HC Deb 19 June 1986 vol 99 cc1268-96

8 pm

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Tom King)

I beg to move,

That the draft Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 (Continuance) (No. 2) Order 1986, which was laid before this House on 22nd May, be approved. I welcome this opportunity to restate the Government's policy on security in Northern Ireland and to explain why the Government feel it necessary to propose the continuation of the temporary provisions in the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act.

I shall begin with a brief review of security since the last renewal debate. So far this year, 13 members of the security forces and 14 civilians have died as a result of the security situation in the Province. I make no secret of the fact that the threat from Republican terrorism, mainly the Provisional IRA, remains high. It takes different forms, including shooting attacks on the security forces, the use of home-made explosives, and developments in mortar attacks against security force bases. To counter that threat the security forces are maintaining the most intensive rate of operations since 1981.

Against that background, the House will no doubt share my dismay and understand the frustration of the security forces when public disorder and intimidation, associated with so-called Loyalist protests against the Anglo-Irish agreement, divert vital police resources from the crucial task of dealing with terrorism. Disgraceful and cowardly attacks on off-duty policemen and women, and their homes and families, have made the job of the Royal Ulster Constabulary even more dangerous and difficult than usual.

Against that background, I know that the whole House will join me in praising the courage, impartiality and steadfastness of the RUC. The professional attitude that marks the RUC is a constant reassurance to all law-abiding people in the Province. I must also pay tribute, as I know the RUC would wish me to do, to the unstinting support provided to it by the Armed Forces. Significant extra military resources have been deployed recently in the Province to assist the RUC, to protect police stations and to mount additional patrols, while the men and women of the Ulster Defence Regiment continue to bear the brunt of front-line support for the RUC over much of the Province.

. Clive Soley (Hammersmith)

Is the right hon. Gentleman minded to act on the recommendation of Sir John Hermon, that the decision to allow a march or to reroute one and soon, should be taken out of the hands of the police and given to an independent body? If he made such a suggestion, it would make life easier for the police — and it is profoundly difficult at the moment — and would find support in various quarters of the House.

Mr. King

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his interest in that point. However, I hope that he will forgive me if I comment later on marches and so on.

I would not wish my tribute to the security forces and the brave and courageous task that they discharge in the Province to exclude my tribute to the dedication with which members of the prison service approach their duties. Those duties are, of course, made that much more difficult by the nature of the prison population in Northern Ireland and, sadly, by the attacks that they too have suffered at the hands of so-called Loyalists.

The threat that terrorism presents to society in today's world demands an international response. Work on cross-border security, to which my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State referred earlier, has certainly made an encouraging start following the Anglo-Irish agreement. There have also been developments since the last renewal debate. I refer, for example, to the important signature of the Government of the Republic of Ireland to the European convention on the suppression of terrorism. We look forward to the presentation of legislation in the Dail, and hope that it will make good progress.

The House will also be aware of the substantial majority in the Senate Committee which examined the extradition treaty between the United States and this country. We obviously hope that there will now be speedy progress through the Senate. Constant vigilance, surveillance and intelligence are an essential part of the fight against terrorism, which often has an international dimension, if not being positively sponsored by other unfriendly nations. In that respect, the House will realise the commitment and dedication that is represented by the successful prosecution of the bombers involved in the outrage at the Grand hotel, Brighton. Hon. Members will also have read of those found guilty of the appalling outrage at the Droppin' Well Inn in Ballykelly.

Moreover, in recent months there have been substantial arms finds in Roscommon, just over the border in County Sligo. There have also been successes in Amsterdam, Boston, and most recently in Le Havre. Such successes are not accidental but the result of determined co-operation and of a growing sense of international commitment to working together to root out the evil of terrorism that threatens the democracies of the western world. We are committed to the fight against terrorism by apprehending supplies of arms and by ensuring that there are effective extradition arrangements, so that those who should stand charged of some of the most grievous crimes against their fellow citizens can be brought back to face trial. We must ensure that there is no safe haven to which terrorists can easily flee.

. Peter Bruinvels (Leicester, East)

No one could deny the courage and determination to fight terrorism that have been displayed so well by members of the RUC. However, does my right hon. Friend agree that one of the most unfriendly nations is that run by the madman Gaddafi? He has announced that he will send £1.3 million to support the IRA. Does that not mean that there will have to be even more control and observation along the borders so that we can fight terrorism that is sponsored by a country that has no respect for democracy?

Mr. King

I have already mentioned the threat posed by state-sponsored terrorism. If the latest intelligence is correct, the Libyan Government are determined to return again to the path that there is clear evidence to show they were on before. That is most unwelcome. The House will have noted and appreciated the extremely prompt response of Mr. Peter Barry, the Foreign Minister of the Irish Republic, who made it clear that that was totally unacceptable. He gave instructions that representations were to be made immediately to the Libyan Government, with whom the Irish Government still have, I believe, diplomatic relations, in order to make it clear that such activity would be quite unacceptable whether north or south of the border. Everything that he said is entirely in line with our thinking on the subject.

That remark emphasised once again a point which must be increasingly understood, that one of the tragedies of the present position—the list of deaths that I have just read out —is that these murders are being committed with less and less point. I have heard the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) stress that these murders are pointless and that there is no longer any objective to be obtained through such terrorism. That is not the way that aspirations will be achieved.

The increasing political and human irrelevance of the IRA and other terrorist organisations proves that they no longer have a moral basis for their activities — not that they ever had one. That clearly emphasises that the terrorists recognise that they cannot persuade or command genuine support in a democratic society. Therefore, terrorism is their worst and last refuge.

It is significant, and many hon. Members will have noticed, that one of the features of recent murders is that three of the victims were Catholics, members of the minority community. Nothing can confirm more clearly that a permanent tyranny of terror is now all that the IRA can offer to people north or south of the border in Ireland.

Our commitment is to fight and to defeat the evil of terrorism. That must be done on a basis that our security policy is founded on the belief that the fight against terrorism is based on a strict observance of the law and on bringing terrorists to justice before the courts. In the face of the problems, difficulties and criticisms that they face about the system and the administration of justice that operates in a society where terrorism exists and where there is intimidation, whether that be of juries or witnesses, I would like to pay tribute to the great courage and commitment of the Lord Chief Justice and his colleagues in the Northern Ireland judiciary for the brave way in which they still discharge justice in the most difficult circumstances in the United Kingdom.

I would like to consider in that spirit the emergency legislation under which the judiciary operates in Northern Ireland. I recognise, as everyone recognises, that these are exceptional provisions to meet exceptional circumstances. We have sought to establish the minimum adjustments to ordinary law to enable the security forces and the judicial system to cope with the problems of terrorism.

When the Emergency Provisions Act as a whole is looked at in this light, I am sure that right hon. and hon. Members will agree that Parliament's duty is to ensure that the derogations from the normal legal processes are as limited as possible and that any such derogation is fully justified. I and my predecessors and my ministerial colleagues have given very considerable and careful thought to the issues which arise. We have studied and discussed Sir George Baker's recommendations for amending the Act. We have also given careful consideration to the views of individuals and organisations — notably the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights — who have commented on Sir George Baker's recommendations. The Government have thus accepted that there is scope for amending the Act and we will be introducing legislation for this purpose as soon as the parliamentary timetable permits, and certainly within the life of this Parliament.

Mr. Stephen Ross (Isle of Wight)

I believe that the Secretary of State, in seeking our trust in this undertaking, is going a little far, for we may not be here in this Session next spring. Would he go further and say that he will introduce the legislation in the next parliamentary Session?

Mr. King

I am a stickler for parliamentary conventions and will not anticipate any Queen's Speech. I certainly will not anticipate the date of the next general election. We understand and believe in the importance of the legislation and I hope that it will be possible to reflect the spirit of what the hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Ross) has said, and the target time which he had in mind.

During the debate on a continuance order on 25 June 1985, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr. Hurd) set out in general terms the Government's main proposals for amending the Act, arising from Sir George Baker's recommendations. These proposals included an increase in the Attorney-General's discretion to certify cases out of the scheduled mode of trial — which has now been achieved by an amendment order which came into effect in January this year; the repeal of the police power in section 11 of the Act, which duplicates the arrest power in section 12 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act; recasting section 2(2) so that the onus in bail applications will be on the prosecution, and widening section 2(5) to include members of the RUC and RUC Reserve; and making the temporary provisions of the Act renewable annually by Parliament and subject to a maximum life of five years without re-enactment.

My right hon. Friend also said that he was considering Sir George's recommendation that magistrates should be able to remand persons accused of scheduled offences in custody for up to 28 days without consent so as to avoid wasteful and meaningless remand hearings. I can now say that I propose to implement this recommendation. I also propose that certain powers in the Act — the powers of entry and search in section 11(2), the power of arrest without warrant in sections 13 and 14, and the powers of entry and search in section 15(2) and (3)— should be exercised only on the basis of "reasonable suspicion". I should like to take this opportunity to describe in general terms some additional proposals which the Government intend to incorporate in that amending legislation.

We intend to propose provisions governing the rights while in custody of suspects arrested under the emergency legislation to have someone informed of their arrest and to have access to a solicitor. These provisions would effectively replicate for Northern Ireland the provisions of sections 56 and 58 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 as they apply to persons arrested under the terrorism provisions.

We also intend to take the opportunity to introduce measures intended to inhibit the exploitation by paramilitary organisations of the private security industry in Northern Ireland. It is a matter of deep concern to me that members of paramilitary organisations should be able to masquerade as private security companies while engaging in what is little more than a glorified extortion racket. This concern has also been voiced by many public representatives in Northern Ireland and by the Northern Ireland Assembly. We propose a relatively simple scheme in which private security companies would be required to seek a certificate from the Secretary of State, and such a certificate could be denied if the Secretary of State were satisfied that the granting of a certificate would further the aims of a paramilitary organisation. whether directly or indirectly.

It is obvious to all observers that the border with the Irish Republic plays a large part in the current phase of Republican terrorist activities. It is against that background that my earlier reference to the importance of the work of the Anglo-Irish agreement for improving cross-border security co-operation is so valuable. I know that some of my hon. Friends have expressed anxiety and impatience for early results. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Sir E. Griffiths), who is so familiar with police matters, knows the time, preparation and depth of work involved in trying to achieve real improvements and the basis for effective cooperation that is necessary.

I can report to the House that the most encouraging item at the last Anglo-Irish conference held on Tuesday was the report received from the Chief Constable and the deputy commissioner of the Garda on the measures agreed to improve arrangements for the exchange of information and to develop liaison structures. A significant amount of work has been done and more will be carried out shortly. That offers the best prospect that there has ever been for close co-operation between the two police forces, faced as they are with the challenge and threat of terrorism.

Before I conclude my remarks on the order, I should like to add something, as I said I would, on the thorny issue of parades and marches in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland has a long tradition of marching to commemorate various historical events. Most of those processions are colourful and enjoyable occasions, but regrettably some have become strident and triumphalist in tone and purpose and a focus for sectarianism. The Public Order Bill currently before Parliament addresses the issue of how public processions should be controlled in England and Wales, and the House has shown during the debates on the Bill that it supports the right of any person or group of persons to hold a public procession so long as it does not unreasonably interfere with the lives of people living and working in the area, or involve the prospect of serious public disorder.

My hope is that a similar attitude will prevail in Northern Ireland. How can it benefit anyone to march through an area where the inhabitants do not support the views being expressed by the marchers, and where the only result is to exacerbate tension in the area? This is a straightforward issue, and my views on the subject arise from my concern about the effect of such marches on inter-community relations within Northern Ireland. It is an issue on which the Chief Constable called for common sense and tolerance from both sides of the community in successive annual reports long before the Anglo-Irish agreement was signed.

. Seamus Mallon (Newry and Armagh)

The Secretary of State said that he hopes that the same attitude will prevail in Northern Ireland. Surely he should be telling us that he hopes that the same legislation will prevail in Northern Ireland. Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that it is in the mind of the Government to ensure that legislation to deal with that matter is introduced, not just that he hopes that the attitude will prevail?

Mr. King

I have already told the House that we are waiting for the Public Order Bill to complete its passage through the House before we consider its implications for Northern Ireland. In the light of the Bill and any amendments that are made in either House, we shall consider the ways in which we might apply such legislation in Northern Ireland.

Under the Public Order (Northern Ireland) Order 1981. the control of public processions is a matter for the police. I want to make that point absolutely clear. It is a police responsibility, and not mine, to decide whether to impose conditions on the organisers of a parade. It is true that I have a reserve power to prohibit processions and public meetings, but I want to make it absolutely clear that that power has invariably been exercised on the basis of police advice. Let me make it clear that that will continue to be my position. I would not intend to exercise that power save only on the advice of the police, on the proper law and order grounds.

The House will be aware that this year there have been hundreds of parades, and most have gone off entirely peacefully. Many hundreds more parades will take place in the next few months. I do not know how many — the House will realise that there are more than 2,000 marches and parades every year in Northern Ireland. That is a massive undertaking, with a massive responsibility and work commitment for the RUC. If the organisers, in discussion with the RUC, can act responsibly and choose routes that are not provocative, it will be possible for the marches to take place much more peacefully, and in a way that creates the maximum enjoyment for those involved, without interfering with the daily lives of those who might not share the marchers' views or beliefs.

I am sure that the whole House will join me in sincerely encouraging people in Northern Ireland who are in any position of responsibility — parade organisers or members of the various orders — to consider carefully before finalising their proposals this summer, and to take account of the impact that their marches could have on inter-community relations.

I respond to the question asked by the hon. Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley). The Chief Constable himself has put forward proposals in his most recent annual report on the way in which those marches and the issues raised by them might be dealt with in the years ahead. That proposal can be considered and discussed. It is not relevant for this marching season. This season will take place under the rules that are already well established, whereby the Chief Constable has the responsibility.

Sir Eldon Griffiths (Bury St. Edmunds)

With regard to the proposal that has been attributed to the Chief Constable, will my right hon. Friend make sure before he carries it far that he discusses it with the other police staff associations, particularly the Association of Chief Police Officers on this side of the water, which he may well find takes a different view?

Mr. King

My hon. Friend said "attributed", but the proposal is in the Chief Constable's annual report. As far as I am aware, it has not been taken further at this stage. I am aware that there are some concerns about that, and that there are some who feel that it would be a bold gentleman who took on that responsibility. In Northern Ireland, one can see what a responsibility it might prove to be. I shall simply note what my hon. Friend says. As far as I am aware, the proposal has not been taken further, and it is unlikely that it will be until after the marching season, when further lessons may be learned and further views formed as to whether it is worth pursuing. If it is, it should involve consultation with the various associations, as my hon. Friend suggested.

Mr. Soley

We recognise that the responsibility cannot be given to local authorities in Northern Ireland. No one is suggesting that. The principle is to take the police out of the problem of having to decide the route or conditions between competing political parties, which is often what it is about. If the police are taken out of that, and that responsibility is given to the independent bodies, as Sir John suggested, the duty of the police is more clearly to enforce the law. That is easier to do if they are not part of the discussion beforehand on whether the route is correct, and so on. I recognise that there are difficulties, but the police need to be taken out of the vice between competing groups.

Mr. King

The decisions on the suitability of routes are taken not on political grounds, but entirely on grounds of law and order, and the risk of disorder. I shall not go further because we see some real problems with the proposal, and this is not the moment to discuss it. After the marching season, and if it is wished to pursue the proposal further, there will be an opportunity for consideration to he given to it.

I hope that what I have said has demonstrated the concern that we have, while recognising the need to retain the emergency legislation that applies to Northern Ireland. to keep it under continual review. I certainly look to the opportunity to place the proposals that I will make before the House in legislative form. I should be interested in any thinking and views that right hon. and hon. Members and outside organisations may have on my comments. I include in that the political parties in Northern Ireland

I have therefore conceded that the Government believe that the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 should be amended in a number of respects, but the question before us tonight is whether the temporary provisions of the Act should continue in force. For the reasons that I gave, regarding the security situation, the background against which the security forces and the Government have to operate. and the potential threat of terrorist violence that continues to hang over the people of Northern Ireland, I believe that it is essential that the order is renewed. I commend it to the House.

8.28 pm
Mr. Peter Archer (Warley, West)

The Secretary of State has one advantage over me today. According to my calculations, this is the sixth debate in which I have taken part devoted to the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978. In each one, I have said the same thing. I make no apologies for that. I imagine that I would be open to criticism if I had not. We have all on occasion recognised that we may have been mistaken, but normally consistency is considered to be a virtue, and on this subject our views have not changed. So I have said the same thing. There comes a time when one exhausts the various ways of saying the same thing. There are hon. Members on the Government Benches who have just as consistently disagreed with us, and that is their right. There are also those who have made no effort to understand what we on this side of the House have been saying. They have never directed their minds to the issues we have raised. They have sought to refute us by reciting facts, obvious to everyone, as though we had overlooked them. They have invented opinions which we do not hold, and they have invented proposals which we have never made. As I cannot leave our arguments to be caricatured by those who do not understand them, if they were minded to do so, I fear that, at the risk of being tiresome, I will have to repeat what I have said so often. I will try to do so briefly as this is a short debate, and I will confine what I have to say to the specific issue which the House is deciding tonight.

This debate is not about who cares the most for law and order. We yield to no one in this House in our condemnation of lawlessness. Those who suffer most when the law ceases to be respected are those who are most vulnerable — the elderly, those on low incomes, those who are condemned to live in shadowed thresholds, dark with fears. We need no lessons on the evil which may be inflicted by human wickedness. We have no illusions about how innocent people can suffer from indiscriminate violence — in whatever cause — whether it is carried out on the instructions of a commandant, or a godfather, or the Libyan Government, or ordered by an American President. I hope we will he spared a lecture about the evils of terrorism, because anyone who pretends that that is what this debate is about is either incapable of understanding the issues or suffers from the oblivion of the wilfully deaf.

Nor are we oblivious of the difficult and dangerous tasks which we call upon the police and the law enforcement bodies to undertake. On other occasions we have paid tribute to them for the way in which they carry out their unenviable job. But they will tell us that their task does not become easier if we take away the normal guidelines within which they are expected to operate. We can judge lapses with some sympathy and understanding, but that is not the same as saying that anything goes. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley), I was pleased to see the comments of Sir John Hermon. The police are protected if they are responsible to an authority which is fair and is manifestly seen to be fair—

Sir Eldon Griffiths

That does not make sense.

Mr. Archer

Before we heard that explosion, I had intended to say that I recognise that the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Sir E. Griffiths) has a point. It does raise questions for debate, but this is not the occasion to debate them.

We on the Opposition Benches have two anxieties, and I am aware that they are shared by some hon. Members on the Government Benches whose minds are not completely closed.

First, we are aware of how provisions which were introduced in an emergency can become so entrenched in our habits of thinking that we come to regard them as normal. Not only do we cease to ask whether they can lead to unfairness, but we cease to ask ourselves whether they serve their original purpose, or whether they make any contribution to reducing crime. A conviction becomes a success, irrespective of whether we have convicted the right person.

In Northern Ireland a whole generation of lawyers, police and politicians have grown up with the 1973 Act and its successors. They have spent their professional lives knowing nothing else. As one provision succeeds another and standards are gradually eroded, those who set out to destroy our way of life can take comfort because they will have succeeded. If we in this House cease to scrutinise each provision at least twice a year, we shall have fallen from the standards set by those who originally drafted the legislation. I am grateful to the Secretary of State for having said that that is a function which the House must faithfully discharge.

I offer one example of how a power on the statute book encourages law enforcement authorities to act in ways which are both oppressive and pointless and which, on reflection, the authorities would not wish to do. On 22 October 1980 a young lady, Miss Ann Walsh, was arrested in her home by members of the armed forces. She was taken to the police station in a Saracen armoured car in full view of the neighbours. She was subjected to the humiliation of being searched and photographed. She was detained for about two hours and then released without any apology then or subsequently.

Ann Walsh was a school teacher and was described later by the Lord Chief Justice as quiet, unassuming and of at least average sensibility. Neither she nor any member of her family had ever been in trouble. It later transpired that someone had suggested that she had been associating with a member of an illegal organisation. That was untrue. It was a piece of gossip, and no one has ever discovered how it arose. But even if it had been true it would not have justified her arrest. Asked later in legal proceedings of what offence she was suspected, the person who arrested her replied That's what we wanted to find out. The military authorities apparently thought they were entitled to arrest Ann Walsh under the emergency provisions Act in the hope that they might find out some reason for their suspicions. They could only have thought that because section 11 of the Act has not been repealed. That section was clearly intended to be used only as a preliminary to detention under section 12. No one has been detained under section 12 for years. So far as I am aware, and certainly so far as I hope, there is no proposal to activate section 12 again. Yet sections 11 and 12 remain on the statute book.

There are other perfectly adequate powers of arrest, as Sir George Baker pointed out. The Lord Chief Justice had forthright criticisms to make of the authorities, and in the event he awarded Miss Walsh substantial damages. I do not suggest that the military authorities acted otherwise than in the interests of law and order. I think they got carried away, and I mention the case not by way of criticism of the military authorities, but because what happened was because of the existence of an unnecessary provision. If the authorities are invited to use unnecessary powers, there will be occasions when they exceed even the powers given to them.

There are provisions in this legislation which, as the right hon. Gentleman recognised fairly, are agreed to be no longer justified. Sir George Baker listed some of them. We are not persuaded that he went far enough, but that is an argument for another occasion. Sir George believed that some of the provisions and some of the powers were unnecessary and unfair, and even counter productive. He reported in March 1984 and, until now, his recommendations have been gathering dust on the shelves. We were pleased to hear what the right hon. Gentleman said tonight — and I am grateful for his invitation for our comments. He would not expect us to respond off the cuff — that would he silly. We will consider them. I hope we shall have an opportunity to debate them on another occasion. We do not believe, however, that this House would be doing its job if it simply rubber stamped the continuation of the present provisions.

Our second anxiety is that the strongest foundation for law and order, the strongest deterrent to lawlessness, is a conviction in the mind of the public that the law is manifestly fair and that those who enforce it go no further than is essential. The factor most likely to dissuade someone from lawlessness is the disapproval of his or her peer group — those among whom he moves and whose good opinion he values. If they can be persuaded that the law goes no further than is necessary, that it is fair between one group and another, that it protects those who are vulnerable, they will be more effective in dissuading potential law breakers than a whole army of policemen.

If the local communities in Northern Ireland can believe that the way to redress grievances is by constitutional politics and by the use of legal redress that freedom under the law is a reality, then the men of violence will be isolated and their recruiting ground will be denied them.

Nothing in Northern Ireland has given greater aid or comfort to the paramilitaries than the supergrass trials as they have come to be used. I shall not rehearse all the criticisms that we have made. It would afford us some comfort to learn that there will be no more supergrass trials, but I understand that that is not necessarily to be the case.

I know that accomplice evidence is admitted in other jurisdictions, including the courts of England and Wales, but its use in the Diplock context with a multiplicity of defendants, with long remands in custody before trial, and with inducements to lie, such as resettlement, immunity from prosecution and remission of sentence, is something different, and I believe that it would not have been tolerated by the authorities themselves a few years ago. They have become inured to falling standards.

I do not believe that this is something which can be left to the police, the prosecuting authorities or the courts. They can only administer the existing law. A legislative provision is needed to the effect that no one is to be convicted under the Diplock procedure on the uncorroborated evidence of an accomplice. As I understand it, that is the intention of the Bill introduced by the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon). He will no doubt seek to speak in the debate, but I hope he will forgive me if I pre-empt him by asking what the Government's intentions are in relation to that Bill. Will the House be given time to debate it?

It is essential that the law enforcement agencies are scrupulous to remain within the law and that they are manifestly seen to be scrupulous. If under the stress of the moment a policeman or soldier makes a mistake, I hope that we shall always make allowances for the pressures of the circumstance. That is not the same as condoning illegalities or sweeping inquiries under a carpet.

There is widespread anxiety about the Stalker inquiry. I know nothing of the matters under investigation in relation to Mr. Stalker, and I make no comment about them, but part of the anxiety arises because the public has been told nothing. It would not he surprising if people asked why it was announced that Mr. Stalker was removed from the Northern Ireland inquiry before the allegations made against him appear to have been investigated.

.Mr. Mallon

It is crucial that we know whether Mr. Stalker had completed his report, and what Mr. Sampson has been charged to investigate.

.Mr. Archer

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman knows more about the matter than I do. I am only asking a neutral question would it not have been wiser to suspend the inquiry until the allegations had been investigated? And when the Minister replies, perhaps he can tell the House how much of the inquiry was completed under Mr. Stalker's direction, how much remained to be carried out, and when he will be in a position to make a further announcement.

This debate is brief and I promised that I would not repeat what I have already said in five previous debates. We of the Opposition believe that hysteria, resentment and grievances are the enemies of law enforcement. We believe that the most effective foundation of law enforcement is the confidence of the public, and that legislation should be designed to reinforce that confidence. That is why we shall divide the House tonight.

8.42 pm
Sir Eldon Griffiths (Bury St. Edmunds)

I appreciate the position of the right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer), but I have seldom heard a speech which less justified the decision announced at the end. He made a civilised, intelligent, sensitive speech, not agreeing wholly with but welcoming a good deal of what my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said. It certainly lived up to the issues before us and to the right hon. and learned Gentleman's knowledge of them. But suddenly, at the end. as if he were chucking a stone into a pond, he said That is why we shall divide the House. There may be good reasons for that and we may hear them, but we certainly did not hear them from him. Perhaps his hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. Bell) will repair the omission.

On Monday the House debated a subject for which we have no direct responsibility and over which we have little power South Africa. The House was packed, the media were agog and the BBC recorded the proceedings live. Today we are debating an important part of the United Kingdom, for the citizens of which this House has absolute sovereign responsibility. It is an area where a large number of our fellow citizens have been killed and many live in peril. It is a province to which we provide more subsidy per head than any other part of Britain and where our investments dwarf those in South Africa. Yet today the House is virtually empty. I find that odd, but on reflection I suspect that the House, not for the first time, is mirroring a change of great importance in our country, namely, that the British people are beginning to disengage psychologically from Northern Ireland. They are switching off, turning their backs on the Province.

There are many reasons for that. Nobody enjoys the sight of killings and murders or the scenes of hopelessness and helplessness which often afflict us when we look at Northern Ireland. Above all, no one can countenance the failure of constitutional device after constitutional device, the last of which was dissolved today, or the sight of Northern Ireland politicians squabbling with each other whatever is proposed. To that extent, the House is reflecting a profound public disillusionment which the politicians of Northern Ireland should take with the utmost seriousness.

I am a Unionist. I hope that the Union will prevail. But I perceive the main threat to the union today not as being the IRA or the Anglo-Irish agreement but the progressive disengagement of the British people on this side of the water from a quarrelsome Province. And my anxieties are reinforced — I hope I say this with complete fairness — by what I detect to be the evolving attitude of some Labour Members.

At the Labour conference some speakers wanted to turn their backs on Northern Ireland and walk away from it. Some Labour Members — I am not referring to any of those present — may say before the general election that the Labour manifesto should include some commitment to have one more go at a solution but if no agreement can be reached with the Republic over progress towards a united Ireland, then the Labour party should commit itself to getting out of Ulster completely. I do not know whether that will happen, but such voices can certainly be detected within the Labour movement.

The Labour party in government may also get into severe economic difficulties. I believe it will do. And I have been in the House long enough to know that drastic decisions are taken by Cabinets when they face economic crisis. Aden had to go because of prescription charges. It is possible that Labour may say, "We cannot afford to continue with Northern Ireland. We have other things to do with our money."

As a supporter of the Union, I am anxious about those matters. I raise them today because the message that needs to go out from the House to the politicians of Northern Ireland, especially those who are not present, is that their constant unwillingness to resolve differences, to find peace, to talk with British Ministers, to join in the political process — this abdication on the part of the representatives of Northern Ireland from the processes of our national life — is likely to accelerate the disengagement of the British people from Northern Ireland. We have a duty to give that warning to those in Northern Ireland whose friendship and loyalty I wish to preserve.

I turn to the subject of public order and terrorism, to which this order is specifically directed. I welcome the Secretary of State's decision that the order must be extended. I welcome it with regret because all of us regret the draconian powers of the emergency provisions. But in the present circumstances I do not think that the police and security services in Northern Ireland could possibly operate without them. They could not otherwise provide the protection for persons and property that our citizens are entitled to expect. So if this House were to remove the powers which provide that protection, we should be in dereliction of our duty. That is why I shall find it strange if the Opposition vote against the order.

Broadly speaking, my right hon. Friend is right to say that there has been some improvement in the terrorist situation. Four strong blows have been struck at international terrorists over recent weeks. First, the conviction of the Brighton bomber and his accomplices was a remarkable police achievement. The House ought to pay tribute to the forensic experts of the Metropolitan police and to many forces up and down the country who pursued patiently and diligently a very difficult quarry. We should also pay tribute to the co-operation between the police on this side of the water and the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Brighton was a severe blow to terrorism.

So, too, was the successful conviction — indeed, there was confession — of the murderers of 17 young people at the Droppin' Well pub in Ballykelly. The morning after that massacre 1 went to the ruins. Some of the bodies were still stacked up like dominoes. I saw a satin dance shoe belonging to one of the young girls. That brought it home to me. And as it happens, I heard over a radio that was switched into the BBC's "News at One" programme that back here in Westminster Mr. Kenneth Livingstone was entertaining that very day the representatives of Sinn Fein at County Hall. I must confess that I reacted strongly to that news in the ruins of the Droppin' Well pub. When 1 returned to London I took that slipper across the river, went into Mr. Liverstone's office, banged it on the desk and invited his people to hand the slipper to the Sinn Fein representatives.

I am proud of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and I am glad that they should have achieved the conviction of that group, including females as well as males, who blew up those young people at the Droppin' Well pub.

My right hon. Friend also mentioned the successes of the police and the security services in France, Holland and elsewhere in making a series of arrests — charges no doubt will follow — of gunrunners in Le Havre and elsewhere who have been involved in getting weapons — some of them sophisticated — to the IRA. That is a further great success. I believe that it reflects, more than anything else, the new collaboration that is emerging between the police and the security services of western Europe and North America.

For that—I hope that I put this objectively — the Libya raid must be thanked. Before the Libyan air strike, summit conferences had said many fine things about increasing collaboration on measures to counter terrorism. The foreign Ministers had met and the home Ministers had met and they had said the same. But my experience is that before Libya the words were strong but that the action was weak; since Libya, however, there has been far closer collaboration in the sharing of intelligence and in the working together of the police services and this has helped to bring about the convictions and arrests that we must now greet with satisfaction.

It is to also be welcomed that this increasing international co-operation is buttressed by the efforts of the Reagan Administration to ensure that the CIA and the FBI give us better support than we have ever had before. I think that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and my hon. Friend the Minister of State will confirm that. The United States has helped enormously.

Then, too, there is the Anglo-Irish agreement. This causes serious problems of conscience for many members of the RUC, to which I shall turn in a moment, but it must also be recognised that the agreement has put the stamp of political approval on the cross-border co-operation that for years had been developing between the two police forces. This has now been given a political momentum that is greatly welcomed by those who are the practitioners of security on both sides of the border.

I must mention another matter. It is a useful step forward that the Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Senate has agreed, by a larger majority than some of us might have expected, to report out the extradition treaty. This does not go all the way. But it goes a large part of the way. It will, I believe, be helpful.

It is perfectly understandable, when one considers the traditions of the United States, that some Senators were reluctant to allow extradition without a court process. I recognise that Senator Eagleton and his colleagues need the consent of their courts to be incorporated in the arrangements before they would report out the Bill. But I have one question about this to ask my hon. Friend. Accepting, as I do, that the Senate's version is likely to be agreed to by the United States Congress as a whole, is he able to say whether he perceives that there could be difficulties with some of the United States jurisdictions when they look at the Diplock courts and consider whether a fair trial is available? The Americans are used to the jury system. It could be that in some federal appeal court jurisdictions the absence of a jury, because of Diplock, might be used as a reason for refusing extradition. This is an important matter. I do not ask my hon. Friend to give assurances that are beyond his ability. I just want to be certain that the matter has been looked at and discussed with the Federal authorities.

I make this further suggestion. It is not within the ability of any American court actually to determine on the ground whether the processes in Northern Ireland provide a fair trial. A court does not have a researcher who can be sent over here to check up, and we should resent it deeply if it did. I also suppose that the practice in this country, if there were any question as to whether or not a jurisdiction abroad were fair, would be that it would be up to our Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to provide a certificate to the court, saying that he was satisfied that there could be a fair trial in a particular country.

I ask my hon. Friend to consider making representations to the United States that, in the event of a United States court resisting extradition on the ground that the Diplock procedures did not provide for a jury, it should be sufficient for the United States Secretary of State to provide a certificate giving his assurance that he was satisfied beyond any question that the Diplock courts in Northern Ireland are fair. I put that proposal to my hon. Friend, because it needs to be considered.

I move from the general proposition that there is a measurable improvement on the security front to a warning that it would be madness to become complacent. As my right hon. Friend has very fairly said, murder, bombing, kidnapping and assassination are still parts of the arsenal of the IRA.

Mr. Mallon

The hon. Gentleman has declared himself to be a Unionist. Does he maintain that these are the tools only of the IRA? Are they not the tools that are also used by paramilitaries on the Unionist side that he espouses?

Sir Eldon Griffiths

It makes no difference from which side murder, assassination or kidnapping comes. I attributed those things to the IRA, but I condemn all those who do such things.

I should like to speak for one moment about the pressures and strains on the Royal Ulster Constabulary. I make no bones about it: for a force that has expanded rapidly from about 3,000 to 8,000 regulars, or to 10,000 if we include the immediate reserves, over some seven or eight years, the RUC has made remarkable progress. It is probably the most proficient counter-insurgency civil police force in the western world, and it deserves congratulations on its professional efficiency and on the dedication and courage of its members.

On Monday night the Secretary of State and I attended the annual conference of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland. It was most agreeable to hear the tribute that the Secretary of State paid to the force. His words were sincere and greatly appreciated. Large numbers of RUC men are nevertheless going through a crisis of conscience. Some of them are bewildered; they do not quite know where they stand. One reason for this is that the RUC is overstretched. The force is being expected to do too much. The RUC in fact is a police force with four separate roles.

Its first role is to carry out all the ordinary police tasks. Crimes of disorder, traffic offences, drugs and corruption are growing all over the world; and coping with those things alone would be enough for the RUC. But, on top of that, it has other roles that are not carried out by our other police services. Thus its second role is to tight a terrorist offensive. The RUC is a counter-insurgency force and a large part of its time, probably 40 per cent. of its time in one way or another, is expended not on fighting conventional crime, but on counter-insurgency.

The Royal Ulster Constabulary's third role is as the guardian of an international frontier. That, too, is an armed role and a special one that the RUC and its predecessors have had since the setting up of the border. This task demands a great deal of a civilian police force; indeed, when one visits some of the border posts, one sees that the RUC is not really policing at all. In many cases its members are besieged in semi-fortresses, festooned with barbed wire. Its officers are often unable to go out to carry out the conventional tasks of serving warrants and apprehending criminals without the armed protection of the Army.

It is the RUC's fourth role that is the most difficult of all. Since the Anglo-Irish agreement, the RUC has been confronted by a major public order problem arising from the hostility of a very large number, probably a majority, of the people of Northern Ireland who are against that agreement. As a result of that perceived hostility, many members of the RUC have been faced with some impossible dilemmas.

There are professional dilemmas. How does one police against the wishes of the majority? How does one police without what we like to describe as consent? What is the position of a police officer when, as one of them put it to me, he is expected to "give them a tanning in the streets and drink with them in the evening?"

There are personal dilemmas too when police officers are expected to ban or stop marches and then go back and live within the community from which those marches traditionally have originated. Police officers who have grown up in one culture, lived among one group of people now find themselves spurned, despised and cold shouldered by their neighbours and friends. Inevitably, that has an impact on their working lives.

I have seen nothing worse nor more unforgivable in Northern Ireland than the attacks by so-called Loyalists on members of the police force. We have all seen and condemned them, but I shall give just two examples. I went to talk to a young constable who had proudly bought his own home. He and his family had been burnt out of it by a petrol bomb. They had taken refuge in one of the houses that had been provided expeditiously by the emergency housing authority.

I talked to the young man about the practical questions — what compensation would he get, would he be able to buy another house, would his mortgage be extended, would his bank lend him money when it knew he was a target? But what will remain with me was not our discussion of the practicalities but the look of sheer hurt and bewilderment that he, as a police officer, who had come into the service to do his utmost for the community, should now suddenly be petrol-bombed and burnt out of his home by people who called themselves Loyalists.

The second example was in Dungannon. In the basement of the police station, I was shown six plastic bags. Those contained all that remained of the belongings of three young policewomen. These three girls, all of them of the age to be the daughters, if not the granddaughters, of every hon. Member present, had joined the RUC and were living in flats provided by the police in Dungannon. One night, all three were bombed and everything that they had was smashed or destroyed. All that was left of their possessions was put into the plastic bags. I looked inside and saw a charred squash racket, a few pairs of shoes and some underwear. That was all that was left. And these girls too put it simply: "How can those who call themselves Loyalists do that to us, the police?"

That is the working reality for many Northern Ireland policemen. They are faced with terrible dilemmas a result of the agreement. It is essential that the RUC should not be depicted in Northern Ireland either as the guardians of the agreement, for they are not, or, as some would suggest, as being duty-bound to their communities to oppose the agreement, which they must not do either. The police are politically neutral. They must be impartial. They are not the servants of any Government. They serve the Queen as the limbs of the law. Just as the police during the miners' strike here were not enforcing the wishes of the Government, so the police in Northern Ireland must not be seen to be the enforcers of Government policy either. They must be seen to he the impartial guardians of the law, and they come into the Anglo-Irish agreement only when persons use violence or illegality against it. If the police will keep that clear line in their minds — that they guard the law, not the agreement — many of their dilemmas, I believe, can be resolved.

I turn to some of practical questions that I hope that my hon. Friend will mention in his reply; if he cannot deal with them fully, perhaps we may discuss them in other ways. The right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West was right to mention Mr. Stalker. I have known a deal about the Stalker investigation for a long time. I confess that I have always visualised a disturbing denouement when all the facts became known.

It is unfortunate that the same chief constable who has been asked to take over Mr. Stalker's investigation—and I wish him good luck in it and hope that he will be speedy in his conclusion—has also been asked to examine the personal allegations against Mr. Stalker. It would have been better if a different chief officer had been asked to deal with the Greater Manchester force problems than the chief officer who has been asked to go to Northern Ireland to carry through the Stalker report. Having the same chief officer doing both is bound to lead mischievous people to conclude that there is a connection between the charges that may be brought against Mr. Stalker and the reason why he has been removed from the Northern Ireland investigation. It would be unfortunate for anything to be done in an official capacity that suggested that Mr. Stalker was removed from the investigation because of what was happening in Northern Ireland.

Some hon. Members may have seen the "Panorama" programme the other night when it was suggested that there was a conspiracy and that Mr. Stalker had been removed from the investigation because he was likely to spill the beans. It was suggested that the RUC, in a subversive manner, had decided to rubbish, devalue and besmirch him and to get him removed from the investigation lest he produced embarrassing matters against them. I have no intimate knowledge of the details. But I suggest that the House would be unwise to adopt the foolish conclusions of the "Panorama" programme.

The inference that the RUC has engaged in a deliberate character assassination of Mr. Stalker to prevent his investigation exposing improprieties in that force is a serious allegation against the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Of course, it must be, and I am sure will be, fully investigated, but I hope that the House will not simply adopt such a smear before the evidence is out. Both in the case of Mr. Stalker personally and in the investigation of the incidents that he was dealing with, it is crucial that the job be now done quickly, that there is full disclosure and that this brave force is able to get back to the real business in hand.

Now to my practical points which are rather like a laundry list, for which I apologise. First, the gag. I hope that my hon. Friend will find — with me if I can help — ways and means of solving the problem of the muzzle that has been placed by the Chief Constable of the RUC on the Police Federation for Northern Ireland. This has gone on for far too long. There is right on both sides — I mean no pun in saying that — but it is urgent that the matter be resolved. There will not be a proper relationship between the Chief Constable and the representative body set up by Parliament until the gag is removed.

It is no less important to make speedy progress with the review of the constitution of the police staff association in Northern Ireland. The time has come to take the federation, which represents 99 per cent. of the men and women of the force, out of the staff association corset, which is cumbersome and unwieldy, and allow it to be treated in the same way as police federations are treated in England and Wales. The more closely we assimilate the staff arrangements of the RUC to those which obtain over here, the better for all concerned.

It is important that the question of federation attendance at the police authority is resolved. I had the opportunity to speak with Sir Myles Humphreys about that the other night. The reasons the police in Northern Ireland are excluded from the police authority — they are admitted in every other force in the United Kingdom — are an insult to them. First, they are not admitted because it is alleged that their presence would impair the confidentiality of the police authority's proceedings. That is absurd. Every police officer in Northern Ireland must sign a declaration under the Official Secrets Act. He is used to keeping confidentiality at all times.

Secondly, the police are kept out of the authority because of impartiality. It is alleged that the impartiality of the police authority would be compromised if the RUC were to be admitted, implying somehow that the federation is a sectarian Protestant body that would upset the balance between the Protestant and Catholic religions. That reason is equally insulting to the federation. I hope that my hon. Friend will try to deal with those petty problems that are impairing morale at a time when it needs to be high.

To conclude, there is progress against terrorism. But difficulties have arisen as a result of the Anglo-Irish agreement. I suspect — I hate to say it — that the Anglo-Irish agreement may, before long, go the way that the Assembly and many of the other constitutional devices that we have attempted to bring in to resolve the problems of Northern Ireland have gone. But whether the agreement stays or goes, I am quite certain of one thing. The future maintenance of public order, the rule of law, the administration of justice, and freedom and security for the people of Northern Ireland must involve cross-border cooperation and a southern Irish dimension. One way or another, that must be brought in to any arrangements for the security and politics of the Province.

To sum it up, many police officers are worried about the Anglo-Irish agreement. Some are bewildered by it. But all of them, operationally, understand the need to work with the Garda.

9.17 pm
Mr. Seamus Mallon (Newry and Armagh)

I understand that it is desired that the debate should conclude as quickly as possible. There are indications from certain quarters that it should conclude at around 10 o'clock. Therefore, I shall not speak for as long as the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Sir E. Griffiths) spoke. This is my first contribution to the debate. The right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer) said that it was his sixth contribution. I was not looking forward to the debate.

The hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds made the most bizarre speech on law and order that I have heard for some time. He reminded me — it is the last time I shall use the expression tonight — of a well-rehearsed supergrass. The hon. Gentleman bore all the traits of those I have seen in witness boxes. who were put through their paces by Government or whatever section of the police service they worked for, and came up with a well-rehearsed piece of evidence. The hon. Gentleman came up with a well-rehearsed piece of evidence rather than a contribution to the debate.

I have seen terrorism and violence. I know what they are. I shall not fall into the hon. Gentleman's trap of recounting all those instances. They are more gory and greater in number than the hon. Gentleman recounted. Everything I shall say in the debate will be said against the background of my abhorrence of all types of violence, from whatever source. Violence was demonstrated in my constituency on Tuesday. A young man whom I knew well — I know his family well — was found lying dead on the side of a road. He had been shot. That night, when I attempted to get to sleep, 150 people with masks on their faces took over my village. They did so in the name of Unionism, which the hon. Gentleman espouses.

That is the type of situation in which we live, so let us please have no condescension and patronising attitudes. Those who live amongst all that is happening know exactly what it is like. We do not need that sort of patronising attitude shown by anyone.

My first crucial point was touched on in the previous debate on other issues. Can there be natural, normal law in an unnatural, abnormal situation created unnaturally and abnormally to sustain an unnatural and abnormal majority within an abnormally divided country?

The right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West pointed out that there is a generation of policemen, lawyers and young people who have never known anything but the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978. I did not know anything other than the emergency provisions legislation that went before it, nor did anyone who lived in the north of Ireland. It was much worse than this Act. On one famous occasion, a member of the South African Government claimed to want the provisions of the special powers legislation for his own country. We have had emergency provisions since the day the north of Ireland was founded.

The key question is: can there ever be a normal society, a normal legal process and a normal system of justice in an abnormal society? The answer is no. Unfortunately, as long as Northern Ireland exists and the constitutional position remains unchanged, there will be this type of legislation.

I have always referred to the rake's progress in relation to Northern Ireland because every time one bends the law one makes more paramilitaries. Since 1969, it has been proven conclusively in the north of Ireland that, each time the law is bent, more people join the UDA, UVF, IRA, or INLA. They have been given a reason to become paramilitaries. That rake's progress is there for everyone to see. That is why this legislation is objectionable.

If the legislation were capable of working, it would have worked during the past 64 years, but it has failed. We are faced with the prospect of similar failure during the next 64 years, if this legislation lasts that long. No amount of scare tactics or gory detail will change that reality. To get to grips with the process of justice and law in the north of Ireland, we must realise that reality.

One aspect that is absolutely objectionable in relation to this legislation is the Diplock system in the courts. The House took away the protection that the individual had within the court system — the protection of the jury. While this type of legislation lasts, the House has a duty to replace that protection, at least partially. That will riot be the real answer, which is a return to the jury system. Until that system returns, the House must replace it with a system of three judges who hear all cases concerning scheduled offences. Unless that is done, the individual will not have the protection which is normally available under the law and to which he is entitled.

The relationship between policing in Northern Ireland and the position of Mr. Stalker is a controversial point. found it difficult to restrain myself when the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds was making his references to Mr. Stalker. I met that man and I gave evidence to him. I regard him as a man of immense integrity and professionalism and all the innuendos about him are grossly unfair and not worthy of the type of consideration given to them by the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds.

Sir Eldon Griffiths

The hon. Gentleman must have misheard. I did not asperse Mr. Stalker. I share the hon. Gentleman's view about Mr. Stalker's professional competence. However, I believe that the matter of the investigation into this action, which is sub judice, should be completed quickly.

Mr. Mallon

I was saying that it is evident that it is now coming to the point where a man has been removed from his position without knowing why. He has been investigated by the man who has taken over the leadership of his inquiry in the north of Ireland. That is happening within a British society which claims to have total respect for that which is just and right.

There is a grave suspicion in Northern Ireland that Mr. Stalker has opened a can of worms, that that can has spilt out in more places in Northern Ireland, and that that is part of the reason why a good, honest and just policeman has been made a sacrificial lamb in stakes which are much higher than his own position within the Greater Manchester police service.

I have one simple question to ask which is the key to the issue. There are two elements to the report. The first is the substantive element which Mr. Stalker inquired into in relation to the whole ethic of policing, attitudes towards policing and the type of attitude we have seen within a special branch which was a force within a force. Does that report remain with the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Chief Constable and eventually with the Government, or does it die with Mr. Stalker? That investigation and report cannot be repeated by Mr. Sampson unless he is given at least two years.

The other element of the report is that which deals with the incidents themselves. That can, and I hope will, be speedily investigated and concluded by Mr. Sampson. What about the substantive element of the report? Is that the kernel of the problem or will we see that report coming to the Government and to the attention of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Chief Constable of the north of Ireland for action? When we know the answer to that, we will know what is behind this problem.

I shall finish on one point, which I raise only because' it was raised by the Secretary of State. We are entering into the marching season in Northern Ireland. It is causing and will cause enormous problems for all of us. It is incredible to realise that in 1986 we have over 2,000 such marches in a very small area of land with a very small population. The cost of the marches is incredible, not just financially but in time, inconvenience and loss of businesses. I know, because I live in a village which has a parade of some kind or another every Friday night, apart from those on Sunday. That lasts for seven months of the year.

I listened with interest to the points made and put to the Secretary of State in relation to some other body making the decisions rather than the police. I suggest that it is crucial that the decision must rest with those who take the political decisions because it is only they who can decide whether millions of pounds of our money is spent on making that type of provision. It is only they who eventually will be able, if they have the courage, to say that this cannot continue, year in and year out, to the detriment of the police, business people and everyone trying to live a normal life, and, above all, to the detriment of the public purse. That is where the matter rests.

One of the real challenges of administrative politics is having the courage to go in and make such a decision. No attempt should be made to shove that responsibility on to somebody else. It lies fairly and squarely on the Government Benches.

9.30 pm
Mr. Peter Bruinvels (Leicester, East)

Every three weeks my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State comes to the House and answers questions on Northern Ireland and refers to the current security situation. He gives the good and the bad news. He reports on the number of people who, sadly, have been killed in incidents as a result of the security position in the Province. On 5 June 1986 he gave the good news that so far this year 264 people have been charged with serious offences, including one with murder, and 17 with attempted murder. In the same period, 96 weapons, 10,600 rounds of ammunition and 1,200 lb of explosives have been recovered.

The reason why there is a success story comes straight out of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978. Northern Ireland has been a country of conflict. There is no doubt that the RUC has a difficult task. Wherever its men go they are under constant threat. They are courageous. They have to adopt an impartial attitude to the way in which they are able to enforce the rule of law. Two per cent. of the RUC are members of the Roman Catholic faith. They have to deal with many difficulties. The attitudes which they have to take in fighting terrorism in every way possible should be supported in the House. It does not matter to me how a terrorist is caught as long as he is caught. I want the RUC to be given the best possible powers so that they can maintain a free society in Northern Ireland.

Too many lives have been wasted already and too many lives have been lost. If section 11 gives the power of arrest without warrant of any person suspected of being a terrorist, so be it. That is taking the terrorist off the street. [Interruption.] Labour Members may object to the plain truth, but too many people are suffering in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and we should give it proper protection.

There are 11,000 members of the RUC and 10,000 members of the Army in Northern Ireland and if we are to catch terrorists they must have every possible resource before them. This order is just one of the useful ways of fighting terrorism. It will not get just the members of the IRA. Indeed, it does not. It will get the paramilitary organisations and the other people who are undermining society over there.

However, we must face the fact that the security forces in Northern Ireland are living dangerously. Fifty-four members of the security forces died in 1985 and 27 have died this year to date. The Democratic Unionist party has said that when the Northern Ireland Assembly goes it will bring politics on to the streets. It is distracting the RUC from trying to catch the terrorist.

The prison officers bravely maintain law and order in the prisons in difficult circumstances, when members of the IRA are deliberately anti-establishment in the prisons. Twenty-four officers have lost their lives in the past 10 years. They need protection on their way home. I want to see more protection for our prison officers. I hope that when my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary replies he will confirm that everything possible is being done to protect the prison officers, not just in the prisons but in their "safe" homes.

The same must be said for all members of the RUC. It is a shocking indictment that a prison officer and a police officer can never be off duty; can never be completely safe. Their names and addresses are openly circulated and if the IRA has an opportunity to get them it will do so because they are seen as the establishment and the IRA will not stomach them.

Therefore, the emergency provisions will help security, just as much as America, which is now responding on the extradition treaty and, indeed, seems to be calming down on the amount of money being sent through Noraid. I believe that our forces are still acting within the law. That is not a hope but a genuine belief. The courts have been very responsible. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has said, they have difficult duties and responsibilities to bear. When they sentence people — all right, they may have been charged following a supergrass trial—they are guilty. The more guilty people who are convicted and put into prison, the better. If it means that there is no time for jury trials, so be it. I have faith in the judicial system in Northern Ireland. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has already admitted that he will improve safeguards for suspects.

Much has been said about the Anglo-Irish agreement. It is common knowledge that I am not its greatest fan. But it is early days and we cannot yet tell how much improvement there has been in cross-border co-operation. However, it certainly seems better than before. The two police chiefs are now talking to each other, and security on the border is being regularly maintained. The House must always hack the security forces in fighting violence.

The agreement has certainly meant close border cooperation. Much more must be done. We are lucky if an IRA attack is shown on national television. We have become rather complacent about the number of attacks and incidents in Northern Ireland. It is no longer news to see someone being bombed. That is no good. We as a people must fight the terrorists. with force if necessary. The Americans, who are still giving to Noraid, would be shocked if they knew how so many brave security officers had been murdered and attacked. If we could give full reports of those incidents and could describe exactly how someone had been murdered, the Americans would no longer believe that they were funding political folk heroes, and would realise that they were funding political cowards who do not believe in the democracy of Northern Ireland.

This order is essential for the continued future and safety of the people of Northern Ireland. They want the order. It has been in existence for a long time. While waiting to be called, I have read the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 in its entirety. Many of its provisions, introduced, incidentally, under a Labour Government, have assured better security for the people of Northern Ireland.

There is always controversy over religion, but talk of the heroes of the south of Ireland is not acceptable to the people of the north. The border must be maintained even more carefully. There must be regular patrols. We must publicise the outrageous acts of the IRA, and be even more prepared, now that Colonel Gaddafi, that madman and warmonger, has announced that he is to recommence donating substantial sums to the IRA, to put all members of the RUC on red alert. Colonel Gaddafi is talking about giving. £1.3 million to kill innocent people. That is state terrorism.

.Mr. Bob Clay (Sunderland, North)

What about the people killed in Libya by aeroplanes from British bases?

Mr. Bruinvels

In the other place the Lord Chancellor said that state terrorism was a treasonable offence and that the death penalty was already available for it. If we had the death penalty for terrorism, the IRA would think again. If three or four terrorists lost their lives, they would not become the martyrs that they imagine. We must be tougher about protecting a very important part of our country. The order will ensure regular safety and protection under the law for the inhabitants of Northern Ireland. We owe that to them. Peace must be maintained. I am surprised that Opposition Members cannot support an order that will ensure peace and that will protect those who need our protection now.

9.39 pm
Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

Mr. Speaker, can you tell me when the winding-up speeches are supposed to begin? I do not want to intrude on anyone's time. I have had to sit and listen to the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Sir E. Griffiths) speaking for longer than either of the Front Bench spokesmen and the rest of us could not get in to speak. I will be as quick as I can and make a few points.

We have heard miserable nonsense from Conservative speakers and nothing political emerged from the speeches. The Northern Ireland problem is political and it needs political answers. The hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds spoke at massive length but did not speak a single word of politics. I do not need to say anything about the speech of the hon. Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Bruinvels).

The debate is about the emergency provisions and the account by Sir George Baker. The National Council for Civil Liberties set out in its evidence to Sir George Baker — and this bears out the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon)—the reasons why the council came into being. Having been given so little time to speak, this will be my major point. The NCCL stated that it was Northern Ireland which brought it into being. The NCCL stated in its evidence to Sir George Baker: In 1936, the NCCL established an independent Commission of Inquiry to take evidence in Northern Ireland and to examine the administration and constitutional validity of the Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Acts, the precursor of today's Emergency Provisions Act. It reported in 1936 and concluded that through the operation of the Special Powers Acts, 'contempt has been begotten for the representative institutions of government'; that 'abrogation of the rule of law has been so practised as to bring the freedom of the subject into contempt'; that the Acts had secured the domination of one political faction which by its actions had driven legitimate movements underground into illegality—thus driving its opponents into the ways of extremists; and lastly that the Acts had been used against innocent people whose injuries had gone unrecompensed and disregarded. That is the position with the Emergency Provisions Act. It is present because one faction, aided by the Labour party and the Tories, was allowed to develop until it festered and blew up in our faces. In the face of that, all we hear from the Conservatives is a miserable account of what is happening about security. We have not heard a single sentence about how to solve the problem. I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. Bell), speaking from the Opposition Front Bench—and I am cutting my speech short to hear what he says— will, in all conscience, say something political. The people in Northern Ireland will continue to be slaughtered as long as the border exists, and as long as nothing is done to remove the border which is wrong and abnormal, and which is stealing territory from a sovereign nation which once again wants to be sovereign.

9.43 pm
Mr. Stuart Bell (Middlesbrough)

I am grateful for the opportunity to wind up this debate on behalf of the Opposition and to follow the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery). He is absolutely right to say that, in the context in which he made his short intervention, we are dealing with a curious situation in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is a democracy and we are part of a democracy. Northern Ireland has an international border and that border causes total instability and destabilises democracy in Northern Ireland and the democracy of these islands.

I recently had the opportunity to write an article in which I stated that the difficulties and problems of Northern Ireland spoil the harmony of our own country. The problem that we have discussed at length earlier will continue to fester and cause us heartache. However, more than that, it will cause heartache and distress to those who live in Northern Ireland. The consequences of the instability can be seen every day of the week. The hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Sir E. Griffiths) made a long contribution — as he sat through the previous debate for most of the evening—and he referred to the difficulties faced by the police and the attacks made on members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

I have before me a magazine called Focus, the magazine of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland. It states: In March, 43 police officers had their homes attacked and 11 families have had to flee from certain areas. The attacks … have … been particularly brutal. I could go on at greater length, because there are quite a few of those attacks on members of the RUC in Northern Ireland. They have shocked the conscience of the British people as much as the IRA. I have always taken the view that the IRA cannot and will not bomb or terrorise the people of these islands into any sort of submission along the lines of IRA policy. That is inconceivable in the long run. It is similar to the remark that I believe Winston Churchill made in 1943 about Germany and Hitler: What kind of people do they think we are? What sort of people does the IRA think we are? The paramilitary — those who have perpetrated such violence on members of the Protestant community — equally reveal the deep wells of hatred and cynicism on both sides of the sectarian divide, adding to the destablising situation.

We in the Labour party make no bones about our position. The hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds spoke in fear of our next election manifesto, and thought that we might have a policy that gave dates for withdrawal from Northern Ireland or some such aspect. I only repeat the remarks made by the Secretary of State earlier. He said that he could not anticipate the legislation to be announced in the Queen's Speech. I cannot anticipate our legislation, and what will be in our manifesto. However, I can assure the hon. Gentleman that our policy is that we believe in a united Ireland. We believe that we should work for that united Ireland. We believe that, in the long run, Ireland will be united in peace and through the consent of the people of the north. That is our objective, and that is our policy.

With regard to the renewal of the emergency provisions, it is a matter of deep regret that they are before us at all. One has to understand the deep anxiety that we feel on issues such as the Diplock courts. The hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds made an interesting and intriguing point. Will extradition take place from the United States to a country where a judge takes the role of 13 people? He takes the role of the 12 members of the jury and that of the judge. He is not only the arbiter of the law but the arbiter of the facts. In all the cases that I have taken before our criminal courts, the judge always addresses the jury and tells them that the question of fact is a matter for the jury. I respect the judiciary, and I associate myself and my colleagues with the remarks of the Secretary of State about the judiciary in Northern Ireland and the Lord Chief Justice, but it is too great a burden on a single individual for him to have to disseminate the facts as well as the law.

We are most concerned, and have been for many years, about the supergrasses. There was an interesting review of the entire supergrass system in the Law Quarterly Review, in an article by Steve Greer, a lecturer in law at the university of Sussex. He makes several cogent and important points about supergrasses, and about how we in England and Wales have handled the trials of those who have given evidence against their former accomplices. He shows the great discrepancy that is developing between the law of our own country and the law in Northern Ireland. Therefore, it makes us all extremely nervous to be confronted with section 7 of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act and to have to vote for it.

As my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer) said, we repeat our support for the security forces, and for all those who fight terrorism. We are as happy as anyone in this country at the finding of guilty in the Old Bailey trial of the Brighton bomber and his cohorts, and the case of the Droppin' Well incident, when there were pleas of guilty. We support all those actions of the security forces.

We are nervous, and we have consistently pressed the Government to implement the recommendations of the Baker report. I note that the Secretary of State is present for the reply to this debate and we congratulate him on the positive approach he has taken with regard to the implementation of the recommendations of the Baker report. Former Secretaries of State have told us that they proposed to carry forward these recommendations, but tonight we have had an assurance that these recommendations will be brought in within the lifetime of the present Parliament. I do not know whether that gives us a hint as to when the next general election will be, but the promise is welcome.

As my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Warley, West has said, we have waited three years and we have still not got those recommendations on the statute book. Therefore, in the interest of our constitutional duties as well as in the interest of the fine balance between the civil rights of an individual and the courts and the powers of the police in our country, we have no alternative—I say this with the utmost sincerity and firmness—but to divide the House.

9.50 pm
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Nicholas Scott)

I apologise in advance that I will be unable to address myself to a number of the detailed points that have been raised in the course of the debate because I have had to truncate my remarks. I recognise that a number of Members have raised questions concerning the Stalker report and I shall address that matter immediately.

I wish to make it absolutely clear that neither my right hon. Friend nor myself have seen the report submitted to the Chief Constable by Mr. Stalker. On 13 June my right hon. Friend told the right hon. Member for Strangford (Mr. Taylor) that he understood this to be an interim report. At one point, however, there was a misunderstanding, wherein my right hon. Friend and myself believed it to be a final report on which certain supplementary questions had been asked. In fact, this was an interim report and I regret if anybody has been misled as a result of our misunderstanding.

The task, upon which Mr. Stalker had embarked and had largely completed, will now be carried to its conclusion by the same inquiry team consisting of the same officers but now under the leadership of Mr. Colin Sampson, the chief constable of West Yorkshire. As I have not seen the report, I cannot comment further on the suggestions that have been made in the course of this debate. I certainly agree with those right hon and hon. Members who urge that the report should be carried through to a conclusion as quickly as possible. We are anxious to see that that happens.

The right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer). who opened this debate, sought to explain the position of the Labour party in relation to the renewal of these provisions. I would not suggest for one moment that the Labour party is not aware of, and does not sympathise with, the problems that are faced by the security forces in Northern Ireland. I do not question its total opposition to terrorism in the Province, but I question its judgment in deciding to vote against this order tonight. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Sir E. Griffiths) that it would be a gross dereliction of duty if this House did not pass this order to renew these provisions which are absolutely essential to the continued battle against terrorism in Northern Ireland.

The right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West implied that, in some way, we now accept these provisions as an entrenched feature of life in Northern Ireland and that they are easily passed by this House. We continue to renew the provisions every six months, to go through them with some care and to answer the points made about them. Equally. we have had frequent and totally independent reviews conducted into the nature of this legislation, most recently by the late Sir George Baker who concluded, among other things, that we could not do without legislation broadly along the lines that at present exists. Nobody takes this for granted and we want, as my right hon. Friend said in opening this debate, the minimum movement away from normality in Northern Ireland necessary to cope with the situation that confronts society, and especially the security forces in the Province.

I cannot comment on the particular case about Miss Walsh which the right hon. and learned Gentleman raised. It predates even my time in Northern Ireland, and I do not quibble. However, the armed forces are empowered to arrest under section 14 and the police under section 11 of the legislation. Therefore, if the armed forces arrested Miss Walsh, they would have done so under section 14. Regarding armed forces' arrests and police arrests, we intend to introduce in an amendment the test of reasonable suspicion. I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will regard that as a move in the right direction. The power of detention is included in section 12, and, although we have no intention of reactivating or reusing that power, the Government judge that it would be premature to remove it from the statute book now.

I must challenge the right hon. and learned Gentleman about his allegation of falling standards of justice in Northern Ireland. I do not believe it is possible to follow the road he suggests of ruling out in all circumstances uncorroborated evidence, even where it is given by a former accomplice. However, one can expect the courts to treat any such evidence with the utmost rigour, and in Northern Ireland they do just that.

When the Director of Public Prosecutions decides whether to prosecute, he must make his decision on the basis that if there were a jury a conviction would be likely beyond reasonable doubt. That is the only standard applied by the courts in Northern Ireland. The judges must warn themselves about the danger of accepting such evidence, and if there is a conviction, unlike the position in Great Britain, anyone convicted in a court of first instance or in the High Court of Northern Ireland has an automatic appeal to a three-judge court. The DPP and the judges in the courts in Northern Ireland have, with the utmost integrity, sought in the most difficult circumstances to uphold standards of British justice.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds delivered a message to absent Unionist Members of this House with force and vigour, and I hope that they have ears to hear that message. He paid a proper tribute to the police forces of Britain, Ireland and the continent and to the law enforcement agencies in the United States. There is a new mood of co-operation about in the international battle against terrorism. I do not claim that we have beaten terrorism either internationally or within the island of Ireland. The IRA, in particular, and other terrorist organisations retain their ability to murder and maim, but there is a new momentum, not least within the island of Ireland, where it can be attributed to the Anglo-Irish agreement and the impetus that that has given to cross-border security co-operation.

My hon. Friend asked about defendants who might seek to avoid extradition from the United States, even after the passage of the supplementary treaty by the whole of the Senate. He said that they could claim that they had not or would not receive a fair trial in Northern Ireland. I would not expect that to happen. When the United States federal judge Sprizzo upheld Joseph Doherty's appeal against extradition in 1984, he also made absolutely clear his opinion that Doherty had received a fair trial in Belfast in 1981. He specifically rejected the contention that the Northern Ireland system of justice, including Diplock courts, was unfair. We expect. United States courts to continue to get that right. I t was a most important judgment, of which I hope that other courts in the United States will take note.

In cases where these matters are in dispute, we certainly make available witnesses to go to courts in foreign jurisdictions to give evidence about the nature of the judicial and prison systems in Northern Ireland and any other factors that may be taken into account by the courts.

My hon. Friend went on to pay particular tribute to the men and women of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. That was echoed by my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Bruinvels) who also mentioned, rightly, the pressures that prison officers are under at present in Northern Ireland, and paid tribute to those prison officers. I endorse both tributes. By financial and other forms of support, the Government have shown their support for the work that has been done by the RUC. Expenditure on the police service has increased fivefold in the last 10 years and there have been two increases in the authorised establishment in the last five years. In terms of the total hours worked in Northern Ireland, we have now the highest level of police effort since the time of the hunger strike in 1981. That shows the Government's commitment to the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

Other points have been raised in the debate. I shall write to hon. Members to clear up any outstanding matters. I commend the order to the House.

Question put

The House divided: Ayes 138, Noes 57.

Division No. 228] [10.00 pm
Alexander, Richard Galley, Roy
Ancram, Michael Garel-Jones, Tristan
Ashby, David Glyn, Dr Alan
Ashdown, Paddy Goodhart, Sir Philip
Aspinwall, Jack Gow, Ian
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble) Gregory, Conal
Atkinson, David (B'm'th E) Griffiths, Sir Eldon
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)
Bellingham, Henry Gummer, Rt Hon John S
Benyon, William Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)
Best, Keith Hampson, Dr Keith
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Hanley, Jeremy
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Harris, David
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Harvey, Robert
Boscawen, Hon Robert Hawkins, C. (High Peak)
Bottomley, Peter Hawksley, Warren
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Hayes, J.
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Hayhoe, Rt Hon Barney
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Hayward, Robert
Bright, Graham Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Brinton, Tim Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Brooke, Hon Peter Hind, Kenneth
Bruinvels, Peter Hirst, Michael
Budgen, Nick Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)
Burt, Alistair Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)
Carlisle, John (Luton N) Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (Wton S) Hunter, Andrew
Cash, William Jessel, Toby
Chope, Christopher Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Clark, Hon A. (Plym'th S'n) Key, Robert
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) King, Roger (B'ham N'field)
Coombs, Simon King, Rt Hon Tom
Cope, John Knowles, Michael
Couchman, James Lang, Ian
Crouch, David Lawler, Geoffrey
Currie, Mrs Edwina Lawrence, Ivan
Dover, Den Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Dunn, Robert Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Durant, Tony Lightbown, David
Evennett, David Lilley, Peter
Eyre, Sir Reginald Livsey, Richard
Favell, Anthony Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Fox, Sir Marcus Lord, Michael
Franks, Cecil Luce, Rt Hon Richard
Freeman, Roger Lyell, Nicholas
McCurley, Mrs Anna Powley, John
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Proctor, K. Harvey
MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire) Raffan, Keith
McLoughlin, Patrick Rhodes James, Robert
McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury) Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Major, John Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Malins, Humfrey Roe, Mrs Marion
Malone, Gerald Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Maples, John Rowe, Andrew
Marlow, Antony Scott, Nicholas
Maude, Hon Francis Sumberg, David
Merchant, Piers Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Meyer, Sir Anthony Thurnham, Peter
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Twinn, Dr Ian
Morris, M. (N'hampton S) Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Moynihan, Hon C. Watson, John
Murphy, Christopher Wells, Bowen (Hertford)
Nelson, Anthony Wheeler, John
Newton, Tony Wolfson, Mark
Nicholls, Patrick Wood, Timothy
Norris, Steven Yeo, Tim
Page, Richard (Herts SW) Young, Sir George (Acton)
Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Pollock, Alexander Tellers for the Ayes:
Portillo, Michael Mr. Tim Sainsbury and
Powell, Rt Hon J. E. Mr. Michael Neubert.
Powell, William (Corby)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Hume, John
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham) Lewis, Terence (Worsley)
Barron, Kevin Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Beckett, Mrs Margaret McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Bell, Stuart Madden, Max
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Mallon, Seamus
Bermingham, Gerald Maynard, Miss Joan
Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E) Michie, William
Caborn, Richard Nellist, David
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M) Pavitt, Laurie
Carter-Jones, Lewis Pike, Peter
Clay, Robert Raynsford, Nick
Clelland, David Gordon Redmond, Martin
Cohen, Harry Richardson, Ms Jo
Cook, Frank (Stockton North) Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Corbyn, Jeremy Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l) Short, Mrs R.(W'hampt'n NE)
Deakins, Eric Skinner, Dennis
Dobson, Frank Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)
Dormand, Jack Snape, Peter
Dubs, Alfred Soley, Clive
Fatchett, Derek Straw, Jack
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Wareing, Robert
Fisher, Mark Welsh, Michael
Flannery, Martin Williams, Rt Hon A.
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Winnick, David
Foster, Derek
Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Tellers for the Noes:
George, Bruce Mr.Norman Hogg and Sir
Haynes, Frank Ray Gower.
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That the draft Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 (Continuance) (No. 2) Order 1986, which was laid before this House on 22nd May, be approved.