HC Deb 30 April 1986 vol 96 cc992-1002
Mr. Giles Shaw

I beg to move amendment No. 23, in page 6, line 37, leave out from 'notice' to 'notice' in line 39 and insert

'shall be given in accordance with this section of any proposal to hold a public procession intended—

  1. (a) to demonstrate support for or opposition to the views or actions of any person or body of persons,
  2. (b) to publicise a cause or campaign, or
  3. (c) to mark or commemorate an event,
unless it is not reasonably practicable to give any advance notice of the procession.

(1A) Subsection (1) does not apply where the procession is one commonly or customarily held in the police area (or areas) in which it is proposed to be held or is a funeral procession organised by a funeral director acting in the normal course of his business.

(2) The'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this we can take amendment (a) thereto, leave out '(c) to mark or commemorate an event.'. and Government amendments Nos. 25 and 26.

Mr. Shaw

The requirement to give advance notice under clause 11 as drafted applies to every procession unless, under clause 11(5), it is exempt because it is a procession commonly or customarily held or it is a funeral procession.

We had a full and interesting debate in Committee on whether clause 11 was too wide, and we undertook to consider whether we might redefine this requirement in such way as to exclude processions of no interest to the police, such as school crocodiles. That is the main effect of these amendments.

Instead of advance notice being required of all processions—except those caught by subsection (5)—advance notice will be required only of those types of procession set out in the amendment—namely, those intended to demonstrate support for, or opposition to, the views or actions of any person or body of persons; those publicising a cause or campaign; or those marking or commemorating some event. Consequently, organisers of any procession that has the sole aim of getting from A to B, such as crocodiles of schoolchildren or tourists following a guide, will not be required to give advance notice. But those organising demonstrations of a political nature or processions with a wider purpose than movement from A to B will need to give notice.

The existing exemption for processions commonly or customarily held and funeral processions will be retained by virtue of the new subsection (1A) which replaces subsection (5). The reason for this is quite straightforward. If a procession is commonly or customarily held, the police will already be aware of it and have no need of advance notice. If the event is likely to give rise to problems, or the police want an update about this year's arrangements, they will get in touch with the organisers near the time.

These amendments also help to clarify that where a procession arises spontaneously in response to some event—I recall discussion of demonstrations arising out of a sense of grief or loss—no advance notice of it is required. This is achieved by the addition of the phrase unless it is not reasonably practicable to give any advance notice of the procession. at the end of subsection (1). Amendment No. 26 is consequential. This represents substantially the views that were expressed in Committee, and I commend the amendments to the House.

Mr. Soley

I acknowledge that to some extent the Government have moved, but we are still unhappy about the clause and the amendments that the Government have proposed. There are a number of reasons for that. We feel yet again the Government are making the mistake of having far too wide catch-all phrases in the Bill. For example, notice will be required if the object is to mark or commemorate an event". That is wide open and could catch just about anything.

If people choose to celebrate another person's birthday down the road by marching together as a group to award a bouquet of flowers, that would be caught by the Bill. I am puzzled as to why the Government have decided to introduce this in the manner that they have. It is an unnecessary extra catch-all phrase that is too wide to be justified.

Originally, it seems that the Government intended to get information about those processions that they thought would cause difficulty for the police and so on. They were really thinking about the 15 per cent. or so of processions that cause such problems. I am sure that the Government accept that the other 85 per cent. cause no problems of any kind. Even by their own standard, I am surprised that they find it necessary to introduce a phrase so wide as to mark or commemorate an event", as that is a catch-all phrase.

The Opposition are far from convinced that the case for giving notice has been made. We made the point in Committee that there was real doubt as to whether it was desirable for notice to have to be given. There is little evidence that such notice changes behaviour. In fact, most of the assemblies and processions pass off peacefully without trouble. Most people who organise processions give notice to the police. Even if we accept the case for giving notice, as we said in Committee, there is a strong argument that notice should be given not to the police but to the local authority.

7.30 pm

I do not wish to weary the House by going over the ground that was covered in Committee. However, I shall quote from the annual report of the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland, Sir John Hermon. It will speed matters up if I simply quote from the relevant passages in that report. The Chief Constable states: Earlier I referred to the grievous casualties suffered through acts of terrorism. I regret to report that 1985 was also a year in which the RUC experienced substantial public order problems. This subject is dealt with at some length in the body of my Report and I recommend its study to all interested organisations and individuals. As an aside, I would hope that the Minister and his Department will consider this specific part of the annual report in some detail. I wish to emphasise that the policy of the police in respect of parades and demonstrations is to seek responsibility and co-operation and to encourage dialogue and agreement with parade organisers. That actually happens in most of the areas, most of the time. Furthermore, despite impressions created to the contrary, I would point out that of the 1,897 loyalist parades and demonstrations policed by the RUC in 1985, only 2 were banned and 15 re-routed after unsuccessful attempts to reach agreement through negotiation. I stress that only 15 marches were re-routed, because this is where the crunch comes in the chief constable's report in relation to the Bill. The Chief Constable continued: The police are faced with making difficult judgements in sensitive situations. The decisions taken are genuine, professional police decisions and the law ought to be respected. Whilst the police will always be responsible for the actual enforcement of the law in public order situations on the streets, it may perhaps be worth considering if responsibility for decisions on the holding and routing of parades should rest with an independent public tribunal. I must stress here that the Chief Constable's report came out after we had passed the relevant amendments in Committee. The report is especially relevant to the Government's drafting of the Bill. The Government are still asking the police to take what the Opposition have always said would be seen as political judgments. That is precisely what has happened in Northern Ireland. It is precisely because the RUC was asked to take such judgments that it came into the front line. Although I am not suggesting that the problems in Northern Ireland will be repeated here, I would say that people will increasingly see the police as making political judgments concerning the route, the numbers and the timing of assemblies.

In such circumstances, I would warn the Government to listen carefully to what the Chief Constable of the RUC said. That difficulty does not exist here, but the Government should not continue to duck the point about the position in Scotland, where notice is given to a local authority. That process has worked very well and nobody has criticised that co-operation. Notice is given to the local authority and the authority seeks the co-operation of the police. The Government must realise that, at a time when the police are already being drawn into the party political debate, Ministers have come forward with an amendment which keeps the police in that position. I acknowledge the changes made in Committee, but I must say that these changes are not good for the police or for the public.

The Government have written into the amendment, because of the concern expressed by the Opposition and by the Minister during the Committee stage, that there is a need to give advance notice. The Government have added the words to amendment No. 23—and the Minister correctly stressed this— Unless it is not reasonably practicable to give any advance notice of the procession. I am a little worried about the word "any". That word could be interpreted in a court of law in a number of different ways. It may be interpreted in a loose manner, that it was not possible to give any notice, or it could be interpreted more tightly, that only 10 minutes' notice should be given. It may be said that someone should have telephoned or handed a notice to a police station only 10 minutes before the event.

As an example, I quote the case of the American bombing of Libya, which took place in the early hours of the morning. People feeling strongly about that event the next day, marched and demonstrated in many towns. It would be possible, as the Minister would argue, that the event was of considerable emotional importance and people should be allowed to demonstrate without notice being given. Yet, as I understand it under the amendment, it could be interpreted by a court that those people could not demonstrate as seven days' notice had not been given of the demonstration. The demonstration was not planned seven days in advance, but some notice could have been given. The trouble with the word "any" is that it could be anything between seven days and a couple of minutes.

I am sure that lawyers would be able to argue for a long time in courts of law as to the use of the word "any". It could mean that they were not required to give notice if the demonstration had not been planned seven days in advance. Whatever is regarded as reasonable in these circumstances becomes a matter for interpretation, whether it be three days, seven days or 10 minutes' notice. There seems to be a curious use of the phrase "any advance notice" and I would welcome the Minister's comments on that part of the amendment.

I am also a little unsure about the question of the posting of notice in the amendment. I do not wish to go ahead of matters now, but we must take account of the way in which notice must be given and that raises the question of notice posted in advance and what happens if that does not get to the police station.

I conclude by saying that the dangerous part of the Bill and the reason why we are still so unhappy with the new Government amendment is that we still do not think that the Government have correctly addressed the problem of achieving a balance between the democratic rights of the people to express their views on political, social, economic and other matters, and the need to keep public order. It seems that the Government are under-estimating the extent to which they are forcing the police into political decisions. The police are being forced into making political decisions and this only makes the waters less clear.

At times of acute economic and social distress—as today — when there is mass unemployment and uncertainty, there will always be demonstrations and assemblies as a means of expressing the anger and anxiety in society. If we try to deal with that by amending the clauses to the Bill which are as widely drawn as they are in paragraph (c) of amendment No. 23 or as loosely drawn in the amendment which includes the words "any advance notice", we will be creating powers which will not only cause problems for the police but will create problems of public order for the nation. At the end of the day, if the police try to exercise these powers, we cannot be sure that they will not trigger off the public order disturbances that people are seeking to avoid.

I would like the Minister to address us about the use of the word "any" in paragraph (c) of amendment No. 23 and to explain the line— to mark or commemorate an event. I would also ask him if he will at least guarantee to the House that he will take a long, hard look at the evidence given by the Chief Constable of the RUC so that the police in this country should have the same kind of powers as those enjoyed by the police in Northern Ireland.

Sir Eldon Griffiths

I, too, read with great interest Sir John Hermon's report when it came out, and I have had the opportunity of discussing his thoughts with police officers in Northern Ireland and here. In a word, I think that he is mistaken.

I understand, of course, that in the peculiarly sensitive circumstances of Northern Ireland today, where for one reason or another there are attempts to embroil the police in the politics of the Anglo-Irish agreement, the police face some difficult dilemmas. It is interesting that the Chief Constable's report, which was written before the most poignant of those dilemmas arose, addresses a proper matter. I respect Sir John Hermon for having put his finger on the problem, but that is not to say that I agree with his conclusion.

I can only ask the hon. Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley) to accept—he has the advantage of having the report with him and I do not—that Sir John Hermon does not suggest that the matter should be put in the hands of a local authority. He is, as I understand it, suggesting some outside body. In present circumstances in Northern Ireland I cannot imagine anything worse than placing the responsibility to allow or not to allow marches in the hands of local authorities which are at one another's throats. Therefore, I hope that the hon. Gentleman was not trying to imply that the Chief Constable's report gives any support for the notion of local authorities being the arbiters.

Mr. Soley

If the hon. Gentleman had listened to my quotation properly, he would know that I said that responsibility should be given to an independent body. He should bear in mind that I also said that Northern Ireland was not Britain. The system is working well in Scotland, and that is what he needs to address himself to, along with the fact that the police in Northern Ireland have been dragged into the party political arena.

Sir Eldon Griffiths

In the spirit in which we have addressed the Bill, I was seeking only to make sure that the hon. Gentleman was drawing no inference from Sir John Hermon's report that that responsibility should be a local authority function, although he properly cited the Scottish example in support of his proposition.

The police, with all their problems and difficulties, are by far the best people to make that decision. They are completely objective, impartial and experienced. Therefore, the responsibility should remain with them.

Let me say one further word about amendment (a). The Opposition seek to leave out paragraph (c). I heard what the hon. Gentleman said about birthday parties, and so on, but I do not think that he was pressing that seriously. It is precisely the events that we have seen commemorated in Northern Ireland which can frequently cause the problem. I notice that in the following paragraph (1A) the Government say: Subsection (1) does not apply where the procession is one commonly or customarily held". That opens the door to a wide number—probably the majority—of innocent processions of the kind about which the hon. Gentleman and the rest of the Committee were concerned.

The Government have achieved a better balance in amendment No. 23 than they did in the original Bill. Indeed, they have got it just about right.

Mr. Hind

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Minister of State on finding a good solution to a difficult problem. I must disagree with the hon. Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley) for a number of reasons. First, the clause is designed to prevent public disruption arising for political reasons. In the majority of cases they are matters which are likely to raise temperatures in our society and cause trouble. It places a requirement on organisers of such political demonstrations to give notice to the police in their district. That is all that it is doing.

To suggest that an event which is to mark or commemorate an event should not be included in this definition would surely create a lawyer's paradise. My hon. Friend has set out to make sure that no lawyer's paradise is created by extensively defining the criteria under which notice of a demonstration or procession should be handed in to the police.

Paragraph (c) clearly covers the sort of situation where, for example, the National Front would wish to march through Brixton to celebrate the birthday of Adolf Hitler. That is surely something that we would wish the police to know about and, accordingly, be able to take action to prevent any attendant rioting or public disorder. There are other obvious examples of a more Left-wing nature, such as a march to celebrate the birthday of Karl Marx. Such matters all lead to considerations of public order. People who violently oppose a point of view may wish to demonstrate that on the streets with violence or other breaches of public order.

This is a sensible clause, tackling a difficult problem, and I commend it to my hon. Friends as one for which we should vote and give our full support to this evening.

7.45 pm
Mr. Giles Shaw

I should like, with the leave of the House, to deal briefly with the points made by the hon. Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley). My hon. Friend the Member for Lancashire, West (Mr. Hind) gave the clue to why we are seeking still to include commemorative events. Any regular commemorative event, such as an Easter or Christmas procession or May day parade, will be exempted because customarily held processions are exempt, but to go further would create the loophole to which my hon. Friend has drawn attention.

Supporters here of Sinn Fein may call a procession and claim that rather than seeking support for their views they were merely commemorating Bloody Sunday or some other event. Loyalist marchers might claim that the purpose of their procession was merely to commemorate the Battle of the Boyne, and so on. A commemorative occasion as such cannot be divorced from the possible consequences to public order that would occur. Therefore, there is a case for including it and that is why I cannot favour amendment (a).

I take the hon. Gentleman's point about "any" notice. It is clearly a fact that under the clause, as he will know, such notice as would in the circumstances be practicable should be given. Ultimately, if would be for the court to decide whether, under the circumstances, a day's notice could have been given. The importance of including this is that we have asked that, if possible, notice should be given. The hon. Gentleman has frequently and rightly drawn attention to the fact that for the vast majority of processions the police have been provided with full notice, after full discussions and arrangements are made in full agreement. That is the ideal situation.

There is a requirement here to allow for the spontaneous procession as a result of an accident or some other Tragedy which, as the hon. Gentleman made clear, could give rise to such a procession. That is certainly acceptable. We have no intention to resile from that. But if it is practicable to give any notice which is commensurate with the circumstances, that notice should be given.

Mr. Soley

Will the hon. Gentleman clarify for the House and people outside whether, in the case of the American raid on Libya, a procession held the following day, say 12 hours after the event, would be a circumstance in which he would expect the law to say that notice must have been given, or is he saying that that would be a spontaneous event?

Mr. Shaw

I cannot hypothecate, but that is the kind of event giving rise to public opinion which is designed to be acceptable under the arrangements that we have proposed. We have provided for a response which is virtually immediate, and a matter of hours is virtually immediate. I would suggest that that would come within the definition of a spontaneous procession when notice cannot be given. But if the procession were a day and a half after the event, I would conclude that some notice should be given. I am sure that most organisers would wish that.

With regard to the hon. Gentleman's third point about local authorities, we have already discussed this with the Association of District Councils, which objected strongly to it and wanted to have nothing to do with it at one time. It would have preferred the police to take that burden off the collective shoulders of the district councils. Wisdom would lie in that direction, but I am sensitive to the hon. Gentleman's point that the police should not be dragged in to make political decisions. Their responsibility is the public order consequence of what has been proposed, and that must be a decision for them.

Question put, That the amendment to the proposed amendment be made:

The House divided: Ayes 163, Noes 243.

Division No. 163] [7.50 pm
Abse, Leo Bray, Dr Jeremy
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E)
Alton, David Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E)
Anderson, Donald Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Buchan, Norman
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Caborn, Richard
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham) Callaghan, Rt Hon J.
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)
Barnett, Guy Campbell, Ian
Barron, Kevin Campbell-Savours, Dale
Beckett, Mrs Margaret Canavan, Dennis
Beith, A. J. Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y)
Bell, Stuart Carter-Jones, Lewis
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh) Clark, Dr David (S Shields)
Bermingham, Gerald Clay, Robert
Bidwell, Sydney Clelland, David Gordon
Blair, Anthony Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S)
Coleman, Donald Maclennan, Robert
Conlan, Bernard McTaggart, Robert
Cook, Frank (Stockton North) McWilliam, John
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston) Madden, Max
Craigen, J. M. Marek, Dr John
Crowther, Stan Martin, Michael
Cunningham, Dr John Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l) Maxton, John
Deakins, Eric Maynard, Miss Joan
Dixon, Donald Michie, William
Dormand, Jack Mikardo, Ian
Douglas, Dick Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Duffy, A. E. P. Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby,)
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Eadie, Alex Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Eastham, Ken Nellist, David
Evans, John (St. Helens N) Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Ewing, Harry O'Brien, William
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) O'Neill, Martin
Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn) Park, George
Fisher, Mark Parry, Robert
Flannery, Martin Pavitt, Laurie
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Pendry, Tom
Forrester, John Penhaligon, David
Foster, Derek Pike, Peter
Foulkes, George Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Prescott, John
Freud, Clement Randall, Stuart
Garrett, W. E. Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)
George, Bruce Richardson, Ms Jo
Godman, Dr Norman Robertson, George
Golding, John Rogers, Allan
Gourlay, Harry Rooker, J. W.
Hamilton, W. W. (Fife Central) Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)
Hancock, Michael Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Rowlands, Ted
Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith Sedgemore, Brian
Haynes, Frank Sheerman, Barry
Heffer, Eric S. Sheldon, Rt Hon R.
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall) Silkin, Rt Hon J.
Home Robertson, John Skinner, Dennis
Howells, Geraint Smith, C. (Isl'ton S & F'bury)
Hughes, Dr Mark (Durham) Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'ds E)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Snape, Peter
Hughes, Roy (Newport East) Soley, Clive
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)
Janner, Hon Greville Stott, Roger
John, Brynmor Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)
Johnston, Sir Russell Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Thorne, Stan (Preston)
Kennedy, Charles Tinn, James
Kilroy-Silk, Robert Torney, Tom
Kirkwood, Archy Wainwright, R.
Lambie, David Wallace, James
Lamond, James Wareing, Robert
Leighton, Ronald Weetch, Ken
Lewis, Terence (Worsley) White, James
Litherland, Robert Wigley, Dafydd
Livsey, Richard Wilson, Gordon
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Woodall, Alec
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Young, David (Bolton SE)
McCartney, Hugh
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Tellers for the Ayes:
McKay, Allen (Penistone) Mr. James Hamilton and
McKelvey, William Mr. Lawrence Cunliffe.
MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Aitken, Jonathan Biggs-Davison, Sir John
Alexander, Richard Body, Sir Richard
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Boscawen, Hon Robert
Amess, David Bottomley, Mrs Virginia
Ancram, Michael Brandon-Bravo, Martin
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble) Bright, Graham
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E) Brinton, Tim
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Brittan, Rt Hon Leon
Baldry, Tony Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes)
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Browne, John
Bellingham, Henry Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A.
Buck, Sir Antony Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Budgen, Nick Jones, Robert (Herts W)
Burt, Alistair Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine
Butterfill, John Kershaw, Sir Anthony
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Key, Robert
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (W'ton S) King, Roger (B'ham N'field)
Carttiss, Michael Knight, Greg (Derby N)
Cash, William Knowles, Michael
Chapman, Sydney Knox, David
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Lamont, Norman
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Lang, Ian
Clegg, Sir Walter Latham, Michael
Coombs, Simon Lawrence, Ivan
Cope, John Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Couchman, James Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Critchley, Julian Lester, Jim
Crouch, David Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd)
Dicks, Terry Lightbown, David
Dorrell, Stephen Lilley, Peter
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Lloyd, Ian (Havant)
Evennett, David Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Lord, Michael
Fookes, Miss Janet Luce, Rt Hon Richard
Forman, Nigel Lyell, Nicholas
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) McCurley, Mrs Anna
Forth, Eric Macfarlane, Neil
Fox, Marcus MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)
Franks, Cecil Maclean, David John
Fraser, Peter (Angus East) McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)
Freeman, Roger McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)
Fry, Peter McQuarrie, Albert
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Madel, David
Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde) Major, John
Garel-Jones, Tristan Malins, Humfrey
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian Malone, Gerald
Glyn, Dr Alan Maples, John
Goodlad, Alastair Marland, Paul
Gow, Ian Marlow, Antony
Gower, Sir Raymond Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Gregory, Conal Mates, Michael
Griffiths, Sir Eldon Mather, Carol
Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N) Maude, Hon Francis
Grist, Ian Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Ground, Patrick Mayhew, Sir Patrick
Gummer, Rt Hon John S Mellor, David
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Merchant, Piers
Hanley, Jeremy Miller, Hal (B'grove)
Hannam, John Mills, Iain (Meriden)
Hargreaves, Kenneth Miscampbell, Norman
Harris, David Mitchell, David (Hants NW)
Harvey, Robert Monro, Sir Hector
Haselhurst, Alan Morris, M. (N'hampton S)
Hawksley, Warren Moynihan, Hon C.
Hayes, J. Mudd, David
Hayhoe, Rt Hon Barney Neale, Gerrard
Hayward, Robert Needham, Richard
Heathcoat-Amory, David Newton, Tony
Heddle, John Nicholls, Patrick
Henderson, Barry Onslow, Cranley
Hickmet, Richard Oppenheim, Phillip
Hicks, Robert Page, Richard (Herts SW)
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Patten, J. (Oxf W & Abgdn)
Hind, Kenneth Pattie, Geoffrey
Hirst, Michael Pawsey, James
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling) Pollock, Alexander
Holt, Richard Porter, Barry
Howard, Michael Powell, William (Corby)
Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A) Powley, John
Howarth, Gerald (Cannock) Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford) Price, Sir David
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N) Proctor, K. Harvey
Hubbard-Miles, Peter Raffan, Keith
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Hunter, Andrew Rathbone, Tim
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Irving, Charles Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Jackson, Robert Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy) Temple-Morris, Peter
Robinson, Mark (N'port W) Terlezki, Stefan
Roe, Mrs Marion Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
Rost, Peter Thornton, Malcolm
Rowe, Andrew Thurnham, Peter
Rumbold, Mrs Angela Townend, John (Bridlington)
Ryder, Richard Twinn, Dr Ian
Sackville, Hon Thomas van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Sainsbury, Hon Timothy Viggers, Peter
Sayeed, Jonathan Waddington, David
Shaw, Giles (Pudsey) Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb') Walker, Bill (T'side N)
Shelton, William (Streatham) Waller, Gary
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Ward, John
Silvester, Fred Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Sims, Roger Warren, Kenneth
Skeet, Sir Trevor Watson, John
Soames, Hon Nicholas Watts, John
Speed, Keith Wells, Bowen (Hertford)
Spencer, Derek Wells, Sir John (Maidstone)
Spicer, Jim (Dorset W) Wheeler, John
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Whitney, Raymond
Squire, Robin Winterton, Mrs Ann
Stanbrook, Ivor Wolfson, Mark
Stanley, Rt Hon John Wood, Timothy
Steen, Anthony Woodcock, Michael
Stern, Michael Young, Sir George (Acton)
Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton) Younger, Rt Hon George
Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Sumberg, David Tellers for the Noes:
Taylor, John (Solihull) Mr. Tony Durant and
Taylor, Teddy (S'end E) Mr. Michael Neubert.
Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendment agreed to.

8 pm

Mr. Giles Shaw

I beg to move amendment No. 24, in page 7, leave out lines 3 to 10 and insert—

'(3) Notice must be delivered—

  1. (a) to a police station in the police area in which the procession is intended to be held, or
  2. (b) where the procession is intended to be held in more than one police area, to a police station in each area.
(4) If delivered not less than 6 clear days before the date when the procession is intended to be held, the notice may be delivered by post by the recorded delivery service; but section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978 (under which a document sent by post is deemed to have been served when posted and to have been delivered in the ordinary course of post) does not apply. (5) If not delivered in accordance with subsection (4), the notice must be delivered by hand not less that 6 clear days before the date when the procession is intended to be held or, if that is not reasonably practicable, as soon as delivery is reasonably practicable.'. Clause 11 as drafted allows advance notice only to be given by hand. I undertook in Committee to bring forward an amendment to provide for advance notice to be given by recorded delivery post. This amendment makes good that commitment. It provides that, where advance notice is given not less than six clear days in advance, delivery may be effected either by hand, or by post by recorded delivery. If an organiser wishes to take advantage of this facility, it is his responsibility that the notice arrives at least six clear days in advance of the procession being held. That is the effect of disapplying section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978.

Where it is not practicable to give six clear days' notice of a procession because it is called at short notice, notice must be delivered by hand. In such cases, it is important that the organisers get together with the police as soon as possible. So we did not think it right to allow service by post except when the notice reaches the police at least six clear days before the procession.

Mr. Kaufman

As the Minister will know, we are not in the least happy about the notice provisions of this Bill. Nevertheless, what the Minister has just moved is the fulfilment of a concession that he made to us in Committee, and we thank him for that.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 25, in page 7, leave out lines 11 to 15.

No. 26, in page 7, leave out line 22 and insert 'the notice'.—[Mr. Giles Shaw.]

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