§ 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 1992 be approved.It is clear from the recent exchanges that some Opposition Members are keen to have a general election. It is equally clear that they are not keen to debate the order because they are highly embarrassed about the line that they are going to be invited to take later by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley).
The prevention of terrorism Act is an exceptional measure. It is justified only by the wholly exceptional threat that this country faces from terrorism. It is absolutely right that each year Parliament should consider whether the Act need continue in force. Today I am once again asking the House to approve the Act's continuance in force because it remains an essential part of our defences against terrorism.
Those defences cannot be lowered while the terrorist threat remains high. Let us be quite clear from the beginning of this afternoon's debate exactly what that threat has led to. There was no let-up in the terrorist campaign last year. In Northern Ireland, 94 people were slaughtered and more than 900 were injured as a result of republican and loyalist terrorism. Last year I reported that in 1990 there had been more terrorist incidents on mainland Great Britain than at any time since 1975. I regret that I have to report the same again this year.
In 1991 terrorists struck on the mainland at a variety of targets—military, political and economic—and used a variety of means. Three people died, including two terrorists, and 39 were injured. The House will recall some of those incidents: the explosion at Victoria station last February in which one man died and several children were injured; the mortar bomb attack on Downing street in the same month; and the large number of incendiary devices that were planted in shops and on trains.
So we should be under no doubt today about what it is that we face. It is a ruthless campaign of murder and destruction here on the mainland and in Northern Ireland. It is a campaign which is conducted regardless of the risk to innocent people. It is a campaign conducted by terrorists fanatically committed to their own misguided causes.
§ Mr. Baker
I will give way in a moment.
In the debate last year, the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook said thatThe Act creates the illusion of a campaign against terrorism."—[Official Report, 4 March 1991; Vol. 187, c. 32.]I put it to the House that the Government's campaign is a very real one and that the powers of the Act form an essential part of it. The House will recall the recent incident in Coalisland where four men, including Kevin Barry O'Donnell, died. Here was a man stopped in north London with Kalashnikovs in the boot of the car he was driving. He was acquitted of possession of firearms with intent to endanger life, but I was satisfied that he had been involved in terrorism and that here was a very dangerous man from whom people needed to be protected. So I 690 exercised my power to exclude him from Great Britain. Following his expulsion and his recent death, the IRA boasted that O'Donnell had been a member of its terrorist organisation since 1988 and had been active in operations against military targets throughout Britain. I have no doubt that my decision to exclude him was the right one, but without this Act I could not have done so.
Our response to the terrorist campaign is not, of course, confined to this Act. It is much more than that. At the front line here in Great Britain are the police who are pitting themselves—often at great personal risk—against the terrorists. The House will not expect me to go into details about what this effort involves. Suffice it to say that very substantial resources of manpower and equipment are needed and I will ensure that the police get the resources, the manpower and the equipment that are required. I have seen calls for an agency to fight terrorism, but I want to make it absolutely clear I that we have an effective national organisation. I can assure the House that the central co-ordination of anti-terrorist activity across the country, on the whole, has been achieved. The House will no doubt recall the arrangements for this which I announced last year.
§ Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)
All hon. Members are appalled by the continued slaughter in Northern Ireland and the way in which people have been murdered. I will not dignify the murderers by using the term paramilitaries: they are out-and-out terrorists whether they are members of the Provisional IRA or killers on the other side.
What purpose is served by the smear stories over the weekend—whether or not the Home Secretary is in any way responsible for them—which seem to suggest, and more so in this immediate pre-election period, that Labour is soft on terrorism? Is it not useful for the House and the country that we are united against terrorism and we condemn it at every opportunity? If we have differences—obviously there are differences—over this measure, what purpose is served, except to give aid and comfort to the terrorist, to pretend that the Opposition are soft on terrorism?
§ Mr. Baker
I shall refer to that matter later, but there was national consensus on terrorism and on the Act until 1983. The Act was put on the statute book by a Labour Government and it was operated by Labour Ministers who sat in the same Cabinet as the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook. That was the national consensus that existed. That is what I am asking the House to restore tonight—a national consensus. National consensus can be restored only by the Opposition voting for the order.
§ Mr. Dalyell
Will the Home Secretary address the question which I think that he heard me put to his colleague, the Minister for the Civil Service? What is the House of Commons to make, in relation to counterterrorism activities on the mainland—we cannot know the full truth of the matter—of what purports to be a row between Mr. Ian Burns and other senior officials in the Department, supported by Mr. Bill Taylor and senior officials of the Metropolitan police, against attempts by Mrs. Stella Rimington to enlarge the role of MI5 in that situation? Does not that raise very serious questions for civil liberties in this country?
§ Mr. Baker
There is no row at all. I do not propose to depart from the long-standing practice of Governments of both parties not to comment on operational matters relating to the security service, but I am quite certain that Mrs. Rimington is the best person for the job, and she has my complete confidence in the charge of the Security Service. Naturally, we are continuing to ensure that the arrangements for countering the terrorist threat are as effective as possible. That is what the Government have always done and that is what we will continue to do.
§ Mr. Harry Cohen (Leyton)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Home Secretary said that he thought that Mrs. Stella Rimington was the best person for the job. Will he make it clear whether he meant the best person for the job as head of the Security Service or the best person for the job, in answer to the question of my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell), in taking over counter-terrorism?
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member must not raise a point of order and then put a question to the Home Secretary; that is not fair.
§ Mr. Baker
I expressed my confidence in Mrs. Rimington as the head of the security services.
No one can delude himself into believing that we will always succeed in catching all the terrorists—that will never be possible—but I do know that the effort is substantial, is sustained and is highly professional, and I invite the House to join me in thanking and congratulating all those engaged in it. Could I remind the House of some of their successes? Recent arrests have disrupted terrorist activities on the mainland and resulted in charges and the recovery of bomb-making equipment and weapons. The courage and vigilance of a police officer led to the discovery of bomb-making equipment in a garage in north London. Just recently, a bomb was successfully defused just 100 yds from this Chamber, in Parliament street. Photos and videos of wanted terrorists have been issued.
Another part of our campaign is the ban on direct broadcasts of representatives of proscribed organisations or those speaking in support of such organisations. I appreciate that that is not part of the order, but it is one of the weapons that we use to deal with terrorism. The Labour party is pledged to lifting that ban. It is a highly irresponsible policy. Such broadcasts can be deeply offensive to viewers and listeners, especially for those who are related to the victims of violence. Furthermore, terrorists and their supporters have in the past taken advantage of those appearances to deliver indirect threats to the public. Apologists for murder should not be given a platform to air their defence of evil.
§ Mr. Baker
No, I shall not give way to the hon. Gentleman.
Let me now refer to the prevention of terrorism Act itself. That provides essential powers to counter the terrorist threat. Without those powers, the police would be severely hampered in doing their job. In urging the House to support me in seeking the continuance of the Act for another year, I am pleased to have the backing of Lord Colville of Culross, who carried out the independent 692 review of the operation of the Act during 1991. I take this opportunity to express thanks, on behalf if the House, to Lord Colville for his report.
I should like to remind the House of the powers of the Act, why we need them and why it is absolute nonsense to say that they create anillusion of a campaign against terrorism.The first power is the power to proscribe in Great Britain organisations that are concerned in terrorism or with promoting or encouraging terrorism connected with the affairs of Northern Ireland. At present the IRA and the Irish National Liberation Army are proscribed. Without the Act, those organisations would be free to meet openly in Britain, recruit new members and raise funds as openly as other political parties. They could hold rallies and march through our streets. I believe that would be unacceptable, as I hope the House will agree.
In the past Opposition Members have expressed their doubts about the power of exclusion.
§ Mr. Roy Hattersley (Birmingham, Sparkbrook)
Before the Home Secretary leaves that part of the Bill, does he recall that a year ago we on the Opposition Benches said that we would gladly welcome the extension of the tougher measures laid down in the emergency provisions Act to England and Wales? Tougher measures would make it more difficult to raise funds for terrorist causes. Has the Home Secretary yet thought about whether he will accept the Opposition's suggestion that we should be tougher?
§ Mr. Baker
In view of the hon. Gentleman's question. I shall deal with terrorist finances now. The Government were the first in the world to introduce legislative measures against terrorist finances. Those measures have given the police an additional and invaluable investigative tool, which has enabled them to obtain information on not only the funds but the movements and activities of terrorists. Lord Colville repeated his criticisms of the Act in this year's review, but I believe that the existing provisions are broadly right. We have reviewed them carefully during the past year. We have examined the provisions of the 1989 Act, as we undertook to do, and we have identified some improvements. Those improvements now have the approval of the Association of Chief Police Officers and we shall introduce them at an early opportunity.
§ Mr. Hattersley
Could I have a straight answer to the simplest of questions? I reminded the Home Secretary that a year ago we asked for the tougher powers that already existed in Northern Ireland legislation to deal with funds that go to terrorist organisations. Is he prepared to move forward to tougher powers or is he not?
§ Mr. Baker
The right hon. Gentleman cannot have listened to what I said or to the reply that I gave a year ago. I dealt with the powers of the emergency provisions Act last year. They have been operating for only a short time in Northern Ireland. We are reviewing them. We think it unlikely that those powers will operate effectively in the United Kingdom. However, we have some improvements and we shall introduce them. I hope that I shall have the support of the right hon. Gentleman in that. We shall also introduce changes in the general legislation on money laundering and drug trafficking, because the interaction with that legislation is also important. I assure the right hon. Gentleman that this year we have already found that those powers prove effective. As I said, I am broadly content with their operation at present.
§ Mr. David Trimble (Upper Bann)
Perhaps I did not hear the Home Secretary aright. I understood him to say a moment ago that the additional powers in the emergency provisions Act to deal with terrorist finances were "unlikely to operate effectively in the United Kingdom". Does he wish to reconsider what he said? Was he saying that the powers in the Act are unlikely to operate effectively in Northern Ireland? If so, why are they there and why is not he considering amending them?
§ Sir John Wheeler (Westminster, North)
On the important point about the seizure of assets, will my right hon. Friend agree that the issue is more complicated than it seems if one considers it only from the fairly narrow straitjacket of the prevention of terrorism Acts in England and Wales? Does he agree that a wider extension of criminal justice legislation in England and Wales is necessary to enable the proceeds of serious crime to he seized, whatever the cause of the crime? Does my right hon. Friend agree that the difficulty is distinguishing between a supposedly terrorist activity and a straightforward criminal activity and understanding the intermesh between the two?
§ Mr. Baker
That is the very point that I made a moment ago. There is an interaction between the existing legislation on money laundering and drug trafficking and the prevention of terrorism Acts. We have identified certain improvements in the provisions of the prevention of terrorism Act and we have also identified changes which we want in the general legislation. Both will be introduced immediately after the general election.
On the power of exclusion—the point at which the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook interrupted me—the Act permits a person to be excluded from all or part of the United Kingdom. The purpose is to limit the areas where terrorists may carry out their activities. As I said last year, ideally it will be possible to charge such people and to bring them before the courts. In practice, however, that cannot always be done, as our information comes from sources that we cannot disclose without risking people's lives. The power of exclusion is a valuable one in limiting terrorists' spheres of operation. To remove it would be to remove an important part of our ability to protect the public, as I have illustrated in citing the example of O'Donnell.
I want to make it clear that decisions to exclude are not made lightly—I deal with each one—and the person excluded also has the right to make representations to an independent adviser. Lord Colville in his review of the Act reports that he cannot find anything to criticise in the way that decisions were reached. He further notes that the exercise of the power has been modest in 1991 and that the balance imparted by the advisers has shown its worth.
Now I come to the powers of arrest, examination and detention. The Act empowers the police to examine people at ports and airports to determine 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. All those cases are referred to me. None of those powers would exist but for the Act.
694 Judging by past performance, we will shortly hear from Labour Members that those powers are oppressive and unnecessary. I do not agree. Successive Home Secretaries since 1974 have not agreed. Only certain Opposition Members—including, I regret to say, the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook—now hold to that view. Those who do so simply misunderstand the Act. They fail to grasp the nature of terrorism and fail therefore to see what needs to be done.
Terrorism is an insidious threat. Terrorists have a ruthless commitment to their cause and a total disregard for the lives or safety of innocent people. We are dealing with fanatics who stop at nothing. We must respond to them with appropriate measures if we are to fulfil our obligations to the people of this country, who are entitled to be protected from men and women of that sort. I am convinced that those powers of arrest, examination and detention are essential parts of our battery of measures.
Let me anticipate one line of argument. I expect that it will be said that, because relatively few people are charged following detention, these powers are not needed. But that argument serves only to illustrate the misunderstanding of the situation. What these powers do, among other things, is to provide a sizeable deterrent to the movement of terrorists and of their materials. I am entirely satisfied from what I know that these powers do deter. They make life more difficult for terrorists. I am not prepared to remove deterrents from these people, and I do not think that Opposition Members should do so either.
I think that it is also relevant to remind the House that careful consideration is given to all applications for extensions of detention. Lord Colville acknowledges that diligence in his review and also notes that lengths of further detention were, in his words, "astutely fitted" to the stage which the police had reached in their investigations. I can therefore assure the House not only that are those powers necessary, but that they are used with all due care and attention to the rights of those detained.
May I turn now to the position of the Labour party and its attitude to the prevention of terrorism Act. It was a Labour Government who put the Act on the statute book in 1974, in the wake of a series of severe bombings. The powers of the Act were implemented by two Labour Home Secretaries, Roy Jenkins and the right hon. Member for Morley and Leeds, South (Mr. Rees). They were also exercised by Labour Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland and Scotland. In 1983, the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook decided to change Labour's policy and to vote against re-enactment of this Act. That was the end of the bipartisan approach. That has been Labour's policy for the past eight years.
The right hon. Gentleman has been loudly condemned by his former colleagues and none with more feeling than the distinguished former Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins, who said of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook in the debate in 1983:He is lucky that it becomes increasingly unlikely that he will ever become Home Secretary. If he did, he would be racked by a conflict between his genuine concern for public safety and the foolish commitments that are part of the games into which he has entered in opposition".—[0fficial Report, 7 March 1983; Vol. 38, c. 576.]What an indictment of the right hon. Gentleman that those words are as true today as they were nine years ago.
The criticism of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook —he is smirking—by his own party members does not stop 695 there. The former Northern Ireland Secretary, Roy Mason, speaking in the House of Lords—[Interruption.]Labour Members are sneering at his name, but he was a member of the Cabinet, of which the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook was also a member, which fulfilled this Act. He said: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.]With all the irresponsibility that comes from absence of experience and high office, the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook thinks that he knows better than his former colleagues who had to bear those grave and serious responsibilities.
The right hon. Gentleman should note that if, by using the Act, a Home Secretary had excluded only one terrorist who would otherwise have been engaged in acts of murder in this country, the Act would have been worth while. I should have thought the example of the O'Donnell case, which I cited earlier, would give even him pause to think.
§ Mr. Baker
I shall not give way as I am dealing with the views of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook.
Last year, the right hon. Gentleman, in the conclusion to his speech, recommended that there should be inter-party talks and I dare say that we shall have that stale, meaningless camouflage trotted out again today. It is pathetic that the Labour party is going to call for a committee to fight terrorism. One does not fight terrorism with agendas. One does not reduce terrorist activity with minutes. One does not deal with terrorists by composite resolutions. One does not do it by talking tough and acting soft. What the public want is the prevention of terrorism, not a convention of terrorism. While all that talk goes on, what will happen to the 91 people who are excluded under the Act at the moment? Presumably, they will all be allowed in.
The policy that is now strung round the neck of the Labour party on terrorism is the particular invention of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook. He persuaded his party to change its course and policy back in 1983. He knows that police forces want the Act retained with all its powers. The chief police officers of our country made that clear in their evidence to the Select Committee on Home Affairs and various other senior police officers have also made that clear in recent days. Yet the right hon. Gentleman persists in wanting to weaken the powers that exist. I would expect the Leader of the Opposition to take a personal interest in this policy, as he aspires to a post in which he would have responsibility for national security. He should decide the Labour party's policy and take that power away from the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook. The policy of the Labour party is hugely unpopular and it is irresponsible.
Over the years the right hon. Gentleman has demeaned himself by trying to find weasel words such as "inter-party talks" and "searching for a national consensus". I tell him 696 what the common purpose is. The common pupose is to fight terrorism with all the means at our disposal and with all the powers within this Act. That is what this country wants. That is what the country will get from this Government.
§ Mr. Roy Hattersley (Birmingham, Sparkbrook)
There was a moment 12 or 13 minutes into the right hon. Gentleman's speech when I thought that, for once, he was going to behave like a Home Secretary. That hope was dashed in the final five minutes of party conference sub-rhetoric.
I have to tell the Home Secretary straight away, although I wish to approach the subject with a more reasoned tone than he adopted, that we do not propose to take any lessons in dealing with terrorism from a Government who gave safe passage out of the country to the murderers of WPC Fletcher in order to avoid trouble with the Libyan Government. Nor do we propose to take any lessons on terrorism from a Home Secretary who presided over that matter when the two men most wanted for terrorism escaped from Brixton prison. He has not yet told the House how involved he was in the special branch farce leading to their escape.
The whole issue needs to be discussed in a far calmer way than the Home Secretary seems capable of these days. He behaved today as we have come to expect of him. He discussed the battle against terrorism in the language of an eve-of-poll rally and his last speech from the Dispatch Box has confirmed the reputation that he has established during years in this House—the cheapest Home Secretary this century.
I do not propose to reply in kind but to tell the Home Secretary that the record of the past 13 years shows that the Tory Government have been no more successful in their battle against terrorism than in their fight against crime. The shouting that we have heard today was intended to obscure failure. In government, the Labour party will fight terrorism with no less passion than the Government have shown but with more practical determination. Consequently, we shall have more practical success. I therefore propose to set out the practical changes that are needed.
§ Mr. Hattersley
I repeat the view that I expressed a year ago—indeed, it was less than a year ago because, for reasons that we can only guess, this debate has been brought forward: the fight against terrorism would be best conducted with all-party agreement about methods and objectives. The idea that all-party agreement requires committees seems to have been developed by the Minister of State, the right hon. Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon (Mr. Patten), yesterday.
§ Mr. Hattersley
If the Home Secretary is taking his lead from the Minister of State, no wonder he gets into so much trouble so often. Last week and again today, the Secretary of State rejected the idea of all-party agreement or an attempt at consensus because he is clearly looking for 697 single-party advantage. I must make it clear to him that, once the election is over, we shall renew the offer. We realise that all-party agreement is necessary if terrorism is to be defeated.
§ Mr. Hattersley
The hon. Gentleman terrifies me. That is why I am not giving way.
We realise that all-party agreement cannot be obtained by one side of the House—the Government—taking arbitrary decisions and expecting the other side of the House—the Opposition—to fall into line. If the Government want a common view on the subject, they must discuss what that common view should be. That will be our intention after the general election.
§ Mr. Hattersley
No. I must make some progress.
There is already complete agreement between the parties on three parts of the Act. Parts I and III of the Act should not cause contention between us. None of us likes proscribing political organisations, yet all of us agree that, in the present circumstances, proscription is undoubtedly necessary. The IRA has no legitimate existence in a democratic society and we wholly endorse the part of the Act that makes it clear that it has no legal or legitimate role.
We also agree that is essential to prohibit the raising or provision of funds to finance terrorism. In our view, parts I and III of the Act must remain. Indeed, I repeat the view that I expressed last year—tougher powers and harsher penalties should be imposed on those who assist in the raising of funds for terrorism or who provide funds for terrorists.
Last year, I asked the Home Secretary whether he would consider operating in England and Wales the special powers available under the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978. I believe that they should be extended to England and Wales, and I regret that the Home Secretary has not had the resolution to make that extension, which we would certainly have supported.
Part IV of the Act relates to arrest and detention, and requires more detailed examination. The subject needs to be examined against three principles. The first is the necessity to have within the criminal justice system special procedures that deal explicitly with the threat of terrorism. The second obligation is to accept that the special procedures must be consistent with the rule of law. The third obligation is to ensure that the special procedures are effective and obtain the results claimed of them.
Every authority—the Law Society, the Bar and the police—now says that one of the major obstacles in the fight against terrorism is the difficulty of obtaining convictions in terrorist trials, a subject with which the Home Secretary might have dealt when he considered the O'Donnell case. The Home Secretary was explicit in his self-congratulation—one of his great talents on having made an exclusion order against O'Donnell after he had been acquitted. How much better it would have been if O'Donnell had been convicted in this country.
§ Mr. Hattersley
The Law Society, the Bar and the police all specify that a major problem that must be overcome is the difficulty of obtaining convictions in terrorist cases. They unanimously agree that part IV of the prevention of terrorism Act does not assist in that process.
§ Mr. Nicholls
Before the right hon. Gentleman indulges in behaviour of that sort, he should look at some of the other Labour Front-Bench spokesmen.
The right hon. Gentleman's desire to see IRA terrorists convicted would carry a little more conviction if, every time one were convicted, one of his hon. Friends did not campaign to secure the terrorist's release.
§ Mr. Hattersley
For a number of reasons, that is one of the most disgraceful comments that I have ever heard in the House. I do not say that in defence of my hon. Friends, who can defend themselves, but on behalf of those men and women who were wrongfully convicted and were allowed out of prison only because of the campaigns of my right hon. and hon. Friends. For the hon. Member for Teignbridge (Mr. Nicholls) to make that charge is not simply an attack on Labour Members, but a suggestion that those men and women who were imprisoned for long periods and then released should not have been released. That is a disgraceful thing for him to say. I shall now give way to a more reasonable Member.
§ Mr. Alex Carlile (Montgomery)
I share the right hon. Gentleman's aspiration to achieve convictions in terrorist cases where guilt can be established by proper and civilised standards. However, I hope that he is not suggesting that we should reduce the standards of proof applied in the criminal courts of this country or the rules of evidence in terrorist cases. Does he not agree that, if the choice is between a potentially unfair conviction and an unfair exclusion order that leaves the subject at liberty, one has to choose the exclusion order every time?
§ Mr. Hattersley
Of course, I am not arguing for a reduction in the rules of evidence or the standards of procedure. Had I not given way to the hon. and learned Gentleman, he would have discovered that I am arguing for something different, perhaps quite the opposite.
Every authority—the Law Society, the Bar and the police—makes exactly the same point: part IV of the PTA does not assist in the process of obtaining convictions. The civil liberties arguments about how sections of that part work are overwhelming, but so is the practical argument that, if we are to improve the prospects of terrorists being convicted in British courts, it is essential to make some changes to that part.
I accept that a period of extended detention, even before charge, may be necessary; but the question is: how is that extension to be approved and how is the suspect to be treated during the period of the detention? That becomes particularly important when we recall that the suspect is arrested on reasonable suspicion alone; and doubly important when we realise that last year 153 persons—an extraordinary figure—were detained, yet only four of them were charged under the PTA.
In last year's report Lord Colville, to whom I offer my congratulations as the Home Secretary offered his, dealt at 699 length with extended detentions—extended up to the limit of seven days, extended not by judicial decision but by ministerial fiat. I do not doubt for a moment that the Home Secretary looked with great care and in person at each one of these orders, yet—this ought to concern a democratic House of Commons—is it right that a period of imprisonment can in effect be imposed by a Minister of the Crown, for that is what this provision amounts to?
I agree entirely with Lord Colville's general conclusion on the subject. He said last year:It is now perhaps irresistible that some new tribunal be set up to oversee these powers. It could draw on Scottish and Channel Island methodology.He called for a "bold new initiative". This was not said by some Back-Bench Members of the Labour party about whom the Home Secretary has nightmares, nor by some radical in a civil rights organisation: it was said by the noble peer invited by the Home Secretary to conduct an inquiry into his own procedures. And the noble peer called for a bold new initiative on the way in which detention orders are extended. I make it clear today that we will provide—
§ Ms. Clare Short (Birmingham, Ladywood)
Would my right hon. Friend like to add that this noble peer is also a former Tory Home Office Minister, yet he is making these criticisms of the Act?
§ Mr. Hattersley
All these things add up to a formidable biography which should encourage the Home Secretary to take the noble Lord's words seriously, to weigh them genuinely and to react to them sensibly.
The Home Secretary knows that by referring to the Scottish and Channel Island methodology Lord Colville was invoking a system that involves an independent—indeed, a quasi-judicial—authority to approve extended detentions. That is why the Scots, unlike the English, have not been arraigned before the European Court for the way in which they extend detention from 48 hours to seven days. It is why the Scots, unlike the English, are not in breach of article 5 of the convention on human rights.
It is true to say that Lord Colville does not believe that the judiciary should approve extended detentions, since he said that that is not consistent with our legal traditions. That is why he talks about a new tribunal, but I make no apology for saying that I believe that the tribunal should be judicial—ideally, a judge sitting in chambers so that he can approve the detention without any risk of leakage of security information. As the Home Secretary knows, that was the view of the previous Home Secretary, too. He discussed this reform with the judges who were unwilling, or felt themselves unable, to co-operate in that scheme. I have no doubt that, if pressed by a determined Government, they will accept the scheme, so that this breach of the European convention, this damage to the reputation of our legal system and this deterrent to obtaining convictions, will thus be removed.
§ Mr. Hattersley
Of course I do, which is why I said so five minutes ago. If the hon. Gentleman likes, I can repeat what I said. I accept that in special circumstances in the fight against terrorism extended detention may be 700 necessary, but I believe, with Lord Colville and unlike the Home Secretary, that there should be judicial review before there is an extension from 48 hours to seven days. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will now concentrate so that he will not have to ask me to repeat what I have said.
This leaves the question of how we treat the suspect while he is in detention or the subject of extended detention. I take at its face value the assertion of previous Home Secretaries that the object of detention is not to trawl for information—it is not a haphazard intelligence-gathering exercise. It is a genuine attempt, after detaining a man or woman on suspicion, to prevent an offence from being committed, or to prosecute and convict the man or woman for an offence that has been committed. That requires common sense as well as respect for the rights of the suspect during the process of interrogation.
The suspects of whom we speak are not protected by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. However, that is the protection, the safeguard, which the Home Secretary insists on claiming would protect them and prevent a recurrence of the miscarriages of justice which have sent so many innocent men and women to prison in the past 20 years.
If the Maguires, the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six were charged again today, they would not be charged under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, with all the safeguards that that involves, but under the PTA without any of those safeguards. It was making exactly that point that led the new chairman of the Criminal Bar Association to say on television last week that it was no wonder the courts would not convict in terrorist cases, when the normal safeguards of interrogation were not available during the period between arrest and trial.
§ Mr. Ivor Stanbrook (Orpington)
Perhaps I could help the right hon. Gentleman to make himself clear. He says that if the Birmingham Six were charged today they would be charged not under PACE but under the PTA. Charging is quite different from the arrest or holding of people in custody, which is done under the PTA. But the charge would be what it was—murder—and the criminal law would be used, not PACE.
§ Mr. Hattersley
The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right and he makes my point with a precision that I wish I had used. They would have been detained under the PTA. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for pointing up the argument that I was trying to address. As they would have been detained under the PTA, they would not have enjoyed any of the protection that would have been available to them under PACE. [Interruption.] If the Home Secretary wishes to argue with that contention, he will have to do so against all authority because that is undoubtedly the case. It is precisely because of that point that the chairman of the Criminal Bar Association said on television that it was not surprising that courts would not convict when detention did not carry with it safeguards governing rules of evidence that are common in the country. That is a tragically dangerous state of affairs and steps must be taken to remedy it.
I understand that it was in order to defeat that difficulty that the Home Secretary ordered the pilot scheme by which interviews conducted with PTA detainees in Liverpool and London are now being taped. I am surprised that the Home Secretary is arguing the point. I 701 have twice discussed the issue at length with the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis. He made it plain to me that he does not think that there should be any legislative change until the results of the pilot scheme are available. However, he puts the case for universal recording with such clarity that he needs a wider audience. I think that the Home Secretary has a copy of the letter that the commissioner sent to me. That is surprising, but I do not complain about it. As the Home Secretary will know from his oversight of my private correspondence the commissioner said:There is a strong argument that because interviews with all other suspects are recorded, the courts, juries and the public will see this as normal and accepted practice.The commissioner then commented on how some lawyers would behave and went on to state:it is all very well saying that the law exempts such cases, but it is the effect on the jury that must be of concern.I have made it plain, and I am happy to repeat it if the Home Secretary wants me to, that the commissioner went on to argue the opposite case and gave his view that no changes should be made until the results of the pilot scheme were announced. I could not have put the commissioner's view more clearly.
It is also suggested that some of the problem lies in Northern Ireland, and that the Home Secretary would act to provide PACE-style safeguards if he did not feel that that would prove detrimental to the position there. I hope that the Minister of State will deal with that point when he winds up the debate. We should not forget that, last year, Lord Colville told us that some members of the Northern Ireland judiciary were now pressing for the recording of interviews with suspects, and pressing for that to be done quickly. Let me make it clear that we shall introduce as many PACE safeguards as possible, and that the taping of interviews will be one of them. It is right in principle and necessary in practice, if convictions are to be obtained.
The third contentious area is, of course, part II, which deals with exclusion orders. Such orders have been described—not least by Sir Cyril Phillips, another of the distinguished gentlemen invited by the Home Secretary to conduct a review of the Act—as "internal exile". Sir Cyril, the first examiner of the Act, said that they should be abandoned, as their advantages weredifficult to demonstrate in a convincing way.In 1987 Lord Colville—I shall not give details of his impeccable pedigree—said that he believed that outright abolition of exclusion orders was the proper course. A year later, he said:I renew my recommendation that Part Two of the Act should not be renewed or replaced in the new Bill.Twice, the Home Secretary rejected the recommendation of his own adjudicator. In 1987, Lord Colville accepted —as was required of him—that the last word rested with the Home Secretary. This year, he has observed—rather gloomily, some would say—that, while the rules governing exclusion orders have been meticulously observed—and I do not doubt that—where renewal was concerned,It is not for me to argue otherwise.We shall accept Lord Colville's advice. We believe that exclusion orders are wrong in principle, and counterproductive in practice. It must surely be offensive to parts of the United Kingdom, such as Northern Ireland, to be treated like a dumping ground for terrorists from the mainland, and that certainly alienates law-abiding citizens who are caught unjustly by the provisions.
702 It is not only those who are excluded who are inconvenienced, temporarily imprisoned and, by implication, mortally insulted. Only 11 new exclusion orders were made last year—that is shown in table 9 of the statistics—but 10 times as many people were detained at ports and told that they were being considered for exclusion orders. I can think of nothing more likely to alienate the law-abiding Northern Ireland citizen from the process of law in this country than being treated in such a way.
It is, overwhelmingly, the question of exclusion orders that provides the illusion of activity; yet it may well be that, in the case that the Home Secretary chose to cite, the exclusion order did no more than transfer danger from one part of the United Kingdom to another—and, indeed, intensify the danger when the excluded man was returned to his colleagues, comrades and fellow conspirators. I want such people to be convicted, and they will not be convicted unless the prevention of terrorism Act is changed in such a way that the courts will respond to it in the manner that I believe even the Home Secretary hopes that they will.
In the time available to me, I have made two positive suggestions for change. I conclude as I began, by saying that those changes will come about; but I still believe that much would be gained in the fight against terrorism if they were agreed and supported by hon. Members on both sides of the House. Only the terrorist can secure anything approaching benefit from the kind of display that we saw from the Home Secretary, and from the suggestion that we are not resolute in our determination to beat terrorism. Although we may disagree about the ways in which it can be achieved, our common purpose is to drive the terrorist out of the United Kingdom once and for all.
§ Mr. Hattersley
No; I am finishing my speech now.
No one who has heard what the Labour party has to say on this subject could possibly interpret our view in the way in which the Home Secretary has chosen to interpret it today. The right hon. Gentleman will, of course, continue to do so between now and polling day, but that does not diminish us; it diminishes him. We shall go on saying what is right and necessary and when we are elected in six weeks' time we shall put that into operation.
§ Sir John Wheeler (Westminster, North)
It is always a pleasure to follow the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley). He is, if I may put it in my own words, a very distinguished parliamentary relic. What he has said about the measure is of very great importance. In the few moments that I have, I intend to touch on some of those issues. I am bound to say, however, that the right hon. Gentleman's speech lacked any potential for exciting intestinal commotions, due to its curious construction and the way in which he sat on the hedge when it came to some of these very complicated issues.
The right hon. Gentleman's reference in his opening remarks to the Libyan embassy incident of many years ago was, frankly, both shameful and unfortunate. His attempt to link my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary with the escape from Brixton prison was unworthy of him. I am sorry that he chose to introduce those remarks into the debate when there were serious questions to be considered, which he subsequently went on to discuss.
703 The difficulty for the House is that all of us on both sides, regardless of party, are united in the belief that we should prefer to do without this Act altogether. It is an exceptional Act to deal with the exceptional activity of terrorism. The very nature of the terrorist act requires measures to be available to those who have to fight terrorism in a practical way. The justification for these measures must be whether the police and the law enforcement agencies in Northern Ireland and in the rest of the United Kingdom think that the Act and its measures are necessary and desirable. My advice is that they do. They have said so to me on a number of occasions. As long as the police and the intelligence agencies make their case —that they require the provisions of this Act—it behoves the House to give them the support that they deserve.
§ Mr. Hind
Does my hon. Friend agree that the fact that we expect that the Labour party will vote against the order sends entirely the wrong message to those who are actively involved in terrorism, both on the mainland in the United Kingdom and in Northern Ireland and elsewhere—that in some way we are divided over this vital matter which affects the protection of our community not only in Britain but in Northern Ireland itself? Does my hon. Friend feel that this is a shame and that it should be rectified, and that on this occasion the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) and his supporters should think again?
§ Sir John Wheeler
My hon. Friend is right to make that point. If the suggestion is that we should repeal the Act and replace it with a committee of the House, which seems to be the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion, it would appear that, somehow or another, the institution of Parliament is not united behind the police in giving them what they say they require in order to maintain their prosecution of terrorism.
§ Mr. Hattersley
I must let the hon. Gentleman into a secret. The point that he makes about a committee of the House is a simple absurdity. From time to time Ministers of the Crown, even as illustrious as the Secretary of State for the Home Department, ask their opposite numbers to discuss with them matters that they believe to be in the national interest. I am happy for the Home Secretary to make public every occasion that he has made that request to me. What I am saying is that this is one of the occasions when a similar technique should be operated. The idea of a committee is an invention of the Minister of State and by definition, therefore, is trivial.
§ Sir John Wheeler
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his intervention. He makes his position clear. If, as I understand it, he implies that there should be an occasional meeting of right hon. Members who are members of Her Majesty's Privy Council to discuss the operation of the Act, or how it should be amended, or what further additions should be made to it, I have to point out to him that that is what happens today and that it has prevailed for many years.
§ Sir John Wheeler
It is perfectly possible for Privy Councillors to have discussions of the kind that he suggests without there being a vote against the Act, or a 704 repeal of the Act, because there would flow from such discussions any changes that were thought to be desirable. As I have already said, however, the substantive reason for retaining the Act on the statute book is that the police and the law enforcement agencies believe it to be essential. Are we to go against the overwhelming weight of professional advice when the incidence of terrorism prevails in the United Kingdom as well as in Northern Ireland?
§ Sir John Wheeler
Perhaps my hon. Friend will allow me to finish this point.
Statistical information relating to the operation of the Act provides evidence that we are also dealing with a rising tide of international terrorism, which is also caught and covered by the provisions of the Act.
§ Sir Anthony Durant
Does not my hon. Friend find it surprising that the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) did not answer the Home Secretary's question about Lord Mason and Lord Jenkins, both of whom are distinguished members of his party, who support the Act?
§ Sir John Wheeler
My hon. Friend is right. Two distinguished Privy Councillors have expressed a view. Whether there would be any further purpose, therefore, in a wider gathering of Privy Councillors to cogitate on the progress of the Act seems to me to be doubtful. It sounds to me very much like a case of avoiding the principle of the issue. There are some in the Labour party who are resolutely opposed to the Act and who intend to vote against its continuance. I understand the difficulty that the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook faces in that context.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to the exclusion orders. The statistics show that there have been few such orders. They can be subject to independent review by the three adjudicators, the so-called wise men. Provision has been made for that. Adjudicators are thought to be desirable. They are used only in extreme cases and remain a valuable tool.
The right hon. Gentleman also touched on the tape recording of interviews and, allied to that, the video recording of interviews.
§ Sir John Wheeler
Perhaps the hon. Lady will allow me to develop this point, and then I shall give way.
Of course, the tape recording of interviews is a thoroughly desirable objective, with which I have considerable sympathy, as the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis set out in his letter to the right hon. Gentleman and as he has said to me in conversation. The difficulty, however, if there are tape recordings or video recordings of interviews with terrorist suspects, is whether they subsequently become available to the courts and thus come under public scrutiny and put in jeopardy the lives of people who are fighting terrorism, or the lives of would-be informants, or the lives of the individuals themselves. The behaviour of suspects during interviews and the statements that suspects may make in private to the police and other officers are often significant and helpful in the combating of terrorism. That is the danger—terrorism is exceptional and cannot be treated in the same way as fraud, auto-crime or burglary.
§ Ms. Short
May I take the hon. Gentleman back to the question of exclusion orders? It seems that the logic of exclusion orders is to remove from Britain people who are thought to be dangerous and who might be involved in killing people for political purposes and to send them to Northern Ireland where the network of those who kill for political purposes is more powerful. Those people are, therefore, more likely to kill, so the logic is that life in Northern Ireland is less important and less valuable than life in Britain. That is outrageous. Our laws should seek to convict those believed to be involved in terrorism rather than to dump them in Northern Ireland.
§ Sir John Wheeler
I am grateful to the hon. Lady because she raises issues to which the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook referred. As she must know, herein lies the difficulty of obtaining convictions for criminal offences committed by persons who are called terrorists—there is no such thing as a crime of terrorism. A person must be arraigned before a jury in England or Wales and charged with a criminal offence. Evidence must be obtained and presented to the jury, which must be able, without any qualification, to convict on that evidence.
As the hon. Lady will know, it is very difficult to obtain that information in the case of terrorists. One reason why it is difficult is that some information that comes into the possession of the police and others cannot be made public in the court room without putting in jeopardy other anti-terrorist operations. These are the difficulties which the House, the police and the judicial system suffer. In Northern Ireland one-judge Diplock courts must operate because of the threat that terrorists make to would-be jurors. We regret that, but we must face reality.
The hon. Lady also said that it was wrong for people excluded from England, Wales and Scotland to be returned to Northern Ireland. But if they hail from Northern Ireland they must go back to the Province if that is where their home is. She then said that such people could be a further threat to the citizens of Northern Ireland. Some hon. Members may make the case—and I have heard some do so to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland—for selective internment so that such people do not pose a threat to the citizens of Northern Ireland. I shall not make that case—I leave it to others who may choose to do so—but that is the implication of the hon. Lady's intervention.
§ Mr. Andrew Hunter (Basingstoke)
Does not it strengthen my hon. Friend's argument to recall that, from time to time, the IRA has taken on the additional dimension of a mainland campaign and that exclusion orders can therefore be seen as a specific weapon to combat that dimension of IRA activity?
§ Sir John Wheeler
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We know that terrorists have operated on the continent of Europe and the issues that we face are very complicated.
The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook considered the report by Lord Colville of Culross. I have also read that report and I agree with the right hon. Gentleman and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary that it is a thorough review and that we should be grateful to Lord Colville for the independence and objectivity of mind that he brought to it.
The problem is that in a democracy, while we may review the issue, that review does not necessarily produce the evidence for abandoning the provisions of the Act. I 706 continue to support the Act's substantial provisions, including that to proscribe terrorist organisations. It would be inconceivable for persons in England to parade through the streets seeking to raise funds for or to promote a terrorist cause in the aftermath of some terrible incident that had been seen on the nation's television screens and for there to be no way of proscribing that activity. There would be considerable outrage among people, so it is essential that the proscribing provision should remain part of the Act.
The power to arrest and to detain people for up to 48 hours and for extensions thereof under the authority of the Secretary of State is also essential. Examination of the statistics shows that the Secretary of State's authorisation is sparingly given in a limited number of cases, but the fact that it exists and that officials must convince the Secretary of State of the necessity to allow an extension is a reasonable balance of rights, and it is vital that the power remains in the Act.
Another essential power is that of controlling the movements of passengers into and out of the United Kingdom. In the coming years, the issue of the removal of internal frontiers within the Community will make that provision all the more important. Police agencies advise that without that power to control the movement of certain parties into and out of the United Kingdom they would be in serious jeopardy. We must continue to review matters in the light of developments within the Community.
The Bill remains an important part—although not the whole—of our fight against terrorism, whether it originates within the United Kingdom or externally. Of the 121 detentions in 1991, 79 per cent. were in connection with Northern Irish terrorism, but it is significant that 32 detentions in 1991 were in connection with international terrorism, a problem which is increasing within the European Community and the world in general. On that basis alone, it is essential that the provision to control movement into and out of the United Kingdom is available to the police and other authorities to enable them to continue the fight for liberty and democracy on behalf of the overwhelming majority of ordinary people in this country.
§ Ms. Clare Short (Birmingham, Ladywood)
I feel enormous disrespect for the Home Secretary's attempt today to use the grave and terrible problem of violence in Northern Ireland for cheap party-political purposes. How low will the Government stoop? The issue of violence in Northern Ireland is of enormous importance and is one of the gravest with which the House must deal. We are talking about life or death for large and, sadly, at the moment increasing numbers of people.
One would expect the House to rise to the seriousness of the challenge and to discuss the problem with great sincerity and thoroughness. However, the Home Secretary gave the lead and, in their interventions, members of the Tory party tried merely to play games because they think that they can score points which will help them in the forthcoming general election.
As has been mentioned, the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1974 was introduced by a Labour Government in the immediate aftermath of the Birmingham pub bombings when there was an atomsphere of enormous anger—even 707 hysteria—in the country and in the House. There was also enormous fear at the the Home Office that the House would push through the reintroduction of capital punishment.
At that time I was working in the Home Office as a private secretary to one of its Ministers of State. Roy Jenkins' fear was very great and the Prevention of Terrorism Act was cobbled together very rapidly. I sat in the Box and listened on the night it was debated. Roy Jenkins had asked Brian Walden—a former Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham, Ladywood who has admitted to me that he can always argue any case—to speak against the reintroduction of capital punishment. He made a brilliant speech in the context of a powerful and overwhelming fear in the Home Office.
§ Mr. Nicholls
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for an ex-civil servant, who is now a Member of the House, to talk about what went on—which presumably includes advice to Ministers—during the time when she was a civil servant? I have never heard anything like that in my life.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean)
It is not a matter for the Chair. It is the responsibility of the hon. Lady.
§ Ms. Short
That is absolutely right, Mr. Deputy Speaker: it is my responsibility. As I believe that the matter is of such importance and that it is a matter of life or death for people in Northern Ireland, it is important to share that experience with the House. It may elevate the tone of the debate and enable serious discussion about the merits or demerits of the Act. There is nothing improper and there is nothing that the public should not know. We have even been told this weekend that the Prime Minister may suddenly be in favour of a freedom of information Act. If we had such an Act, everyone in the world would be able to see the documentation to which I am referring.
I have described the mood and the fear. The Bill was put together very rapidly. I discussed whether it would have any merit with the man who put it together. He agreed that its main purpose was to prevent the restoration of capital punishment. Thank heavens that that was done otherwise the six men who spent all those years in prison for the Birmingham pub bombing would be dead instead of having been released after suffering that long deprivation of liberty. The people who were convicted of the Guildford bombings would be dead if the Tory party had had its way that night. The poor, wretched man whom the previous Tory Home Secretary so badly failed to defend and who was falsely convicted of the murder of a young girl would also be dead. I have described the purpose of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which prevented something much worse that night.
It is the duty of any serious people who sit in the House to look at the Act's record to see whether it achieves anything and whether it prevents terrorism. Have we reached the point at which calling the legislation the "Prevention of Terrorism" Act means that it can never be scrutinised? As it has its purpose in its title, does that mean that anyone who says that the Act may not be effective or that it may need changing will instantly be accused of being soft on terrorism? That is what is going on in the House today and it is beneath contempt.
§ Mr. Barry Porter (Wirral, South)
I agree entirely with the hon. Lady that this matter should be debated rationally. I point out to her that if the purpose of the Act was to avoid the reintroduction of capital punishment, it could have been repealed quickly once the hoo-hah had died down; it was not.
After the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and the Maguires, matters have changed. I am especially concerned about the way in which the Act deals with people who are in detention, which could be improved in practice. There is nothing wrong with discussing that; indeed, it is entirely right that we should discuss that. However, if the Labour party insists on voting against the Act tonight, people over there will not see it like that. They will see it as a sign of division and weakness in the House. I will discuss the Act with the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) or with any Labour Members as long as they say that they agree that the purpose of the Act is to defeat terrorism. The Act is one part of the armoury, so let us keep it. However, it can and should be improved.
§ Ms. Short
I give the hon. Gentleman credit for being big enough to say—which is more than any other Conservative Members have—that the Act could be improved in the provisions dealing with the way in which people are detained, which led to the mistreatment of the Birmingham Six. We should learn from that and modify the powers of detention. However, the hon. Gentleman then went on to play the Government's game.
All hon. Members know that the Labour party wants to prevent and end violence in Northern Ireland as much as any Conservative Member does. Any serious politician knows that to be the truth. Yet what are Tory Members doing today? They are taunting us and trying to pretend that Labour is soft on terrorism. If anything is sending a confused message to Northern Ireland it is that silly, crass party political game which the Tory party is playing today. It is not any argument that Labour is putting forward.
Our party introduced the Act, so we feel responsible for it. We have looked at its record and we know that vast numbers of people have been detained under it, but then never charged. We, especially those of us who, like me, are of Irish origin and are in contact with people of Irish origin in this country, know that the 8 million people of Irish descent in Britain are angry with, alienated by and fearful of the Act. They are fearful that completely innocent people will be stopped and detained.
Anyone who is serious about bringing terrorism to an end knows that we must foster a great sense of trust in the security services and belief in the justice of the criminal justice system so that people will pass on information and have confidence in the system. Mao said that terrorists were the fish who swim in the sea of the public's attitudes and he spoke about the public's alienation from the system. It is overwhelmingly the case that people of Irish origin in Britain hate violence in Northern Ireland. They feel it more deeply than most English people do because they are aware of the involvement and history of their own people in that struggle. I feel it deeply myself. Most hon. Members know that my father came from Northern Ireland. It is an issue of great concern to us.
There is no doubt that the Act alienates people who hate terrorism and who hate the IRA from our criminal justice system generally and from the police force. They feel that they are in danger of being wrongly detained 709 when they visit Ireland. The Act has had an effect opposite to the effect that the title claims. It helps to create an atmosphere of alienation from a sense of confidence in the security services in Britain. Terrorist organisations want to engender such an atmosphere. That is our main and overwhelming criticism of the Act, and it is a serious criticism. I have described the true feeling among the Irish community and I wish that the Tory party would take that seriously.
The level of support in Northern Ireland for the men of violence is declining rapidly. Hon. Members may remember that the IRA went out of existence in the 1960s when it fizzled out after the border campaign. There was no IRA in Northern Ireland. We want to learn from that and to achieve that again. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, who is here today, knows that many of us have respect for his approach to questions in Northern Ireland. The way to achieve our objective is for people in Northern Ireland and Irish people in Britain to know that Britain behaves justly in Northern Ireland and that it is against all discrimination, that the criminal justice system is fair, that people will be treated properly, that change can be achieved democratically, and that violence is out of order and should never be supported or applauded.
We can make greater progress. My own party's approach, both generally in its policy for Northern Ireland of working for the reunification of Ireland, but with the consent of the majority of people in the country, and specifically in advocating the repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and of retaining only the powers necessary effectively to catch terrorists, will speed the day when violence will end in Northern Ireland. The Tory party's attitude today is deeply shameful. Playing games with the question shows that it has no standards at all in this pre-election period.
§ 5.6 pm
§ Rev. Ian Paisley (Antrim, North)
The hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) said that the IRA went out of existence. We are not dealing now with the Official IRA; we are dealing with the Provisional IRA. The Provisional IRA has never been out of existence since it began. We are dealing with a different organisation altogether and with something which has been spawned in the recent violence and was helped forward by certain parties in the Irish Republic. We are dealing with a campaign of violence which was never paralleled in Northern Ireland by the stickies, as the Official WA is called. The House should be clear about what we are up against.
The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) said that the only way to defeat terrorism is by all-party agreement in the House. I challenge that. I sat in the House when the legislation went through. I have been in the House for 22 years and there has been a wide consensus between Labour and Conservative Governments about how they should deal with terrorism in Northern Ireland. Have they defeated terrorism in Northern Ireland? There has been agreement in the House, but it has not defeated terrorism in Northern Ireland. We should not be looking at the sad and tragic state of Ulster today if terrorism had been defeated because of consensus in the House.
There is only one thing that will defeat terrorism. The House does not like to hear it and never did like to hear it. 710 Terrorism will be defeated not by consensus or agreement in this House but when the ruling Government of the time put it down with courage and resolution. Terrorism can be destroyed only when those who bear responsibility make the necessary effort and ask the House for the necessary powers to defeat it.
The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook and others have argued that there is great difficulty in getting terrorist convictions in the courts. If that is so, what happens when one lets a person like O'Donnell out? I do not criticise the jury in the O'Donnell trial; no doubt they were honest people trying to reach an honest decision. There were a lot of pressures, arising from the cases of the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four, at the time when the jury was trying to reach a decision. With all the eloquence of Irish blarney, O'Donnell completely bluffed that jury. He talked about his belief in God. He talked about his family and said that he was brought up to oppose violence.
I have some knowledge of Irish republicanism and of the way in which Irish republicans act. They can bluff, and that jury was bluffed. Many of them said, "This is a decent fellow who has got into difficulties. We must decide in his favour."
What is one to do with an O'Donnell—or with a multitude of O'Donnells—if one cannot get a conviction in a court of law? What can one do, other than use the exclusion order? The only option is to return such people. That is the argument that the Opposition must face. I do not like Northern Ireland being a dumping ground for terrorists, but I would rather limit the terrorists to certain places. I should have thought that, after what happened in London, O'Donnell's effectiveness in England would be over, and that he would probably have come back to Northern Ireland anyway. The point is that he was arrested in Northern Ireland and the police could not get evidence to charge him and put him to a court hearing. We know what happened thereafter.
§ Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way and pay tribute to him, because he profoundly believes what he says. Many of us believe differently, however, and if there is one thing about the prevention of terrorism Act that stands out a mile it is that it does not prevent terrorism. In fact, terrorism is worse now than it has practically ever been. I was here on the night when the bombs went off. There was no bluffing about what happened to the Guildford Four, the Birmingham Six, the Maguires and others. Not only does the Act not prevent terrorism; it does terrible things to people and thus encourages terrorism.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
I do not think that the Act is responsible for what happens in the courts after a terrorist is charged. That is a matter for the courts. There can be miscarriages of justice in the best possible society. That happens, as we saw recently in another case that had nothing to do with terrorism. My point is that if one argues, first, that it is difficult to get a terrorist conviction in court and, secondly, that one cannot do anything with the people when they are let out, internment is the only option. That is the only way to take them out of society.
The Home Secretary seemed to think that the fact that those who support terrorism have been banned from speaking on radio or television had been helpful. On our television and radio, that ban has become a farce, because the media use actors to play the Gerry Adamses of this 711 world. Broadcasters say, "You cannot hear these people because of legislation," but then get an actor to repeat what they have said. That is the height of folly. Moreover, when an election comes, the ban is dropped and these people are suddenly respectable citizens who can fight the election and get whatever coverage the media will give them. That is a travesty and an insult to those dedicated to fighting and defeating terrorism.
We have heard it said that it would be outrageous if marches could be organised after an atrocity—that ordinary people would be outraged. At present, however, Sinn Fein, which is not banned, can organise such marches. That is what we are up against. Even in Glasgow, a march was organised contrary to the wishes of many people in the city. It went ahead in spite of efforts to prevent it and people were, indeed, outraged. I believe—and I remind the Home Secretary that I raised this matter with him last year—that if one is going to ban the IRA, one should ban Sinn Fein, because it is part of the IRA, and the police say that it is part of the IRA.
The leaders of the republicans defend violence. Someone whose relations have been murdered by the IRA may find himself sitting in a council chamber while IRA men posing as Sinn Fein members oppose the council's decision to pass a resolution of condolence. Why should people be forced into such circumstances?
§ Mr. Terry Dicks (Hayes and Harlington)
Would the hon. Gentleman be surprised to learn that, for the past four years, my political opponent in the forthcoming election has been organising a platform of Sinn Fein speakers to make a case on the escalating violence in Northern Ireland, because, he says, they have been denied their right to speak on the radio in Northern Ireland?
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
People who say that should look to the south of Ireland. It was Conor Cruise O'Brien who first introduced the restrictions against the IRA in the south of Ireland. Those restrictions came not from this Government or from this side of the water but from the south of Ireland.
The Government must grasp the nettle. We cannot have IRA men, making the very same statements that IRA men would, wearing the respectable robe of Sinn Fein, as it were. Even in Dublin, the last Ardeis of the IRA was banned from the Mansion house. When asked why, the people said, "Because they support violence." Sinn Fein must be dealt with.
It would be sad if we sent to the people of Northern Ireland—who do not know the ins and outs of what we are discussing, but who know that a prevention of terrorism Act is being discussed—the wrong message. It would be a tragedy if they got the message that the House was divided rather than united on this issue. I know the different arguments, and people are entitled to their views, but we must consider the way in which these matters are perceived in our country, which has its back to the wall.
§ Mr. David Trimble (Upper Bann)
The Home Secretary referred to his broadcasting ban, which the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) described as a farce. It is a farce because, often, what happens in practice is that someone else says the words of the banned spokesman 712 while the pictures of the banned spokesman are seen. That is sometimes done so skilfully that it is almost impossible to tell whether one is dealing with the actual person who is speaking. In that way, the ban has been rendered utterly ineffective. Sometimes, people who should be covered by the ban can get round it by making comments that are regarded as not falling within the ban. As the hon. Member for Antrim, North said, that is different from the practice in the Republic of Ireland which, in that respect, is much superior to the practice in the United Kindom.
The terms of the ban in the Republic are the same as in the United Kingdom. In other words, the direction given to the broadcasting authorities in the United Kingdom is in the same words as the legislation in the Irish Republic. The difference arises because a Home Office official provided the broadcasting authorities with guidance in a letter which created two loopholes. Exactly the same wording is interpreted differently in the Republic of Ireland. As the hon. Member for Antrim, North said, the practice in the Republic is superior. To bring the practice in the United Kingdom into line with the practice in the Republic, the guidance provided by the Home Office official—presumably with ministerial support—should be withdrawn. The ban should be operated in exactly the same way in the United Kingdom as it is operated in the Republic.
§ Mr. Eddie McGrady (South Down)
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that another practical effect of the broadcasting ban is that statements can be made by proscribed organisations without any challenge? That prevents the dialogue of debate whereby the ethics and politics of those who support violence can be rebutted in public by those who are opposed to that means of achieving political objectives. That is a much more serious effect of the ban than the facade of caricatures.
§ Mr. Trimble
I am sorry to have to disagree about that. I have heard it argued that the ban prevents the spokesmen and apologists for the terrorists from being subjected to vigorous cross-examination. There was no evidence of that before the ban. Broadcasters and journalists were singularly lacking in that regard and we know the reason for that: they were scared about what would happen. If the hon. Member for South Down (Mr. McGrady) is suggesting that other political representatives who compete for support with the terrorists would be more vigorous in their attacks on them, that might be a side effect and benefit. However, that is a different matter.
The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) explained the Labour party's position in respect of the legislation. Although I may be wrong, he seemed to suggest that Labour supported the prevention of terrorism legislation with just three qualifications. He said that Labour supported parts I and III and the principle of part IV; but that he was worried about the safeguards on periods of detention. He said that he was worried about what we might call the Brogan point which relates to how extension is to be authorised. The only other point that he criticised was that in respect of exclusion orders.
If the reservations of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook with regard to the prevention of terrorism Act are limited to those points, which are comparatively minor points in respect of the legislation as a whole, I would have some sympathy with two of his three points. However, I 713 will have no difficulty in supporting the order if there is a Division. I hope that that lead will be given if there is a Division because we would give the wrong message to the country and to the terrorists if there is a Division on the issue in the House and it was revealed that there was substantial opposition to the fight against terrorism.
I support the legislation. Like other hon. Members, I congratulate Lord Colville on his report which is particularly good. However, a general three-hour debate in the House is not an adequate response to the report. I hope that there will be other ways in which parliamentary supervision of the legislation can be enhanced rather than us simply having this brief annual debate. This debate is not an adequate response, safeguard or oversight of such legislation and I hope that we can develop our procedures.
I want to draw attention to the passage in Lord Colville's report that deals with allegations of assault during detention. Of course the police are not all angels and occasionally mistakes are made and officers may not behave as they should. One must admit that occasionally ill treatment has occurred. However, the record shows that such lapses are extremely rare. On the other hand, there are many complaints and the number of complaints is increasing. However, those complaints are very rarely substantiated. The reason for that is that the complaints are made largely to waste police time; to tie up as many police officers as possible in investigating complaints; to inhibit police officers in carrying out their duties. The police know that if they carry out their duties comprehensively or with any enthusiasm or application, complaints will be made. Complaints are made also to muddy the waters by giving a false impression of the way in which the police forces operate.
In his report Lord Colville gives careful consideration to that matter. He shows that documentary evidence to rebut accusations of ill treatment is or could easily be available and could be produced in court if cases of people complaining of ill treatment were fought. I echo Lord Colville's criticism when he says that there appears to be a policy of settling cases when people have brought civil actions against police authorities. That is a wholly bad practice and I hope that it is discontinued.
I hope that a message from the Government will go out to the relevant departments that, when people bring actions against the police alleging ill treatment while in detention, those cases will be fought in open court and the evidence will be produced so that the cases can be resolved properly. The present situation in which complainants are bought off by paying them damages, often in completely unmeritorious cases, does not work and it creates an impression of guilt. As Lord Colville states in his report in his reference to a meeting of the United Nations committee against torture, that committee was given a false impression. Dubious bodies like the Committee on the Administration of Justice in Northern Ireland can use such material to blacken the security forces. Where actions are brought by people who have been interrogated and allege ill treatment, it is important that such cases are fought in open court so that the truth can be established instead of people being allowed to blacken the security forces.
I said earlier that I have some reservations about the legislation. As hon. Members are probably aware, our reservations relate particularly to exclusion orders.I am quite sure that exclusion orders, as they operate under the 714 legislation, are wrong in principle. They send the wrong message. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Ls present today—
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. John Patten)
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has been here throughout the debate.
§ Mr. Trimble
The Secretary of State said recently in Newcastle upon Tyne:The strongest message that we can send from this part of the United Kingdom to our fellow citizens in Northern Ireland is that we are in it together, that we shall stand together to defeat terrorism, and nothing will divide us"—unless, of course, we happen to find a terrorist in England who comes from Northern Ireland because we will not then stand together. The terrorist will be dumped back with us in Northern Ireland. In practice, exclusion orders undermine what would be the admirable sentiment behind the Secretary of State's words. In this respect, it does not matter so much what one says; what one does is what matters and that disproves the sentiment that was uttered.
Reference has been made to exclusion orders as a form of internal exile. That is not accurate. Under exclusion orders, a person is sent back to the area from which he came. We might consider a real form of internal exile. When the Italians deal with organisations like the Mafia, they have powers of internal exile. People are not exiled to their homes, but elsewhere, perhaps hundreds of miles away from their homes to a place where they are cut off from the organisations of which they are a part and they are kept under police supervision. Ministers might like to consider that form of internal exile. It would be preferable to the so-called internal exile that operates at the moment.
The matter of exclusion orders brings us to the O'Donnell case. The Home Secretary congratulated himself on deporting that gentleman to Northern Ireland after he had been acquitted. We now know, of course, that Mr. O'Donnell became or was a leading member of the east Tyrone brigade of the IRA and was later very active in the killings and bombings that took place in that area. Reference to the O'Donnell case brings up some significant points that should be made.
The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook said that the Opposition wanted not exclusion but terrorists to be convicted. I think that I am right in saying that Mr. O'Donnell exercised his so-called right to silence throughout the time he was in custody, remained silent when being questioned, gave the police no indication of what line of defence he would take until the case came up for trial, and then sprang his defence which the jury unfortunately believed. Would the jury have believed that defence had the facts with regard to the accused's behaviour while in custody been available to them?
Only a few years ago, the Government introduced modifications to the so-called right to silence with regard to Northern Ireland. Those modifications, as the Government know, were quite slight. They have not had a dramatic impact; they are modest but useful improvements in the law. If those modest but useful improvements had been available in the O'Donnell case, the jury might have convicted. That case draws attention to the need to bring the law in Great Britain into line with the law in Northern Ireland on that point.
715 Another aspect in which that should be done—it is highlighted on pages 15 to 16 of the report—is what Lord Colville calls the "legislative shambles" of the measures dealing with terrorist finances. As Lord Colville says:There is much need for a comprehensive round of reciprocal powers and duties. The 'legislative shambles' was only enhanced by the EPA's 1991.He goes on to state:It may be that these provisions should then be combined with the financial parts of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and its Northern Irish equivalent: there is still nothing of that sort available in Scotland.In so far as the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook argued for uniform provisions throughout the United Kingdom, I fully agree with him. I was surprised that the Home Secretary suggested that the provisions would not work in Great Britain. I should be very interested if any reason can be given showing why they would not work.
Comprehensive uniform provision for the whole United Kingdom should not be limited simply to terrorist finances but should cover the whole range of anti-terrorist legislation. As has been said before, there is a clear need for a single United Kingdom-wide anti-terrorist Act which covers the whole range, rather than some powers being available in Northern Ireland, some powers available in Great Britain and not an exact match between the two. One aspect in which the mismatch is obvious concerns the lists of proscribed organisations. Only two are proscribed in Great Britain, but eight are proscribed in Northern Ireland. That is crazy and it underlines the need for comprehensive United Kingdom-wide legislation. Lord Colville refers to another need. Page 2 of his report states:At present it is unclear what will happen after next January. It is no good relegating this issue…I find it extremely disturbing that there is so much uncertainty on the ground. Nobody now supposes that terrorists will book themselves on to obvious flights; for the Northern Irish from the Island to GB Ports; for the international from far afield to major international airports. Who thinks they are so naive? Experience shows the reverse.I remain of the opinion that the idea of 'designation' of air and seaports, founded solely on a sufficient traffic within the Common Travel Area, is misconceived…What will happen next year about frontier controls in Great Britain depends entirely on the extent of a police presence if Customs and Immigration withdraw, in part at least. Parliament might also wish to contemplate the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, on which I have commented before.Lord Colville is referring to what will happen in the context of what we call 1992 and the European Community—what will happen to the powers with regard to movement into the United Kingdom as a whole.
Many of the prevention of terrorism provisions deal with the movement of people between Northern Ireland or the island of Ireland and Great Britain. We need more comprehensive provisions dealing with movement into and out of the United Kingdom as a whole. We must have provisions that operate not just at airports and ports on either side of the Irish sea but at airports and ports facing the continent. Lord Colville suggests that, on occasions, instead of moving directly from the island of Ireland to Great Britain, terrorists move indirectly through continental staging posts and thus are not caught by the legislation. We need more comprehensive provisions that will work despite what the European Community does on movement within the EC as a result of 1992. We might also, as Lord Colville says, 716contemplate the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic".That border remains, as many security force personnel have said, a resource for terrorists, and the sooner that it is subject to detailed control, the better.
§ Mr. Ivor Stanbrook (Orpington)
I hate the party game. I resent the idea that everything said by the Opposition is wrong, bad, unworthy and so on and that everything said by one's own party is right and virtuous. I always look for the good points in the Labour party's policy, realising that Labour Members sometimes—in my opinion, anyway—get it right and sometimes have constructive points to make about legislation. However, on this issue, there is absolutely no excuse at all for their policy. It is absolutely contemptible.
Labour Members are assisting the enemies of this country under the guise of the protection of civil liberties, but they know that the people whom they are assisting come from a minority of people within the United Kingdom who are engaged in violence against the majority because they cannot get their own way through the ballot box. So they have chosen to set aside the ballot box and ordinary civilised methods of persuasion and use violence instead. Labour Members know very well that it is out of the appeasement of Irish republicanism, which has infiltrated their own ranks, that they do not support restrictions on terrorists.
If Labour Members cannot see the connection between those two points—they are continually suggesting that there is no connection— they must be fools. However, Labour Members' attitude to this subject is one in respect of which they cannot be accused of folly, because they are not fools. They know very well what they are doing. They know the effect that it has on the country, especially on our enemies—on Irish republicans who take to violence. They know that it is interpreted as encouragement, not opposition. Because they appease the men of violence, they share the same objective—a united Ireland which would involve the overcoming of British people in Northern Ireland.
Opposition Front-Bench Members are very sensitive about this matter. Individually, they are decent and honourable people. That is why they are so sensitive about it. They know very well that their motive is unworthy. The motive of the Labour party and its policy is unworthy. It is directed against the interests of the people of this country generally; it is directed against the British nation. Yet Labour Members pursue it. Why is that? It is for unworthy motives.
The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) protests that the reason why Labour Members will not support the very legislation that they themselves brought in is some defect which has suddenly appeared and which is contrary to civil liberties in this country. We must examine their specific points of complaint. For example, who has the right to agree and authorise an extended period of interview of suspects? I can see that there is a strong argument in principle for saying that that right should be conferred on some sort of judicial authority. That point is certainly debatable and arguable. But it is no justification for voting against the very measure that is directed against terrorism in Britain. 717 That argument is spurious; it is bogus; it is unworthy of the intelligence of Members of Parliament who make it; it is petty. Yet that is how Labour Members argue.
§ Mr. Stanbrook
The name Colville has just been mentioned. Of course, Colville is in favour of the continuation of the order in principle and in general. He suggests intelligent, sensible and reasonable modifications. It would certainly be open to the Labour party to propose such modifications. The time to do so is when the principle of the Bill has been accepted. That is the same principle that we apply to all legislation. We debate the principle on Second Reading. If there is a point, an amendment or an improvement to be made or if some particular part of the Bill is unacceptable we debate it in Standing Committee. Individual Members and parties have their opportunity to vote against it. That is not what the Labour party is doing on this occasion. The Labour party is voting against the whole of the special legislation directed against terrorism.
I do not know why I should bother about the Labour party's position, because, after all, it is a point against the Labour party in the minds of the general public. The public cannot understand why the attitude of the Labour party is so feeble and spineless and why it is apparently willing to appease the enemies of this country and the violence that they bring upon us all.
Of course, terrorism is not merely one problem for Britain. It is an evil; it is a wicked thing, the greatest of all crimes; it is murder and creating mayhem for no other reason than a desire to achieve some political objective or change in policy. That is the terrorist's justification for the wanton violence which kills innocent men, women and children not only in Northern Ireland but on the mainland.
Therefore, we are justified in bringing all our resources to bear on the problem of terrorism. So far, we have not done so. However, I say that knowing that in recent years and certainly recent months additional resources have been made available to deal with the problem. I believe that recent measures will be effective in due course. The measures that have been taken cannot necessarily be revealed, but can it be denied that the prevention of terrorism Acts are one of the legislative weapons that must be used in the battle? There are many others.
I support a measure that has always been rejected when I have put it to the Government. I believe that once a terrorist is convicted the appropriate punishment for him is imprisonment for the duration. It should not be a limited term—five or 10 years or whatever—so that he may go back out on the streets and commit his offences again. I am sure that the proportion of recidivists in the terrorist population is higher than among ordinary criminals. Such a measure seems only common sense if we are to tighten up our anti-terrorist laws. Let the terrorist who has been convicted of terrorism stay in prison until all terrorism comes to an end. I can think of no more effective way of ensuring that it does.
One must also accept that there is much support for the political objective of the terrorists in the island of Ireland. Unfortunately, that is why there is no consensus between the two sides of the House about the ways in which to tackle terrorism. There is so much support that devices such as this legislation might not be effective. Political 718 measures have to be taken. Otherwise, the problem might remain with us. There will always be people who contend for a united Ireland.
The Republic of Ireland makes claim in its constitution to sovereignty over Northern Ireland. We are all exercised at present by another section of its constitution which seems equally foolish and in need of revision. If the Irish Republic wanted to contribute towards peace, stability and reconciliation in Northern Ireland it would renounce the clause of its constitution which claims sovereignty over Northern Ireland. It gives spurious legitimacy to the men of violence. After all, what are those men doing? They are simply trying to achieve by force what cannot be achieved by the ballot box and democratic means.
The supreme court of the Republic of Ireland said in a recent judgment that the IRA was responding to a constitutional imperative. The Irish Republic has given support to the men of violence in Northern Ireland in that way. Of course, the people of the Irish Republic are all decent, honourable men. They do not intend these things to happen. But they do happen, and the support that the Republic gives is valuable to the violent republican movement.
§ Mr. Stanbrook
I will give way later.
We must seek a political solution. We must surely start by saying that the people in Northern Ireland who do not want to be British are entitled to go and live elsewhere. If, in the border areas, there is a sufficient majority, why should not we redraw the border so that those people who desire to be within the sovereignty of the Irish Republic are in that sovereignty? Why should not we provide generous rehabilitation grants for people who find themselves on the wrong side of the redrawn border? We must think about political solutions to problems that manifest themselves in terrorism at a price to not only Ireland but the areas covered by the Act.
It is appalling that the Labour party has made no sensible, civilised contribution to the argument. I should be glad to see the Labour party voted down in every constituency in the general election because it appeases terrorist violence.
§ Mr. Alex Carlile (Montgomery)
I start by reinforcing the appreciation expressed of the excellent work that Viscount Colville's has done yet again. Whether we agree with his conclusions or not, we find the information that he provides helpful and his conclusions persuasive.
I have spoken on several of these occasions. They are always occasions for regret on two grounds. The first is the necessity to discuss terrorism yet again, which continues to cause death and misery. The second is that, unfortunately, party political differences are a familiar feature of these debates. That has occurred now for several years. Perhaps I should make it clear now that I support the order and I shall advise my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote for it if there is a Division later.
When we talk about terrorists, we always try, rightly in my view, to discuss their crimes as if they were ordinary crimes committed by ordinary criminals. For they are ordinary crimes. Terrorists do not deserve the distinction of being treated by the courts as criminals in any way other than the ordinary. Murder is murder, for whatever reason 719 it is committed. When we examine how we deal with criminals, it is right that we should consider as such the form of the ordinary crime that they commit.
The House knows that I have had a reasonable amount of experience in the past 20 years of dealing with what one might call ordinary criminals. It is my experience, and that of other legal practitioners, that the usual criminal—even if he is a murderer or an armed robber—does not look beyond the moment when the crime has been completed and he has made his escape. He does not imagine that he will be caught or convicted. Appeals could not be further from his mind.
The psychology of the terrorist is different, and it is right that we should take that into account when determining what special measures outside the court system are necessary to deal with terrorism. The terrorist is trained to assume that he may be caught, and that when caught he will be questioned at great length and will be subjected to the rigorous questioning which is right and proper in respect of all serious crimes. The terrorist is trained to deal with the trial which may take place, with the tactics of defence, and, in some cases, he may well be trained to deal with the consequences, in a number of different forms, of conviction. We must bear those matters in mind in weighing the balance and considering whether it is necessary to retain the provisions for yet another year.
Also, we should all recognise that the Government have a difficult task. We have already heard from hon. Members, good democrats on both sides of the argument, who believe in the essentials of justice and security. These are surely our shared aims in this debate. There are some good democrats in the House who believe—as some Conservative Members believe—that internment would be a fair and just way to deal with the problem. I happen to disagree with that, but it is a respectably held view. There are good democrats in the House who believe that the principle of special and specific prevention of terrorism legislation is contrary to the principles of democracy which we try to uphold in the House. That poses a serious dilemma for the Government, and one must be reasonably sympathetic towards the ordeal of solving it.
Of course, we must all share the aspiration of the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) that it should become easier to convict terrorists in our courts. However, I would ask him how we are going to make it easier to convict terrorists without diluting the standard of proof which we adopt or reducing the quality of evidence which is acceptable in our courts.
§ Mr. Carlile
I shall give way when I have finished this point. I remind the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook that, whatever happens during interrogation when someone is detained under the prevention of terrorism Act, evidence obtained as a result is most unlikely, in modern times, to be admitted in a subsequent criminal trial. Judges are unlikely to admit evidence which does not comply in quality with the standards of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. Under section 78 of that Act, the judge has residual discretion—which is usually 720 exercised in such circumstances—to exclude the evidence. I share the aspiration of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook, but he has not told us how he will achieve it.
§ Mr. Hattersley
The hon. and learned Gentleman has answered his own question. I was repeating the argument made by the chairman of the Bar Council—it was also argued in the letter from the commissioner—that there would not be sufficient convictions unless jurors and courts were convinced that the available evidence had been properly obtained. The point that the hon. and learned Gentleman has just made is the one that I want to be reinforced.
§ Mr. Carlile
I agree with the right hon. Gentleman. However, it follows from his argument, and from the point that I sought to make, that many terrorists will pass unconvicted and uncharged because of the quality of the preparation of their crimes. They are often arrested under the prevention of terrorism provisions when, at worst, they have been involved in inchoate crimes and it is impossible to pin any specific offence on them. Unfortunately, the law is inadequate to deal with that sort of problem.
It is encouraging that there has been less use of exclusion orders as far as Northern Ireland is concerned. It is a matter of real concern that there appears to be an increase in international terrorism, which is reflected in the increase in exclusion orders relating to international terrorism. I hope that the Government will continue to tackle that problem through international co-operation, which remains extremely important in driving such terrorism away from our shores at least. We have a legitimate interest in driving it elsewhere. We hope that others who co-operate with us in the international effort will ensure that it is driven into those places from which it cannot escape to perpetrate its dreadful activities.
The issue before the House is how, when balancing difficult conflicting interests, and bearing in mind the concern that we all have for justice and security, do we produce a practical solution which meets the twin requirements of public safety and public confidence overlaid, as ever, with the need for justice and security? There may be better ways to supervise detention orders. I think that putting them before judges sitting in chambers is the wrong way to deal with it and I am sympathetic with the judges on this issue. I understand that judges who had to deal with applications for internment orders, when they were in force, found that the type of evidence that they were asked to consider was difficult to deal with, not because the allegations made were unjustified but because they were unused to dealing with that type of evidence. Better protection is provided if one controls the circumstances of questioning and if outside, independent review is available on application, as is currently the case.
I do not share the fear that the tape recording of interviews during detention necessarily represents a danger. If tape recordings could be used as evidence for one side or the other in any criminal proceedings which subsequently ensued, that danger might arise. However, the Government would be entirely justified in introducing standard tape recording for all interviews of the type that we are discussing, and in introducing statutory rules so that those interviews could never be used as evidence in ensuing criminal proceedings. That would not mean that evidence obtained as a result of them could not be used, as it is already. However, it would be in the public interest 721 that those interviews should be excluded from the court: otherwise, there could be a danger that they might be used by members of the public who were listening to the evidence in the court.
I know that a number of other hon. Members want to speak, so I shall not take up any more time. We hope that next year, the year after or soon after we will be able to say that prevention of terrorism provisions are no longer needed. It has not happened yet. The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook knows that I have a great regard for him, but I fear that we heard him make a speech that he did not want to make. If a Labour Government were elected, they would have considerable difficulty with this matter. Indeed, I suspect that they would feel compelled to change their view.
§ Sir Giles Shaw (Pudsey)
I regret that this is the first time that I have participated in the debate on the renewal of the powers in the Act. I am grateful to follow the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Carlile). who, with his ever-present legal knowledge, has dissected some of the problems occasioned by bringing terrorist crimes to court. I shall consider the issues from a broader platform without, I hope, straying out of order.
I accept that the PTA was introduced in a rush and was designed as an anti-IRA measure. It defined terrorism almost exclusively as the particular problems caused by that organisation in the United Kingdom. The Act was introduced to deal with such problems. It contains powers, which are broadly acceptable, to detain, to proscribe certain organisations, to exclude, and to control movements; and, as a consequence of all that, it aims to deter.
In the application of each of those elements of the Act there have been difficulties. It is not unreasonable for the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery) to say that the Act suppresses more than it prevents and that perhaps, from time to time, it has not suppressed terrorism either. However, the degree and temperature of suppression have altered from time to time.
The issue today is different. Terrorism has become an international cancer and has required and obtained co-operative efforts on the part of police forces through international joint detection. Terrorism requires large amounts of finance and covert activity by those prepared to connive with its objectives. Terrorism hides behind the cloak of pseudo-political respectability and, it has been said that it pursues aims that cannot necessarily be achieved by the political means available at any time.
It is its political objectives which make terrorism different from the ordinary range of crime, which was considered by the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery in his discussion of applications of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
The political credibility, or otherwise, of terrorism has undergone a significant change in recent years. The threat posed by so-called middle eastern terrorism has been reduced considerably. Certainly, the threat to capture hostages has receded during the past 12 months, not always for political reasons although political machinations were involved. The tide of the terrorism in the middle east has ebbed and it is no longer the necessary card to play. The threat from continental terrorist groups, be they the Red Brigade, the Red Hand or ETA, has also ebbed.
722 That may not be the result of legislation such as this, but that threat has ebbed. The crucial factor has been the withdrawal of public support and the reduction in the numbers of those willing to connive with the terrorists, hide them, finance them and supply the weapons of destruction so essential to them. Public opinion in most of the world has moved against such vicious activity.
The debate does not deal with matters such as internment, nor should it. I am glad that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is, as ever, in his place. We have to consider how far we can go with the orthodox route of bringing terrorists to justice before considering the unorthodox. I doubt whether the terrorist movement can be wholly subservient to the rule of law, but we have always regarded the rule of law as an essential weapon with which to bring the terrorist to book.
If the terrorist is professional, proficient and trained in his particular vicious form of behaviour, he has already moved way beyond the ordinary legal system. We already have the Diplock courts in the Province, which demonstrate that the terrorist is treated as a special case when tried there. That is why we are now discussing the renewal of the prevention of terrorism Act in relation to terrorists who seek to enter the United Kingdom and those who are found here.
We have been extremely concerned in this debate about the minutiae relating to the application of the principles enshrined in the Act in terms of so-called forensic evidence produced for a jury in a British mainland court. The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery said that it would be extremely difficult to obtain a conviction under the full panoply of PACE if the terrorist were in the dock. He is probably right. Convictions against various groups who were brought to court in previous years—in the Birmingham case, the Guildford case and, to a large extent, the Maguire case—have been found to be without adequate foundation. How can we say that the rule of law has been effective even when it has been applied here and in circumstances less pressurised than those that exist today?
My right hon. Friend should be aware, however, that there is no question about the necessity for the PTA. We must ensure that we can use every weapon in the panoply of weapons against the insidious crime of terrorism. Such legislation must be in place and, if necessary, renewed year by year.
The climate of opinion is now looking beyond the PTA and even beyond the courts—it has become proactive rather than reactive. If detention were introduced in the Province for a time, I do not believe that that would produce the same violent reaction in the United States as it did many years ago. I do not believe that it would result in the same sharp rise in contributions to Noraid, and I do not believe that its introduction would have quite the same impact across the border in the Republic.
There has been a massive change in public opinion in the Republic about the IRA. How good it was that it could not hold its Ard Fheis in what it traditionally regarded as its rightful venue. How good it is that the general performance of Sinn Fein in the Republic has commanded less than 2 per cent. of the popular vote at general elections. Public support for the IRA has gone right down, and there is a greater realisation that to deal with the cancer that is embodied north and south of the border may require a different attitude to the niceties of the rule of law. 723 The climate of opinion is such that a more positive attitude towards detention would be perfectly acceptable. Such thinking certainly did not exist a few years ago.
I remind the House that terrorism today is an international problem. It is a cancer in many countries, and in each it depends upon public support of one kind or another. That support in terms of access to funds, training and weaponry has waned greatly. It may well be time for a brave new initiative on this matter.
§ 6.9 pm
§ Mr. Eddie McGrady (South Down)
I accept the sincerity with which all hon. Members who have spoken have approached the problem of terrorism in Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom generally. However, we differ on how the problem should be approached.
The re-examination of the Act must be done in several contexts. First, we must assess the balance between the deprivation of basic rights within the law and the need to prevent further terrorism. Secondly, there must be a balance between the effect on the judiciary and the effect on the body politic. If a law is so draconian in its nature and application that it drives a population away from supporting that law, or from supporting the agencies that implement the law, a negative situation results.
I assume that the purpose of this debate is to assess all the contributions made with respect to the maximum of justice and the safeguarding of the rights of the individual before the law, paying constant attention to the need for political progress and dialogue. That is why it is a great pity that an opportunity has not been taken to look seriously at what the effect has been in the lifetime of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1974 and examine those parts of it that statistics and comments clearly show are not doing the job for which the Act was intended.
I was not a Member of Parliament when the legislation was enacted. However, irrespective of the fact that some hon. Members warned about the possible consequences, it is important that the Act is examined to avoid the alienation that might take place, and to avoid the unnecessary withdrawal of human rights in a situation where terrorism has become endemic, as it has for the past two decades.
I represent a community which has suffered most both from Provisional IRA and loyalist terrorism. We have been the recipients of both sides of the sword. We are constantly visited by the terror of the Provisional IRA and the paramilitaries. We are also visited, willy nilly, by the consequences of the PTA in our homes and our communities. The enforcement of the Act deprives us of the protection that people normally have for their homes and their families.
The Act is a broad weapon and is not selective in any way. If a housing estate in my home town is cordoned off and searched from beginning to end, that must mean that the vast majority of the people living there are innocent. Yet they suffer alongside those who are guilty. Many people will accept that up to a point, but, beyond that point, the support is lost and thus the thrust of what the Act is intended to achieve is also lost.
I wish to illustrate the problems of searching housing estates. Individual members of a family are retained in one corner of the room of their house and are not allowed to 724 accompany the security forces in the examination of the house. In most cases that does not involve helping them to open or close cupboard doors or look into drawers. It sometimes involves considerable destruction. Some would argue that that is necessary destruction, but sometimes floorboards are pulled up. People are naturally suspicious if they are not allowed to accompany those pursuing that search because it is not unknown—I cannot give statistics —for stuff to be planted in certain places. There is, therefore, a built-in query about the need to be present when searches are taking place. Searches often take place as a result of a tip-off, many of which have proved to be malicious rather than designed to catch terrorists in the act.
One of the great difficulties with proscription is that it is totally selective. My understanding of the attitude of the security forces in Northern Ireland is that they could well do without proscription. It has been applied to the IRA, yet other organisations have acknowledged murders, extortion and all the other attributes of terrorism. Those organisations include the Ulster Volunteer Force, its pseudonym the UDA, the Protestant Action Force and several other organisations.
Proscription has a peculiar effect on the psyche of some of our people. They feel that not only does it not help the security forces, because the name of an organisation is simply changed, or, when it is executing terrorist violence, it simply uses another nomenclature to perpetrate its violence, but because it sometimes glorifies the organisation that has been proscribed. It draws in young people who see being a member of that organisation as some sort of thrill or illegality, long before they are sucked into the real violence for which they are then trained and asked to perpetrate. Therefore, that element of proscription has no meaning within the terms of combating terrorism.
Exclusion orders have also been mentioned.
§ Rev. Ian Paisley
I know that the hon. Gentleman does not wish to mislead the House, but he seems to say that the Ulster Volunteer Force is not proscribed. It is proscribed under this legislation.
§ Mr. McGrady
Yes, it is one of the three proscribed organisations in Northern Ireland. But many others by other names are executing violence on a daily basis. They are not proscribed and the security forces see no need for it.
Much debate has taken place this evening about the consequences of the exclusion orders. They have been referred to several times as some sort of internal exile. I do not know what that phrase means, but it is contradictory in terms of uniformity of rights of the citizens of the United Kingdom if people can be deported from one part to another, irrespective of what that part is. In reality, it is considered not as an internal exile but, rather, an exercise of racism. One of the major features of the exclusion orders is to give a sense of racism in the application of the PTA, which seems to be anti-Irish. It does not matter whether someone is British Northern Irish or Irish Northern Irish—they are Northern Irish, therefore Irish, and the Act will apply against them.
The statistics of people who have been detained and not excluded show that another effect is to put a black mark against them. I have known cases in my constituency involving firms with contracts in England. They have lost those contracts and their work force in England as a result 725 of being detained, despite the fact that they were found to be innocent. They were detained on somebody's whim without reference to a court of law. That is wrong in principle and legally. It is self-defeating because it gives ammunition to the men of violence to heighten tensions and to draw into their ranks recruits from those who have suffered from such detention.
The Home Secretary referred to the broadcasting ban. I opposed it bitterly when it was introduced in the House and it has become a total charade in Northern Ireland. I do not know whether it applies as much on television here, but it is farcical to see the Protestants or the IRA making unchallenged statements through an actor's voice, with printed subtitles, when the interviewer or a member of the political community in Northern Ireland cannot challenge them. We are at the coal face of the struggle against terrorism, both physical and political. I want to be able to use a platform, whether of the media or any other form, to argue the toss and put my case against the terrorists. I want to illustrate the evil, illogicality and fallacy of the position and policies of those trying to indoctrinate communities. The ban is preventing me from doing so. It is time my colleagues and I had our hands untied from behind our backs in terms of the political dialogue, never mind the fight against violence in the streets.
The powers of arrest and continuing detention over a number of days are symptoms of over-reaction. The aftermath is many disgruntled innocent people—and their dissatisfaction spreads among friends, families and communities—who see themselves being targeted because they are Irish and come from Northern Ireland. In a sense, it is a mini-internment.
It has been argued that the corollary of not having convictions in court must be internment. The argument is then carefully qualified by the statement that, of course, one is talking about selective internment, but all internment is selective and always has been. Someone, somewhere, says that Joe Bloggs should be interned, because of certain information. The person being interned is not aware of the charge and has no right of redress to correct the information on the record.
There is much incorrect information on people's records. Many people lose their jobs due to telephone calls to security forces alleging their involvement in terrorism. They find themselves out of a job the next day with no way of getting the job back. They have no way of knowing what they are charged with or of denying the alleged offence.
There has been a missed opportunity this afternoon. The Act was a political response to a specific occasion at a particular time in history. In the intervening years it has not received the attention and detailed examination that it required so that we could extract the bad parts and leave the acceptable parts. The Act should have been improved and changed in the light of experience, in terms of both security and policies. The Act drives people way from public support. It makes no contribution to the fight in which we are all engaged, from whichever source it conies. It is a great pity that the opportunity has not been taken today or on previous occasions to redraft those parts of the Act which have proved to be counter-productive in the fight against terrorism.
§ Mr. Andrew Hunter (Basingstoke)
A sense of déjà vu descends over the seasoned debaters of the merits or otherwise of the prevention of terrorism Act. We have been through such debates before, but this time there seems to be greater confrontation and controversy than before. For my part, I do not doubt the sincerity of Labour Members' opposition to terrorism and their determination to fight it. However, I believe that they are profoundly mistaken in their line of reasoning. Here lies the acceptable and right debate.
I wholeheartedly support the renewal of the prevention of terrorism Act as long as the exceptional circumstances in Northern Ireland continue and it is necessary to have such a measure.
Three issues in Lord Colville's report deserve attention. The first relates to a number of references to international terrorism. On page 5, under the heading, "Extensions of detention", he writes:In England and Wales three sets of applications concerning international terrorism were dealt with by the Home Office".Perhaps understandably, we tend to preoccupy ourselves with Irish terrorism and overlook the international dimension. Will the Minister give details about the international aspects of terrorism referred to in the report?
The second point concerns the most disturbing feature of the report: the section on terrorist finances. Last year Lord Colville referred to a "legislative shambles". This year he stated on page 15:The 'legislative shambles' was only enhanced by the EPA 1991 … I would be failing in my duty if I did not record the pessimism of police forces in all three United Kingdom jurisdictions about the usefulness of the PTA powers in relation to terrorists funds.This section clearly demands attention.
The third issue about which I am concerned relates to the 10 pages of comments Lord Colville gives to allegations of assaults in police custody. These make disturbing reading. On out-of-court settlements of claims Lord Colville states on page 19:there is … danger that hundreds of thousands of pounds overall will be paid out without any of the actions being tried.That undermines confidence in the RUC. He continues:if the police are settling these cases, they are admitting ill-treatment of detainees".This section also deserves close attention.
I believe that there has been a dimension missing from today's debate, without which our efforts to combat terrorism are weakened: the missing dimension is absence of unequivocal support from the Government of the Republic of Ireland. Without the wholehearted cooperation of the Republic, Irish terrorism is unlikely to be defeated, and that wholehearted support simply is not there.
For too long and on too many occasions, the Republic has provided a safe haven for IRA gunmen and bombers who are on the run. Its refusals to extradite have been scandalous. The Republic remains a secure operational base for the IRA. Articles 2 and 3 of the constitution of the Republic of Ireland, with their claim for Northern Ireland territory, are an intolerable affront to the United Kingdom. That scenario makes me, for one, deeply cynical of the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
The question of internment is back on the agenda. The arguments against internment are well known and include 727 the fact that it is counter productive and creates an adverse reaction. It is ineffective unless implemented on both sides of the border. It also poses the question whether we have the intelligence to pick up the right people.
On the other hand, there is an argument for internment, although I am not necessarily stating that it should be implemented. At times of heightened terrorism there is an argument for selective, short-term internment. Internment destroys the command structures, the means of communication and the logistical planning of terrorist organisations as key people are lifted. It makes life very hard for the terrorist.
I welcome the renewal of the measure, which I believe forms a central part of our battle against terrorism.
§ Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)
When the Home Secretary courteously gave way to me, he said that there had been no row between senior officials of the Home Office, led by Mr. Ian Burns, and the Metropolitan police, led by Assistant Commissioner Bill Taylor, on the one hand, and Mrs. Stella Rimington, on the other. Whether it was a row or a difference of opinion, there have certainly been consistent reports about a difference of opinion. This is a serious matter that deserves to be raised in the House.
We hear that security chiefs in MI5 are pressing Ministers to let them take over key functions in terrorist and criminal intelligence gathering from the police. The move, purportedly led by Stella Rimington, MI5's director-general designate, has provoked, if not a bitter row in Whitehall, at least a controversy over inter-service demarcation, and it has serious implications for civil liberties.
A formal inter-departmental review of MI5's post-cold war role was launched in Whitehall late last year under the chairmanship of the Home Office deputy secretary, Ian Burns. I understand that Mrs. Rimington has raised this matter with the Minister. Before anyone criticises those of us who mention her name, let it never be forgotten that, to my astonishment and that of some of my colleagues, it was the Government—no one else—who launched Mrs. Rimington with a fanfare of trumpets—
§ Mr. Dalyell
No; the hon. Gentleman has just come in.
I understand that Mr. Burns has held a series of meetings attended by Mrs. Rimington and other MI5 officers; by representatives of the Ministry of Defence and the joint intelligence committee which briefs the Prime Minister on intelligence matters; and by Assistant Commissioner Bill Taylor of the Metropolitan police, who is chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers.
I understand that Mrs. Rimington and her colleagues are seeking to take the lead in mainland operations against the Provisional IRA which are now directed by the Met's special branch and anti-terrorist squad. I understand also that senior police officers believe that those demands may be the thin end of the wedge and could lead to MI5's involvement in other areas managed by the police and Customs, such as organised crime and drug trafficking.
All this has brought to a head the long-standing rivalry between the police and MI5, with senior police officers 728 openly voicing reservations about MI5's operational competence and its lack of accountability. I am prepared to give the Home Office the name of one senior policeman who has expressed great concern about this to me.
A final decision about demarcation between the police and the security services will be taken by an ad hoc ministerial committee, including the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Defence. The concerns of senior police officers have been heightened by a general feeling that the future structure of the police may be on the agenda after the general election. Ministers have voiced a need to do something about rising crime and the loss of confidence in the police caused by recent miscarriages of justice.
Next month the new national crime intelligence service will begin work. Aided by a huge criminal intelligence super-computer, the service is supposed to serve various police forces and to enable the national co-ordination of information, especially on drugs and organised crime. Its constitution specifically precludes an operational policing role. If MI5 is allowed to wrest the lead in IRA terrorist work from the police, it will have full access to the computer.
Who will control the computer? A senior officer is quoted as saying:The outcome, if MI5 gets its way, could be the creation of a sort of FBI, but by the back door. If they get terrorism, drugs will be next.Specialist police units engaged in anti-terrorist intelligence fiercely resent the attempted intrusion. They believe that they are the intended victims of a Whitehall operation brought about by the end of the Soviet threat and by the obvious need for a new role for MI5. That is what the problem is mostly about.
Another police officer has been quoted as saying:These people are often brilliant as analysts. But it is questionable whether they would do the job as the public want it to be done␣I want it to be done—so do many of my colleagues—by a Home Office which is accountable to Parliament. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) will be the Home Secretary, but whoever is Home Secretary it is much better that the job be done by the Home Office than by those who are not accountable.
I raised the matter in this debate because it is so difficult to raise the activities of this vast organisation while remaining in order. I will keep to the undertaking that I gave to sit down at 6.35 pm. I do not raise this subject in a curmudgeonly way; I raise it in a deadly serious manner in the hope of some kind of serious answer—because Parliament deserves an answer.
§ Mr. Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield)
These annual debates are always interesting and, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) said, it is interesting that this one has been brought forward. We welcome the chance that it offers us to discuss the prevention of terrorism. The Labour party detests, despises and hates terrorists and terrorism. We say that on every occasion we can. I am one of the few Members to have addressed a meeting in New York state which was picketed by Noraid, which was seemingly outraged that I should have the temerity to discuss democracy and how much it involves despising and hating people who use the bullet and the bomb for political gain.
729 This is a serious occasion because, on it, the Government traditionally ask us to suspend all the usual rules of political discourse. They ask us to suspend critical judgment on the workings of an important piece of legislation. But it is the role of Her Majesty's Opposition to scrutinise every piece of legislation that comes before this House.
It is just not good enough. My old friend the hon. Member for Pudsey (Sir G. Shaw) spoke, in one of his typical phrases, of hiding under the cloak of pseudo-political respectability. He used that phrase in a different context; I would use it to describe the dangers of the Government hiding under the cloak of respectability their ineffectiveness when dealing with terrorism.
As the Opposition, we have to look at the facts. We have to examine the success of the prevention of terrorism Act as used against terrorists and terrorism. Given the tragedies in the lives of men and women here and abroad caused by terrorism, we cannot afford to be complacent. Listening to the Home Secretary today, one would not have thought that nearly 100 men and women died by the hand of terrorists in our country last year, or that 1,000 people were badly injured by them.
§ Mr. Sheerman
I will not give way.
It is no part of the job of Her Majesty's Opposition to remain silent when the Home Secretary says nothing, as he did not today, about the Government's appalling inactivity and failure to shed new light on the problem of terrorism and how to combat it.
During the three years that my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook and I have been dealing with these matters, we have strongly appealed to the Home Secretary to the effect that the effort against terrorism has not been good enough—that we want it improved and that the PTA gets in the way of that effective struggle. The Minister of State sought to pour ridicule on the idea of all the parties coming together and saying, "How can we defeat terrorism?". We made such an offer last year and the year before, but the Minister thought that it would be ridiculous to have a committee discussing terrorism. Getting round a table to discuss a more effective way to stop death, misery and bloodshed seems a good starting point in the war against terrorism.
I do not wish to underline what the terrorists have done in too dramatic a way, but there have been 1,000 serious injuries and 100 people have died in our country in the past year. There was a rocket attack on No. 10 Downing street, and a bomb was found and, luckily, defused a few steps from the Palace of Westminster. We ask for a more effective effort against terrorism, and we have asked the Home Secretary to meet us round a table to discuss how that can be done.
The Opposition have not engaged in empty rhetoric. We have a number of proposals but, like any group sitting at a table, we do not expect to have all of them accepted. Our proposals could be effective, useful and helpful. We want to see a national police intelligence unit with an operational arm. I sympathise with my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell), who resists unaccountable intelligence services, but I would like to see that new force taking a new direction. Some people might 730 call it an FBI. So be it. We need an effective national presence that could better deal with terrorism nationally and internationally.
I agree with hon. Members who have spoken about the changing nature of Europe and its borders and who have expressed the fear that, because of that, terrorism will grow strongly in some parts of the European Community. That means that there must be better co-ordination.
We defend many elements of the PTA because they are useful, but other elements are unacceptable and we want the Government to give way on those. Our offer this year about talks is even better than the one that we made last year because we know that within a few weeks we shall be in government. When Conservative Members are on this side of the Chamber, we shall invite them to join in talks because we do not want to hide behind the PTA. We want to be honest.
Sometimes hon. Members on one side of the Chamber think that they are fully aware of the opinions of those on the other side and will, therefore, disagree with them. However, when one listens carefully one finds that that is not always the case. The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) made some telling points about the myth of unity and the message that it sends to the terrorists. We are close to an election and it is easy to make cheap party political points and to say that the Opposition are soft on terrorism. That is what people call a cheap shot, and the hon. Member for Antrim, North spotted it straight off. He avoided it and put his finger precisely on the issue when he said that all the so-called unity on the PTA has not stopped terrorism in his constituency, in his part of the United Kingdom.
The Opposition will not be muzzled because the national interest and the interests of the people are too important. The only group of people who have not risen to the occasion and whose speeches have not been thoughtful, searching and honest about the problem of terrorism are those in the small group of party political hacks led by the Home Secretary.
§ Madam Deputy Speaker (Miss Betty Boothroyd)
The hon. Gentleman is fully aware that I cannot deal with that. It is not a point of order for the Chair.
§ Mr. Sheerman
To deal with that we would need men in white coats.
Conservative Members do not like our truthful message. We deserve more from the Home Secretary and the Government than the cheap political trick that they have tried to play. The British people are not daft. They can see through a Government who are desperate because their law and order policies have failed. Crime has doubled since they came to office, and their measures against terrorism are not working. The British people will not be fooled, and in a few weeks they will elect a Government who will deal effectively with terrorism.
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. John Patten)
The political and intellectual content of the speech by the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman) could be boiled down into about one minute 30 seconds. It is a pity 731 that at the beginning of the debate 19 minutes were wasted on entirely bogus points of order. That meant that a number of hon. Members could not be called to speak. I regret that procedural methods were used to make it impossible for my hon. Friends to be called. I am extremely pleased that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, my hon. Friend the Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley), have been in the Chamber for most of the debate. That shows the importance that they attach to the issue.
Most people who listened to the formidable speech by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will have noted that he completely and utterly destroyed Labour's case for a "Let's solve the terrorist problem by remitting it all to a committee" approach. It is clear to me and to the country that only a small number of people support the abolition of the prevention of terrorism legislation. Opinion poll after opinion poll has shown that no more than three people in every 100 who responded support Labour's policy to get rid of the PTA. The overwhelming majority of British people support the Act. I am extremely grateful for the indication of support from the hon. Members for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble), who spoke for the Ulster Unionists, and for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley), who spoke for the Democratic Unionist party. I am also grateful to the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Carlile) for his support for the renewal of the provision.
Opposition Members who vote against the renewal of the Act will fly in the face of the general opinion of moderate, sensible people of all political parties in Britain. It will also give enormous help and sustenance to the terrorists. I hope that I quote correctly the hon. Member for Antrim, North who said that if the legislation was not renewed the wrong signal would be received throughout the United Kingdom, western Europe and the international network of terrorism, both Arab and Irish, that the House was not serious about the prevention of terrorism. Such a single, simple message would be extremely destructive.
§ Mr. Patten
I shall not give way.
Before I respond to the two Opposition suggestions, I must read into the record, as if I were a Democrat or Republican Senator speaking in the United States Senate, the second half of the letter from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, Sir Peter Imbert, which was partially quoted by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) who spoke about what Sir Peter said about tape recording. The commissioner said:The contrary view, which reflects the present position, is that the risk to life, and loss of intelligence, is so great that it would be a serious impediment to our efforts against terrorism. I am aware that this is particularly the case in Northern Ireland, and I believe that there is, understandably, very firm opposition there, on these grounds, to tape recording.The last paragraph of the letter states:As mentioned above, the pilot scheme with the tape recording of summaries of PTA interviews continues, and I look forward to reaching a stage where conclusions can be drawn from this. Until we have reached that position and are 732 more certain of the implications I believe it would not be right to pursue legislative changes. I would add that before any such change is comtemplated we should also ensure that the present judicial safeguards relating to the disclosure of intelligence information are made more robust.Let me now turn to what the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook described as two major suggestions.
§ Mr. Patten
I am quoting the right hon. Gentleman's words. He must read what he said in Hansard tomorrow.
The first, and major, suggestion was the setting up of a tribunal to review extensions of detention. There is a difficulty with that proposal. If we establish a tribunal—or any kind of judicial supervision of applications for extensions of detention—its conclusions will often be based on strong intelligence that the person concerned is actually involved in terrorism. Right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House will know that that is the case, and that such intelligence often exists.
That means that the sensitivity of the information will often be such that, if the case went to a tribunal and was considered by a judge or a group of judges, neither the detained person nor his legal advisers could be given any details of that case. If we acceded to the Opposition's suggestions, there would be no proper means of representation. The judge, or the chairman of the tribunal, would effectively be sitting in an executive position, just as my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary does at present: he would, de facto, be like my right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. Patten
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I do not; if I give way, I shall not have time to answer the points that have been made.
The present system does not preclude judicial control. I think that the right hon. Gentleman missed that point. A person who is arrested under the Act has access to a solicitor, and can challenge the lawfulness of the arrest or detention by means of, for example, the remedy of habeas corpus. I should also point out that there is no quasi-judicial system in Scotland for the consideration of extensions of detention north of the border. Such extensions are considered in exactly the same way as they are throughout the rest of the United Kingdom: there is no special arrangement for Scotland.
The second major point concerned the abolition of exclusion orders. I do not think that that proposal gained much support, except from Labour Members. I know that, in his 1987 review, Lord Colville opposed such orders, and we have, of course, examined what he has said. He has suggested an alternative, to which we paid close attention: he suggested that surveillance operations could be mounted on people who would otherwise be excluded.
Currently, 91 people are excluded under exclusion orders. If Lord Colville's proposal were adopted, it would require a massive surveillance operation involving considerable use—and, in my view, misuse—of police and intelligence work that could be better turned to dealing with real terrorism on the ground. That is why we are entirely committed to fighting terrorism in the most practical way possible, and why we have not acceded to either Lord Colville's suggestions or those of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook.
The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery made that point very powerfully—not in his speech, which, as 733 always, will repay reading, but earlier, in an intervention on the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook. He said that, if it was a case of balancing the lowering of standards of proof in courts of British law against exclusion orders, he would come down in favour of exclusion orders every time. I think that most of us who want to see the innocent declared innocent and the guilty declared guilty would agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman.
I was much taken with what the hon. Member for Upper Bann said about the messages that would be sent from the House of Commons in the event of a substantial vote against the Act. He is quite right: people would simply say, "They are not serious." That theme of seriousness was followed by all Conservative Members who spoke.
My hon. Friend the Member for Westminster, North (Sir J. Wheeler)—who was heard with the respect with which we always listen to his speeches—began by making it clear that it would be wrong to make available, through open court or open tribunal, information that would help terrorists. He also pointed out the extreme importance of the prevention of terrorism Act to our efforts to deal with international terrorism unconnected with Ireland. That was reflected in the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter); I shall write to him about the details of the point that he raised.
I do not know whether the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook) was one of the last that we shall hear from him, but, my word, it was a good one. As for my hon. Friend the Member for Pudsey (Sir G. Shaw), I can only say that I welcomed his support, and his thoughtful and thought-provoking speech about setting Irish terrorism, and the problems of the security services in this country, against the changing and multiplying, ameoba-like nature of international terrorism. My hon. Friend put his finger right on the point.
The prevention of terrorism Act is the only mechanism the House of Commons has with which to enable immigration procedures to deal with potential threats of international terrorism. Apart from anything else, the Act is needed to protect the three quarters of a million Irish citizens who are living on this side of the water—within the United Kingdom itself. I believe that Labour's commitment to combating terrorism would be much better reflected in support for the Act than in suggestions of ways in which to undermine it, but such suggestions are all that we have heard from Labour Members this afternoon.
Comfortable condemnation from the Opposition Benches is not an adequate substitute for such support. Labour must weave words, of course, but it must also will the means for our security forces to deal with terrorism. To ignore the Act would be to leave a vacuum for terrorists to exploit. We must have a policy in place to deal with terrorism.
Terrorists skulk behind innocent civilians: they always have done so. The terrorist language is the language of coercion. Hon. Members representing both sides of the divide in the Province know that all too well, and I respect them and their communities for the way in which they have handled the problem. The House of Commons does not like coercion; it stands as a place of democracy. We must proceed by open debate. The terrorists are not prepared to debate, because they know that, if they did, they would lose the debate overwhelmingly. That is why they respond with the gun—with coercion in place of persuasion. 734 Because we are a democratic society, we believe in a response that is subject to debate and to ratification by this freely elected House and regular review.
Since the Labour party dropped its support for the prevention of terrorism Act in 1983, it has spent nine wasted years, uttered thousands of words and produced not a policy but a policy vacuum within which terrorism can flourish. We spurn the Opposition's words. I commend the order to the House.
§ Question put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 300, Noes 115.736
|Division No. 91]||[7.00 pm|
|Adley, Robert||Cope, Rt Hon Sir John|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Cormack, Patrick|
|Alexander, Richard||Couchman, James|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael||Currie, Mrs Edwina|
|Amery, Rt Hon Julian||Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)|
|Amess, David||Davis, David (Boothferry)|
|Amos, Alan||Day, Stephen|
|Arbuthnot, James||Devlin, Tim|
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)||Dickens, Geoffrey|
|Arnold, Sir Thomas||Dicks, Terry|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Dorrell, Stephen|
|Atkinson, David||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James|
|Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)||Dover, Den|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Dunn, Bob|
|Baldry, Tony||Durant, Sir Anthony|
|Barnes, Mrs Rosie (Greenwich)||Eggar, Tim|
|Batiste, Spencer||Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Evennett, David|
|Beith, A. J.||Fallon, Michael|
|Bellotti, David||Farr, Sir John|
|Bendall, Vivian||Fearn, Ronald|
|Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Fenner, Dame Peggy|
|Benyon, W.||Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey|
|Blackburn, Dr John G.||Fishburn, John Dudley|
|Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Fookes, Dame Janet|
|Body, Sir Richard||Forman, Nigel|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Forsythe, Clifford (Antrim S)|
|Boswell, Tim||Forth, Eric|
|Bottomley, Peter||Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman|
|Bowden, A. (Brighton K'pto'n)||Fox, Sir Marcus|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Franks, Cecil|
|Bowis, John||Freeman, Roger|
|Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes||French, Douglas|
|Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard||Fry, Peter|
|Brandon-Bravo, Martin||Gale, Roger|
|Brazier, Julian||Gardiner, Sir George|
|Bright, Graham||Gill, Christopher|
|Brooke, Rt Hon Peter||Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair|
|Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)||Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles|
|Browne, John (Winchester)||Gorman, Mrs Teresa|
|Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)||Gorst, John|
|Buck, Sir Antony||Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)|
|Budgen, Nicholas||Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)|
|Burns, Simon||Greenway, John (Ryedale)|
|Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)||Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E')|
|Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)||Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)|
|Carlisle, John, (Luton N)||Grist, Ian|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Ground, Patrick|
|Carrington, Matthew||Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn|
|Carttiss, Michael||Hague, William|
|Cartwright, John||Hamilton, Rt Hon Archie|
|Cash, William||Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)|
|Chalker, Rt Hon Mrs Lynda||Hampson, Dr Keith|
|Channon, Rt Hon Paul||Hanley, Jeremy|
|Chapman, Sydney||Hannam, Sir John|
|Chope, Christopher||Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')|
|Churchill, Mr||Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)|
|Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Plymouth)||Harris, David|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Hawkins, Christopher|
|Clark, Rt Hon Sir William||Hayes, Jerry|
|Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)||Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney|
|Hayward, Robert||Page, Richard|
|Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael||Paice, James|
|Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)||Paisley, Rev Ian|
|Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.||Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil|
|Hill, James||Patnick, Irvine|
|Hind, Kenneth||Patten, Rt Hon Chris (Bath)|
|Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)||Patten, Rt Hon John|
|Hordern, Sir Peter||Pawsey, James|
|Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)||Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth|
|Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||Porter, Barry (Wirral S)|
|Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)||Porter, David (Waveney)|
|Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)||Portillo, Michael|
|Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)||Powell, William (Corby)|
|Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)||Price, Sir David|
|Hunter, Andrew||Raison, Rt Hon Sir Timothy|
|Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas||Rathbone, Tim|
|Irvine, Michael||Renton, Rt Hon Tim|
|Irving, Sir Charles||Rhodes James, Sir Robert|
|Jack, Michael||Riddick, Graham|
|Jessel, Toby||Ridsdale, Sir Julian|
|Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey||Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm|
|Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)||Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn|
|Jopling, Rt Hon Michael||Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)|
|Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine||Roe, Mrs Marion|
|Kennedy, Charles||Ross, William (Londonderry E)|
|Key, Robert||Rossi, Sir Hugh|
|King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)||Rost, Peter|
|Knapman, Roger||Rowe, Andrew|
|Knight, Greg (Derby North)||Ryder, Rt Hon Richard|
|Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)||Sainsbury, Rt Hon Tim|
|Knox, David||Sayeed, Jonathan|
|Lamont, Rt Hon Norman||Scott, Rt Hon Nicholas|
|Latham, Michael||Shaw, David (Dover)|
|Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark||Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)|
|Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)||Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')|
|Lilley, Rt Hon Peter||Shelton, Sir William|
|Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Shersby, Michael|
|Lord, Michael||Sims, Roger|
|Luce, Rt Hon Sir Richard||Skeet, Sir Trevor|
|Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas||Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)|
|McCrea, Rev William||Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)|
|McCrindle, Sir Robert||Soames, Hon Nicholas|
|MacGregor, Rt Hon John||Speller, Tony|
|Maclennan, Robert||Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)|
|McLoughlin, Patrick||Squire, Robin|
|McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick||Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John|
|Maginnis, Ken||Steel, Rt Hon Sir David|
|Major, Rt Hon John||Steen, Anthony|
|Malins, Humfrey||Stern, Michael|
|Mans, Keith||Stevens, Lewis|
|Maples, John||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Marland, Paul||Stewart, Rt Hon Sir Ian|
|Martin, David (Portsmouth S)||Stokes, Sir John|
|Maude, Hon Francis||Summerson, Hugo|
|Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick||Tapsell, Sir Peter|
|Mellor, Rt Hon David||Taylor, Ian (Esher)|
|Meyer, Sir Anthony||Taylor, Matthew (Truro)|
|Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)||Taylor, Sir Teddy|
|Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)||Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman|
|Mitchell, Sir David||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Moate, Roger||Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret|
|Moore, Rt Hon John||Thompson, Sir D. (Calder Vly)|
|Morris, M (N'hampton S)||Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)|
|Morrison, Sir Charles||Thorne, Neil|
|Moss, Malcolm||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Moynihan, Hon Colin||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Neale, Sir Gerrard||Tracey, Richard|
|Nelson, Anthony||Tredinnick, David|
|Neubert, Sir Michael||Trimble, David|
|Newton, Rt Hon Tony||Trippier, David|
|Nicholls, Patrick||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Nicholson, David (Taunton)||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)||Wakeham, Rt Hon John|
|Norris, Steve||Walden, George|
|Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley||Walker, A. Cecil (Belfast N)|
|Oppenheim, Phillip||Wallace, James|
|Waller, Gary||Winterton, Mrs Ann|
|Walters, Sir Dennis||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Warren, Kenneth||Wolfson, Mark|
|Watts, John||Wood, Timothy|
|Wells, Bowen||Woodcock, Dr. Mike|
|Wheeler, Sir John||Yeo, Tim|
|Whitney, Ray||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Wiggin, Jerry||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Wilkinson, John||Mr. David Lightbown and|
|Wilshire, David||Mr. John M. Taylor.|
|Allen, Graham||Illsley, Eric|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)|
|Ashton, Joe||Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil|
|Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)||Lamond, James|
|Barron, Kevin||Lewis, Terry|
|Battle, John||Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Lofthouse, Geoffrey|
|Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)||McCartney, Ian|
|Benton, Joseph||McGrady, Eddie|
|Bidwell, Sydney||McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)|
|Blair, Tony||McLeish, Henry|
|Boateng, Paul||McNamara, Kevin|
|Boyes, Roland||Madden, Max|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Mahon, Mrs Alice|
|Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)||Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)|
|Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)||Meacher, Michael|
|Caborn, Richard||Michael, Alun|
|Callaghan, Jim||Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)|
|Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)||Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)|
|Canavan, Dennis||Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)|
|Clark, Dr David (S Shields)||Mowlam, Marjorie|
|Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)||Mullin, Chris|
|Cohen, Harry||Murphy, Paul|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton N)||Nellist, Dave|
|Cook, Robin (Livingston)||O'Brien, William|
|Corbett, Robin||O'Hara, Edward|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Patchett, Terry|
|Cousins, Jim||Pendry, Tom|
|Crowther, Stan||Powell, Ray (Ogmore)|
|Cryer, Bob||Prescott, John|
|Dalyell, Tarn||Quin, Ms Joyce|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l)||Radice, Giles|
|Dixon, Don||Randall, Stuart|
|Dobson, Frank||Redmond, Martin|
|Doran, Frank||Rogers, Allan|
|Duffy, Sir A. E. P.||Rooney, Terence|
|Dunnachie, Jimmy||Ruddock, Joan|
|Eadie, Alexander||Sedgemore, Brian|
|Enright, Derek||Sheerman, Barry|
|Fatchett, Derek||Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert|
|Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)||Short, Clare|
|Fisher, Mark||Skinner, Dennis|
|Flannery, Martin||Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)|
|Foster, Derek||Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)|
|Gordon, Mildred||Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)|
|Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)||Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam)|
|Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)||Soley, Clive|
|Grocott, Bruce||Stott, Roger|
|Hain, Peter||Vaz, Keith|
|Hardy, Peter||Wardell, Gareth (Gower)|
|Harman, Ms Harriet||Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)|
|Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Williams, Rt Hon Alan|
|Haynes, Frank||Winnick, David|
|Henderson, Doug||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Hoyle, Doug||Mr. Jack Thompson and|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport E)||Mrs. Llin Golding.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
That the draft Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 (Continuance) Order 1992, which was laid before this House on 12th February, be approved.