above are that the circuit judge is satisfied—
  1. (a) that the special procedure material would be of substantial value (whether by itself or together with other material) to the investigation in connection with which the application is made; and
  2. (b) that other methods of obtaining it—
    1. (i) have been tried without success; or
    2. (ii) have not been tried because it appeared that they were bound to fail; and
  3. (c) that it is in the public interest, having regard—
    1. (i) to the benefit likely to accrue to the investigation if the material is obtained; and
    2. (ii) to the circumstances under which the person in possession of the material holds it,
that the material should be produced or that access to it should be given.
(6. An order under this paragraph is an order requiring that a person—
  1. (a) shall produce the material specified in the order to a constable not later than the end of such period not exceeding 7 days from the date of the order as the order may specify; or
  2. 170
  3. (b) shall give a constable access to the material not later than the end of thai: period.
7. Where the material consists of data contained in a computer, an order under paragraph 6 above shall have effect as an order to produce the material in a form in which it can be taken away. 8. An application for an order under paragraph 6 above shall be made inter partes. 9. Where notice of an application for an order under paragraph 6 above is served on a person, he shall not conceal, destroy, alter or dispose of the material to which the application relates except—
  1. (a) with the leave of a judge; or
  2. (b) with the written permission of a constable, until—
    1. (i) the application is dismissed or abandoned; or
    2. (ii) he has complied with an order under paragraph 6 above made on the application.

Service of notices of applications for orders 10. Notice of an application for an order under paragraph 6 above may be served on a person either by delivering it to him or by leaving it at his proper address or by sending it by post to him in a registered letter or by the recorded delivery service. 11. Such a notice may be served—

  1. (a) on a body corporate, by serving it on the body's secretary or clerk or other similar officer; and
  2. (b) on a partnership, by serving it on one of the partners.
12. For the purposes of this Schedule, and of section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978 in its application to this Schedule, the proper address of a person, in the case of a secretary or clerk or other similar officer of a body corporate, shall be that of the registered or principal office of that body, in the case of a partner of a firm shall be that of the principal office of the firm, and in any other case shall be the last known address of the person to be served.

Warrants to enter premises and search for special procedure material 13. A circuit judge may issue a warrant under paragraph 14 below where, on an application made by a constable, he is satisfied—

  1. (a) as mentioned in paragraph 4 above; and
  2. (b) either
    1. (i) that service of notice of an application for an order under paragraph 6 above is likely to result in the concealment, destruction, alteration or disposal of the material; or
    2. (ii) that the material is subject to a restriction or obligation such as is mentioned in sub-paragraph (ii) of section [Meaning of "special procedure material"] (2)(b) above and is likely to be disclosed in breach of it if he does not issue the warrant.
14. A warrant under this paragraph shall be a warrant authorising a constable to enter and search the premises, using reasonable force if necessary. 15. Such a warrant may authorise persons to accompany any constable who is executing it. 16. An application for such a warrant shall be made ex parte.

Costs 17. The costs of any application under this Schedule and of anything done or to be done under an order made under paragraph 6 above shall be in the discretion of the judge.' — [Mr. Mayhew.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time.

Amendment (d) proposed to the proposed schedule, in line 37, at end insert `and, in particular, to any duty of confidentiality under which the evidence in question is held and to the public interest in the free and full reporting of events.'.—[Mr. Andrew F. Bennett.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 14, Noes 113.

Division No. 139] [2.44 am
Brown, Ronald W. (H'ckn'y S) Penhaligon, David
Cryer, Bob Dubs, Alfred Pitt, William Henry
Dubs, Alfred Richardson, Jo
Hughes, Simon (Bermondsey) Sheerman, Barry
Lyon, Alexander (York) Skinner, Dennis
Mikardo, Ian Spriggs, Leslie
Tilley, John Tellers for the Ayes:
Wrigglesworth, Ian Mr. Christopher Price and
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett.
Alexander, Richard Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Aspinwall, Jack Lyell, Nicholas
Atkinson, David (B'm'th.E) Macfarlane, Neil
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony MacGregor, John
Berry, Hon Anthony Major, John
Best, Keith Marlow, Antony
Biffen, Rt Hon John Mather, Carol
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Maude, Rt Hon Sir Angus
Blaker, Peter Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Boscawen, Hon Robert Mayhew, Patrick
Bottomley, Peter (W'wich W) Mellor, David
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Miller, Hal (B'grove)
Bright, Graham Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Brinton, Tim Moate, Roger
Brooke, Hon Peter Morris, M. (N'hampton S)
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'n) Murphy, Christopher
Browne, John (Winchester) Nelson, Anthony
Bruce-Gardyne, John Newton, Tony
Budgen, Nick Normanton, Tom
Bulmer, Esmond Page, Richard (SW Herts)
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Chapman, Sydney Proctor, K. Harvey
Cope, John Rhodes James, Robert
Costain, Sir Albert Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Cranborne, Viscount Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Dorrell, Stephen Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Rumbold, Mrs A. C. R.
Dover, Denshore Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Elliott, Sir William Silvester, Fred
Eyre, Reginald Sims, Roger
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Fisher, Sir Nigel Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)
Forman, Nigel Sproat, Iain
Fox, Marcus Stanbrook, Ivor
Fry, Peter Stevens, Martin
Garel-Jones, Tristan Stewart, A. (E Renfrewshire)
Goodlad, Alastair Stradling Thomas, J.
Gower, Sir Raymond Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Grant, Sir Anthony Temple-Morris, Peter
Griffiths, E.(B'y St. Edm'ds) Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N) Thompson, Donald
Gummer, John Selwyn Townsend, Cyril D, (B'heath)
Hawkins, Sir Paul Waddington, David
Hawksley, Warren Wakeham, John
Heddle, John Waldegrave, Hon William
Hooson, Tom Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir D.
Hordern, Peter Wells, Bowen
Hunt, David (Wirral) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Irvine, RtHon Bryant Godman Whitney, Raymond
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Wickenden, Keith
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Wolfson, Mark
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Young, Sir George (Acton)
Kershaw, Sir Anthony
Lamont, Norman Tellers for the Noes:
Lang, Ian Mr. Archie Hamilton and
Lawrence, Ivan Mr. Douglas Hogg.
Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Rutland)

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendment (g) proposed to the proposed schedule, in line 83, at end insert 14A. Nothing under paragraph 14 above shall authorise the seizure of any excluded material or any special procedure material except that which is specified in the warrant.—,[Mr. Andrew F. Bennett.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 13, Noes 113.

Division No. 140] [2.55 am
Bennett, Andrew (St'kp't N) Cryes, Bob
Brow, Ronald W. (H'ckn'y S) Hughes, Simon (Bermondsey)
Mikardo, Ian Spriggs, Leslie
Penhaligon, David Wrigglesworth, Ian
Pitt, William Henry
Price, C. (Lewisham W) Tellers for the Ayes:
Richardson, Jo Mr. John Tilley and
Sheerman, Barry Mr. Alfred Dubs.
Skinner, Dennis
Alexander, Richard Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Aspinwall, Jack Lyell, Nicholas
Atkinson, David (B'm'th.E) Macfarlane, Neil
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony MacGregor, John
Berry, Hon Anthony Major, John
Best, Keith Marlow, Antony
Biffen, Rt Hon John Mather, Carol
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Blaker, Peter Mayhew, Patrick
Boscawen, Hon Robert Mellor, David
Bottomley, Peter (W'wich W) Miller, Hal (B'grove)
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Bright, Graham Moate, Roger
Brinton, Tim Morris, M. (N'hampton S)
Brooke, Hon Peter Murphy, Christopher
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'n) Nelson, Anthony
Browne, John (Winchester) Newton, Tony
Bruce-Gardyne, John Normanton, Tom
Budgen, Nick Page, Richard (SW Herts)
Bulmer, Esmond Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Proctor, K. Harvey
Chapman, Sydney Rhodes James, Robert
Cope, John Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Costain, Sir Albert Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Cranborne, Viscount Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Dorrell, Stephen Rumbold, Mrs A. C. R.
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Dover, Denshore Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Silvester, Fred
Elliott, Sir William Sims, Roger
Eyre, Reginald Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)
Fisher, Sir Nigel Sproat, Iain
Forman, Nigel Stanbrook, Ivor
Fox, Marcus Stevens, Martin
Fry, Peter Stewart, A. (E Renfrewshire)
Garel-Jones, Tristan Stradling Thomas, J.
Goodlad, Alastair Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Gower, Sir Raymond Temple-Morris, Peter
Grant, Sir Anthony Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Griffiths, E.(B'ySt. Edm'ds) Thompson, Donald
Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N) Townsend, Cyril D, (B'heath)
Gummer, John Selwyn Waddington, David
Hamilton, Hon A. Wakeham, John
Hawkins, Sir Paul Waldegrave, Hon William
Hawksley, Warren Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir D.
Heddle, John Watson, John
Hooson, Tom Wells, Bowen
Hordern, Peter Wells, John (Maidstone)
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Irvine, Rt Hon Bryant Godman Whitney, Raymond
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Wickenden, Keith
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Wolfson, Mark
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Young, Sir George (Acton)
Kershaw, Sir Anthony
Lamont, Norman TellersfortheNpr. DavidHuntand
Lang, Ian Mr. Douglas Hogg.
Lawrence, Ivan
Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Rutland)

Question accordingly negatived.

Schedule added to the Bill.

Bill reported, with amendments.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill, as amended, be now considered.—[Mr. Garel-Jones.]

Mr. Christopher Price

I understand that the motion is debatable, and it would be proper to debate it briefly, and to consider the stage that we have reached now that we have recommitted the two clauses and we next move to the Report stage. We have a difficulty that might be solved by putting off the consideration of the Bill until a little later. I shall spell out why I think that the motion should not be passed and we should not move to Report, because it is not the appropriate time.

The first reason is the reason that is always given at 3.7 am. The Committee has done well today. It has debated some important issues in the three groupings of proposals that we have debated. We are not at our best at this time in the morning. If we want to consider the Report stage fully and properly, it may be best to do it a little later today. The Government have allowed two more days for the Bill, and there seems to be plenty of time. There are few people who would commend the idea of carrying on with the Report stage, as the motion suggests.

The second reason. Mr. Dean — [Horn. MEMBERS: "Order."] Mr. Deputy Speaker, I apologise both to you and to the House, and can only plead the fact that it is now 3.8 am. Another reason is that the Government have come forward with what they thought were compromises agreed with the bishops, the accountants, the doctors, the Samaritans, the citizens advice bureaux — if I dare breathe those words in front of the massed ranks on the Government Benches—and the journalists. In the three substantial debates that we have had since 3.30 yesterday afternoon, it has been made clear on both sides, particularly by the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Griffiths) and hon. Members on this side, that the compromises that the Government have made do not command the universal consent of the House and need more thought and scrutiny.

I do not blame the Government. We proceeded slowly but surely in Committee, and by doing so, by a process of festina lente, we got matters right simply by not hurrying. The danger of diving straight into the Report stage is that we shall compound the muddle that the Government have got into in the redrawn clauses in substitution for clauses 9 and 10. It would be better to step back a little, think where we are going, as the Minister of State did on many occasions in Committee, so that the Government and their patient advisers, who have sat throughout the night with us, can get together and decide what new provisions should be brought forward for Report. If we did that, when the Bill leaves this House to go to the Lords, it could be in a state which can command more general assent from each side of the House.

Mr. Cryer

Will my hon. Friend also bear in mind that this Bill had a wide response from bodies outside the House, and that it would be as well to mull over the alterations to the Bill to allow bodies both outside and inside the House to assess the changes in the Bill? Surely in any democratic process, particularly in controversial legislation such as this, we should get a response from the bodies that apparently had such an influence on the Government.

Mr. Price

As usual, my hon. Friend has put his finger on an important point. All those who were members of the Committee will agree that throughout the Committee stage all its members, including the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds, who temporarily is not in his seat, and Opposition Members, relied heavily on the opinions of bodies outside the House of Commons. Many compromises were made at that stage. I remember when we joined forces to defeat the Government to give policemen the right to legal representation when they were on disciplinary charges. Many compromises emerged, and they were sensible ones. If we dive straight into the Report stage at this point, there will be no time for such consultation to take place.

There is the third problem to which I briefly alluded in the motion that we considered before recommittal. The Government said that the bunch of new clauses that we have now passed will come up for consideration at the end of the Report stage, but that will produce enormous difficulties for the House, and perhaps I might set out the difficulties that I foresee if we move straight to Report.

The Bill was carefully drafted in parts. Part II contained clauses 9 and 10 entitled Power to enter premises to search for evidence of serious offences. and Evidence held on confidential basis. We have taken them out of the Bill and substituted a group of new clauses. The Bill was drafted in that way not by accident but because that was the logical way to deal with the issues.

In the original Bill clause 11 followed clause 10 and was entitled Entry and search after arrest. That was followed by clause 12 called "Search warrants —safeguards", clause 13 entitled Powers of constables to execute warrants", the important clause14—entitled "Seizure of articles" and clause 15 called "Warrants — supplementary". Clauses about arrest and detention follow clauses dealing with the powers of entry, search and seizure.

I do not see how we can sensibly discuss amendments to clauses 11 to 14 when we have only just agreed a bunch of new clauses which will be amended further. As a consequence, amendments will be needed to the later clauses which hinge so closely on to the old clauses 9 and 10.

I gave the example earlier of the link between obtaining a warrant to seize something and actually seizing it. There was great pressure in Committee to agree that it is wrong to allow the police to obtain a warrant to find stolen property and then to seize something different and perhaps trivial.

That is only one example of linkage between the battery of new clauses which should be considered with their amendments in order but which we are told cannot be considered until the end of Report. I understand that the printers are working to produce a supplementary version of the clauses which we discussed today, but we cannot sensibly consider the Bill on Report if we constantly come across matters which cannot be disposed of until we have considered in order provisions which have only just been approved.

The Government rightly wanted recommittal for the new clauses, but they should have allowed us a few days to consider the massive changes and for the Bill to be reprinted properly and coherently. Perhaps the Government did not realise the enormity of the changes that they were making. I do not see how we can proceed. It is now 3.18 am and none of us is in a state to consider such important legislation. The Bill is in such an incoherent state that we should call it a day and come back to a properly printed Bill which we can consider properly.

Mr. Hattersley

I rise to make the briefest of points and perhaps to disagree with my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price). Although I share my hon. Friend's view about the undesirability of proceeding with any Bill, especially one as controversial as this, at such an hour, I do not see how we can sensibly abandon our consideration now and hope to devote the necessary time to the large number of amendments outstanding. I agree that it is an undesirable way of proceeding, but I see no alternative.

I rise, however, not to argue with my hon. Friend but to ask the Home Secretary to say something about his future intention for the timetable. We have spent 12 hours in Committee. I am sure that the Home Secretary will agree in his usual generous way — although I do not think that generosity is needed in this case—that those 12 hours have not been wasted on fractious or frivolous speeches. We have considered three groups of amendments on matters of real concern as seriously as we individually could. Opposition speeches have not been substantially longer or more frequent than Conservative speeches. Indeed, the longest speeches were made by the Minister of State; and I was grateful for them. There has been no attempt to prolong discussions unnecessarily. Nevertheless, the renewed Committee stage took 12 hours from the time that we rightfully expected and the Government intended to be devoted to the Report stage.

I do not want a long debate on this procedural motion as I wish to proceed with the amendments that we have to consider and for which the remaining time is already inadequate. I hope that the Home Secretary will add to his earlier comment about time, when he said that we had better see how we go on. We now know how we go on. After 12 serious hours which have in no way been wasted, we have lost a great deal of time that was rightfully allocated to the Report stage. How does the Home Secretary intend to compensate for that?

Mr. Whitelaw

I rise at once in response to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley). First, I accept of course that there was no undue delay in debating the new clauses. Of course it took a long time. I accepted that. It was for that very reason that I agreed to the right hon. Gentleman's original proposal for the procedure to be followed, and I believe that it has proved to be right. As I said before, I thought that it was right to go on for a bit and I still think so now. No one in the House dislikes early morning debates more than I do, but I have suddenly got new wind. Having said nothing for a long time, I now feel very fresh and rare, far more so than I ever feel at any other time of the day. Having reached that stage, I think that we should go on for a little bit and see how we get on with a few new clauses. I cannot comment on further implications at this point, but I shall of course consider them in the proper way.

Mr. Mikardo

I wish to make an appeal to the Home Secretary. He is fresh as a daisy and so am I, but it is only old codgers like us who stay fresh in the middle of the night. I make an earnest appeal to him on behalf of all the young fellows sitting around fading like blown tulips. They simply cannot take the pace, dear Home Secretary, and we should not be so hard on them. It is selfish of us, just because we are fit and raring to go, to subject all these poor fellows who cannot stand it to a really hard time.

I do not agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley). He said that unless we went on he could not see how we could get through the Report stage in the time available. But what is the time available? The Government have a responsibility to provide the necessary time to get through the Report stage.

Mr. Speaker's provisional selection consists of 98 groups. I appreciate that many of the amendments are Government amendments to honour promises given to the Opposition in Committee. I also appreciate that some of them are purely technical. Nevertheless, there are 98 groups of amendments, of which 82 are groups headed by a Government amendment. Therefore, the Government are responsible for well over 80 per cent. of the business on the Order Paper for the Report stage. As they are responsible for all that business, they are responsible for finding time for it.

We thought that it would be a tight fit having Report and Third Reading in three days. We now do not have three days—we have lost one day, although for a good purpose. My right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook and the Home Secretary were right to say that we had a constructive recommital stage, participated in by hon. Members from both sides of the House. It was not usual procedure upstairs in Committee where Government Members are decorative mutes, not allowed by their Whips to be anything else. We had a good, lively discussion across the Floor. I do not regret the 12 hours spent on recommital, but it means that we have lost one-third of the time allocated to Report and Third Reading —and even that allocation was pretty tight for a Report stage with 98 groups of amendments.

I wish to add a further, personal point. I gave Mr. Speaker notice about 16 or 17 hours ago that I wished to raise with him a point of order on new clause 1. No doubt that information has been passed to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. But, with all respect to you, I want a ruling from Mr. Speaker. Indeed, the point will now crop up more than once. I wish to raise it on new clause 1, which is the first opportunity on Report. However, in Committee we passed new clause 3, which contains the same offending words —although not quite identical—to those in new clause 1, and a ruling affecting new clause 1 will also affect new clause 3.

The point I wish to raise is of considerable importance, and one to which the Chair will have given some thought. The House will be interested in it. To take up such a point at four o'clock in the morning is not right. I do not know what the Home Secretary thinks that he will gain if he ploughs on now. I think that he had better reconcile himself to having to find an extra day to consider the Bill on Report. He will have to fight like fury with his Whips Office to get it, but it will have to be found in any event, irrespective of whether we plough on now.

3.30 am

There is a strong case for removing the motion presently before us so that we can go away and refresh ourselves for a start on Report in about 12 hours' time. We can make a good job of it tomorrow and perhaps sit fairly late.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon

I have never had a great deal of trust in the usual channels, and I think that they are being rather obstinate in failing to recognise what has happened since Mr. Speaker's selection. Whatever the number of amendments, those which have been selected which are not Government amendments are very few. My hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo) has counted them and it appears that there are only 16 groups of amendments that are not Government amendments. A substantial slice of them are Scottish amendments. Therefore, the amendments that are likely to interest the whole House form a limited group.

It is possible to talk on Government amendments if we want to do so. The Home Secretary is virtually encouraging us to do exactly that. If we are to be held in the Chamber talking on the early amendments until the later hours of the morning, the right hon. Gentleman is encouraging us to talk on each of the Government amendments. If we do that, we shall not complete the consideration of the Bill on Report in three days and he will have to find another day.

If we were to leave the Chamber now and return later to consider the new clauses, they could be dealt with fairly expeditiously. We could then move on to Government amendments, which are mainly concessions arising from debates in Committee, which could be dealt with quickly.

It is a matter for the Home Secretary, but I confess that I cannot understand what the point is tactically in going on beyond the present stage. The right hon. Gentleman would gain greater good will if he were to say now that he proposed to start the consideration of the Bill on Report later in the day. In those circumstances we could begin again with a freshness of mind, debate the new clauses and deal with the Government amendments fairly expeditiously. However, it is a matter for the right hon. Gentleman, and I can only say that if he wants to go on for the rest of the night, we can continue for this night, tomorrow night and on to Monday night without finishing the Bill. If that happens, he will still have to concede another day.

Mr. Cryer

My understanding of the arrangements made between the usual channels—a dubious method of proceeding anyhow—is that there will be three days on Report. But that will not be so, because one day has already gone. My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) talked about the 12 hours of debate on the part of the Bill discussed in Committee on the Floor of the House, which took virtually a third of the three days.

It is abundantly clear that the debates in Committee —I was not present throughout, but I was in my place for a chunk of it—were concise, probing and useful, and raised some relevant factors. There has been no attempt to delay the Bill unnecessarily beyond the need to examine and argue the issues, which is the proper function of a Committee.

There have been very few Divisions. There could have been many more had there been a desire to divide. The Opposition considered a critical and responsible examination of the Bill to be proper and decided that they would vote on various issues, deciding each issue on its merits.

When my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price) was speaking, I raised the question of the proper consideration by outside bodies. Everyone knows that bodies such as the National Council for Civil Liberties have taken a deep interest in the Bill, and it is right that that should be so. If pin-striped Conservative Members recoil in horror at the thought that such an outside body should be encouraged to take an interest, let me say that even more Establishment-minded bodies—

Mr. Mikardo

Like accountants.

Mr. Cryer

Where can one find a more Establishment-minded group of people than accountants? Lawyers and the Police Federation have taken an interest. We know that the Police Federation has a representative here who has a special interest in the matter, but other bodies do not, and they wish to obtain information. It is not true that our proceedings are going so quickly that they cannot take into account all the changes and produce a response. Those bodies that are interested in the Bill's passage have made a speedy response and got information rapidly to Members.

People other than those connected with democratic bodies such as the NCCL want to give their considered views. We have just been debating the position of the press and Lord Matthews will want to take into account the new clauses. It may be argued that he is down the corridor in the House of Lords and can participate in the later stages, but Sir David English cannot. He is no doubt panting to get into the House of Lords. If the Daily Mail keeps up its misleading package of Tory propaganda day after day, no doubt he will, but he is not there yet. He has to earn A by subservience to the Conservative central office. If he wants to give his views, has has to give them to the Government and not as a Member of the House of Lords. That is another reason for allowing a certain modicum of time.

The Home Secretary says that he is fresh; and given the buoyancy of his comment who could deny that? He says that there is plenty of time. If there is plenty of time, there is no urgency to take the Report stage immediately. The Government believe that with an election within their province and decision they can get the Bill out of the way and have it under their belts and say that they have passed legislation that will help them in their battle for law and order, but I should have thought a more resolute approach would be better. Each stage should not be considered in a rush and at unseemly haste through the night.

We have already taken the Bill to 20 minutes to four. That is not bad for a complicated Bill which requires fairly careful assessment at each stage. A resolute approach is not one that pushes legislation through the House because one knows that one has a majoritiy and that the Whips can push Lobby fodder through whenever necessary to get the Bill passed for the sake of expediency. To the observer that seems to be what the Government are doing.

I know that the Home Secretary is anxious to respond, and I shall delay him for only a moment or two more.

Because of the facts that have been enunciated by myself and my hon. Friends, the Home Secretary should state how he proposes to deal with the Report stage, bearing in mind the need for an extra day, to fulfil the needs of the usual channels. It is just conceivable that the arrangements made by the usual channels do not take into account the process of debate whereby some additional time is needed to deal with the more complex parts of legislation, which do not always parcel out into the neat arrangements which might otherwise be made.

As the House has discussed some considerably complex arrangements, and as the Bill is important to outside bodies, a better approach would be to proceed in such a way that they could absorb the changes, give their comments and so enable the House to proceed in a more informative way. Time is in the Government's hands. If they consider the Bill to be important, they should give time to it.

Mr. Whitelaw

The last thing that I want to be is unreasonable. I shall consider what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) has said and examine the position.

It is reasonable to begin to deal with one or two of the new clauses. I wish to make a start on the new clauses. I trust that the House will enable me to do so.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 99, Noes 10.

Division No. 141] [3.40 am
Alexander, Richard Lyell, Nicholas
Atkinson, David (B'm'th,E) Macfarlane, Neil
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony MacGregor, John
Berry, Hon Anthony Marlow, Antony
Best, Keith Mather, Carol
Biffen, Rt Hon John Maxweil-Hyslop, Robin
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Mayhew, Patrick
Blaker, Peter Mellor, David
Boscawen, Hon Robert Miller, Hal (B'grove)
Bottomley, Peter (W'wich W) Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Moate, Roger
Bright, Graham Morris, M. (N'hampton S)
Brinton, Tim Nelson, Anthony
Brooke, Hon Peter Normanton, Tom
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'n) Page, Richard (SW Herts)
Browne, John (Winchester) Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Bruce-Gardyne, John Proctor, K. Harvey
Budgen, Nick Rhodes James, Robert
Bulmer, Esmond Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Cope, John Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Costain, Sir Albert Rumbold, Mrs A. C. R.
Cranborne, Viscount Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Dorrell, Stephen Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Silvester, Fred
Dover, Denshore Sims, Roger
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Eyre, Reginald Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Sproat, Iain
Forman, Nigel Stanbrook, Ivor
Garel-Jones, Tristan Stevens, Martin
Goodlad, Alastair Stewart, A.(E Renfrewshire)
Gower, Sir Raymond Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Griffiths, E.(B'y St. Edm'ds) Temple-Morris, Peter
Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N) Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Gummer, John Selwyn Thompson, Donald
Hawkins, Sir Paul Townsend, Cyril D, (B'heath)
Hawksley, Warren Waddington, David
Heddle, John Waldegrave, Hon William
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir D.
Hooson, Tom Watson, John
Hunt, David (Wirral) Wells, Bowen
Irvine, RtHon Bryant Godman Wells, John (Maidstone)
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Wickenden, Keith
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Wolfson, Mark
Kershaw, Sir Anthony Young, Sir George (Acton)
Lamont, Norman
Lang, Ian Tellers for the Ayes:
Lawrence, Ivan Mr. Archie Hamilton and
Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Rutland) Mr. John Major.
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Bennett, Andrew (St'kp't N) Skinner, Dennis
Brown, Ronald W. (H'ckn'y S) Spriggs, Leslie
Dubs, Alfred Wrigglesworth, Ian
Hughes, Simon (Bermondsey)
Mikardo, Ian Tellers for the Noes:
Pitt, William Henry Mr. Bob Cryer and
Price, C. (Lewisham W) Miss Jo Richardson.

Question accordingly agreed to.

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