§ The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. James Prior)
I beg to move,That the draft Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 (Continuance) Order 1984, which was laid before this House on 14th June, be approved.This is important legislation. The community in Northern Ireland continues to be subject to criminal attack from terrorists, and exceptional powers are therefore necessary for the protection of people in the Province. The House will know that this is the first occasion for some years that the issue of renewal has been put before Parliament against a background of a comprehensive and independent review of the emergency legislation.
§ Mr. Ernie Ross (Dundee, West)
Does the right hon. Gentleman feel lonely? Before he started his speech, two or three of his colleagues, including the Prime Minister, were in the Chamber, but they have now gone. Does the right hon. Gentleman believe in what he is saying?
§ Mr. Prior
The hon. Gentleman would have done better to keep his mouth shut.
Sir George Baker delivered his report to me in March, and it was published in April. I have already made clear my regard for Sir George and for the depth, sincerity and clarity of his review. All hon. Members will have been deeply saddened to hear of his recent death. I take this opportunity—I am sure that all hon. Members join me—to pay tribute to him.
The review of the emergency provisions legislation was Sir George's last public duty. His report showed the same remarkable qualities of humanity and fairness that marked all his work. Everyone who met him during his review was deeply impressed by the speed with which he grasped the complexity of the political and security situation in Northern Ireland. Moreover, we were all impressed by the depth of feeling which he quickly developed for the people of the Province. We were fortunate to receive a report from someone of such independence and powerful judicial integrity.
There is no doubt that it is of vital importance that the emergency legislation applying in Northern Ireland should be subject to independent review from time to time so as to inform us in our regular scrutiny of such measures. The spirited and readable quality of Sir George's report will, I hope, stimulate and prompt wide-ranging debate in the House and throughout the country. There will be an opportunity in due course to debate Sir George's detailed conclusions and recommendations very thoroughly. I shall take most careful note of everything that is said in framing the Government's eventual response.
Of course, some of Sir George's recommendations will require a great deal of study and consultation. Others can only be considered when the Police and Criminal Evidence Bill has reached the statute book. But I must make it clear that the Government are in broad agreement both with the tone of Sir George's report and with most of his conclusions and recommendations.
Our starting point has been that we are committed to ridding the statute book of all emergency measures as soon 560 as improvements in the security situation allow. Until that time, those measures which remain necessary to enable the security forces to deal effectively with terrorism must be maintained with the minimum possible effect on the ordinary civil liberties of the citizens. We are also committed to seeing that these measures are enforced with due sensitivity. To decide what measures are necessary, we must have a realistic appreciation of the continuing capacity of terrorists to commit their appalling crimes of violence. Moreover, we must recognise that emergency measures of themselves are insufficient to deal completely with terrorism. As I said in the House on Monday, political and economic development within the Province are crucial to the long and hard fight to bring terrorism to an end and in increasing the identification of all parts of, the community with the forces of law and order.
Sir George makes it clear, and the Government share his view, that there is no scope at present for making wholesale or fundamental changes to the emergency legislation which currently applies in the Province. Events since the last renewal of the Emergency Provisions Act have regrettably underlined this conclusion.
I should remind the House that since 1 December 1983, there have been 47 deaths arising from the security situation in the Province. I know that hon. Members whose constituencies and preoccupations are on this side of the channel will appreciate from this hideous statistic just what violence confronts the community in Northern Ireland and the dreadful strains it imposes on the whole community, and I do not think that we should be in any doubt about the special strains that it imposes on Members of Parliament who come from Ulster and who have to bear the heat and burden of the day.
Whatever the temporary setbacks, the resolve of the Government and of the security forces remains absolute. We are committed to enforcing the rule of law which is fundamental to any civilised society, and we are committed to doing it according to the highest standards of impartiality and justice. The initial responsibility for implementing this policy falls of course on the courageous and dedicated members of the security forces. I believe we owe a heavy debt to the extra ordinarily high standards of professionalism and devotion displayed by all the security forces in carrying out their duties under the law.
It may help the House if I give a few figures to illustrate some of the success which the security forces are having in tackling terrorism. I do this because it is murders that make news. The successes that the security forces have had do not make news.
Over the six-month period from the beginning of December to the end of May, 272 people were charged with terrorist-type offences, including 56 for murder and attempted murder, and 86 for firearms and explosives offences. In the same period, over 7,000 lb of explosives were found and a large number of devices containing over 4,000 lb of explosive were neutralised. These are the actual finds. They do not deal with the number of terrorist attacks that were frustrated as a result of security action, and they are numerous.
In an environment in which terrorists seek to infect the community with suspicion and distrust for the very institutions that make humane government and an ordered society possible, we must constantly be on our guard against propaganda and smear tactics. We must build and sustain confidence in the security forces, and especially in the police who have the primary responsibility for 561 enforcing the law. To do this, we must recognise the dangers they face daily, on and off duty. On those occasions on which the police are confronted by criminals who are or appear to be armed, we must face the fact squarely that they have, and indeed must have, a legal right to defend themselves using reasonable force and to protect the lives of others. Like every other citizen—
§ Mr. Kevin McNamara (Kingston upon Hull, North)
How does the Secretary of State distinguish between "appear to have arms" and "suspected of having arms"?
§ Mr. Prior
It is not for me to draw that distinction. It is difficult for a constable, a policeman or a soldier, faced with such a decision, to make it in a split second. Such decisions have to be made not only in Northern Ireland. There have also been recent cases in this country when the same sort of problems were faced.
The hon. Gentleman and the House know that the security forces in Northern Ireland—the Ulster Defence Regiment, the part-timers, the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Army—as well as the judiciary and politicians, now bear the brunt of the terrorist attacks. These are difficult matters for them. I personally believe that the manner in which the security forces have carried out their duties has been absolutely exemplary. If there have been any lapses—there are bound to be from time to time—the same people have been subject to the law in exactly the same way as others. I am certain that the hon. Gentleman also feels that the manner in which the security forces have behaved in Northern Ireland is exemplary. They have a fantastically difficult job. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would not want any other thought to go out from the House tonight except that they behave in the most exemplary manner.
A member of the security forces who uses force is answerable to the courts, which will have to decide on its reasonableness in the particular circumstances of the case. Those circumstances are extremely varied. The pressures of having to make split-second decisions cannot be wished away. We must not confuse such situations with summary execution or a policy of "shoot to kill". No such policy is possible under the rule of law and could not and never will be tolerated.
I shall give the hon. Gentleman another illustration of the difficulties. Quite recently in west Belfast a house was surrounded by policemen who had good reason to believe that there were terrorists inside. When they went to the door of the house, the three policemen were shot from inside by one of the alleged terrorists. They did not have a chance to shoot back; they were just shot. One man was killed and two were seriously injured. One of the terrorists shot himself in circumstances that we do not completely understand. That is the sort of risk that policemen take while doing their daily job in Northern Ireland. It does not happen in many other places.
The Government are committed to ensuring that the police and the Army have all the necessary resources to carry out their tasks effectively. Hon. Members will recall that I recently authorised an additional 500 posts for the RUC. I hope that those fresh vacancies will all be filled by the end of the financial year or, in the case of the 250 full-time regular RUC men, by the end of the calendar year.
One of the most virulent propaganda campaigns about which I advised circumspection a moment ago is of course 562 directed at the use of accomplice evidence. There is nothing new about that form of evidence, which is firmly rooted in British law, but the decision of some former terrorists to turn their backs on their colleagues has led to cries of "Betrayal" and bitter attacks on all such evidence, no matter what the circumstances of the particular case. But it is for the independent Director of Public Prosecutions to assess the allegations of an accomplice and determine their value against the background of any other evidence which can be presented. It is for the judge to determine how much weight should be put on it and he must give his reasoning when setting out his eventual judgment. This process is in the public interest. It is not a matter for Ministers or for political interference.
The Act provides for trial by a judge sitting alone for persons accused of specific scheduled offences. It contains additional arrest and detention powers for the police and the Army, together with certain exceptional powers of search and seizure. The Act also provides for the proscription of certain criminal organisations. The Act does not alter the central principles of British justice as they apply in the Province The onus remains on the prosecution to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Accused persons have the right to take legal advice of their choice and to be represented by their own lawyers in open court, and there remains the right of appeal against conviction or sentence on matters of law and fact.
I fully recognise that emergency powers are not the answer to Northern Ireland's problems. We all recognise that, and I hope that Opposition Members who have objected to the legislation—
§ Sir John Farr (Harborough)
Before my right hon. Friend leaves that point, will he confirm that people tried in open court have the benefit of legal aid if they need it?
§ Mr. Prior
Yes, they have legal aid, and the best possible advice. A reason why there is often a delay in bringing cases to trial is that defendants are intent on having specialised legal advice and certain barristers only. That is their right and they are perfectly entitled to it. But that is a reason why it takes time before some cases come to court.
§ Mr. McNamara
I am sorry to keep interrupting, but I must pursue this point. Today the Secretary of State said that the reason involved the choice of counsel. At Question Time last week he said that it was a question of the different supergrasses presenting different charges and so changing the nature of the indictment. What are the real reasons? Is it not that the Government cannot prepare their cases in time and so we have internments without trial?
§ Mr. Prior
That is not true. There are a variety of reasons. First, other charges are often brought against people while they are on remand. Secondly, there is the problem of defence counsel and of congestion in the courts. The process has been speeded up and I am doing all I can to speed it up further. The average time spent on remand is 46 weeks, which is still too long but better than before.
I am aware of the difficulties of the Act, but we must have these measures at the moment. The crimes in Northern Ireland mean that we are still in a state of emergency.
§ Sir John Biggs-Davison (Epping Forest)
On the question of the delay of justice, will my right hon. Friend say something about the Baker recommendations to appoint another High Court judge in Northern Ireland?
§ Mr. Prior
I am not dealing directly with the Baker recommendations, because we shall have a proper debate on them. His recommendation to have another High Court judge is for the Lord Chancellor and has my full support. We need another High Court judge as quickly as possible. Anything that can be done to speed up the course of justice must be done, because it will remove some arguments that are raised by hon. Members.
The Government will do everything within their power to develop the political and economic fabric of the Province in order to reduce and eventually to eliminate the tensions and problems which lie at the root of this violence. I look for assistance from every responsible quarter to that end, within Northern Ireland and elsewhere. I have been heartened by the strength of the Republic's commitment to tackling terrorism, which is as much a threat to them as it is to us. The close and effective working relationship between the two police forces on either side of the border remains a key and valuable element in the fight against terrorism. We whole-heartedly approve this co-operation and are ready to look realistically at practical ways of developing it further. Equally, we welcome the strong condemnation of terrorism and its supporters given recently by the President of the United States. Terrorism is indeed a problem which goes much wider than Northern Ireland and we are very ready to act internationally to counter it.
Despite those efforts, the work of the security forces, and the political developments that I would like to see, I hope the House will accept that for the time being the emergency powers we have must remain in place. They are still needed to sustain the whole confidence of the community in the rule of law, and in the willingness and ability of this Parliament, where the ultimate responsibility lies, to support the security forces and courts who are upholding it.
I ask therefore that the House approve that the powers in the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 which are currently in force should be allowed to continue.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Ernest Armstrong)
Order. I remind the House that the debate must finish at 11.55 pm, and I ask for brevity.
§ Mr. Peter Archer (Warley, West)
When the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1973 was placed on the statute book the Government of the day wisely included the section that we now have as section 33 which provided for a review of the main provisions by the House at six-monthly intervals.
The reason for that was explained on Second Reading by Lord Whitelaw, as he now is. He said:It is the Government's intention that none of the provisions of the Bill, if it is passed, should continue in force for a moment longer than it is needed."—[Official Report, 17 April 1973; Vol. 855, c. 278.]The then Attorney-General, now Lord Rawlinson, asserted that the measures were draconian and alien to many of us.
That approach was wise. All of us who have studied civil rights at various times and places know how easy it 564 is to introduce a measure, honestly believing that it is temporary and necessary to deal with an emergency and intended to cease when the emergency is over, only to find that it drags on year after year, and sometimes for generation after generation until the necessity for it is taken for granted and it has become an integral part of the administration of justice. The intention was that the House should apply its judgment at six-monthly intervals to consider whether people are better protected from violence by continuing its provisions or whether those provisions may have become counter productive.
The Opposition have attempted to carry out that duty twice each year and to do so responsibly. Our most prejudiced critics cannot accuse us, in the context of Northern Ireland, of opposing the Government, for the sake of opposition. Where we have agreed with the Government we have said so. We have sought to be fair to Ministers and, as the Secretary of State is aware, we have avoided any action that might endanger those people who have to spend their lives in Northern Ireland. We have done that even when it has led to our being misunderstood. I do not shrink from being misunderstood. It is a risk that politicians have to take.
We have no sympathy with lawlessness. I doubt whether any hon. Member has spoken and written on that subject as frequently as I have, and always to emphasise that social justice and anarchy are incompatible, that law and order is protection for the most vulnerable—those who can least afford to buy themselves protection; those who live in the least affluent areas.
No one can accuse us of underestimating the importance of law and order. The Opposition have been incessant in condemning violence in whatever cause. And I echo the tribute which the Secretary of State offered to those who have the unenviable task of maintaining law and order. We are well aware of the work they do.
But we have two anxieties. First, and I saw this repeatedly when I was active in Amnesty International, it is possible in the course of defending a way of life to pollute and distort it to a point where it ceases to be worth preserving. The issue that has given rise to the difficulties in Ireland is how best the people in each tradition can be guaranteed a daily life free from want, free from fear and free from harassment. We have to ensure that those freedoms are not endangered by the authorities.
Secondly, the most effective factor that there can be in the preservation of law and order is for the sympathy of the community to be in favour of law enforcement, and against those who infringe the law. That depends largely on its confidence in the fairness of the methods of law enforcement and the legal processes.
In one respect after another, there has been a dangerous erosion over the past few years in the standards of civil rights in Northern Ireland. The position is seen by the paramilitaries as a war, and they encourage their potential recruits and their supporters to see it in that way. I do not believe that it is any such thing. Murder is murder. But the authorities, and those who demand effective and dramatic action, will not discourage that perception if they, too, see it as a war. Slogans such as "Shoot on sight" are the slogans of war.
If this is to be seen as issue of crime against law and order, the authorities must be seen to be acting in accordance with the highest and most careful traditions of justice. If there is to be an end to terrorism, local communities must see it for what it is. That entails two 565 things. They must see some hope of an acceptable political settlement through constitutional discussion, and they need to see the agents of law enforcement as themselves the agents of justice. There is a deep sense of resentment and alienation among many decent, normally law-abiding people from both traditions at what they see as oppressive and unfair measures which were adopted in the name of law enforcement.
I do not suggest that these measures were introduced in bad faith. At the time, I have no doubt, they seemed like a good idea. However, this feeling is all part of what has added up to a near despair with constitutional government. People are saying that it does not matter whether you observe the law or not, they will get you either way.
§ Mr. Harold McCusker (Upper Bann)
The right hon. and learned Member has made a strong statement about what many people on both sides of the community think. Will he take it from me that he is talking about a small minority of people in Northern Ireland? Most people there are concerned about getting through today to tomorrow, and staying alive into the next day. The people who have expressed the reservations that he is expressing are those who probably have some member of their family behind bars for murdering innocent people, or who will soon have members of their family behind bars for murdering people. The majority of people in Northern Ireland have decided reluctantly that this law is necessary to protect them.
§ Mr. Archer
That was a somewhat lengthy intervention, but I have seen a number of the people about whom I am talking.
§ Mr. Archer
I accept that. I do not know the statistics of how many there are, but they are decent people, and I believe that they are law abiding, and I am sure they were telling me the truth. I shall talk about a few of them in a moment. Those who say that that feeling does not exist are shutting their eyes to the facts. I make it clear that that is not the fault of the police. I recognise, as the Secretary of State did, what difficult and dangerous tasks they have to carry out, and I pay tribute to their courage. They are not all perfect. It would be as silly to suggest that they are all without blemish as it would be to assert that they are all part of a dishonest conspiracy, but I doubt whether any police force, having to administer the powers and duties which are imposed on them by this legislation, could have avoided leaving local communities with a sense of alienation.
It is not the fault of the Director of Public Prosecutions, nor of the courts. They, too, are faced with insoluble problems. It is vital that this resentment, mistrust and alienation should be recognised, and that the whole extent and balance of the powers and safeguards should reflect that recognition.
For some years, the Opposition have expressed these anxieties, I hope with moderation and patience, whenever the House has been asked to consider this legislation. As long ago as 1975, the Gardiner committee reviewed the original Act, and concluded that emergency powerscan, if prolonged, damage the fabric of the community,They addedand they do not provide lasting solutions.As I understood him, that was recognised by the Secretary of State. The committee continued:The continued existence of emergency powers should be limited both in scope and duration.566 On 22 July 1980, my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypridd (Mr. John) reminded the House of what the Gardiner committee had said. He urged that the time had come for a further review, as the House could not pass judgment on the necessity for any or all of the provisions without information as to how they were working. The Government agreed to consider that idea, and on that occasion the official Opposition did not divide the House.
On 10 December 1980 my right hon. Friend the Member for Mansfield (Mr. Concannon) again raised the question, with a similar result. On 2 July 1981, when the Government had not responded, the Opposition moved an amendment to the motion for approval to the effect that it was time for an inquiry. The Government rejected that, and the Opposition divided the House on the amendment, but not on the substantive motion. In December 1981 the Opposition again called for a review, but did not divide the House. On each occasion, it is fair to say, some of my hon. Friends divided the House because they felt strongly on the subject, although there was no official Division, and I pay tribute to the sincerity of their concern.
On 30 June 1982 the Secretary of State at last announced that there was to be a review and, on that basis, again the Opposition did not divide the House. It was not until 5 April 1983 that the Secretary of State announced who was to undertake the review, and then there was a further delay in completing the submissions, admittedly because of the general election.
The Secretary of State appointed Sir George Baker. It is regrettable that his conclusions were constrained by his terms of reference, which began with the words,Accepting that temporary emergency powers are necessary to combat sustained terrorism and violence.It might have been better to invite him to say whether that conclusion was supported by his findings. It was the very issue into which he was inquiring, but in the event I doubt whether his conclusions would have been different had those words been omitted, and I make no point about that.
Sir George Baker reported, as the Secretary of State reminded us, in March of this year and his report was presented to Parliament in April. I gave oral evidence, as did many other right hon. and hon. Members. I spoke to Sir George more than once. The report did not say all that I had hoped it would say, but it was careful and conscientious piece of work; it absorbed his interest and fully occupied his mind. It is tragic that he did not live to see what became of it, and echo the Secretary of State's tribute to Sir George. It was my privilege to know him for many years. He made a great contribution to the jurisprudence and public life of this country, and he had a gift that is by no means universal among public men of not being carried away with his own importance. He possessed a sense of humour and a sense of humility, and I saw repeated instances of his capacity for revising his first impressions in the light of other people's views. He was, above all, a good listener.
The Government have had that report since March. No one looked for instant reactions; of course, it was necessary to consider it. Perhaps it was even necessary to consult, although Sir George had already consulted widely. But the Government have not even consulted the House. The Opposition have called repeatedly for a debate; the Leader of the House told us there would be a debate, but like Joseph he has never named the day. Now the Secretary of State asks the House to extend the provisions of the Act without amendment, and without 567 implementing even the limited recommendations of the report. Perhaps understandably in the circumstances, he told the hon. Member for Epping Forest (Sir J. Biggs-Davison) tonight that he could not discuss the detailed recommendations of the report.
Had we been given the opportunity, the Opposition would have argued for amendments more extensive than those that Sir George recommended. Of course, we would not have sought a complete repeal of the Act; we recognise that the time for a return to complete normality in Northern Ireland is not yet, but we would have urged some changes. We would have wished to discuss the recommendations relating to bail, especially the proposal for an unconditonal entitlement to bail for those who have been on remand awaiting trial for more than 12 months. The reasons why there has been a delay do not matter; what is important is that in no civilised community should someone be imprisoned, unconvicted, for that period.
I constantly receive letters from families of men who have been detained, unconvicted, sometimes for successive periods as one set of charges is withdrawn and they are re-arrested on others. May I quote briefly from a letter that I received this week:I am writing to you as a mother whose son has been held on `five supergrasses' and in all these cases there was no corroborated evidence.She added,My son has been held since February 1982 and has been told he will not get a trial until 85 or 86.We would have wished to discuss Sir George's recommendation for the descheduling of many offences where there is no obvious connection with terrorism. Mr. Dermot Walsh claimed recently to have discovered that 40 per cent. of those tried in the Diplock courts had no observable connection with terrorism. We would have wished to discuss Sir George's proposal for the requirement of a reasonable suspicion for arrest without warrant.
It is unfair both to the police and to citizens to have so ill-defined a power as at present, to stop people going about their lawful business and to take them into custody. We would also have wished to urge matters going further than the Baker recommendations.
The right hon. Gentleman mentioned the use of supergrass evidence. Of course, in certain circumstances most jurisdictions introduce accomplice evidence, but there are features of its use in Northern Ireland which mark this out as unique in its dangers of injustice and its occasions for loss of public confidence in the legal system.
First, there are the numbers who are tried together on one indictment. I am aware of the reasons why that is thought necessary, but I do not believe it possible for anyone to consider evidence against 30 or 40 defendants without allowing at least one of them to be smeared by a piece of evidence which, in fairness, does not implicate him.
Even Sir George recommended 20 as the maximum number of defendants to be tried on one indictment. I would argue that 20 is far too many to receive a fair trial in those circumstances.
Secondly, there is the fact that trial is by a judge alone, without a jury. In Great Britain it is the function of the judge to warn a jury of the dangers of convicting on uncorroborated accomplice evidence. One of the purposes, perhaps the principal purpose, served by 568 separating the function of judge and jury is that such warnings make a substantial impact. There can be no similar impact where the judge attempts to warn himself and simply endeavours to keep it in his mind.
Thirdly, the kind of witnesses on whom the Crown has relied again and again are men who on their own admission have been at the very centre of paramilitary activities, knowing no moral standards but such as serve the purpose of their organisation, with an overwhelming temptation to pay off old scores, and with a motive to please the authorities by lengthening the list of those they implicate. They cannot be seen by the public as people on whose uncorroborated evidence it is safe to convict.
I am, of course, aware that responsibility for initiating and conducting prosecutions does not lie with the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State says, "Let the Director decide the merits of each individual case", but the Director is in an impossible position. Naturally, he says, "Where there is evidence that is capable of being believed, it is not for me to adjudicate on it. I must place it before the courts".
The judges cannot introduce a universal rule as to what evidence should be believed. They, too, can decide each case only on its merits. We need a general rule, introduced by legislation for the guidance of the courts, that at least in Diplock cases accomplice evidence will not support a conviction in the absence of corroboration. The legislation can be introduced only by the Secretary of State, and it could sensibly be included in an amending Bill.
These are some of the matters we would have wished to debate, but there is no time to debate them tonight. That is precisely our complaint. This debate should have followed, not preceded, the debate on the Baker report. The House is asked to renew these provisions with no such debate, and without even the improvements proposed by Sir George Baker. It is not on.
The Opposition would not be facing up to the consequences of our judgment, repeated time and again, if we agreed to this order. We have only two choices—to agree to a continuation of these powers without any change, or to vote against their continuance. That is what we propose to do—[HON. MEMBERS: "Shame."]
We are not discussing the position without the order. We are discussing the repeated calls to the Government to make the amendments which, with great restraint, the Opposition have proposed. We are confronted with a stark choice, and that is the Government's doing.
I have a sense of reality. It has been driven into my heart in this Parliament by repeated experience of winning the argument and losing the vote. The Government have multiplied the offence by arranging this business so that the Division will take place at 11.30 on a Thursday evening, when it is known that many hon. Members must travel in order to meet their weekend commitments—[HON. MEMBERS: "Ah."] I observe the comments and faces of some Government Members. There is no grin on the faces of the Secretary of State or the Minister because they know that if they wish the Opposition to try to understand their difficulties they must have some regard for the rights of minorities, not only in Northern Ireland, but in this House.
Some hon. Members will seek to distort our reasons and seek to portray us as being unmindful of the victims of violence, or even as encouraging the men of violence. But there are hon. Members on all Benches who have given serious thought to these matters, and who will know that 569 potential victims are best protected from violence by public support for law and order, born of a careful scrutiny of every provision to ensure its fairness. I invite them to join us in the Lobby tonight.
§ 11.5 pm
§ Rev. William McCrea (Mid-Ulster)
I appreciate that we must be as brief as possible, to allow as many hon. Members as possible to participate in the debate. I welcome the opportunity to address the House, but I do not do so with joy, because all hon. Members will regret that such legislation is required in the United Kingdom.
It is necessary to comment on the background to the emergency legislation before expressing opinions on items requiring review or comment. The emergency legislation was enacted as a weapon in the armoury against terrorism, which was rampant at the time the initial legislation was introduced. Unfortunately, that terrorism persists.
I accept that the legislation was never intended to become a permanent feature of the legal process, but to date its continuation is inevitable—unfortunately. The overwhelming desire of the people of Northern Ireland is to witness the total defeat of terrorism and a return to the normal legal position and peace and normality for all Northern Ireland citizens.
My constituents have suffered much from IRA outrages and murder gangs. Many young widows, orphans, brokenhearted parents and shattered family circles are left to carry an unbearable load. [Interrupion.] I hear mutterings from the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery). I have never once seen him holding the hand of an Ulster widow, or of an Ulster father who has a broken heart because of a son cut down by the murderous thugs who are rampant in our country. Until that hon. Gentleman has the decency to come into our Province and sympathise with those stricken by bereavement, it is better for him to be silent in the House.
I commend the courage displayed by such families throughout the years of tragedy. I salute their solemn and quiet determination never to give in to the murdering thugs and gangsters of the IRA. I pay tribute especially to the families in the border areas, where the terrorists seek to drive the Protestants away from their homes and farms. A deliberate campaign has been conducted against isolated farming communities. Unfortunately, successive Governments have failed to restore peace in Northern Ireland. There seems to be an unwillingness to initiate an offensive strategy to win the war against terrorism. Defensive measures have certainly been taken, but I believe that to rid our Province of terrorism we shall need to take offensive measures against the terrorists, who at the moment are safe in their terrorist dens.
The failure to end the campaign of murder and violence that stalks the Province is, in my opinion, caused by the failure of security policy in Northern Ireland. It has not been caused by any failure on the part of the security personnel. The policy under which they operate, however, gives rise to genuine and grievous concern. Every hon. Member should, in common decency, salute the bravery of the members of the security forces—the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the RUC Reserve, the Ulster Defence Regiment and the Army. They have stood in the front line and protected the law-abiding citizens. I unreservedly and totally give the highest praise to the members of the security forces. They deserve it.
In principle, I look forward to the return of jury trials for criminal offences. I recognise the immense diffiulties involved in having trial by jury for serious terrorist offences. I recognise also the problems involved in the siting of the trial and the intimidation, selection and ultimate safety of the jurors. All those problems must be dealt with if there is to be a fair trial. Given the situation which has developed in Northern Ireland, I understand the need for the existence of section 7 of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act, which allows for trial by judge alone, but as an additional safeguard, I believe that consideration should be given to the idea that all cases should be heard by a panel of three judges.
I am also concerned about the excessive delays which can occur between arrest and trial. In particular, such delays should be avoided where bail has been refused and the defendant is held in custody. I appreciate the difficulties involved and the great burden placed upon court administration, the police and legal personnel, but, in the interests of justice, it is desirable that delays should be kept to a minimum and trials expedited.
I wish to refer also to mandatory minimum sentences. The House should be alarmed by the fact that over one third of all who are convicted of terrorist offences escape a custodial sentence. The current sentencing policy and practice are in urgent need of a thorough review.
Finally, there is the question of proscribed organisations. I am sorry that I do not have time to give my views in detail. I make no apology for stating that I believe that Provisional Sinn Fein should be a proscribed organisation. Even the position in the South of Ireland is preferable to that in Northern Ireland. Have hon. Members considered how a widow must feel when the front men for terrorists appear on the television screen and, with brazen cheek, glorify acts of terrorism?
The powers in the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act are not used to the full. Section 21(1)(6), refers to anyone whosolicits or invites financial or other support for a proscribed organisation".That power could have been more widely used. Ulster people believe that on several occasions in the past Sinn Fein leaders could have been prosecuted for urging support for the Provisional IRA and for acts of terrorism. That section should be used, as it is clear that bodies such as Sinn Fein are mere front organisations for terrorist groups.
I support the retention of the Act, and trust that all hon. Members feel similarly. I trust that we shall see an end to terrorism and therefore an end to the need for the Act, but while the emergency lasts the Act should remain in force so that we can deal properly with events.
§ Mr. Ken Maginnis (Fermanagh and South Tyrone)
When I first spoke on the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 on 8 December last year, I found it useful to look up what was said in earlier debates on the renewal of the Act. In May and December 1983, Ministers made much of the fact that Sir George Baker was reviewing the operation of the Act. The hon. Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley) expressed support for such a review and said that he would welcome it and the subsequent debate. The right hon. and learned Member for 571 Warley, West (Mr. Archer) raised the matter again today. they have a right to feel considerable grievance at being asked yet again to extend the Act for a further six months, before the House has been given the opportunity to debate the Baker report. However, I could observe that it would not have been beyond the bounds of possiblity for an Opposition Supply day to be allocated to the matter if they were as anxious as we are to discuss the Baker report.
§ Mr. Archer
Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate that we have repeatedly been promised by the Leader of the House that there will be a debate? That was intended to mean that the debate would be in Government time.
§ Mr. Maginnis
I accept what the right hon. and learned Gentleman says, but the report should be debated urgently. If he is as anxious as he says he is—I have no reason to doubt him—he could have tried harder to ensure that the report was debated. It was presented to the House in April and it should have been accorded the importance that I think it merits.
I should also like to pay tribute to the late Sir George Baker. I met him a couple of times and found him a humane and understanding man. He was patient and obviously dedicated to learning all that he could about the subject on which he had to report. I know that he felt deeply about the death of my colleague, Edgar Graham, who was murdered by the IRA and who had submitted evidence to him. It was typical of Sir George that he expressed his sympathy to Edgar Graham's family and my party.
My party will support the order. We share Sir George's reservations about the validity after 11 years of referring to the Act as emergency legislation. He admitted, as do we, that it is temporary and renewable but it is hardly an emergency. The continued killing by terrorists is, as Sir George said, neither "sudden nor unexpected" to those of us who live in Northern Ireland, although the Secretary of State usually seems able to act as though it is. I do not want to pick on the Secretary of State tonight, although I am aware that it would not worry him a great deal if I did, but he has puzzled me occasionally in the past three years.
When there is an emergency—for example, when somebody is killed—the right hon. Gentleman tells the House that he will not be rushed into taking precipitate action. He will not be rushed after three years? I often wonder what he means when he uses such phrases and why we have not seen rather more urgency from him when it comes to protecting my constituents along the frontier.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to there having been 47 deaths since last December. I thought, when he spoke of that matter, that he was beginning to understand how those of us feel who represent constituencies in Northern Ireland. But he rather spoiled that impression I had of him when he referred to "these temporary setbacks." That did not make me feel that he appreciated the need for urgency in the matter.
Like other hon. Members, I pay tribute to the security forces who serve under difficult conditions, often with qualified sympathy from some hon. Members. There is the possibility — it will not happen this year — that the Ministry of Defence will withdraw the Northern Ireland emergency allowance of £2.15 a day. It would be scandalous if that allowance—I do not call it danger money because I do not believe that it has been intended 572 to be danger money—were withdrawn, for it is given for a special type of operation that the Army carries out in Northern Ireland. It provides a little compensation for the forces who come there, with their families, for two years, yet the Army pay review body has talked about possibly doing away with the allowance.
For their own safety, neither the soldiers nor their families leave the camp in which they live for that two-year period, except when the men are on duty, and during their spells of duty they work under the most arduous conditions. I hope, therefore, that there will be no more talk about abolishing the Northern Ireland allowance.
We should not need to go through this routine of renewing the emergency provisions Act. It is clear that we shall not be able to do without this legislation for some time to come. Eleven years have shown that we could safely renew the provisions, say, bienially and thereby save the House from the frustration of having to listen to some of the cant and hypocrisy of those who will undoubtedly advocate its repeal before this night is out.
Only those who would capitulate in the face of terrorism or who nurse a latent sympathy for a particular terrorist faction would employ such a strategy. Those of us who live with terrorism know that the Act was a valuable aid to the police in reducing the amount of retaliatory violence that Northern Ireland suffered in the mid-1970s.
As the Standing Advisory Committee on Human Rights states,the people of Northern Ireland still require special protection from terrorism, and for this reason we agree that some exceptional measures are still required.Sir George Baker clearly recognised that the emergency provisions Act is required to help bring to justice the men who are committed to violence, and that it is the duty of society to balance our desire to protect human rights with an acceptance of our human duties. He said that many who attack the Act, the forces of law and order and the judicial system do so not to protect our rights and liberties but for sinister reasons, and that any attempt to protect our people would be opposed by them. I agree with him and I see daily that those who oppose the Act most strongly are those who employ the law of the jungle. They beat young men unconscious with hurling sticks, blast their knee joints with guns and, when they summarily decree, blow their heads off, as they did with Jimmy Campbell when they murdered him in a Falls road club on 9 June. And these are their own co-religionists.
In recognising the need to continue to implement the Act, Sir George Baker was aware that it was not ideal legislation, and on occasion was forthright in his criticism. My party fully agrees with Sir George. It continues to be disturbed by the delay in bringing to trial those who are charged with serious offences. The Minster must tell us more clearly what progress he has made and hopes to make in reducing the delay. If delays are attributable to lack of defence counsel, it is up to the prosecution to bring the men to court. If that is done, the public will hear that it is the defence which is not ready to proceed with the case. We do not want suspect terrorists to be freed on bail without having to answer the charge in court. Sir George made it clear that he considered a delay longer than a year to be too long.
We all know that if any IRA man is freed on bail he will have little trouble finding a safe haven in the Irish Republic. The bail money is usually obtained from the 573 proceeds of a bank robbery or by threatening some unfortunate Roman Catholic business man who, in fear of his life, dare not refuse the demand. In the constituency adjacent to mine, a Roman Catholic business man was blown up and killed for refusing to meet a demand from the IRA.
Another area of mutual concern is the treatment of young persons convicted of scheduled offences, who are normally known as SOSPs. These young men are held at the Secretary of State's pleasure, as they were only lads under 18 years of age when they committed their offences. Eleven years later, in some instances, they are the forgotten victims of the violence that they barely understood when they first became involved. I draw the Minister's attention to Sir George's comments without further emphasis, because I have applied to Mr. Speaker to be allowed to raise the matter on the motion for the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 1 at some future date.
My party recognises the need to have the Act reviewed. It has made no secret of the fact that it wants to see the strictest application of the law that is necessary to deal with terrorism. It wants to ensure that it is good and just law. The matters that I have referred to in the Baker report and others must be taken on board by the Government as a matter of urgency. If we fail to do so, we shall lose yet another propaganda battle and the Act will be devalued rather than revalued.
Governments owe it to the law-abiding citizens of Northern Ireland to provide the best laws and not the second best. The Baker report suggests, but not in so many words, that we are getting the second best. That is not because it is inherently bad, as some will attempt to prove, but because it is not administered speedily enough, it is unbending where it might be merciful and it is ineffective where it needs to be strong.
Baker realised that the provisional IRA leadership or Sinn Fein leadership—it is one and the same thing—is engaged in both terrorist and political battles with the Government. He wants, and I and my party want, to see people like Adams and Morrison properly dealt with when they incite others to murder and maim. If the existing law is unable to deal with them, we must amend it. If necessary — I know that I will be opposed on this in certain quarters—we must have selective internment for people such as Adams and Morrison.
How can we assemble here to debate this order every six months, yet not appear to care that we have failed to bring to justice those who, brazenly and openly, advocate the slaughter of British citizens? Those are the real issues to which we should apply ourselves tonight, rather than some of the diversions with which certain hon. Members regularly assail us. If our courts cannot be seen to deal with the purveyors of violence, other elements will be tempted to do so. No one in my party wants the shame of retaliatory killings visited, yet again, on the Unionist and Protestant community to which we belong.
I ask the Minister whether my party has not consistently advised the Northern Ireland Office in much the same terms as Sir George Baker now advises in the report? Let him tell us—were we right, or is Sir George wrong? That is the question to which he must address himself tonight.
§ Sir John Farr (Harborough)
I, too, congratulate the security forces and the Royal Ulster Constabulary on some incredible feats of professionalism and bravery since we last debated this order, but, like everyone in the House, I bitterly regret that, once again, we must discuss it. I look forward to the day, to which most of us look forward, when we will not need to approve an emergency order for Northern Ireland.
We hear much the same things said in the debate from both sides of the House every six months. We hear that the security forces have done a great job, and disquiet is expressed over the present system of legal administration, but one thing that has changed slightly, and significantly, is the professionalism of the terrorist. He is no longer an old boy from the bogs. The professional terrorist is very much to the fore in Northern Ireland.
There are countries and organisations in the world—including Libya and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation—which train professional terrorists from Northern Ireland in the very latest tricks of their trade, in the most scientific way. It is therefore only right and proper that our security forces and the RUC should be trained in a way that is at least as good to combat the sophisticated crimes.
It is no longer enough for our security forces and the RUC to show courage, loyalty and determination. They have to be given the opportunity to be equipped with effective techniques in order to counteract some of the sophisticated terrorist devices used today. I believe that our army receives that training and is well equipped for the techniques that it deploys to counter terrorist activity. I am not sure that the RUC is getting the more than up-to-date training that it needs. How is the new RUC training camp and headquarters complex proceeding? What is its stage of development? Has a site been chosen? The establishment is long overdue. Will it be able to give the RUC the necessary training and modern instruction on how to combat the modern, late 20th century terrorist?
It has been said in the House, and will be said again, that the cause of much of the terrorist strife in Northern Ireland is the large number of idle hands in the Province. There are an exceptionally large number of unemployed people in Northern Ireland, and that has been a cause of great regret to every Government. I pay special tribute to what the Labour party did when in office, because it tried to solve the problems by setting up the De Lorean scheme. The Labour Government provided jobs at De Lorean, but the scheme went awry. I am not one of those who condemn the Opposition for trying to provide more employment by backing De Lorean.
Once tranquillity is restored to the Province, there will be hope once again for tourism. Northern Ireland is one of the most beautiful parts of the world. There is natural beauty and tranquillity there. If we can get on top of terrorism, tourism will provide many tens of thousands of extra jobs.
§ Mr. Stephen Ross (Isle of Wight)
I, too, express my deep regret at the untimely death of Sir George Baker. He made 74 recommendations. Some of those recommendations were disappointing, but the response by the Secretary of State was even more disappointing. The right hon. Gentleman talked of an eventual response. When will that be? It may not even be in the next Session.
575 Jury trial should be restored wherever possible. I am told—the right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer) mentioned this—that a number of cases still going through the Diplock courts could be transferred to the ordinary criminal courts. Retaining trials by a single judge is a mistake. We should note public disquiet about that aspect. We are asking any judge to bear too great a burden, especially in the supergrass trials, where there can be up to 41 defendants. There should not be any token immunity for supergrasses.
There is still too long a delay in bringing cases to trial. The Secretary of State said that the average delay was 46 weeks, but some people have been in custody for more than two years. Sir George Baker said that there is to be no independent review of exceptional cases where a defendant persists in claiming his innocence. There are cases of innocent men being in prison. I question that procedure. Sir George drafted a complete new clause on confessions. Will that measure be brought in quickly? That step would not bring us into line with the rest of Britain, but at least it would be a step in the right direction.
We recognise that, in the present circumstances, there must be an emergency powers Act. I, too, feel great respect for the security forces. The time has come to implement substantial changes, which must not be long delayed.
§ Mr. Kevin McNamara (Kingston upon Hull, North)
Anyone who regards this debate and the renewal of this legislation as an excuse for underpinning the criminal law and the enforcement of justice in Northern Ireland is deluding himself. To explain those actions away just as criminal activity is foolish. We must look at the social, economic and political reasons behind this legislation. Fortunately, to the delight of the House, I do not have the time to do that, but I shall make a number of points in the short time available. So long as the law is seen merely as an instrument to enforce the dominance of one section of the community over another, it will not be accepted.
The Secretary of State spoke of the community seeking and having confidence in the law and its enforcement officers, but he is completely wrong. There is no confidence among the majority of the minority community in the enforcement of the law. There is no confidence in the courts. There is no confidence in the administration of justice because of the use of supergrasses, bills of indictment, and intensive remand as another form of internment without trial. There can be no confidence when thousands and thousands of people are arrested on mere suspicion and few are proceeded against in the courts. There is no confidence that the police and the UDR are intruments for the impartial enforcement of justice. They are seen as sectarian forces. There is no confidence in the judiciary, especially after recent decisions and recent obiter dicta of the judges.
These facts must be understood. Merely to agree to this continuance order is no substitute for the Government trying to gain the confidence of the whole community and trying to create a new opportunity so that people can see that the standards on which we in the House pride ourselves can operate in the six counties of Northern Ireland.
576 If we have merely the odd hour and a half in which to discuss this matter, we cannot be expected to support the legislation, because we have no opportunity to amend it and to go through the steps which we believe to be necessary to try to get the support of the whole community not only in Northern Ireland but, what is even more important, in the United Kingdom as a whole.
§ Mr. Eldon Griffiths (Bury St. Edmunds)
I shall not comment on the remarks of the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara), save only to say that they are damaging to the national interest.
There has been a significant improvement in the security situation in Northern Ireland — it is nowhere near sufficient—and I say that, declaring my interest in the police service, as a result of frequent visits that I am privileged to make to Northern Ireland.
Security has improved for three main reasons. The Royal Ulster Constabulary is now almost certainly the best counter-terrorist force in the world. Its professionalism, its courage and its dedication, to which many hon. Members have paid tribute, are beyond compare. Its relations with the community have improved greatly. It is in fact a community police service. It has established excellent relationships with the Army. This was not always the case, and I pay my tribute to Sir Maurice Oldfield, who was able to improve the liaison between the RUC and the British Army in Northern Ireland.
The second principal reason for the improvement in security is that there is much better cross-border cooperation between the RUC and the Garda. It is right to pay some tribute to the Northern Ireland Police Federation and the Garda representative body, which have come together in many ways of which the House is perhaps not aware. They have been able to establish a person-to-person confidence on both sides of the border, which is quite separate from the rhetoric of politicians. It is a practical working relationship which has helped to make the RUC more able to do the job required of it.
The third reason why there is an improvement is that the United States has to some extent cut off the supply of money and of arms. I pay my tribute to President Reagan here. Under the Carter Administration there was a substantially higher flow of both money and arms, and it is to the credit of the present American Administration that they have taken steps to reduce that substantially. I hope that they go further. The remarks of the President of the United States to the Irish Parliament were most helpful, in that he put out of court many of the aspirations of those south of the border to achieve their purpose by force. Against that background, it is only fair to say that the RUC deserves the tributes paid to it in the House.
Therefore, I find it extraordinary that the right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer), whom I have known in the House for a long time, and for whose moderation of language and commitment to parliamentary democracy I have the greatest admiration, should lead his party into voting against the emergency provisions. I recognise the point that he made. It is a difficult choice for an Opposition, and I understand it. However, the right hon. and learned Gentleman should consider what the position would be of our fellow countrymen in the RUC and the British Army if they were tonight to be deprived of the emergency provisions legislation. I do not like the legislation—no one in the House can do so—but to vote 577 to deprive the armed services and the police of the legislation at this time seems to me to be irresponsible. I am sorry that the right hon. and learned Gentleman feels obliged to do so.
I have three matters to put to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State. First, I hope very much that when we debate the Baker report and, I hope, put new legislation on the statute book, my hon. Friend will make sure that the necessary steps are available to deal with the problem of drug running. Quite often these days, drugs are the method by which terrorists finance their activities. It is essential both on this and the other side of the water for the police to have the powers to deal more effectively with drug smuggling.
Secondly, there needs to be much more effective international co-operation in dealing with terrorism. I welcome what was agreed at the summit conference and what my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary said at the EEC conference on this subject, but I am bound to say, for my part—I think that I speak for a considerable number of people in the police service on both sides of the water—that the Foreign Office has yet to get a grip on the problem of terrorism. From time to time its advice has been inadequate. When my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary casts the legislation that is required, I hope that he will not be too influenced, on international terrorism, by the advice from the Foreign Office. I hope that he will rely more heavily on the professionalism of the police.
Finally, several matters affect the morale of the RUC. Externally, its moral is sky high. The recruitment shows it. I welcome very much my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's decision to increase the numbers in the force, but he knows, as I do, that there are problems of housing, particularly in the border areas. When our police in this country go on mutual aid duties, they often complain about the conditions in Nottingham and south Yorkshire. The conditions in which the RUC live in many of the border areas are far worse than that, and the RUC does not complain much about them. The matter needs attention.
There is also the matter of transferring men from one area to another, which is often done capriciously and without good judgment. It is also right that the Police Authority of Northern Ireland should make room for the federation to attend more of its meetings, but I welcome the progress that has been made in that respect. It should go further.
I thank my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary for the efforts that they made recently to overcome a small domestic problem concerning social and recreational facilities for the RUC. It is right that the federation has been allowed to provide them. It will help. I hope that when Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary, Philip Myers, completes his inspection of the force, he will recognise that there has been an improvement in the social and recreational facilities. Overall there is an improvement, but the Act is essential. To deny it to the RUC is to take away its means of protecting the lives and property of our fellow citizens in Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Only one Back-Bench Labour Member has spoken during the debate among a whole team of other hon. Members.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Nicholas Scott)
It is impossible in the time available to answer all the points raised. I shall write to hon. Members who raised specific points, which I have not time to answer.
The House is generally agreed, apart from some predictable dissent, that the renewal of the powers is sad but necessary. Sir George Baker in his report said:throughout this inquiry over nine months, having read a vast amount of material with many different opinions and spoken with the authors, I have become increasingly more convinced that any provision of the EPA which may save even one life or bring even one guilty terrorist to conviction and sentence should be retained until the paramilitary forces foreswear terrorism unless there is a powerful convincing reason for repeal or amendment".That was his considered judgment after nine months studying every aspect of the matter. He was supported by the Standing Advisory Committee on Human Rights in Northern Ireland. It said:the Commission consider that the people of Northern Ireland still require special protection from terrorism and for this reason we agree that some exceptional measures are still requiredAll hon. Members regret that they are necessary, but the need for them is widely recognised throughout the Province.
The right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer) described the measures as draconian and criticised them.
§ Mr. Archer
I did not describe the measures as draconian. I quoted a Conservative Attorney-General.
§ Mr. Scott
The right hon. and learned Gentleman drew that description into the debate. I accept that we would love to do without these powers, but without them the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Army could not pursue the battle against terrorism with the success that they have achieved recently.
I beg the House to understand when hon. Members criticise the use of accomplice evidence and the provisions in the Act that people are alive or unmaimed today who would have been murdered by terrorists if the powers had not been available. I agree that we must find a balance and that we would rather be without them. But Sir George Baker, to whom the right hon. and learned Gentleman paid the warmest tribute for the way in which he tackled this work, concluded that we could not do without these powers—broadly as they are.
I hope that we shall soon be able to debate the Baker report in its entirety, but I do not decide the business of the House. As I understand it, had the Opposition wished to debate that report before the House rose for the summer recess, it could have been arranged. However, there was not that sort of pressure for the debate, which is why the House will debate it in the autumn. That is my understanding of the position.
The hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis) seemed to imply that the Government were not providing the Army and the RUC with the resources necessary to conduct the exercise against terrorists. By the time we have recruited the extra policemen, the size of the RUC — both the full-time service and the full-time reserve—will have increased by more than 1,100 in two years. That illustrates the Government's commitment and determination to provide the RUC, the Ulster Defence Regiment and the Army with sufficient manpower and resources.
579 I could raise many other points, but the whole matter is summed up by the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland in remarks following a recent judgment. He reminded us that 2,000 years ago, Cicero said:Amid the clash of arms the laws are silent.The Lord Chief Justice went on to say, as Lord Atkin did during the second world war, that most assuredly in our country that is not true, that peace, order and society can be under fierce and constant attack, but still the law has its way. Although we may have to change the law to deal with the terrorist, the same burden of proof—proving beyond reasonable doubt that someone is guilty of the offence with which they are charged—
§ Mr. Scott
Indeed we do. We provide, as has been said already during the debate, defence counsel of choice at public expense, and the automatic right of appeal to the Court of Appeal, at public expense again. I believe that we try, when society itself is under the most grievous attack from the men of terror, to ensure that all the principles and integrity of the British system of justice are upheld in Northern Ireland.
We should ensure that the judges and those who have the difficult task of enforcing the law—
§ It being one and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted Business).
§ The House divided: Ayes 181, Noes 70.581
|Division No. 395]||[11.44 pm|
|Amess, David||Cope, John|
|Ashby, David||Couchman, James|
|Ashdown, Paddy||Currie, Mrs Edwina|
|Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)||Dorrell, Stephen|
|Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.|
|Baldry, Anthony||Dover, Den|
|Beggs, Roy||Dunn, Robert|
|Beith, A. J.||Durant, Tony|
|Bellingham, Henry||Dykes, Hugh|
|Benyon, William||Evennett, David|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Farr, Sir John|
|Biggs-Davison, Sir John||Favell, Anthony|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)|
|Bottomley, Peter||Forsythe, Clifford (S Antrim)|
|Bottomley, Mrs Virginia||Forth, Eric|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Fraser, Peter (Angus East)|
|Brandon-Bravo, Martin||Freeman, Roger|
|Bright, Graham||Galley, Roy|
|Brinton, Tim||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Brooke, Hon Peter||Goodlad, Alastair|
|Browne, John||Gregory, Conal|
|Bruinvels, Peter||Griffiths, E. (B'y St Edm'ds)|
|Budgen, Nick||Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)|
|Burt, Alistair||Ground, Patrick|
|Butler, Hon Adam||Gummer, John Selwyn|
|Butterfill, John||Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)|
|Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y)||Hampson, Dr Keith|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Hannam, John|
|Carttiss, Michael||Harvey, Robert|
|Cartwright, John||Haselhurst, Alan|
|Cash, William||Hawkins, C. (High Peak)|
|Channon, Rt Hon Paul||Hawkins, Sir Paul (SW N'folk)|
|Chope, Christopher||Hawksley, Warren|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Hayes, J.|
|Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)||Hayward, Robert|
|Colvin, Michael||Heddle, John|
|Conway, Derek||Hickmet, Richard|
|Coombs, Simon||Hind, Kenneth|
|Hirst, Michael||Ross, Wm. (Londonderry)|
|Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)||Rossi, Sir Hugh|
|Holt, Richard||Sackville, Hon Thomas|
|Hooson, Tom||Sayeed, Jonathan|
|Howard, Michael||Scott, Nicholas|
|Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)||Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')|
|Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
|Hubbard-Miles, Peter||Silvester, Fred|
|Hunt, David (Wirral)||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)||Smyth, Rev W. M. (Belfast S)|
|Hunter, Andrew||Soames, Hon Nicholas|
|Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Hillh'd)||Speller, Tony|
|Johnson-Smith, Sir Geoffrey||Spencer, Derek|
|Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)||Squire, Robin|
|Jones, Robert (W Herts)||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Kennedy, Charles||Stern, Michael|
|Key, Robert||Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)|
|King, Roger (B'ham N'field)||Stevens, Martin (Fulham)|
|Knight, Gregory (Derby N)||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Knowles, Michael||Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)|
|Lang, Ian||Sumberg, David|
|Lawler, Geoffrey||Taylor, Rt Hon John David|
|Lawrence, Ivan||Taylor, John (Solihull)|
|Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark||Terlezki, Stefan|
|Lester, Jim||Thompson, Donald (Calder V)|
|Lilley, Peter||Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)|
|McCrea, Rev William||Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)|
|McCurley, Mrs Anna||Thornton, Malcolm|
|McCusker, Harold||Thurnham, Peter|
|MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)||Tracey, Richard|
|Maclean, David John||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Maginnis, Ken||van Straubenzee, Sir W.|
|Major, John||Wakeham, Rt Hon John|
|Mather, Carol||Walden, George|
|Miller, Hal (B'grove)||Walker, Cecil (Belfast N)|
|Molyneaux, Rt Hon James||Ward, John|
|Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)||Wardle, C. (Bexhill)|
|Murphy, Christopher||Warren, Kenneth|
|Needham, Richard||Watts, John|
|Newton, Tony||Wells, Bowen (Hertford)|
|Nicholls, Patrick||Wheeler, John|
|Nicholson, J.||Whitney, Raymond|
|Norris, Steven||Wilkinson, John|
|Osborn, Sir John||Winterton, Mrs Ann|
|Owen, Rt Hon Dr David||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Parris, Matthew||Wolfson, Mark|
|Patten, Christopher (Bath)||Wood, Timothy|
|Pawsey, James||Woodcock, Michael|
|Porter, Barry||Yeo, Tim|
|Powell, Rt Hon J. E. (S Down)|
|Prior, Rt Hon James||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Rhodes James, Robert||Mr. Michael Neubert and|
|Robinson, Mark (N'port W)||Mr. Tim Sainsbury.|
|Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Dubs, Alfred|
|Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)||Eastham, Ken|
|Barnett, Guy||Evans, John (St. Helens N)|
|Barron, Kevin||Fatchett, Derek|
|Benn, Tony||Fisher, Mark|
|Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)||Flannery, Martin|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Foster, Derek|
|Caborn, Richard||Hardy, Peter|
|Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)||Haynes, Frank|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)|
|Canavan, Dennis||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)|
|Clark, Dr David (S Shields)||Lamond, James|
|Clwyd, Mrs Ann||Lewis, Terence (Worsley)|
|Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.)||Litherland, Robert|
|Cohen, Harry||Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)|
|Corbett, Robin||McDonald, Dr Oonagh|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||McGuire, Michael|
|Dalyell, Tam||McKay, Allen (Penistone)|
|Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly)||McKelvey, William|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)||McNamara, Kevin|
|Deakins, Eric||Madden, Max|
|Dobson, Frank||Maynard, Miss Joan|
|Dormand, Jack||Meacher, Michael|
|Michie, William||Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)|
|Mikardo, Ian||Snape, Peter|
|Nellist, David||Soley, Clive|
|Parry, Robert||Spearing, Nigel|
|Patchett, Terry||Strang, Gavin|
|Pike, Peter||Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)|
|Redmond, M.||Wardell, Gareth (Gower)|
|Richardson, Ms Jo||Wareing, Robert|
|Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)||Welsh, Michael|
|Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)||Winnick, David|
|Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Silkin, Rt Hon J.||Mr. Don Dixon and|
|Skinner, Dennis||Mr. John McWilliam.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.