HC Deb 28 June 1988 vol 136 c204

As amended (in the Standing Committee), again considered.

4.3 pm

Mrs. Ann Taylor (Dewsbury)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. If the Minister is unable to answer my question now I hope that we shall have some clarification from the Government later in our proceedings.

You will recall, Mr. Speaker, that when we last discussed the Bill on 16 June, we dealt with new clause 80, which relates to DNA testing in Northern Ireland. At that time, the Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office gave certain assurances about the new clause. On the basis of those assurances, my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) accepted that the new clause should be added to the Bill, and Ministers will recall that we did not divide the House on that matter.

An article has now been published in the New Scientist that disputes the information given by the Minister of State. It demonstrates that the tests that the Minister suggested would be carried out to obtain a mouth swab would not be sufficient to obtain the necessary information, and that an intimate sample would be required. I seek an assurance from the Minister of State that, if intimate samples are required, they will be covered by other provisions in the Bill.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. John Patten)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am glad to clarify the point that the hon. Lady has raised—I hope to her satisfaction.

When my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office moved the new clause on 16 June, he said that the scientific procedures were satisfactory regarding the taking of mouth swab samples. The article in the New Scientist does not lead the Government to change their views in any way at all.

Mrs. Taylor


Mr. Speaker

Order. I believe that the matter could best be clarified on Third Reading.

Forward to