§ Order for Second Reading read.3.37 pm
§ The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Peter Brooke)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time
§ Mr. Brooke
The Bill is presented at a time when we have recently had further tragic confirmation of the ability of terrorists, both republican and so-called loyalists, to bring death and misery to men and women not just in Northern Ireland, but throughout the United Kingdom and beyond. I do not want now to rehearse the details of the present security situation, in which so far this year 71 people have died in Northern Ireland alone as a direct result of the security situation. They were mostly civilians, but the total included 11 members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and 15 members of the armed forces, including eight from the Ulster Defence Regiment.
All of us are all too familiar with the litany of suffering caused by terrorists seeking to promote their political objectives by violence and the threat of violence—violence all the more atrocious because it is so completely futile. Each of us also, as we take part in the debate, will recollect particular incidents which have made an especially deep impression on us personally and which must inevitably influence our approach to the issues that we are debating.
Since that is so, I do not need to spend time explaining why the Government will not rest until Northern Ireland is cleansed of the abomination of terrorism. I do not need to justify to the House why the Government seek to maintain the rule of law, or why we have a duty to ensure that all the people of Northern Ireland must be free to express their political opinions without inhibition, fear of discrimination or reprisal, or why we have a duty to defend the democratically expressed wishes of the people of Northern Ireland against those who try to promote political objectives, including a change in the status of Northern Ireland, by terror
§ Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)
Like all my right hon. and hon. Friends, I have always strenuously opposed terrorism and condemned the IRA and its sister organisation on the opposite side of the sectarian divide. There is no justification for terrorism. I oppose the campaign of terrorism that has been going on for 20 years. Ireland is no more united now than it was on the day in 1970 when the IRA started its bombing activities. However, is not it essential that, while those who are found guilty by the courts of such crimes should be imprisoned, those who are found guilty but are seen to be innocent should be released? Therefore, would not it be acting in the interests of the rule of law that, if the Birmingham Six are not guilty—hardly anyone believes that they are—they should be released as soon as possible? That would improve relations between Ireland and this country
§ Mr. Brooke
The hon. Gentleman's intervention was more like a speech. Even if he had made that point in a speech later in the proceedings, it could well have been out of order in the context of this Bill.
Nor do I need to persuade the House of the need to ensure that the police, supported so long as is necessary by the armed forces, have the resources that they require to undertake their difficult and dangerous work on behalf of the whole community, or why we need to provide in Northern Ireland a legal framework within which the security forces can act to defeat terrorism. Nevertheless, simply because the crimes committed by terrorists are so heinous, because they are such an affront to human decency and to the civilised values that we share with our friends throughout the world, and because these terrible deeds move us to great and justified anger, I should like to make clear to the House the Government's strategy to defeat terrorism and to explain how the Bill is an integral part of that strategy.
Indeed, it is because I regard it as essential that the House and the wider public should be in no doubt what our policies are for eradicating the scourge of terrorism that, as right hon. and hon. Members will recall, I issued a statement to coincide with the introduction of the Bill setting out the general principles that inform the Government's security policy in Northern Ireland.
The House will forgive me, Mr. Speaker, if I do not go through that document in detail now, although I commend it to right hon. and hon. Members for further study. I would draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to one sentence in that statement, for it is perhaps the most important of all:the Government is determined that terrorism will be defeated through the even-handed and energetic enforcement of the criminal law".There is something so fundamental here that I believe that I should explain why the Government are in no doubt that our response to terrorism must be conducted within the framework of the rule of law. It is, quite simply, because our adherence to the rule of law, in the face of the most atrocious provocation, as well as to democratic procedures and the principles of justice that sustain our civilisation, demonstrates why terrorism should not win and why it cannot win. For terrorism, by its very nature, represents a relapse into barbarism and savagery that unites the entire civilised world in determined and unquenchable opposition.
For these reasons, too, we believe that, so far as possible, our response to the terrorist threat should be based on the ordinary criminal law of Northern Ireland. This means that the courts and security forces are constrained by the law. Suspects will be treated as innocent until proved guilty; they will be prosecuted on the basis of proper evidence adduced in open court and tested to proper standards; and witnesses for and against the accused will be produced for open examination. In short, those accused of involvement in terrorist activities will be accorded essentially the same treatment, both in terms of prosecution and defence, as other persons suspected of ordinary crimes. They are tried and, if found guilty, punished for those crimes in a way that ensures that justice is both done and seen to be done. This reflects the deep truth that terrorist methods, whatever their purported objectives, are simply criminal—and should be tried as such.
25 Nevertheless, successive Governments have recognised that some modifications to the ordinary law are needed to deal with the terrorist emergency in Northern Ireland. This will hardly surprise right hon. and hon. Members, since it is one of the terrorists' main objectives to bring this about, as part of their campaign to undermine the basic institutions of the state and to provoke the authorities to measures that will be judged oppressive and cause us to lose the confidence and support of the community at large. That is why Governments have sought consistently to limit these departures from the normal criminal law, both in extent and in time, and to ensure that such exceptional measures as are needed are strictly proportionate to the terrorist threat.
At the same time, we need to ensure that the police, and the armed forces in their support, as well as the institutions of government generally, and the legal system in particular, are equipped under the rule of law to respond effectively to the terrorist threat—to have the power, so far as possible, to deter and interdict terrorist operations, to reassure the population, and, above all, to enable the police to bring the successful prosecution of terrorist criminals before the courts
§ Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
The right hon. Gentleman speaks with such sublime confidence that everyone who is found guilty of terrorism is guilty that I find his speech extremely worrying. In Northern Ireland, there are the Diplock courts, with their lack of juries and many other things of that nature, and in this country we now realise that many who are innocent have been found guilty of various offences and have been in gaol for 15 or 16 years. Does not the right hon. Gentleman worry about this to some extent? What is happening in Northern Ireland is possibly even worse than what is happening in this country
§ Mr. Brooke
The hon. Gentleman takes up a matter which was introduced by the hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) and which does not relate specifically to the Bill. The hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery) has drawn attention to the workings of the Diplock courts and, if I understood him rightly, he cast aspersions. I wish to reject those aspersions from the Government Dispatch Box
§ Mr. Winnick
I apologise to the right hon. Gentleman for intervening a second time. Does not he see the relevance—[ Interruption.] I wish that the hon. Member for Littleborough and Saddleworth (Mr. Dickens) would stop mumbling. He has not spoken about these matters previously
§ Mr. Geoffrey Dickens (Littleborough and Saddleworth)
The hon. Gentleman does not give anyone a chance to speak
§ Mr. Winnick
Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is extremely important that there should be full faith in the rule of law in this country and that the Dublin Government, as well as the Governments of other countries, including the United States of America, should understand that if a miscarriage of justice occurs, as with the Guildford Four and almost certainly with the Birmingham Six, it will be put right within our democratic system? Is not this relevant to trying to persuade people from abroad that the campaign against terrorism is one 26 which we take extremely seriously and that if miscarriages of justice occur they will be put right at the first opportunity?
§ Mr. Brooke
I repeat what I have already said to the hon. Members for Hillsborough and for Walsall, North. In the hope of deflecting the hon. Member for Walsall, North and dissuading him from making a further intervention, I shall respond by saying that, while I and no doubt every other hon. Member regret any miscarriage of justice, we can take pride in the fact that the resolution of cases where there has been a reversal of previous judgments has been conducted within the normal process of the law and not as a result of any direct political intervention.
In practice, I hope that the House will readily understand that a permanent balance has to be struck between maintaining the ordinary procedures of the criminal law, along with effective procedures to guarantee individual rights and liberties, and such departures as are strictly necessary to enable us to confront and ultimately defeat the special character of the terrorist challenge.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
Should not it be emphasised by the Secretary of State that the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six had jury trials? They were not found guilty under the Diplock court procedure. Will the right hon. Gentleman repudiate the assertion that has been made about Northern Ireland?
§ Mr. Brooke
I am most grateful to the hon. Gentleman for intervening and supporting me and confirming what I have already said to the hon. Member for Hillsborough. The hon. Member for Antrim, North is correct.
Although the Government do not rule out any workable and lawful measure——
§ Mr. Brooke
I shall finish this sentence first.
Although the Government do not rule out any workable and lawful measure that may be necessary to defeat terrorism, we are convinced that if a lasting peace is to be achieved in Northern Ireland it will be secured in the long run only through sustained and vigorous application of the criminal law against all wrongdoers, from whichever side of the community they come
§ Mr. Corbyn
Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves this subject, will he tell us what progress is being made in investigating violations of the law as it applies in Northern Ireland by the armed forces in the past and what investigations have been made into the shoot-to-kill policy that has been applied by the security forces in Northern Ireland? Does he agree that we all want to bring peace to Ireland and that to do so there must be a political strategy and a political dialogue? Can he give us any news on how that is developing?
§ Mr. Brooke
Seductive though Opposition Members may be, I have some idea of the length of the speech that I must deliver in support of the Bill on Second Reading. Perhaps a discussion on political developments should 27 wait for another day. The hon. Gentleman asked a leading question. There is no shoot-to-kill policy in Northern Ireland, and there never has been one. As he well knows, all allegations about such episodes have been investigated.
§ Sir David Mitchell (Hampshire, North-West)
Does my right hon. Friend agree that there is a shoot-to-kill policy in Northern Ireland, and that it is operated by the Provisional IRA? They are the only people who operate such a policy
§ Mr. Brooke
I agree factually with my hon. Friend, but for the purposes of this debate I am defending the Government's policy. If I make some progress with the Bill, it may assist the House.
The essential purpose of the Bill is to re-enact, with amendments and additions, the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Acts 1978 and 1987, together with part VI of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989, following the report by Lord Colville earlier this year. The Bill would usefully bring together in one piece of legislation all the anti-terrorism provisions that apply uniquely to Northern Ireland.
I have explained that our strategy is to defeat terrorism by the resolute application of the rule of law. From that premise, it follows that our duty is to ensure that the law is effective for that purpose. As I explained when the Bill was introduced on 8 November, for the moment and for the foreseeable future that law must contain provisions that recognise the exceptional threat terrorism continues to pose. That is the purpose of emergency legislation. We must provide the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the armed forces, as well as the courts, with the legal means that they need to protect the community effectively and to defeat terrorism. At the same time, we must continue to provide appropriate safeguards for those accused or suspected of terrorism. I attach no lesser value to the latter than to the former. We must have both in our legislation and I believe that, taken as a whole, the Bill represents an appropriate response to both concerns.
Emergency legislation is, by its very nature, something out of the ordinary. Because of its exceptional character, it has to be kept under constant review. Parliament recognised that when it decided that the current emergency provisions Acts should have a fixed, five-year life, expiring in May 1992, and that the principal provisions should be subject to annual review in both Houses. Right hon. and hon. Members will note that identical procedures are recommended for the Bill before us, should it be enacted. I would add only that, when the need for a particular provision no longer existed, it would remain the policy of the Government to repeal it or allow it to lapse as a step towards greater reliance on the ordinary criminal law
§ Mr. Corbyn
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for giving way a second time. He will recall that the European Court of Human Rights expressed grave reservations about the operation of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989. Is he satisfied that the Bill will meet the requirements of that court on holding prisoners without access to legal representatives?
§ Mr. Brooke
I should not bring this legislation before the House unless I had such confidence in it. If a case were to arise under the convention, it would take its course and the Government would defend their policy.
As I said, it would remain the Government's policy to repeal legislation or to allow it to lapse when the need for it no longer existed. That time, however, is not yet. For the reasons that I have already given, I wish that it were and, for those same reasons the House may be sure that the Government would not be bringing forward this Bill now were we not fully persuaded that its provisions were entirely necessary. Right hon. and hon. Members will have noted that Lord Colville concluded that the basic measures currently available to the police, the armed forces and the courts remain necessary. There will, of course, be an opportunity for right hon. and hon. Members to debate the merits of the various proposals in the Bill over the coming weeks. I simply make the point now that the ordinary criminal law and trial procedures are not in all respects adequate to deal with the special problems of terrorism as they now exist, so additional measures remain sadly necessary. That is not, of course, a phenomenon unique to terrorist crimes; it is recognised equally in the case of drugs and fraud, for example, for which special legislation exists. The Government therefore have no hesitation in bringing forward this Bill. It is central to our common fight against terrorism in Northern Ireland.
As I turn my attention now towards the detail of the Bill, I should like to express the gratitude of Her Majesty's Government to Lord Colville for what we regard as a thorough, incisive and constructive report. As the House will know, Lord Colville has now been reviewing the emergency provisions Acts for some years, as well as the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1989, and his expertise is apparent for all to see in his report. I commend him for his report, which was valuable to Government and, I am sure, will be valuable to the House generally in its deliberations. I should also like to thank all those others, including the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights and the Irish Government, who have given us the benefit of their advice.
As will by now be apparent to the House, the greater proportion of the Bill, in line with Lord Colville's recommendations, is a straight re-enactment of existing provisions. That should be clear to right hon. and hon. Members from the explanatory and financial memorandum. I therefore hope that the House will bear with me if I do not devote too much time to those sections of the Bill that would essentially re-enact the existing provisions. Naturally, I recognise that simply because a provision is being re-enacted does not mean that it does not merit debate. But as the existing provisions are very familiar to the House, I hope that right hon. and hon. Members would regard it as a better use of our time if I were to concentrate on the new provisions rather than those which are already established.
It may assist the House if I give a brief outline of the structure of the Bill, highlighting the new powers about which I will say more later. Part I of the Bill replaces, without significant amendment, part I of the 1978 Act. It continues the category of scheduled offences and makes provisions for trials on indictment for scheduled offences to be conducted by the court without a jury. It provides that bail in such cases can be granted only by the High Court or Court of Appeal and contains special rules on the admissibility of confessions by persons charged with 29 scheduled offences, and for reversing the onus of proof in relation to offences of possession of firearms and explosives. Part I also provides for the granting of remission for persons convicted of scheduled offences and for the reactivation of the remitted portion of earlier sentences. Those provisions are currently found in part VI of the prevention of terrorism Act 1989.
Part II of the Bill replaces, with amendments, part II of the 1978 Act. It confers powers on the police and armed forces to enter premises without warrant, to search for munitions, radio transmitters and receivers, and for persons unlawfully detained, and for the purpose of arresting terrorists. It provides the police and armed forces with powers of arrest and seizure; powers to stop and question, and to search persons in public places; and powers of entry and interference with rights of property and with roads. The power of seizure for the armed forces is provided for the first time. That part also creates a new offence of bypassing closed border crossing points and a new power to allow the police and armed forces to examine documents and other recorded data.
Part III replaces, with one significant addition, part III of the 1978 Act. It continues the category of proscribed organisations for Northern Irleand, and offences relating to membership of and support for such organisations. It also creates offences relating to the unlawful collection of information likely to be useful to terrorists; training in the making or use of firearms and explosives; and the wearing in public places of masks, hoods or other articles to conceal identity. This part also creates a new offence of possessing items intended for terrorist purposes.
Part IV, together with schedule 3, re-enacts the power of executive detention. Part V replaces, with amendments, part III of the 1987 Act, and makes provision for the regulation of security guard companies in Northern Ireland.
Part VI replaces, without amendment, part II of the 1987 Act. It contains statutory rights for persons arrested and detained under the terrorism provisions in police custody to have a person informed of their arrest and whereabouts, and to have access to legal advice. It also makes new provision to allow the police to take fingerprints without consent from terrorist suspects, in line with the law in Great Britain.
Part VII replaces, without amendment, existing provisions in the 1978 Act and the prevention of terrorism Act 1989. It provides for the Secretary of State to make regulations for promoting the preservation of the peace and the maintenance of order. It re-enacts the provision that widened the grounds on which the Secretary of State may reject applications for licenses for new explosives factories and magazines, currently found in part IV of the prevention of terrorism Act 1989. It provides for the payment of compensation by the Secretary of State in respect of property taken, occupied, destroyed or damaged by members of the security forces. This part also contains a new power to enable the Secretary of State to make codes of practice governing the exercise of the emergency powers by the police and armed forces. Part VIII contains supplementary provisions.
That, is a brief outline of the contents of the Bill. Generally speaking, and with certain exceptions that I will come to in a moment, the re-enactment of the various provisions, either with or without amendment, is in line with Lord Colville's recommendations.
30 I should now like to spend a few moments examining some of the new or otherwise prominent provisions of the Bill. I propose, therefore, to deal in turn with executive detention, the proposed new offence of possession of items intended for terrorist purposes, the proposed new power to examine documents and the proposed new powers in relation to border crossing points.
I suspect that the first thing that may have struck many right hon. and hon. Members when they first read the Bill was that the provisions relating to executive detention have been retained. Here we have not accepted Lord Colville's recommendation. I make no apology for this. The Government are determined to keep available a comprehensive range of responses to terrorist violence in the Province. Although the precise circumstances in which detention would be reintroduced are not at present identifiable, and while there are no current plans to do so, the Government continue to believe that the outright repeal of the provisions would be mistaken, especially as, should the introduction of internment ever be needed, it may well be needed quickly, which would not be possible without the necessary powers on the statute book. Also, it may be of interest to right hon. and hon. Members to be reminded that the Republic of Ireland has an analogous power of internment available to it.
I shall now turn to some of the new provisions in the Bill
§ Mr. Merlyn Rees (Morley and Leeds, South)
I have never voted against the emergency provisions legislation, on the grounds that I operated it and that I have no right to change my mind when I am in opposition. However, I am of a mind to vote against the Bill tonight because of the issue that the Secretary of State has just passed over—executive detention—which has not been used since February 1975 and was ended at the end of 1975. There must be a better justification for including this important issue in legislation if it is not being used. If the Government wanted to use it, they should come back to the House of Commons and justify it because, as Gardiner showed, the legislation I inherited was not good—it sullied the law and had an effect abroad. Surely there must be a better justification than merely saying, "One might need it." One could not possibly introduce detention on the same principle as before
§ Mr. Brooke
I am familiar with the arguments for and against executive detention, with which the right hon. Gentleman will also be familiar, and to which he has in part alluded. The fact remains that, if one wished to deploy those powers, it would need to be done promptly and in such a way that terrorists had no warning that one was proposing to do it. The powers on the statute book require the Government—by the procedure of order—to justify what they have done after the event. If one had to go through parliamentary procedure before engaging in executive detention, the purpose of that detention would be lost. As I said a moment ago, the circumstances under which it might be used are remote. The Government's view is that it should be retained on the statute book.
In chapter 2 of his report, Lord Colville examined difficulties confronting the police and armed forces in Northern Ireland and considered the case for additional powers to—and I quote his report—assist them to counter the changing and more sophisticated methods of operation now adopted by terrorists".31 One such difficulty referred to by Lord Colville is that the terrorists are increasingly using and adapting for use as components in their improvised weapons and bombs a range of everyday articles which have otherwise innocent, lawful purposes. He says that it was put to him thatthere are now various articles which, though harmless in themselves, are so closely associated with terrorist activities that possession of them, in circumstances giving rise to reasonable suspicion of connection with terrorism, should be a new offence: the onus of disproving the suspicious circumstances should lie on the possessor".He illustrates the argument by referring to adhesive tape, plastic drums, bell-pushes, coffee grinders, kitchen scales and nylon fishing line which, though innocent items in themselves, can, he quotesalso have very sinister applications".Lord Colville therefore recommends that, to remedy the current deficiency whereby persons caught in possession of items of use to terrorists, in suspicious circumstances, can evade prosecution, a new offence should be created ofgoing equipped for acts of terrorism".The Government have accepted that recommendation in principle and acted upon it. The Bill therefore contains a new offence of possession of items intended for terrorist purposes, in clause 29, modelled on Lord Colville's proposal. We believe that this will assist in the bringing of prosecutions against those who are responsible for acquiring, storing and using the equipment on which the terrorist campaign depends, as well as those who are intent on using it themselves.
In chapter 2, Lord Colville also examined the difficulty confronting the police and armed forces over the examination of documents. He explained, in paragraph 2.6(d), thatmessages, information about targets and other useful material may have to be reduced to writing on inconspicuous pieces of paper or innocent-looking documents, as being the only safe means of communication.There is thus a clear mischief to be remedied. There have been many examples in recent times of terrorists storing information in writing or other forms. Lord Colville's solution to this problem was to recommend that we should wait and see how the existing law, in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, develops. He made no recommendation for a new power. However, the Government regard this as such a damaging omission that it would be unsafe to leave it uncorrected. As the law now stands, the advantage lies very much in the terrorists' favour and the Government have decided that action was necessary, both to make the terrorists' life more difficult and to increase the police's and armed forces' chances of obtaining hard evidence.
Right hon. and hon. Members will notice that the new power, which is found in clause 22, is tied explicitly to clause 30, the offence of collecting information useful to terrorists. As the law stands at present, it is an offence, under section 22 of the 1978 Act, which clause 30 replaces, to collect information about members of the judiciary, the police, the armed forces and the prison service and others, which would be useful to terrorists, yet there are no powers for the security forces to look explicitly for such information. The new provision is intended to remedy that anomaly. However, the Bill is drafted in such a way that searches under the new power would be limited to the extent reasonably required for ascertaining whether 32 information likely to be useful to terrorists was present. In the Government's view, neither this new power nor the new offence of possession will be applied in such a way that any law-abiding member of the public would have any reason to fear. The decision to prosecute in the case of the new offence would rest with the independent Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland; the exercise of the new power of examination would be determined by joint operational directives to be issued by the Chief Constable and the GOC.
In chapter 13 of his report, Lord Colville drew attention to the problem of the illegal reopening or bypassing of closed border crossing points. As right hon. and hon. Members know, there has been a concerted campaign to reopen or bypass crossing points over the past 18 months. The Government recognise that the closure of border crossing points can cause inconvenience to local communities, but I assure the House that these crossing closures are vital in the interests of security. To quote Lord Colville,not only are the security forces extremely sensitive to the dangers from such illegal vehicular access, but their apprehensions are shared by many of the civilian population, in border areas".The illegal reopening or bypassing of closed border crossings can therefore present the most serious risk in security terms because they can allow terrorists to move weapons or explosives across the border or to mount attacks. Given these dangers, it is imperative that certain crossing points remain closed. The Government have therefore inserted a new offence in the Bill, relating to the bypassing of closed border crossings. This will reinforce the offence in the existing legislation of interfering with closed crossing points. We have also created a new power to enable members of the armed forces to seize equipment used in the illegal reopening or bypassing of such crossings. Such a power is already available to the police, but, such is the nature of patrolling in border areas, they are not always present. Hence the need to close a loophole from which only terrorists and their fellow travellers benefit.
I turn now to the subject of codes of practice. As right hon. and hon. Members will know, the Government published in July a non-statutory guide to the exercise by the police and armed forces of certain powers under the emergency legislation in Northern Ireland. We are currently monitoring the effectiveness of that guide. Representations were made to Lord Colville, as they have been in the past, that an alternative approach would be to have statutory codes of practice and Lord Colville recommends that we take an enabling power in case the guide proves inadequate. The Government accept his recommendation and such powers are therefore to be found in clauses 48 and 49.
There are also a few other matters arising out of Lord Colville's report on which I should like to comment. As right hon. and hon. Members will be aware, another of Lord Colville's recommendations was that interviews with terrorist suspects should be recorded, without sound, on video and that consideration should be given to trials in tape recording such interviews, in parallel with the current trials in Great Britain. The House will want to know that the Government have considered these proposals very carefully. We acknowledge that there remains concern about police interview procedures with terrorist suspects and recognise that the introduction of sound or video 33 recording could have a beneficial effect on confidence in those procedures, as well as allowing allegations of ill-treatment to be controverted.
Nevertheless, we have concluded, after the most careful consideration, that it would be wrong to proceed with Lord Colville's recommendations, although I would remind the House that, if we ever reach a different view, the change could be made without legislation—under the terms, for instance, of the kind of code of practice to which I have just referred. The Government believe that the introduction of video recording could seriously jeopardise the usefulness of the interview process, which remains crucial to the police in their efforts to deal with terrorism effectively. Nor do we believe that video recording would, in itself, remove completely the scope for allegations to be made
§ Mr. Seamus Mallon (Newry and Armagh)
Is the Secretary of State suggesting that interviews that take place in police stations as a result of detention under the emergency legislation are a substantial means of obtaining information in Northern Ireland? I thought that one of the elements that we had to protect in Northern Ireland was that the emergency provisions should be implemented only where there was accurate suspicion about a person's involvement and that one should not trawl for information. That must be made very clear to the Secretary of State
§ Mr. Brooke
The hon. Gentleman is of course justified in intervening on a matter which I understand causes him concern. However, the Government have made up their mind on an issue on which the Bennett commission of inquiry into interrogation procedures in Northern Ireland passed a view a decade ago. We closely examined whether there had been any changes in the pattern both of activity and policy during the intervening decade. The Bennett commission recommended that video recordings should not be introduced. We decided, on the basis of what had occurred during the intervening decade, that at this stage we would not be justified in changing the law, although, as I said a few moments ago, we should not need the Bill in order to do that.
As for audio-taping, we do not believe that the time is right to conduct trials in connection with terrorist suspects in Northern Ireland. The police in Northern Ireland have little experience with tape recording, even in ordinary cases, at present, but we shall obviously study carefully the results of the trials involving terrorist suspects currently under way in Great Britain.
There is also the question of ensuring effective complaints mechanisms to which, like the Chief Constable and the General Officer Commanding, I attach the highest importance. As I explained in my statement on security policy, the public have a right to expect the highest standards of behaviour from police officers and members of Her Majesty's forces. Activity or actions falling short of those standards will never be condoned. Indeed, the Government believe that anyone who has a genuine cause for complaint about the conduct of a police officer or a member of the armed forces should use the procedures that exist for the investigation of such complaints. It is against that background that we are paying special attention to what Lord Colville has to say on this subject in chapter 5 of his report and we shall return to this subject as the Bill progresses.
34 Effective action to curtail and disrupt the financing of terrorism is a vital element in the Government's strategy for defeating terrorism. Accordingly, the law in this area was substantially strengthened by the enactment last year of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act. That Act created three new offences in connection with the handling of funds intended for terrorist use. First, it relieved banks and other financial institutions of their obligations to confidentiality where a terrorist connection was suspected. Second, it gave new powers to the police, acting with the express authority of a court or, in Northern Ireland only and exceptionally, of the Secretary of State, to search premises and examine records, including financial records in appropriate cases. Third, it provided new powers of restraint and confiscation for the courts in connection with the new offences.
These new powers have already proved valuable, particularly in relation to investigation. However, as Lord Colville indicated in his report, there may be scope for further tightening of the law in this area and, while I would not wish to speculate further at this stage, the Government have not ruled out the possibility of further changes
§ Mr. Corbyn
Many people are concerned about the operation of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act. Does the Secretary of State think it right that those who have been before the courts in this country, originally arrested under that Act and subsequently released by the court because no case was found against them, should be made the subject of a banishment order signed by the Secretary of State to prevent them from returning to England, Wales or Scotland? Does the Secretary of State think that that is a due process of law which ought to be on the statute book of this country
§ Mr. Brooke
The decision that my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary would take in those circumstances would be based on the facts of those cases. I am aware that there have been such cases. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would not hesitate to raise them as and when they occurred. However, I do not regard the process as inappropriate in terms of the activities against which the legislation is directed.
Finally, the House will wish to know that I intend, shortly, to bring forward a proposal for a draft Order in Council to give effect to certain of Lord Colville's recommendations that would more appropriately be dealt with by that form of legislation than by this Bill, since their effects are not confined to the emergency law. These are the recommendations in paragraph 7.3. about remands into police custody and paragraph 16.4. on the copying of documentary exhibits. My intention is that this order should be made at about the time that the Bill will receive Royal Assent.
I have given a lengthy explanation of the general background to and the detail of the Bill. I hope that that has been helpful to the House. I simply conclude by reaffirming the Government's determination that the people of Northern Ireland should be protected from terrorism. Her Majesty's Government will continue to take whatever measures are necessary, within the framework of law, to purge terrorism from Northern Ireland and we regard this Bill as making a vital contribution to the achievement of that goal. It is, naturally, not the only weapon in our armoury against terrorism: we shall, for example, continue to co-operate 35 closely on security with the Government of the Republic of Ireland and our other friends abroad. We shall also continue to implement effective measures in the political, social and economic fields, which are designed to promote equality of treatment, economic prosperity and stable democratic institutions—measures which are both good in themselves—but which will also complement and reinforce the work of the security forces, about which the hon. Member for Islington, North asked me earlier.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
Will the right hon. Gentleman inform the House whether, in keeping with what he says about co-operating closely on security with the Government of the Republic of Ireland, he had full discussions with Mr. Collins on this Bill? Mr. Collins has savagely attacked him and repudiated him
§ Mr. Brooke
I do not detect in the hon. Gentleman's question the total constructiveness and support which I usually associate with his interventions. I detected an element of mischief in that inquiry. I should be the first to acknowledge that the Minister for Foreign Affairs and I had a purposeful conversation about the legislation and that we did not necessarily see eye to eye on every point.
The Bill is nevertheless a most important part of that armoury, for we believe that it represents a fair and proportionate response to the current terrorist threat and that it will provide the courts and the security forces with the legal resources that they need to combat terrorism effectively, while still providing reasonable safeguards to protect the rights of individuals who fall under suspicion. It is, above all, a Bill which should be welcomed in principle both by the House and men and women of good will in Northern Ireland and elsewhere who share our determination to write an end to the chapter of terrorism in the history of Northern Ireland.
Finally, I should like to pay tribute to two groups who should be in our thoughts during this debate: first, the men and women of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the armed forces in Northern Ireland. They remain the first line of defence for the whole community against the terrorist threat and I pay an unreserved tribute to their continuing courage, dedication and professionalism. They have shown a resolve to tackle terrorism from whichever section of the community it comes and they have demonstrated by their actions in upholding the law that they are worthy of the full support of all sections of the community in the Province. A similar tribute is deserved for the judiciary, court staff and members of the prison service.
Secondly I pay tribute to the ordinary people of Northern Ireland, who continue to demonstrate a remarkable and outstanding resilience in the face of the most extreme provocation. I should like to leave them with this message: the Government treat with the utmost seriousness their duty to defend all the people of Northern Ireland, Protestant and Catholic, Unionist and Nationalist, against those who try to promote their political objectives, including a change in the status of Northern Ireland, by violence or the threat of violence. We shall continue our efforts, taking whatever measures are necessary within the law, for however long it takes, until terrorism is eradicated in Northern Ireland. Terrorist violence serves only to strengthen our resolve
§ Mr. Terry Dicks (Hayes and Harlington)
Will my right hon. Friend assure me that he will take every action possible to stop the obscene funerals of IRA terrorists being shown on television and being allowed to take place in the Province?
§ Mr. Brooke
I give my hon. Friend the assurance that what occurs within the law should be discharged within the law.
Terrorist violence serves only to strengthen our resolve. That message will bear repetition until it has been driven home. The Government are determined that the terrorists will never win. The Bill and the new provisions that it contains are designed to make our task easier.
§ Mr. Kevin McNamara (Kingston upon Hull, North)
I beg to move, to leave out from "That" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:That this House, whilst asserting the need to maintain confidence in the rule of law and in the administration of justice as the fundamental basis for achieving a just and stable society in Northern Ireland, declines to give a Second Reading to a Bill which fails to implement the main recommendations of Lord Colville's review of the current legislation by refusing to remove internment without trial from the Statute Book and failing to introduce the video-taping of interviews with terrorist suspects; to introduce the 'certifying in' of scheduled offences; to establish an ombudsman to consider the operation of complaints against the security forces and a statutory duty for the Commission of Human Rights to supervise the operation of the statute; and to consolidate and reform the law relating to the examination of witnesses at Coroners Courts, the use of public interest immunity certificates, and the abolition of the right of silence.The Secretary of State has already pencilled in for us the difficult background of atrocities, deaths, woundings, maimings, killings and explosions that take place in Northern Ireland. It is always a difficult time and, therefore, always a difficult task to move from the proper emotions that those dreadful atrocities raise within us to an objective examination of the proposed legislation. The Bill before the House reminds us of the extent to which civil liberties and individual freedoms have suffered in the past 10 years as a result of terrorist atrocities.
At the end of his speech the Secretary of State paid a proper tribute to the security forces, the judiciary and the ordinary people of Northern Ireland who have suffered tremendous aggravation from men of violence from all parts of the community. I join him in that tribute. The people who seek to uphold the rule of law in Northern Ireland have a difficult task to carry out. They have been subject to many attacks on them, whether they are ordinary squaddies, members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary or members of the judiciary or prison service. We are indebted to them for their tremendous dedication to their job in past years.
The Labour party does not dispute the need in principle for emergency legislation dealing with the problems in Northern Ireland. It is obvious that the IRA and other similar groups take part in the most direct infringement of human rights in the Province, particularly of the basic human right to live. Therefore, the House must agree that the murderous assaults of the paramilitary must never be allowed to win the day.
However, the Bill is not about the iniquities of the terrorists, on which we all agree, but about the correctness of the Government's responses to them. That is where we are in profound disagreement with some of the proposals. 37 Our opposition is one of principle. We believe that terrorism is best met by a firm application of the rule of law. That is what distinguishes the forces of the state from those of violent subversives and the men of violence. Far from weakening the Army and police in Northern Ireland, the need to work within the rule of law is a valuable reminder of their and, therefore, our moral superiority. The IRA would like nothing better than for the security forces to descend to its level and squabble in some sort of lawless gutter. The moment that such a thing happened would be the moment when the IRA and other men of violence had their victory.
The security forces must stay above that fray. They must not slum it in the criminal underworld below. The rule of law is their most important weapon in the fight against terrorism. It is the security forces' rationale. It is the ultimate guarantee that fairness and justice will eventually triumph within the Province. It is not enough, however, merely to invoke the phrase, "the rule of law". We need to ask what those words mean, as few formulas can have become so weakened by unreflective over-use in recent times. The Government constantly repeat their determination to maintain the rule of law, but they rarely explain the principles that underpin that commitment. That is entirely understandable, because discussion of those principles serves only to expose the degree to which the Government have, regrettably, drifted away from them in past years.
The rule of law involves first and foremost the simple notion that we are all—Ministers, the police, the Army, the UDR, the SAS, hon. Members, as well as ordinary citizens —bound by that same law. There should be no special rules for, or treatment of, any class of or groups of persons, no matter how eminent. Of equal fundamental importance is the idea that the law should be certain. It should not leave too much to the discretion of law enforcement officers. It should not be changed simply because parts of it prove inconvenient or aggravating to the authorities. The rule of law is a package of rights, not a menu of options. It is not for the Government to obey only those bits that are palatable and to dispense with the rest.
There may be occasions when it is necessary to depart from the normal circumstances that are associated with the idea of the rule of law. That is always the dilemma of democracy and that is what we are discussing today
§ Mr. Ivan Lawrence (Burton)
Is not the hon. Gentleman talking nonsense? Is not the law what a democratically elected Parliament decides? Therefore, what is proposed here would be the rule of law. What the hon. Gentleman is talking about is human rights. If he is considering whether there should be any diminution of human rights for those who perpetrate, or are suspected of perpetrating, terrorist acts, he is talking about something entirely different from the rule of law
§ Mr. McNamara
With the greatest respect to the hon. and learned Gentleman, he may use his definition of the rule of law and I shall use mine—one that the ordinary citizen understands as being the rule of law
§ Mr. Mallon
The hon. Gentleman and I are laymen. Would he expect the law to be based upon the highest evaluation of human rights? Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the law should reflect such an evaluation?
§ Mr. McNamara
I agree with my hon. Friend and that is why any diminution of those rights must be carefully examined and fully justified. It is not for the Government to obey only those bits of the law that they find palatable and to dispense with the rest.
There may be occasions when it is necessary for the Government to depart from the normal standards that are associated with the rule of law. As I said, that is what we are discussing today—it is our dilemma and a dilemma for democracy. The need for emergency provisions legislation —a fact which we do not dispute—demonstrates that that is the case. Such changes, however, must be few and definite. They must be those that are judged absolutely necessary and must be strictly proportionate to the harm that they are intended to counter. They must be temporary, so that the need for their continuance is regularly assessed. They must be kept constantly under review, so that their exceptional nature is never forgotten. There is not, and never should be, any such thing as an every-day emergency, just as there never should be any such thing as an acceptable level of violence. Special powers should be dispensed with, despite continuing violence, if it is judged that the level of disorder no longer warrants their continued existence. A need in 1978 is not necessarily a need in 1990.
The IRA is still killing and maiming, but it must not be allowed to determine our agenda of what should or should not be in the law. By its actions it should not be allowed to have any veto on modifications to our emergency laws. If there is one word that encapsulates the idea behind the rule of law it is fairness. In a divided community, fairness is the key element in making the legal system function.
If the law is even handed and is seen to be such, it can have a vital role in fostering reconciliation between the communities in the Province. If the law is seen to be equal in its treatment of all, it will be much easier to wean communities away from the violent subversives that some of them presently support. Conversely, if the law is perceived as unequal and partisan, or it is believed that it protects some and punishes others, it will be disregarded and treated as just another alienating emblem emanating from the other side. Therefore, the rule of law should not only give us the standards that make us different from the terrorists, but provide us with a way of demonstrating, our good will and commitment to fair play in the communities where this message needs to be heard most clearly.
As a result of our commitment to a real rule of law, we are compelled to oppose parts of the Bill. We have three main concerns. First, the Bill retains practically all the existing emergency powers contained in the previous Acts, but fails to consolidate all the other emergency law in the Province. Almost all the reforms suggested by Lord Colville in his most recent review have been unequivocally rejected. Secondly, the Bill proposes new laws which are extraordinarily broad and potentially very repressive. Thirdly, many of the crucial erosions in civil liberties that have occurred in recent years do not appear in the Bill. They lurk unnoticed and neglected in other legal nooks and crannies, despite the relevance to the issues with which the Bill affects to be concerned.
In short, the Bill is in many respects repressive by reflex action. It consolidates only those laws that it suits the Government to consolidate, and adds unnecessarily to the plethora of restrictions that already inhibit freedom in the Province. If there is an advocate of liberty somewhere within the Government, his or her voice can hardly have 39 been heard. Certainly the Government did not heed Lord Colville when the broad outlines of the legislation were being sketched.
Our first concern is the complete rejection of practically all Lord Colville's positive recommendations. Nowhere is that more evident than in the Government's total lack of liberal instincts in relation to the problem of internment without trial—or, as it is now called, "executive detention". Lord Colville called for an end to that power, but the Bill preserves it. Moreover, it allows for its introduction without further reference to the House or Parliament. We are assured by the Secretary of State that internment is not currently on the agenda. The memory of the catastrophe of 1971 is still fresh enough in people's minds—and, within it, the making of the Provisional IRA. There is no guarantee, however, that the temptation of the quick but disastrous internment fix will not be yielded to in the future. After a year of peaceful revolution in eastern Europe, and at a time when Britain is rightly critical of detention without trial in other places—Israel's in the occupied territories, for instance—it is ridiculous that this power should remain on the statute book.
The preservation of internment powers is enough in itself to justify the rejection of the Bill. However, Lord Colville's recommendations have been disregarded in many other respects. He recommended that police interviews with terrorist suspects should be video-recorded so that allegations of brutality could be more easily controverted and public confidence in the police could thereby be improved. The cameras are already in place, but no provision for such a recommendation appears in the Bill. It was with sadness that I listened to the Secretary of State's attempt to justify its omission.
Not only has the High Court recently awarded substantial compensation for injuries received in just such an interrogation in Castlereagh, but a member of the bench in Northern Ireland has added his voice to those calling for this elementary reform. It would be possible to introduce it, and to preserve secrecy and protection for those carrying out the interrogation, while ensuring people's basic safety, so that they will not be roughed up while they are being interrogated. To suggest that there might be the odd little corridor where someone could be roughed up, and to use that as an excuse for not having a video camera in the room where the interrogation is taking place, is an argument for having cameras in the corridors, not an argument for doing away with the idea of videoing
§ Mr. Flannery
Can my hon. Friend think why the Government struggle so strenuously against what to most of us seems such an obvious move? Given the terrible circumstances that we have been living through for so many years, that is almost unbelievable. Has my hon. Friend any idea why the Government are resisting the idea?
§ Mr. McNamara
I have no idea, because it is now possible, with all the scientific techniques and technological developments, to distort a face on a television screen if one is worried about the security of the interrogating officer. Therefore, it is possible for such matters to be overcome
§ Mr. Mallon
With reference to the question of the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery), the 40 figures in relation to detentions under both the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978—the EPA—and the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1974—the PTA—show, as a former Minister confirmed in Committee when we were dealing with other legislation—and it is on record in Hansard—that legislation allows detention to be used to trawl for information. If there were a video record, with tape, of every interview that would become patently apparent. That is one of the reasons why I believe, as does the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara), that the Secretary of State was slightly embarrassed when he dealt with the matter earlier. Can he say anything to dispel that belief?
§ Mr. McNamara
I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon), but there is some confusion. Lord Colville recommended videoing, but without a tape recording of what was taking place, so the evidence of trawling for information would not have become evident. I do not want to delay the House on a great deal of detail this afternoon but, in Committee, we could also explore the issue of taping. I believe that we can use both video and tape recordings and should properly introduce safeguards to protect the security forces, but that is something to be discussed in Committee.
Lord Colville thought that it would be a good idea to have a system of lay visitors to police stations or appoint an ombudsman-style figure to oversee the complaints procedure of both the Army and the police
§ Mr. Barry Porter (Wirral, South)
The hon. Gentleman said that some of those matters are for Committee—indeed, the whole of the hon. Gentleman's speech has been about Committee points. Does not he agree that it would be entirely appropriate for the Labour party to show that it is still in favour of emergency provisions for the peculiar, particular and unique difficulties in the Province and for there to be a bipartisan policy? I am willing, as I am sure the House is generally, for all the matters that the hon. Gentleman raises in relation to Lord Colville's points to be dealt with in Committee. If the Labour party does not show that it is in favour of such provisions it will be a sign to the Provisional IRA and other paramilitary organisations that there is no longer a bipartisan policy, which can only be the wrong signal
§ Mr. McNamara
The hon. Gentleman obviously did not hear the start of my speech—I do not know whether he was asleep, not in the Chamber or indulging in mind wandering and not paying attention to what was being said. I specifically and directly said that the Labour party accepts the need for emergency legislation to deal with the particular problems in Northern Ireland
§ Mr. McNamara
With the greatest respect, I have given way a great deal and shall get on with my speech. The hon. Gentleman can make his speech later. The hon. Member for Wirral, South (Mr. Porter) said that I was making Committee points, which may be so, but they are of sufficient importance for the Secretary of State to feel it necessary to introduce them.
I was talking of the appointment of an ombudsman-style figure to look at complaints against the Army and the police. The Secretary of State said that he would deal with that point later in the Bill. It would be helpful to the House 41 if we could have some sign from his right hon. Friend the Minister in his winding-up speech about the thoughts of the Secretary of State and the Government on the matter.
Lord Colville also raised the possibility of an organisation such as the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights being required to keep emergency law under permanent review. The Bill makes no provision for that and Lord Colville's rejection goes even further. He made a number of recommendations geared towards returning to normality at some future date if the time were judged to be politically right. He suggested a new provision, to allow certifying-in to the Diplock no-jury courts rather than the present certifying-out procedure. The current system ensures that many cases end up before a single judge without a jury, even though they are suitable for jury trial. Lord Colville's proposal was aimed at redressing the imbalance. We believe that jury trials should be the norm, from which we should depart only in cases of clear necessity and we, therefore, support certifying-in. The Bill makes no provision for that.
In a similar vein, Lord Colville suggested a couple of alterations that would ease the change to three-judge Diplock courts if that policy were adopted in future. The Bill makes no provision for that. Lord Colville also recommended that provision be made so that, at some point, the law governing confession evidence admissibility in emergency cases could be replaced by the mainstream standards to be found in the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order. The Bill makes no such provision.
Lord Colville's suggestions are not revolutionary and they are clearly well intended. They do no more than to provide a set of goals towards which to work. They highlight the desire to return to normality that should characterise our attitude to all emergency legislation. Yet not one of Lord Colville's proposals appears in the Bill. The Government have rejected wholesale the idea that emergency law should contain the seeds of its own termination.
One could be forgiven for wondering why the Government asked Lord Colville to review their emergency provisions in the first place. Even many of his surely uncontroversial suggestions for a rationalisation of the law on arrest have not been accepted. Lord Colville must be wondering why he bothered to devote so much of his time to the task, although one cannot but join the Secretary of State in admiring his scholarship, hard work and attention to detail.
One of Lord Colville's suggestions has, however, found favour with the Government. Predictably, it is on a matter in respect of which Lord Colville favoured a tightening of the law. That is our second concern. Clause 29(1) provides:A person is guilty of an offence if he has any article in his possession in circumstances giving rise to a reasonable suspicion that the item is in his possession for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism connected with the affairs of Northern Ireland.That goes wider than Lord Colville's proposal. It applies in, as well as outside, the home. The crime is the possession of something, no matter how innocent, that gives an official a "reasonable suspicion" of a terrorist involvement. No such terrorist involvement needs to be proved. The mere fact of the reasonable suspicion is enough to convict. In other words, the clause is designed to catch those against whom there is not, ordinarily speaking, sufficient evidence. As a result, a 10-year gaol 42 sentence could be meted out to somebody for the crime of being suspected. That is Kafkaesque nonsense. It is a complete departure from the principles of certainty and fairness which ought to characterise the rule of law. In practice, the clause is a charter for official harassment. Its discretionary implementation will cause far more damage than it will prevent and the Opposition oppose it most strongly.
Finally, let me list the items that do not appear in the Bill, which is supposedly a consolidating measure, and so demonstrate the Government's deplorable selectivity in their approach to the rule of law. First, there is no provision to comply with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights that seven days detention without charge constitutes a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Government continue to derogate from that decision. If any other litigant were involved, such conduct would be called by its proper name —contemptuous disobedience. That is what characterises the Government's attitude to the European Court of Human Rights.
Secondly, the Northern Ireland exclusion order power remains in force, despite pleas from successive authorities, including Lord Colville, for its repeal. Freedom of movement within the United Kingdom remains less protected than the same right in former communist countries of eastern Europe. We should all find that a source of shame were we not so inured to restrictive legislation.
Thirdly, no effort has been made to address the questions and concerns raised by deaths caused by the security forces when on duty in Northern Ireland—a point to which my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn) referred. In recent years, such deaths have created controversy and have damaged confidence in the security forces. But there is no attempt to provide a mechanism that will allay public fears.
Fourthly, those who cause such deaths do not even have to appear at the coroner's inquest. The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal would have compelled such attendance but it was overruled earlier this year by the House of Lords. So, as often happens, a completely innocent civilian—such as my constituents' brother—can be killed by the police or the Army in Northern Ireland without the responsible officers ever having to account for their action in any court, whether at a criminal tribunal or a coroner's inquest. No apparent manipulation of the rule of law causes more offence than that—that the relatives of a person killed in Northern Ireland should not be able to ask of the person who pulled the trigger on behalf of the security forces where, why, how and when that death was justified. The opportunity should now be taken to overturn that decision by the House of Lords.
Fifthly, the law on immunity certificates should have been reformed, as such certificates further protect the security forces from the need to account for their actions to courts of law.
Sixthly, we deplore the absence of any provision to restore the right of silence. That ancient right, removed by order in 1988, should be restored forthwith. It appears that a boxer in this country can use the right to silence before a criminal court but an innocent person in Northern Ireland cannot.
The Bill shows that, to the Government, the rule of law has become little more than a piece of empty rhetoric to be applied when convenient but changed or disregarded when 43 it causes the slightest embarrassment or difficulty. That is not only wrong in principle; it is short-sighted, as the abuse of the rule of law heightens alienation and, by fostering dissent, makes a solution to the problems of Northern Ireland less rather than more likely. If the Government are not prepared to accept our amendment, I shall recommend to my right hon. and hon. Friends that—much though we recognise the need for proper emergency legislation in Northern Ireland—we should oppose the Bill.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley (Antrim, North)
As the Secretary of State was finishing his speech, I bowled him a ball and, clever cricketer that he is, he just blocked it. The House should be aware of the significance of that question and of the great significance of the answer given by the Secretary of State.
I am sure that the House will be surprised to know that I had great difficulty in obtaining a copy of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. The Vote Office has no copies and the Library possesses one that the staff almost made me sign for. Article 2(a) says:There is hereby established within the framework of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Council set up after the meeting between the two heads of Government on 6 November 1981, an Intergovernmental Conference, (hereinafter referred to as 'the conference'), concerned with Northern Ireland and with relations between the two parts of the island of Ireland, to deal, as set out in this agreement, on a regular basis with … political matters; security and related matters; legal matters, including the administration of justice; and the promotion of cross-border co-operation.The House will see that the Bill comes into the category oflegal matters, including the administration of justice.The agreement continues:The United Kingdom Government accept that the Irish Government will put forward views and proposals on matters relating to Northern Ireland within the field of activity of the Conference, in so far as those matters are not the responsibility of the devolved administration of Northern Ireland. In the interest of promoting peace and stability, determined efforts shall be made through the conference to resolve any differences.It is now evident that the agreement was not adhered to and, according to Mr. Collins, there was no such meeting of the Anglo-Irish Conference, no such discussion and certainly no effort to reach agreement. Mr. Collins says that he will raise the matter after the House has given the Bill its Second Reading. He will read it and make strong criticism, which will come as no surprise to Northern Ireland people.
I welcome what I might call the first obituary notice for the Anglo-Irish Agreement. I trust that we shall soon have discussions with the Secretary of State and with constitutional parties in Northern Ireland to see whether we can find a replacement for that agreement that will have a better chance of bringing about peace and stability and that ecumenical word that I do not like, reconciliation, in the Province. My idea of reconciliation is that both parts of Ireland should live in a neighbourly and peaceful manner and that people in Northern Ireland should do the same. People who have taken the ecumenical bandwagon want to put a theological slant on reconciliation. Mr. Deputy Speaker, that is by way of introduction to what I want to say about the Bill.
I am amazed by some hon. Members who say that they are dedicated to civil rights and human rights and will 44 oppose the legislation. I am told that a letter from four Labour Members has appeared in The Cork Examiner. It calls upon the Government of the South of Ireland not to dare to extradite anybody wanted for crimes in England, Scotland and Wales because in such cases the courts in this part of the United Kingdom could not adjudicate fairly. How can those hon. Members tell the House that they are dedicated to civil rights and human rights and then tell the Government of the South that there is no chance of fair play and justice in our courts?
§ Mr. Dicks
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that six Labour Members recently sent a letter to The Cork Examiner telling the Irish Government that they should not take part in the process of extradition because those extradited to Great Britain and Northern Ireland would not get a fair trial? The Opposition spokesman says that he is in favour of fighting terrorism. That is two-faced nonsense.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman was not listening because one of his hon. Friends on the Front Bench had conspired to take his ear. I shall forgive the Front-Bench Member for doing that. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for confirming that the letter was sent by six Labour Members and not four.
I believe in human rights and in civil and religious liberty for all men. As I have said about the Guildford Four, if it is found that in some way there was unfairness at a trial and that people should not have been sentenced, they should be released immediately and should receive adequate compensation. That is a principle. I do not agree with those who say when such things happen that the people were innocent. We do not know whether they are innocent. They were not proved to be guilty in a proper court of law, and under our law people are innocent until proved guilty. I have heard people say, "We know that they are absolutely innocent." I know people who have been released by the courts in Northern Ireland because something went wrong at their trial. Everybody knew that they were guilty and later they were proved to be guilty.
§ Mr. Barry Porter
Is not it the case that in proper courts of law some people were found guilty as a result of perjured evidence, which is a very different matter?
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
There were certainly times when a safe conviction could not be brought, and when that happens people should not be punished or imprisoned. That is my position. I have made it clear in public and I now do so in the House.
I do not think that many hon. Members know what we are up against in Northern Ireland. They do not realise the seriousness of the situation. I shall give one example. I have been a minister of religion for 44 years and in the city of Belfast I have always visited the Royal Victoria hospital where the major operations are carried out. A few months ago my church secretary had a heart attack and I went to visit him in the Royal. Hon. Members would have been surprised at the number of Army personnel who had to be provided to get me to that hospital, take me along the corridor and put me into the ward to let me speak to one of my church members and read the scriptures, pray with him and give him Christian consolation. I had hardly left the ward when two IRA men appeared there demanding to know whom Ian Paisley had visited. My church secretary 45 almost passed away because of that. That incident took place a few months ago. I was at the hospital on Saturday visiting another parishioner and the same thing happened.
The situation in the Province is not normal. We are talking about an emergency, but how long will it go on? We are dealing with a serious and difficult matter. We need laws which in a normal society we would not even think about and to which we would not give credence. Everybody in Northern Ireland has to sacrifice some of his civil liberties so that we may deal with those who would take from us the greatest liberty of all, the right to live.
In a democratic state in the 20th century no woman should be stopped at the door of a shop to have her handbag thoroughly examined. That is taking away her rights because a woman has a right to have a handbag and whatever is in it. However, such rights have to be sacrificed. If they were not, the terrorists, who are having a field day, would have an even bigger one because they could get their explosives into every shop in the Province. We must face the fact that we are dealing not with a simplistic situation but with a serious one.
Some hon. Members have the strange idea that if the constitutional parties get together and find some sort of agreement that is upheld by the House and by a vote in Northern Ireland, the IRA will go away. Anyone who believes that is a fool. If that came about, there would be even more serious violence in Northern Ireland because the rats caught in the trap would be prepared to take their violence to the very last ditch.
The House would do well to remember the history of the Irish Republic. There was a time when it was in a similar situation to that in Northern Ireland now, although that part of Irish history is conveniently forgotten. De Valera's irregulars were engaged in a killing campaign. It was Ireland's own civil war—not war against the Black and Tans nor against the security forces, but brother killing brother, father killing son and son killing father. It was anarchy.
The Irish Free State Government appointed a man called O'Higgins to be in charge of security in the Irish Republic. It would do hon. Members good to read his story. He knew more about Irish Republican violence than any hon. Member will ever know, for he was part of the original set-up. He knew that no amount of so-called democracy, parliamentary activity and conferences could get rid of that poison, so he took strong military action, even against his own friends. He even moved against a man who had at one time received a weapon from his own hands. Within four or five years there was peace, and De Valera had given up the irregulars and gone into politics. He eventually became Prime Minister and then President of the Irish Free State. What dealt with that Republican terrorism was not conferences or agreements but stern retribution for those who carried out acts of violence. The House needs to recognise that.
In the meantime, the people of Northern Ireland must suffer, and they are suffering. I shall agree with every extra law that is needed to strengthen the hand of those who want to deal with the perpetrators of violence and terrorism in the community. Alas, if the House thinks that by passing the Bill we shall defeat the IRA, the House should be disillusioned. I am sad, although it should be some solace to Labour Members, that the Secretary of State has said that the Bill does not represent any change in the Government's security policy. If there is no change in security policy, the people of Northern Ireland had 46 better know that they will have a continuation of the bloodbath of the past 10 years. I say that with sorrow, but until there is a change in the security policy we shall make no progress.
I am not unduly concerned with what the Bill proposes. These matters will not, as has been suggested, take yet more rights from the people of Northern Ireland. After all, the Labour Government carried out many of the policies included in the Bill. This is part of an overall welding together of legislation. If it was proper to say, "Yes we need these things," when it was in power, how can the Labour party say, now that the situation has worsened, that it is not right now? There has been a spiral of killings in the years since the Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed. Violence is increasing, not decreasing, and it will be people in Northern Ireland who suffer, not Labour Members of Parliament.
The Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six were not tried under the provisions of this Bill. They were tried under the provisions of English legislation, before a jury. I have never agreed with the abolition of jury trials. When the emergency provisions Bill was introduced, I said in Committee that it was wrong, and voted against abolition of jury trials. The Government won by only one vote, a vote of a Roman Catholic. He told me that he was persuaded by Mr. Rawlinson, who was the then Attorney-General, that it would be unfair to Roman Catholics if jury trials were not abolished. The Government of the day should have no credit for getting that vote in that way.
We should be trying to get back to jury trials in Northern Ireland. I never accepted the argument that we could not have jury trials because members of the jury would be shot. If one can say that, one might as well say that one can never have a trial because all the witnesses will be shot, and they are more easily identifiable than the jury. However, I shall argue that case when the time comes, not now.
Do hon. Members think that all the miscarriages of justice have been against pro-Republicans? Could not one, two or even five others have suffered from a miscarriage of justice? I was amazed that, when some hon. Members asked for information about the UDR four, the police dragged their feet and were not prepared to say anything definite. I do not want to pre-empt any answer that will be given on Thursday at Question Time, but I get alarmed when such things happen.
Today, as we debate the Bill, we must tell the Government that their security policy, and that of successive Governments, whether Labour or Conservative, has not won the war against terrorism. Terrorists are stronger than ever. We are told that there are only about 300 active IRA members. I do not accept that, but if it is so, why are they not marked? Surely with 20,000 members of the security forces, we could deal with 300 IRA members. The Government have to deal with the IRA men in more covert operations. Those men have to realise that when they go out with a gun to kill and maim, the great deterrent is there. That is the only thing that will stop them, and on that the Government must change their policies.
It is better to have a dead terrorist than four murdered members of the security forces. The person with the gun in his hand who intends to do murder must be halted. It is a sad thing, but it is what the people of Northern Ireland are saying. If one takes away life, one forfeits one's own. It was 47 a sad day when the clear commandment of God, that the Government have the power of the sword, was given up, and IRA lawlessness continues. A terrorist can kill one, two or even 50 people, but his life will not be forfeit.
I am an ex-prisoner. I was imprisoned by the O'Neill Government and I am proud of my record. I was in prison recently for protesting about the Anglo-Irish Agreement, and I noticed a tremendous change in prison conditions. It was an extremely nice cell. There was a beautiful radio and I had everything that I wanted. When I was imprisoned previously one had to be sentenced to three years' imprisonment before it was possible to have a radio. In those days we were not allowed to see television, but I found recently that prisoners could see television every night. There was an open canteen. I am all for prison reforms and decent conditions within prisons, but prison should be prison. If a prison ceases to be a prison, there is no deterrent. We must remember that that has happened in Northern Ireland and that there is no deterrent.
§ Mr. Flannery
The hon. Gentleman seems to complain bitterly that he was treated too leniently when he was in prison and seems to believe that he should have been treated more harshly. I have spoken many times in the House both before the hon. Gentleman has contributed to a debate and after he has spoken, and I have had the opportunity to weigh his arguments. He knows that I am passionately in favour of no one being killed if it is possible to ensure that killing does not take place. I am worried because it seems that the hon. Gentleman is coming close to advocating the law of the vigilante when he says, for example, "Everybody knew that he was guilty." Apparently, everyone knew that the Guildford Four were guilty. Lord Scarman is telling us that the Director of Public Prosecutions should get a move on in dealing with the Birmingham Six. We know that juries make mistakes in such cases. I have been told this afternoon that I have cast aspersions on the Diplock courts, but I regret that there is only one judge in a Diplock court. I am sorry also that there is no jury. The hon. Gentleman seems to be talking against the democratic process that he says that he is advocating when he uses expressions such as, "Everyone knew that he was guilty."
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
I do not intend to go down that road with the hon. Gentleman. As he said, we have crossed swords on many occasions. I shall merely say that after the stage to which I referred, the individual was proved guilty. Those who were present and witnessed the crime knew the guilt of the murderer. Northern Ireland is a small place. Nearly everyone is related to one another. It is dangerous to pass remarks about another because anyone who does that may find that he is the 32nd cousin of that person. Northern Ireland is not, obviously, England or London. It is a close-knit community. I see that even the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara), the Opposition Front-Bench spokesman, agrees with me about that.
In the case to which I referred, everyone new the facts, and eventually they emerged.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
I trust that no McNamara blood flows in my veins, and I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would reciprocate. Thank God no Paisley blood flows in his veins. If it did, the hon. Gentleman might have some trouble with his Church. That is a story for another day.
There are people in Northern Ireland who will never have confidence in the police as long as the police have a crown above the harp. No matter what we do, no matter what legislation we introduce and no matter how fair the system is made, such people will not accept the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Its members may be the fairest of all people and they may deal with their responsibilities in the fairest possible way, but they will never be acceptable to some people. We cannot make everyone accept the RUC.
Let us take as an example the Foreign Minister of the South, Mr. Collins. He has conducted a deliberate, vicious and lying campaign against the Ulster Defence Regiment. Before an Anglo-Irish Conference meeting takes place, he says that he will raise various matters about the UDR. But those matters are not raised at the conference. How do I know? I shall explain to the House. I happened to have a meeting with my right hon. Friend the Member for Lagan Valley (Mr. Molyneaux) and the Secretary of State after an Anglo-Irish Conference meeting. I went to the meeting in great anger, having listened to Mr. Collins speak in a television programme of what he would say about the UDR to the Secretary of State. I put my views to the Secretary of State and he smiled as he can—there was a twinkle in his eye—and said, "He never mentioned the UDR to me." A Foreign Minister is making trouble against the UDR. He is prepared to slam it, as it were, but he does not say, "There is a serious situation in Northern Ireland and the British Government need extra measures to deal with terrorism." There is not a word about that.
I believe that I am entitled to say that if Mr. Collins can carry out a campaign against the UDR, as he has done, and then say that he is not prepared to accept that the British Government need extra measures to deal with the events that are taking place in Northern Ireland, we have a man who is not prepared to act, as he keeps saying he is, in the interests of all the people of Northern Ireland. We look upon him as a hypocrite and a liar for what he is doing in his campaign.
Who are the UDR men? They are people who give up their sleep at night to look after all sections of the community. They are people who, with their families, are prepared to make sacrifices. I visited a cemetery in Castlederg, an area that is represented by my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Ulster (Rev. William McCrea). On turning to the right after entering the cemetery, all that one can see are the gravestones of UDR men. What do their wives and families think of the campaign that is being waged incessantly against them? I say that Mr. Collins is giving an excuse to the IRA to kill UDR men. That is what he does, and they are set on in that manner.
I have a copy of the memorandum that was issued by the Secretary of State. It says that he has certain aims—I am glad that he has aims—and that he will maintain the rule of law and not let violence prevail. He then says that he will not keep back from the security forces the support that they need. It is strange that the police tell me that they have financial troubles and that they are not receiving the equipment that they need. They tell me that in certain areas they do not have the numbers of patrol cars that they need. It seems that they do not have sufficient personnel vehicles and armoured Land Rovers. They tell me that 49 their overtime is cut. They point to all the police stations that have only partial opening. That was the position in Loughgall and it is no wonder that the police station was blown up by the terrorists. It was a target and when the police were removed from it, it was blown up.
I trust that the Secretary of State will listen to those who are actually involved in Northern Ireland, who are ordinary men. They must be certain that he will ensure that there is proper support for them. The Secretary of State says that in his memorandum he gives the assurance that violence will not succeed. I say to the right hon. Gentleman that violence will continue in the community. He says that he wants to pull the community away from supporting terrorism. As long as Sinn Fein members sit on councils and carry out the work of councillors—give advice and take people to the Housing Executive to deal with their complaints—that will not break the relationship between the IRA and the community.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
That is what I am emphasising—it is that part of the community that gives the IRA support.
§ Rev. William McCrea (Mid-Ulster)
Can my hon. Friend confirm that rather than such support being diminished in that part of the community, it is increasing? In two recent by-elections in Northern Ireland, electoral support for Sinn Fein rose by between 15 per cent. and 25 per cent., yet we were told that the purpose of the Anglo-Irish Agreement was to take away support from Sinn Fein.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
The House should heed my hon. Friend's words. There is no lack of support for the IRA. One Northern Ireland constituency is represented by an hon. Member who does not come to the House, thank God. He is very active in west Belfast. People from his constituency who come to talk to me about European problems say, "Our most active constituency Member is Gerry Adams, and we go to him with our problems." We shall never break the link between them until we say to the IRA, "You will not be admitted to the council chambers of the Province."
The Minister, the Secretary of State and his predecessor have been very firm and have never met Sinn Fein representatives, but they expect us to meet them. They expect the councillors who represent the party that I lead to sit with them. One of my Belfast councillors told me that one night he passed a Sinn Fein councillor who gestured with his finger and said, "We will get you yet."
§ Mr. Roy Beggs (Antrim, East)
Will the hon. Gentleman confirm, and remind those who may have forgotten, that some Sinn Fein councillors have been shot on terrorist missions?
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
I understand that someone cannot gain a nomination as a Sinn Fein councillor until he has proved himself with the Armalite and in terrorist activities. All the Sinn Fein councillors are involved in that, yet we have to sit with them. How can decent people be asked to sit with them? If a police officer, a civilian, or a friend of a council member is murdered, the council naturally proposes either to adjourn or to pass a message of condolence to the victim's family, but the Sinn Fein councillors attack the motion and refuse to vote for it. They make it clear why they will not vote for it.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
I am surprised to hear that. I do not want to delve into Tory-Labour policies, but it is a sad state of affairs if it is true that when a Tory mayor dies Labour councillors will not support a message of condolence or offer any sympathy to that person's loved ones.
One Sinn Fein chairman of a council actually said that council workers were a fair target for the IRA to kill. Where do we go from there? I plead with the Government carefully to consider the problem and to begin to deal with the link between the community and the IRA. If we do not break that link, we shall never lessen the support for the IRA, especially when people depend on Sinn Fein members for run-of-the-mill matters.
Ulster is a sad place. Is there any hope? I believe that there is, provided that the Government not only say that they will deal with terrorism, but begin to take effective measures—some of which I have mentioned—so that it can clearly be perceived that there is the will to defeat terrorism. I trust that the agitation from Dublin to hinder the talks in Northern Ireland will cease, and that instead there will be talks about replacing the Anglo-Irish Agreement with an alternative, which, when the IRA is defeated, will guarantee peace and stability for the people of Northern Ireland.
§ Rev. William McCrea
Does my hon. Friend agree that hon. Members would be interested in hearing the Opposition spokesman outline what effective measures the Labour party is proposing to defeat and eradicate terrorism?
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
That would be most helpful. It is a shame that my hon. Friend did not ask that question while the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North was speaking. However, the Opposition have an able spokesman to reply to the debate and I am sure that he will spell out their proposals in full.
I trust that there will be proper progress that will bring hope and freedom. As I said in a recent letter to the Prime Minister, we want progress that will set Northern Ireland on the road to the light.
§ Mr. David Trimble (Upper Bann)
I welcome the statement by the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) that, in principle, the Opposition do not dispute the need for emergency legislation. There has been no dispute in the House or in this debate about the need for emergency legislation, so I find it difficult to understand why the Opposition wish to divide the House.
The Secretary of State referred to the statement that he circulated when the Bill was published and in which he set out the policy that the Government are endeavouring to follow. It is important that we consider this legislation alongside the Government's policy and their overall objectives. It is wrong to think that we have ever believed that terrorism will be ended solely by repressive or military means. People say that there must be political measures to end terrorism, but invariably those political measures are wrong.
The correct political framework to surround security policy and legislation should be, first, the determination to 51 ensure that terrorism will not succeed. I appreciate that the Secretary of State's policy document includes phrases of that nature, but unfortunately their effect and credibility are undermined by the Government's record. They have repeatedly allowed terrorism to succeed because political changes have been brought about as a result of terrorism. The Secretary of State will know that I refer principally to the constitutional change made five years ago, when the status of part of the United Kingdom was changed as a direct result of terrorism. Nobody could possibly believe that there would have been an Anglo-Irish Agreement had there been no terrorist campaign. Everyone knows that the agreement was entered into in the hope of appeasing the sources of that campaign. In doing that, the Government committed the cardinal error of indicating to terrorists that they could achieve success indirectly as a result of terrorism. That was a mistake, and it will be difficult for the Government to adopt a similar policy because of their failings in the past. The Government should at least endeavour in the future to ensure that no further political changes are made in an attempt to appease Irish nationalists, whatever form that appeasement may take.
In providing the correct policy framework for security matters, it is also important to make it clear to the terrorists that their primary objective will not be achieved. The terrorist resorts to violence not out of mindless activism but because he knows that it is the only way in which he can achieve his objective of a united Ireland. Statements by the Secretary of State and other members of the Government constantly refer to the possibility of Northern Ireland's constitutional position changing and are in themselves an encouragement.
It is not good enough simply to repeat the phrase, "There will be no change to the constitutional position of Northern Ireland unless a majority so desire." That holds out the possibility of change. Everyone knows that if one attaches oneself to normal democratic principles, there can be no change. Everyone knows also that there will never be freely given majority consent for a united Ireland. Therefore, constantly to refer to the possiblity of change is quite wrong.
What is wrong with the activities of republican terrorists is not just their methodology, in using the bomb, bullet and sometimes the ballot box as well, but their objective. It must be appreciated that the objective of trying to bring about a united Ireland is in itself wrong. A united Ireland can be achieved only by coercing the people of Northern Ireland by one means or another—whether that means is the violence of the IRA or political or financial blackmail and oppression. In that context, the objective of a united Ireland is wrong, and that lesson must be learnt not just by the Government but by the Labour party and several other parties represented in the House. We must acknowledge that the objective is wrong and immoral; then it will be easier to defeat the expression of it.
§ Mr. Mallon
I wonder whether the hon. Gentleman realises the import of his remarks. He says that the position taken by the main Opposition party, the party to which I belong, and all the major parties in the Republic of Ireland is not just wrong but immoral. If the hon. Gentleman will examine the logic of that assertion, he may regret having made it. It is based on the premise that there 52 will be no change in the attitudes of the people of Northern Ireland. The hon. Gentleman rules out any possibility of change by persuasion. I am sure that the House does not want another history lesson, because it has already been given one, but it should be remembered that not so long ago the main proponents of armed rebellion against a British presence in Ireland were members of the Protestant community. Therefore, the hon. Gentleman should not make sweeping statements or ascribe immorality to anyone.
§ Mr. Trimble
The hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) does not display a proper appreciation of the situation. The conflict that exists is one of nationality—between that of the Irish nationalists who came into existence in the 19th century and that of the Ulster British people. No one suggests, in respect of any of the current conflicts in Europe, that people of one nationality could, should or are likely to change their national identity. They would not do that and the same is true of the people of Ulster. They will not change their national identity—and once there is acceptance of that, it will be realised that there cannot be a united Ireland by consent legitimately and freely given. It can come about only as a result of coercion in one form or another. Any attempt to coerce people into accepting the nationality of what is to them a foreign state would be immoral. I say that deliberately and I am fully aware of the implications of that statement.
§ Mr. Harry Barnes (Derbyshire, North-East)
It surely cannot be argued that the objective of a neighbouring community to change in time the nationality of others is in itself evil. It is possible that the people of England, Scotland and Wales will change to a European identity in the context of the European Community. Some might argue against that development, but the objective itself cannot be said to be evil. In the case of the Provisional IRA, the evil comes in the methods that are used to distort the objective, rather than there being any evil within the nationalist community.
§ Mr. Trimble
I am reluctant to enter any discussion of the effects that Britain's membership of the European Community might have on our national identity and allegiance. That is a different issue, which may or may not be advanced slightly tomorrow.
It may be that what the hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Barnes) thinks of as Irish nationalism is in fact Irish imperialism—the attempt by a nation that exists as a part of Ireland to extend its rule to the whole island, irrespective of the wishes of its people. That is an imperialist claim which seeks some form of Irish irredentism analogous to the Italian irredentism that Mussolini and others sought, and which was of a similar moral character.
§ Mr. Mallon
Is the hon. Gentleman saying that the Unionist people in the north of Ireland have minds that are frozen in a time warp and that they are incapable of changing? Is not the hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble) only confirming a political condition whose existence many people have always suspected?
§ Mr. Trimble
We are not in any time warp. The people who are led down the cul-de-sac of history are those who are still serving the aims of Irish nationalism—or, to be more precise, of Irish imperialism. It is up to them to consider their position in that respect. I am making the 53 point that it is important to end the constitutional uncertainty that the Government's policy has reinforced. That point was graphically made many times by my colleague the former right hon. Member for South. Down, when he argued that the Government's actions were keeping the terrorist campaign alive and that it was essential for the Government to end uncertainty. Until they do so, we shall not see an end to the terrorist campaign.
There are lessons to be learnt from the 1920s, whether one considers the civil war in the Irish Free State or the disturbances in Northern Ireland. In both cases, when it became clear to the terrorists that they would not succeed, because the Dublin and Belfast Governments respectively were firmly established, their campaigns of violence quickly wound down.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that it is immoral to claim that one's constitution gives jurisdiction over part of a territory that does not and cannot belong to one's own country—and in so doing encourage violence in trying to achieve the annexation of that territory?
§ Mr. Trimble
I agree entirely with what the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) said. Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish constitution provide Irish republican terrorism with a moral mandate, or—as a friend of mine put it the other day—they are a "hunting licence" issued by the Irish Free State. We know what the targets of the hunting licence are.
I have some difficulty with the use of the word "emergency" in the title of the Bill. It has given rise to some misconceptions—especially those of the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North, when he referred to the operation of the rule of law. There can be different views of what constitutes the rule of law. The version that the hon. Gentleman gave us owed not a little to Dicey—it sounded like a garbled version of Dicey, which is fair enough. The mistake that some people make is to equate the rule of law with the current state of English common law, whatever it might be. Consequently, they think that any departure from English common law is a subversion of the rule of law. That is a rather exaggerated view of the merits of common law, which has merits but one should not elevate it to such a position that any departure from it is to be denounced.
We have various standards that spell out in detail the rule of law. In western Europe, the appropriate standard can be found in the European convention on human rights, which sets out a series of standards for the operation of the law as regards human rights, which are generally accepted and have been since their inception in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
The Bill is consistent with the European convention in all respects. It is not necessary for the Government to enter a derogation with regard to the Bill. No derogation operates as regards its predecessors. The Bill can be operated without derogating from the European convention in any way. Only one aspect of the Bill might cause difficulty—if powers of detention were reintroduced and implemented, that would necessitate derogation from the European convention. Apart from that, the legislation is consistent with the European convention.
As that is the case, I wonder why they are referred to as emergency provisions. There is provision within the 54 European convention for derogation in cases of emergency. Under the convention, emergency provisions are those that depart from the convention, but this legislation does not—it is consistent with it. Therefore, it is misleading to think of it as an emergency provision.
It is misleading in another sense. An emergency is, or ought to be, something which is limited in time—of short duration. It should apply when something exceptional has come up, and one has to take exceptional measures to cope with it, which it is hoped will be effective within a short time. One is doing something out of the ordinary, but the Bill is ordinary in that it is consistent with the convention and so the provisions should not be labelled "emergency".
They might have been emergency provisions in 1973, when they introduced the code for detention which was in operation then, and so it was necessary to have derogations from the European convention. We are not derogating from the European convention and the provisions are not emergency in the sense of being short lived. Such legislation has been on the statute book, in one form or another, since 1973 and is likely to be on the statute book for the foreseeable future. I wonder why we insist on thinking of the legislation as temporary or exceptional when it is neither.
The term "consolidation" has been used, but this is not really a consolidation Bill. However, we need consolidating measures to deal with all aspects of anti-terrorist legislation. That is what we should be thinking of—not the Emergency Provisions Acts or the Prevention of Terrorism Acts but what anti-terrorist legislation is required.
The world has a problem with terrorism; it is not unique to either part of Ireland but also comes from other sources. The dangers may increase after 1992, as border controls wind down and other changes take place. There is probably a need for us to consider seriously what form of anti-terrorist legislation the United Kingdom—not merely Northern Ireland—needs. Lord Colville said very cogently in his report on the Prevention of Terrorism act 1986:It seems to me that Her Majesty's Government might like to think again. There is now a very real threat of international terrorism impinging on the United Kingdom, as on any other country … It does appear strange that the main measure which is designed to give powers against international terrorism should be annually renewable … and completely entangled with the Northern Ireland problem, from which historically the legislation grew. It might be better now to design the range of control needs both at ports and internally to deal with international terrorism from the security viewpoint, with due regard to what is not within the powers of the immigration or customs services. This could with advantage include some points governed at present in detail by the Order … There is neither rhyme or reason for some of the distinctions which appear in the Order. The Order does not deal comprehensively with international terrorism. If that were done it would be possible to see what powers, whether more or less, but possibly as a renewable supplement, would be needed for the Northern Ireland situation.Lord Colville said that in 1987, and we agree that it is desirable to have anti-terrorist legislation in one Act which deals with the kingdom as a whole. It is silly to have at least two main Acts dealing with different aspects of terrorism, because the two interpenetrate. For example, arrest powers are provided for in the Emergency Provisions and the Prevention of Terrorism Acts. Most arrests in Northern Ireland were carried out under the Emergency Provisions Act but in recent years that practice has changed. Now the vast majority are carried out under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
55 The operations of the security forces in Northern Ireland rely quite heavily on the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which is a United Kingdom Act, rather than the Emergency Provisions Act, which is supposed to deal with terrorism in Northern Ireland. It would be better to put the two Acts together, along with whatever other pieces of legislation are required.
I think that the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North might agree with that, because the amendment that he moved refers to a series of measures—inquest public immunity certificates, the abolition of the right of silence —which are not included in the Emergency Provisions Act but deal with related matters. It would be better for those to be put into one Act.
A practical advantage is that it would be so much easier for the people who operate the legislation and those who are affected by it to know what it provides if they could refer to a single Act, and not have to chase through several Acts to find out the position. It would simplify life for policemen and soldiers, who have to operate the legislation, and for citizens who are affected by it.
Access to and knowledge of the law is important, and the present arrangement of legislation does not facilitate that. I urge the Government, rather than to consider almost routine re-enactment of provisions with only minor amendments, to consider comprehensive legislation, on a United Kingdom basis, giving normal provisions to deal with terrorism. The problem exists and will continue to exist in the foreseeable future. There will be terrorist threats of one sort or another. We need to consider what sort of legislation should be passed to deal with them. We may want to make some special additional provisions to deal with particular situations, but we believe that there is an argument for permanent anti-terrorist legislation.
The main provision in the Act is for a different form of trial through what are called the Diplock courts, which are essentially non-jury courts, presided over by a single judge. Clearly, the concept of a single judge gives some hon. Members problems. I confess that I had doubts about whether a single judge was the most effective system
However, after several years' experience, I am satisfied that a single-judge court is the only effective way of dealing with such cases. I know that it is normal to defend the single-judge Diplock courts in terms of the difficulty of providing multi-judge courts in Northern Ireland. The small size of the legal profession there and the age distribution within the Bar mean that it would be extremely difficult to recruit the additional judges who would be needed if we were to have multi-judge courts. There is an argument for saying that, with the unanimity rule, two judges would be sufficient. However, it would still be extremely difficult to staff such courts. Hon. Members will know that there is considerable difficulty at the moment in recruiting judges for the county courts. I believe that there is still one vacancy. There is great difficulty in getting anyone to accept such an appointment. One hears rumours about trawls being made through the Bar library in considerable detail, ranging down to people who are quite junior, in an attempt to persuade people to accept an appointment in the county or Crown courts. The latter provide some of the judicial manpower for the Diplock courts.
56 The position in the High Court is not altogether happy either, although I do not intend to discuss that in detail now. Nevertheless, there is growing unease in Northern Ireland about the way in which High Court appointments are made. This summer I heard a person who has been involved in politics in the Irish Republic say, "Thanks to the Anglo-Irish Agreement, we now have an input into the selection of judges." I was appalled. If politicians in the Irish Republic continue to boast that they are responsible for the appointment of certain judges, that will have more disastrous consequences for public confidence in the judiciary than any of the provisions in the Bill. However, that is a different matter for another consideration.
Not only is it difficult to recruit judges for multi-judge courts, but such courts are likely to be unsatisfactory. We have the example of the special criminal court in the Irish Republic which consists of three judges—three different lawyers. Those who practise before the special criminal court in the Irish Republic say that the multiplicity of judges provides no defence and no safeguard for the accused. In practice, the senior judge makes the decision. Even if, on occasions, counsel manage to evoke some sympathy in one of the judges, that judge is quickly brought into line by the others. I heard a senior lawyer, who is also involved in politics in the Irish Republic, say unofficially not so long ago that he regarded the special criminal court as a sentencing court. Therefore, having three judges is not by itself a safeguard. A single judge with a reasoned judgment provides a better safeguard, because that single judge knows that he must give his reasons in detail and that the sole responsibility for making a decision rests on him. That leads to a tendency for caution.
I am convinced that in the vast majority of cases, thanks largely to the quality of the judiciary, the single-judge Diplock courts have delivered justice. I sometimes wonder whether those who are so concerned about the danger of judgment by a single man—and who consequently criticise the Diplock courts—occasionally think about the other single-judge courts which we have in Northern Ireland, and which we have had since 1935. I refer to the courts of summary jurisdiction which, as hon. Members know, are presided over in Northern Ireland by a single judge, whom we call a resident magistrate and who is equivalent to a stipendiary magistrate in England and Wales. We do not have any benches of justices. We do not have any justices of the peace to exercise judicial functions. All the magistrates courts' decisions are made by a single judge. That is what happens in the vast majority of cases that go through the courts of summary jurisdiction.
I should add that I do not have the same confidence in the quality of the magistracy as I have in the quality of the High Court judges, but perhaps I should go into that in more detail at another time and in another place. However, that point should be of greater concern than the Diplock courts to those who are worried about the effect of having a single judge.
I cite as evidence the way in which the Diplock courts operate. The effective conviction rate in the Diplock courts varies between half and three quarters. It is a little higher than the conviction rate in jury trials, but that is only to be expected because an accused person who is to appear before a single judge is less likely to plead not guilty in a hopeless case. There will always be those who will plead not guilty in hopeless cases before a jury in the hope that their clever lawyer will get them off. However, people do not pursue hopeless cases to the same extent before a single 57 judge. Consequently, it is natural that there should be a slightly higher conviction rate in single-judge courts compared with jury courts.
Diplock courts have another advantage. English lawyers wishing to make comparisons, who can be bothered to come over to Belfast to look at the operation of the courts, find that the business is conducted with remarkable efficiency. Trials in Northern Ireland rarely take half the time that is taken for an equivalent trial in England. That is because there are certain lines of argument that one would not bother to pursue before a single judge because he will not bother listening to it. Things are different with a jury. One cannot try it on before a judge as one would before a jury. Judges are quick to pick up the points and the argument must be put more precisely and more concisely. That is why trials proceed much more quickly, with consequent and not inconsiderable savings to the public purse, though that is by the way.
I am conscious that if the suggestion that I made earlier about permanent legislation to deal with terrorism on a United Kingdom basis were adopted, that would allow for the use of Diplock-style courts in Great Britain. Of course, it depends on the mechanism that is used to introduce the Diplock courts and I have one in mind. The mechanism could be borrowed from the Irish Republic's Criminal Law and Procedure Act 1887, which provided for special courts and for non-jury courts. That Act was on the statute book in Ireland from 1887 until 1922. There is nothing unusual about such legislation. We have always had it in Ireland in one shape or form. The former Lord Justice Turlough O'Donnell used to refer to that Act as "the old Act". He had been in practice long enough to have heard stories about the operation of "the old Act". Under that Act, it was possible for an order to be made that all cases in a particular area, usually defined by county, were to be held before the special court, or for cases to be moved from one part of the jurisdiction to another. Borrowing from that procedure, it would be possible for the Lord Chancellor to make an order, subject to parliamentary approval, for the operation of Diplock-style courts in any jurisdiction within the kingdom or possibly within any part of the jurisdiction, or with regard to specific cases.
The use of such a mechanism would enable Diplock-style courts to be used in England in terrorist cases. I believe that there is a serious argument for so doing. Terrorist cases are not like ordinary crimes. A terrorist action strikes at the whole community and gives rise to an emotional reaction that can affect the operation of justice. There are parallels here with cases that have already been mentioned, such as the Guildford and Birmingham cases, which gave rise to strong emotional reactions. In that context, juries will not operate terribly effectively. It has been suggested that, in terrorist cases in England, juries will inevitably convict no matter who appears before them. That is because the juror himself or herself feels a potential object of the terrorist act. Although he or she will not be personally involved, because of the way in which terrorism strikes at the community, an individual serving on a jury will feel personally involved and, as a consequence, may not render a true verdict.
That is part of the reason why jury trials were discontinued in Northern Ireland. It was not just because of intimidation of the witnesses or other parties involved. The real fear was of perverse verdicts, perverse convictions and, in some cases, perverse acquittals. It would be a brave 58 practitioner in England and Wales who, looking at a jury dealing with a terrorist case, could not say that there were no perverse convictions.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in the debate on that matter it was pointed out that there were only two perverse decisions by juries to which the judge drew attention at that time? That is on the record.
§ Mr. Trimble
Is the hon. Gentleman referring to a particular time in the early 1970s in Northern Ireland or to a particular time in England?
§ Mr. Trimble
It is difficult to establish the incidence of perverse acquittals and convictions in Northern Ireland at that time. Such issues depend so much on individual appreciation and opinion. No one can be absolutely sure of the facts. The numbers involved may be small. No matter what the rate, when a problem arises one is justified in looking at the form of trial in order to find a different form in which there can be a degree of neutrality.
The decisions that a Diplock-style court makes will not always be right. In terrorist cases, however, there is a strong case for saying that a Diplock-style court will be better than a jury trial. It will not be perfect; any human system is bound to contain imperfections and failures. I should be amazed if wrong verdicts had not been reached in the Diplock courts in Northern Ireland.
However, what strikes me is the relative paucity of instances in which people have produced convincing evidence to show that there was a miscarriage of justice. I say that in the knowledge that recently evidence has been produced that shows that there was a miscarriage of justice. I refer to the Armagh UDR Four. I am now convinced that they were innocent and that they were improperly convicted. That case stands out by itself; there have been no other similar cases of which I am aware in which convincing evidence was produced to show that there had been a miscarriage of justice.
There is gossip from time to time in legal circles that a decision may have been wrong. During one of the so-called supergrass cases a few years ago, I was told by counsel that he was satisfied that his client was wrongly convicted. He was on a minor charge—of allowing his premises to be used by terrorists in which they could hold meetings. According to counsel, the problem in that case was that two people of the same name lived in that street, that the supergrass had identified the wrong person with the same name, that his client was innocent and that he had a perfect alibi that would have shown that he was in a completely different place at the time, which would have secured his acquittal had he been able to give his alibi in court.
Unfortunately, however, the principal person accused, the leader of the IRA in the area concerned, gave an order to the effect that nobody was to go into the witness box or to call evidence in their own instance. The other person, although he was not involved with the IRA, had to go back into that area, so he accepted the IRA's order not to give evidence, thus allowing himself to be convicted, even though he was innocent. His conviction was quashed on appeal. All the convictions in that case were quashed on appeal, but that is another story. That is one of the very 59 few instances of which I am aware in which, according to counsel, the accused was wrongly convicted. There will have been some wrong convictions, but not many.
The other principal provisions relating to the Diplock courts deal with confessions and the reversal of the onus of proof in certain cases. Colville recommended that the Government ought to consider more closely the videotaping of interviews. All interviews are monitored by television cameras. A senior police officer looks at the television screen from time to time. If interviews were videotaped, without sound, the video tapes would be available to the inspector to see whether any ill-treatment had occurred. A substantial amount of investment would be involved in providing a bank of video tapes. A certain amount of time would also be involved in looking at the video tapes. If the interrogation took place over a long period, one would have to look at the video tape for a similar period. Colville made the point, which has some weight, that the amount of time involved in looking at the video tapes would lead to a saving of time at the trial, since hopeless points would not be pursued when there was no evidence to back them up.
There are certain reservations about videotaping. There would have to be an absence of sound. It is important that the words spoken should not be available, since that might enable terrorist organisations to discover what information the security forces had about their operations in particular places and what statements had been made by persons under interrogation, perhaps implicating other people. Precautions would also have to be taken to protect the identity of the police officers concerned so that they could not be targeted.
I do not, however, believe that these problems are insurmountable. They would reduce the number of cases in which people argue that brutality has occurred. There are not many cases, I believe, in which the police give way to the temptation to use physical abuse. However, allegations are made to that effect. A method that could effectively quash those allegations would be very much in the interests of the security forces, because a lot of silly people believe these allegations. It would be of considerable value to be able to refute them effectively.
The provision relating to the reversal of the onus of proof requires little comment. The judiciary operates it sensibly. In that context, the effect of the reversal of the onus of proof is to compel the person charged with the possession of explosives or firearms to go into the witness box. The way that judges operate that provision is to compel a person to go into the witness box to give evidence of his knowledge, or absence of knowledge, of things found on his premises.
A clear analogy can be made with the provisions in the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989, which modifies the so-called right to silence. The concern expressed in some quarters about this modification of the right to silence is perhaps exaggerated. When one looks at the sensible way in which the courts handle the reversal of the onus of proof cases, there are ample grounds for reassurance.
The other main provision in the Bill relates to the power of detention. I am afraid that this is a matter on which we part company with the Government. It is not right to rule out the use of that power. I appreciate that that power is 60 provided for in the legislation, but statements made from time to time by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland appear to rule out its use. That is not wise. A serious case can be made for the use of the detention power. We know that the police and the Army are having difficulty over apprehending persons, with sufficient evidence to bring cases to court. One only has to look at the figures mentioned by Diplock and Colville and at those that are available elsewhere. In 1984–85, well over 500 cases a year went through the Diplock courts. That figure rose to nearly 700 in 1985–86. In recent years, however, it has dropped back to just over 400. Fewer cases are going through the Diplock courts.
We know that in many cases guilty men go free, either because witnesses will not come forward or because the terrorist is careful enough to destroy any forensic evidence. Moreover, he has been trained to withstand interrogation. There is, therefore, a strong argument for looking again at the use of the detention powers. The point that is always made is that they were tried and did not work. They did work—in 1922, 1940 and 1956. They did not work in 1971.
One must consider carefully the reasons why they did not work in 1971. If one does so, one sees that the reasons were that the intelligence base that was used was poor and that during the previous two years the RUC had effectively been prevented from operating by the Government. The result was that the RUC's information was out of date. Moreover, the Army had not built up any effective information.
Not only was the intelligence base poor but the operation was carried out crudely in all senses of the word. When ordinary squaddies are told, as they were in 1971, that they have an opportunity to get their own back on the people who have been shooting and throwing stones at them in the previous months, it is not surprising that some of them take those words at face value and get their own back. It was understandable. Of course, it was wrong. It helped to corrupt the operation. One needs to look carefully at the mistakes that were made then and consider how they could be remedied. I believe that one can remedy them.
We now have a much better intelligence base on which to operate than we had in 1971. That is indisputable. We also know that a limited number of persons are involved in terrorism. We may argue about the exact number, but it is common ground that it is a limited number and that the key players take care never to become involved in ways that would expose them to arrest. That is the argument in favour of selective detention.
As hon. Members will be aware, it is just over a week since we had a particularly appalling atrocity in my constituency. A week ago last Saturday, four wildfowlers who had gone out on a day's recreation were ambushed and slaughtered by the IRA. Of the four, two were policemen and two had no connection with the security forces. They were just friends who went out on that occasion. Such an incident gives rise to considerable feelings and tension. I shall not indulge in an emotional statement on the matter, but I should like to quote from an address delivered at the first funeral of the victims last Monday. The address was given by the Right Rev. Matthews of the first Lurgan Presbyterian church, and former moderator of the Presbyterian church—the largest non-Catholic church in Ulster. He is a responsible person. He was speaking at the funeral of Keith Dowey, a young 61 man who was not a member of the security forces. Keith was the product of a mixed marriage—his mother was a Roman Catholic. The Right Rev. Matthews said:May I remind the Government that its primary responsibility is the protection of its citizens. In this respect, the Government is signally failing at present. How can our society enjoy normality or peace while vicious criminals, known to the police, are free to stalk the land and strike at will? … The community is tired of words. It cries for action. Statements about a determination to win sound hollow to broken hearts unless the freedom of the killers is removed.Our Government is far too much concerned for our reputation abroad and far too little for our safety at home. Our Government seems to reserve far greater sensitivity for the feelings of those who give latent or overt support to terrorists, than for decent, upright, law-abiding citizens.Of the 346 murders"—it is now 347—committed by terrorists in the last five years, three out of every four were committed by republican terrorists and one out of every four by loyalist terrorists. Only one in 10 of republican terrorist murders have been resolved in the courts while one in two of loyalist terrorist murders have been so resolved.Something more is needed to compensate for the inadequacies of the law to deal with terrorists sheltered by sympathisers.Our Government has been ill-advised in its reluctance to introduce selective internment. How can we continue to expose our security forces (and civilians) in their daily duty and in their times of leisure to the evil of these psychopaths? It is surely time for common sense to prevail. I believe that the vast majority of both communities would breathe a sigh of relief to have known killers from both communities, in proportion to their numbers, put out of circulation.One sure way to make the situation worse is for the Government to continue its present inaction in this regard.As the Secretary of State will know, the Right Rev. Matthews had many occasions on which he could have criticised the Government when he was moderator of the Presbyterian church. He told me after the funeral that he never took any of those opportunities. That statement made at Keith Dowey's graveside was the first time that the Right Rev. Matthews had publicly attacked the Government. He is a responsible man. He expressed a widespread feeling when he called for more action and specifically for the operation of selective detention powers to take the terrorists out of operation.
I can conclude in no better way than by repeating the last sentence of that statement.
One sure way to make the situation worse is for the Government to continue its present inaction in this regard.The present legislation merely extends the existing legislation with minor changes. The Government have stated that they will continue their security policy. As the hon. Member for Antrim, North said, to continue that policy is to condemn the community to further terrorism and suffering. We need more effective action.
§ Sir David Mitchell (Hampshire, North-West)
I shall be brief but I want to put one particular point to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. Before I do so, I stress that those in Northern Ireland who believe that they can persuade United Kingdom Ministers to change their policy by any degree of terrorism have wholly misjudged the British character and the character of Ministers in this or any other Government. Those in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland who believe that acts of terrorism can change the view of the British electorate have sadly misjudged the character of the British people. That point needs to be put across because we must disabuse at every 62 opportunity those who involve themselves in terrorism of the misunderstanding and misjudgment that lies behind their expectation that they can achieve something by their acts of terrorism.
I support the Bill, first, because it enacts legislation that enables the Government to prosecute the campaign against terrorism with fairness and firmness; secondly, because it recognises that we shall need a continuing and sustained campaign against violence from either side of the sectarian divide; and, thirdly, because it seeks to ensure that terrorists are caught and brought to trial within the due processes of law, with all the rights that that confers on a suspect until he is proven guilty.
While dealing with the due processes of law, I should like to ask my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, or my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, who will reply to the debate, whether any research has been carried out into the right of silence. If so, what has the research shown? My other questions to my right hon. Friend the Minister are the portent of what I want to say to the House. Is he satisfied that the RUC and the security forces have the benefit of all the electronic research and development that they need? Considerable scientific advances have been made in electronics and the House would like to know that the RUC and security forces have the most advanced research and development at their disposal.
We all know that science has reached the point at which a house can be spotted from a satellite. It seems that we should be able to do more to spot an illegal border crossing than we do with the methods that we now use. Has my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State noted the high proportion of offences that take place within striking distance of the border? One must ask why the border is such an attractive area for committing offences. To what extent is there still the opportunity for terrorists to strike and escape across the border into relative safety? I am not in any way attacking the Gardai, who have been doing much more than they used to and who are co-operating immensely well with out security forces. Nevertheless, a disproportionately high number of offences are occurring in that area and it leads one to ask whether more can be done to ensure co-operation and prevention.
Finally, would there be an advantage in applying electronic tagging to some of those who are on bail, bound over to keep the peace, serving non-custodial sentences, on probation or granted a remission of sentence for scheduled offences under part I of the Bill? It might even apply to those who would be candidates for detention, although I understand why my right hon. Friend does not want detention to apply in the Province. Nevertheless, that might be an area where something can be done.
My questions are all in the area of electronics, technology and technological advance. I seek assurances that all that can be done is being done to introduce technological advances to assist the forces of security and law and order in the Province.
§ Mr. Seamus Mallon (Newry and Armagh)
We have had an interesting debate with a smattering of political opinion and historical reference—I almost said historical fact. It is right to consider the Bill in a political dimension because in the last analysis there is not a clear distinction between solving security problems and solving political 63 problems. If hon. Members believe that a solution can be found in terms of security—I do not—they are going in the wrong direction. That is one of the myths that has caused problems for legislation throughout the years. One of the difficulties is that that has had an effect on the political process. We should not think of the two issues separately. They are so closely intertwined and interlocked that we cannot look at one without also looking at the other. That has been made obvious by some speeches.
I challenged the hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble) on his views about morality or immorality in relation to political stances. The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) referred to it. It is remarkable that the great political obsession of the IRA is with the immorality of partition. Over the years all its statements and everything that it has written refer to the immorality of partition.
At one stage when our party confronted the IRA across the table with the contradictions of its position, we said, "Look, you cannot judge these things in terms of morality or immorality. They are there and that is the reality." The use of immoral methods can never be a basis for dealing with something that one considers to be wrong. It is difficult, if not silly, for anybody who values the political process to state that a political ideology is immoral because he does not agree with it or because others have debased or abused it.
The hon. Member for Upper Bann said that there were no circumstances in which the Unionist people of the north of Ireland would ever change their minds. I assume that he is so strongly convinced of the conviction of the Unionist people that he believes that they will not change their minds. Alternatively, is he telling us that they are incapable of moving out of what I call a time warp? Only a short time ago the leaders of Republican armed insurrection in the north of Ireland came from the very same tradition. Think of Roddy McCorley from north Antrim, John Mitchell from the area of my constituency and Theobald Wolfe Tone. I could go on for ever. When we talk in those terms we must be absolutely clear that we are not locking ourselves into historical traps. One of our difficulties is that the warping of history has played such a dominant role that we sometimes do not see the present clearly or anticipate the future.
§ Mr. Trimble
The hon. Gentleman is making the mistake that is common to Irish Nationalists. He misunderstands and misrepresents the 1798 incidents. Wolfe Tone was never a member of the Ulster British community. By no stretch of the imagination could he possibly be described as such. Those Presbyterians were not all of the Presbyterian community. The element of that community who supported the united Irish ideals were not seeking the Irish nationalist state or participating in an Irish national enterprise. They were essentially seeking democratic rights and reform within the kingdom. That can be seen by how, within months of the Act of Union, it was completely accepted by the Ulster British people.
§ Mr. Mallon
There is a small element of truth in that. One could accept that, if one did not have the precedent of the United States' war of independence involving the same people of sturdy Presbyterian stock. What did they do when they reached the United States? They led the removal 64 —that is a euphemism—of the British presence and set up that country. To their credit, they provided that growing state with a large number of Presidents. If the hon. Gentleman's point were taken in isolation, there would be an element of truth in it, but Irish people, wherever they may be, can get out of a time warp. The antecedents of the present Unionist community have proved that in the past and they will undoubtedly show that breadth of vision again in the future.
§ Sir David Mitchell
May I return to the point that the hon. Gentleman made at the beginning of his speech when he said that the IRA seeks to justify its claim on the grounds of the immorality of the border? Can he tell us whether the IRA is sustained in that view by the constitution of the Republic?
§ Mr. Mallon
It is absolutely wrong to attribute immorality to any decision that has been made on a political basis. If anyone went through the records of this House or of any other Parliament, he would find decision after decision that was wholly questionable if it were judged in terms of morality. Partition exists. It is a fact of life, whether we like it or not. If I want to change it, I must change it by peaceful, democratic means—by the power of persuasion. That is where the absolute difference lies. That is the rub in relation to the Bill.
The important thing to remember is that, irrespective of how people view the partition of Ireland, there can be no justification for taking life and for the other violence that occurs in the north of Ireland. To try to pull a cloak of pseudo-respectability over such violence with discussions on the morality or immorality of what happened many years ago evades the issue.
We have been told that those in the north of Ireland who view things from a Unionist perspective will never change their mind. If that is so, they should have been jumping up and down with joy the night the Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed. They should have lit bonfires and stood drinks for the rest of us because, in those circumstances, the real victory belongs to them. If the hon. Member for Upper Bann is correct, the Anglo-Irish Agreement should reinforce the perspective that he believes will exist in perpetuity. I happen to believe, however, that the people of the north of Ireland are more mature and will not allow themselves to be locked in one specific position. If the threat of violence could be removed and a decent standard of living achieved so that people were free from existing pressures and strains, they would examine carefully the political options available to them. There will, however, be no miracles as the current situation cannot be cured by them, but by changes created painstakingly at the bottom. Every stage of progress will contribute not just to the present but to the future.
Ever since I was elected to the House, I have used this opportunity to express my views on the emergency legislation. Today, the Secretary of State said—no doubt he will correct me if I am wrong. but I hope that I have got it exactly right—that he had to make sure that the law is effective to defeat terrorism. I do not believe that that is the business of thlaw. The defeat of terrorism goes wider than that; it is something different. If one uses the law to defeat terrorism, the process of law is demeaned because it means that the law must be changed. Consider how many times the law has been changed in relation to the 65 emergency legislation. It has been added to, amended, and some would say bent to deal with an objective with which the law does not exist to deal.
Those who break the law must be made amenable to it and the law must protect society. Above all, one must ensure that the integrity of the law survives, whatever the era in which it operates. Unfortunately, the Provisional IRA has allowed and encouraged the Government to demean and debase their high standards of law and the integrity of the legal system. Those problems do not apply to the north of Ireland alone; the same thing has happened here. The Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four cases arose from the pressures exerted on the legal process to solve terrorist acts. Had that pressure not been exerted, we should not face the problems connected with those cases. In recent times, the judiciary, to its credit, has not allowed itself to be subjected to such pressure. We must not, however, overlook the danger that such pressure poses to our legal process.
As in the Dail Eireann, it is always comfortable to believe that one is part of the moral majority in debates such as this. We are back to morality again, but I am seeking to use it in a different context. It is always comfortable to be part of the moral majority and to have that little bit of self-righteousness on one's side. I do not feel that in this debate because I believe that, by trying to defeat terrorism by bending and amending the law, we are, in effect, creating terrorism, especially among young people. Those young people often get it in the neck for actions carried out by others—I know that from experience in my constituency and others and from my day-to-day work. Every time a young person is stopped and subjected to harassment and abuse, carried out legally under the emergency legislation, that young person moves further and further away from the norm in Northern Ireland. It makes that person easier prey for the terrorists in his community.
The House will remember the recent incident in Derry when a man was used as a human bomb. He was declared missing because they could not find anything to bury—we all remember that day. A Sinn Fein spokesman was quoted in the newspapers in the north of Ireland, saying:We will retain our support—have no doubt about that; the army will he in the estates raiding houses and telling kids that their fathers are murderers. They will be doing our job for us.Sinn Fein knows—it plays on it—that every time there is an abuse of the emergency legislation by the Army, the police, the UDR or whoever, it will be the net gainer. We must face up to that.
Today, the Ulster centre for study of conflict, at the university of Ulster—I assure the House that it is not an SDLP mouthpiece—issued a report that said:Progress is essential if the legitimacy of the Security forces, including the RUC, is not to be further undermined within the Catholic community.I agree with the hon. Member for Antrim, North that some people will never support the forces of law because of their political ideology. I do not accept, however, that everyone who happens to be of the same religious persuasion as me is a potential terrorist. I shall never accept that a young person who goes to a Catholic school should be looked upon with suspicion because he happens to have long hair, wears jeans and is a Catholic. The Secretary of State should keep his eye on the legislation because of that problem.
66 By implication, the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Rev. William McCrea) made reference to the by-election at which I spent four days canvassing in the wind and rain. I made time to go to that area as I believed that it was crucial, coming after the incidents when men were strapped to their cars and made human bombs. Imagine my disgust when we lost that by-election by six votes, but my feelings were made even worse when I looked at the register and saw the people who did not vote. They were not the ordinary people living on the estates, but those people who pontificate to all of us about politics, those people who offer us advice on how best to end our terrible problems. Those are the people who did not come out to show their revulsion at those acts that took place within the north of Ireland. That is reprehensible.
I must refer the Secretary of State to harassment. People who were not supporters of Sinn Fein—and who would not vote for it—raised their concern in house after house. This problem affects people going to work, young people and children on their way to and from school. It is not planned, but it is happening time and again. The problem is reaching crisis proportions. I referred to it at a party conference at the weekend, and I shall do so again now. Something is substantially wrong, and the sooner that we get to grips with it the better.
Like other hon. Members present, I have seen more than my share of the violence and suffering. I clearly want to see an end to that, but I am worried about the rake's progress of the past 20 years. It is a matter of historical fact, and for want of a better time we could start with the period of internment. We should stop using euphemisms such as "detention" and call it what it is—internment without trial. Lord Justice Bennett reported on the brutality in Castlereagh and in the Gough barracks in Armagh. Then there were the affairs that Mr. Stalker and Mr. Stevens tried to investigate, as well as all the legislation introduced in the House. The rake's progress is going one step further each time, because what had already been decided on did not work. The question is, who breaks the cycle, and where will it end? There are those who advocate the introduction of internment without trial. That would not work—the Ministers in the Northern Ireland Office also know that—but once one goes down that slippery slope towards the rake's progress, one must go a little further, because there will always be atrocities and terrible outcries against them. There will always be people who point the finger at Ministers and say that they are the people responsible, because they are not doing enough.
That is not the case. The trouble is not that the law is not rigorously enforced, or that there is not enough stringency, or that the law is not repressive enough; the trouble is that the problem of terrorism in the north of Ireland cannot be solved only by the use of law. For that reason, the basic premise in the introduction of these measures is as faulty as the other elements in that rake's progress.
Cynicism comes in when we see what is happening. People in England, Scotland and Wales should examine the matter carefully, for it is British justice that is being demeaned. I happen to be one of the people who admire British justice; I am not cynical about it. I do not go along with the supposed view of Mahatma Gandhi, who, when asked what he thought of British justice, is said to have replied—although I do not believe it—that he thought it would be a good idea. There is a good and proper system 67 of justice here, but it has been demeaned, because it has been made to do that which it is not geared or written to do.
As someone who lives in the heart of south Armagh and who has seen more terrorism than I care to remember, I ask the Secretary of State to believe one point. What do the IRA, the Ulster Defence Association and the Ulster Volunteer Force fear most? It is not soldiers, because in many ways the soldiers fulfil their purpose—indeed, help them; it is not the police, because as long as policemen are around they are targets and they can be blamed; it is not the Ulster Defence Regiment, which is of great benefit in many ways, because it will react and the spiral will continue. It is not that type of law; if it were capable of inspiring fear, the problems of the past 21 years would be long over. What those organisations fear most is normality and a stable society. They fear the normal way in which the law works, and in which society can go about its business. Above all, they fear the normal way in which their children can go about their business without being afraid of being made the butt of this type of legislation.
Although it will be a matter for Committee work and for further reading, I should make some reference to the power of seizure contained in clause 18(4), which gives the Army power to impose significant penalties, especially in relation to the closure of border roads. The police already have that power, so why should it be extended? If we are to call a spade a spade, it means that someone can incur a substantial penalty without any judicial intervention. In other words, a piece of machinery valued at £20,000 or £30,000 can be taken from a person without any recourse to judicial intervention. Surely that is wrong. Another problem is that people's documents can be taken away and read on a mere suspicion.
We had great problems in this country with journalists recently. I can imagine the events in the north of Ireland that will happen—or will be set up—and will then be used cynically. A journalist could be driving along the road, and that power could be invoked by a soldier. The journalist says that the information is privileged. Can hon. Members imagine that happening to a politician? I know that it will, and I am almost sure that I know to whom it will happen. However, it is inevitable: once we introduce such legislation, we must be prepared for it to be abused. No one can say, as the Secretary of State did, that it will not happen; it will happen, because there will be those in the security services who will be silly enough to abuse it. There will also be those among terrorist groups who will be cynical enough to ensure that a situation is engineered to make it happen. There is already substantial power in this regard; why repeat the procedure?
I am also concerned about the problem of items intended for terrorist purposes. It is possible to reduce the possibilities to absurdity. A sympathiser of the IRA or Sinn Fein could have in his or her house marzipan to make pastries; however, that material is also used for making explosives.
§ Mr. Mallon
I can tell the hon. Gentleman of a case in my constituency where an arrest and detention was made on that basis: it is a matter of record, and I shall let the 68 hon. Gentleman have the details. I wonder whether he would also laugh if I told him that fertilisers and diesel oil are also used to make bombs. In a rural area, it is almost inevitable that there will be both fertiliser and diesel oil in almost all farmyards. One can imagine the problem. In such circumstances, the essential legal problem—or non-legal problem—is that the onus is on a person to prove that he did not have those substances for terrorist purposes. That is when the law is so bad, because it puts the onus of proof on the person involved to show that he was not going to use the material for terrorist purposes.
In terms of codes of practices, there was an opportunity to do something about that. Clauses 48 and 49 could have enabled the Secretary of State to make statutory codes for the exercise of emergency powers—something for which we have been asking for a long time. The Bill will not do that, but will still rely on the non-statutory guide to emergency powers. There will be a clear distinction between the implementation of codes of practice in relation to emergency regulations and normal law. Now is the time to get to grips with that. If we are satisfied, as we should be, that the codes of practice are adhered to, why not make them statutory, as they are in relation to the rest of law?
Lord Colville's view on complaints has been mentioned. It is a crucial issue, because the complaints procedure in relation to the Royal Ulster Constabulary is not working properly. That cannot be said often enough, and it is not a party political point. I should like to be able to say that it was working properly and effectively, because I was one of the people who, for years, exerted pressure to get it, but it is not working properly. There is no complaints system in relation to Army procedure. There are those who will say, "Of course there is a procedure —go to the local colonel in charge." But the colonel in charge is not in contact with the community. I deal with such cases on an almost daily basis. Lord Colville suggests the appointment of an independent commission. If we want to make doubly sure that the legislation will not allow harassment, we should have an independent commission so that immediate redress can be sought.
Another grave omission from the Bill, a recommendation that Lord Colville made not just once, but twice—in 1989 and 1990—is that the use of excessive force in self-defence could, in effect, result in a charge of manslaughter. That recommendation, which Lord Colville made twice, must surely be adopted eventually. If it were, we should be much better equipped legally to deal with incidents labelled "shoot to kill" and, even better, we could have a system of inquests.
I went to observe the last such inquest in Craigavon courthouse. It was appalling and like a film made from a Kafka novel, with policemen and witnesses hiding behind screens and a jury sitting hidden from the view of those giving evidence. The continuation of such inquests has been reinforced by a decision of the House of Lords, against the wishes of the High Court in the north of Ireland, chaired by the Lord Chief Justice. Such a system should be dealt with, because there can be no confidence in the legal and judicial process while there is such a total gap and difference between what is happening there and what happens here in England, Wales, and Scotland. The systems are substantially and fundamentally different. Why should that be so, especially in circumstances where a change is needed and when we are trying to build confidence?
69 Those are my general points. Do I believe that there is a need for emergency legislation when there is horrific violence, such as we have seen? Yes, there is need for adequate legislation, but there is also the absolute need to try to ensure that ordinary, normal law is used whenever possible, and we do not always use the escape hatch of tacking on another little bit of emergency legislation because things have got slightly worse. That is demeaning the process of law in Northern Ireland.
§ Rev. William McCrea (Mid-Ulster)
We have had an interesting debate, traversing a number of subjects, including one that comes to mind as we approach Christmas—that people will be in danger of arrest because they possess marzipan. As it is the beginning of the Christmas period, people will be making their cakes and the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) said that there was fear of harassment in a part of the community because people possess something to assist them in baking Christmas cakes for their families.
We have also been told that the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh has a clearer understanding than the hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble) about what the Unionist population believe. The hon. Member for Newry and Armagh said that the hon. Member for Upper Bann gave the impression that the Unionist population were in a time warp. The hon. Member for Newry and Armagh is convinced that he knows better and that the hon. Member for Upper Bann is in the time warp, not the Unionist population.
Perhaps the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh does not realise that the other evening a poll was recorded in the Belfast Telegraph. It was interesting because, of those questioned, no member of the Protestant community supported the Social Democratic and Labour party, but a number of members of the Roman Catholic community supported both the Ulster Unionist party and the Democratic Unionist party. How can he suggest that he has entered into the minds of the Unionist population and knows what they are thinking? I wholeheartedly agree with the hon. Member for Upper Bann. The hon. Member for Newry and Armagh should not be surprised to learn that the Unionist population have no interest in changing their nationality or citizenship. It is beyond belief that he should show such horror on his face and try to make something of that.
We are dealing with a serious matter and I have heard charges today of harassment and certain actions of members of the security forces, the Ulster Defence Regiment, about whom the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh made a sweeping statement a few minutes ago. We are not on a picnic but are dealing with guerrilla warfare, one of the most vicious types of warfare against an innocent population, the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland. There are no niceties of war. We must remember that the IRA has declared war on the British population in Northern Ireland.
Few hon. Members understand the nightmare in Northern Ireland. There are many hon. Members who have little understanding of the sorrow and tragedy. They stand back from it and many have not tried to find out the reality of what is happening on the ground and what the community is going through. I invite right hon. and hon. Members to visit Northern Ireland more frequently to see 70 exactly what is happening. It is part of the United Kingdom and they should be interested in ensuring that they have personal knowledge of the measures they recommend, for which they vote and about which they speak, instead of being fodder in the voting Lobbies at the end of the debate.
I have listened to the official Opposition's spokesman, the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara), and to the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh, but I have yet to hear them make any positive suggestions about how we should deal with the terrorist conspiracy, threat and rebellion that exists in a part of the United Kingdom. How do they think we should deal with terrorism and stop the men of violence?
The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North spoke about civil liberties and individual freedoms and said that the Bill was "repression by reflex action". Has he any understanding of the horror, terror and turmoil suffered by innocent members of the community or any idea of the extent to which they are living with repression? Many of them are prisoners in their own houses. They are afraid to go out at night for fear of being murdered. That is the reality.
May god speed the day when the British people and their elected representatives in this House come to care more about the victims of terrorism than about the terrorists. It is about time that they understood what the victims are going through. I draw attention not only to the plight of the families and widows of those who have been murdered but to that of those who have suffered attacks and are still alive, who are forgotten and who do not appear in the statistics compiled in connection with the tragedy in Northern Ireland. It is about time that the House alerted itself to the sad facts surrounding the terrorism that has blighted our community for the past 20 years.
§ Mr. Alex Carlile
Every hon. Member will agree with what the hon. Gentleman is saying about the suffering to which the victims of terrorism are subjected, but does he share the rejection by the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley), on theological grounds, of reconciliation between the communities of Northern Ireland?
§ Rev. William McCrea
That is a red herring if ever there was one. With great respect, that was a pathetic intervention coming from someone who has little knowledge of the turmoil and suffering that the people of Northern Ireland have to go through.
§ Rev. William McCrea
My hon. Friend was making a theological point about reconciliation and the way in which the ecumenists abuse the term, which is a scriptural term referring to man's reconciliation with God, given that man is at enmity with God. It is pathetic for the hon. and learned Gentleman to seek to bring that into the debate, and if he had any knowledge at all of theology he would know that my hon. Friend's statement was quite right.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
My hon. Friend will be aware that I mentioned reconciliation in connection with the ecumenical movement. It is a pity that the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Carlile) did not find out what the ecumenists meant by reconciliation before he asked his question. They mean that Protestantism should 71 be annexed to Romanism and that every Protestant should now accept that the Pope should be the head of a universal church. That is anathema to me, and, if the hon. and learned Gentleman wants to know why, I shall talk to him outside the House.
§ Rev. William McCrea
I note that some Opposition Members are reeling. If one throws a stone into a pack of dogs, those hit most squeal the loudest. If hon. Members want a theological debate, they should be willing to listen to it. The hon. and learned Gentleman's intervention was a red herring, and it is clear that the Opposition do not like the answer. I appreciate my hon. Friend's intervention and his exposition of what ecumenism is all about.
We often hear pious statements about sympathy and the rest. I am reminded of a speech made by the hon. Member for Littleborough and Saddleworth (Mr. Dickens) in our debate on the return of capital punishment for terrorists. He said that the House had been full of words and sympathy and that what the country needed was action. Opposition Members know little about my constituents' feelings. They have not been to their homes or spoken to the widows and children of the victims about their grief. It is easy to utter pious words of sympathy, but they are no comfort whatever to those who have suffered the IRA's vile and vicious attacks on the community. [Interruption.] If the hon. Member for South Down (Mr. McGrady) wishes to intervene, I shall be happy to allow him to do so.
People make sweeping statements against the security forces. In recent days, a priest from Dungannon, Denis Faul, has engaged in his customary black propaganda against the RUC, saying that it was in cahoots with the loyalist gunmen in the murder of Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland. That is a foul and diabolical deception. There is no foundation whatever for that allegation and Denis Faul never even tried to back it up with fact. I warned that the IRA would take it as a nod and a wink to say that they should take another swipe at the security forces. We know what happened: two RUC members and two of their friends were murdered while out on a wildfowling expedition and their families were left to suffer the results of those wild allegations against members of the security forces.
Recently we had a Rev. Burke from the United States pedalled in to speak at the Patrician hall, Carrickmore, in my constituency. At an open meeting he said, on behalf of Noraid, that the only legitimate army in Ireland was the IRA. Four members of the IRA appeared on the platform —two women in hoods and jackets, and two men in full IRA uniform. That did not happen somewhere in the backwoods. It happened in my constituency and a photograph appeared in the local paper, the Ulster Herald, on 10 August. Rev. Burke made those remarks in the midst of a terrorist campaign in which the innocents of that constituency had been slaughtered. Hon. Members who have protested so loudly would do well to take a trip to see Mr. Burke and ask him whether reconciliation is a theological term and was on his mind.
As the hon. Member for Hampshire, North-West (Sir D. Mitchell) said during the speech made by the Secretary of State, there is a shoot-to-kill policy in Northern Ireland —the shoot-to-kill policy of the IRA, whose members do not care about the suffering of their victims and their 72 victims' families. They are happy without jury and without judge because they act as judge, jury and executioner rolled into one. Yet it seems that hon. Members are concerned about the introduction of effective measures against such people.
It will come as no surprise to the Secretary of State to hear that I do not believe that the present measures are effective. I welcome the existing provisions, but I do not believe that they go far enough. It is some time since we had an opportunity to discuss security. I have several times asked the Leader of the House for a debate on the necessity for extra security measures to deal with the terrorist onslaught on the innocent citizens of our Province. Unfortunately, I have to the report to the House that the campaign of terror continues unabated. This debate takes place at a time when the IRA murder gangs are able to run unhindered through my constituency and when the cycle of tit-for-tat murders is on the increase.
On behalf of my constituents and. I believe, of the vast majority of the people of Northern Ireland, I salute the dedication and bravery of the security forces, especially in areas such as my constituency where members of those forces are in the front line facing the terrorist attack. They face danger not only every time that they put on a uniform, but every time that they take their families out of the house or sit down to a meal. The men and women of the security forces—the Ulster Defence Regiment, the RUC, the RUCR and the Army—have shown not only discipline but bravery and dedication. All hon. Members should rise as one and support them without reservation because they are facing a merciless foe that does not care about the hurt or destruction that it brings upon members of the security forces or their families.
In recent months members of the security forces have made a tremendous sacrifice in the innocent blood of their colleagues. I fear that families are hurt not only by the fact that the terrorist campaign is still going on after 20 years, but because they feel that after a few hours their loved ones are only statistics. Another tragedy comes to take over the limelight and in a few hours loved ones are forgotten except by the members of the immediate family who feel the hurt. People in my constituency are now facing the winter months.
The other day I met the members of a community association in Castlederg, in my constituency. One of the elected representatives met me at the door and asked whether I had met one of my constituents, a young widow. That young woman was the first terrorist widow of 1990. She is left broken-hearted and desolate with her young children. She does not know what to do or where to go. She cannot stay where she is but does not want to move. She is left in turmoil after all the trauma, and it is her young children who keep her sane enough to have any purpose to go on. Standing outside that community association meeting at Castlederg, that elected representative said to me, "If you had been here a few moments ago you would have witnessed eight or nine members of the families of different members of the security forces." That was at 11 o'clock in the morning, and after taking their children to school those family members were coming from the graveyard. That goes on every day.
In our country widows are trying to come to terms with the tragedy, and as they seek to get over it another murder occurs and the wounds are reopened. Then someone 73 appears on television and cries against the treatment of some terrorist by the security forces. That grieves and hurts those widows even more.
§ Rev. William McCrea
I intended to raise that matter and this is a good moment to do it.
The other evening I went into a home in Cookstown where another member of the UDR had been murdered. Two leading members of the security forces were there offering sympathy to the widow. This was later on the day that her husband had been murdered. They were genuine in their offer of sympathy to the family. Albert Cooper, the man who was murdered, was a gentleman in every sense of the word. Mr. Cooper received a telephone call from a woman who asked him to fix the exhaust on her car. She said that she needed it urgently, and if he was kind enough to wait she would be there in 10 or 15 minutes. She asked him to wait because she had to go on an urgent call.
That gentleman waited at his garage. He looked at his watch the minute the lady turned into the driveway and said to his companion, "Do you see that, she is dead on time." The woman got out of the car, went into the office and looked into the face of that young father. She repeated her pathetic plea about how she needed the job done and would he be kind enough to do it. Then she left, but before she reached the street in Cookstown, a matter of 40 or 50 yards, Albert went to do the job, seeking to help, and he was blown to bits. A woman who under God was given the privilege of carrying a child and of giving birth was the very one used by the devil himself to take away an innocent man's life.
I sat in that widow's home with those two leading members of the security forces and we talked about certain people who were seen in the proximity of the murder and were noted for their terrorist connections. The family asked—and I have a room full of people to confirm this —why those persons could not be held if they were under suspicion. The senior officer said, "If I kept them overnight on suspicion only, they would take me to court and the court would award them £3,000."
Young Darryl McKeown, a teenage lad in Maghera, came out with his dad from work and sat down in the car beside him. His dad did an ordinary day's job as a butcher in a shop. The terrorists watched Mr. McKeown and his child come out and then riddled the car with bullets. The young lad had to fall to the floor and he watched as his father was slaughtered in front of his eyes. The authorities offered him £3,000 for the trauma and the tragedy, the same amount that that senior officer said that suspected terrorists would get for spending one night in a cell. That answers the question asked by the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks).
The value of life in our Province is low and that has been proved by some of the points made by hon. Members. The life of a terrorist or of a person who is suspected of the most heinous and foul crimes is more important than the life of a victim. What is the use of weeping? Four men are lying dead, two of them in the car and one on the floor or 74 on the ground and one in the water down at the lough shore. That is the reality, but it goes further because some people face a living death.
A few days ago I received a communication which I shall read because the House should hear it. I wish that more hon. Members were present to hear it. It is entitled, "Far Across Yonder Blue Lies a Golden Fairy Land". The words of this beautiful song were sung to a hushed and enthralled audience as the singer unfolded to his friends the beauty of Northern Ireland. He went on to sing another haunting ballad beginning, "If you ever go across the sea to Ireland, then maybe at the closing of the day"; then comes the lovely line: "and watch the sun go down on Galway bay." The person who wrote to me about this incident continued: "I had to leave the room. The singer's face was shining as he sang. He stood tall and proud, yet his sightless eyes and hearing aid told it all. Charlie was blown up 16 years ago while serving with the RUC. This winter, he will make soft toys in his dark and silent world. His friend Willie was more fortunate. He can at least hear." What was he singing? It was, "and watch the sun go down on Galway bay". He would never see the sun go down on Galway bay again.
Sean heard someone knocking on his door 19 years ago. He looked out of the window and part of his brain fell out on the cot where his infant son lay because he had been shot in the head. Today, he is wheelchair bound, totally dependent on his elderly parents. He needs constant nursing care. Another lad was a Royal Marine, a tough one. Today, he sits in a red wheelchair with 11 bullets in his stomach. A surgical collar and sling complete his ensemble. He was only doing his duty outside the law courts, protecting the public.
Another gentleman got into the back of his car after duty and was hurled through the roof by a bomb. Today, he sits in a blue wheelchair wearing a corset to support what is left of his anatomy. Michael lost two arms. He is in his late twenties. Many things are difficult with iron hooks or claws. This is not fiction; this is reality. Another was a human fireball in Londonderry after a petrol bomb struck him on the back. Another carries more steel plates in his head than many of us see in a lifetime. His epilepsy does not help matters.
Those people are still living. I ask the House to think carefully about rejecting a Bill that is aimed at curbing the freedom of the terrorist because it would be wrong to do that. I have already said that I do not think that the Bill goes far enough, but, while we curb the freedom of the terrorist, we are giving the innocent at least a chance.
I have been a Member of Parliament for eight years and I believe that I can honestly say that in those eight years I have walked behind the coffins of more of my constituents than has any other Member of Parliament. The tragedy is that, in the last year, that has continued. We hear a lot of cries whenever we suggest that there should be a return of capital punishment.I say without apology that I believe that the Government should bring it in. If anybody needs any proof that the terrorists are afraid of capital punishment, they should think about Ellis last week.
Ellis was on hunger strike in the south because he believed that he could pull it off. They shipped him over here to the United Kingdom—I think that the Irish Government thought that he would die and they wanted to give the British Government the problem—and his sister said on television that he would starve to death now that he was in the United Kingdom because he had no reason 75 to live and because he would get no justice here. No sooner were the words out of her than he came off the hunger strike because he knew that he would have been allowed to die. The one thing that the terrorists fear more than anything else is death, and probably what comes after it as well—they have every reason to fear that. That is why I trust that the day will soon come when the Government have the guts to grasp this nettle, in the interests of the innocent, and reintroduce capital punishment.
I asked a leading member of the security forces who was standing outside the yard of Albert Cooper, "Can you please tell me when this will end?" His telling answer was, "Not in the next 20 years if we carry on with the policy that we have at the moment." I defy anybody to disprove that statement in the closing moments of my speech, or call it what Members like—I do not care how it is written up or what anyone says afterwards. At least when I walk into my constituency, the people there will know one thing. I might not have what others have, but I love my constituents with something that is in my heart, not just in my mind. I am begging for the lives of my constituents.
I ask any hon. Member—I ask the Minister who is replying to the debate—what answer I should give to Mrs. Cooper, Mrs. Jamieson and Mrs. Kilpatrick and their children when they ask me when the terrorist campaign will end. The Prime Minister said that she believed that the terrorists should be wiped off the face of the earth. All that the terrorists have to do is to come over the border from Haughey's territory in the south. It cannot be disproved that the vast majority of attacks in Mid-Ulster are the result of terrorists coming over the border from the south, doing their dastardly deed and going back to the safe haven of the Irish Republic, while Ministers were telling me about state co-operation. Not one terrorist crime committed by the IRA in my constituency has been solved.
Will the Bill assure the Province that the terrorist will be wiped off the face of the earth? If the Minister can promise me that, I should like him to go further: how long do we have to wait, and how many more coffins do we have to carry down the road, before the day of peace comes?
§ Mr. Alex Carlile (Montgomery)
The hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Rev. William McCrea) has spoken of the feelings and suffering of the victims of terrorism with a passion which is driven by his long experience of ministering to that suffering. I know that we all understand, though he may feel that we do not always do so, the extent of that suffering, even if we do not have the privilege of living in Northern Ireland, which, as he and the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) emphasised, is part of the United Kingdom.
These debates give us the opportunity to remember especially those who have died only because, in their working lives, they sought to keep the peace and the law, or because they were merely friends of those who sought to do that in Northern Ireland. The brutality of those deaths is exceeded only by the futility of those who killed them. That futility is demonstrated, in my view, by the continuation of the violence, which in itself is evidence of the lack of achievement of any credible objective.
I am strongly opposed to capital punishment. I do not want to enter into the argument in detail, but in my 76 professional life as a lawyer I have represented someone who spent 16 years in prison for a murder that he did not commit, of which he was wrongly convicted and in respect of which he was later released.
I believe strongly that repression of opinion is wrong. I am against any form of political repression. I have to say, however, that people of liberal and libertarian views such as myself are driven to the brink of those views by the sort of incidents to which the hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble) referred, involving the deaths of four men who went out on a day's wildfowling. We do not go over the brink, because of our desire for democracy and our beliefs that people can eventually trust one another if only they have the confidence to do so and that the objective of reconciliation—I use the word advisedly in the context of the debate—is achievable.
As a citizen of the United Kingdom on this side of the water, I believe that I express the view of the great majority of the citizens of the United Kingdom when I say that I find the sneering of the hon. Member for Antrim, North at "reconciliation" as a secular concept both distasteful and disturbing. Reconciliation happens between husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, neighbours and communities. I believe that the vast majority of the population of the United Kingdom—the United Kingdom of the hon. Member for Antrim, North—find the hon. Gentleman's theology to be specious and but a disguise for what sometimes appears to be, though clothed in great eloquence, an antipathy towards the ordinary understanding that people have of the meaning of reconciliation.
My right hon. and hon. Friends and I recognise the continuing need for what is described, rightly or wrongly, as emergency provisions legislation for Northern Ireland. If the House divides this evening, we shall be supporting the Government. This type of legislation is not desirable, but it is a reality of life and we must recognise the need for most, if not all, of the new provisions.
I think that the House should place great value on the tremendous work that has been done by Viscount Colville of Culross, whose repeated analyses of the situation in Northern Ireland, and clear expression of his opinion of it, have given hon. Members who have bothered to read his reports a much greater understanding than certainly that for which the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster will ever give us credit. I wish to pay tribute also to the work that has been done by the Standing Advisory Council on Human Rights, which has made a considerable contribution to the debate and has ensured that the matters that it raises are always considered on as objective a basis as possible.
§ Ms. Mildred Gordon (Bow and Poplar)
I am sure that the hon. and learned Gentleman will agree that Parliament has a duty to consider legislation, to prevent terrorism and to maintain the rights and liberties of individuals. Is he aware that in the past six years almost 7,000 people have been detained at ports and airports under legislation that has related to Irish political violence, and that 86.4 per cent. of those detained have not been charged? This means that thousands of innocent people have been stopped. Is he aware that in the past 10 years inquiries made by ports and airports to the national drugs unit at Scotland yard have increased more than twofold and that the number of people stopped and examined for more than an hour at our ports and airports has increased fivefold in the past five years, and is increasing? Does he agree that Parliament 77 must consider the impact of these happenings on civil liberties and ensure that a balance is struck when considering legislation of the sort that is before us?
§ Mr. Carlile
The hon. Lady has only recently wandered into the debate and it is obvious that she has not read the Bill. Her intervention has nothing to do with the debate and I think that you would rule me out of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, if I attempted to respond to the issues that she raised, which would require a complex and detailed reply.
I was about to say to the Secretary of State that, although I have indicated the broad general support of my right hon. and hon. Friends for the Bill, some major disappointments arise from it. The first disappointment, which has already been mentioned, is the retention of the power to introduce internment. I join the Alliance party of Northern Ireland in its argument that the power is unacceptable, impracticable and contrary to all the best advice, including that of Viscount Colville of Culross. I wish to put on record the strength of view held by Viscount Colville. At paragraph 11.9 of his report he stated:The detention of thousands of Palestinians without charge or trial by the Israeli authorities in connection with the intifada appears to have been carried out under powers not dissimilar to what is in the EPA.That is the emergency provisions Act. He added:It would be ironic for the UK to have to explain that its much cherished legal system is so liberal that it has proved inept to bring to trial and convict known criminals, and that it is an excess of fairness which now predicates executive detention as coming to our society's rescue.He comes to this conclusion:As things now stand I can only endorse with vigour Sir George Baker's recommendation: no more detention.As Viscount Colville suggested in another part of the section of his report to which I have referred, whether to retain or remove the power to introduce internment is a political decision, and I understand that it is a difficult one. It is a matter of judgment and not of absolutes. I suggest to the Government that the judgment that has been made is wrong and that it is impossible to imagine circumstances in which internment would be likely to be introduced. It will continue to rankle as a political matter until it is removed. The advice of Sir George Baker and Lord Colville is the best advice on this subject.
The introduction of the video-taping of interviews in terrorist trials would provide both proper protection for the rights of suspects and proof of the reality of confessions. Currently, the inquiry under Sir John May is considering the case of the Guildford Four. Many people, including myself, who have submitted memoranda of evidence to the inquiry have argued for the introduction of video-taping of interviews for certain serious crimes in England and Wales. We do not yet know what view Sir John will take, but, if it were introduced throughout the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, it would take away a substantial area of controversy in trials that reach the higher criminal courts.
I have practised for almost 20 years in the criminal courts, and I have experienced the advantages of the tape-recording of interviews—the difference that is made to trials and the narrowing of the issues. I urge the Secretary of State to reconsider the matter. The video-taping of interviews would remove the controversy surrounding disputed confessions. They would either be true confessions or they would not and it would be possible to ascertain that from the video tape.
78 The Secretary of State referred to clause 29. If such a clause had been included in the Criminal Justice Bill for England and Wales, those of us who are intimately concerned in such matters would have had a fit. It is a draconian measure. I understand the thinking behind it, but I am concerned about the applicability of that new offence to the inside of a suspect's home. All sorts of examples have been given. I do not know whether marzipan can be used in the making of explosives, although that is certainly a schoolboy myth which I have carried through my life—at least, until today. It raises the spectre of a housewife in Northern Ireland suddenly being arrested and having to discharge the burden of proof—which is shifted to her—that the marzipan was kept merely to make the Christmas cake.
I noted that when Lord Colville suggested the introduction of an offence along those lines, he clearly did not have in mind a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment. In paragraph 2.10 of his report, he suggested that the offence required only a relatively minor penalty. I should be interested to know why the Government have decided that the offence should go rather wide of what he had in mind and attract, on indictment, a very substantial maximum.
In chapter 5 of the report, Lord Colville suggests the introduction of an ombudsman to deal with complaints, especially with those against the police, which would bring about a welcome and increased level of confidence. I invite the Minister to say why the Government have rejected that idea. I note that the Secretary of State is shaking his head. Perhaps the Minister could say why such an ombudsman is not yet being introduced to provide that increased level of confidence. It would be inexpensive, but it could have a considerable effect on the public's view of their rights of complaint to someone outside the police force about the actions of the police. It is important that people outside the force deal with complaints against the force. I argued that during the passage of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, as did others. We still argue for the introduction of a police ombudsman for England and Wales.
The hon. Member for Upper Bann suggested that we should look at the Diplock courts. I have done so. There is no doubt that, whether or not they are desirable, the Diplock courts are fair. I had the opportunity to discuss the trial procedures with the judiciary and others, and concluded that the courts lean over backwards to ensure that wrongful convictions are not entered, that reasons are given for everything—which is more than can be said for the courts of England and Wales—and that evidence is analysed with a fine-toothed comb.
§ Mr. Flannery
I have previously raised that matter. No matter how fair the hon. and learned Gentleman's observation has revealed the Diplock courts to be, does he agree that they exist only because of the position in Northern Ireland? I hope that he is not advocating such courts for mainland Britain.
§ Mr. Carlile
I agree with the hon. Gentleman. I was simply developing my argument.
The Diplock courts are fair. We should pay tribute to the judges in Northern Ireland, who operate in the most appalling personal conditions. By taking appointments as judges, their private lives and those of their families are ruined. They face the permanent risk of being murdered 79 —and we know that there have been murders among the judiciary. I pay a strong tribute to those brave people who accept jobs as judges in Northern Ireland.
The Diplock courts are undoubtedly an exception to the ordinary rules of jurisprudence applied in the United Kingdom. I do not share the view that they should be introduced in England and Wales, because I believe that the jury system works. It has been criticised on many grounds, but it is a constitutional safeguard. Anyone who has doubts about the importance of the safeguard provided by a jury should think about those cases in which juries have refused to convict on what have turned out historically—and this goes back for centuries—to be grounds that have proved later to be right.
I accept that there is no option other than the retention of the Diplock courts, or something like them, in Northern Ireland for the time being; although I think that I am right in saying that the Government share the aspiration to reintroduce jury trial at the earliest possible opportunity. The use of the Diplock courts could be mitigated by Lord Colville's suggestion of increased certifying-in of cases. It could also be mitigated by the use of multi-judge courts, although I recognise that that might be impracticable at present. I suggest a minor alteration to the system that would make it appear to be even fairer than it now appears to be.
I propose the introduction of pre-trial reviews before a judge other than the ultimate trial judge, when questions about the admissibility of evidence—for example, a confession—or discussion on points of law that might have a prejudicial effect on the defendant could be raised. Judges are accustomed to directing themselves to ignore what they have just heard. Any of us who have ever sat in a judicial capacity have had to do that. It is not easy, but with experience it no doubt becomes easier—and that may be why Diplock judges do it well. However, for public peace of mind and the protection of civil liberties, the simple, albeit time-consuming, alteration that I suggest could be useful.
All of us in the House look for and offer solutions, but in the end the real solution is in the hands of the terrorists. That solution will come only when they realise that the vast majority of people—probably 99 per cent.—want to live in peace and want those terrorists to lay down their arms.
§ Mr. David Davis (Boothferry)
As an English Member of Parliament, it is with some trepidation that I speak in the debate—not for any constitutional reason, because I view the constituents of all right hon. and hon. Members as every bit as British as my own. But perhaps the one thing that unites the hon. Members for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon), for Mid-Ulster (Rev. William McCrea), for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) and for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble) is that they live through and suffer the pain of the consequences of terrorism at first hand, whereas the rest of us merely read or hear about them, or see them on television. We do not have to face those consequences day in, day out, through the years. Some of the speeches made today give eloquent testimony to the pain that is caused to the hon. Members who represent constituencies in that tragically torn Province.
80 The hon. Member for Upper Bann referred to the speech of the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara), in which he spoke of the move away from the rule of law in applying the provisions of the Bill. He was speaking of the conventional view of the civil rights basis of British law, which is best encapsulated in the statement that it is better that 10 guilty men go free than that one innocent man be wrongfully imprisoned. Today we heard about the consequences of one guilty man going free, in that it can lead to 10 innocent men being wrongfully killed.
The scales of justice are difficult to balance in such a trade-off. The stance taken by the Opposition today tipped that balance very much against the interests of the victim and, sadly, in favour of the terrorists. Such a stance might be appropriate in the mainland society in which we live, but not for a society riven by evil organisations, such as Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. Jim Marshall (Leicester, South)
I am surprised to hear the hon. Gentleman say that, and only regret that my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) cannot be here to speak for himself. My hon. Friend made it clear that Labour's policy offers no succour to terrorists. It is that any deviations from the law as it applies in the rest of the United Kingdom must be justified. We do not suggest that there should be no deviations, but that if there are changes from the generality of the law as enforced in the United Kingdom, they must be justified.
§ Mr. Davis
I am also sorry that the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North is not in his place, because we are constituency neighbours and we usually have great respect for one another. I could deal clause by clause with some of the points that he made, but frankly I do not think that he understood them. One, dealing with the important issue of evidence, is particularly important, but I shall return to that.
The attack on terrorism can be placed into three categories. First, there are the political initiatives to take away the grounds for discontent that provide a breeding ground for terrorism. Secondly, there is direct action, much of which is encapsulated in the Bill, by the police and security forces. Thirdly, there are indirect actions, having the aim of strangulating terrorism. The best example of that in previous legislation was denying the oxygen of publicity to terrorist organisations. More recently, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has taken several legislative and executive initiatives to deny terrorist organisations funds in the form of income from racketeering. That is a major advance and should be commended.
Each of those policies and strategies has a down side. While there can be no doubt about the need for political initiatives, their very existence offers some hope to republicans, who may think that, one day, they will get their own way and that they become more plausible. One must live with that down side. Similarly, even in the best-run military operations relating to terrorism, mistakes are made, which may occasionally create problems that help to recruit supporters for terrorist organisations.
Anyone who has witnessed a detailed house-to-house search will know that, however careful may be the people who carry it out, it is never a pleasant process for the 81 families who are on the receiving end. The individual who has had his house searched is bound to feel some grievance, so there is a down side to even the most legitimate and carefully executed operation undertaken by the military or security forces.
I join the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster and other hon. Members in acknowledging what a difficult job the security forces perform and how well they have undertaken it in difficult and unpleasant circumstances over a long period. I add my congratulations to them on that. It occurs to me that indirect attacks on terrorism have less of a down side. It is difficult to see how anyone could be martyred by having his accounts properly scrutinised, or how antagonism could be created by the administrative aspects of the work against racketeering. That is an area on which more emphasis should be placed. My right hon. Friend has done much in that connection already, but we should debate further what we can and should do to defeat terrorist racketeering.
In concentrating on IRA racketeering, I do not underestimate its other forms; the Provisional IRA has business operations that produce about £5 million a year. The income comes from black cabs, drinking clubs, smuggling, protection—from all types of illegal activity in Northern Ireland, and sadly from some legitimate activities. By raising about £5 million a year, the Provisional IRA, its allies and opponents do about £500 million worth of damage to Northern Ireland each year. I do not count the grief, misery, death and destruction that we have already heard about; merely the economic and public cost. Every £1 raised does £100 worth of damage. On those grounds alone we ought to consider the importance of our strategy to deal with racketeering and of increasing the resources devoted to it. That is not to say that funding should be reduced in other areas, because all the work that we do is essential, but we must emphasise the work required and support it.
It is also worth considering what the IRA achieves in nationalist communities in west Belfast and elsewhere through the existence of such commercial operations. It is difficult for an English Member of Parliament who does not come from the Province or live there, but I have tried to imagine what life must be like for a young Catholic in his teens growing up in west Belfast. If he goes for a drink, where does he go? There are no pubs, so he goes to a republican drinking club. By passing money across the bar he inadvertently contributes to the Provisional IRA. He is surrounded by the symbols of militant republicanism when he does so. If he travels, he goes by black cab, and contributes to the IRA. If he buys a "black" video, he contributes to the IRA. If he wants to get a job, where does he go? In many cases the local IRA chieftain has the patronage to give him work on building sites. If he wants housing advice or to know how to get housing benefit, he will go to a Provisional Sinn Fein advice centre, which is probably paid for out of IRA funds raised by the methods that I mentioned.
In the worst cases, the young man might know someone in his street who is a prisoner and whose family get a pension from the Provisional IRA. It is not difficult to imagine how any young man in those circumstances—surrounded by anti-British, sectarian propaganda, his life permeated by all those tentacles of Provisional IRA activity—can easily be seduced into the organisation, into its line of thinking and the type of action that it tries to 82 encourage. As a result, it is hardly surprising to hear that very young IRA members have been captured in the past few months.
Therefore, it is critical that the Northern Ireland Office does several things about racketeering. Any action that it takes must be quick. The Provisional IRA and other terrorist organisations—either independently or by mimicry—have proved innovative when it comes to raising money. Some other methods that I did not mention, which are used south of the border, include selling illegal hormones for agriculture and smuggling. As one closes down one operation, another is opened up to provide more money for terrorism, as we have witnessed in the past few years.
Any policy that we decide upon to try to improve the situation, as opposed to nibbling at the edges or keeping things as they are now, must quickly make inroads into such activities. It will require more than one method—more than mere legislation in the House. Such policy needs to be comprehensive and to deal with several areas of activity at the same time. Because of those requirements, the policy will also have to encompass social action, legislation such as the Bill and other Acts, and action at European level so that European directives can be used to prevent such commercial activities evading us by crossing borders.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has to consider several issues. Another problem is that any action taken has to be watertight. One of the best examples of non-watertight action was the Government's attempt to cut off the oxygen of publicity. This week, "Panorama" on BBC television carried pictures of known terrorists with actors' voices dubbed over them to get round the legislation. That makes a mockery of our policies. We must ensure that other policies do not fall down because of such loopholes, technical or otherwise.
There are two ways in which the Bill does not go far enough. I am not a lawyer, I cannot be sure that what I have to say is accurate, but I hope that the Secretary of State will give this matter some attention in Committee. First, clause 22 allows the search for and acquisition of documents for evidence, within the limits of clause 30—in other words, documents that will be used to further terrorism. I understand why it is unimportant that a limitation should be placed upon that right. However, documentary evidence will become more and more important, especially in indirect ways, to stop terrorism. For example, it would be a tragedy if a search turned up documents, but because the search was under a warrant constructed under the Bill, and the documents were relevant to the section in the prevention of terrorism Act that aims to prevent the funding of terrorism, the action failed. We may have created a lacuna because of the way that the Bill is drafted. While I am conscious of the issue of the limitation of powers, that loophole should be considered in Committee.
The second matter that the Bill does not cover—I know that it will raise hackles on the Opposition Benches because of civil rights—is the use of information collected by telephone tapping. At the moment we are able to intercept communications in Northern Ireland under legally and administratively constrained arrangements. Such information is not allowed in a court of law. It seems to me that it is no more of an infringement of civil liberties to allow such information to be used in a court of law than to gather it in the first place. Therefore, I should like that 83 to be included in the Bill. The key distinguishing factor of law and order in Northern Ireland is the problem of intimidation of juries and witnesses. Therefore, other forms of evidence are critical, and any form of evidence that can help us save lives is worth considering.
We must recognise that mistakes can cost lives. We recognise that intellectually, and several hon. Members who represent the Province have told us about the pain, misery and suffering that can arise from such errors. We do not take that lightly. I see that the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North has now returned to the Chamber. None of us takes lightly the trade-off with civil rights, but civil rights are being played against lives. We must always keep that in our minds, and with that in mind I have much pleasure in commending the Bill to the House.
§ 8.9 pm
§ Mr. Ken Maginnis (Fermanagh and South Tyrone)
The hon. Member for Boothferry (Mr. Davis) expressed some reservations about daring to speak on a matter pertaining to Northern Ireland. Having listened to him, I believe that his sympathy and understanding and the practical way in which he dealt with the issue have singled him out as one who should speak more often on this subject. I appreciate his contribution.
As I live in Northern Ireland, I must inevitably welcome the Bill, not because I want there to be a need for emergency legislation, but because I recognise that, without it, we will be even worse off than we are today.
I regret having to make my next point, because I have some respect for the Secretary of State and for the way in which he has tried to address our problems, but, having welcomed the legislation, I must now express my deep reservations about some comments that he has published about the Bill. They are almost a paradox, because the right hon. Gentleman began by saying:It is the Government's duty to ensure that the law is effective for that purpose—that purpose is dealing with terrorism. However, he later stated:The Bill does not represent any change in our security policy.That appears to be a total contradiction, especially when one considers that, in 1985, the number of deaths from terrorism had dropped to 47, but has now risen to 84 and that the figure for this year is still much in excess of the figure for 1985. We do not want no change; we want effective change.
I do not want to quote all the Secretary of State's comments, but I believe that he chose the wrong word when he said:The Government believes that, taken as a whole, the Bill represents an appropriate response to the current terrorist threat".The word that I doubt is "appropriate". What does the Secretary of State mean by "appropriate"? Does he mean "appropriate" purely in political terms, in terms of how the handling of the affair by the Government of Northern Ireland might be seen in Great Britain or the United States? Like many other hon. Members, I should have preferred the right hon. Gentleman to use the word "adequate" and to talk about "an adequate response", because, despite the best efforts of our security forces and despite the endurance of the vast majority of the 84 law-abiding community, this legislation, as the Secretary of State interprets it, is unlikely to contain let alone eradicate terrorism.
The House has had the benefit of listening to my hon. Friend the Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble), who spoke about the emergency provisions legislation from the legal viewpoint. It is not for me to follow several other hon. Members who have indulged more in philosophical arguments than in practical arguments about the legislation. It is right that the philosophy of the way in which we deal with terrorism should be addressed, but for those of us who live in Northern Ireland there is an urgency about this. There is a practical sense and a reality which, at times, becomes impatient with those who indulge solely in the philosophical debate.
I can best illustrate what I mean by reminding the House of exactly what terrorism means in Northern Ireland in stark terms. I shall take the period of exactly five years from 15 November 1985 to 14 November this year. In those five years we have had the Anglo-Irish Agreement—some would tell us that we have had the benefits of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, but others would tell the truth. During that time there have been 347 murders—an average murder rate per year that is almost exactly 50 per cent. higher than the murder rate in 1985. Of those 347 murders——
§ Mr. Maginnis
If the Secretary of State will allow me to finish, I shall certainly give way to him later.
Of those 347 murders, 259, or 74.6 per cent. were carried out by republican terror groups, 83, or 23.9 per cent., were carried out by loyalist terror groups and five are attributed to a person or persons unknown. Of the victims, 119 have been Roman Catholics, and 49, or 41.2 per cent., of those Roman Catholics have been killed by republican paramilitary groups; 68, or 57.1 per cent., of the Roman Catholic victims were killed by loyalists; and the murders of two of the victims, or 1.1 per cent., were attributed to a person or persons unknown. Among the 228 Protestant victims, the deaths of 210, or 92.1 per cent., of them are attributable to republican terrorism; 15, or 6.6 per cent., are attributable to loyalist terror groups and three, or 1.3 per cent., are attributed to persons unknown.
I know that statistics can be boring, but I should like to complete them before setting them to one side. I remind the House of what has happened year by year since 1985 in terms of terrorist killings. I advise the Secretary of State, to whom I shall give way shortly, that I am dealing in Anglo-Irish Agreement years—that is, from 15 November one year to 14 November the next year. In 1985, before the agreement was signed, there were 47 terrorist murders. In 1986, that had risen to 59. In 1987, it had risen to 80 and in 1988 the number was 84. In 1989 the figure dropped to 54. Although that figure was still much too high, we were grateful for that temporary and partial respite. However, in the past year, the figure has risen again, to 70. I shall deal later with why the figure dropped in 1989 because there is a lesson to be learned from that, but I give way first to the Secretary of State.
§ Mr. Brooke
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. I simply wonder whether, later in his speech, he will dwell on the coincidence of the years that he is quoting to the period during which the Provisional IRA has been heavily armed by Gaddafi of Libya.
§ Mr. Maginnis
I shall endeavour to address that point later for the benefit of the Secretary of State.
I should like to ask the Secretary of State a question. Who will protect the people of Northern Ireland? The answer may seem simple, but I ask the question because I do not believe that over the years the Government have taken adequate steps, in terms of active and practical measures, to deal with the continued suffering of the people who live in Northern Ireland. I refer not just to those who live in Northern Ireland. There are those in Great Britain who have also become the IRA's victims. In the light of the events of the past year, one should include, too, those throughout Europe who have suffered at the hands of the same organisation.
It may seem to be trite, but it is not meant to be, when I say that we know that the RUC, the Regular Army and the Ulster Defence Regiment, to which I pay the greatest compliment for its endurance and courage, will endeavour to protect us. If, however, one deals separately with each of those services, we know that each has to carry out its duty under constraints that ought not to be imposed upon it. We accept that our security services must abide by the rule of law, but other things could be done and other steps could be taken to make their role more effective and to provide them with more protection.
During the last few years, the RUC has experienced greater and greater difficulty in operating within its financial budget. That makes itself manifest in various ways, not least when a policeman in Armagh was shot through the window of his own home because no one had ensured that a simple, effective and not very costly method of protecting him was installed—adequate window glazing to hinder the firing of a gun at him. When I found out that that had not been done, I wrote immediately to the Northern Ireland Office and asked that steps should be taken to examine the safety of RUC members and properly to assess the likelihood, according to the areas in which they live, of their being assassinated. Before anything was done, however, yet another policeman in the same area was shot in exactly the same way.
I do not believe that senior RUC officers are oblivious to the needs of the men whom they command, but it is so difficult to provide protection that at times they adopt a fingers-crossed attitude. The RUC man is the most vulnerable. He has to carry out the ordinary civil duties of a policeman. I hope that this place will recognise his security needs. I do not intend to dwell for too long on the subject; I recognise the difficulties that the Regular Army faces. It is within the Government's competence to deal with those difficulties. Not least among them is the gross undermanning of Army units for the tasks that they have to carry out close to the frontier.
I have said to the Secretary of State before, and I say to him again, please do not ask the commander on the ground how he is getting on, knowing that the commander believes that he must give an answer of which the Secretary of State will approve. I ask him, please, to go and decide what the task is and then to ask the commander how many men he has to carry out that task. I also ask the Secretary of State to question the commander on how he allocates men to do the job. The Secretary of State and the Minister of State would soon understand the total inadequacy of the manpower in those areas.
If I have more sympathy for one security service rather than another, it must be for the Ulster Defence Regiment, not just because I served in the regiment for a considerable 86 number of years, but because I find that its members are subjected, even by people who are not pro-IRA, to aggravation, false accusation and allegations that would never stand up in a court of law but which are repeated again and again until they begin to wear the men down. That is what the allegations are intended to do: To undermine the morale of soldiers, particularly the part-time members of the Ulster Defence Regiment.
What are the allegations? They are of the most spurious type: that a member of the UDR has been rude to someone on the road or that a UDR member has been aggressive or threatening on the road. Each allegation has to be, and is, fully investigated. Just imagine what that does to a man who, after doing a day's work, goes out to do eight hours duty with the UDR and who comes in at 4 am to find that perhaps at around midnight someone drove up to the gate of his barracks and put in a complaint which the Special Investigation Branch has been asked to investigate. That man wants to get home and have three or four hours sleep before commencing his next day's work, but he is asked to stay behind because he has to be interrogated by the SIB.
Could it be that after almost 12 years' service in the UDR I am blind to its faults, that I do not know what goes on or, to put it bluntly, that I am prejudiced in how I see the men with whom I served? That can best be illustrated if I say that my battalion, the 8th battalion of the UDR, has had 33 of its members murdered by the IRA. As I look at those 33 names—God knows, that is enough—I see that they must represent a broad cross-section of those who served in the UDR. I ask myself then about people such as George Shaw who took me, as an 11-year-old lad, to my first scout camp. He served the community, and for all his 57 years he was a public-spirited man. I ask myself, too, about Eric Shiells, a business man. He was a person with liberal views who employed people from both sections of the community. I ask about Cormac McCabe, the headmaster of a secondary school, and I ask myself about Albert Cooper, who was referred to earlier today. I taught him at school. Then there is Jimmy Johnston, whom I also taught at school. I ask myself about Denis Wilson. I cast my eye across my constituency and see so many of those faces. I challenge anyone with an iota of honesty to tell me whether any of those 33 people, of whom I have named but a few, was ever known to adopt aggressive behaviour towards any member of the community, Roman Catholic or Protestant. That is how I ask people to judge. They should not do what so many of the UDR's critics do and consider the regiment as uniforms with no faces and no bodies. I challenge members of the Social Democratic and Labour party, members of the Labour party, members of the Roman Catholic Church and members of the Irish Government, who seem all too ready to criticise the UDR first to look at the cases of those who have served and died as they stood between the community and those who would bring it to its knees. Then they should make a judgment.
When does the Secretary of State intend to find a way of calling to account those who make false allegations against members of the security forces? It is right that the public should be protected. I support the protection of the public against anyone who goes to excess, but I expect exactly the same protection to be accorded to people in the security services.
Schedule 2 contains a list of those who are proscribed by the legislation. Recently, there has been a debate in Northern Ireland about whether the Ulster Defence 87 Association should be proscribed. I do not give a hoot about any illegal or paramilitary—I suppose that I had better call them that—organisations being proscribed. The Secretary of State may proscribe the UDA tomorrow and I and my colleagues will shed no tears. We do not want to see our Roman Catholic neighbours gunned down any more than we want to see our Protestant constituents bear the onslaught which they have endured for the past 20 years. But those who call for the proscription of the UDA are somewhat hypocritical. This year, there has been an upsurge in the number of killings by loyalist paramilitaries from about 20 per cent. to almost 30 per cent. But why have those people who ask for the proscription of the UDA not considered how 92 per cent. of Protestants killed during the past five years were victims of the IRA and indirectly, or sometimes directly, by its political wing, Sinn Fein? Why do those people not call for the proscription of Sinn Fein?
My party will support the proscription of any organisation on either side of the community that is engaged in violence against the community. We should be fools not to do so. I hope that the Secretary of State or the Minister of State will answer a question. Is the reason why the UDA is not proscribed, that no one is prepared to face up to the need to proscribe Sinn Fein? Many of us fear that that is the case. If it is, the Government's policy is less than honourable.
Lord Colville suggested that the power of internment —I am not afraid to call it that, because I know that it is and what I want it to be—should be removed from the legislation. I am glad that the Government did not do so, if only because it would have sent out the wrong signal to the IRA. But I wish that those who talk about internment would begin to ask why we need it and examine its historical background. They should ask what it is. We need it because only 8 to 10 per cent. of IRA terrorists are brought to justice through the courts—I refer to those who commit actual murders. I do not suggest for a moment that bringing 55 or 60 per cent. of loyalist killers to justice is good enough, but there is a difference. That is a reason why we need internment.
Some people make a glib excuse and say, "Look at what happened in 1971. Look how the community was alienated." But in 1971 the community was alienated for other reasons. It felt that it was socially underprivileged and that it had a considerable amount of ground to make up. But surely after 20 years neither the Secretary of State nor anyone else will tell me that a section of the community in Northern Ireland, which lives under exactly the same Government as the rest of the community, administered from Westminster, is still underprivileged or still has the perception—that is an important word to that section of the community—that its people are second-class citizens.
Internment did not work in 1971 because it was used to some extent, if not entirely for political purposes. I forget the exact number, but between 300 and 400 people were hauled in one after another. There was no real basis for selection.
We must remember that internment is not retribution. Retribution is exacted through the judicial procedure and the courts. Internment is a means of detaining those who cannot be brought to justice through the judicial system, 88 either because people are not willing to come to court to give evidence or because the security forces need to protect valuable sources of information simply to keep themselves alive. It is, and must be seen only as a means of disrupting the command and control structure of paramilitary organisations.
I challenge people, such as the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon), who criticise the legislation to answer a question. What will they do to protect their Protestant constituents and, indeed, the 41 per cent. of victims of violence killed by the IRA who were Roman Catholic? What suggestions do they make? Unless hon. Members have positive and practical suggestions to make about how to deal with terrorism, they have not earned the right to criticise what we endeavour to do this evening.
I challenge not only the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh, but every Member of the SDLP. I challenge the Roman Catholic Church and I do it with respect. I challenge the Irish Republic and I do it with respect, but I ask them, "How long will you maintain your harsh, uncompromising, irredentist attitude to Northern Ireland in terms of articles 2 and 3 of your constitution?" Meantime, the Government must reason out why they have retained internment. I hope that it is not just so that we do not give a wrong signal to the IRA, because, by that very constraint, we give a wrong signal.
Our emergency legislation does not deal effectively with those who choose to use the ballot box and Armalite philosophy. They are those who seek election to our district councils. The hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Rev. William McCrea) and my hon. Friend the Member for Antrim, East (Mr. Beggs) and I are forced to sit with killers. Recently I was accused of gloating over the shooting of an ex-member of my council, one Martin McCaughey. I do not gloat over the death of anyone. I repudiate the allegation. Because I am concerned for the law-abiding members of my community, I am satisfied when he is brought to justice and prevented from continuing his killings in my constituency.
What are members of district councils who are constitutional politicians and who support law and order to do when we are forced to sit with those who, while they face us across the chamber, conspire to kill us and members of the community whom we represent? The time when Martin McCaughey was shot was an opportune time for the Government to say, "Here we have adequate proof. Now is the moment for selective internment." I am pleased that the legislation is being strengthened in terms of what can be achieved in closing some frontier crossings. I recall a story told, not by a Unionist, but by an SDLP member of my council when a Sinn Fein member brought a resolution condemning the closure of cross-border roads on the basis that it was a social, economic and political constraint. The SDLP member asked the Sinn Fein councillor whether he had worked that argument out and recalled the day when Tyrone reached the final of the all-Ireland Gaelic football championship. The people from round Dungannon intended to cross from Aughnacloy towards Clones over the Moy bridge. The IRA planted a huge van bomb on the bridge. He asked, "Was that for social or cultural reasons? What about the bomb that was driven into the village of Clogher? A Roman Catholic father of several children was forced to drive a bomb along a twisty, bumpy road while his wife and children were being held at gunpoint. The vehicle was parked outside a draper's shop in the village 89 and the Roman Catholic woman who owned the shop and had carried on the business for years was lying on her death bed on the floor above. She had to be brought out on a stretcher. What was that? Was that for social, cultural or economic reasons?" Those are the questions that we must put to the IRA.
I could talk until midnight and beyond on this issue. Many stories must be told in this House so that people begin to face the practical reality of, and not just the philosophical arguments about, terrorism.
I advise the Minister who will reply that what we need is education, not equivocation. For 20 years the IRA and others, wittingly or unwittingly, have been conditioning the community in Northern Ireland to believe certain things that are fundamentally untrue and harmful to that community, not least that if we introduce internment everybody, not would, but should be alienated. I cannot believe that the decent members of the Roman Catholic community whom I know or the decent members of the Protestant community whom I know and who are the vast majority would go to the wire for the sake of one or two people within their immediate community who are holding them to ransom and making them hostages every bit as much as Saddam Hussein is making hostages of the people of Kuwait.
It is time that the Government faced up to their responsibility to condition not only the people of Northern Ireland, but those throughout the United Kingdom and further afield to the reality of the situation. They should not make believe that we are treating everybody with kid gloves. There are people whom we cannot treat with kid gloves. We cannot go on for ever saying, "We shall not do this because we know that you will all come out on to the street", or "Things would get worse if we did this or that." We must think of the 98 per cent. and more of the community who are law-abiding citizens and say to them soon, "We are doing this for your benefit. Understand our reasoning. There will be safeguards. The House of Commons and the courts will safeguard your rights, but you will have to endure some inconvenience for your own benefit and that of your neighbours, Protestant and Roman Catholic, who are being held to ransom."
If we can implement this legislation in that spirit, beginning to condition the community now to the inconvenience that it must endure, we shall go a long way towards ending the nightmare to which the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster alluded and which he predicted would not leave us for the next 20 years. Many of us do not have 20 years. Many of us will have less likelihood of seeing 20 years if action is not taken to implement the full rigours of the law and to explain to the community why that must happen.
§ Mr. Terry Dicks (Hayes and Harlington)
As my hon. Friend the Member for Boothferry (Mr. Davis) has already said, it is a delicate matter for an English Member to speak on matters concerning Northern Ireland. even though it is part of this country. It is especially difficult after the wonderful and moving speech given by my colleague and friend the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Rev. William McCrea). How can one follow the drama of that speech and the heartfelt feelings he expressed?
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State should be aware that the regulations are not tough enough. I am sure 90 that previous Secretaries of State made exactly the same speech, which contained the same good wishes and promises, but we are as badly off now as we ever were. We are not winning the battle against terrorism and to pretend that we are is misleading and a delusion. The people of Britain, especially of Northern Ireland, know that the battle has not been won and that it is getting worse. The hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis) cited figures to prove that.
The security forces are not given sufficient freedom to do what is necessary. They know the identity of some of the villians, the terrorists and their leaders, but they must fight their battle against terrorism with one hand—no, perhaps two—tied behind their backs. Tonight concern has been expressed about a shoot-to-kill policy conducted by the security forces. I hope to God they never have a shoot-to-miss policy. If a shoot-to-kill policy means that IRA terrorists are put away, I have no compunction about lending my support to it.
Clause 32 of the Bill refers toany hood, mask or other article … used for concealing the identity of features".No mention is made of the wearing of military uniforms. People cannot understand why we allow the funeral of a murdered IRA terrorist to take place on the streets of Northern Ireland at which other terrorists wear uniform and fire a salute. As we watch that on English television we ask ourselves what the hell is going on. Those people are terrorists and murderers, but my Government sit back and allow them to have their funerals.
Why are the Government so proud of a policy that allows long-serving IRA terrorists to have Christmas at home with their families? The Minister will have heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Ulster about the suffering of widows and children and those maimed by that dirty, filthy war. However, Ministers proudly sit on the Front Bench and boast about how they allow such terrorists to go home to spend Christmas with their families. What a disgusting and disgraceful situation.
I was appalled that, when a terrorist recently died, his brother was allowed compassionate leave to attend his funeral. What sort of compassion is it when my Government allow a convicted terrorist to weep for his brother who was killed by the security forces for being a terrorist? What sort of society do we have that allows that?
We must have emergency regulations, but the ones before us are not strong enough. But consider the policies of the Labour party. I cannot believe what it says. All it is concerned about is the rights of people. Let us consider the Labour party amendment. It condemns the Bill forrefusing to remove internment without trial from the Statute Book and failing to introduce the video-taping of interviews with terrorist suspects".It also calls forthe 'certifying in' of scheduled offences … an ombudsman to consider the operation of complaints … and a statutory duty for the Commission of Human Rights to supervise the operation of the statute".What does the Labour party think is going on in Northern Ireland—Butlin's holiday camp, a tea party or a dance at the Ritz on a Saturday afternoon? I did not hear the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) mention responsibilities once; he just spoke about the rights of this, that and the other. Does he not realise that rights and responsibilities represent two sides of one coin? One cannot talk about the rights of a terrorist or a potential terrorist without that terrorist accepting 91 responsibility for the society in which he lives. Opposition Members have expressed their concern about those in prison, but those prisoners gave up the right for any consideration the minute they refused to accept their responsibility to act in a decent and humane fashion on the streets of Northern Ireland.
The Labour party has also called for an inquiry into the wonderful job the SAS did in Gibraltar and for an inquiry about the young lads who pinched a car and tried to get through a police road block. If someone gets into a car for a joyride in Northern Ireland and does not stop at a police block, he should expect, and should get, exactly what is coming to him.
§ Mr. Dicks
I am sorry, but time is short and I will not give way.
Other Labour Members have written a letter to The Cork Examiner. Their message to the southern Irish Government was clear—do not send anybody back here because they will not get a fair trial. That is the policy followed by the real Labour party.
In the past four years the Labour party has stood on its head about virtually every policy, but it has remained consistent in voting against the regulations. If I have not said enough about the present Labour party, let me tell the House about the type of person it has selected to fight me for Hayes and Harlington at the next election. That man, when he had a seat of power at the Greater London council, invited Sinn Fein and IRA members to visit at ratepayers' expense. He invited them over to talk about their problems—no doubt it had something to do with the troops out movement and all the rest of it. The Labour party has allowed its local constituency party to select such a person to fight the next election, but the Opposition spokesmen claim that they abhor terrorism and are opposed to it. I wish that their mealy-mouthed words could be heard by more people, as they represent their two-faced hypocrisy.
What action should be taken to get things right? We must consider the regulations in their proper context. My Government should tell the southern Irish Government to remove from their constitution articles 2 and 3, which threaten to take over the six counties in due course. If the Government believe that we should take tough action, they should tell those terrorist lovers in the south to get rid of those articles from the constitution to show that they mean business.
What about the wonderful Anglo-Irish Agreement which I voted against five years ago? We were told that that would provide all the answers to the problems of Northern Ireland, but, as the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone has already said, acts of terrorism have increased since its introduction. It is a disgusting agreement and a sop to southern Ireland. It has not improved the situation in Northern Ireland and it is a disgrace to this country and my Government. Before we talk about further regulations we should take real action by getting rid of articles 2 and 3 in the Irish constitution as well as the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
The situation in Northern Ireland is one of war. It is not an issue about rights and wrongs or playing fair. The terrorists' basic rule is that we should play ball with them, 92 but they will stick the bat up our rear end. It is about time we told the IRA that this is a battle. The IRA calls itself an army. We need not recognise that, but we should say that we will take it on wherever we must. If that means that we and our security forces must get down in the gutter with them to win, so help us, we will. To sit here and say that we are doing our best when, in a few days, we shall hear about more innocent people being killed and more terrorists getting away with it is unbelievable. What with that and people being put up overnight at a cost of £3,000 and terrorist prisoners going home for Christmas, the British people cannot believe it.
The sorrowful thing for me is that I had to sit here to listen to such a moving speech from my friend the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster. If nothing else happens, I hope that hon. Members were moved by that speech and that the Secretary of State will have second thoughts about what needs to be done about Northern Ireland. We must take tough measures and we must beat terrorism; lovely platitudes expressed in the Chamber will be no help at all.
§ Mr. Eddie McGrady (South Down)
I am surprised that hon. Members think that we are legislating for terrorists. We are not. We are legislating for the entire people of Northern Ireland, which is an important difference. The Bill will apply not only to the terrorists of Northern Ireland, but to every citizen, good bad or indifferent. For that reason, we must be careful, when withdrawing a right or imposing a burden or liability on a person, to ensure that that person has the full protection of the law.
I wish to address the Bill in its broadest sense. Each year we have a debate similar to this, whether it concerns the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 or the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act. Each time, another chunk is bitten out of the normal rule of law. Let us be clear: we are referring not to the normal rule of law, but to its withdrawal. As was pointed out earlier, it is important that when that happens there is full justification for every item that withdraws that rule of law.
For instance, earlier it was said that capital punishment would be a deterrent. The hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Rev. William McCrea) referred to the Ellis case and the ending of a hunger strike. However, he seems to have quickly forgotten a lesson. The Provisional IRA encouraged and deliberately let die eight of its own members, one after another, in a protracted public-relations exercise of the most horrible kind. That is not fear of the final punishment, but a use, or abuse, of it. That is why I do not think that capital punishment should be a consideration; but, although it is not included in the debate tonight, it leads me to my next point.
We reach a stage at which the withdrawal of the normal rights of the rule of law becomes an oppression in itself. I do not know where the dividing line is; I am not a lawyer, only an observer. In support of my case, I do not propose to draw on the deaths of members of the police, members of the UDR and innocent people from both sides of the community in my constituency. I do not wish to base my arguments on them, but propose to state my view on the basis of my own experiences and observations.
I was challenged fairly directly by the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis), who said that he could not understand my misgivings about, for instance, the UDR. He himself said that, if the UDR did 93 not exist, he and his fellows would have to create such a force for the Protestant people. I could refer to an example from my constituency, where a person was murdered by two serving members of the UDR and somone who had just ceased to be a member. But that is not the point: the point is that there is an element of distrust, which is endemic and must be addressed. We cannot wish it away. That instance—along with several others—is an indication of the problem.
§ Mr. Maginnis
I know that I spoke for a long time, and I do not want to take up the hon. Gentleman's time, but I must correct him. I never suggested that, if we did not have an Ulster Defence Regiment, we would need a Protestant force to protect us. I said that, if we did not have properly constituted forces of law and order to stand between us and the terrorist, the community would have a responsibility to protect itself. I stand by that.
§ Mr. McGrady
I stand by what I originally said. as it is on the public record.
The more that rights are withdrawn, the more it is seen as oppression, and the more credibility is given to the terrorists' arguments and to those whom we are all trying to defeat. In his introductory remarks, the Secretary of State said that there was nothing startlingly new in the Bill. If I may use my own words, it is more or less a regurgitation of what has gone before. That is not true. There are new and troubling restrictions of individual rights, and also some important omissions that could be corrected to make the package more viable and cohesive.
The proposal that will probably give the most trouble is the possibility that otherwise innocent articles in a person's possession may, merely on the suspicion of an investigative officer or Army personnel, be deemed to be a contribution to an intended act of terrorism. That, without any collaborating evidence, would constitute a grave abuse or crime warranting a severe sentence. That is one of the most alarming parts of the Bill, and the Government must take a close look at its practical implications.
I shall draw attention to only one or two of the missed opportunities, but certainly not to the suggestion that we should introduce phone tapping because there is quite a bit of that in Northern Ireland at present. A matter of grave concern to most people is the absence of the right to silence. The Secretary of State's arguments about non-intention were weak and apologetic when he said that taped video recordings of interviews and interrogations could not and would not be made available.
It is evident that in many disputed sectors of the application of law, based as they often are on confession and statements made without a great deal of, and sometimes no, collaborating evidence, it would be absolutely invaluable in upholding the law and ensuring that it was just that video tape recordings should be made available. It is no argument to say that such recordings would expose the interrogating officers or personnel to threats to their lives or intimidation. As has been said, modern technology allows the appearances of such people on television to be blurred.
The Bill includes a section on searching and finding written matter that may be deemed to be of some use to terrorists. The subject is far reaching and I ask the Minister of State and the Government to take a close look at it. It reminds me of the broadcasting ban in a different guise. I argued against that strongly at the time and it has since 94 become the total nonsense it was predicted to be. All of us have watched television and heard interviews where a dubbed voice is heard over a photograph of the subject matter or the person speaking. One of the ironies of that is that it prevents political debate with people making propaganda on behalf of terrorism. It prevents us challenging face to face the so-called arguments put forward to justify terrorism.
§ Mr. McGrady
If the hon. Gentleman wants to intervene, he should ask me and I shall let him. I am constantly picking up his voice, much to my distraction.
Were it not for the broadcasting ban, we could have a political onslaught of verbal dialogue that could not be won by the terrorist propaganda of today.
We are dealing with a broad spectrum of people in Northern Ireland. Many of the Bill's powers apply to ordinary people, not terrorists. I know that the Minister will be aware that whole communities can be held to ransom by the application of a security measure. Livelihoods can be lost overnight and homes and businesses made non-viable simply because physical structures are erected as security measures. Many of the operations are ill-conceived and the case for them is badly argued. The Bill will make such action easier and will be less effective than it should in combating terrorism and discouraging sympathy for it.
Let me refer to propaganda. Every time the Government introduce a Bill such as this and include new provisions, they create an image of repression and suppression, and good use is made of that for propaganda purposes. That beguiles those who do not support terrorism and deludes them into thinking that there is justification for some of the horrific deeds that are done. As many hon. Members have said, the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland support law and order. They do not support terrorism. They want to live normal lives, just like everybody else. By introducing more and more repressive legislation—withdrawing people's rights under the normal rule of law—we are playing into the hands of the terrorists.
I hope that the Secretary of State will take on board the concerns that I have expressed, not because I have any sympathy at all for terrorism—as the right hon. Gentleman knows, I have stood up against all forms of terrorism in my constituency—but because the protection of people is just as important as the suppression of terrorism.
§ Mr. Rupert Allason (Torbay)
One of the objectives of the terrorist is to provoke overreaction, and one of our concerns this evening must be that even the title of the Bill plays, to some extent, into the extremists' hands. We must all be concerned about introducing legislation specifically for the Province of Northern Ireland. Anybody who has any experience of Northern Ireland—and a large part of my family lives there—knows that one must try to strike the right balance between the rights of the vast majority of the community and the desire to combat terrorism.
The measures in the Bill would be greeted with widespread dismay if anyone even tried to suggest that they should be applied to the mainland. We are talking 95 about the principle of dealing with Northern Ireland quite separately from the rest of the United Kingdom. Yet, strangely, I think that some of the measures in the Bill could usefully be applied to the whole of the United Kingdom. Pressure has been brought to bear, for example, for the registration of private security firms—a subject on which I have been in touch with the Home Secretary. It has always been a mystery to me that the Government should consistently say that they are not prepared to legislate for that on the mainland but are perpetuating the existing orders relating to almost exactly the same set of circumstances in Northern Ireland. I find that truly astonishing.
I should like to explore some of the matters dealt with in Lord Colville's report. Two of them in particular concern me. The first relates to the video-taping of interviews. Some years ago when I was serving in the Metropolitan police the prospect of an audio tape trial was greeted with some alarm by my colleagues. It has now been proved to be a great asset to the police and the police are pleased with many aspects of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 relating to that trial and its perpetuation.
I urge the Government seriously to consider the introduction of video-taping for trials in Northern Ireland. We know from the noble Lord's report that that is perfectly practicable. We also know that a certain amount of video-taping is already taking place in the holding centres. However, like everything else in Northern Ireland, that is no black-and-white issue because there is then the problem of access to those tapes.
I do not want to reopen the Stalker affair, but we must all be perfectly familiar with its circumstances. At the final hurdle it boiled down to who should, or should not, have access to an audio tape that was alleged to contain the recording of what had taken place immediately prior to an incident in Northern Ireland. The tape had been collected clandestinely by the Security Service and at one stage the police wanted access to it. However, it was never made available, and that became the brick wall that John Stalker came up against.
Although video-taping is easy and I advocate its introduction, one must be concerned about access to the finished tape. If somebody in a holding centre decided to volunteer information, perhaps to become a supergrass or to undertake a role as an undercover informant, his longevity could be severely threatened if the video-tape were subsequently seen by certain people.
Unquestionably, many parts of the Bill are repressive. As I said, if it were presented to the House as a measure for the rest of the United Kingdom, it would be greeted with widespread dismay. But, of course, the circumstances in Northern Ireland are quite different. In one respect, the Secretary of State is quite correct. There is a sign that at long last we are getting the upper hand in the intelligence war in Northern Ireland. There has recently been considerable success against INLA, the Irish National Liberation Army, and that is welcome. There has also been a series of successes against the Provisional IRA.
In most walks of life failure is an orphan and success has many fathers. Intelligence is no different. The paradox in the intelligence world is that success cannot be proclaimed from the roof-tops. We do not know the 96 circumstances or the background that led to the successful interception of the INLA attack. We shall probably never know, and that is as it should be. The key to counter-terrorist operations in Northern Ireland and everywhere else must be good intelligence. Part of good intelligence is the confidence of the community about being able to volunteer information to the authorities.
The noble Lord Colville said in his report that the Army and police respond quickly and well to complaints. Last year an Act was passed to allow ordinary citizens some indirect access to Security Service files. A tribunal was established and a commissioner appointed to deal with complaints. However, we are debating a Bill that specifically declines to go down that avenue in the face of a proposal from the noble Lord Colville. That seems strange. Several of those issues are mentioned in the Opposition amendment, but that amendment goes far too far.
The Security Service tribunal and its function in this country is a model that could be applied on a broader scale in Northern Ireland. One would have simply to substitute for the title, "Security Service commissioner", "Security Service ombudsman". That would command great respect in Northern Ireland and might improve the level of information being volunteered by the community. There are two problems with the way in which the system works in England. First, there is undue secrecy surrounding the entire system. When we debated the Security Service Act 1989 in the House last year, it was my belief that ordinary citizens would have an opportunity to make a complaint, the complaint would be pursued by the commisioner and there would be an element of redress for the complainant. Unfortunately, it turns out that the tribunal has declined to pursue any complaints relating to matters that occurred before 18 December 1989. That is against the spirit expressed in the House when we debated the Act.
The second problem is that, when I asked my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary how many complaints had been received by the Security Services tribunal and how many of those complaints had been investigated by the tribunal, I was told that both answers are secret. It seems crazy, when we are trying to restore public confidence in the security authorities by creating such a mechanism, not to allow an opportunity for the public to judge the effectiveness of that measure. I am disappointed that the issues are still secret, because that runs contrary to what I believe that the House intended last year. In Canada, those affairs are dealt with differently, and if an annual report were published here, that would be helpful for the public.
Such a report would also be of great benefit to hon. Members. Unfortunately, although there is an opportunity for the Security Service commissioner to write such a report, we do not know whether it would ever be published. In Canada, when the report is published, it includes case histories, and that is a marvellous example of how security authorities can explain to the public and to the taxpayer how the system works, and what the challenges are to the authorities, and give a few graphic examples of the terrorism and subversion, and in this case espionage, which have to be dealt with every year. We already have a precedent for such an ombudsman and to introduce such a system would be of benefit to the people of Northern Ireland.
Two of the Bill's provisions will be widely welcomed in Northern Ireland by anybody who knows anything about 97 the border country. The new offence of going equipped for terrorism will be of great benefit to the authorities in Northern Ireland. I commend the Bill to the House.
§ Mr. Harry Barnes
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I cannot claim that I am aggrieved at not having been called to speak in the debate, because I understand the circumstances, but hon. Members representing Northern Ireland constituencies often complain—I complain with them—about the lack of interest shown in their affairs by hon. Members representing constituencies in Great Britain. However, if they talk at great length in debates, that means that the rest of us do not then have the opportunity to be involved in Northern Ireland debates. Six Members representing Northern Ireland constituencies have spoken and the average length of their speeches has been 35 minutes.
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
That is an interesting point of order, but it is not within the authority of the Chair to control the length of speeches.
§ Mr. Jim Marshall (Leicester, South)
We have had a long debate this evening, and at times it has seemed longer than the normal span for such a debate. It is of regret to me—I am sure that it must be also to other hon. Members who attend these debates regularly—that no new argument has been advanced this evening.
With one exception, the debate has been a rehearsal of all the old arguments that we have heard on so many previous occasions. The exception was the contribution of the hon. Member for Torbay (Mr. Allason), who, perhaps alone among Conservative Members, sees some credit in the Opposition's amendment. He thinks that the amendment goes too far, but at least he is open minded enough to accept that there are faults in the proposed legislation and that where faults arise they should be corrected.
I thank the hon. Member for Torbay for adding further credibility to the Opposition's argument that the proposed legislation is repressive and that if such legislation were introduced into the remainder of the United Kingdom it would be met with dismay and widespread outrage. It is for that reason that we continually say, as my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) said at the beginning of his speech, that any deviations from the normal rule of law must be justified when they are introduced and on every other occasion when Parliament discusses them. If we are not faced with the norm, we must justify deviations on every possible occasion.
It is no criticism of the Chair, Madam Deputy Speaker, when I say that I regret that no other Labour Member apart from my hon. Friend the Member for Kinston upon Hull, North and myself has been called to speak in this debate. The Chair will have heard repeated attacks on Labour party policy from 3.30 pm and it is a source of regret to me—I think that it will be to my party as a whole that no Labour Members, with the exception of the 98 Opposition Front-Bench speakers, have had an opportunity to refute the malicious slurs and allegations that have been made against the Labour party.
I thank the Secretary of State for taking us so clearly and concisely through the contents of the Bill. I agree with his objective that the Province of Northern Ireland must be cleansed of the abomination of violence. I do not think that anyone in the House would disagree with that primary objective. I agreed when he said—I think that he reinforced the Labour party's policy on this issue—that modifications to our ordinary law must be justified whenever they are made. Having congratulated the right hon. Gentleman, it is a matter of great regret to me and my party that, in introducing once again the proposed emergency legislation and making great play of the report and recommendations of Viscount Colville of Culross, he has found it unnecessary to introduce the viscount's recommendations in the Bill.
The Secretary of State said that the Government are still thinking about a possible complaints procedure against the security forces. The right hon. Gentleman expressed the hope that he or the Government would be able to return to the procedure during the progress of legislation. I ask a question to which I hope the Minister of State will be able to respond: do the Government intend to introduce clauses setting out a complaints procedure while the Bill progresses through this place or another place? I should be glad if the Secretary of State could give some sign of the time scale that the Government have in mind.
The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) made an interesting speech. It came as no surprise that, once again, he used this occasion to go through his ritualistic condemnation of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. He then rhetorically asked whether there was any hope for Northern Ireland. He said that there was, but that that would require further steps, and claimed that he had already outlined those steps.
I listened closely and carefully to the hon. Gentleman, but I did not hear one positive statement about how the progress towards normalisation in the Province could be attained. I merely hope that, on just one occasion, the hon. Gentleman will be a little more positive and outline the steps that he believes should be taken to counteract and diminish the impact of terrorism in the Province.
I carefully followed the long speech of the hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble). He made great play of there being no possibility of any change in the structure of the political system in Northern Ireland. It is incredible that he should think that any discussions about political changes are wrong and, perhaps, immoral. I fail to understand the basis of his proposition. No political structures are immutable and only a fool would suggest otherwise.
The shortest speech in the debate—and perhaps it is a model that we should have followed—came from the hon. Member for Hampshire, North-West (Sir D. Mitchell). His substantive point was that the British people and their representatives will never give in to terrorism. I think that the hon. Gentleman spoke for every hon. Member.
I accept without reservation the propostion of the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) that what terrorists fear most is normality, and that they thrive on abnormality. Whether Government or Opposition Members, we must ensure that a semblance of normality returns to the Province as quickly as possible.
99 The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Carlile), who spoke on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, said that the Secretary of State's refusal to remove internment from the statute book was a political decision. I agree with that conclusion. The Secretary of State is afraid to remove internment from the statute book because, despite all the evidence, he thinks that he might be accused of being soft on terrorism. He does not need to prove that he is tough on terrorism; everybody knows that he is. He should have had the courage to accept Lord Colville's recommendation, and that of all reasonable people, that internment should be removed from the statute book.
The hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks)—I wish that he was in the Chamber—said that he wanted the security forces to take stronger and further action. I am never quite sure what hon. Members mean by that. Do they want British soldiers and members of the RUC to go out on covert operations and kill people, whether or not they are in possession of weapons? If that is what Conservative Members want, they should come clean and tell the House and the British people that that is so. On not one occasion have they enunciated the policies and strategies that they want the RUC and the British Army to follow in Northern Ireland on our behalf. Until they do, they should be quiet and support the present activities and policies of the RUC and the British Army in the Province.
The House is united in its determination not to allow violence to succeed, and to ensure that the security forces should have the resources necessary to both combat and suppress terrorism. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that force alone will not defeat the terrorists and that political progress is also required. Most of us acknowledge that the seeds of violence will not be removed until all members of the Northern Ireland community, irrespective of their traditions, feel that they have an equal part to play, not only in the economic and social life of the Province but its political life.
I am sure that it has occurred to the Government, as it has to me, that it is no mere coincidence that there has been an upsurge in the IRA's activities recently, just at the time that the Secretary of State is seeking to start talks between all the constitutional parties on a consensual political settlement. That is the last thing that the terrorists want, because once a consensual political settlement is achieved it will remove at a stroke the IRA's whole raison d'etre and exclude it—for ever, one hopes—from the political process. I hope also—but perhaps it is a forlorn hope—that that realisation will provide a further incentive for the Province's constitutional parties and the British and Irish Governments to discuss again the possibility of talks aimed at reaching a political settlement.
All reasonable people who have witnessed the anguish and suffering of the Northern Ireland community accept, however reluctantly, that in the Province there must be deviations from normal police powers and accepted judicial processes as they apply in other parts of the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, we must not shrink from enacting legislation that seeks to protect the interests of suspects in custody, however much we may dislike doing so and however distasteful that may be. No matter how heinous 100 may be the crimes of which suspects may be thought to be guilty, we have a duty and responsibility to introduce legislation of that kind also.
To distinguish ourselves from the terrorists, we must never forget that our methods are not those that they use. Not for us the false confession; not for us summary justice. The security forces are there to protect human rights, not undermine them. The security forces are there to enforce the rule of law, not abuse it.
All this may seem a cold political exercise to those suffering at the hands of terrorists and it may not offer the immediate comfort of calls for internment, more draconian security tactics or the death penalty. But to do otherwise would not only hand a propaganda victory to the terrorists but expose as a sham our claim to be defending a better and more desirable set of values.
The Government can take credit for removing many of the social and economic grievances on which terrorists thrive, but it is to their discredit that they have not shown the same courage and conviction by accepting Lord Colville's suggestions for change in the legislation before us.
Lord Colville is no starry-eyed radical. Anyone who has read his report must be struck by its deeply conservative view. He is in no doubt that the emergency legislation must continue. It is against that background of certainty about the legislation and its continuity that he makes recommendations for change which are neither radical nor revolutionary. Whether by accident or by design, they would make a package of legislation more acceptable to the community and protect the security forces' reputation against malicious allegations.
The Government have lost an opportunity to show that they are prepared to listen to reasoned argument. Unfortunately, they have succumbed to the argument produced from various quarters this evening that any change might be misinterpreted as being soft on terrorism. It is a missed opportunity, and I think that the Government will come to regret it sooner rather than later.
The refusal to repeal the legal basis for internment is unbelievable. The provisions have not been used since 1975 and no one can foresee any circumstances in which they would be reactivated. I do not need to call in aid the Labour party—all the Tory Members who have been reading out the brief from Conservative party central office this evening will recognise that as an argument which is put forward by their own research department at Transport house. It is unbelievable.
§ Mr. Marshall
Yes, at Smith square—perhaps that was some sort of Freudian slip about our policy review.
The Labour party's position is quite clear. We believe that, as a practical solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland, internment is of no value. Even if the Government cannot accept the Labour party view or that of Tory party cental office in Smith square, they should at least accept Lord Colville's point of view. His conclusion is that internment is widely condemned in other countries and that the provisions should not be re-enacted. To seek to justify the retention of such provisions, on the basis of some unforeseen circumstances in the future, when Parliament might be in recess, stretches the bound of credibility too far.
§ Mr. Marshall
If the Minister will allow me, I shall take two more minutes. I am sure that he will recognise that a Conservative Back Bencher exceeded the recognised time by two or three minutes.
Lord Colville accepted that there could be problems with video recordings, but that they could be resolved. He suggested some practical ways in which they could be resolved. I hope, even at this late stage, that the Government will accept that suggestion and introduce videos in holding centres.
Finally, for these reasons, and for those that my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, North advanced at the beginning of the debate on behalf of the Opposition, I hope that the House will support our amendment. If it fails, I hope that hon. Members will join us in the Lobby to vote gainst the Second Reading.
§ The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Mr. John Cope)
We have had an interesting and wide-ranging debate about politics and about theology. In response to several hon. Members, I must say that the Bill needs to be seen in its context. Defeating terrorism is not only a matter of security policy but involves political, economic and social policies.
A considerable amount has been said in the debate about victims. The whole of Northern Ireland falls victim to the terrorist threat. The hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Rev. William McCrea) and others reminded us of a few of the victims who are the background to our discussion today. The hon. Gentleman referred movingly to the death of Mr. Albert Cooper—just one of the many victims to whom he referred. I met one of Mr. Cooper's close relatives a few days ago, along with some prison service widows and their families, and I know exactly what the hon. Gentleman means. I know the story well.
I wish that I could promise the hon. Gentleman and, indeed, the whole House that this or any other piece of legislation would wipe terrorism and terrorists off the face of the earth. Of course, the Bill will not do so by itself—that is a much bigger job—but I believe that it will make a contribution. However, it will take much more—a combined legal, security, economic, social and political effort—to eradicate terrorism. Above all, we must get through to the terrorists the realisation that what they are about is futile and that democracy will win.
Tonight we are looking solely at the law within which the security forces make their vital contribution to the defeat of terrorism. The Bill is partly renewal, partly consolidation—perhaps not in the technical sense in which the House uses that word, but in the general sense—and partly novel. The novel parts are, in fact, much the smallest aspect of the Bill.
Our first job is to justify the necesssity for the renewal of powers such as are in the Bill. In general terms, that is, sadly, an easy job. Terrorists from both groups—republican and so-called loyalist—continue to kill and maim, to shoot and bomb. These last few murderous weeks have emphasised again the necessity for powers such as these.
We shall review all the detail in Committee, although I shall cover as much as possible in a moment. If the security forces are to have the chance of catching the men of terror, 102 and if the law is to have a proper and fair opportunity to judge, convict and sentence those criminals, extra powers within the law are essential because the paramilitaries use the extra power of ruthless terror to silence witnesses, to negate juries and to threaten the life and work of everyone engaged in maintaining the rule of law—policemen, judges and the rest.
However, the powers are exceptional emergency powers, which none of us likes to see. That is why the House gives them only a limited life and that is why we are renewing both the powers and the safeguards. I wish—I am sure that all other hon. Members wish—that we could relax the emergency provisions and begin the process of bringing the law back to normal, but given the problems of catching and convicting these criminals, we cannot reduce the power of the police and the law to achieve prosecutions in the appallingly difficult circumstances in which they have to operate. We face a highly organised criminal conspiracy and society must protect itself against that.
Lord Colville's principal recommendation in his review of the Acts was that the main emergency provisions remain necessary and, obviously, we agree. The consolidation aspects of the Bill flow from recommendations also made by Lord Colville and others. They do not go quite as far as the hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble) wanted, but they go in the direction that he wanted. The Government recognise the widespread desire that the legislation to deal with terrorism, both in Northern Ireland and in the United Kingdom as a whole, should be as simple and as coherent as possible.
When the Bill is enacted, there will still be some overlap between the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 and the emergency provisions legislation, but, as Lord Colville recommended, the Bill brings together the two emergency provisions Acts and part VI of the prevention of terrorism Act, which applies exclusively to Northern Ireland. That makes for rather a long Bill, but it is the right thing to do and will make life easier for all those who have to deal with the legislation and put it into practice.
As I said, the novel aspects of the Bill will be discussed in detail in Committee, but I shall mention some now. The Government believe that, taken as a whole, the Bill represents a proportionate response to the current terrorist threat in Northern Ireland. It contains the measures that we consider necessary to combat terrorism. It continues to strike the careful balance that was called for in the debate by my hon. Friend the Member for Torbay (Mr. Allason) and others, between providing additional powers for the police and the armed forces to tackle terrorism and safeguards for those accused or suspected of terrorist crimes. I do not apologise to my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks) or to anyone else for the safeguards. We must avoid the alienation of the innocent.
The Bill's provisions will be subject, in the normal way, to annual renewal by both Houses of Parliament. The Bill will have a fixed five-year life. There will, therefore, be further opportunities for Parliament to consider the legislation.
Many hon. Members have referred to executive detention or internment. Having considered Lord Colville's report and the wide range of other opinions expressed on the issue, we came to the view, contained in the Bill, that we must retain that option while the terrorist 103 threat remains so acute. We, like the Republic of Ireland, regard it as a weapon that we must keep in our armoury. The possibility of reintroducing it will be kept carefully under review. To do away with the power would be to rule it out for all time. One cannot use the power if one gives notice of it. To give notice of the intention to introduce a Bill to bring it in at some time, when one wants to use it, is to warn everyone concerned and to give them the opportunity to disappear. That is why we believe that surprise will be an important element in its initial effectiveness. That would be lost if new legislation were required to bring it in at the time.
The position at the moment is that an order to introduce detention would require affirmation by both Houses of Parliament within 40 sitting days. Our intention is to keep it that way. If the power were used, Parliament would wish and would have the opportunity to discuss it urgently at that time. We are not cutting out parliamentary discussion, but we are saying that we need to introduce the power first and then to confirm it in Parliament within 40 sitting days, because the element of surprise is essential.
Another aspect to which much attention has been drawn during the debate is the video-recording of interviews with terrorist suspects. After long and careful consideration, our conclusion is the same as that of the Bennett commission, which comprehensively reviewed the safeguards for terrorist suspects during interrogation in its report that it published in 1978. These are not ordinary criminals or suspects with whom we are concerned; they are men and women caught up in terrorist organisations. Among other things, the Bennett report said:the evidence of our police witnesses, and our own impression, is that some suspects need to be allowed certain room for manoeuvre in what story they tell afterwards if they are to be frank with the police at the time when they are interviewed".We have taken the view that the knowledge that an interview was to be recorded would in many cases seriously inhibit the willingness of suspects to co-operate with the RUC in the interview. It would thus seriously jeopardise the usefulness of the interview process. That process itself remains crucial to the RUC in its efforts to deal effectively with terrorism.
The reality is that the members of the paramilitary organisations, both so-called loyalist and republican, are not free agents, by the nature of the organisations to which they belong. Those organisations seek to maintain tight discipline over their members, to prevent the disclosure to the police of any information that might assist them to prevent terrorist attacks or to apprehend or convict offenders. Neither the police nor the terrorist suspect could be certain that in future there would be no circumstances in which a video-recording of an interview might get into the hands of a terrorist organisation. That uncertainty would be a powerful deterrent to terrorist suspects considering offering assistance to the police. Moreover, video-recording of the interview in the interview room would not by itself be sufficient to prevent complaints from those who are determined to discredit the investigation process. The focus of such allegations would simply shift to elsewhere in the process.
We have also heard a good deal about complaints against the security forces. I was asked about the matter specifically. Lord Colville describes the existing procedures 104 comprehensively. It is clear from that that the Government and the security forces—both the police and the Army —attach serious importance to complaints procedures and their effectiveness.
The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Carlile) seemed to attack by implication the Independent Commission for Police Complaints for Northern Ireland. But I recommend that everyone with an interest in the subject should read the report of the commission. That should reassure them about the police side of the complaints procedure.
With regard to complaints about the actions of members of the armed forces, I say to the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon)—or I would if he were here—that harassment is wrong in principle and dangerous in effect. We all accept that. We also recognise that there is a feeling that the system for dealing with complaints against the Army is not wholly satisfactory. I shall not go into it in detail now, but it is set out at length in the report. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said, we shall return to discussion of the system at some point during the passage of the Bill. The hon. Member for Leicester, South (Mr. Marshall) also asked about it. It seems unlikely that improvements will necessarily require changes to the law, but we must find a way of introducing the discussion in Committee.
A related aspect is the question of lay visitors. The Police Authority for Northern Ireland is introducing lay visiting arrangements. They have been extended to take in all the 15 police stations designated under the Police and Criminal Evidence Order 1989 for the purpose of detaining arrested persons. To date, all the lay visiting has been done by members of the police authority itself, but it is intended to make the visiting groups more representative of the community.
At present, neither persons detained under the emergency legislation nor the three holding centres are included in the lay visiting scheme.
§ Mr. Cope
No. I am sorry, but I have insufficient time.
The hon. Member for Mid-Ulster raised the possibility that a suspected terrorist might receive £3,000 for spending one night in a cell on suspicion of involvement in terrorism. I did not catch the source of his information, but under section 14 of the prevention of terrorism Acta constable may arrest … a person whom he has reasonable ground for suspecting to be a person who is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism".In those circumstances, there would be no grounds for any form of compensation.
I was asked other specific questions, particularly by my hon. Friend the Member for Hampshire, North-West (Sir D. Mitchell). Research into the right of silence is being carried out, but it will necessarily take some time. Electronic developments are high in the priorities of the RUC and, indeed, the Army. They keep them under careful review and have our full backing in doing so.
We all hate the necessity for the Bill, for it flows from the murderous attempt to replace democracy by terror. In their amendment, the Opposition make no mention of the terrorist menace. They talk only of confidence. But I am sure that every Member of the House, which, after all, stands for democracy, wants to see terrorism beaten and the rule of law prevail. Without powers such as those 105 contained in the Bill, neither the courts, the police nor any aspect of law enforcement could work and the public could not be protected. All we democratic politicians should ensure as our first duty that the rule of law can prevail over the rule of terror. That is what the Bill is about and everyone should support it.
§ Question put, That the amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 118, Noes 240107
|Division No. 5]||[10 pm|
|Abbott, Ms Diane||Janner, Greville|
|Allen, Graham||Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)|
|Anderson, Donald||Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Lambie, David|
|Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)||Lamond, James|
|Battle, John||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Beckett, Margaret||Lewis, Terry|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Livingstone, Ken|
|Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)||Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)|
|Benton, Joseph||Lofthouse, Geoffrey|
|Bermingham, Gerald||McAvoy, Thomas|
|Blunkett, David||McGrady, Eddie|
|Boateng, Paul||McKelvey, William|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||McNamara, Kevin|
|Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)||McWilliam, John|
|Buckley, George J.||Madden, Max|
|Caborn, Richard||Mahon, Mrs Alice|
|Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)||Mallon, Seamus|
|Campbell-Savours, D. N.||Marek, Dr John|
|Canavan, Dennis||Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)|
|Clark, Dr David (S Shields)||Michael, Alun|
|Clay, Bob||Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)|
|Clelland, David||Morley, Elliot|
|Clwyd, Mrs Ann||Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)|
|Cohen, Harry||Mowlam, Marjorie|
|Corbett, Robin||Mullin, Chris|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Murphy, Paul|
|Cousins, Jim||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon|
|Crowther, Stan||O'Hara, Edward|
|Cryer, Bob||Patchett, Terry|
|Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)||Pike, Peter L.|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)||Powell, Ray (Ogmore)|
|Dixon, Don||Prescott, John|
|Dobson, Frank||Primarolo, Dawn|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Quin, Ms Joyce|
|Eadie, Alexander||Redmond, Martin|
|Evans, John (St Helens N)||Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn|
|Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)||Reid, Dr John|
|Fatchett, Derek||Richardson, Jo|
|Field, Frank (Birkenhead)||Rogers, Allan|
|Flannery, Martin||Rooker, Jeff|
|Flynn, Paul||Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)|
|Foster, Derek||Sheerman, Barry|
|Foulkes, George||Short, Clare|
|Galbraith, Sam||Skinner, Dennis|
|Galloway, George||Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)|
|George, Bruce||Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)|
|Golding, Mrs Llin||Soley, Clive|
|Gordon, Mildred||Stott, Roger|
|Gould, Bryan||Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)|
|Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)||Turner, Dennis|
|Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)||Vaz, Keith|
|Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)||Wareing, Robert N.|
|Grocott, Bruce||Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)|
|Hardy, Peter||Winnick, David|
|Henderson, Doug||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|Hinchliffe, David||Worthington, Tony|
|Howarth, George (Knowsley N)|
|Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Hughes, John (Coventry NE)||Mr. Frank Haynes and Mr. Allen McKay.|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Amess, David|
|Alexander, Richard||Arbuthnot, James|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael||Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)|
|Allason, Rupert||Arnold, Sir Thomas|
|Ashby, David||Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)|
|Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy||Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey|
|Atkins, Robert||Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)|
|Atkinson, David||Howells, Geraint|
|Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)||Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)|
|Batiste, Spencer||Hunter, Andrew|
|Beggs, Roy||Irvine, Michael|
|Beith, A. J.||Jack, Michael|
|Bellingham, Henry||Jackson, Robert|
|Bellotti, David||Jessel, Toby|
|Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Johnston, Sir Russell|
|Benyon, W.||Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)|
|Blackburn, Dr John G.||Jones, Robert B (Herts W)|
|Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Jopling, Rt Hon Michael|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Kilfedder, James|
|Boswell, Tim||King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)|
|Bottomley, Peter||King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)|
|Bottomley, Mrs Virginia||Kirkhope, Timothy|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Kirkwood, Archy|
|Bowis, John||Knapman, Roger|
|Brazier, Julian||Knight, Greg (Derby North)|
|Bright, Graham||Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)|
|Brooke, Rt Hon Peter||Knowles, Michael|
|Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)||Knox, David|
|Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)||Lamont, Rt Hon Norman|
|Burt, Alistair||Latham, Michael|
|Butterfill, John||Lawrence, Ivan|
|Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)||Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)|
|Carlisle, John, (Luton N)||Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark|
|Cash, William||Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)|
|Chope, Christopher||Lightbown, David|
|Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n)||Lilley, Peter|
|Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)|
|Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)||Luce, Rt Hon Richard|
|Cope, Rt Hon John||Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas|
|Cran, James||McCrea, Rev William|
|Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)||McCrindle, Sir Robert|
|Davis, David (Boothferry)||Macfarlane, Sir Neil|
|Durant, Tony||MacGregor, Rt Hon John|
|Emery, Sir Peter||MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)|
|Evennett, David||Maclean, David|
|Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas||Maclennan, Robert|
|Fallon, Michael||McLoughlin, Patrick|
|Favell, Tony||McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick|
|Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey||Madel, David|
|Fishburn, John Dudley||Maginnis, Ken|
|Fookes, Dame Janet||Malins, Humfrey|
|Forman, Nigel||Mans, Keith|
|Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)||Maples, John|
|Forsythe, Clifford (Antrim S)||Marland, Paul|
|Forth, Eric||Marshall, John (Hendon S)|
|Franks, Cecil||Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)|
|Gale, Roger||Martin, David (Portsmouth S)|
|Gardiner, George||Mates, Michael|
|Garel-Jones, Tristan||Maude, Hon Francis|
|Gill, Christopher||Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin|
|Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian||Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick|
|Glyn, Dr Sir Alan||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Goodhart, Sir Philip||Miller, Sir Hal|
|Goodlad, Alastair||Mills, Iain|
|Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles||Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)|
|Gregory, Conal||Mitchell, Sir David|
|Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)||Moate, Roger|
|Hague, William||Molyneaux, Rt Hon James|
|Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)||Montgomery, Sir Fergus|
|Hampson, Dr Keith||Moore, Rt Hon John|
|Hanley, Jeremy||Morrison, Sir Charles|
|Hannam, John||Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester)|
|Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)||Moss, Malcolm|
|Harris, David||Mudd, David|
|Hawkins, Christopher||Neale, Gerrard|
|Hayes, Jerry||Needham, Richard|
|Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney||Neubert, Michael|
|Hayward, Robert||Nicholls, Patrick|
|Heathcoat-Amory, David||Nicholson, David (Taunton)|
|Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael||Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)|
|Hind, Kenneth||Norris, Steve|
|Holt, Richard||Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley|
|Howard, Rt Hon Michael||Oppenheim, Phillip|
|Page, Richard||Summerson, Hugo|
|Paice, James||Taylor, Ian (Esher)|
|Paisley, Rev Ian||Taylor, John M (Solihull)|
|Patnick, Irvine||Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)|
|Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth||Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman|
|Porter, Barry (Wirral S)||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Porter, David (Waveney)||Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)|
|Portillo, Michael||Thorne, Neil|
|Powell, William (Corby)||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Price, Sir David||Thurnham, Peter|
|Raffan, Keith||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Raison, Rt Hon Timothy||Tracey, Richard|
|Renton, Rt Hon Tim||Trimble, David|
|Rhodes James, Robert||Trippier, David|
|Riddick, Graham||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)||Viggers, Peter|
|Ross, William (Londonderry E)||Wakeham, Rt Hon John|
|Rossi, Sir Hugh||Walden, George|
|Ryder, Richard||Walker, Bill (T'side North)|
|Sackville, Hon Tom||Wallace, James|
|Shaw, David (Dover)||Waller, Gary|
|Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)||Ward, John|
|Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')||Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)|
|Shelton, Sir William||Watts, John|
|Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)||Wells, Bowen|
|Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)||Widdecombe, Ann|
|Shersby, Michael||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Skeet, Sir Trevor||Wilkinson, John|
|Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)||Wilshire, David|
|Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)||Winterton, Mrs Ann|
|Squire, Robin||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Stanbrook, Ivor||Wolfson, Mark|
|Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John||Yeo, Tim|
|Steen, Anthony||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Stevens, Lewis||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)||Mr. Sydney Chapman and Mr. Timothy Wood.|
|Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)|
§ Question accordingly negatived.
§ Main Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 60 (Amendment on Second or Third Reading):—
§ The House divided: Ayes 234, Noes 113.109
|Divison No. 6]||[10.14 pm|
|Alexander, Richard||Butterfill, John|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael||Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)|
|Allason, Rupert||Carlisle, John, (Luton N)|
|Amess, David||Cash, William|
|Arbuthnot, James||Chapman, Sydney|
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)||Chope, Christopher|
|Arnold, Sir Thomas||Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)|
|Ashby, David||Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)|
|Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy||Cope, Rt Hon John|
|Atkins, Robert||Cran, James|
|Atkinson, David||Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)|
|Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)||Davis, David (Boothferry)|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Durant, Tony|
|Batiste, Spencer||Emery, Sir Peter|
|Beggs, Roy||Evennett, David|
|Beith, A. J.||Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas|
|Bellingham, Henry||Fallon, Michael|
|Bellotti, David||Favell, Tony|
|Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey|
|Benyon, W.||Fishburn, John Dudley|
|Blackburn, Dr John G.||Fookes, Dame Janet|
|Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Forman, Nigel|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)|
|Boswell, Tim||Forsythe, Clifford (Antrim S)|
|Bottomley, Peter||Forth, Eric|
|Bottomley, Mrs Virginia||Franks, Cecil|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Gale, Roger|
|Bowis, John||Gardiner, George|
|Brazier, Julian||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Bright, Graham||Glyn, Dr Sir Alan|
|Brooke, Rt Hon Peter||Goodhart, Sir Philip|
|Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)||Goodlad, Alastair|
|Burt, Alistair||Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles|
|Gregory, Conal||Moate, Roger|
|Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)||Molyneaux, Rt Hon James|
|Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn||Montgomery, Sir Fergus|
|Hague, William||Moore, Rt Hon John|
|Hampson, Dr Keith||Morrison, Sir Charles|
|Hanley, Jeremy||Morrison, Rt Hon P (Chester)|
|Hannam, John||Moss, Malcolm|
|Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)||Neale, Gerrard|
|Harris, David||Needham, Richard|
|Hawkins, Christopher||Neubert, Michael|
|Hayes, Jerry||Nicholls, Patrick|
|Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney||Nicholson, David (Taunton)|
|Hayward, Robert||Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)|
|Heathcoat-Amory, David||Norris, Steve|
|Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael||Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley|
|Hind, Kenneth||Oppenheim, Phillip|
|Howard, Rt Hon Michael||Page, Richard|
|Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)||Paice, James|
|Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||Paisley, Rev Ian|
|Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)||Patnick, Irvine|
|Howells, Geraint||Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth|
|Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)||Porter, Barry (Wirral S)|
|Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)||Porter, David (Waveney)|
|Hunter, Andrew||Portillo, Michael|
|Irvine, Michael||Powell, William (Corby)|
|Jack, Michael||Price, Sir David|
|Jackson, Robert||Raffan, Keith|
|Jessel, Toby||Raison, Rt Hon Timothy|
|Johnston, Sir Russell||Renton, Rt Hon Tim|
|Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)||Rhodes James, Robert|
|Jones, Robert B (Herts W)||Riddick, Graham|
|Jopling, Rt Hon Michael||Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)|
|Kilfedder, James||Ross, William (Londonderry E)|
|King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)||Rossi, Sir Hugh|
|King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)||Ryder, Richard|
|Kirkhope, Timothy||Shaw, David (Dover)|
|Kirkwood, Archy||Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)|
|Knapman, Roger||Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')|
|Knight, Greg (Derby North)||Shelton, Sir William|
|Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)||Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)|
|Knowles, Michael||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Knox, David||Shersby, Michael|
|Lamont, Rt Hon Norman||Skeet, Sir Trevor|
|Latham, Michael||Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)|
|Lawrence, Ivan||Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)|
|Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)||Squire, Robin|
|Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)||Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John|
|Lightbown, David||Steen, Anthony|
|Lilley, Peter||Stern, Michael|
|Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Stevens, Lewis|
|Luce, Rt Hon Richard||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas||Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)|
|McCrea, Rev William||Summerson, Hugo|
|McCrindle, Sir Robert||Taylor, Ian (Esher)|
|Macfarlane, Sir Neil||Taylor, John M (Solihull)|
|MacGregor, Rt Hon John||Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)|
|MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)||Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman|
|Maclean, David||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Maclennan, Robert||Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)|
|McLoughlin, Patrick||Thorne, Neil|
|McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Madel, David||Thurnham, Peter|
|Maginnis, Ken||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Malins, Humfrey||Tracey, Richard|
|Mans, Keith||Trimble, David|
|Maples, John||Trippier, David|
|Marland, Paul||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Marshall, John (Hendon S)||Viggers, Peter|
|Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)||Wakeham, Rt Hon John|
|Martin, David (Portsmouth S)||Walden, George|
|Mates, Michael||Walker, Bill (T'side North)|
|Maude, Hon Francis||Wallace, James|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin||Waller, Gary|
|Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick||Ward, John|
|Meyer, Sir Anthony||Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)|
|Miller, Sir Hal||Watts, John|
|Mills, Iain||Wells, Bowen|
|Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)||Widdecombe, Ann|
|Mitchell, Sir David||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Wilkinson, John||Yeo, Tim|
|Wilshire, David||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Winterton, Mrs Ann|
|Winterton, Nicholas||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Wolfson, Mark||Mr. Tom Sackville and Mr. Neil Hamilton.|
|Abbott, Ms Diane||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)|
|Allen, Graham||Janner, Greville|
|Anderson, Donald||Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)|
|Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)||Lambie, David|
|Battle, John||Lamond, James|
|Beckett, Margaret||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Lewis, Terry|
|Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)||Livingstone, Ken|
|Benton, Joseph||Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Lofthouse, Geoffrey|
|Blunkett, David||McAvoy, Thomas|
|Boateng, Paul||McGrady, Eddie|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||McKelvey, William|
|Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)||McNamara, Kevin|
|Buckley, George J.||McWilliam, John|
|Caborn, Richard||Madden, Max|
|Campbell-Savours, D. N,||Mahon, Mrs Alice|
|Canavan, Dennis||Mallon, Seamus|
|Clark, Dr David (S Shields)||Marek, Dr John|
|Clay, Bob||Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)|
|Clelland, David||Michael, Alun|
|Clwyd, Mrs Ann||Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)|
|Cohen, Harry||Morley, Elliot|
|Corbett, Robin||Mowlam, Marjorie|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Mullin, Chris|
|Cousins, Jim||Murphy, Paul|
|Crowther, Stan||O'Hara, Edward|
|Cryer, Bob||Patchett, Terry|
|Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)||Pike, Peter L.|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)||Powell, Ray (Ogmore)|
|Dixon, Don||Prescott, John|
|Dobson, Frank||Primarolo, Dawn|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Quin, Ms Joyce|
|Eadie, Alexander||Redmond, Martin|
|Evans, John (St Helens N)||Reid, Dr John|
|Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)||Richardson, Jo|
|Fatchett, Derek||Rogers, Allan|
|Field, Frank (Birkenhead)||Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)|
|Flannery, Martin||Sheerman, Barry|
|Flynn, Paul||Short, Clare|
|Foster, Derek||Skinner, Dennis|
|Foulkes, George||Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)|
|Galbraith, Sam||Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)|
|Galloway, George||Soley, Clive|
|George, Bruce||Stott, Roger|
|Golding, Mrs Llin||Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)|
|Gordon, Mildred||Turner, Dennis|
|Gould, Bryan||Vaz, Keith|
|Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)||Wareing, Robert N.|
|Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)||Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)|
|Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)||Winnick, David|
|Grocott, Bruce||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|Hardy, Peter||Worthington, Tony|
|Hinchliffe, David||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Howarth, George (Knowsley N)||Mr. Frank Haynes and Mr. Alien McKay.|
|Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)|
|Hughes, John (Coventry NE)|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Bill read a Second time, and committed to a Standing Committee, pursuant to Standing Order No. 61 (Committal of Bills).