§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Kenneth Baker)
I beg to move,That the draft Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 (Continuance) Order 1991, which was laid before this House on 2Ist February, be approved.It is 12 months since the House last considered whether the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 should be continued in force. The House will know that the senseless terrorist campaign in Northern Ireland continues. Last weekend, five people were brutally murdered—a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment by the Irish Republican Army on Friday night, and four last night in another incident. Another four were seriously injured.
During 1990 as a whole, the threat of terrorism has continued without pause. In Northern Ireland, 76 people died and 906 were injured as a result of republican and loyalist terrorism. In mainland Great Britain in 1990, there were more terrorist incidents than at any time since 1975. Three people died and 56 were injured in those incidents. Earlier in the year, the targets were predominantly military ones. The House will recall some of them: in February, a recruiting office in Halifax; in May, an Army education corps establishment in Eltham; in the same month, Sergeant Chapman was killed by a bomb in a van. In June a soldier was shot down and murdered on Lichfield station, and two others were injured. There were also attacks on the Honourable Artillery Company in London, on an Army careers office in Derby, and on the Army information office in Finchley.
In the middle of the year, civilians also became targets. There were attacks on the former houses of Lord McAlpine and Lord Armstrong, as well as on the Carlton club, the Stock Exchange and the Royal Overseas League. Sir Peter Terry was shot in the sitting room of his own house. Everyone will remember the appalling murder of Ian Gow in July. Three men died in Irish terrorist incidents on the continent of Europe.
More recently, we have had the mortar bomb attack on Downing street and the explosion at Victoria station, in which one man died and 38 were injured, some losing their limbs. On Monday of last week, a bomb was planted without warning on the main St. Albans to London railway line with what could have been appalling consequences. The thoughts and prayers of the whole House will be with all those who have suffered as a result of those terrible crimes.
However, we should also recognise the successes that we have had in the past year in disrupting terrorist activities. There is no doubt that the action taken in the autumn of last year as a result of the effective use of intelligence and good policing disrupted the activities of some terrorist groups. There have been similar successes on the continent and elsewhere. In December, two terrorists were sentenced to 30 years each for their role in the arms store in Wales. Two trials are currently taking place in Belfast and Holland. There is a trial pending in Belgium and two trials are pending here. I do not wish to say anything that might prejudice any of those cases, but they show that, as a result of detection, indictments can be brought.
22 The sole issue before the House is whether the prevention of terrorism Act should be continued in force for another 12 months. The fight against terrorism is a matter which unites us all. We are not here to score party political points. Terrorism is a matter which should unite us all.
I should like to explain to the House why I have concluded, as has each and every Home Secretary before me—of both the main parties—over a period of 17 years, that the prevention of terrorism Act must remain in force.
I shall deal first with the powers under the Act. The first is proscription. The first part of the Act gives the Home Secretary of the day powers to proscribe Irish terrorist organisations. The organisations that are at present proscribed are the IRA and the Irish National Liberation Army. Membership of a proscribed organisation is a serious criminal offence, with a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment. I ask the House to consider what it would mean if, as some Opposition Members want, the Act should not continue in force.
The IRA and INLA are proscribed because they openly profess the use of violence to overthrow our democratic system of government. Members of those organisations are criminals, murderers and thugs who callously use violence in all its forms—death, brutality and destruction. If the Act does not continue in force, the IRA and INLA will be able to meet openly in this country and to plan their nefarious activities; to recruit new members and to raise funds as openly as other political parties. People in this country simply would not tolerate such murderous organisations being given that freedom. If we do not renew the Act tonight, the people of this country would think, with justification, that we had gone out of our minds.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley (Antrim, North)
Does not the Secretary of State think that the ban should extend to Sinn Fein, which is part and parcel of the IRA and which the police have said is part and parcel of the IRA?
§ Mr. Baker
The hon. Gentleman will be aware that other organisations are proscribed in Northern Ireland. Proscription does not extend to Sinn Fein. It is necessary to proscribe organisations that are openly committed to murder and to violence, to which the terrorist arm of Sinn Fein is committed. To those hon. Members who believe that we are being too fastidious about these matters, I note that the two organisations to which I have referred are also proscribed in the Republic of Ireland.
I want next to consider the powers of exclusion. Any Home Secretary would exercise such powers most carefully. I accept that in his 1987 review of the legislation Lord Colville came down on balance against that power. However, we must face the facts. There is now, and has been for a number of years, an organised campaign of intimidation and violence directed against the people of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. That campaign is directed and controlled from the island of Ireland, north and south. The purpose of exclusion is to prevent terrorists from being able to carry out their activities in Great Britain or, in the case of those who are not British citizens, in the whole of the United Kingdom.
Of course, in an ideal world, it would be possible to bring such people before the courts charged with serious criminal offences. However, we do not live in an ideal world. Often our information comes from sources whose identities we cannot disclose without risk to their lives. We 23 cannot take that risk. Where we cannot charge, and there are reasonably found suspicions, we have to exclude. We have a duty to protect the public from terrorist attacks in whatever way we can.
In his latest review of the operation of the Act, Lord Colville acknowledges that exclusion cases are handled with meticulous care. Only 97 such orders are in force, a considerable reduction in the numbers in force earlier in the history of the legislation.
If a person is excluded, he or she has a right to make representations and a right to a personal interview with an independent adviser. A solicitor or legal representative may be present at the interview. The advisers are independent, and for security "reasons I will not name them, but they have no connection with the Government, the Home Office or with me except through the fact of their appointment. As Lord Colville says in his report, 18 people who had been excluded made representations to an adviser during 1990. As of today, of the 13 cases that have been completed, the adviser has upheld exclusion in 12 of them.
The third main part of the Act is concerned with the powers of arrest, examination and detention. The powers are to examine people entering Great Britain with a view to discovering whether they may be involved in terrorism; to arrest and detain on reasonable suspicion of involvement in terrorism; and to detain without charge for an initial period of 48 hours and for a further period of a maximum of five days on the authority of the Secretary of State, making seven days in all.
It is alleged that the power of examination at ports is exercised in an arbitrary and indiscriminate way and that it alienates the Irish community. There is no immigration control between the island of Ireland and the mainland of Great Britain. The Act thus gives the police the only power they have to identify those entering Great Britain and to prevent terrorists from entering the mainland.
The powers are exercised by asking passengers—some, not all—a few questions of the sort that any of us may expect to answer when we cross a border or move from one country to another. Depending on the answers to those questions, the police may ask further questions and they may check the person's name against criminal and other records. If a false name is given, or if some other suspicion is raised in the officer's mind, it would be wrong to allow the passenger to go on his way before that suspicion has been removed.
Of course, I regret that passengers, British and Irish alike, may be inconvenienced, but law-abiding people understand why that inconvenience is necessary. I acknowledge, in particular, the very considerable support given to the police by Irish people, in helping to bring terrorists to justice. I have no doubt that Irish people understand why it is necessary for the police to take the action that they do.
§ Mr. Andrew Hunter (Basingstoke)
My right hon. Friend referred to the Act's exclusion powers. Without naming names, can he say whether those powers have been used only in respect of people suspected of being involved in Northern Ireland terrorism, or have they been used also against others?
§ Mr. Roy Hattersley (Birmingham, Sparkbrook)
The Home Secretary may want to reflect on his reply, because exclusion orders require those who are subject to them to go to one of the six counties of Northern Ireland. Surely that power would not be used for anyone who was not from Northern Ireland or involved in Irish terrorism.
§ Mr. Baker
I was referring to the overall powers of the Act. I have exclusion powers, and I have used them in certain cases involving Northern Ireland terrorism. I shall be happy to clarify that point later, but I assure my hon. Friend the Member of Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter) that the Secretary of State has powers of exclusion, and that they have been used in relation to certain terrorists who were not directly Irish terrorists.
Turning to the powers of examination and detention, 273 people were examined for more than an hour at ports in Great Britain, and 193 were detained, in 1990. In Northern Ireland, where the powers are used more extensively, 1,764 persons were detained, leading to 376 charges. Some Opposition Members allege that the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1986 provides sufficient grounds for the arrest of a suspected terrorist, and that the prevention of terrorism Act's powers are not needed. That is wrong. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1986 contains a power of arrest on suspicion that a person has committed a serious specific offence, whereas the prevention of terrorism Act confers a power of arrest on the much wider ground of suspicion of involvement in terrorism.
There are many circumstances in which the police may have information that a particular person is involved in terrorism, but no information as to the specific offence in which he may have been involved. Without the prevention of terrorism Act, there would be no power to arrest such a person. Those who would not continue that Act in force would allow known terrorists to walk our streets—with the police powerless to intervene.
At this point, I will say a word about the Government's decision to derogate from a provision of the European convention on human rights in response to the Brogan case. As we made clear, that decision was not taken lightly but only after full consideration of possible alternatives. The derogation was made under article 15 of the convention, which allows for derogation in time of war or other public emergency. The issue is whether authority to detain a suspected terrorist for between four and seven days should be given, as at present, by the Secretary of State, who is accountable to Parliament for his actions, or by a judge, some other person, or a tribunal. Right hon. and hon. Members may want to bear in mind that suspects can be held without charges for longer than seven days in some other European countries.
In Lord Colville's latest review of the legislation, for which the House will always be grateful, he asks whether it is now inevitable that a new tribunal should be set up to exercise that power. The Government's answer is no. We believe, as Lord Colville himself concluded in his 1987 review of the legislation—and as Lord Shackleton and Lord Jellicoe also concluded in their earlier reviews of it 25 —those powers are rightly exercised by the Secretary of State, who is accountable to Parliament for his actions, and is ultimately responsible for the safety of the public.
If there are any lingering doubts about the value of those powers in the Act that is before us, I invite right hon. and hon. Members to turn to page 2 of Lord Colville's 1989 report on that legislation's operation. Referring to the extension of detention in Great Britain, particularly in relation to Scotland, paragraph 1.6 states:In the latter case I have every reason to believe that the detention led to a substantial disruption of terrorist activities, and in all cases I am satisfied that good reasons for the order were put forward to the Secretary of State.If hon. Members needed only one reason to support the Act, they would find it in that paragraph.
§ Mr. Tim Rathbone (Lewes)
When discussing the powers of examination, my right hon. Friend mentioned only examination at the ports. Can he confirm that the powers also embrace examination of, say, crew members on ships carrying ammunition and explosives to Eire, or the drivers of trucks carrying similar cargoes? Is it not important to deal with such people in order to contain the threat to such highly sensitive cargoes?
§ Mr. Baker
My hon. Friend has asked, in effect, about the transmission of explosives. An internal review has been carried out, on the security of explosives, and the Government are planning to tighten up the controls on their acquisition, transfer and possession. We hope to lay regulations before Parliament later in the Session which would put the proposed tighter controls into effect.
I come now to the powers to investigate terrorist funding. These provisions were introduced in 1989 and form part of the extensive armoury now available to the criminal courts on the confiscation of assets. The police increasingly see the provisions as being at the core of the fight against terrorism; yet, if the Opposition did not vote for this extension, the power would fall.
Lord Colville has uttered some strictures on the provisions, but he does not recommend that they should not be renewed. I acknowledge that the legislation is complex, and that there are differences of detail between the provisions of the three Acts, but those difliculties reflect the different nature of the problems that each of them seeks to address. The value of the provisions lies in the fact that, by clearly defining terrorist financing as a criminal offence, they enable the police to investigate it. In investigating the finance, using the special powers of investigation conferred by the Act, they can obtain information that may lead to charges.
I can, however, offer Lord Colville and the House some consolation. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has recently unveiled new proposals on the confiscation of terrorist funds in Northern Ireland, in the shape of amendments to the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Bill. The amendments, if adopted, will add substantially to the powers available to the courts in Northern Ireland, and it is of course in Northern Ireland that the particular problem of terrorist racketeering is concentrated. I intend to watch very closely the effectiveness of the new powers, and, in the light of that, I shall consider whether in the future any useful improvements can be made to them.
§ Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness and Sutherland)
References to these powers form the bulk of Lord Colville's criticisms of the operation of the Act. He has 26 described the provisions relating to confiscation as a legislative shambles. Will the Home Secretary undertake to report to the House as soon as possible on the review on which he has embarked? It may be too soon to expect him to have produced a review himself, but, in the light of the Colville report, we cannot be wholly satisfied that the changes proposed for Northern Ireland deal adequately with the problem.
§ Mr. Baker
The legislation is exceedingly complex, and crosses the thresholds of three Acts. However, I shall certainly undertake to let the House know the outcome of our review. Let me emphasise that I have been advised that the powers as they stand are being used very effectively in the investigation of possible terrorist financing.
§ Mr. John Bowis (Battersea)
Lord Colville has been quoted as describing the provisions as a "shambles". Did he not go on to say specifically that, in regard to confiscation, the Bill needed more teeth? Does not this measure need more, not fewer, teeth—and not less sharp teeth?
§ Mr. Baker
I am glad that my hon. Friend has made that point. Plenty of proposals to water down the effect of the measures are floating around in public debate, but we must think of improving and enhancing them. I see that I have the support of the Liberal Democrat spokesman, the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan).
§ Mr. Hattersley
As the Secretary of State knows, we have already said that we shall support the tougher proposals in the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Bill. Has he considered the possibility of amending those tougher, more effective proposals so that they apply also to the United Kingdom, not simply to Northern Ireland? If so, we would certainly support him in that endeavour.
§ Mr. Baker
I am advised that, as the proposals are laid out, they could not be extended effectively to the United Kingdom. Before agreeing or not, I should like to see exactly how they will operate. They represent a substantial extension and it would be unusual to use this legislation as such a legislative vehicle. I am glad that there may be some agreement on that point, if not on much else, and that we may make progress. If it is possible to make these measures stricter, I am happy to consider that.
§ Mr. Kevin McNamara (Kingston upon Hull, North)
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland took powers in Committee under the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Bill to extend certain investigative powers to the rest of the United Kingdom. If the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland could extend those powers, which he has, to operations within the United Kingdom we should welcome that. It has been done already, so the Secretary of State does not need to wait and see.
§ Mr. Baker
I first want to see how the powers will operate because they are a substantial extension of the present powers. My advice from those who conduct investigations is that their present powers, together with the confiscation powers of this measure, give them all the powers that they need to investigate terrorist financing. It is providing a useful power as it stands now.
I turn now to recent changes in the organisation for fighting terrorism on the mainland. I have seen suggestions that we need a single, national agency for the prevention 27 of terrorism on the British mainland. I believe that the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman) called for that at the weekend. I shall remind the House of two matters about which it knows, and a third matter which I shall announce.
We already have an agency, the Metropolitan police special branch, which has the national responsibility for the collection, analysis and dissemination of intelligence about Irish republican terrorism throughout Great Britain. Secondly, as the hon. Member for Huddersfield should know because it was announced last year, the head of the Metropolitan police anti-terrorist branch was appointed the national co-ordinator of Provisional IRA investigations by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
Thirdly, to increase the effectiveness of those arrangements, a small, dedicated group was created last October. It is chaired by the Metropolitan police assistant commissioner for specialist operations, who has responsibility for both the anti-terrorist and special branches. The other members are three chief constables of police forces outside London with particular responsibilities for counter-terrorism.
This is an important new development, greatly enhancing co-ordination between the Metropolitan police and provincial forces. Only the local police force can bring local knowledge to bear on the investigation of a terrorist crime within its area.
The new arrangements ensure that the special expertise of the Metropolitan police is placed at the disposal of provincial forces. That means that counter-terrorist activity has the right co-ordination at the centre.
§ Dr. Norman A. Godman (Greenock and Port Glasgow)
In the light of what the Secretary of State has just said, what liaison takes place between the Metropolitan senior police officers and Scottish police officers? He talked about provincial police forces. Although Scotland seems blessedly immune from terrorist activities committed by the Provisional IRA, we have a deep concern about these matters.
§ Mr. Baker
I assure the hon. Gentleman that there is close co-operation with the various police forces in Scotland which, as he rightly said, is so far blessedly free from the problem. I hope that it will remain so. One of the three chief constables to whom I referred is Scottish.
In the speech that the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook made last week—he kindly sent me a copy of it—he called for discussions between our parties so that we could have a common cause against terrorism. In that speech he did not set out any new proposals, but he continued to express the reservations that the Opposition have about the powers of exclusion and the questioning at the ports, and his reservations about the exercise of the powers of detention. His well-known opposition to this is nothing new. In fact, the latest policy document of the Labour party contains a commitment to repeal the prevention of terrorism Act. Today I have set out in rather more detail than is usual in these debates the reasons why I believe it essential that these powers be continued.
I do not doubt for one moment that the right hon. Gentlemen loathes terrorism as much as does any Conservative Member, but I must tell him that neither in his letter nor in his speech were there any concrete 28 proposals. The right hon. Gentleman restates his reservations. In one way or another he wants the powers to be watered down. He wills the end but denies the means. But rhetoric against terrorism is not enough; nor is invective: one has to be prepared to act. The right hon. Gentleman is willing to wound, yet afraid to strike.
The right hon. Gentleman talked in his speech about the powers of detention continuing to alienate law-abiding citizens of the United Kingdom. I find precious little evidence of that. I find law-abiding citizens of this country are alienated by the fact that terrorists place bombs in litter bins and kill innocent passers-by. They are alienated by the fact that terrorists place bombs on railway tracks. And the law-abiding citizens of this country are appalled and alienated by the fact that Members of Parliament are assassinated in their cars; and I must tell the right hon. Gentleman that the law-abiding citizens of this country do not expect the Government to dismantle such powers as we do have to deal with these crimes. They expect the Government to support the police in providing them with these powers, and to support the police when they exercise them.
In his speech last year, the right hon. Gentleman talked about the resentment felt about the powers of exclusion and the questioning at the ports. I must remind the right hon. Gentleman that the people of this country feel a great resentment against those people—I admit that they are a very small number—who travel either from Northern Ireland or from the Republic with an intent to kill people in this island and to set up cells of terrorism and to plant bombs and to raise caches of arms. That is the resentment felt by the people of this country.
The right hon. Gentleman does not like the powers of detention either—powers that were used by Labour Home Secretaries and by Labour Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland. Not only did they use them: they justified them. Indeed, they were justified quite recently by Lord Mason of Barnsley in a debate in the House of Lords in February 1988, when Labour were in opposition:To defeat the terrorists there is a price to pay. There is the inconvenience, irritation, annoyance with police and Special Branch Officers and the curtailment of our total freedom and civil liberties. But to combat evil men we must maintain the full legal armoury that Parliament has decreed should be available and that is what I urge my party and this House to do."—[Official Report, House of Lords, 16 February 1988; Vol. 493, c. 573.]The noble Lord had responsibility, and he did not shirk it.
Of course, in those days the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook voted for these powers. He supported them. But there was a change of heart in 1982. I hope that there will be a change of heart again. The public who rely upon their representatives, Members of Parliament, to protect them will not understand or accept a proposal aimed at dismantling and weakening these powers. In a moment, the right hon. Gentleman could forge a bipartisan approach. He could get up at the Dispatch Box and say, "Such is the threat being posed by the IRA at this time that the Labour party is prepared to support the prevention of terrorism Act." This is not the time for sophistry. The signal to the country from the Labour Front Bench spokesman today should be a signal of determination, resolution, and strength.
If the Act were not renewed, who would be happy? There would be rejoicing in the ranks of the IRA. It and its friends would cheer because it would be easier for them to plan and execute their evil deeds. The whole purpose of 29 the IRA is to sap and weaken the resolve of the Government and the will of the British people. Let us not give the IRA the chance to claim a victory in the House.
The IRA is not succeeding. At every election, both north and south of the border, the IRA's political wing, Sinn Fein, gets fewer votes. After each vicious and wicked attack, it alienates possible allies and loses more support. What decent people would support an organisation that murders innocent people going about their business or going to work? The IRA is politically bankrupt, ethically corrupt and morally evil. It is not a party or a movement. It is a gang of murderous criminals, and it is right that the powers in the Act should be retained and used. I commend them to the House.
§ 4.5 pm
§ Mr. Roy Hattersley (Birmingham, Sparkbrook)
We shall vote tonight against the continuation of the prevention of terrorism Act, in the same way that we have voted against it for the past eight years. The criticisms that we shall make are shared and have been publicly expressed by a wide variety of distinguished authorities, including the European Court of Justice and the General Council of the Bar. Now Lord Colville, whom the Government chose to report on the workings of the Act, has expressed reservations about the Act's two major provisions. That Lord Colville, a Government nominee, should express such strong reservations about detention and internal exile is in itself extraordinary. That the Government should not attempt to respond to their nominee's reservations, except by announcing that they do not accept them, is even more extraordinary. Therefore, we shall vote against the Act with Lord Colville's authority to support us.
I make clear my belief that the undoubted disagreements which will characterise our debate should not prevent the Home Secretary from accepting the offer that I made to him last week. He is right to say that in my speech I made no practical proposals; nor, as he rightly said, did I make any in the covering letter which asked him please to read the enclosed copy of a speech that I would make the next day. I propose to make some proposals before the end of the debate, but I repeat that nothing that is said in the debate should make the conversations and discussions that I still offer to the Government impossible or undesirable.
§ Mr. Robert G. Hughes (Harrow, West)
I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would not seek to mislead the House. Will he confirm that Lord Colville's most recent report points to specific instances of where the Act has seriously disrupted terrorist activity and that he does not recommend getting rid of the Act but says that he has reservations—which is quite different?
§ Mr. Hattersley
I used the word reservations because that is Lord Colville's word. The hon. Gentleman has no need to correct me or to interrupt my speech. As he probably anticipates, I shall shortly deal with Lord Colville's criticisms of the Act. If at that time the hon. Gentleman has any doubts about the accuracy of my reports of Lord Colville's views, I shall give way to him. If he has a better interpretation of Lord Colville's criticisms, no doubt he will offer it to the House.
§ Mr. Ivor Stanbrook (Orpington)
The right hon. Gentleman must get the matter absolutely right. Lord 30 Colville recommended the renewal of the Act and he cannot be quoted as an authority on reservations that the right hon. Gentleman has expressed.
§ Mr. Hattersley
If the hon. Gentleman reads Lord Colville's report, he will see that it is impossible to think that Lord Colville supports anything other than a modified Act. Lord Colville expressed strong reservations about the powers of detention and in previous years he expressed strong reservations about exclusion orders. He described the powers to confiscate funds for the IRA and other terrorist organisations as a shambles. I shall shortly come to that. Lord Colville wants an Act that operates more efficiently and with greater justice. That is what we want and it could be obtained if the Home Secretary were prepared to enter into the discussions that I proposed. Such an Act could be passed with the unanimous agreement of the House.
I continue to hope, therefore—I shall repeat my hope at the end of my speech—that there can be some common ground on how the campaign against terrorism can be prosecuted. The Prime Minister was right to say, of course, that the Government and the Opposition are united in their determination to destroy terrorism, and to defeat it in this country. No sensible person doubts that. As the debate continues, I shall make some positive suggestions and outline steps that could be taken to promote that end. The Opposition's view—it is one which runs through the entire speech that I propose to make—is echoed by the first leader of the Daily Mail this morning, which states that changes are necessary, but before they come about the Governmentshould seek the maximum inter-party consensus.Nothing that is said today—not even the bit of bravura in which the Home Secretary indulged towards the end of his speech—should prevent the possibility of consensus, agreement and bipartisanship being examined.
I am sure that the Home Secretary knows—this is riot fully understood by the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook), who interrupted me—that bipartisanship can never be obtained by one party asserting something and expecting the other party slavishly to agree with every detail. Those who want bipartisanship on any issue must be prepared for consensus to be built around a degree of compromise. Bipartisanship will not be achieved by a take-it-or-leave-it approach.
§ Mr. Hattersley
I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman, and then in this short debate I shall feel it necessary to make some progress.
§ Mr. Nicholls
It is clear that what the right hon. Gentleman says about the need for consensus and bipartisanship is exactly right. I am sure that all my right hon. and hon. Friends welcome that. However, he must work on the basis that his plea for bipartisanship and consensus would be a great deal more convincing if he were to say—we are dealing with legislation which a Labour Government introduced and which has been supported by Labour Oppositions in the past and by the Conservative Government—"We would support our Act tonight if we could enter into negotiations in the near future." I accept that that would be a logical course for the right hon. Gentleman to adopt, but I do not think for one moment that he will take it.
§ Mr. Hattersley
The hon. Gentleman is entitled to interpret what I have to say before I say it. I shall pursue the case that I am trying to make and then the hon. Gentleman must make up his own mind in deciding whether I have met my criteria.
Our past criticisms of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act have concentrated on the denial of civil liberties which is inherent within it. We believe, of course, that in times of national danger it may be necessary to introduce special measures that would not be acceptable in normal times. However, those special measures must be judged against strict criteria, and they were laid down by Lord Jellicoe almost a decade ago when he reviewed the workings of the Act for the Government.
The two major criteria are easily described. First, are the denials of civil liberty essential to the defeat of the threat? Secondly, are the special measures, which are denials of civil liberty, effective in achieving the objects set out for them? I think that no one—no one whom I know—doubts or denies that the prevention of terrorism Act constitutes a restriction on our essential liberties. It provides for detention for up to seven days without charge and during that time many of the rights set out in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 are denied to the detainees. It provides for men and women to be excluded from England and Wales and required to live in the six counties of Northern Ireland.
Neither of those powers is subject to any judicial check or supervision. In both instances there are review procedures, but at the end the decision lies with the Home Secretary alone. No matter how benevolent the Home Secretary, it is intolerable that a Minister should exercise such powers. I repeat that we are not alone in making that judgment. Authorities range from the European Court of Justice to the General Council of the Bar. They have expressed their profound reservations about the principles on which the prevention of terrorism Act is based.
The criticisms have intensified with every year that the Act has remained in force. It was intended to be temporary. Indeed, it was called "temporary" and when it was brought before the House it was justified as such. No one who reads the first debate can doubt that it was intended as a brief measure which would have only a short life. What is more, no one who reads the first debate can doubt that one of the principal purposes of the Act was to reassure the British population that tough action was to be taken immediately against terrorism.
§ Mr. Hattersley
No. It is a short debate and I have given way several times already. I may give way again in a few moments, but first I wish to make some progress.
The reassurance that tough action would be taken was thought to be necessary in the aftermath of the Birmingham bombings, which, as we are about to discover in the Court of Appeal, produced many hasty and mistaken judgments.
The powers inherent in the Act are incompatible with a free society—the sort of society that we seek to protect against the IRA. However, a second criticism, which is often neglected, is the problems created by the Act and the way in which it now operates. An Act which is designed to give the reassurance of tough and effective action is not necessarily the same as an Act which provides for tough 32 and effective action. Mounting evidence exists to suggest that the prevention of terrorism Act has become counter-productive and I shall try to give some examples.
The Act creates the illusion of a campaign against terrorism. It possesses the virtue of a tough title which obscures the need to reconsider the action that we take. That was demonstrated last week in the House of Commons when the Prime Minister was asked about the attack on Downing street and the bombs at Victoria and Paddington stations, and whether they confirmed the need for the Act. The Prime Minister said that those bombs confirmed the fact that the Act was working well, and had served us well. With great respect to the Prime Minister, one could argue the case either way.
Today, the Home Secretary read a tragic and terrible list of the death and destruction caused in this country in the past year. That can be interpreted in two fashions: as the need for the prevention of terrorism Act to continue in its present form, or as evidence of the Act's failure and the need to reconsider the whole issue.
§ Mr. Hattersley
I did not give way to the hon. Gentleman's colleague and I cannot give way to him.
On the evidence of how the Act is working, even in the pursuit of its principal objectives, it needs to be looked at again. I very much regret that the Government are not prepared to give the Act that fundamental re-examination together with other parties in the House.
§ Mr. Kenneth Baker
The right hon. Gentleman used the word "illusion" and said that the Act was an illusion of activity. Therefore, I refer him again to the words of Lord Colville, who said that detention led to a substantial disruption of terrorist activities. What about table 7? That is not illusory. As a result of the operation of the Act last year 28 people were charged in England, Wales and Scotland and 376 in Northern Ireland—some of them with very serious offences indeed.
§ Mr. Hattersley
The Home Secretary is being less than frank with the House, as 28 people were charged but only six with terrorist offences.
§ Mr. Hattersley
The Home Secretary says, "So what" and that there were six, but if six is such a startling number I am surprised that he did not give that figure to the House honestly instead of the figure of 28.
I do not think that even the Home Secretary will seek to justify the Act because on 22 occasions offences not connected with terrorism were thrown up and prosecuted as a result. The fundamental point is not the Home Secretary's error—I am sure that it was an error and that he did not intend to deceive us—but swings and roundabouts. Of course the Act has had some effect in preventing terrorism—how extraordinary it would be if it had not. However, this afternoon we have to consider whether, on balance, it has done more to destroy terrorism or less.
§ Mr. Hattersley
If the Home Secretary will allow me, I shall suggest some ways in which the Act is a detriment to the objectives that he and I both seek.
§ Mr. Baker
I wish to correct the right hon. Gentleman because he is under a misapprehension. I referred to 28 charges listed in table 7, and 376 charges in Northern Ireland. Of the 28 charges in England, Wales and Scotland, six were for relatively minor offences relating to breaches of the Act—mainly offences against exclusion orders and other offences of that sort. The other charges were serious and grave and the right hon. Gentleman should not be so flippant. If the number were only six it would be worth while, but it is much higher than that.
§ Mr. Hattersley
I do seek not to be flippant but accurate. In the pursuit of accuracy, I shall read to the Home Secretary calmly—as is appropriate in such a debate—from table B of his report. It says that, in 1990, there were 193 detentions, 16 exclusion orders, six charges concerning terrorism, and 22 charges concerning other offences.
§ Mr. Hattersley
The Home Secretary says that he has just explained what that means, but he has not explained why he mentioned the figure of 28. However, I shall not pursue his error any further.
§ Mr. Baker
I am surprised that the right hon. Gentleman does not understand, because we have been talking about it for enough years. The six offences relate to offences under the prevention of terrorism Act, which are usually quite minor offences, such as offences against exclusion orders. The other charges relate to serious criminal offences—for example, the possession of firearms. Such serious matters can be legislated against by the Act.
§ Mr. Hattersley
Those are exactly the serious matters about which I have argued in the past. The Home Secretary has been kind enough to quote me as having done so——
§ Mr. Hattersley
I shall give way in a moment.
Given the chance, I shall argue again that such serious matters should be pursued under normal criminal law. The Home Secretary cannot have it both ways and say that he is operating a criminal law and that special powers are necessary.
§ Mr. Baker
The right hon. Gentleman does not understand the nature and purpose of the legislation, which, as I clearly stated, deals with cases where there is suspicion of general and terrorist activity. It does not deal with specific offences, where the criminal law operates and action can be taken. That arises from these investigations. I am staggered that the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to dismantle those powers and discard them in such a cavalier way.
§ Mr. Hattersley
The Home Secretary simply reiterates his original error. I shall pursue the matter in detail, in the hope that he will come to another conclusion and answer the question that he thinks he has already answered.
What, in practical terms, is the Act supposed to do which cannot be done under criminal law? The Home Secretary urged me to turn my mind to that matter and I am doing so now. I did so last year and the previous year. I asked the Minister of State, during his wind-up speech, why criminal powers could not be used in the majority of cases and he answered with an example of his own 34 choosing. He referred to three men who were found in the garden of the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and told me that they had been detained under the prevention of terrorism Act. I said to the Minister of State that, were three armed men found in my garden, I would expect them to be arrested, whether a prevention of terrorism Act were in force or not. Why did not the rule apply in that case? The Minister of State then told me that the case was sub-judice and that he could not speculate any further. Because of an indiscretion by the Secretary of State for Defence, the case is sub judice no longer. Therefore, I shall ask again, hoping that the Minister of State will answer when he winds up the debate, why, if such cases were prosecuted under criminal law 10, 20 or 35 years ago, is the prevention of terrorism Act necessary?
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. John Patten)
Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?
§ Mr. Hattersley
I shall let the Minister of State intervene in a moment. I wish to cite another case, and he can answer the two questions together—two for the price of one.
A similar case arose in my constituency. An elderly doctor who was held under the PTA was eventually charged with possessing explosives, but was acquitted. If the police believed that she possessed explosives—a crime by any standards—why was she not held and prosecuted under normal criminal law?
§ Mr. John Patten
I do not know the details of the second case; perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will provide me with further details. I well remember our exchange during the declining moments of the debate last year. The three people detained in the garden in Wiltshire to whom the right hon. Gentleman referred were not, as I understand it, armed. The Secretary of State was satisfied that they had been involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, so he made orders excluding all three from the United Kingdom. The fact that there eventually proved to be insufficient evidence to convict them for conspiracy to murder does not mean that they were not involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.
This will have to be a lengthy intervention because the right hon. Gentleman set me two lengthy tests. He asked what this Act could do that was not possible under general law. It can give the police powers to examine, detain and exclude, although after that process is completed the preference is always to use the ordinary criminal law to bring charges related to murder or explosion.
§ Mr. Hattersley
I think that I understand what the Minister of State is saying, and I shall quote him making the same point more starkly in Committee. That leads me to the first rational assumption that has been made over the years, which the Minister of State came near to repeating today. The PTA is used to trawl for information, rather than obtain specific convictions—undoubtedly, it was once used for the latter purpose.
In 1983, Sir Leon Brittan, then Home Secretary, was explicit about this. I asked Sir Leon:Is he saying that it is right in a free society to detain innocent people without charge for the purpose of obtaining information from them?Sir Leon replied: 35It has been made clear … that that is a legitimate … use of the power."—[Official Report. 24 October 1983; Vol. 47, c. 56.]—[Interruption.] I see that some Conservative Members are nodding emphatically. However, since Sir Leon said that, subsequent Home Secretaries in different Governments have made it emphatically clear in the House and in Strasbourg that the PTA will not be used for trawling for information in that way. Therefore, we are left to find another intention of the special legislation. I hope that we can take it for granted that its principal purpose is not that given to the Committee by the right hon. Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon (Mr. Patten), who said:under PACE the powers of arrest can only be exercised where a constable has reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence has been committed or is about to be committed.He continued by saying that the PTA was necessary for occasionswhere one cannot prove or does not have reasonable grounds to suspect the commission of a specific … offence.If one does not have grounds to suspect the commission of a specific offence, why is the man or woman detained? Is it on reasonable grounds, a hunch, prejudice, guesswork? Fortunately, the comments of junior Ministers are not held to be the law. Were that the case and that were the official justification of the Act, every man or woman who was detained would be off to Strasbourg complaining that they had been held unreasonably, arbitrarily and unacceptably. The Minister of State wants to intervene again.
§ Mr. John Patten
The right hon. Gentleman has done me the favour of quoting some of the excellent words I used in Standing Committee B. I wish that the right hon. Gentlman had learnt something during the past four or five years when he has been addressing his mind to the issue. There is indeed a difference between the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act and the prevention of terrorism Act, which is to stop people preparing themselves for the commission or instigation of acts of terrorism. That is the difference between the two Acts. I made it clear in Committee and I am happy to do so again this afternoon.
§ Mr. Hattersley
It is simply silly to answer the question by being rude to me, which is the easiest thing in the world. We are discussing a serious point. There is a distinction between arresting someone on reasonable suspicion and arresting somebody when reasonable suspicion does not exist. I shall make my point—and I believe the Labour party's point—altogether clear: I am opposed to arresting people when reasonable suspicion does not exist. It turns out that the Minister is not. I do not believe that anyone who has heard what he has said today, which, to my surprise, confirmed his words in Committee, can do anything other than believe that we are now debating a most damaging erosion of our liberties. There are practical objections—involving the politics of Northern Ireland—to the practical erosion of those liberties.
I repeat without hesitation that it prejudices people in Great Britain, people abroad and people in Ireland—the men and women who should be wholly on our side—against us and against the steps that we are taking to defeat terrorism. As an example, I take the powers of detention set out in section 4 of the Act. Under those powers there is no charge, no court appearance and no consultation 36 with solicitors. Detainees are held on the authority of the Minister and on nothing else. That power has been ruled unlawful in the European Court. In his report in 1988, Lord Colville referred toworrying indications about the level of charges brought as a proportion of detentions made".Since then, the situation has got worse. In 1990, 193 persons were detained under the Act. Six or 28 of them—the Home Secretary can choose his figures—were charged with something, but the others were not. One hundred and sixty-five individuals were detained and denied access to a lawyer. They were then released without explanation or apology. There was no prosecution and no acquittal. They were simply told that, having been held without charge, they were now free to go. It is difficult to imagine the resentment which must have built up in them and in their families.
§ Mr. Hattersley
I shall give way when I have finished this point.
We argue—as the court in Strasbourg has argued—that such detention—especially if extended from 48 hours to five or seven days—is tolerable only if it is subject to a judicial examination. The Home Secretary treats the House with less than his normal courtesy when he says that in other parts of Europe individuals are held for longer under emergency powers. In other parts of Europe, individuals who are held under emergency powers are subject to court hearings. The case for holding them is heard by judges. That is what we ask of the Home Secretary and it is also what the court in Strasbourg asks of him.
If the Home Secretary were prepared to introduce a system under which a judge or judges would consider a case if the initial 48 hours had to be extended, we should examine the whole issue from a different perspective—from the perspective that the rule of law rather than the rule of ministerial fiat was operating. Lord Colville, the Home Secretary's own nominee, has reached a similar conclusion. The full recommendation of his report stated:It is now perhaps irresistible that some new tribunal be set up to oversee these powers. It could draw on Scottish and Channel Isle methodology, but nothing except a bold new initiative seems likely to deflect a continuing divergence of procedure between the rest of Europe and ourselves.I repeat my offer on the terms set out by Lord Colville. We are prepared to co-operate in examining the "bold new initiative" which is essential to the successful continuation of the Act.
The recommendation that I read out is not the judgment of a man who shares the complacency about the working of the Act which the Prime Minister exhibited last Thursday and which the Home Secretary echoed today.
§ Mr. Jones
As the right hon. Gentleman knows, not long ago many of my constituents came near to losing life or limb on the St. Albans to London railway line. The wriggling that he exhibits today can only convince them that he is interested not in the civil rights of the majority of travellers but in those of a tiny minority who are charged—or not charged—under this legislation.
§ Mr. Hattersley
Civil rights always apply to a tiny minority. If we say that they do not matter because they apply only to a few, we are not talking about civil rights at all. The hon. Gentleman can put it in personal terms if he wishes. I am not fully aware of the details of what happened to his constituents, but 15 years ago six of my constituents were killed in the Birmingham pub bombings. I take the view now—as I did then—that the steps that we must take against terrorism must be consistent with belief in a free society and they must be effective. What I have tried to argue today—the House will judge with what success—is that in many ways those new steps are not effective.
§ Mr. Hattersley
No, I must get on.
I must draw the House's attention to Lord Colville's judgment on detention and the need to inject some judicial review into the process. What the Home Secretary has uniquely done today is virtually to reject the conclusions on every major point of the report by the man whom he requested to examine the operation of the Act.
§ Mr. Bowis
The right hon. Gentleman has referred again and again to Lord Colville. Lord Colville pointed out two things: that some 400 charges were brought and that incidents of terrorism stopped. If the right hon. Gentleman has his way tonight and the House votes down the order, we will have not an improved Act, but no Act at all. If that happened, what reassurance could the right hon. Gentleman give to my constituent who was injured as a result of the bomb at Victoria station and who may never walk again?
§ Mr. Hattersley
The hon. Gentleman's constituent must judge whether the Act is being as effective as his Member of Parliament clearly believes.
I have been meticulous in describing the words that Lord Colville used to criticise the major powers in the Act. I shall now outline, having given way for the last time—
§ Mr. Hattersley
No, I have given way for the last time.
Lord Colville reported—the Home Secretary again, disingenuously, read simply the brief words at the end of the paragraph—that the rules governing exclusion orders—part II of the Act—were meticulously observed. Of course they were; we expect no less. What the Home Secretary was less precise about, however, is the fact that Lord Colville does not believe that there should be exclusion orders. He came to that judgment three years ago—he was opposed to exclusion orders in their entirety.
The exclusion order provision, described by a previous Attorney-General as "internal exile", was equally opposed by Sir Cyril Phillips, who reported on the Act, at the Government's invitation, before Lord Colville. Sir Cyril Phillips, in masterly understatement, described exclusion orders as possessing advantages which it wasdifficult to demonstrate in a convincing way".He went on to describe them as "objectionable in principle".
Lord Colville was even more categorical. I quote from his report of 1987:
38I renew my recommendation … that Part Two of the Act should not be renewed in 1988 or replaced in the new Bill".It was, of course, replaced in the new Bill and we discuss the replacement this afternoon against the explicit, repeated advice from the man whose judgment on the Act the Government requested.
Whatever the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, West (Mr. Jones) may say, it is not simply the civil liberties aspect that we regard as cause for concern. Frankly, it is absurd to tell the people of Northern Ireland that they are an integral part of the United Kingdom if we then take powers to require individuals who are suspected of terrorism to leave the mainland and live in the six counties. Northern Ireland should not be a dumping ground for terrorists. If it was a simple requirement that a terrorist should return home and a Belfast terrorist was required to live in Belfast, there might be some justification for that power. Under the Act as it now stands, however, a Birmingham born and bred terrorist, a Manchester born and bred terrorist or a Mole Valley born and bred terrorist might be required to live in the six counties. When Northern Irish men and women read that provision of the Act it is not surprising that they ask, "Why do you pretend we are part of the United Kingdom with the normal rule of law running here as it runs there when this special provision is made that applies to us in a way in which it does not apply to other parts of the United Kingdom?"
I should like to refer to another aspect of Lord Colville's report—the confiscation of the proceeds of terrorism or funds built up to finance it and the prosecution of those who finance terrorism. We supported the measures when they came before the House of Commons and we must therefore share with the Government blame for what Lord Colville describes as a legislative shambles.
I repeat to the Home Secretary what I said in an intervention. Of course we shall support the proposals in the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Bill that toughen up the law against terrorist funds. If, after advice, the Home Secretary decides that the provisions can be applied to Scotland, Wales and England, we shall support an extension. I hope that the Minister will be clear about one proposal and one issue that the Home Secretary got wrong. He said that without those powers, which, after all, were introduced only a little more than a year ago, there would be no ability on the part of the Government to act against terrorist funds. That surely cannot be right. What the Government tried to do two years ago, what we supported them in doing and what we both found to be inadequate in Lord Colville's judgment was a toughening up of the procedure and a more effective administrative way of denying terrorists the money that they want.
Clearly, under the normal law, anyone who provides money to assist in murder, destruction, arson or bombing would have to be subject to some prosecution were they apprehended and brought before the courts. That is a minor error that the Home Secretary made. The important point is that we are prepared to see the extension of the emergency powers, and if there can be a toughening of the process we should gladly vote for it and discuss it with the Home Secretary as part of the discussions that I still hope will be held.
§ Mr. Kenneth Baker
The right hon. Gentleman implied in a letter to me last week that he would say something new today. At the beginning of his speech he said that he would 39 say something new today. He has said nothing new today. All his comments and the limitations that he seeks to introduce have all been well rehearsed by him and his colleagues in the past. He wishes to water down the powers in the prevention of terrorism Act because he rightly says that they impinge in some way upon civil liberties. As my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, West (Mr. Jones) said, his constituents could have had their civil liberties eroded by being killed by the action of terrorists. The right hon. Gentleman is far too cavalier in saying that it is only 22, and six and so on. We must act. If the right hon. Gentleman ever held responsibility in this role—I do not think that he ever will—he would have to act to protect public safety. He is not trying to create a bipartisan approach today. He has drifted further from the Act. He wants to dismantle, water down and weaken the Act. The people of this country will not understand him and they will not understand his case in the next general election, either.
§ Mr. Hattersley
Again, I urge the Home Secretary to listen to the final passage of my speech with as much calmness as he can muster, for he was uncharacteristically over eager in saying that I have made no suggestions. I am about to do that. I am about to offer to the Home Secretary five ideas. None of them is brand new, but few ideas are these days—[Interruption.] I see that there has been no change in Government policy—it is just as it ever was. We have been arguing that for the past 100 days and the Home Secretary has been denying it. I am glad for his admission that things are as they ever were.
Let me proceed with my suggestions about the Act. I have one or two suggested improvements. First, we should accept the view of the European Court and Lord Colville that detention should be extended only after the case has been reviewed by a judicial tribunal. Secondly, we should abandon exclusion orders. Thirdly, we should toughen up provisions affecting the financing of terrorism. Fourthly, we should consider the feasibility and desirability of setting up a national agency—a British intelligence bureau—to provide an effective countrywide response against terrorism. I should make it clear that we remain wholly committed to the principle of local police forces, but some threats can be dealt with only nationally. In our view, terrorism is one of them.[Interruption.] We shall extend our suggestions on special request from Conservative Members not only to No. 5 but to Nos. 5, 6 and 7.
Fifthly, we should fully and immediately introduce the Colville suggestion of video-recording of interviews of all suspects in police custody. Our proposal and the Colville proposal are completely reasonable. We should also, as Lord Colville recommends, remove internment from the statute book and introduce an independent complaints procedure for the Army.
On the basis of those five proposals I reiterate, and I shall continue to reiterate, my strong view that there is everything to be gained for the country in a demonstration of common purpose. I regret that the Home Secretary did not accept the offer today, but chose more and more as his speech went on to make the speech not of a Home Secretary but of a failed chairman of the Conservative party.[Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman is not 40 only a failed chairman of the Conservative party but a failed Secretary of State for Education and Science and a failed Secretary of State for the Environment.
I prefer to rely on the Prime Minister's assertion that we are all equally opposed to terrorism and all wish to work against it. Only the Provisional IRA has anything to lose from a common view on how terrorism can be combated. Again, if the Home Secretary comes to the idea that interparty talks would be an advantage, we are available for that purpose. It is in the national interest that they should be held, and we are available to hold them.
§ Mr. Andrew Hunter (Basingstoke)
I welcome the opportunity to make a brief contribution. Along with my right hon. and hon. Friends, I listened to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) with total incredulity. He would have us believe, and I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, that he is seriously and sincerely opposed to terrorism, but nothing that he said carries conviction, and his speech seriously undermines that declaration.
I wish to make only one main observation because it is at the kernel of the debate. I accept that the overhelming majority of Opposition Members are sincere in their opposition to terrorism and in their search for means to combat and defeat terrorism. However, they undermine their argument. There is a fundamental flaw in their argument because they have failed to analyse correctly one essential aspect of terrorism. The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook spoke about the Act being an erosion of civil liberties. We have heard the debate many times on the Floor of the House and in Committee, and a sense of deja vu descends on those who have previously taken part in the debate.
It is not true that the erosion of civil liberties creates the oxygen on which terrorism can thrive. The reverse is the case—terrorism thrives on the exploitation of the hallmarks of a free and liberal society. Terrorism exploits the freedom of the press, it exploits the open society, and it exploits our judicial system. Thererfore, it is absolutely essential in resisting terrorism that temporarily and in set circumstances we take the measures outlined in the Act so that we can deny terrorism that oxygen.
With respect, when Opposition Members talk in terms of an erosion of civil liberties as promoting terrorism, they are fundamentally wrong. The reverse is the case—terrorism exploits freedom, and it is by a voluntary curtailment of freedom that terrorism can be defeated.
§ Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness and Sutherland)
The Home Secretary began the debate by outlining the history of the terrorist outrages that this country has suffered during the 12 months since the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act was last debated. It is a tragic tale, and the tragedy continues. It is quite clear that terrorism has not been defeated. We must take all the measures that are necessary to support the fight against the lawless men and women who seek to intimidate the citizens of this country into accepting a certain political point of view. Those men and women must be pursued and defeated.
The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) suggests that there should be talks 41 between the official Opposition and the Government. He cannot reconcile himself to the view that measures that were initially placed on the statute book by a Labour Government should be continued. His speech today did not indicate that there is much to talk about. He is undoubtedly right in saying that the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act has not defeated terrorism, and is not sufficient to defeat terrorism. No one could quarrel with that conclusion. However, the right hon. Gentleman's conclusion that the Act is not necessary is illogical. In drawing that conclusion, he not only is wholly mistaken but has sought systematically to misrepresent the views of Lord Colville, who has on many occasions reported on the operation of the Act. Lord Colville himself has asked questions about the effectiveness of exclusion orders, but he has not put in question his view that the Act as a whole is necessary. We are being invited by the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook to dispense with the Act as a whole.
During the corresponding debate last year, I asked whether the right hon. Gentleman had had discussions with the authorities—in particular, the police—who are responsible for combating terrorism in Great Britain. I listened with interest to hear whether he had some answers to the points that those authorities have made to me and, no doubt, to others who have been willing to consult them about the practical consequences of revoking the provisions under which exclusion orders are made. It is a point that has not been discussed specifically by the Home Secretary in supporting the provisions.
believe that the police are wholly right in their view that exclusion orders are necessary if there is to be proper surveillance of people whose activities pose a major threat to the state. The manpower considerations that would be involved in continuing the surveillance of those who have been subject to exclusion orders if they were at liberty to wander the length and breadth of Great Britain, as well as the Province of Northern Ireland, simply could not be seriously contemplated by a responsible Secretary of State for the Home Department and it is Secretary of State for the Home Department that the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook aspires to be. I can only conclude that the right hon. Gentleman has not discussed these questions with those who are responsible. Certainly, he has never brought forward their views in support of his case against exclusion orders.
However, this is not the main thrust of Lord Colville's examination of the working of the Act this year. Lord Colville has looked in particular at the provision for the review of detention, and I am glad that he has done so. There is no doubt that the provisions on detention have caused the greatest anxiety. They undoubtedly curtail fundamental rights and freedom, and they have been operated in a manner found to be in contravention of the European convention on human rights. In this regard, I refer to last year's judgment in the Brogan case. I am considerably reassured by Lord Colville's finding that the detention review procedures are effective. He believes that, at least so far as Great Britain is concerned, police officers who are responsible for the custody of people in detention act as something of a balance against those who conduct the interrogation. He rightly draws attention to the question whether the checks are as effective in Northern Ireland itself. So long as this legislation is on the statute book, the House of Commons must pay particular attention to that matter.
42 The review procedures are important, and in that context I hope that the interrogation tape recording experiments that have begun will be followed with great interest and great care and, if possible, extended. Recording an interview should not be inconsistent with obtaining the truth. Like Lord Colville, I believe that much depends on very careful examination of the results of the experiments, which, I think, are being carried out in Paddington.
As I have indicated, the operation of the detention provisions constitutes a violation of the European convention—a violation that led to the Government's derogating from the convention in respect of these matters. Last year, I expressed my regret—and I repeat that expression of regret now—that the Government are unwilling to consider altering the examining system in any way to bring this country within the ambit of the European convention. As Lord Colville has pointed out, a look at the experience within the criminal justice systems in Scotland and the Channel Islands should enable us to meet the strictures of the European Court of Human Rights by means of some alteration of procedures in England and Wales. Today, however, the Home Secretary was adamant—he set his face against any such alteration.
The disadvantage of the method of initiating these inquiries in England and Wales is that it is misunderstood abroad. If we are found to be in contravention of the European convention, that is regarded as being a serious matter. Yet, Lord Colville is right to draw attention to the fact that in other countries, including France, people have been held for substantially longer periods than that allowed under this Act without conclusions having been reached as to their guilt or innocence or as to whether they ought to be charged. A fair look at the record of this country, by comparison with the records of other countries, will show that we do not come out badly. That is why the Home Secretary ought to consider other ways of meeting the finding in the Brogan case.
On this occasion, Lord Colville's main purpose was to draw attention to the mixed, and sometimes conflicting, legislation dealing with the confiscation of the assets of those assisting the terrorist effort. The Home Secretary has given the House a fair account of what he intends to do by way of consideration of the points that Lord Colville has raised. Lord Colville indicates that the provisions of the Act lack teeth. That is a matter that must give rise to concern. Not everyone in this House is anxious to whittle away the powers under the Act. Some of us are anxious to see the legislation made more effective. I hope that, before many months, the Home Secretary will come back with proposals to deal with proceeds that are being diverted to assist terrorist organisations. There is no doubt that that has maintained terrorist activity more effectively than almost anything.
The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook appealed to the House and to the Government to treat this matter in a bipartisan way. As a Liberal Democrat, I am naturally attracted to the idea of cross-party agreement when there is a genuine meeting of minds, but the right hon. Gentleman's speech neither gave support to any new proposals nor suggested that he was entering upon the proposed discussions in a bipartisan spirit. It appeared to me that he was, quite simply, failing to face up to the reasons why this Act remains on the statute book, and 43 failing to recognise that all those who have had responsibility for the fight against terrorism have found that the Act has contributed materially to that fight.
The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook significantly misled the House about what Lord Colville said. The Home Secretary read out a passage of the report which I found persuasive. In a number of other passages, Lord Colville speaks of the effectiveness of the Act. In one passage he says, about the extension of detention in Northern Ireland, that in a number of cases admissions were made during further interrogations under extension orders. Prolonged interrogation can evidently still produce results although, in current circumstances, it is more likely that the extra period of detention is sought in order to carry out forensic, laboratory or other tests.
If such prolonged interrogation is producing results, and Lord Colville believes that it is, then that is a powerfully persuasive argument for retaining these powers.
§ Mr. McNamara
Lord Colville also said, in relation to Northern Ireland, that extended interrogation should be videoed. Does the hon. Gentleman support that suggestion? Does he know why the Government have rejected that part of Lord Colville's recommendations?
§ Mr. Maclennan
The hon. Gentleman must have been out of the Chamber or not listening when I spoke about that. I said that I thought that that was a valuable recommendation but I understood Lord Colville to be saying that the experiment that was being conducted in Paddington should be studied with considerable care and that it would be desirable to extend it, if possible. I do not believe that he went as far as the hon. Gentleman suggested.
The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook also seriously misrepresented Lord Colville when he said that Lord Colville had felt that the move to set up a new tribunal to oversee these powers was now irresistible. Lord Colville did not say that. He put it in the interrogative form and the Home Secretary gave his answer. I am not happy with the Home Secretary's answer, for the reasons that I have given, but Lord Colville was nothing like as dogmatic about it as the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook suggested. Throughout his commentary on Lord Colville, one had the strong sense that he was seeking to find an ally who was not there. Lord Colville has been more careful in his consideration of the effectiveness of the Act than has the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook. He seems to be more moved by party political considerations than consideration of the security of the realm. I greatly regret that. This stance should not be taken by the shadow Home Secretary, nor by someone who, as a member of the Cabinet, supported the Act when it was first introduced. It is not responsible to overlook the advice that was given by Lord Mason of Barnsley as recently as 1988, to which the Home Secretary sensibly and properly referred. The House will feel that the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook has, once again, failed to measure up to the challenge of terrorism.
§ 5.5 pm
§ Rev. Ian Paisley (Antrim, North)
The House has been alerted to the necessity of applying its mind to the debate by the sad happenings of the past year. The awful catalogue that it was the duty of the Home Secretary to read out should put the darkest possible shadow over the Chamber and impose solemnity as we seek to tackle this problem. What happened in the past few days in this city has brought home to the House just what terrorism is really about and what it can accomplish.
Each one of us has a pass to the House which we wear outside this Chamber. That gives our identity, but the Government have not applied themselves to the fact that all our citizens should be identified. It would aid the police in the execution of their duties if, when a terrorist attack took place, those in the immediate vicinity could be identified and eliminated from their inquiries. The House needs to apply itself to that problem. If we feel that we can defend ourselves against an attack in this way, our citizens have a right to say that they should be defended in the same way.
It may be argued that such a scheme would take away civil liberties because everyone would be asked to carry an identity card, but no reasonable person could argue that. We are all identified in various ways for different affairs. Why should we not be identified in the battle against terrorism, which is taking such a sad toll of our citizens? The Home Secretary should apply his mind to this affair.
The hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter) struck an important chord when he said that, in the fight against terrorism, society has to surrender some part of its liberty. This is, of necessity, true. When a nation is at war, every citizen has to sacrifice part of his liberty. This battle with terrorism is a war. It is not fought by the rules of any Geneva convention. The soldiers who fight in it do not identify themselves. Instead, they carry on a campaign of cowardly attacks on ordinary men and women and against the forces of the Crown which seek to give law and order to, and ensure the liberties of, all citizens of this United Kingdom. We must remember what the hon. Gentleman said—we must all surrender some part of our liberty so that others may be brought to book for their offences against society.
I noticed that the Secretary of State said that the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) had the will to achieve the end, but was refusing the power. It is with deep respect that I say to the Secretary of State that that is exactly what the people of Northern Ireland are saying about his Government. I am not exonerating Members on the Labour Front Bench from the charge that the Secretary of State made against them, but there are many people in Northern Ireland who would say that this Government and, indeed, Labour Governments have not had the will to win this war.
I should like to pick the Secretary of State up on what he said about Sinn Fein—indeed, I am sure that he would expect me to do so. Sinn Fein is no different from the IRA, and the IRA is no different from Sinn Fein. That is not what I say—it is what the police and the authorities say. The highlight of a Sinn Fein conference is when a masked gunman gives a report to the political party about the progress of the armed struggle.
We in Northern Ireland find it strange that Northern Ireland Office Ministers are absolutely adamant that they will not talk to Sinn Fein, because its members are IRA 45 men, yet they say to the elected representatives of the people of Northern Ireland, "You have to sit in councils and carry out the business of the affairs of this Province with IRA members."
§ Mr. David Trimble (Upper Bann)
The hon. Gentleman is perfectly correct to draw attention to the hypocrisy of Northern Ireland Office Ministers in that respect. Does he agree that the approach of those Ministers is also inconsistent, because, although they say that they will not talk to Sinn Fein, through intermediaries or otherwise they have dealings with Sinn Fein people?
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
The hon. Gentleman has made that point in the House and elsewhere. Thank God, I do not have to answer for Northern Ireland Office Ministers, but no doubt they will make their own reply to him.
Members of my party who serve on councils and whose loved ones have been murdered by the IRA are expected to take part in council business with men who, when the council suggested that its members should stand in silence for a moment in memory of the slain, opposed and objected to that motion while eulogising the gunmen and murderers. That is what we find strange. Of course, the Home Secretary is not in that position, because he does not have to serve on a council in Northern Ireland.
The right hon. Gentleman will, however, have to take some more advice about Sinn Fein's success. I also find it strange that on the one hand he is trying to distance Sinn Fein from the IRA while on the other hand he is trying to say that the IRA's standing can be seen from Sinn Fein's election results. He cannot have it both ways. The Secretary of State has said that Sinn Fein is losing in all elections, but it is not. The last two election tests have been the by-elections in Cookstown and Dungannon, in both of which Sinn Fein made big gains, averaging 10 per cent. Therefore, the Secretary of State was wrong to say that we are winning the war against the IRA and that the Sinn Fein vote is decreasing. We must face up to the fact that we are not winning the war.
That is why we are here today discussing emergency provisions. Although this is supposed to be an "emergency", it goes on and on, into permanency. That is cruel proof of the fact that we are not really winning the war. I cannot say to my constituents who have had their loved ones murdered that we are winning the war. I cannot say that we are winning the war to the people whom I shall be visiting this week because they do not believe it. They are not convinced that the war is being won.
I do not like to think that Northern Ireland is a dumping place for terrorists. That point was argued by Northern Ireland Members in the House when this legislation was first introduced, but, although it was well argued, that point was not answered. I do not like that fact, and I am sure that the Secretary of State knows that that is the attitude of Northern Ireland Members. However, I would tolerate that if we were making the headway against the terrorists that needs to be made. There are certain things that we shall be forced to do.
What worries me is the fact that the land border between the Republic and the United Kingdom is practically forgotten while the water border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom is treated as the border between the Republic and the rest of the United Kingdom. Many people from Northern Ireland resent the fact that, when they travel by aircraft and enter 46 their own country, they may be stopped and asked to sign a card which will admit them into their own country. I have to fill in such a card when I travel through Gatwick, but not when I travel through Heathrow. I can never understand that. Gatwick must be a clearing place for republican travellers and unionists must travel via Heathrow. I understand that the same happens at Luton, Liverpool and Manchester.
If signing such a card would bring us nearer to defeating terrorism, the people of Northern Ireland would be quite prepared to put up with that. However, instead we find that the land border is open. I recently asked a friend to test how many times he could cross the border without being stopped. On just one day he crossed the border 27 times but was never stopped. I ask the Home Secretary: what is the use of having an open land border and of trying to deal with terrorism only on the water border, which cannot be policed sufficiently?
There will always be people who raise the issues of human rights and civil rights and there will always be those who object if the battle against terrorism gains ground because of legislation passed in this House. However, the Secretary of State should face up to some of the matters that I have raised. Dealing with the identity of the citizens of this land would be a major step forward in dealing realistically with what could be mounting attacks from terrorists.
In conclusion, we do not know what will be the spin-off from the Iraqi defeat in the Gulf. We do not know what terrorist groups will be released upon our country. We should have the best possible measures in legislation to deal with what could be a new and mounting threat.
§ Mr. Seamus Mallon (Newry and Armagh)
I want to preface my remarks by making one or two things very clear. The Secretary of State referred to attacks on people in Britain emanating from one of the proscribed organisations named in the legislation—the Provisional IRA. He rightly referred to the revulsion felt by people in this country at those attacks. However, no people were more revolted by those acts or more angry about them than Irish people living in Northern Ireland, in the Republic of Ireland and, above all, in England, Scotland and Wales. Those attacks create great emotion, but we should realise that that kind of perverted, twisted machismo for political reasons is abhorred by the vast majority in Northern Ireland.
I have witnessed not just physical injury, but other forms of injury at railway stations. For example, I have seen thousands of people who cannot get to work or home from work, or who have had to spend three or four hours travelling simply because a warped mind wanted to gain some pseudo-satisfaction from causing a false alert. Those alerts are organised by the Provisional IRA.
Each time IRA members set off a bomb and kill someone or carry out any act of violence, that is a gory—and sometimes very gory—but pathetic statement of their own failure. They are really admitting that the political objectives that they wish to achieve cannot be achieved through politics, rational argument and the power of persuasion. However, that does not help the people who are killed and injured. It does not help the 47 people who are bereaved. However, as legislators we should remember that, whenever an atrocity is committed, those people are admitting that they have failed.
That failure will add up. The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) talked about winning the war. However, there are two wars to be won. The first involves the protection of society from terrorism. The other involves protecting the very highest standards of integrity and justice within this country, within Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. That is worth fighting for.
When the IRA has gone and its failure is copper-fastened and permanent, the integrity of that system will have to be rebuilt. This is not a flaky or weak issue of civil rights, human rights or civil liberties. It involves the protection of something that is essential—the integrity of the process of law and of legislation.
When we talk of winning the war, we should remember that more than one thing is at stake. People who are pursuing political objectives through violence are forcing everyone else to derogate from the highest standards. Those people, who may not be members of the IRA—and I am not making that as a point—killed four people in County Tyrone last night. They also killed a UDR soldier in my constituency at the weekend. Those people are negating the essence of what we are doing or trying to do. They are negating the essence of political progress. They demean and debase their objective, an objective which many of us in Ireland hold very dear. We become very angry when the IRA demeans it in the spurious cause that it claims to be pursuing.
The IRA has cast a vote of no confidence in itself. IRA members, through their actions, admit that they cannot come to this forum or to any other forum and, through the rationale of their argument, try to persuade others of the validity of their case. At the end of the day, that is what politics are about. They are not about numbers; they are about the strength of one's argument and the confidence and courage that one has to put that argument if that argument is not very popular.
§ Dr. Godman
I have been listening intently to what the hon. Gentleman has said about these very grave matters. However, will not the isolation of the terrorists—the Provisional IRA and the extreme loyalists—be made worse if it is heightened by the decision taken by the leaders of the political parties in the six counties to come to the negotiating table with those others who are so concerned to win this war?
§ Mr. Mallon
I am not exactly clear about the hon. Gentleman's point. However, if I understand him correctly, I can state that I would talk and negotiate with anyone if I thought that that would save one life. My susceptibilities and sensitivities would have to take a back seat if I could passionately persuade people to end that kind of killing.
The community in which I live and from which I come, the nationalist community in South Armagh, has suffered greatly as a result of the activities of the Provisional IRA. Indeed, no community has suffered more. The people I live among understand the horror of IRA terrorism. We also know the horror of so-called loyalist terrorism, because we saw it in County Tyrone last night. We know the absolute horror of giving up the highest standards of our justice and 48 legal procedures so that those people can run amok. That is the weakness with this provision, because that is exactly what those people want us to do. The more things begin to crumble in terms of law and legislation, the better those people like it, because that is the kind of milieu in which they can succeed.
It is spurious to argue that, if one is opposed to the terms of emergency legislation or are critical of some of the provisions of such legislation, one is soft on terrorism. I can understand why such an argument is advanced in the House, but it has nothing to do with emergency legislation: it has to do with party politics. Frankly, as a member of a party with three representatives in the House, which will never be in government or be the official Opposition, I do not have to indulge in that kind of argument. However, it should be clearly understood that, because one is critical of legislation, that does not mean one is in any way soft on terrorism.
At the weekend I paid at least one visit, as the hon. Member for Antrim, North must do on many occasions, to see the consequences of a terrorist bomb, the loss of life and the damage that that does to the community. Let there be no media over-statement in that regard. We could also do without the kind of self-congratulation that we sometimes hear. I am critical of the legislation, and shall vote against it for the reasons that I have consistently given and will continue to give. That does not mean that I have any sympathy for terrorism or that I am in any way soft on terrorism. I probably have more reasons to be hard on it than most.
Is it possible to fight terrorism without measures such as internal exile, or without having to derogate not once but 38 times from European law—this time, in relation to article 15? Is it possible to fight terrorism without detention as a means of trawling for intelligence? There is a fundamental distinction between trawling for intelligence and arresting someone on suspicion of having committed a crime.
Is it possible to fight terrorism without any derogation from the higher standards of justice that we should all be trying to preserve? Is it possible to fight terrorism without a whole panoply of legislation that resembles a patchwork quilt—from the emergency provisions Acts and the prevention of terrorism Acts to the ad hoc legislation that comes before the House from time to time? That is like taking pieces of putty and sticking them on a crumbling wall, hoping that they will hold together. They will not.
That was the essence of the point made by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley). He did not question the need to fight terrorism but only the means by which that should be done. He asked whether a better way could be found than derogating from article 15 or trawling for information.
Is there a need for adequate legislation that will go beyond that which currently exists? The answer must be yes, but in this country a patchwork quilt approach is taken which does not achieve what it should and which damages certain principles that we all hold dear.
The Republic of Ireland has been forced to face the same problem. The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook stressed that we should look carefully at that aspect. At the end of his report, Lord Colville pointed out that terrorism not only exists in Northern Ireland but is straying into England, Scotland and Wales, as well as into the Republic. Acts of terrorism have also occurred in France, Holland and Germany. I am sure that I have omitted other 49 countries. Is there not some merit in the suggestion that we should consider the entire issue, in the way that we do in respect of agriculture, trade, the environment, and many other issues within the European Community? Would not that be better than sticking another piece of putty on the wall when there is an atrocity?
In the world in which we live, if the IRA's violence stops, and if loyalists' violence stops, there will still be sufficient terrorism to merit a concerted and unified approach by all the countries affected by it. I ask the Secretary of State not to dismiss that suggestion simply because it comes from the Opposition or from the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook.
Lord Colville made it clear in the last sentence of his report thatnothing except a bold and new initiative seems likely to deflect a continuing divergence of procedures between most of the rest of Europe and ourselves.Something that had a European basis would be free of the inter-country, inter-communal connotations which such legislation sometimes has—and which the prevention of terrorism Act has in the eyes of many Irish people. It would override and transcend such considerations. It will not be easy to achieve, but it is a challenge which must be faced, sooner or later—in international rather than domestic terms.
I can imagine the reaction that there would be in this country and in the Republic of Ireland, France, and other countries, but the prize is much too big to throw out such a concept without giving it full consideration. There is much to be gained from starting down that road, rather than having an emergency provisions Act for Northern Ireland and a prevention of terrorism Act for England, Scotland and Wales—overlapping, interlinking, and tying in with other legislation where it suits, so that if one wants to examine that legislation one needs to have five or six Acts to hand.
I want to make reference to one or two practical aspects. An interesting study of the tape recording and video recording of police interviews was conducted for the Law Reform Commission of Canada between 1985 and 1987. One paragraph is particularly relevant:Aside from providing a new tool for the investigative process, the police, Crown counsel and defence lawyers viewed the introduction of this technology as an improvement of the administration of justice. An accurate video tape record of police interviews largely eliminates court room conflicts over what was said and how an accused was treated. The new technology therefore helps police in gathering evidence at the same time as it adds protection to the rights of the accused.When we go beyond the normal bounds of the law and embark on what is euphemistically called emergency legislation, we must remember to provide matching protection. I know of the practical difficulties, but there is an overriding argument for helping the police and protecting them against unfounded allegations, as well as for adding to the protection given to the accused. I ask the Secretary of State to continue apace with tape recording experiments and to move into video taping also.
I make this7 final, carping point simply because reference is made to it in Lord Colville's report. He clearly draws a distinction between the effectiveness of the police complaints procedure in England and Wales and that in the north of Ireland. Out of 407 "completed" investigations in 1990, 327 were incapable of being completed, 14 were withdrawn, and 66 were held to be not substantiated. No charges were brought by the Director of 50 Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland against police officers and nor did the complaints commission recommend any disciplinary charges.
I can see why those investigations would have been withdrawn; I understand why, if the essence of a case was not there, the Director of Public Prosecutions would not bring that case to court. But, given the current position in Northern Ireland, is it imaginable that not a single disciplinary charge should be possible? Does that not raise questions about police complaints procedure, and about the Police Complaints Commission?
I have complained bitterly for a long time about the composition of the commission's board and about its means of operation. Many problems could be avoided if the commission used properly the legislation made available to it by the House three years ago—one of the best and most effective pieces of legislation that we have produced. I hope that the Secretary of State will note the relevant part of Lord Colville's report and will also note the difference in tone and content between Colville's reactions to the two Police Complaints Commissions. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will get around, at some stage, to asking a very naive question: why do the police in England and Wales seem to be so much worse than those in Northern Ireland? Disciplinary charges are brought in England and Wales, but none are brought in the north of Ireland.
In the past week, I have had to deal with Army authorities informally in relation to complaints that I have made. After a time, I went back; to their credit, the authorities were able to tell me exactly what they had investigated, what they had found, what action they had taken and how they had dealt with those who had transgressed. I believe that the authorities deal fairly decently with some of the complaints that they receive, but I cannot accept that, in some circumstances, a disciplinary charge will not be brought in regard to police complaints, despite the legislation that is available.
As I have said, I shall vote against the measure. I believe that there are better ways of dealing with the problems and I must, in all honesty, suggest ways in which they could be handled more comprehensively and effectively. The kernel is in that last sentence of Lord Colville's report that I quoted. I believe that there is merit in what the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook said, and I plead with the Government not to reject his proposal simply because it came from the Opposition.
§ Mr. Ivor Stanbrook (Orpington)
Some of the debate has been taken up in exposing the Labour party's hypocrisy in dealing with the subject of terrorism. I do not think that it is merely a matter of party politics; it is a very important subject. There ought to be a united, multi-party policy on terrorism. The result of Labour's defection from the true course is that we have a policy in this party, in this Government and in this Parliament of containing terrorism when we ought to have,a policy of defeating it. The public insist on the defeat of terrorism. It is not enough to give them ritual denunciations of violence, and ritual avowals of dissociation from those who seek to achieve their political ends by violence. We have heard a great deal of that in this debate, and we have also heard people place considerable emphasis on civil liberties in this country as though they were endangered or threatened. 51 Society needs to be able to defend itself by its own self-discipline, and must be given adequate weapons to do so. That is not the case yet.
The Labour party stands convicted in that regard. After all, the initial Labour legislation on the subject—which came about simply because of explosions on the mainland—is basically the same as the measures that we are debating today. The principles are the same. There have been minor amendments; I regard them as minor, because they have not achieved their true purpose. There have been small improvements, but basically the position remains the same. Now that it is in opposition, the Labour party has changed its tune and reverted to the civil liberties argument.
I do not suggest that any Opposition Member lacks patriotism or a desire to get rid of terrorism; unfortunately, however, that is the impression that is being given to the country at large. The difficulty is that, because of an inhibition or hang-up—largely because of party politics—we have not been able to present a united front to dispose of terrorism as we have—I hope—virtually disposed of Saddam Hussein and Iraqi aggression. There was a united policy on that, the success of which was due partly to all-party support for the Government's policy. Could we not adopt such a policy on terrorism? The Labour party's own principle involved the proscription of terrorist organisations. It has been in the legislation all along, but Labour wants to repeal the relevant provision.
§ Mr. Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield)
The hon. Gentleman is making sweeping generalisations about Labour party policy. Does he not know that all Opposition Members want all-party agreement on this matter? Is he not aware that, only last Tuesday, my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) made a speech and wrote to the Home Secretary asking for every proposal to be on the table—for nothing to be ruled out—with the objective of securing such all-party agreement? Could an Opposition be fairer or more open-minded than that?
§ Mr. Stanbrook
I regard that as worthless. The position has been the same all along. We are talking about Labour legislation—a Labour Act. The Conservative party simply took it over when it came into office, and has renewed it regularly. A Labour spokesman may come along now and say, "Nothing is excluded; everything is included. We are only too willing to talk." That was not Labour's attitude at the time of the Gulf war.
§ Mr. Sheerman
I respect many of the views that the hon. Gentleman expresses in the House, but 16 years is a long time in politics. Opposition Members agree with his opening remarks, in which he said—I hope that he remembers this—that our efforts against terrorism were not working; that terrorism was continuing unabated, and that we needed more effective means of beating it. That is what we are saying, and that is why we want a discussion.
§ Mr. Stanbrook
If that were the case, the Labour party would not be trying to repeal the Act. Labour Members would be saying, "The Government are absolutely right: this is not good enough. We must add more teeth to the Act. We must get together and agree extra, positive measures." I shall not pursue the point with the hon. 52 Gentleman, because I happen to agree with something else that he said recently, and I propose to be nice and friendly to him later. There is always a chance that the truth will suddenly be clear, and wisdom will dawn. The hon. Gentleman already has an inkling. I can only encourage him to persuade his colleagues that their constant opposition to the legislative means provided by Governments of both parties does Labour no good whatever. It does the public no good either, and it hampers the fight against terrorism. If the Opposition were more intelligent about their programme, they would adopt a policy similar to their policy on the Gulf war, realising that opposing such policies would make them so unpopular in the country that they would be certain to lose the next election. Unfortunately, this legislation is taking the place of the Gulf war. If the Labour party continues to maintain its opposition to the main legislative weapon against terrorism, it will suffer the same reaction from the British electorate. It is not that it is not doing enough, but that it is trying to defeat something that has as respectable an origin as a Labour Home Secretary years ago—certainly 16 years ago. For 16 years the war against terrorism has continued, but it has certainly not been won. We need more efforts and positive measures.
It is no use the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) saying that he will vote against the measure because it infringes civil liberties and human rights. We are not talking about that. The only human rights that concern us are those of the victims. Positive measures are required, but we are not getting them.
§ Mr. Stanbrook
I am sorry, but I do not have time to give way.
In the spirit in which we should approach terrorism, one is bound to accept that there are strong arguments against some of these provisions which perhaps could be considered in amendments and so on. Even Lord Colville gave expression to them. The exclusion principle is one of them. It is abhorrent by Executive order not subject to judicial review to cause a British citizen to stay away from part of the country. It is one of the restrictions on the liberty of the individual which the police and the Government contend is necessary for the defeat of terrorism. It is argued that the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 has not been effective. Those who claim that do not know because the evidence is obtained through its operation, which is secret and cannot be revealed.
§ Mr. Stanbrook
I see the hon. Gentleman pregnant with desire to intervene, but I do not want to give him an excuse to do so. I accept that it is not nice for a British citizen to be told, "You cannot stay in this part of the country. You must go back home."
On Thursday 21 February, Thames Television produced an absurd "This Week" programme. After considering the great costs of providing personal security, the programme identified one particular person who without a doubt had connections with the IRA. He was an Ulster man who had been working in Devon and was required to return to Ulster. That must be an injustice and I suppose that he is now unemployed, as the programme said, whereas previously he had had a job. The police made 53 that decision and an exclusion order was applied. The programme presented the case as though it were a great injustice, compared with all the money that we spend on security against terrorists and concluded that somehow it was not right: it interfered with civil liberties. If the best example of injustice that the programme could produce was one unemployed person from Northern Ireland with relatives in the IRA—which may well have been the reason why such action was taken—who was sent home, one is bound to lose faith in the balance and understanding of those who make such television programmes.
There is a point here. One hopes that such a provision is not necessary, but I am prepared to accept that if the security authorities say that it is and if behind the scenes there is ample intelligence obtained through the operation of the Act—let us not say that, because we do not know what that information is, we should not allow fishing expeditions—there is a basis for examination of these cases. No doubt a great deal of intelligence is obtained that cannot be revealed. The measure must be justified. It stands to reason that it is.
One's great complaint must be that of the general public, especially after the dreadful incidents of wholesale attack on civilians and ordinary people, including my constituents, on the concourse of Victoria station. The general public ask us to fight back against the IRA. So far they have not been satisfied with the Government's response.
I said that I agreed heartily with some recent remarks by the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman). Surely now is the time for us to adopt the same response to and positive measures against the IRA as the German Government used against the Baader-Meinhof. Germany had a national intelligence-gathering agency, supplied with the best men and technical equipment. It drew on sources from all over Germany and Europe and all the information was fed into a central system. It had mobile and effective teams which acted on the information thus gathered. If that is what the hon. Gentleman was advocating, I certainly agree. I hope that the Government will welcome the initiative with open arms. Of the seven ideas from the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), that is the only positive one. We need a national agency.
The trouble with all our defences against criminals is that so far we have been hampered by a ramshackle police structure. We have more than 50 separate, operational, autonomous police forces. Some are co-ordinated at some level, but never nationally. Some subjects are coordinated, but not overall. In some cases the computer systems are incompatible with those of other forces. The Home Secretary talks about the efforts to fight all violent crime, especially terrorism, but I do not understand how he can be so complacent when our weapons are so inadequate and rooted in a 19th century structure. It is the hesitation to upset chief police officers and others which bedevils us and prevents us from getting the matter under control.
We must take criminal investigation, detection and the defeat of terrorism in hand. We must not talk about it in terms of co-ordination, as the Home Secretary did in his opening speech. It is not the co-ordination of intelligence gathering that is needed; it is the co-ordination of action. That is what was so effective in West Germany and we must learn that lesson.
54 We have been hampered too much because we have paid too little regard to the dangers which terrorism poses for a civilised society. We have paid too little regard to the demands of the public to get to grips with the problem. We have paid too little regard to the niceties of personal and civil liberties. Opposition spokesmen stand back from the problem for party political purposes. Society demands that we get ahead with this. We are not doing enough now.
§ Mr. David Trimble (Upper Bann)
I wish to criticise some points in the legislation, but I shall support it in the Lobby this evening because its principle is more important than its defects. Others have discussed the measure—I will not on this occasion—in the context of whether or not it is effective. The Opposition and Government Front-Bench spokesmen debated that point. On this topic I find table 8 in Lord Colville's report interesting. It sets out the number of occasions when charges, exclusion orders, removal or deportation have occurred as a percentage of the number of detentions under the prevention of terrorism Act. It is remarkable to note the consistency among the various categories: the total of effectiveness for the United Kingdom as judged in this way is about 22 per cent.; the effectiveness in dealing with international terrorism is 21 per cent.; and the effectiveness of dealing with republican terrorism is about 22 per cent. That provides a clue to the usefulness of the legislation, and it reinforces the need to retain it.
It cannot be argued that the legislation has been wholly effective. The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) pointed out that we still have a serious terrorism problem. It is clear that the Act in itself is not sufficient, and I agree with the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook) that we should look at ways of strengthening it.
The legislation is inextricably linked with the circumstances of its introduction—as a response to the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974. I do not wish to refer directly to the cases before the courts, except to make the general point that they and other court proceedings underline the need for coolness in responding to terrorism. Because terrorism is an attack on the entire community, there will be an emotional reaction to it right across the community. That is why we need coolness when dealing with it. I noticed a letter in The Times last Saturday from Sir Frederick Lawton in which he indignantly made the point that the convictions complained about were decisions not of judges but of juries. That underlines the point that I have just made: because of the nature of terrorism and the emotional response to it, the response of the man in the street cannot be trusted.
A good case can be made for replacing juries in terrorist cases by judges. That is not to give the judges a blank cheque. Even they can err. In Northern Ireland we well know a case in which they did err; the case is currently before the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, who I hope will give the go-ahead for an early re-trial. Mistakes were made because of political pressure. My comments about a cool response apply as much to politicians as to jurors. I hope that ultimately there will be an inquiry which will reveal that what we believe to be false convictions arose as a result of political interference with the course of justice and with decisions to arrest and detain people. 55 Eventually I hope that there will be a full judicial inquiry, although I am perhaps straying a little beyond the matter in hand.
This is a United Kingdom Act, and that is good. Its application throughout the United Kingdom should be followed in other matters. Hon. Members have already mentioned the number of different Acts dealing with terrorism in Northern Ireland—the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 and the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989, to name but two. It is sometimes difficult to know the full extent of the panoply of powers in dealing with terrorism, and that is wrong. It would be far better to bring all anti-terrorism legislation together in one Act, to be applied throughout the United Kingdom.
This Act contains certain provisions which it is hoped will cut off funds for terrorism. That is good, but they have not been effective so far. Some remedies have been proposed, and we shall debate them on Wednesday—but only in a Northern Ireland context. I was appalled to hear the Home Secretary say that the Government intend to experiment in Northern Ireland to see whether the proposals will work before extending them to the rest of the country. That is a silly way to proceed, and it will not work. Everyone knows that the proposals come from the Home Office, not from the Northern Ireland Office, so it is not likely that the Government will commit themselves to providing enough resources to implement the provisions in Northern Ireland.
We should proceed on a United Kingdom basis. If the provisions to deal with funds for terrorism need strengthening, they should be strengthened for the whole United Kingdom, not by way of an experiment in Northern Ireland that is likely to produce an uncertain response.
As we have said in other contexts, it is illogical to proscribe some organisations in Northern Ireland but not in Great Britain. People travel between the two countries, and organisations that are proscribed should be proscribed throughout the United Kingdom. There is an argument for considering the shortlist in this Act beside the longer list in the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act, under which eight organisations are proscribed. It goes without saying that I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Antrim, North about Sinn Fein. It makes no sense to proscribe the IRA yet not to proscribe one part of it, which is what Sinn Fein is, as everyone knows. The pretence that there is a difference is made only for political purposes, and that qualifies and casts doubt on the Government's commitment to anti-terrorist measures.
The Home Secretary will know that we are critical of exclusion orders. It is not right that people should be dumped in Northern Ireland. The orders are wrong in principle. What the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) said about them was inaccurate. There is no danger under the legislation of persons born and bred in Birmingham being dumped in Northern Ireland. If the right hon. Gentleman casts his eye over section 5(4), he will no doubt be happy to correct his comments.
We should like exclusion orders to go, but only if the frontier is dealt with seriously. Controls should be moved 56 from the Irish sea to the frontier. The hon. Member for Antrim, North identified the idiocy of having an open frontier between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, and of trying to control the frontier at another point further down the sea. This is due in part to laziness on the part of the Government and officials. They think it easier to carry out checks at ports and airports than to make the comparatively small effort to treat the frontier seriously. The Government should realise that their laziness sends the wrong message to the terrorists. That message is that the Government do not really think that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, and that their commitment to the defeat of terrorism and the maintenance of the Union is contingent and half-hearted. That only encourages terrorism.
The paradox is that the exclusion order procedure only makes matters worse. I am sorry that the Home Secretary is not present to hear me say that the terminology that he used can only encourage terrorism. I was appalled to hear him say that the law-abiding citizens of this country were appalled by a number of terrorist incidents, all of which had happened in England. It was perfectly clear from the context that in his mind "this country" means England and nothing beyond it. In other parts of his speech he referred to Great Britain and Ireland, to the Irish people, to Ireland north and south. It is clear that in his mind there is a mental blind drawn down the Irish sea. That, too, is an encouragement to terrorism and it sends out a signal to the IRA to continue its offensive because the Home Secretary is not committed to the Union and he will give way to them at some point in the future. That is how his speech will be read.
The Home Secretary should reflect carefully on this matter, but I am not surprised at his attitude when I recall that, with his literary pretensions, he savagely censored "The Boyne Water" in his anthology.
§ Mr. John Patten
I have not read the literary savagery to which the hon. Gentleman refers, but I shall look at it with some interest later.[Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman does my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary an injustice. I have checked the text and found that one of the first sentences uttered by my right hon. Friend in his speech refers to the appalling incidents that the Province suffered over the weekend. As I think the hon. Gentleman knows, I know the Province well and I feel strongly that it is wrong for people in the Province not to recognise the major contribution that everyone in the United Kingdom is trying to make to keep the peace in Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. Trimble
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his comments, but I am sorry to say that they do not meet the point. I acknowledge that in his speech the Home Secretary spoke about terrorist incidents in Northern Ireland. However, in part of his speech he spoke about "this country" in terms which did not include Northern Ireland and he was therefore sending the wrong message. Perhaps the Home Secretary's mistake is unconscious, in which case I hope that he will think about it and correct it and will not again encourage terrorism in that way.
Detention and its extension have given rise to some legal difficulty in terms of the European convention. The ability to extend the period of detention to seven days is important, and that is substantiated on page 3 of Lord Colville's report, which refers to detentions in Northern Ireland. Lord Colville says that 166, or 37 per cent., of 57 those subject to extensions were charged. If one looks elsewhere at the number of people charged out of the total detained, one notes a significant increase—more than double—in the number of charges of persons for whom the period of detention was extended. That statistic alone shows the need to have the ability to extend the period up to seven days.
The problem arises because of the European convention and the way in which it is drafted. It operates on a Europe-wide basis. While there was a significant British input to its drafting, it was largely drafted by and interpreted by civil lawyers rather than common law lawyers. The civil law system is significantly different from the common law system. Some form of judicial involvement in detention and the building of a case against an accused is common in civil law but not in common law. That is our difficulty.
The Home Secretary was right to refer to cases in France where people are effectively detained for much longer than here, but there is no problem there because in France the juge d'instruction is involved in the proceedings. However, he does not play what we would regard as a wholly judicial role, although he is to some extent involved in the interrogation process and in the gathering of evidence. To some extent, he carries out what we—by "we", of course, I mean people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland—would regard as a police function. The position in Scotland is different because the procurator fiscal is based on the concept of civil law and, to a certain extent, he is involved in what might otherwise be regarded as police work.
§ Dr. Godman
The hon. Gentleman is right to emphasise the important role of the procurator fiscal, who is in every sense of the word concerned with criminal investigations. That fine experience has been followed in England through recent legislation.
§ Mr. Trimble
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his elucidation. This is a complex matter and the difficulty is in finding a way to graft on to the common law accusatorial system the inquisitorial procedures of civil law. There is a way out which we have suggested in other circumstances, and it would solve the problem in Northern Ireland. It is that after an appropriate period of two, three or four days, or whatever it might be, an application could be made in chambers to a resident magistrate. Provided the resident magistrate did not treat that as full judicial proceedings and took account of the nature of the information and intelligence available to the investigating authorities, he would provide the necessary "judicial" input to satisfy the European convention.
That solution is not available generally in England and Wales, which retain lay magistrates and, of course, it would be impossible to involve them in such a system. That might be an argument for dispensing with lay magistrates and having what we call resident magistrates, the term for which here is stipendiary magistrates. The Government may want to consider that.
It may be necessary to consider extending the Scottish procurator fiscal system, or something analogous, to the rest of the United Kingdom. That option was examined in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s in the MacDermott report into the prosecution of offenders. I am sorry to say that it was turned down solely on fiscal grounds, when it was said that it would cost too much to introduce 58 examining magistrates. The proposal was supported by a range of people and may be worth looking at again because that could be the way to solve the problem. There is no easy way to solve it, and those who understand the situation in the United Kingdom and in Europe should not be impatient if it takes some time to work out a solution. A certain amount of heat is generated about detention by people who do not fully appreciate the intricacies of the problem.
Reference has been made to the videoing of interviews. We should do what Lord Colville has reported elsewhere and allow experiments to be conducted by the police to see whether it is feasible. Lord Colville's reports on that and on associated legislation are useful. They provide a valuable way to make information available to the public and are clearly a valuable test of the efficacy of the legislation. One has only to look at the way in which hon. Members have appealed to Lord Colville's report and the eagerness with which he has been prayed in aid, sometimes not altogether properly, to show how much the reports are appreciated.
Lord Colville's useful work is a substitute for a proper way of looking at the legislation, which I hope can be done eventually. A debate once a year on the prevention of terrorism Act and an associated debate later this week on the emergency provisions legislation are no substitute for proper parliamentary supervision and control of such exceptional legislation. The powers are properly exceptional. It is right that they should exist, but there should be some effective means of supervision. Because of the nature of the powers, I do not think that we can have effective judicial supervision of them, and an attempt to over-judicialise this procedure is wrong.
We should look at the prospect of having a special procedure, perhaps a Select Committee of Privy Councillors and senior hon. Members charged with carrying out the function carried out by Lord Colville. It would also investigate annually or perhaps more often than that. That might be more useful than the constant. pursuit of toughening-up powers for complaints bodies and so on. It would certainly have the advantage of requiring hon. Members seriously to address the detail of the legislation.
The hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) gave an eloquent denunciation of recent terrorist incidents in England and Wales. He said that by their acts those terrorists are saying that their objects cannot be achieved politically. He is quite right. Those objects cannot be achieved by contesting elections and obtaining majorities. However, the terrorists expect to succeed politically, but through the weakness of Governments and particularly of English Ministers. In that respect the Government have repeatedly encouraged terrorism, not just by the casual and careless use of language that I criticised earlier, but in the way in which they have allowed terrorism to set the political agenda. I refer here to certain ill-judged initiatives that have been taken over the years. That is not only my criticism. An editorial in The Times on Saturday week made exactly the same criticism.
The frequency with which the Government have given in to terrorism has in turn created a lack of confidence in some sections of the community in Northern Ireland. That lack of confidence has led some people wrongly to resort to what they call counter terrorism. That, of course, is wrong. The Unionist community has effectively repudiated or rejected such people and such action by joining or 59 supporting the security forces and by providing them with the necessary information. The high success rate of the Royal Ulster Constabulary in dealing with such terrorism—some 90 per cent. plus—is evidence of that. When dealing with Republican terrorism, the success rate is only 13 to 15 per cent. That points to the difference in the political response.
The party of the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh, the Social Democratic and Labour party, is extremely good at the verbal condemnation of terrorism. Unfortunately, that is not followed through by appropriate action to support and assist the security forces. The role of the hon. Gentleman's party in these matters is often that of a channel by which political concessions extorted by IRA terrorism are made available to Irish nationalism. That role is wrong, as are the actions of Government in making such concessions. None of these matters, however important though they are, will prevent us from supporting the proposed legislation, flawed though it may be, if the House divides this evening.
§ Mr. Ivan Lawrence (Burton)
Members of the public who listen to the debate will do so with complete amazement. They will have heard the Labour party's spokesman in this matter, the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), make a speech which I consider almost incredible.
The right hon Gentleman, having said that no sensible person can doubt that the Opposition are against terrorism, then sought to dismantle the legislation that is designed to combat terrorism. It is true that the Opposition speak against terrorism, but speech is not enough. We are dealing with matters where there has to be action—By their fruits ye shall know them.The Opposition want to dismantle the Government's action in protecting the nation from terrorism, and their position is entirely untenable. A Labour Government thought that action was necessary. In 1974, and again in 1976, they brought forward the current legislation, or legislation that was almost identical. They took against the relevant legislation only when they went into opposition and the Conservative Government took over the reins of power and introduced the current legislation. Since then, the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook has described the legislation to which he was a party in introducing as draconian. That word is intended to diminish the legislation's importance.
Had the position changed—had there been no terrorism since the Labour Government left office—there would be justification for the Opposition's stand. Unfortunately, since 1982 when the Opposition changed their mind, the need for this sort of legislation has grown, not diminished. We have had the Brighton bombing and the murders occasioned there. We have had the avoidance of the summer bombing campaign in British holiday resorts. In the past year we have had the Deal slaughter, the Victoria station bomb, the Downing street bombs, the St. Albans bomb, the killing in West Germany, the bomb in Colchester, the bomb in Kensington, the shooting of Sir Peter Terry, the assassination of Ian Gow, the shooting of the soldier at Lichfield station, the bomb at Derby and the 60 bombs at Leicester and Halifax. In the past year, terrorist activity has killed 80 in the United Kingdom, with a further 1,000 being injured. Most of the deaths and injuries have taken place in Northern Ireland. How can it be said that the time has come to go against what the then Labour Government thought was important in 1974 and 1976? Why action then but no action now?
The speech of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook was pathetic. He struggled to find reasons why the legislation should not be renewed. He was flailing for something on which to cling to avoid the accusation of total absurdity. He claimed that Lord Colville had reservations about the Act, even though Lord Colville had no criticism of extended detention or of exclusion. Lord Colville never once suggested that the legislation should not be renewed. How can it be that an intelligent political party—one of the two great political parties in the land—allows its spokesman on home affairs to say, "My position is justified by Lord Colville", even when Lord Colville does not support him?
The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook said that the General Council of the Bar has reservations. That may be so, but the General Council does not say that the powers should not be renewed. How is that a justification for doing what the Labour party is seeking to do tonight, which is to defeat the renewal order?
The only friends whom the Opposition will have in their attempts to stop the renewal of the current legislation are the terrorists and those who say that normal security procedures should exist even if that means more terrorism.
The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook spoke of the erosion of liberties. What about the erosion of the lives of slaughtered people? What about the people who die because of terrorism? The right hon. Gentleman cited the Brogan case, during which it was said that suspects should be brought more promptly before a judicial authority. The hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble) put his finger on the difference between the judicial authority in European legal systems and our judicial authority. In our process, that authority comes on to the scene much later and yet our system is supposed to be much better than many of the systems that prevail elsewhere in Europe. Apart from that, European judges have not experienced terrorism on the scale that we have in Britain. We resent it when they decide that changes should be made according to their lights when they have not had to experience the misery that we have suffered here, and especially in Northern Ireland.
Why does not the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook choose to rely upon, to be inspired by and to be supported instead by the words of his predecessor, Lord Mason of Barnsley, if he really wants common ground? Lord Mason said:… some liberty must be sacrificed in the defence of liberty, insiduous though that may be. It is the price that must be paid in defence of our democracy … Nothing gives the IRA more joy and some encouragement than to see a divided House, and especially the image created by some within Parliament of seeming to be too protective of the terrorists and their political allies, rather than wishing their destruction."—[Officiol Report, House of Lords, 13 February 1989; Vol. 504, c. 33–4.]That is the sort of guidance that Opposition Members should give. If they chose to adopt that approach, we would have common cause.
It is clear that if we dismantle our defences against terrorism the chances of catching the Victoria station 61 bombers will be less, so will our chances of catching the Downing street bombers, those who tried to assassinate Sir Peter Terry, those who killed the Lichfield soldier, those who planted bombs in Derby, Leicester and Halifax and those who slaughtered in Deal. That is why those who are watching our proceedings on television or hearing them on the radio will be utterly amazed.
What does the Opposition spokesman, the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook, say? I expect that his words will be repeated by the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman), who will reply from the Opposition Front Bench. The Opposition are saying, in effect, "Let us talk. Let us make common ground against terrorism." Yet they have nothing to talk about. They have been saying, "Let us talk" for years. They have been advocating the making of common ground for years. We have been listening for their ideas for alternative action—not alternative words—but what have they brought forward? What practical policies are they putting forward for beating the terrorists?
The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook gave a list and seems to think that that is positive action. He asked us to accept the European Court's view that the judicial process should engage sooner than it does. He asked us to scrap exclusion orders. He suggested a review of the financial provisions and asked us to consider a national agency to deal with terrorism. He suggested that we have tape-recorded interviews and an independent complaints procedure. Those may or may not be very sound and sensible ideas. It may be worth while to introduce such provisions in the future, but they are not reasons for dismantling present legislation. They would water it down, make it easier for the terrorist and not more difficult. That is why the British people will listen to this debate with utter and complete amazement.
There is no alternative to the Act. That is because it has been reasonably effective and why the Opposition cannot suggest an alternative. The Act is the only common cause against terrorism and the Opposition should support it.
After the Carlton club bombing on 26 June last year the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook said:In a free society it is never possible to provide complete protection against indiscriminate terrorism, but clearly we must do all that we can to reduce the chances of such criminal lunacy killing and maiming innocent men and women."—[Official Report, 26 June 1990; Vol 175, c. 186.]Is failing to renew this order, as the Opposition will seek to do by voting against it tonight, doing all that they can to defeat terrorism?
Until they support this legislation, the Opposition will have placed themselves in an absurd and impossible position. The country will punish them for it, and rightly so, because it proves that they are totally irresponsible and unready for power.
§ Mr. Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield)
Opposition Members do not have to prove to anyone that we are firmly committed to beating terrorism and that we also mourn the deaths of those killed at the hands of terrorists: Ian Gow, who was a respected Member of this House; and David Corner, who was a loved and valued member of his community and who was tragically killed at Victoria station. The tragic list of deaths, near-deaths and mutilations in recent years and the recent intensification of terrorism have led us to the conclusion, after objective 62 consideration of the facts and not on a party-political basis, that the House and successive Governments have failed to beat terrorists.
The reason why my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) made an offer, which would be judged by most fair-minded commentators as honest and positive, in his speech last Tuesday and in his letter to the Home Secretary was that we believe that the Act has been a failure. People in this country know that we have failed to beat terrorists. Waving the prevention of terrorism Act around has not beaten terrorism. We introduced the prevention of terrorism Act, but, on mature reflection after 16 years of its operation, we have come to the conclusion that we owe it to the people of this country and to their protection to reconsider an Act which gives the semblance of prevention of terrorism rather than the reality.
It gives us no pride to say that terrorists are not being beaten. Opposition Members want them to be beaten. In one part of his speech the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook) agreed that we need more effective action and that very often the prevention of terrorism Act is an excuse for not acting more positively on an all-party basis. Anyone who tries to argue that we do not oppose terrorism because we vote against the Act tonight is simply making mischief and trying to score cheap political points.
§ Mr. Sheerman
No, I shall not give way. During the speech by my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook the Conservative Benches were full of hon. Members who disappeared after it. Instead of a silence, which would have paid respect to those who died at the hands of terrorist bombs, Conservative Members have treated this as a cheap political debate and so I shall not give way to any cheap politicians on the Conservative side of the House.
§ Mr. Sheerman
I shall not give way to any hon. Member on the Conservative side of the House this afternoon.
It is crucial that the fight against terrorism is not politicised. On this issue, more than on any other, it is important for us to find common ground on which we can build a consensus and a determination which will see the terrorist off.
§ Mr. Sheerman
No, I have said that I shall not.
We shall vote against the prevention of terrorism Act not merely because it does not work and because it undermines the quality of justice in this country—justice which we have always been proud of—but because it feeds terrorism and gives terrorists ammunition with which to win support at home and abroad—support which we must cut off.
How must it look to Irish Americans who are asked to support Noraid and the like when they are told that Britain has legislation that breaks the European convention on human rights and enables people to be banished from one part of the country to another without any explanation and which denies the suspect access to legal advice not merely for 48 hours but for up to seven days?
63 The unjust appearance of the Act is compounded by its operation. Since the first prevention of terrorism Act came into force in 1974, more than 80 per cent. of those arrested have been released without charge and the percentage of those convicted under the Act is even less than 20 per cent. In 1990, out of 193 people held under the Act, only eight were convicted: seven were fined for non co-operation at a port or airport and one for a broken exclusion order. I cannot believe that their arrests and convictions helped in any major way to prevent a planned terrorist attack in this country.
What has happened to people who have been arrested and held for some considerable time before being released? What effect does it have on them, their families and on the reputation of the British administration of justice?
Opposition Members have tried to argue that we do not object to parts of the prevention of terrorism Act. Indeed, when I was Opposition spokesman on the Bill in Committee two years ago we gave our wholehearted support to cutting off the natural support for terrorists. Other parts of the Bill were discussed. We know that we need legislation—perhaps special legislation—but not this legislation, because it does not work.
There could not have been a fairer offer than that made by the Opposition this week when we said that we do not have all the answers and we do not know how to defeat terrorists on our own, but that we do not think that the Government know how to do it on their own, and so we offered the hand of co-operation. We said that we wished to study some parts of the Act, other parts are positive and some parts are objectionable. Only a schoolboy would say, "We won't discuss it with you because you don't like the prevention of terrorism Act."
The Opposition object to serious flaws in the prevention of terrorism Act and we have no alternative but to vote against it tonight.
§ Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)
Order. The hon. Member has made it clear that he is not giving way; the hon. Member for Surbiton (Mr. Tracey) should not persist in that case.
§ Mr. Sheerman
I am not frit, but I shall not give way.
I want to—[Interruption.] I am missing out a part of my speech because Conservative Members made such long-winded speeches.
Misuse of the criminal justice system in our country does enormous damage to the reputation of British justice. The Home Secretary skated over any reference to our objections to the Act on that basis. The fight against terrorism will never be won if we do not win the trust and support of the community. We cannot hope to win their trust if we treat them with such flagrant disregard for civil liberties. We are not making a spurious case, but a serious one. In Northern Ireland, the situation is exacerbated by the parallel Prevention of Terrorism (Emergency Provisions) Act and sections of the community, sadly, appear to have lost all faith in the administration of justice. That cannot be right.
64 It must be remembered that not only the arrested individuals' confidence is shattered by their experience, but there is a knock-on effect on their families, friends and everyone who hears of the treatment that they have received. The existence of draconian powers also serves to give terrorists a special status that we all wish to deny them. The successful criminalising of terrorists means that they must be dealt with under ordinary criminal law. They are rotten criminals, not politicians. If we design special legislation for them, we give them a special identity and therefore play into their hands by giving them treatment that they do not deserve.
We are grateful for Lord Colville's informative report about his investigation into the operation of the Act in 1990. My right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook argued convincingly——
§ Mr. Sheerman
My right hon. Friend did not say that. He said that particular parts of Lord Colville's recommendations lead us to agree with Lord Colville that it is now irresistible that a new tribunal be set up to oversee those powers. If the independent arbiter who is brought in by—[Interruption.] We gave the Government a fair hearing and I should like to finish my speech. As we said in Committee two years ago, Lord Colville made many important and fundamental criticisms of the working of the Act. The Government have ignored those criticisms. What sort of Government can conceive an Act that does not defeat terrorism—their record on terrorism is appalling—and, every time the independent arbiter makes suggestions to improve the Act, they refuse to implement them? They are then surprised when a helpful, constructive Opposition say that there should be fundamental changes made to the Act. They are surprised that, ultimately, we are forced to vote against the Act in its entirety to force the Government, who are deaf on the subject, to listen.
Lord Colville again turns his attention to the problem that the detention powers under the Act contravene the European convention on human rights. He suggests that a tribunal could be set up to judge whether a suspect's detention should be extended rather than the responsibi lity remaining solely with the Home Secretary. I asked the Home Secretary about that and have been advised that such a tribunal may be acceptable to the European Court. Will the junior Minister say whether that is so? If the European Court were independent so that it could make decisions, not merely recommendations to the Home Secretary, would that be acceptable? Would it also be acceptable if the court provided that the suspect should appear before it with his or her legal representative and if the suspect was given the opportunity to make representations on his or her behalf? We understand that those three changes would be acceptable to the European Court. Will the Minister comment on that? Such a measure would allow the Government to remove Britain's derogation and enable us, once again, to fulfil our obligations under the European convention on human rights. Simply repealing the provisions would ensure an easier compliance with the court's decision. The Labour party believes that we should not have derogated in the first place, but the court's decision should have been accepted and implemented without delay. We urge the Government to do so as soon as possible.
65 Lord Colville also said that the offence of withholding information should be removed. We have asked the Government time and again for their response to that. Virtually no provision in the Act has escaped intensive criticism by the Government's own reviewers and the European Court of Human Rights. One wonders whether any credibility for the Act remains. The time has come to accept that the Act has no future as a serious tool in the fight against terrorism. We need fresh thinking and a new approach to the problem.
§ Mr. Sheerman
If the hon. and learned Gentleman will wait, I shall tell him.
Last Tuesday, the Opposition made a serious proposal to introduce two measures that the British public want. We want an all-party approach to the defeat of terrorism, but also an effective approach—[HoN. MEMBERS: "Give way."] I shall not give way.
The Opposition are offering to participate in all-party discussions. We shall come with a blank sheet of paper. We have no prejudices except those against terrorists—[Interruption.] The Home Secretary is mumbling as usual.
On Saturday evening, I made a speech in my constituency. The meeting was packed out.
§ Madam Deputy Speaker
Order. That has nothing to do with the Chair. Let us continue the debate as we have very little time.
§ Mr. Sheerman
In my speech to my constituents I said that there was an agreed anti-terrorism policing policy which we believe makes sense. It would give the police a national intelligence unit and the ability to tackle terrorism seriously. We made such a positive suggestion in our discussions with the Government. We would discuss anything to defeat terrorism, but the Government will put nothing on the table because, ultimately, they secretly want to use this issue as a political stick to beat the Opposition. The great British public will not be fooled. They want action against terrorism, not fancy words.
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. John Patten)
The hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman) spoke about sticks to beat the Opposition. We have just heard an example of self-flagellation. It was uncharacteristic and unparliamentary of him not to give way during his speech, but I shall follow his example. I shall not respond to any of the issues that he raised. If he is not prepared to debate, I am not prepared to debate with him.
In general, the debate has been good. It has ebbed and flowed from both sides of the water, and there have been some excellent speeches from my hon. Friends. My hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter) presented some robust arguments; and my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, West (Mr. Jones) was right to say that we need to protect the civil rights of his constituents who risked being injured by the bomb on the 66 track in Hertfordshire. The civil rights of everyone in the United Kingdom must be protected and we shall ensure that we protect them.
§ Mr. Tracey
I heard what my right hon. Friend said about not giving way, but I was trying to make an important point to the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman). If the Opposition were successful in voting down the motion tonight, the measure would no longer exist. They say that they would then go into talks. Would not the public be unprotected until an alternative was put forward? Our priority must be to protect our people.
§ Mr. Patten
My hon. Friend the Member for Surbiton (Mr. Tracey) is absolutely right. Should Labour win tonight and the order be defeated, the Act would lapse in a few days and the public on both sides of the water would lack the protection given by the Act—my hon. Friend was, characteristically, spot on. My hon. Friend the Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook), who wants the defeat of terrorism, was also right. He and I agree that the role of the prevention of terrorism Act is vital. Last, but by no means least, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) was right to treat the House to a chilling litany of death and destruction, and I am grateful to him.
I do not for one moment doubt the detestation of terrorism of the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley). However, when we compare his words with what he undoubtedly feels, his speech seems odd and unhappy. Its very first sentence was to the effect that he would lead his party to vote against the prevention of terrorism Act. He then went on to make a number of suggestions. If he were really interested in serious discussions with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and had a list of things he wanted to discuss, rather than issuing a press statement last week and condemning the prevention of terrorism Act in the first breath of his speech today, surely he should have gone to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, perhaps on Privy Councillor terms, to talk to him about the sort of changes he wanted. Instead, the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook turned to opposition by press release—a speech, a quick letter and then into the Chamber tonight with a few suggestions that I genuinely believe were hastily and inadequately cobbled together.
I welcome the right hon. Gentleman's qualified support for EPA and his suggestion that we should look hard at financial provisions to chase up terrorists and track down terrorists' funds in the three separate Acts—Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986, the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1989—that constitute the most significant and fiercest package of anti-terrorist measures in any western European country. If it can be made better, clearly we must do so.
The right hon. Gentleman spoke of bold new initiatives. He promised five, but later extended the list to seven. I admired the facility with which he produced them, although not the production.
§ Mr. Patten
As I said, I shall not give way. I do not mean the right hon. Gentleman any disrespect, but he 67 should talk to his junior spokesman when they get outside the Chamber about how one conducts oneself in a proper, grown-up debating Chamber.
The approach of the right hon. Gentleman was counter-productive. I shall not condemn him; unfortunately, he was not in the Chamber when the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) spoke. I do not intend to do down the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland, who, as we all recognise, is one of the fairest minded Members. He said that the speech of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook contained nothing new, and I agree with him. He also said that he did not think that the right hon. Gentleman's speech took a genuinely bipartisan approach, and I agree with him. The hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland is not a Conservative or a Unionist, but speaks as a professional observer and seeker after consensus. That is the Liberal Democrats' position.
The hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland also said—this was most telling—that the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook had significantly misled the House over Lord Colville's approach—savage words from the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland, who was absolutely right. He finished his speech with a splendid phrase. He said that the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook had simply failed to measure up to the threat of terrorism. We all say "Hear, hear" to that.
When the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook was kind enough to allow me to intervene—something that I shall not allow him to do—he demonstrated that he failed to understand the differences between the workings of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act and the prevention of terrorism Act. I was not seeking to be rude to the right hon. Gentleman, but it surprised me that, after so many years as shadow Home Secretary, he still did not understand the fundamental difference. The speech of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary made it queer—[Laughter.]—clear, and I can quote from my right hon. Friend's wonderfully clear speech. He rightly said that there were many circumstances in which the police might have information that a person was involved in terrorism but have no information as to the specific offence in which he may have been involved. He said:Without the prevention of terrorism Act, there would be no power to arrest such a person. Those who would not continue with that Act in force would allow known terrorists to walk our streets—with the police powerless to intervene.The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook is under a basic misapprehension about the nature and purpose of the Act. Apart from the provisions of general law, we also need to be able to go further and use it for preventive purposes. That is why we have the power, under the prevention of terrorism Act, to take into detention, and then examine, for the purposes of determining whether a person appears to be someone who is or has been concerned with the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism. That is why we have the Act. That apart, the police must always act on reasonable suspicion, a point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Orpington.
Therefore, under section 14 of the Act, the power of arrest and detention is governed by reasonable suspicion. That is the rule.
§ Mr. Phillip Oppenheim (Amber Valley)
On the issue of rules, will my right hon. Friend comment on reports that 68 the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) was kept from the final stages of the Criminal Justice Bill last week because he was attending a £1,000 a head dinner——
§ Mr. Patten
I am tempted to take up the intervention, but I am afraid that the dining habits of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook are not matters for Her Majesty's Government.
The European Court of Human Rights has found against my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary only on his power of extension of detention. We should also have listened with respect to what the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland said about the differences in judicial practice and detention between this country and other countries. In Belgium, the police can detain for only 24 hours, but thereafter they can detain indefinitely before charges are laid. There is a qualitative difference. If the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook had been in the Chamber to listen to the speech of the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland, he would understand that.
We accept in good faith that the Labour party's desire to do something about the scourge of terrorism is reflected in its call for talks—it would be wrong to do anything else. We also believe that its commitment to combat terrorism would be much better reflected in its support for the prevention of terrorism Act, as has been said by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and other hon. Friends. Comfortable condemnation from the Green Benches is not enough. The Labour party cannot merely weave words, but must will the means, and the best way to do that is through the extension of the prevention of terrorism Act. To ignore the Act and, instead, to engage in talks would be to leave a vacuum for terrorists to exploit, as my hon. Friend the Member for Surbiton said.
We must have a policy in place to deal with terrorism; we cannot rely on talks as a substitute for immediate action. We cannot legally disarm ourselves in this country and leave our people without the anti-terrorist legislation that they need and other countries—the United States, Germany and Italy—see that they need. That is why a new prevention of terrorism measure is now before the Greek Parliament, demonstrating the Greek Government's intention to deal with the problem with special legislation.
I do not doubt the personal integrity of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook and his hon. Friends, or their dislike of terrorism, but if their views were put into effect, that would lead to the growth of terrorism in this country. Therefore, I commend to the House the order that will ensure that that does not happen.
§ Question put:—
§ The House divided:—Ayes 303, Noes 138.
|Division No. 85]||[7 pm|
|Adley, Robert||Ashby, David|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Aspinwall, Jack|
|Alexander, Richard||Atkins, Robert|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael||Baker, Rt Hon K.(Mole Valley)|
|Allason, Rupert||Baldry, Tony|
|Alton, David||Banks, Robert (Harrogate)|
|Amess, David||Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich)|
|Amos, Alan||Batiste, Spencer|
|Arbuthnot, James||Beaumont-Dark, Anthony|
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)||Beith, A. J.|
|Arnold, Sir Thomas||Bellingham, Henry|
|Adams, Mrs. Irene (Paisley, N.)||Bray, Dr Jeremy|
|Allen, Graham||Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)|
|Anderson, Donald||Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Campbell-Savours, D. N.|
|Armstrong, Hilary||Canavan, Dennis|
|Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)||Clark, Dr David (S Shields)|
|Barron, Kevin||Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)|
|Battle, John||Clay, Bob|
|Beckett, Margaret||Clwyd, Mrs Ann|
|Bennett, A. F.(D'nt'n & R'dish)||Cohen, Harry|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Cook, Robin (Livingston)|
|Blunkett, David||Corbett, Robin|
|Boateng, Paul||Corbyn, Jeremy|
|Boyes, Roland||Cox, Tom|
|Bradley, Keith||Cryer, Bob|
|Bendall, Vivian||Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)|
|Blackburn, Dr John G.||Greenway, John (Ryedale)|
|Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Gregory, Conal|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Ground, Patrick|
|Bottomley, Peter||Grylls, Michael|
|Bottomley, Mrs Virginia||Hague, William|
|Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)||Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Hampson, Dr Keith|
|Bowis, John||Hanley, Jeremy|
|Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes||Hannam, John|
|Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard||Hargreaves, A.(B'ham H'll Gr')|
|Brazier, Julian||Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)|
|Bright, Graham||Harris, David|
|Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)||Haselhurst, Alan|
|Browne, John (Winchester)||Hawkins, Christopher|
|Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)||Hayes, Jerry|
|Buck, Sir Antony||Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney|
|Budgen, Nicholas||Hayward, Robert|
|Burns, Simon||Heathcoat-Amory, David|
|Butterfill, John||Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael|
|Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)||Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)|
|Carrington, Matthew||Hill, James|
|Carttiss, Michael||Hind, Kenneth|
|Cash, William||Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)|
|Channon, Rt Hon Paul||Holt, Richard|
|Chapman, Sydney||Howard, Rt Hon Michael|
|Chope, Christopher||Howarth, G.(Cannock & B'wd)|
|Churchill, Mr||Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey|
|Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Plymouth)||Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Hughes, Robert G.(Harrow W)|
|Clark, Rt Hon Sir William||Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)|
|Clarke, Rt Hon K.(Rushcliffe)||Hunter, Andrew|
|Colvin, Michael||Irvine, Michael|
|Coombs, Simon (Swindon)||Irving, Sir Charles|
|Cope, Rt Hon John||Jack, Michael|
|Cormack, Patrick||Jackson, Robert|
|Couchman, James||Jessel, Toby|
|Cran, James||Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey|
|Critchley, Julian||Jones, Robert B (Herts W)|
|Currie, Mrs Edwina||Jopling, Rt Hon Michael|
|Davies, Q.(Stamf'd & Spald'g)||Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine|
|Davis, David (Boothferry)||Key, Robert|
|Devlin, Tim||Kilfedder, James|
|Dicks, Terry||King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Kirkwood, Archy|
|Dover, Den||Knapman, Roger|
|Dunn, Bob||Knight, Greg (Derby North)|
|Durant, Sir Anthony||Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)|
|Dykes, Hugh||Knowles, Michael|
|Emery, Sir Peter||Knox, David|
|Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)||Lamont, Rt Hon Norman|
|Evennett, David||Lawrence, Ivan|
|Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas||Lee, John (Pendle)|
|Fallon, Michael||Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)|
|Fenner, Dame Peggy||Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark|
|Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)||Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)|
|Fishburn, John Dudley||Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)|
|Fookes, Dame Janet||Lord, Michael|
|Forman, Nigel||Luce, Rt Hon Sir Richard|
|Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)||Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas|
|Forsythe, Clifford (Antrim S)||McCrindle, Sir Robert|
|Forth, Eric||Macfarlane, Sir Neil|
|Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman||MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)|
|Fox, Sir Marcus||Maclennan, Robert|
|Franks, Cecil||McLoughlin, Patrick|
|Freeman, Roger||McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael|
|French, Douglas||McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick|
|Fry, Peter||Madel, David|
|Gale, Roger||Maginnis, Ken|
|Gardiner, Sir George||Malins, Humfrey|
|Gill, Christopher||Mans, Keith|
|Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian||Maples, John|
|Glyn, Dr Sir Alan||Marlow, Tony|
|Goodhart, Sir Philip||Marshall, John (Hendon S)|
|Goodlad, Alastair||Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)|
|Gorman, Mrs Teresa||Martin, David (Portsmouth S)|
|Gorst, John||Mates, Michael|
|Maude, Hon Francis||Shersby, Michael|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin||Sims, Roger|
|Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick||Skeet, Sir Trevor|
|Mellor, Rt Hon David||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|Meyer, Sir Anthony||Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Soames, Hon Nicholas|
|Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)||Speller, Tony|
|Mitchell, Sir David||Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)|
|Moate, Roger||Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)|
|Molyneaux, Rt Hon James||Squire, Robin|
|Monro, Sir Hector||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Montgomery, Sir Fergus||Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John|
|Moore, Rt Hon John||Steel, Rt Hon Sir David|
|Morris, M (N'hampton S)||Steen, Anthony|
|Morrison, Sir Charles||Stern, Michael|
|Morrison, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Stevens, Lewis|
|Moss, Malcolm||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Moynihan, Hon Colin||Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)|
|Mudd, David||Stewart, Rt Hon Ian (Herts N)|
|Neale, Sir Gerrard||Stokes, Sir John|
|Needham, Richard||Sumberg, David|
|Nelson, Anthony||Summerson, Hugo|
|Neubert, Sir Michael||Tapsell, Sir Peter|
|Newton, Rt Hon Tony||Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)|
|Nicholls, Patrick||Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman|
|Nicholson, David (Taunton)||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)||Thompson, D.(Calder Valley)|
|Norris, Steve||Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)|
|Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley||Thorne, Neil|
|Oppenheim, Phillip||Townsend, Cyril D.(B'heath)|
|Page, Richard||Tracey, Richard|
|Paice, James||Tredinnick, David|
|Paisley, Rev Ian||Trimble, David|
|Patnick, Irvine||Trippier, David|
|Patten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath)||Trotter, Neville|
|Patten, Rt Hon John||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Pawsey, James||Viggers, Peter|
|Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth||Wakeham, Rt Hon John|
|Porter, Barry (Wirral S)||Waldegrave, Rt Hon William|
|Porter, David (Waveney)||Walden, George|
|Portillo, Michael||Walker, A. Cecil (Belfast N)|
|Powell, William (Corby)||Walker, Bill (T'side North)|
|Price, Sir David||Waller, Gary|
|Raison, Rt Hon Sir Timothy||Walters, Sir Dennis|
|Rathbone, Tim||Warren, Kenneth|
|Redwood, John||Watts, John|
|Renton, Rt Hon Tim||Wells, Bowen|
|Rhodes James, Robert||Wheeler, Sir John|
|Riddick, Graham||Whitney, Ray|
|Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas||Widdecombe, Ann|
|Ridsdale, Sir Julian||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Roberts, Sir Wyn (Conwy)||Wilkinson, John|
|Roe, Mrs Marion||Wilshire, David|
|Rossi, Sir Hugh||Wolfson, Mark|
|Rost, Peter||Wood, Timothy|
|Sackville, Hon Tom||Woodcock, Dr. Mike|
|Sayeed, Jonathan||Yeo, Tim|
|Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Shaw, David (Dover)|
|Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)||Tellers for tbe Ayes:|
|Shephard, Mrs G.(Norfolk SW)||Mr. John M. Taylor and Mr. Timothy Kirkhope.|
|Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Cummings, John||McNamara, Kevin|
|Darling, Alistair||Madden, Max|
|Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)||Mahon, Mrs Alice|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)||Mallon, Seamus|
|Dixon, Don||Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)|
|Dobson, Frank||Meacher, Michael|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Meale, Alan|
|Eadie, Alexander||Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)|
|Eastham, Ken||Moonie, Dr Lewis|
|Faulds, Andrew||Morgan, Rhodri|
|Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)||Morris, Rt Hon A.(W'shawe)|
|Fisher, Mark||Mowlam, Marjorie|
|Flynn, Paul||Mullin, Chris|
|Foot, Rt Hon Michael||Murphy, Paul|
|Foster, Derek||Nellist, Dave|
|Foulkes, George||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon|
|Fraser, John||O'Brien, William|
|Fyfe, Maria||O'Hara, Edward|
|Galloway, George||O'Neill, Martin|
|Garrett, John (Norwich South)||Patchett, Terry|
|Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John||Powell, Ray (Ogmore)|
|Godman, Dr Norman A.||Prescott, John|
|Gordon, Mildred||Primarolo, Dawn|
|Gould, Bryan||Quin, Ms Joyce|
|Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)||Radice, Giles|
|Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)||Randall, Stuart|
|Grocott, Bruce||Redmond, Martin|
|Hardy, Peter||Reid, Dr John|
|Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Robertson, George|
|Haynes, Frank||Rogers, Allan|
|Henderson, Doug||Rooney, Terence|
|Hinchliffe, David||Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)|
|Home Robertson, John||Rowlands, Ted|
|Hood, Jimmy||Ruddock, Joan|
|Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)||Sedgemore, Brian|
|Hughes, John (Coventry NE)||Sheerman, Barry|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport E)||Skinner, Dennis|
|Illsley, Eric||Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)|
|Ingram, Adam||Smith, C.(Isl'ton & F'bury)|
|Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald||Soley, Clive|
|Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil||Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)|
|Lamond, James||Walley, Joan|
|Leighton, Ron||Wardell, Gareth (Gower)|
|Lestor, Joan (Eccles)||Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)|
|Lewis, Terry||Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)|
|Livingstone, Ken||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)||Williams, Rt Hon Alan|
|Lofthouse, Geoffrey||Williams, Alan W.(Carm'then)|
|McAllion, John||Winnick, David|
|Macdonald, Calum A.||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|McFall, John||Worthington, Tony|
|McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)||Tellers for the Noes:|
|McLeish, Henry||Mr. Thomas McAvoy and Mr. Jimmy Dunnachie.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ That the draft Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 (Continuance) Order 1991, which was laid before this House on 21st February, be approved.