HC Deb 02 November 1988 vol 139 cc1118-55

Ordered, That, at this day's sitting, the Motion on Broadcasting and Terrorism in the name of the Prime Minister may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour.—[Mr. Fallon.]

Question again proposed, That the amendment be made.

Mr. Buchan

That has made it even more difficult to arrive at the truth. The hon. Member for Thanet, North gave us a description of his history in broadcasting. The opportunities for freedom and openness of expression have been diminishing, not increasing. The most violent image that I have seen was that of a small child running down a road in Vietnam. The child was covered in napalm and burning. I do not know whether Rees-Mogg in his new job as the grand censor would have allowed that image to be shown, but it was among the images that stopped the war in Vietnam.

It is necessary to show some violence, because violence exists and should be seen. Virtually every interview that I have seen with an IRA spokesman has diminished IRA support and not increased it. Its support is increased if its members are exemplified as heroes against a repressive and censorious British Government.

This measure is not only repressive but stupid and self-defeating, and the Secretary of State knows it. He has been asked to act because Tory party conferences demand action and the Government take action that is repressive when the opposite is required. We need more openness about Northern Ireland. That is the answer. We are wrong if we think that, by ignoring the IRA, Ireland's problems will go away. The IRA will be with us until we get a political solution, and that requires understanding.

Censorship has increased and continues to increase. The Government intend to allow the monopolies of the commercial world to control our broadcasting. But the Government recognise the dangers of that and bring in a grand censor, Rees-Mogg, and give him a remit to deal with sex and violence. He is concerned not just with fictional sex or violence but also with current affairs and documentaries. That means that, for the first time, we have an internal censor dealing with standards which in themselves are beginning to affect the portrayal of truth, not through fiction but in documentaries. That is a dangerous step, from the most dangerous and repressive Government that we have known.

If I were to take a text to quote to the House I would take it from a good old-fashioned Protestant puritan John Milton. The Secretary of State in this philistine Cabinet should remember that, when the "Areopagitica" by Milton was written in praise of freedom, it argued the case for the enemy to be heard. Milton said that it was the false prelates who should be heard—no country or society was perfect, and the only way to deal with a problem was to allow wrongs to be made known and openly discussed. He said that the way forward was through freedom for those with whom we disagree.

I disagree profoundly with Sinn Fein, and I totally reject the IRA, but they are at the moment legal. If he had the courage of his convictions, the Home Secretary would have brought in a law to deal with this. He has failed to do so and has brought in a diktat. I am not sure how legal that diktat is. What will happen if the broadcasting authorities say that they will interview someone from the IRA? What will happen? What will be the legal basis? Are we sure that we have it right?

The relationship between the Government and the broadcasting authorities was good. We were the pride of the world, but the standards of British broadcasting have been eroded. The example of John Birt was quoted by the hon. Member for Thanet, North, but the Secretary of State is now introducing the American habit of checkers on broadcast programmes.

Mr. Gerald Howarth

Hear, hear.

Mr. Buchan

"Hear, hear," he says.

We are no longer allowed the editorial independence which alone can bring the diversity that we require properly to survive. The moment that we have a central diktat, thought goes out of the window. What a foolish paradox that today her ladyship goes off to Poland to lecture the Poles about freedom. She is to tell them that the shipyard must be saved, while the Government are closing a factory in the neighbouring constituency to mine, that freedom of expression must be allowed and that writers must be allowed freedom.

Two years ago, I took part in a conference with a number of people from the Soviet Union, at the Edinburgh festival. They were rejoicing that they were beginning to speak more freely. They were asked why the works of Solzhenitsyn should not be published and they said, "He does not speak the truth." I asked, "Who knows what the truth is? What is truth suggesting? Who can tell? The task is to let it be published and let the various truths clash." One man cheered—Yevtushenko himself. Now, the Russians are to publish Solzhenitsyn. There is progress in many places, but we are moving backward into darkness.

10.6 pm

Mr. William Cash (Stafford)

The hon. Member for Paisley, South (Mr. Buchan) spoke in an unnecessary and irrelevant manner about the visit by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to Poland. The position that my right hon. Friend will adopt when she speaks in Poland will be in defence of the values that the Conservative party supports. We want to ensure that violence, whether it is state-imposed violence or unlawful IRA violence, is not allowed to go unchallenged. On the bottom line, that is why we have made these proposals.

I pointed out in an earlier intervention that it is not only the Conservative party that has adopted this position at this time, for it was the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in a Labour Government who adopted a similar position, for sound reasons, in 1977. We need responsible broadcasting, but we also need to contain terrorism and not give it publicity. Many examples have been given of how terrorist activities have been given unnecessary broadcasting time, but we shall have to look more carefully at the basis on which the BBC and the IBA exercise their powers under their charters.

We are talking about standards and self-regulation. Professor Paul Wilkinson has already been referred to, and it may be helpful to refer to one of the points that he made in his book, "Internal Terrorism and the Liberal State." Although he is a passionate opponent of terrorism, he thinks that the Home Secretary should have used his powers under the Broadcasting Acts to ban a programme in which the IRA was a participant. That position was taken by someone who is an acknowledged authority on terrorism. Professor Wilkinson has an acknowledged reputation in his field and has spent many years studying and considering such questions.

In 1983, a book about televising terrorism was published. The authors drew the conclusion that because cumulative protests by the public during the previous 10 years—that is from 1973 to 1983—had effectively brought television interviews to an end, it appeared that no formal ban was required. Evidently, the whole basis of that argument has been undermined by the continuing attention that the broadcasting authorities have given to interviews that would be prohibited by the directions.

The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), whose argument was described as conclusive by the right hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Foot), made derisory coments about my hon. Friend the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, North (Mr. Stewart). He said that it was absurd and fatuous for him to say that people should raise the matter with the Home Office. However, if one is considering the independence of the BBC, and if one concedes that in the charter and in the Act there should be a power—such a power is conceded by Opposition Members—to exercise such a ban by notice or direction, if it is self-evident that the BBC and the IBA and those on the upward reference through the system have not been complying with the powers that they have to ensure that a proper standard is being observed in matters of this kind, clearly the matter has to be dealt with at a higher level. Precisely those powers are contained in the charter and in the Independent Broadcasting Authority Act 1973.

Mr. Hattersley

The hon. Gentleman is terrifyingly ignorant. If the BBC or the IBA is failing to fulfil its obligations under the law, it is the law that must deal with it. The idea that the Government act as a court and that the IBA or BBC might ask the Government to say whether they are behaving illegally is in the nature of tyranny. It is a failure to distinguish between the courts and the Government. If the hon. Gentleman does not understand that, he understands nothing about what we are debating tonight.

Mr. Cash

I am delighted that the right hon. Gentleman has made such an absurd comment. He has demonstrated that he does not have the faintest idea of what a charter is. He should be more careful before he starts bandying words with people who have some understanding of these matters.

The ban has become necessary because the authorities have neglected to exercise self-regulation in the public interest. That is what the chartered body is all about, that is what the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook does not understand, and that is why I support the motion.

10.13 pm
Mr. George Galloway (Glasgow, Hillhead)

I wanted to take part in this debate particularly because my constituency contains one of the most important pieces of broadcasting real estate—the headquarters of the BBC in Scotland in the leafy Queen Margaret drive.

In my first ever speech in the House I was compelled to address a recent celebrated clash between the Government and the broadcasters. It took the form of size 9 boots on the feet of the Strathclyde constabulary walking through the hallowed portals of the BBC in Scotland. The order for the swinging of those boots came, it is now clear, through however many prisms from a street in London not many yards from this building. The reason for the order was the hunt for the enemy within. The enemy was perceived to be within those hallowed portals. A distinguished constituent of mine, Brian Barr, the producer of "The Secret Society" series, was being described as one of the enemies within. The Government have a fetish about enemies within, whether they are explicitly named, such as the president of the National Union of Mineworkers and the miners who supported him, or implicitly smeared, as in the recent decision over trade union membership at GCHQ. The Government are constantly looking for scapegoats on whom to blame their real problems.

Some new enemies within have been named today. My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) was accused by no less a personage than the Home Secretary of being an enemy within and encouraging Sinn Fein to stand in elections. He did no such thing. We had the even more outlandish suggestion by the hon. Member for Newbury (Sir M. McNair-Wilson) that the noble Lord Thomson—no raving Trotskyite or secret Provo—might also be an enemy within for failing in his statutory obligation to control the IBA companies that operate under his auspices.

Things would be different if I believed that the measure was a spontaneous reaction from a Government with a specific point of view on the Irish question—different from mine, but they are entitled to it and they are the governing party. If I believed it was a one-off, temporary measure which would be removed one day, if I believed that the Government were introducing it because, as I recognise, they have suffered intimately from terrorist violence, and if I believed that it was an honest response to a specific situation, I, having considered the details, would say that it was not the most draconian piece of legislation or the most totalitarian measure that has ever been before the House. I was able to study the details, thanks to the splendid services of our Library, and I suspect that more than one hon. Member took advantages of those services. If I believed that this was introduced in isolation, I would still oppose it but I would understand it.

I believe that it is not an aberration or a specific reaction, but part of an ongoing process, a process occurring sometimes, in the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley, South (Mr. Buchan) quoting Bacon, "like the arrow that flies in the night" through self-censorship, sometimes in response to a specific outrage when there is more heat about than light. It is steadily reducing us not to a totalitarian or authoritarian state, but to a shabby second or third-rate democracy with imperfect democratic institutions and steadily eroding civil liberties. Because we are involved in that process, I believe that we should oppose the measure fervently. It is a process that we have seen under this Government and, to be honest, under the previous Labour Government. One of my first political experiences was campaigning against the last Labour Government's deportation of Philip Agee and Mark Hosenball. Under both Governments we have experienced an erosion of freedom and liberty.

There has been a series of vindictive prosecutions, under the Official Secrets Act 1911, of people such as Tisdall and Ponting. Under the process of erosion, broadcasting companies have been harassed. In his witch-hunts, the former chairman of the Conservative party, the right hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit), pursued broadcasters such as Kate Adie and harassed the BBC.

Downing street has cheerfully contrived and organised a torrent of abuse about Thames Television's documentary "Death on the Rock". In advance of the investigation and inquiry, I do not concede that "Death on the Rock" was the farrago of errors that some Conservative Members described. We do not know all the truth, and I do not think that the court or the jury in Gibraltar believed that we knew all the truth about the events there.

As the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) memorably said, the process of erosion is happening under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1974, with its invention, for the first time, of the concept of internal exile in this country. Under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, citizens of the United Kingdom can be told that they are in exile in a part of the United Kingdom and that they are not permitted to travel to another part of it.

In the Diplock courts people have been tried before one judge, with no jury, and received long sentences, often deservedly. Under the process of erosion, the Secretary of State intends to abolish the centuries-old right of silence of suspects, without that silence being held against them as evidence of their guilt, not only in Northern Ireland but England and Wales.

The process of erosion has apparently led to election candidates—including right hon. and hon. Members whose integrity and patriotism are without question—having to swear oaths before they can seek election to the House and re-endorsement from their constituents. The process is slowly diminishing us not to totalitarianism but to a shabby, third-rate democracy, which increasingly compares badly with our partners in the European Community.

At the heart of most of the process of erosion is the Irish question. This is not the time or place to try to set to right the Irish question, which is not 20 years but centuries old. I am clear in my opinion that the Irish question is of such seriousness that there should be far more debate in the House. Almost as a knee-jerk reaction we deal with each atrocity and have a discussion about number plates or the carnage on our television screens. Neither hon. Members nor any of the major political party conferences give serious analysis or attention to the Irish question.

I am clear in my mind that it is time for Britain to leave Ireland. Partition is the original sin in Ireland. We are already paying too high a price for maintaining our presence in Ireland—in the lives of our young soldiers, many of whom are teenagers, and in the expenditure of treasure from our national Exchequer, which is needed for many other things. Increasingly, our presence is leading to a deterioration in our international reputation.

It is not necessary for hon. Members to agree with me that partition is the original sin. Surely we can all agree that Britain has a serious problem in Ireland. A serious and bloody problem requires more serious measures than the pathetic and laughable contribution that the Government are making with this measure.

I cannot believe that someone of the intellectual weight of the Home Secretary really believes that a political movement such as Sinn Fein will be diminished by the order. It has a centuries-old tradition. It has mass support —35 per cent. of the nationalist community in the north of Ireland is mass support. With respect to the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan), 100,000 people cannot all be sewer rats; they cannot all be murderers. Those 100,000 people vote for Sinn Fein. In some parts of Northern Ireland it is the major party. If the age at which people can vote were reduced from 18 to 16, Sinn Fein would sweep to power in many more areas. Whatever anyone in this Chamber might think of Sinn Fein, it is a movement with mass support. Does any hon. Member really believe that that support will be diminished if people can only look at a still photograph of Gerry Adams while an actor enunciates his words? If so, he cannot be a serious politician and he cannot be addressing seriously the critical question of Ireland.

To some extent my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley, South has stolen my thunder. It is a supreme and dismal irony that we are discussing this measure on the day that the Prime Minister has touched down in Warsaw. She has gone to Poland for some strange reason. Notwithstanding her meeting with Lech Walesa, I presume that it is not to discuss trade union freedom. The sacking of the trade unionists at GCHQ in Cheltenham surely makes that redundant. No Prime Minister of Britain could be such a hypocrite as to discuss trade union freedom in Poland, given what the right hon. Lady has done in this country.

According to an editorial in one Tory newspaper this morning, the Prime Minister has gone to Poland to talk about just one issue—freedom. If she has gone to Warsaw to talk to General Jaruzelski about freedom, I hope that she has the grace to be embarrassed when he, as he will, gives her a transcript of this debate as she prattles about censorship.

At a time when the winds of change, reform and, yes, liberalism are blowing throughout eastern Europe, it is a dismal irony that our Prime Minister should be going to Poland from a country where the winds are blowing in the opposite direction.

10.27 pm
Rev. William McCrea (Mid-Ulster)

During the parliamentary recess, my constituency was plunged into tremendous sorrow at the death of eight young soldiers. It was in my Mid-Ulster constituency that those young lads were brutally done to death by the IRA, which has no regret for what it has done. In fact, it was delighted to gloat over those murders.

The other day I walked to yet another graveside, that of a young 20-year-old reserve constable who was murdered in County Fermanagh as he was doing his duty in defence of freedom. He was brutally done to death by the terrorists. There were few Members of this House at his funeral. I stood by his open grave. Hon. Members do not know the reality of the deep sorrow felt by those who have gone through 20 years of murder and destruction.

Opposition Members must make up their minds. One Labour Member said that every interview with the IRA on television diminishes support for that organisation. There have been interviews with IRA members for 20 years. If every interview over the past 20 years represented diminishing support, one would expect them to have no support now, but that is not true. It sounds good, it is a nice argument to present, but it is not factual.

A moment ago, the hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galloway) said that 100,000 people vote in support of Sinn Fein under the same label as that of the IRA. He went further than that. He said that, instead of interviews causing diminishing support for the IRA and if the voting age were lowered to 16—Hansard will confirm this—the IRA would sweep the board.

Mr. Galloway

Sinn Fein.

Rev. William McCrea

Yes, Sinn Fein. We must realise that Sinn Fein is the political voice of the IRA and is under the instructions of the military wing of the IRA. The hon. Gentleman said that, instead of receiving diminishing support, the IRA would sweep the board. One Opposition Member said that keeping IRA members from the media will lead to diminishing support, but the next Opposition voice said that it will increase support.

It is possible for some people to pretend that they can have it both ways, but Her Majesty's Opposition must make up their minds about what case they will present on this serious matter. It affects the lives of people not only in Northern Ireland—they are a part of the United Kingdom—but in the whole United Kingdom.

Listening to the debate, one would think that we were talking about a mothers' union and not about murderers. We must get away from the farcical idea that we are talking about a little mothers' group, sitting in the corner of a nice little room discussing the next cake that they will bake. We are talking about the representatives and spokesmen of cold-blooded murderers. That is the issue, and the House should recognise it.

I have listened carefully to the debate. I have not heard much said on behalf of the victims who must watch IRA members appear on television and gloat over what they have done. I am sure that that is hurtful. In the Strangers' Gallery is a young man whose young fiancee was murdered by the IRA. The IRA fired 46 bullets into her body. That was not a little picnic or party. I assure hon. Members that someone should not gloat over or romanticise the activities of the IRA. We are talking about sadistic murderers who have carried out some of the most brutal crimes.

Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

Why does the hon. Gentleman not tell us about the UDA?

Rev. William McCrea

The hon. Gentleman is shouting from his usual position.

I shall vote for this measure in the Lobby tonight, bearing in mind what has been recommended by the Home Secretary, and that includes more than the IRA.

It must be clearly stated in the House that there has been a campaign of murder in Northern Ireland, and people are trying to romanticise it. The House should realise that it is dealing with callous, cold-blooded murderers and, equally, cold-blooded spokesmen for murderers.

The restrictions should have been forthcoming from the media. The media must carry a certain amount of the responsibility for this measure. Has the House any idea of the revulsion, resentment and hurt that media coverage causes the suffering families throughout the United Kingdom? They are not confined to Northern Ireland. Those eight young British soldier laddies belonged to and lived in this part of the United Kingdom. Their families suffer equally. If one listened to the interview with the father of one of them, one would understand his deep hurt at a spokesman for a terrorist organisation gloating over, smiling and cheering at what was done on that Ballygawley road. It was barbaric. Anyone who looked at that carnage could not say that the spokesman had any right to be heard on the media and air waves of the United Kingdom.

When the terrorists murdered that young girl, not only did they gloat, but they gave the sickening excuse that they thought that she and her young lad were connected with the security forces, but had made a mistake. "Sorry; we made a mistake." That is sickening. If hon. Members could only feel what it is like. One cannot understand unless it happens to oneself. One cannot know what a family goes through unless one is there or is part of the family. It is easy to pontificate about how one should react. Some may suggest that one should kiss the murderer for slaying one's son or daughter. It is about time proper action was taken to stop the long carnage and murder campaign in our beloved Province and throughout the United Kingdom.

This may be a small step, but I encourage the Government on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland to take further steps. As the Prime Minister said in her statement on the Province, we should not be satisfied until we eradicate terrorism. That should be our goal. The measures already announced will not solve terrorism. This is a small step and I will not cast it aside, as if it should be rejected.

The Government should take the further step of proscribing Sinn Fein. It is not a political party or part of the democratic process. Let no one try to justify its sickening deeds under the name of democracy. I do not care whether we are talking about housing—the IRA has blown more houses out of existence than anyone else—or jobs—the IRA has blown up jobs, leaving people jobless. Let not their apologists come on the box and tell us how sad they are about bread-and-butter issues, because they are the cancer in our midst that should be torn out and destroyed to allow the good people of Northern Ireland, from whatever section they come—and they come from all sections—to live in peace and stability.

Mr. Eddie McGrady (South Down)

Does the hon. Gentleman understand that this measure will allow Sinn Fein to debate housing, health and education issues and will not allow anyone to criticise its heinous atrocities of the previous night? That is the fallacy of the proposal.

Rev. William McCrea

If the hon. Gentleman was listening carefully, he would understand that that is why I suggested that Sinn Fein should be proscribed. It would remove completely the facade of democracy. Sinn Fein should be robbed of that facade and should not sit on district councils.

I say to the hon. Gentleman that I found it interesting that his hon. Friend was talking about the media stripping apart the Sinn Fein chairman of Fermanagh. I would accept that as a genuine statement—I would be glad to give way on this point—if the members of the SDLP had not voted Sinn Fein into the chairmanship of Strabane district council. In fact, in June it was the votes of the SDLP that gave the chairmanship of Strabane district council to Sinn Fein. That is not romantic nonsense; it is a fact.

Mr. McCrady

I shall refer to instances when the hon. Gentleman's party and the Official Unionist party made pacts with Sinn Fein in the council chambers of Newry and Mourne, represented by the hon. Gentleman, and Down district for the same purposes.

Rev. William McCrea

I say clearly that if the hon. Gentleman could produce—[HoN. MEMBERS: "Answer".] I shall answer, have no fear of that. If the House can be told tonight what Sinn Fein chairman or councillor was elected by the votes of the Ulster Unionists and the Democratic Unionists, I shall be glad to give away. The hon. Gentleman's last statement was nonsense, because the facts stand. The books can be displayed so that everyone can see that the SDLP voted Sinn Fein into the high office of chairman of Strabane district council, as it did two years ago in Omagh district council and as it did three years ago in Fermanagh district council. They have walked hand in hand in the council chambers. It has also voted for the past four years to elect the Sinn Fein vice-chairman of Magherafelt district council. However, that is taking us away from the issue. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer the questions".] The statement made by the hon. Member for South Down (Mr. McGrady) is completely untrue. We have made no arrangement with Sinn Fein. I have put forward facts, which I would be delighted to hear challenged. I shall be glad to bring to the House our voting record. I would be delighted if the hon. Gentleman would also bring his party's voting records.

After the Gibraltar incident, the media in Northern Ireland told us first that the coffins were being taken from Gibraltar and moved to Dublin, then that the coffins were moved near the border, then that they were going over the border, and then that the coffins of these IRA persons were going to west Belfast. We were treated to this IRA propaganda hour after hour. I ask any hon. Member to find out how much time was given last week by the media to reserve constable McCrone's funeral. His funeral was in the afternoon and was not mentioned on BBC radio that morning. He was not worthy of a mention. He only happened to be a reserve constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and a member of the security forces—that does not make a good enough story.

I shall mention one other incident that caused me concern. In Aughnacloy there was a serious incident where a young soldier discharged his weapon and a person was killed—Mr. McAnespie. Immediately, the media took the statements and conveyed it across the world that McAnespie was shot in the back by a deliberate discharge of a weapon by a soldier. Not only that young soldier, but also his colleagues were put into great danger. It was proved that he did not murder Mr. McAnespie at all. An inquiry was carried out by the Government of the south of Ireland to back that up. We have yet to hear the findings, because his body was exhumed to find out whether the claims were true.

No one came back to apologise to the young soldier. His name was spread across the world as a cold-blooded murderer. He was put in great danger, and now his life will always be in danger because of what the media did. That applies to his colleagues as well.

It is easy for people to spread those stories. It is one thing to drop feathers on the ground, but when the wind comes it is hard to pick them up again. It is one thing to spread a story against that young soldier and our young lads, whether they be in the Army, the UDR or the RUC. It is easy to come out with a story about "shoot to kill", but it is different when people are proved innocent.

Those lads and lasses are in grave danger. They have fought honourably to defend all the citizens of the United Kingdom. The House should give them as much backing as possible, and I shall do so tonight.

10.45 pm
Ms. Clare Short (Birmingham, Ladywood)

We should all have more respect for the denunciations of violence by the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Rev. William McCrea) if it was not for the fact that he and members of his party have such close entanglements with loyalist paramilitaries who engage in sectarian assassination—

Rev. William McCrea

Name one.

Ms. Short

The hon. Gentleman knows that that is true.

Rev. William McCrea

I challenge the hon. Lady to name one.

Ms. Short

The motion that we are discussing—

Rev. William McCrea

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. A serious charge has been made against an honourable Member of the House. I ask the hon. Lady to name one murderer with whom I have been associated, and I should prefer it if she did it outside—

Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)

Order. The hon. Gentleman knows that no breach of our Standing Orders has been committed. That is not a point of order for the Chair.

Ms. Short

Everyone in Northern Ireland knows that the leader of the hon. Gentleman's party has been photographed marching along the streets with masked loyalist paramilitaries.

Rev. William McCrea

Say it outside.

Ms. Short

I shall happily say it outside, and have done so already.

The motion that we are debating is deeply undemocratic and very insidious. On the word of one letter from the Home Secretary, the views that are voted for by as many as 42 per cent. of the nationalist population in Northern Ireland can no longer be reported on our broadcasting media.

Conservative Members have talked as if their denunciations of the violence of the IRA—they talked exclusively about that, not about loyalist paramilitary violence—will remove it from the face of the earth If only it were so. The problem that I should like to put to the ex-producer of "Blue Peter", the hon. Member for Thanet, North (Mr. Gale), is that 42 per cent. of the nationalist population in Northern Ireland are willing to vote for Sinn Fein—

Mr. Neil Hamilton (Tatton)


Ms. Short

The hon. Gentleman says, "Disgraceful." What are we supposed to do when a significant part of the population of the United Kingdom holds those views? Should we try to understand why? Should we allow the British people to try to do so? What an extraordinary thing it is that such a large number of people who are religious, who care for and love their children and elderly relatives and who are good people in every way that we assess other human beings are willing to vote in that way. The hon. Member for Tatton (Mr. Hamilton) does not like it, but it is a fact.

What should we do? Should we remove that from our broadcasting? Should we not allow the British people to know it? Should we not allow them to hear why people are willing to vote in that way? That is what we are doing now. It will not remove the support for such violence or voting, but we are trying to prevent the British people from understanding why people in Northern Ireland are willing to vote in that way.

That is to talk only of the nationalist community. We know that in the loyalist community there is deep ambivalence when it comes to support for illegal activity. At times it supports it and associates itself with it and at other times it pretends that it is not prepared to do so.

The tragedy of Northern Ireland was born of the threat of revolution and mutiny in the British armed forces. Violence has been used by those on all sides of the argument ever since Ireland was partitioned. That is part of the reality that we must face. The British people are entitled to know that the Government want to lessen their ability to understand the facts.

In what way do the Government lessen the ability of the British people to understand? They say that anything that is said by those who defend or support the use of violence in Northern Ireland can be reported in our newspapers. It can be reported by others who quote their words. We can see pictures of those who speak in support of this view, and an actor can produce a voice-over. That is laid down in a Home Office letter. That is not an interpretation of the ruling by lawyers at the BBC and the IBA. That sort of reporting is allowed, but the people are not allowed to speak for themselves.

There is something deeply wrong with that. One advantage of the broadcasting media—television and radio—is that people can see for themselves the individuals who espouse a cause and advance an argument. The public can make an assessment of such individuals, and that embraces their rationality, sincerity, attractiveness or ugliness.

It is notable that, on the "Call Nick Ross" programme, during which members of the public were telephoning to express support for the ban that was to be imposed on the broadcasting of those who support terrorism, there was reference to the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley), the leader of the Democratic Unionist party. The general understanding of many who phoned in to the programme was that the hon. Gentleman would no longer be able to broadcast on the media. That was extremely interesting.

Where are we now? The views of those who defend and support terrorism can be broadcast but the people are not to be allowed to judge for themselves what they think of those who hold that view. And the Conservative party told us that it was opposed to the nanny state. It seems that they do not trust the British people to make their own judgment. They find it necessary to intervene to prevent the British public from hearing why people in Northern Ireland are willing to kill one another in the course of their political disagreements.

Few Conservative Members have opposed the Government's policy, and the speeches in favour of it have gone much further than the ban that we are discussing. The speeches of many Conservative Members advocate complete censorship across the broadcasting media and the press. As it is inevitable that the ban will not work, it is inevitable that it will not reduce the level of violence. Indeed, it is likely to help to increase it.

I have no doubt that the demands of certain Conservative Members will be met in a few months' time. There will then be a further tightening of the screw and it will not be possible to produce a voice-over. A reporter will not be able to say why those who engage in violence seek to explain their involvement in it, and the ban will be extended to the press. That is the road that we are going down, and it is an extremely dangerous one.

We already have too much censorship of the broadcasting media in their coverage of Northern Ireland. It is vital that British people should understand why so many in Northern Ireland are willing to defend the use of violence in the advocacy of their political views.

Not long ago I watched a television programme that dealt with the father of a young British soldier who had been killed in Northern Ireland. The father went to Northern Ireland and he was filmed as he met representatives of the communities. He met an old man —he was sitting in his front room—whose son was imprisoned for having been involved in a paramilitary murder. The old man said that he was proud of his son. He said that he supported him. He thought his son was right and that the action in which he had engaged was necessary to achieve Irish freedom.

The father of the British soldier talked also with those in the other communities. When he returned, he said that he was glad that he made the journey and that he understood more about Ireland as a result of making it.

That was a useful television programme, but it would be illegal to make such a programme under the ban. The father of the British soldier would not be able to make the journey in an effort to understand affairs as they are in Northern Ireland.

We have to understand what is happening in Northern Ireland so that we can begin to attempt to put things right. The House is outrageous in its neglect of the problems in Northern Ireland. Most hon. Members take no interest in Northern Ireland and do not visit it. It is treated like a colony. As long as the violence is contained over there, hon. Members hardly care. Because my father and others in my family come from Northern Ireland, I take a lot of trouble to visit it frequently. I take great care to try to meet representatives of both communities. I have had endless discussions with people in both communities who support the use of violence about why it happens. I want to understand the reasons and to remove the causes and the violence.

What do Conservative Members want to do? They want to contain the violence in Northern Ireland, allow it to continue and put a smokescreen over it and pretend that it is not happening. They do not want to allow the British people to understand why it is happening so that they can engage in the search for a solution to the problems. That is dangerous.

There has been much talk about the "oxygen of publicity" for terrorism. It is not the words of those who support the bullets and the bomb that get the publicity; the bullets and the bomb lead to the publicity. To remove the publicity, will we not have to go one step further? Will we not have to say that it is an offence to report that the bullets and the bombs are used in Northern Ireland? In response to the ban, the IRA said, "There is only one thing they understand—the gun. We have a way of speaking to them if they ban us from speaking. We can use violence to get our message across."

Anyone who tries to follow events in Northern Ireland will be aware of the debate in Sinn Fein and the IRA about whether to reduce the amount of violence they use and to rely instead on the politics of Sinn Fein and the ballot box. It would have been desirable if those who say that they should follow the political route had won, and there had been less violence from the republican side in Northern Ireland.

What is now likely to be the conclusion? All those who said, "Britain will not listen to reason; Britain will not listen to us when we act politically; Britain will not listen to our words; the only things that Britain understands are the bullet and the bomb," will feel vindicated. They will say, "We told you. There are banning directions. How can you use political action instead of political violence? They won't listen to us." They will feel strengthened. This move will increase the violence in Northern Ireland.

Those who are not allowed to broadcast include not just the representatives of the IRA, UDA, Sinn Fein and UVF but those who support their views. We must ask: who is to say who supports their views? When we were first told about the directions, I thought that the Government would go only for the IRA, Sinn Fein and so on, and then in a year or so they would start to question politicians who question the status quo in Northern Ireland and who, like me, believe that there will not be a solution until we get rid of partition and the border. I thought that the Government would start to say, "Because you advocate the same end as Sinn Fein and the IRA, you are not allowed to speak either."

What happened? We heard about the directions. On Sunday, an article in The Observer suggested that, because I was going to Antrim to go on "Any Questions" and because I hold the kind of views I do, I should not be allowed to broadcast. Conservative Members may think that that is okay. Later, there was an article in The Times suggesting that I should not be allowed to broadcast. On that occasion, I was allowed to broadcast, but the hierarchy of the BBC went to Antrim to see whether there were any problems there. I wonder what will happen next time. Perhaps the broadcasters will stop inviting people like me to broadcast. That will be another form of censorship. This is the road down which we are going. That is the danger for our country.

I have a sense of foreboding. The Government are ripping out the strategies that lay behind the Anglo-Irish Agreement. The agreement said that we had to stop the advance of Sinn Fein—[Interruption.] Hon. Members may disagree, but that is my understanding of the strategy behind it. The British Government were so worried by 'the advance of Sinn Fein and by political support for Sinn Fein that they decided to deliver reform to the nationalist community in Northern Ireland. They promised association with Dublin, improvements in the criminal justice system, respect for the Irish language and so on. None of those reforms has been delivered. Instead, we see repression. In addition to this ban, the right to silence is to be ended and an oath is to be demanded from people standing for election.

It is rumoured that the Government are looking for further examples of measures from the Republic of Ireland. But what is wrong in the Republic of Ireland is wrong here. The fact that something happens in the Republic of Ireland does not make it right here. We shall certainly not be intimidated by the argument that we should look to the Republic of Ireland for examples. Divorce is not allowed in the Republic of Ireland. Are those who shout that we should imitate the Republic in favour of that? We are told that the Government are thinking of proposing that in future someone may be accused of being a member of a paramilitary organisation on the say-so of one policemen and will have no defence.

The Government are getting rid of reform and going for repression. Under a smokescreen of censorship, the violence may be let rip. The British people will not be allowed to understand it, and the real danger is that bloodshed and death on the present scale will continue indefinitely in Northern Ireland. That is a real prospect, and the action of the Secretary of State makes it more rather than less likely.

11.3 pm

Mr. Gerald Howarth (Cannock and Burntwood)

When the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) goes back to Northern Ireland, perhaps she will take with her a straight message from the House. There will, indeed, be repression. There will be repression against men of violence who use the bomb, the car bomb and the bullet to maim and injure innocent people. Opposition Members may have some doubts about the introduction of measures to deal with terrorism, but there is no doubt about Conservative Members' resolve to do so. Conservative Members do not vote against renewing the prevention of terrorism orders, whereas Labour Members repeatedly do.

Although the hon. Member for Ladywood introduced a certain divisive note into our proceedings, we have had a good debate. I start by reminding the House of Voltaire's saying: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. That is an adage to which most hon. Members would subscribe, even if there is a degree of intolerance among Labour Members. My hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) made that point, and we fully respect his views on the matter. Voltaire did not, however, say, "I disapprove of what you do, but I will defend to the death your right to do it." While we may be prepared to defend someone's right to say something, we do not defend their right to perpetrate certain acts.

Parliament is well advised to discuss carefully a measure that is introducing a degree of limitation on freedom of expression and to a certain extent restricting the rights of broadcasters. It is absolutely right that we should have had the opportunity of such a long debate.

I do not think that simple concern with freedom of expression should inhibit us from taking action where it is necessary and justified. A compelling case has been presented to us by the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Rev. William McCrea), who told us what hon. Members from Ulster go through day in, day out, in their constituencies as they attend funerals and console the bereaved. The IRA and its supporters show no signs of letting up their unremitting, unspeakable programme of brutal killings, which are as calculated and cowardly as any committed anywhere in the world by repressive organisations.

We approach this debate against the background of what is happening in Northern Ireland. It affects us, as individual Members of Parliament. Some right hon. and hon. Members have to put up with onerous restraints on their day-to-day lives merely because the IRA continually threatens them and their families. They cannot behave like ordinary people, because they are always under threat from those cowardly and brutal people. The IRA and its supporters undoubtedly revel in the publicity and authority that broadcasting confers on them. Broadcasting, particularly by television, is a far more potent medium than the printed word, which is why my right hon. Friend was right to make a distinction between broadcasting and the written word.

I agree with my hon. Friends who have suggested that the broadcasters have failed to comply with their own guidelines. Many examples of that, such as the programme "Real Lives", have been given in the debate. Had they observed those guidelines, we might not have been in this position today. The broadcasters cannot completely absolve themselves of any resposibility for what is going on in Northern Ireland, or for this measure.

Too often the need for balance is used by broadcasters as an excuse to give air time to terrorists. There can be no balance between law-abiding citizens who seek to bring about change by peacefully persuading their fellow citizens of the need for it, and terrorists. I do not see why terrorists and their apologists should enjoy the same benefits of a civilised society as are enjoyed by the rest of the people, who forswear the gun and the bomb.

Some broadcasters are so arrogant that they do not believe they are part of this country. That was the problem during the Falklands campaign, when our troops were referred to as the British troops. There can be no excuse, either, for the Thames Television programme "Death on the Rock". I and most of my hon. Friends thought it an outrageous attempt to scour the Rock to find someone to say something to undermine the SAS. To judge from my post—perhaps other hon. Members have read different views in theirs—most British people completely supported the noble efforts of the SAS to prevent bloodshed and mayhem in Gibraltar.

Some hon. Members have suggested that the Government are heading down a slippery slope. I am surprised at that view. They have all paid tribute to the liberal nature of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, and to suggest that he would be party to sliding down such a slope would be to misunderstand his character. I see no slippery slope. We are waging war against terrorism—

Mr. Eddie Loyden (Liverpool, Garston)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Howarth

I would rather not; time is short.

This war is being waged throughout the United Kingdom. We accept certain restrictions as a result. Northern Ireland has the Diplock courts and the presence of armed soldiers, although I may say that on my four-day visit there I saw only two armed soldiers. We accept these restrictions, sad though it is that we must impose them. This further restriction should be accepted, too.

We are at war with the IRA and it is right to use appropriate measures. During the second world war nobody said that we should not have internment or any of the other draconian measures that were brought in to deal with the situation.

The man who represents Sinn Fein and who got himself elected to this House spoke on Radio Ulster on the day that Sir Kenneth Bloomfield's house was bombed. I was in Northern Ireland on that day. On that programme he warned civil servants of the risks that they were running in working for the security services. He said that the IRA was giving them a chance to resign. As the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster so rightly said, that explicitly illustrates that Sinn Fein is but the mouthpiece of the IRA.

There is a remedy for those in Sinn Fein who do not like what the Government are doing. They can renounce violence. If they do that the House might take a different view of them, but as long as Sinn Fein has representatives such as Gerry Adams saying what he does, the House is right to take its present view of Sinn Fein.

The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) is not in the Chamber. He suggested that the Home Secretary was under pressure to bring this motion before the House. There is no doubt about that. However, the pressure did not come simply from Conservative Members, because some of my hon. Friends oppose the motion. The pressure comes from the British people, who want something to be done. We must be careful to resist pressure to do the wrong thing. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary acknowledged that this measure would not in itself stop terrorism. However, it is a more constructive approach than the one adopted by some Opposition Members who meet members of Sinn Fein and invite them to attend Labour party gatherings.

This measure is constructive. It is designed to try to help, and it attempts to respond to the legitimate concerns of our people. Hon. Members are entitled to respond to those concerns. The measure does not restrict the reporting of opinions, but deprives those who are the front men for the perpetrators of violence of the authority that television confers upon them. This step is supported by the great majority of the British people. One of my hon. Friends mentioned a MORI poll reported in a recent edition of the Reader's Digest. That showed that 69 per cent. of people interviewed believed that terrorist organisations should not be allowed under any circumstance to express their views on television. Sixty-six per cent. felt that the reporting on television of terrorist activities enhanced the status of terrorists.

Quite clearly, this measure enjoys the support of the people. If the high percentage of people supporting the measure are all Tories, that demonstrates the low level to which the Labour party has sunk in public opinion. Similar measures have already been taken in the Republic of Ireland, and the British broadcasting authorities are able to reach most of the people in the Republic. I hope that Governor Dukakis will be told that the Republic of Ireland has more draconian measures than those being introduced by our Government. These measures demonstrate the commitment of the Government to deal with the men of violence. That is why I support the motion.

11.14 pm
Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)

Parts of the speech by the hon. Member for Cannock and Burntwood (Mr. Howarth) justify Opposition apprehensions about the motion. Conservative Members have made much of the level of terrorism and the atrocities. No Opposition Member in any way justifies the terrorism and the atrocities carried out by the Provisional IRA or by sectarian killers on the other side in Northern Ireland. We are all opposed to terrorism and violence. I have always taken the view that, even if the campaign that has been waged over 18 years brought the IRA success in its objective, a united Ireland brought about by killing and terrorism would not be viable and would not be able to survive. That is all the more reason to be against not only terrorism and violence, from whichever side in Northern Ireland it comes, but the methods of the IRA.

I do not deny that I want a united Ireland, but I want an Ireland united through consent and negotiation—certainly negotiation involving the people of Northern Ireland and of the Republic. Above all else, there must be consensus, or such a unitary state could not survive.

Mr. Hunter

Will the hon. Gentleman include in the thesis that he is propounding a direct explanation of why and how, a fortnight ago. Haringey borough council had on its premises an exhibition extolling the virtues of the IRA?

Mr. Winnick

I will give the hon. Gentleman some satisfaction when I express my view as a Member of Parliament. I was not in favour of the exhibition, and I did not know about it until I read about it in a London paper. I know that, once he was notified, the leader of the council made sure that the exhibition received no funding from the council. What purpose is served by raking up all these matters when we are concerned, as a House of Commons, to oppose terrorism and try to make progress? Such interventions do not help the victims or the potential victims of the IRA.

Mr. James Couchman (Gillingham)

The hon. Gentleman is condemning terrorism in a most forceful way. Would he include in that condemnation the African National Congress?

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. That is straying rather far from the motion.

Mr. Winnick

It is difficult to imagine a more stupidly irrelevant question than one which linked the position in southern Africa with that in Northern Ireland. I had always assumed that Northern Ireland was part of the United Kingdom, that democracy existed in Northern Ireland, and that everyone there, no matter how nationalist or republican, could vote. That is why we have my hon. Friends the Members for Foyle (Mr. Hume) and for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon), who take a nationalist point of view. They have not been deprived of the right to vote. The situation in southern Africa is totally different.

Are we to take it that, as a result of the Government's ban, there will be any reduction in violence? Will a single life be saved from terrorism in Northern Ireland or on the mainland? The Home Secretary has not suggested that one would. He has not argued that the motion will reduce the level of violence.

Much has been said about the votes for Sinn Fein. I believe I may be as wrong as any other person—that though the leaders of Sinn Fein have links with the IRA—and I would not wish to deny that—not all those who vote for Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland necessarily support the terrorist campaign. They vote that way, or a large number do, for all kinds of reasons—deprivation and economic and housing misery. Therefore, it would not be right to conclude that all voters for Sinn Fein are necessarily supporters of terrorism.

I take the view that, at most, the leaders of Sinn Fein look on the ban as a mild irritation, although they may say different things publicly and give the impression that they view this as a great setback. Some Tory Members may say that even if it is only a mild irritation, it is better than nothing. We should compare that with the unfavourable propaganda that this country suffers abroad, particularly in the United States. The supporters of the Provisional IRA in the United States—Noraid, the hard-core supporters of terrorism living there—want to persuade the majority of Americans of Irish origin that Britain is totally in the wrong and that the struggle waged by the Provisional IRA is justified. That is not my view, as I have already explained to the House. I believe that the ban provides further ammunition for the propaganda of the supporters of Noraid and the supporters of the Provisional IRA in various European countries who want to portray this country as waging a colonial war in Northern Ireland. They will say that the British Government are so terrified of the representatives of the Provisional Sinn Fein appearing on television that they have to take this step.

Have the broadcasting authorities abused their power? Is it being argued today that the supporters and leaders of Provisional Sinn Fein have been interviewed constantly? Like most hon. Members, I do not watch television all that often, but in the television news that I have seen I have not seen the hon. Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Adams) interviewed so often. I have certainly seen him interviewed when there has been a particular atrocity that has embarrassed the Provisional IRA and Provisional Sinn Fein. I have seen the hon. Gentleman trying to explain and rationalise something which simply cannot be explained away. Surely it is right and proper for the broadcasting authorities to interview someone like the hon. Member for Belfast, West when some atrocity has been carried out and civilians have been killed so that millions of people can see the hon. Gentleman trying to explain that atrocity. Is there any evidence that people are persuaded by what the hon. Member for Belfast, West has to say? Do they listen to him or to any of his colleagues when they are interviewed and say, "That is a rational argument"? There is no evidence whatsoever of that. Therefore, I do not accept that the broadcasting authorities have abused their power.

Sir Michael McNair-Wilson

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Winnick

If the hon. Gentleman will forgive me, I shall not give way as time is getting on.

In his statement on 19 October the Home Secretary said: Broadcasters have a dangerous and unenviable task in reporting events in Northern Ireland. This step is no criticism of them."—[Official Report, 19 October 1988; Vol. 138, c. 885.] So the Home Secretary is not suggesting for one moment that the broadcasting authorities are wrong.

I believe that the ban is a panic reaction on the part of the Prime Minister. I blame the Prime Minister far more than the Home Secretary. I believe that when the Prime Minister heard about the further atrocities carried out by the Provisional IRA during the summer recess, she came to the conclusion that something had to be done and therefore the ban was imposed. My criticism of the Home Secretary is that he should have resisted the Prime Minister. He should have told the Prime Minister that this is not the way to go about it; that this will not help. Instead, the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland went along with the Prime Minister.

My final point has already been echoed by my hon. Friends. I believe that the Government have an authoritarian streak. In many ways, the Government have tried to undermine some of our liberties. I believe, for instance, that there has been a vendetta against the broadcasting authorities, first and foremost by the right hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit), when he was the chairman of the Tory party, who put totally unfair and unjustified pressure on the broadcasting authorities, and particularly on the BBC. If we are faced with a Government with an authoritarian streak, as the Opposition we should be all the more on our guard to ensure that no steps are taken which further undermine any of our traditional liberties.

Of course, we shall lose the vote tonight. I am pleased that one or two Conservative Members have understood our concern and, whether or not they vote with us, realise what is at stake. I believe that the ban that has been imposed on the broadcasting authorities is wrong. It is not justified; it will not reduce the level of terrorism; and it will put us in the wrong internationally. That is why I shall vote against it.

11.24 pm
Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North)

The hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) has suggested that if we in the House introduce what he would consider to be illiberal measures, it will increase the level of support for the IRA in the United States. The level of support for the IRA in the United States is dependent on one thing alone, and that is the number of people it kills. If we can introduce measures in the House that will cut back the carnage in Northern Ireland, we will cut back the support for the IRA in the United States.

We have had from the Opposition an emotional plea in favour of editorial freedom. We are all in favour of editorial freedom. What do they mean by "editorial freedom"? What is it that they are seeking to support? Is it the editorial freedom that is currently enjoyed by The Sun newspaper? If that is what they are trying to defend, it is a novel aspect from the Labour party. I wonder whether the Opposition appreciate the changing nature and the imperatives of today's media.

We heard an eloquent speech from my hon. Friend the Member for Thanet, North (Mr. Gale). Do they realise that the media today are not about informing the public; they are about entertaining and stimulating the public? The media today seek to shock and titillate rather than to sustain serious debate. I am a little surprised that the Opposition seek to justify the form of editorial freedom, the "anything goes", irresponsible editorial freedom, that has been abused so much so that it can be used and abused by the IRA in its perverted campaign.

The Opposition say that they have a passionate commitment to freedom of speech. Conservative Members have a passionate commitment to freedom of speech. I wonder whether they have. Is it consistent with the thought police of the Left wing of the Labour party that we have seen marching up and down and parading throughout our country over the past few years? Do they support the freedom of speech for anyone, however evil? Do they support it for racists, murderers and child molesters? Would they support giving freedom of speech to Adolf Hitler, or to anyone, whatever damage they cause or however intolerant or intolerable they may be?

I am a little worried that the Opposition do not understand, after all our history, the value and effect of propaganda. Was Dr. Goebbels wrong? Was he naive? Were all those hours he spent broadcasting on German radio wasted? Did he waste all that time he spent carefully crafting and orchestrating his perverted and dreadful message? Do they want to allow the IRA the same opportunities and the same access to the media so that it can build up its image and credibility? That is what it would seek to do if it could.

The hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) said that she felt that it was useful and worthwhile to allow people to come on our media to defend the right to kill. Is that what she really meant—to "defend"—or was it to sell, justify and propagate their evil campaign?

We are all concerned for civil liberties, but is not the greatest civil liberty the right to life? Over 2,500 people in Northern Ireland have been killed in this murderous campaign. That is equivalent to 100,000 people in the United Kingdom as a whole. Does the IRA think that if we had been suffering that level of violence on the mainland of the United Kingdom we would tolerate for one moment what we have been tolerating to date? The terrorists will grab every opportunity to parade on our television screens, not because they want to extend the intellectual debate but because it helps their cause. The objective of the measure is to starve them of the oxygen of publicity. The Government are right, and I support them.

11.29 pm
Ms. Diane Abbott (Hackney, North and Stoke Newington)

I have only three points to make, and I shall do so succinctly.

Conservative Members have challenged Labour Members to say whether they support the African National Congress. I tell them that I do, and I shall happily give way to the hon. Member for Gillingham (Mr. Couchman) so that he can say why he supports the terrorist South African regime—

Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. We have a narrow motion before us relating to Northern Ireland.

Ms. Abbott

The subject was introduced by the hon. Member for Gillingham; I was merely responding to it.

I have only two objections to the motion, one in practice and one in principle. My objection in practice is that, contrary to the hours and hours of speeches we heard from Conservative Members, the motion will do nothing to diminish the level of Northern Ireland's problems. The motion is propaganda, and the cynical politics of the gesture.

Conservative Members have spoken as if in a fundamental and essential way the IRA gains its political legitimacy from appearing on television, which is nonsense. The IRA's political legitimacy derives from the history of British involvement in Northern Ireland, from the abuses of power of the British occupying forces in Northern Ireland and, above all, from the fact that, contrary to what Conservative Members might like to think, the IRA has proved that it has the mass support of the Catholic electorate of Northern Ireland. Some 35 per cent. of the Catholic electorate vote for Sinn Fein. Labour Members believe that it is not the business of responsible politicians to try to pretend that Republican opinion does not exist and that it should be banished from the screen.

If the Government want to strike at the root of the IRA's political legitimacy, they must address the problems of history, the British Army and, above all, the fact that tens of thousands of people are happy to vote for Sinn Fein in a secret ballot. Nothing that Conservative Members have said has addressed those facts. My objection in practice to the motion is that it is cynical, it is the politics of the gesture and will not alter the number of killings in Northern Ireland by one.

My objection in principle is the attack that the motion makes on civil liberties. That argument has been well rehearsed so I shall not repeat it.

Nobody is saying that sombody should be allowed to go on television or radio and commit a crime or incite anyone to commit a criminal act. Merely because some Conservative Members or some members of the public find an individual or political party offensive, that is not a reason to ban them. If the Government wish to present a coherent position, they should ban Sinn Fein. Until it is a proscribed organisation, there is no intellectual consistency in allowing it to contest elections but not allowing its members to appear on television. In practice, the motion is wrong, in principle it is intellectually dishonest and Labour Members will vote against it.

11.33 pm
Mr. Kevin McNamara (Kingston upon Hull, North)

May I refute at the outset what the hon. Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) said? At no time did my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) defend the right of any person to kill. That was a foul calumny, and I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman uttered it.

Mr. Marlow

I said that the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) defended the right of people to appear on television and defend the right to kill.

Mr. McNamara

My hon. Friend the Member for Ladywood did not say that.

Labour Members oppose this ban because we believe that it is wrong in principle and in expediency. It is an ill-considered measure that creates more problems than it solves and has nothing to do with the real difficulties that exist in Northern Ireland.

If it could be proved that the measure was justified in terms of expediency, there could be a case that the Opposition would have to consider more seriously. As it is, the broadcasting restrictions are so patently absurd that they should be dismissed out of hand.

In the ancient world, the messenger who brought bad news was liable to be silenced by a swift stroke of the sword. That is the sort of logic that underpins the order. Our ancestors eventually realised that bad news was better than no news, and put a stop to such practices. To pursue a sensible course of action., it is necessary to be well informed. In a democracy, that necessity extends to the citizens as a whole, because they have their part to play in the formation of policy.

It is clear that such limitations on the freedom of broadcasting were adopted hastily, without any serious thought about either their effect or their implementation. They are a panic response to the tragic and horrific events of this summer—a response inspired by the Prime Minister who, judging by her extraordinary interview in The Times, seems to be at variance with her Ministers about the temporary or permanent nature of the provisions. She referred to the suspension of civil liberties, but her Ministers have given no sign that the measures are not designed to be permanent. She said that the measures have to suspend some of your civil liberties for a time. We are entitled to know whether they are meant to be permanent or temporary.

The Prime Minister's contempt for her Ministers was shown when she apparently did not tell the Home Secretary about her attitude before he made his statement in the House. The right hon. Gentleman's position is rather tragic. He is, in many ways, striking a pose, pretending to be resonant: in his fight against the paramilitaries. Yet he knows from his experience in Northern Ireland and from the advice given by the Department—which his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has stood out against in the past—that in fact he is making a useless gesture.

It is a panic ban—that is quite clear from the developments since the original statement in the House. The truth is that the Government do not know what they are doing. They do not know what the ban is supposed to cover. They have already had to repeat and issue further clarifications to the broadcasting authorities.

That uncertainty pervades even the television companies. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) said, there has been the ludicrous spectacle of a programme cleared by Channel 4 lawyers being prohibited by the laywers of IBA. The lawyers are now making the programmes, not the professional broadcasters.

The Government have not made it clear who or what is to be banned. The Government do not know and the broadcasting authorities are unclear. I shall cite some examples. Can Robert Kee's outstanding series on Irish history, "The Green Flag", now be repeated on television? Will there be the strange spectacle of Gerry Adams holding forth on election programmes while the Open university will be prevented from allowing the Taoiseach in the Republic to talk about his father-in-law, the former Taoiseach, because of his participation in the Easter rising?

Even the right to report court proceedings—an essential requirement if justice is to be seen to be done—is not included in the two specific exceptions that the Home Secretary mentioned. We are entitled to know whether, in fact, that protection still exists.

What about the problems of fiction, which is being examined carefully by the broadcasting authorities? What do we make of O'Casey's "The Shadow of the Gunman"? Can we see or hear that on our television or radio? What about songs and music—for example, "The Rising of the Moon", "Who fears to speak of 98" and "The Sash"? Can we hear all those songs, which, in their various ways, attempt to support men of violence?

Mr. Julian Brazier (Canterbury)


Mr. McNamara

With the greatest respect to the hon. Gentleman, I do not wish to give way.

Some hon. Members from Northern Ireland, especially the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Rev. William McCrea), praised the Home Secretary's action. However, any rigorous and impartial enforcement of the restrictions could well affect some members of the Unionist parties in Northern Ireland. Of Northern Ireland parties, only the Social Democratic and Labour party and the Alliance party have never flirted with paramilitaries. We know what the SDLP says to Sinn Fein, becaue it told us and it has published it. What we do not know is what some Unionist politicians discuss when they hob-nob with the UDA.

For example, do Members of the House who dress in paramilitary garb and make scarcely veiled threats to employ their illegally held shotguns for political purposes fall under the non-person category that will not be allowed on television, except for reports of what they say in the House? Will the leader of an armed incursion into the Republic of Ireland be granted free access to television and radio? Yet, when the rumour that we shall have the matter before the House was first mooted, will he be the first to rush to the media to support the ban against men of violence?

I for one, and my hon. Friends, would be opposed to depriving the British public and the public of all these islands of their right to hear the views of hon. Members from Northern Ireland, whether they are Unionists of the sort that I have described or otherwise. If people are allowed to continue unimpeded if the ban does not impinge upon them—they will once again be able to bring the British presence in Northern Ireland into disrepute. That is another example of the need to be even-handed, not just with the UDA, which I welcome if we are to have the resolution, but with all people who are associated with people of violence. They must all be included, even if they are Members of this House, and even if they take their seats in this House.

There is another consideration which reveals how the Government's surrender to apparent expediency is short-sighted and counter-productive. For decades, the Foreign Office has resisted all approaches from foreign Governments to interfere with broadcasting on the ground that broadcasters are independent of the state. Now, however, the Home Secretary has opened the floodgates, and the Foreign Office is being besieged by various Governments. I understand that the Indian Government are looking for restrictions on Sikh nationalists. Presumably the Government will give equal consideration to requests from the Nicaraguan and Afghan Governments to ban the contras and the Mujaheddin from the World Service.

I heard carefully what the Home Secretary said about the measure being limited specifically to the problems in Northern Ireland, but he knows as well as I do that every foreign Government will accuse him and the British Government of hypocrisy on this matter, and challenge our bona fides if we do not practise abroad what we preach at home. Again, it is abundantly clear that the Government do not appreciate the international dimensions of the issue.

The Home Secretary tried to draw a distinction between people who had recently gone to the United States and were supporters of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail and would understand the reason for the ban, and others who view it differently. He does not seem to have taken on board the very first amendment of the American constitution, which I put to him, which states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the Press". People in the United States will say, "You are flying right against one of the most cherished parts of our constitution." That will provide Noraid with ammunition and ability.

Sir Giles Shaw (Pudsey)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. McNamara


That is quite apart from the Home Secretary's complete misunderstanding of the Irish-American context, where it is not just recent immigrants there who have found that happening. That view is found all the way through the Irish-American context.

Sir Giles Shaw


Madam Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman has made it clear that he will not give way.

Mr. McNamara

It is apparent that, once again, the international community has reacted unfavourably to the terms of this order. Once again, Britain, which used to boast of its democratic traditions and exported them throughout the world, is now becoming a cause of concern because a certain group are making themselves ridiculous by their actions.

The Prime Minister will now make criminals of foreign broadcasters if they beam their programmes into Britain by satellite. When, in her famous interview in The Times, she was asked what she would do about satellite television broadcasting, she said: The only thing we could do here is to make it an offence to beam such stuff into the country if need be. Are we to have legislation to outlaw satellite television which extols the virtues of the IRA? She is talking rubbish and the Government are behaving in a rubbishy manner.

Those are only the practical difficulties of this problem. There are matters which are wrong, not for practical reasons but in principle. The term "McCarthyite" is bandied about in a way which diminishes the full horrors of that period, but this is a case where it applies. Not only are the paramilitaries and some of their political allies to be banned from the airways, but so is anyone whom the broadcasting authorities might possibly believe might possibly say something which might possibly appear to be supportive of their political stance. They, too, will be denied access to radio and television.

Given the sort of arguments that are often used in this House, such as that the Anglo-Irish Agreement gives succour to the paramilitaries, even people who support the Government's policy could be subject to vilification. That is not the nonsense that it appears at first sight. It is a problem of the Government's creation. They are damaging the credibility of the media and the democratic process. This ban is worse than anything that P.W. Botha ever dreamed up.

Sir Giles Shaw


Mr. McNamara

At least in South Africa—

Sir Giles Shaw

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. McNamara


Bans are imposed on named individuals or groups, and reports are proceeded by a censorship warning. Will we have on our television screens, "This programme has been presented subject to the censorship rules of the British Government"? If it were to happen, what a terrible time it would be in the history of British broadcasting and of this Government.

What is worse, there will be no safeguards, even such as those that exist in South Africa. There will be secret blacklists, like those of the Economic League. People will be banned from the airwaves without their knowledge or any redress, and they will be unable to confront their accusers. Furthermore, the possibility of democratic and intelligent discussion of the conflict in Northern Ireland will disappear.

Sir Giles Shaw


Mr. McNamara

The real problem is that I agree with everything that the hon. Gentleman is saying about these orders. I only wish that he had got up during the debate and said that they are rubbish.

Sir Giles Shaw


Mr. McNamara

This is perhaps the worst—

Sir Giles Shaw


Mr. McNamara

The hon. Gentleman may indeed be rubbish, but he was not the one who was saying it of the measure.

Mr. Couchman

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) to suggest that hon. Members on this side have been drinking all evening?

Madam Deputy Speaker

The hon. Gentleman knows that that is not a point of order for me. We are having a serious debate.

Mr. McNamara

Those who have been drinking are in a happy position. Some of us have been waiting here for five or six hours for an opportunity to get one down before we go home.

The worst feature of the ban is that it will hinder the growth of understanding of these issues on these islands. In recent years, there has been much greater and much more informed interest in the conflict. It would be damaging if this process were now to be reversed, which is exactly what the Government are intent upon doing. They make offensive and unsubstantiated claims about the irresponsibility of the media, when we know how cautious and self-restrained the broadcasting authorities have been.

I recall the fight that I had with BBC Northern Ireland to get a minute and a half to reply to the Secretary of State's outrageous statements about taking away the right of silence. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook said, it is not as though members of the IRA were on every programme every day and we had to avoid them. The figures that he produced showed how difficult it has been for the IRA to appear on the screens, and how difficult the broadcasting media had made it for its programme producers to get their programmes on to the air. Yet we have now reached a further stage in the Prime Minister's campaign to subjugate the media, to censor all criticism and to destroy free speech.

Too often Northern Ireland has been used as a test bed for repressive legislation. We are now entitled to ask whether similar restrictions will be imposed on coverage of social unrest on this island when that periodically breaks out in mainland cities. Is this the thin edge of the wedge for such situations? Nothing in the Government's record should rule out such fears. It is already far too difficult for the media to make programmes about Ireland. It will now have even greater hesitation to inform the public of the realities of the situation in the Province. The damage that will be inflicted will be not on the IRA or on the UDR, but on those who seek to expose the bankruptcy of the policies of the paramilitaries.

I object to the ban on the ground that one does not defeat paramilitaries by turning one's head away from them. The problems of Northern Ireland are too real and too immediate. The Government refuse to tackle the roots of violence, and resort to measures such as this. In the words of the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis)—with whose diagnosis of the problems of Northern Ireland, I would disagree, but with whose assessment of the value of the measure I would agree—the Government are merely tinkering with the periphery of the problem.

It is because the Labour party wants to stop the terrorism—not just to shut our ears to it—to regain the support of all sections of the community in Northern Ireland for the rule of law, and to have an impartial administration of justice that it opposes these provisions, which are counter-productive, dangerous for our civil liberties on this island, too, and succour for all those who are named in the measure.

11.52 pm
The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Tim Renton)

Apart from the ludicrous remark of the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) that the restrictions we are debating are more restrictive than anything ever introduced by P. W. Botha, this has been a serious and passionate debate.

I thank all my hon. Friends who have spoken in support of the motion, especially my hon. Friend the Member for Newbury (Sir M. McNair-Wilson) for his powerful contribution, in which he spoke of the need for the media not to be equivocal in its approach to terrorism. That point was reinforced by the eloquent remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Thanet, North (Mr. Gale). I should like to thank, too, my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter) for his thoughtful speech in which he said that in a free society it was right that our right hon. Friend the Home Secretary should be given the powers that he has exercised in relation to the restriction on the broadcasting authorities. He also said that television coverage of terrorist acts can encourage other terrorist acts. I take note of the allegations that he made at the end of his remarks.

I am mindful, too, of the speeches at the end of the debate by my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock and Burntwood (Mr. Howarth), who reminded us how much more potent a medium television is than the newspapers, and by my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow), with his passionate defence of free speech. That leads me to my first point in reply to the debate.

The House is rightly jealous of free speech. That applies to hon. Members on both sides of the House, but let us get the perspective right. What we are debating is not a restriction on the freedom of speech. It is not a restriction on the freedom of information in Northern Ireland. It is simply a targeted measure that we are undertaking to prevent terrorists and their supporters from exploiting the broadcasting media by direct access to them.

Why are we doing this? Why did the House vote by a majority recently to televise our proceedings? The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) agreed that he had voted for that. We are all agreed that television today is regarded as so powerful, so immediate, so vivid and so able to give respectability to those who appear on the screen that all politicians need it. All politicians take advantage of it. Whether or not we like the expression "the oxygen of publicity", we all experience it by appearing on television. Surely it is for that reason that at election time we have such strict rules on access to television—a complete ban on paid advertising, too. We have no such restrictions on newspapers at election time.

All the evidence suggests that the importance that Sinn Fein and the hon. Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Adams), whose name has been mentioned so much during the debate, attach to television is no less—in fact, rather more—than that of other politicians. Surely that is why camera crews are given access to paramilitary funerals in Northern Ireland. That is why Sinn Fein has given so many press conferences to television. That is why, after my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary's restrictions were announced, the hon. Member for Belfast, West was reported as saying that they would disadvantage Sinn Fein.

In Northern Ireland and, to a more limited extent, in Great Britain—

Mr. Hume

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Renton

No. With the greatest respect to the hon. Gentleman, the time is late and I think that the House would like me to make rapid progress.

In Northern Ireland and in Great Britain we face a well-organised and determined terrorist conspiracy. Supported wholeheartedly by Sinn Fein—a point strongly made by the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Rev. William McCrea)—the IRA campaign is based on ending the democratic process by the use of violence, murder and death, a fact that no one knows better than my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. The IRA seeks to impose a united Ireland dominated by the IRA, with no mandate whatsoever from the electorate in Northern Ireland or in the Irish Republic. Its aim is to brush aside democracy, using whatever means are available.

Terrorism will continue to be opposed and resisted by the Government at every opportunity. We are determined to take every step possible to ensure that it does not succeed. We have no choice in that when faced with terrorism and violence, for they can never be allowed to triumph.

It is simply against that background that the Government, after long and careful consideration—certainly not as a panic reaction, as suggested by the hon. Members for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) and for Kingston upon Hull, North—decided that they should not stand idly by and watch the apologists for terrorism exploit and manipulate the broadcasting media. That is the sort of issue that I hoped would unite the House in view of our determination to suppress terrorism. It was, therefore, with some dismay that I listened to the exaggerated contributions of, for example, the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook, the right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West (Mr. Archer) and the right hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Foot).

I repeat that we are not advocating any reduction in freedom of information. We are preventing in a limited manner, and only in the context of broadcasting, access to the media by those who use it to encourage support for terrorism. This is not a major departure for Ireland. Similar but tighter restrictions have applied in the Republic for many years.

Mr. Hume

Will the Minister confirm that under these measures members of Sinn Fein can be interviewed about any subject under the sun, except atrocities?

Mr. Renton

I am delighted that the hon. Gentleman has raised that issue. I can tell him that that is not the case, and that is precisely the point to which I am coming.

As my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said earlier, the broad effect of the directions is to prohibit direct speech over the air by a person representing one of the named organisations, or an oral statement by anyone who supports, or invites support, for one of the organisations. Thus, I say to the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook and the hon. Member for Foyle (Mr. Hume) that all oral statements by Sinn Fein or UDA representatives would be caught, whether they were made at a public meeting, during an interview, or in a discussion programme, whatever the subject, if such statements were made by Sinn Fein or UDA representatives, or on behalf of those organisations. The restrictions do not prevent—

Mr. McNamara


Mr. Renton

I shall finish this point. The restrictions do not prevent the second hand reporting of such an oral statement, for example, by a news journalist, as we are of the opinion that this does not cause the same degree of impact or public concern, for the reasons that I have already explained.

Mr. McNamara

Is the Minister saying that no member of Sinn Fein will be allowed to speak directly on the radio or on television on any subject whatsoever? That is what he has just said to the House. That is not what we have interpreted from the directions and it is not true. That is not what the BBC and the IBA are saying, but it is what the Minister has just said.

Mr. Renton

Unfortunately, the hon. Gentleman is not listening or concentrating. He did not listen to what my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said earlier this afternoon, and I shall repeat what he said in other words before I move on.

The restrictions apply to people who represent the organisations concerned. Elected councillors speaking on behalf of one of these organisations about council matters will he subject to the restrictions, whatever the actual subject under discussion. That is crystal clear—

Mr. Hattersley

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Renton

No, I shall not give way to the right hon. Gentleman. I have repeated what my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said. I go on to say—

Mr. Hattersley


Mr. Renton

I was talking about reporting. There is a public interest—[Interruption.] I am about to come to another point that the right hon. Gentleman—

Mr. Hattersley


Mr. Renton

No. I shall make—[Interruption.] There is a public interest in reporting certain statements, for example—

Mr. Buchan

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. What protection can you give us when we have two Ministers from the same Department making two contradictory speeches? The Minister has contradicted the Home Secretary. Can we get the truth from one of them?

Madam Deputy Speaker

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the Chair has no responsibility for the way in which Members or Ministers express themselves.

Mr. Renton


Mr. Mallon

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. The debate has continued for six and half hours, and I ask whether it is right that we should leave it without having cleared up the confusion that was created initially by the Home Secretary, which has been compounded by the Minister.

Madam Deputy Speaker

That is not a point of order for the Chair.

Mr. Renton

I believe that I have said precisely what my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said. I suggest that the hon. Members for Paisley, South (Mr. Buchan) and for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) study Hansard tomorrow and they will see that is so.

The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook told us that the notices have caused confusion. The intention behind the directions issued by my right hon. Friend has always been clear. Equally, the content of the notices has been as clear as we could make it. As my right hon. Friend said, there are some who have an interest in being permanently confused about these issues. I fear that the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook falls precisely into that category.

The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook and the hon. Member for Birmingham. Ladywood (Ms. Short) appeared to have the trouble of being unable to decide whether the notices that my right hon. Friend had issued either went too far or did not go far enough. In the end, the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook, revelling in this apparent confusion of which he made so much, said that what we had undertaken was a pointless action. After my right hon. Friend's announcement, the right hon. Gentleman's old colleague, Lord Mason of Barnsley, who served in the same Government as the right hon. Gentleman in the 1970s as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said: it is defensible to stifle all outlets of those terrorist groups who are bent on undermining the authority of the state and intent upon smashing our democratic institutions … radio and television gives a degree of respectability to terrorist groups … It boosts their morale, aids their recruiting drives and helps to keep them in business. This measure is one step forward on the road to defeating terrorism and its propaganda."—[Official Report, House of Lords, 19 October 1988; Vol. 500, c. 1144.]

The right hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent said that he considered it—I hope that I do not paraphrase his words wrongly—an insult to the people of Britain—

Mr. Robin Corbett (Birmingham, Erdington)

He was wrong.

Mr. Renton

It is very helpful to have that comment from the Labour Front Bench. I think that he was wrong, too. I am glad to have that support.

The right hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent said that it was an insult to the people of Britain that they would not be able to continue to see programmes on which the hon. Member for Belfast, West and supporters of Sinn Fein appeared. I remind him of what my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock and Burntwood said. Is it really an insult to the people of Britain that they should no longer see the hon. Member for Belfast, West, as they saw him after the attempted murder of Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, appearing on Radio Ulster and saying that civil servants who advised the security forces "run the risks" and that the IRA was giving them the chance to resign their positions? That appearance was an insult to the people of Britain. The fact that that appearance will no longer be permitted will give great satisfaction to the majority of the people of Britain, including those in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Foot

I was saying that it was an insult to the people of Britain, and to the people of Northern Ireland, for the Government to say that the people of this country cannot judge for themselves.

Mr. Renton

I have my words showing what the right hon. Gentleman said. I shall read them in Hansard tomorrow, too.

Sir Giles Shaw


Mr. Renton

With the greatest respect, I shall not give way.

The hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) said that 19 years of appearance on television had added not a farthing to terrorist support. If that is his view, why is it so contradicted by, for example, Dr. Conor Cruise O'Brien, the former Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, who introduced the ban in the Republic and who, the day after my right hon. Friend's action, said: Sinn Fein desperately need the access to broadcasting which they have in Great Britain which 'respectabilises' them and helps them in many ways. If that is denied them, their effort will be hurt"? I accept the experience of Dr. Conor Cruise O'Brien in preference to the judgment of the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland.

Finally, let us analyse what happens when the IRA commits one of its frequent outrages, which include the murder of ordinary people, and claims responsibility. The hon. Member for Mid-Ulster told us what happens. Within minutes of the report, a Sinn Fein spokesman appears on television explaining why it is necessary for the IRA to commit murders and encouraging support for his so-called cause. It would clearly be wrong if that were allowed to continue.

Nevertheless, democratic Governments need to consider long and hard before introducing measures of this kind, even when dealing with the enemies of democracy. We have done so and we have concluded that we can no longer justify giving terrorists and their apologists complete freedom of the airwaves to further their vile campaign and sow fear in the minds of ordinary viewers and listeners at home. We have therefore taken limited steps to limit that freedom, and in doing so we have received the unqualified support of the public in the United Kingdom.

On 19 October the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook said:

the Labour party is dedicated to the defeat of terrorism"—[Official Report, 19 October 1988; Vol. 138, c.886.]

Those are fine words, but how is that dedication put into action? For six years now the Labour party has voted against the renewal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act. They deplore the announcements that courts may now draw inferences from the use of the right of silence, and tonight they will vote against these limited restrictions on direct access to the broadcasting media.

What, then, does the Labour party's dedication to the defeat of terrorism amount to? Words, words, words. Words have never defeated terrorism yet. Tough action, carefully targeted—unpalatable though it may be to some—is necessary, and that is what we recommend to the House tonight.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 183, Noes 244.

Division No. 467] [12.11 am
Abbott, Ms Diane Bidwell, Sydney
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Blair, Tony
Anderson, Donald Blunkett, David
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Boateng, Paul
Armstrong, Hilary Boyes, Roland
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Bradley, Keith
Barron, Kevin Bray, Dr Jeremy
Battle, John Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)
Beckett, Margaret Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)
Bermingham, Gerald Buchan, Norman
Buckley, George J. Lewis, Terry
Caborn, Richard Litherland, Robert
Callaghan, Jim Livingstone, Ken
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Livsey, Richard
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) Loyden, Eddie
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) McAllion, John
Clay, Bob McAvoy, Thomas
Clelland, David McCartney, Ian
Clwyd, Mrs Ann McGrady, Eddie
Cohen, Harry McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) McKelvey, William
Cook, Robin (Livingston) McLeish, Henry
Corbett, Robin Maclennan, Robert
Cousins, Jim McNamara, Kevin
Crowther, Stan McWilliam, John
Cryer, Bob Madden, Max
Cunliffe, Lawrence Mahon, Mrs Alice
Cunningham, Dr John Mallon, Seamus
Darling, Alistair Marek, Dr John
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) Martlew, Eric
Dixon, Don Meacher, Michael
Dobson, Frank Meale, Alan
Doran, Frank Michael, Alun
Douglas, Dick Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Dunnachie, Jimmy Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Evans, John (St Helens N) Morgan, Rhodri
Fatchett, Derek Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Faulds, Andrew Mowlam, Marjorie
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Mullin, Chris
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n) Murphy, Paul
Fisher, Mark Nellist, Dave
Flannery, Martin Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Flynn, Paul O'Brien, William
Foot, Rt Hon Michael O'Neill, Martin
Foster, Derek Parry, Robert
Foulkes, George Patchett, Terry
Fraser, John Pendry, Tom
Fyfe, Maria Pike, Peter L.
Galloway, George Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Garrett, John (Norwich South) Primarolo, Dawn
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Quin, Ms Joyce
Godman, Dr Norman A. Radice, Giles
Golding, Mrs Llin Randall, Stuart
Gordon, Mildred Redmond, Martin
Gould, Bryan Richardson, Jo
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham) Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Robertson, George
Grocott, Bruce Robinson, Geoffrey
Harman, Ms Harriet Rogers, Allan
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Rooker, Jeff
Heffer, Eric S. Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Henderson, Doug Ruddock, Joan
Hinchliffe, David Sedgemore, Brian
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Sheerman, Barry
Holland, Stuart Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath) Short, Clare
Hoyle, Doug Skinner, Dennis
Hughes, John (Coventry NE) Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Snape, Peter
Hughes, Roy (Newport E) Soley, Clive
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Spearing, Nigel
Hume, John Steel, Rt Hon David
Illsley, Eric Steinberg, Gerry
Janner, Greville Stott, Roger
John, Brynmor Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W) Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil Turner, Dennis
Kirkwood, Archy Vaz, Keith
Lambie, David Wall, Pat
Lamond, James Walley, Joan
Leadbitter, Ted Warden, Gareth (Gower)
Leighton, Ron Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Lestor, Joan (Eccles) Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Winnick, David Tellers for the Ayes:
Wise, Mrs Audrey Mr. Frank Haynes and
Wray, Jimmy Mr. Ken Eastham.
Adley, Robert Evennett, David
Aitken, Jonathan Fallon, Michael
Alexander, Richard Favell, Tony
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Fenner, Dame Peggy
Allason, Rupert Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Alton, David Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Amess, David Fishburn, John Dudley
Amos, Alan Forman, Nigel
Arbuthnot, James Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Forsythe, Clifford (Antrim S)
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Forth, Eric
Ashby, David Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Aspinwall, Jack Fox, Sir Marcus
Atkinson, David Franks, Cecil
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Freeman, Roger
Baldry, Tony French, Douglas
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Fry, Peter
Batiste, Spencer Gale, Roger
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Gardiner, George
Beggs, Roy Garel-Jones, Tristan
Bellingham, Henry Gill, Christopher
Bendall, Vivian Glyn, Dr Alan
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Goodhart, Sir Philip
Bevan, David Gilroy Goodlad, Alastair
Biffen, Rt Hon John Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Blackburn, Dr John G. Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Gregory, Conal
Boswell, Tim Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Bottomley, Peter Hawkins, Christopher
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Heathcoat-Amory, David
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
Bowis, John Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)
Brazier, Julian Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Bright, Graham Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Brittan, Rt Hon Leon Hunter, Andrew
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Key, Robert
Browne, John (Winchester) Kilfedder, James
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Burns, Simon King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Burt, Alistair Kirkhope, Timothy
Butler, Chris Knapman, Roger
Butterfill, John Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Carrington, Matthew Knox, David
Carttiss, Michael Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Cash, William Lang, Ian
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Latham, Michael
Chapman, Sydney Lee, John (Pendle)
Chope, Christopher Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Lightbown, David
Colvin, Michael Lilley, Peter
Conway, Derek Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Lord, Michael
Cope, Rt Hon John Lyell, Sir Nicholas
Couchman, James McCrea, Rev William
Cran, James McCrindle, Robert
Curry, David MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Davis, David (Boothferry) Maclean, David
Day, Stephen McLoughlin, Patrick
Devlin, Tim McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael
Dickens, Geoffrey Madel, David
Dorrell, Stephen Malins, Humfrey
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Mans, Keith
Dover, Den Maples, John
Durant, Tony Marland, Paul
Eggar, Tim Marlow, Tony
Emery, Sir Peter Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd) Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Mates, Michael Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Maude, Hon Francis Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Shersby, Michael
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Meyer, Sir Anthony Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Miller, Sir Hal Speed, Keith
Mills, Iain Speller, Tony
Miscampbell, Norman Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Mitchell, David (Hants NW) Squire, Robin
Moate, Roger Stanbrook, Ivor
Molyneaux, Rt Hon James Stanley, Rt Hon John
Monro, Sir Hector Stern, Michael
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Stevens, Lewis
Morris, M (N'hampton S) Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Morrison, Sir Charles Stewart, Ian (Hertfordshire N)
Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester) Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Moss, Malcolm Sumberg, David
Moynihan, Hon Colin Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Needham, Richard Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Nelson, Anthony Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Neubert, Michael Thornton, Malcolm
Nicholls, Patrick Thurnham, Peter
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Townend, John (Bridlington)
Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley Trippier, David
Oppenheim, Phillip Twinn, Dr Ian
Page, Richard Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Paice, James Viggers, Peter
Patnick, Irvine Waddington, Rt Hon David
Patten, Chris (Bath) Walden, George
Pawsey, James Walker, A. Cecil (Belfast N)
Porter, Barry (Wirral S) Waller, Gary
Porter, David (Waveney) Ward, John
Portillo, Michael Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Raffan, Keith Warren, Kenneth
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Wheeler, John
Redwood, John Whitney, Ray
Renton, Tim Widdecombe, Ann
Riddick, Graham Wiggin, Jerry
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Wilkinson, John
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy) Wilshire, David
Roe, Mrs Marion Winterton, Mrs Ann
Ross, William (Londonderry E) Winterton, Nicholas
Rossi, Sir Hugh Wolfson, Mark
Rost, Peter Wood, Timothy
Ryder, Richard Yeo, Tim
Sayeed, Jonathan
Shaw, David (Dover) Tellers for the Noes:
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey) Mr. Kenneth Carlisle and
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb') Mr. Tom Sackville.

Question accordingly negatived.

Main Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 243, Noes 179.

Division No. 468] [12.24 pm
Adley, Robert Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)
Aitken, Jonathan Bevan, David Gilroy
Alexander, Richard Biffen, Rt Hon John
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Blackburn, Dr John G.
Allason, Rupert Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Alton, David Bonsor, Sir Nicholas
Amess, David Boswell, Tim
Amos, Alan Bottomley, Peter
Arbuthnot, James Bottomley, Mrs Virginia
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Bowis, John
Ashby, David Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes
Aspinwall, Jack Brazier, Julian
Atkinson, David Bright, Graham
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Brittan, Rt Hon Leon
Baldry, Tony Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)
Batiste, Spencer Browne, John (Winchester)
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)
Beggs, Roy Burns, Simon
Bellingham, Henry Burt, Alistair
Bendall, Vivian Butler, Chris
Butterfill, John Lee, John (Pendle)
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Carrington, Matthew Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Carttiss, Michael Lightbown, David
Cash, William Lilley, Peter
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Chapman, Sydney Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Chope, Christopher Lord, Michael
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Lyell, Sir Nicholas
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) McCrea, Rev William
Colvin, Michael McCrindle, Robert
Conway, Derek MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Maclean, David
Cope, Rt Hon John McLoughlin, Patrick
Couchman, James McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael
Cox, Tom Madel, David
Cran, James Malins, Humfrey
Curry, David Mans, Keith
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) Maples, John
Davis, David (Boothferry) Marland, Paul
Day, Stephen Marlow, Tony
Devlin, Tim Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Dickens, Geoffrey Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Dorrell, Stephen Mates, Michael
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Maude, Hon Francis
Dover, Den Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Durant, Tony Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Eggar, Tim Meyer, Sir Anthony
Emery, Sir Peter Miller, Sir Hal
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd) Mills, Iain
Evennett, David Miscampbell, Norman
Fallon, Michael Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Favell, Tony Mitchell, David (Hants NW)
Fenner, Dame Peggy Moate, Roger
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Molyneaux, Rt Hon James
Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey Monro, Sir Hector
Fishburn, John Dudley Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Forman, Nigel Morris, M (N'hampton S)
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Morrison, Sir Charles
Forsythe, Clifford (Antrim S) Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester)
Forth, Eric Moss, Malcolm
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Moynihan, Hon Colin
Franks, Cecil Needham, Richard
Freeman, Roger Nelson, Anthony
French, Douglas Neubert, Michael
Fry, Peter Nicholls, Patrick
Gale, Roger Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Gardiner, George Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Garel-Jones, Tristan Oppenheim, Phillip
Gill, Christopher Page, Richard
Glyn, Dr Alan Paice, James
Goodhart, Sir Philip Patnick, Irvine
Goodlad, Alastair Patten, Chris (Bath)
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Pawsey, James
Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW) Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Porter, David (Waveney)
Gregory, Conal Portillo, Michael
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Raffan, Keith
Hawkins, Christopher Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Heathcoat-Amory, David Redwood, John
Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE) Renton, Tim
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Riddick, Graham
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A) Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Roe, Mrs Marion
Hunter, Andrew Ross, William (Londonderry E)
Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas Rossi, Sir Hugh
Key, Robert Rost, Peter
Kilfedder, James Ryder, Richard
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Sayeed, Jonathan
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater) Shaw, David (Dover)
Kirkhope, Timothy Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Knapman, Roger Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston) Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Knox, David Shersby, Michael
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Lang, Ian Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Latham, Michael Speed, Keith
Speller, Tony Walden, George
Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W) Walker, A. Cecil (Belfast N)
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Waller, Gary
Squire, Robin Ward, John
Stanbrook, Ivor Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Stanley, Rt Hon John Warren, Kenneth
Stern, Michael Wheeler, John
Stevens, Lewis Whitney, Ray
Stewart, Andy (Sherwood) Widdecombe, Ann
Stewart, Ian (Hertfordshire N) Wiggin, Jerry
Stradling Thomas, Sir John Wilkinson, John
Sumberg, David Wilshire, David
Taylor, John M (Solihull) Winterton, Mrs Ann
Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman Winterton, Nicholas
Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N) Wolfson, Mark
Thornton, Malcolm Wood, Timothy
Thurnham, Peter Yeo, Tim
Townend, John (Bridlington)
Twinn, Dr Ian Tellers for the Ayes:
Vaughan, Sir Gerard Mr. Kenneth Carlisle and
Viggers, Peter Mr. Tom Sackville.
Waddington, Rt Hon David
Abbott, Ms Diane Flannery, Martin
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Flynn, Paul
Anderson, Donald Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Foster, Derek
Armstrong, Hilary Foulkes, George
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Fraser, John
Barron, Kevin Fyfe, Maria
Battle, John Galloway, George
Beckett, Margaret Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Bermingham, Gerald Godman, Dr Norman A.
Bidwell, Sydney Golding, Mrs Llin
Blair, Tony Gordon, Mildred
Blunkett, David Gould, Bryan
Boateng, Paul Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Boyes, Roland Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Bradley, Keith Grocott, Bruce
Bray, Dr Jeremy Hardy, Peter
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Harman, Ms Harriet
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Heffer, Eric S.
Buchan, Norman Henderson, Doug
Buckley, George J. Hinchliffe, David
Caborn, Richard Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Callaghan, Jim Holland, Stuart
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Hoyle, Doug
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Clay, Bob Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Clelland, David Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Hume, John
Cohen, Harry Illsley, Eric
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Janner, Greville
Cook, Robin (Livingston) John, Brynmor
Corbett, Robin Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Cousins, Jim Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil
Crowther, Stan Kirkwood, Archy
Cryer, Bob Lambie, David
Cunliffe, Lawrence Lamond, James
Cunningham, Dr John Leadbitter, Ted
Darling, Alistair Lestor, Joan (Eccles)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Lewis, Terry
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Litherland, Robert
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) Livingstone, Ken
Dixon, Don Livsey, Richard
Dobson, Frank Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Doran, Frank Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Douglas, Dick Loyden, Eddie
Dunnachie, Jimmy McAllion, John
Evans, John (St Helens N) McAvoy, Thomas
Fatchett, Derek McCartney, Ian
Faulds, Andrew McGrady, Eddie
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n) McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Fisher, Mark McKelvey, William
McLeish, Henry Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Maclennan, Robert Robertson, George
McNamara, Kevin Robinson, Geoffrey
McWilliam, John Rogers, Allan
Madden, Max Rooker, Jeff
Mahon, Mrs Alice Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Mallon, Seamus Ruddock, Joan
Marek, Dr John Sedgemore, Brian
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Sheerman, Barry
Martin, Michael J. (Springburn) Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Martlew, Eric Short, Clare
Meacher, Michael Skinner, Dennis
Meale, Alan Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Michael, Alun Snape, Peter
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Soley, Clive
Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby) Spearing, Nigel
Morgan, Rhodri Steel, Rt Hon David
Morley, Elliott Steinberg, Gerry
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Stott, Roger
Mowlam, Marjorie Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Mullin, Chris Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Murphy, Paul Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Nellist, Dave Turner, Dennis
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Vaz, Keith
O'Brien, William Wall, Pat
O'Neill, Martin Walley, Joan
Parry, Robert Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Patchett, Terry Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Pendry, Tom Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Pike, Peter L. Winnick, David
Powell, Ray (Ogmore) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Primarolo, Dawn Wray, Jimmy
Quin, Ms Joyce
Randall, Stuart Tellers for the Noes:
Redmond, Martin Mr. Frank Haynes and
Richardson, Jo Mr. Ken Eastham.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That this House approves the Home Secretary's action in giving directions to the BBC and IBA to restrict the broadcasting of statements by Northern Ireland terrorist organisations and their apologists.