HL Deb 08 March 1984 vol 449 cc370-82

3.40 p.m.

Report received.

Clause 11 [Information about acts of terrorism]:

Lord Wigoder moved Amendment No. 1: Leave out Clause 11.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move that Clause 11 be left out of the Bill, and I do so even though I recognise that as a provision it is a substantial improvement on the form in which it existed in the previous Act. That comes about as a result of the Government's acceptance of several of the recommendations by the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, as to the way in which the provision should be improved. As your Lordships will all recall, the clause provides that a person, who has information which he knows or believes might be of material assistance…in preventing the commission by any other person of an act of terrrorism", commits a criminal offence if, without reasonable excuse, he does not inform the police of that information. I venture to regard this clause as the most otiose and objectionable of the whole Bill, and I say that making it clear, if I may, that I am a supporter of the Bill and have no desire whatsoever to weaken its impact in any way.

The provision in Clause 11 is one which has given cause for much anxiety in recent years. Your Lordships will recall that the report of the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, after considerable and careful examination of the issues, came down against renewing this power. The report by the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, after very careful argument, came down marginally in favour of renewing the power. There is scope here, I believe, in particular among those who support the Bill, for honest disagreement as to the impact and the desirability of this clause. The effect of the clause—putting it in terms of perhaps an extreme, but by no means improbable, case—is that if, for example, a housewife in Northern Ireland happens to hear from somebody that her husband may be contemplating the commission of an offence in the near future, she is committing a criminal offence if she does not at once go to the police and report that information.

I would suggest that on that basis there are really four objections that can be made to the clause. First, it is totally unrealistic. It is simply not appropriate to regard as plausible the creation of a criminal offence of that kind in a situation such as exists in Northern Ireland, with all its fears, anxieties, distrusts, reprisals, hostage-taking and so forth. I can speak about those matters only at secondhand, using my imagination, but no doubt many of your Lordships were fortunate enough to hear the noble Lord, Lord Fitt, speak at firsthand about them during the Committee stage of the Bill, and anything that I could say would I think only weaken the impact of anything that I suspect, and hope, he is going to say about this particular clause. So, as I say, first of all the clause is unrealistic in the terms of life as it is lived on the streets and in the houses, flats and apartments of Northern Ireland.

Secondly, the provision in the clause has proved itself to be very largely ineffective, and indeed the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, was dubious about the effects and indicated that the legislation could be operated perfectly satisfactorily by the police without the inclusion of this particular power. In Great Britain, from 1974 to the end of 1983, 10 people were convicted under the relevant section of the previous Act. Of these people, only two were sent to prison and the sentences were less than 12 months, which appears to indicate that no very serious criminal is being caught by this particular provision. In Northern Ireland over the eight-year period I think 22 people have been convicted. I have not been able to ascertain what happened to those 22 people. I asked the noble Lord the Minister whether he would be kind enough to write to me before the Report stage, but I can understand that he has been somewhat pre-occupied with other matters. The only importance of trying to discover what happened to those 22 people lies in the point that again it would indicate whether they are serious criminals in possession of really important information who are being caught by the provisions, or whether, as I rather suspect, the contrary is very much the case.

Thirdly, this offence is one which has certainly been unprecedented in the criminal law in our lifetime. I say that because I do not again want to get involved in an altercation with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, who at the Committee stage referred to matters of English law going back some 400 years or so. Leaving that on one side, if I may, I put forward a proposition to which I hope the noble and learned Lord will assent on this occasion, which is simply as follows. In this century there is no recorded case of there being convicted of a criminal offence a person whose only action has been to hear that somebody else might be going to commit a criminal offence and who has not himself in any way been a party, an accomplice, or a conspirator in the commission of that offence. Further, I very much doubt whether it has ever been remotely contemplated by anybody that that should have been done.

I believe that the clause confuses the concept of a moral duty with the concept of a legal duty. I can well understand the moral duty that may rest upon certain people, in certain circumstances, who happen to come into possession of information, to hand it over to the police. But to make it a legal duty, to make it a crime to fail to do that, is, as I said when I began my few observations, not really in accordance with common sense.

The fourth observation that I want to make about the provision as it stands concerns a matter that is not only of historical interest. The provision was introduced—I was going to say by chance, but certainly without any great premeditation—at a very much earlier stage, in one of the earlier Bills, as a result of a Back- Bench amendment. It was never contemplated by the Government, nor indeed by those who advise them, that this was a power that was needed and ought to have been in the original Bill.

Those are the observations that I should like to put forward to your Lordships as reasons why the Bill would be a better Bill if Clause 11 were omitted. I do not, may I add, want to go on to the issue that was raised in Committee as to whether the clause in addition to the points that I have mentioned, would have a possible impact upon the freedom of the press and the rest of the media, because I believe that that would be to introduce into this discussion a form of special pleading and to start to suggest that perhaps certain people should have certain privileges which are not available to the community as a whole. I should rather not pursue that line; I believe that the case is strong enough not to have to do so. I would venture to suggest to your Lordships that the Bill would not be weakened by the removal of the clause, but would be strengthened. My Lords, I beg to move.

Lord Denning

My Lords, I still hope that your Lordships will retain the clause. My noble friend Lord Wigoder is quite right in saying that in this century there has been no prosecution for misprision of a felony that may be committed, or is about to be committed. But in respect of a theft or other crime that had been committed and an individual who knew about it not telling the police, as he should have done, there was in 1960 a prosecution and a conviction. It was a simple case which might occur at any time. The owner of a car let it out, and the hirer dealt with it fraudulently. Then, in order to track down the matter the police went to the owner, and instead of telling the police the truth about it and telling them to whom he had let the car he told a lie and put the police off the scent.

These statements putting the police or the authorities off the scent were clearly misprision of felony and the court, presided over by my noble and learned friend Lord Parker, so held. That was the position only 20 years ago when misprision of felony was applied to a man who put the police off the scent. As I stated in Committee on this Bill the House of Lords in 1962, when I was presiding, declared that it was still an offence in English law. It was only taken away—by mischance, almost—in 1967. That is in regard to offences that have been committed where you want to trace the offender. Surely, a person who knows what has happened and puts the police off the scent is guilty of an offence. More important is the case in which a person knows that a bomb is to be planted or that a bank raid is to take place. That is a matter of general law. However, if a bomb is to be planted, an ambush laid, or whatever may be the case, the person ought to tell the police. If he tells the police, the bombing and the murders could be prevented. If he does not tell the police or perhaps even puts them off the scent, is that to be, or not to be, an offence? Under this clause it will be an offence, repeating in some respects what has existed in Northern Ireland before.

I submit that it is a matter of justice to the community as a whole. An individual who withholds information that could save lives is quite properly to be brought before the court. The illustration given by the noble Lord, Lord Wigoder, was that of a wife or mother of a terrorist. They might well have a reasonable excuse for not informing. This clause only applies when the information is withheld without reasonable excuse. The instances that I have put are those in which there is no reasonable excuse for the individual who knows that a terrorist crime has been committed or is about to be committed. That person is rightly to be guilty of an offence that extends back hundreds of years in our law.

Although statistics may show that there are not many prosecutions, the number of prosecutions does not test the efficacy of the law. When the police can remove a person's doubts and tell that person that it is his duty to tell them what he knows, it may help them in getting vital information. Statistics do not count. I recognise what the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, said. However, the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, in an excellent report, following careful examination, recommended that the clause should be retained. In exceptional cases, concerning relatives and so forth, it should not apply. I ask your Lordships to retain the clause.

Lord Fitt

My Lords, I have advanced arguments against this clause in another place and in this House. It is obvious from the remarks made today that none of us has found a Damascus road since we last debated the matter; none of us has been converted into a change of opinion. I wish briefly to say, again and again, that this clause is superfluous to the Bill. The clause will not strengthen the Bill. In the eyes of many people, the clause is completely unrealistic. I do not know whether the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, knows this, but there are people in Belfast and in Northern Ireland generally who do give information to the police about both crimes that they think are about to be committed and those which have been committed. We have in Northern Irleand a confidential telephone, which is used frequently, as the authorities will confirm. It is the position therefore that people do give information to the security forces without the compulsion that appears to be contained in this clause. I believe that those who are going to give information to the security forces will not be influenced by this clause. Those who are not going to give information will not be prepared to change their minds because of the existence of this clause in legislation.

This may be an appropriate time, since we are discussing the prevention of terrorism, to express our regret over the brutal and vicious murder of the young prison officer buried today in Belfast. There must be thousands of people now living in Northern Ireland who have been aware that a terrorist crime is going to be committed or that a terrorist crime has been committed. The existence of the Clause 11 offence did not change their minds one way or the other.

I have repeatedly spoken and voted against this legislation. If my noble friends wish to take the issue into the Lobbies this afternoon, I shall again vote against the inclusion of Clause 11. I believe that it is totally unrealistic in the circumstances that prevail in Northern Ireland. Far from helping the Bill, the clause brings it into a certain amount of disrepute.

Lord Hylton

My Lords, like the majority of your Lordships, I hesitate very much before crossing swords with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning. However, it seems to me that we can either rely on the patriotism and civic sense of people at large, or we cannot. If we cannot rely on that sense, this clause will not make them come forward with the evidence.

Lord Shackleton

My Lords, unlike the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, I have such an affection for the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, that I am not afraid of disagreeing with him. His arguments are very powerful. However, as a supporter of the Bill, I am bound to say that we still need to look very closely at every detail. The noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, came to a different conclusion to the one that I reached in my earlier inquiry. The noble Earl had additional information which made him come down on the opposite side. I would, however, say to your Lordships concerning legislation which I have never called draconian—I have, indeed, suggested that it is an excessive description—that the fact remains, for reasons that my noble friend Lord Fitt gave, that it is not really a very good thing to have an Act that people are contravening every day of the year.

There is no doubt that people in Northern Ireland are aware of these matters. To have a criminal offence that is ignored seems, in the first instance, to be bad law. The noble Lord, Lord Wigoder, thought that the argument with regard to the press or the BBC was not a very good one. I am bound to say that it is an extension that nobody foresaw when this particular provision was put into the Bill. I would therefore say to your Lordships that this is not an issue on which we should quarrel on party political grounds. It is one that we should be examining to see whether it is really essential or whether it does damage to the effectiveness of the Act and, incidentally, produces effects that were not foreseen. It is always the danger in dealing with matters of human rights, as we shall be able to say on other matters, that there will be some further extension. I would hope that the public spirit, the BBC and the press will recognise their responsibilities. I am not in favour of having them threatened, as they have been by the Attorney General, and, therefore, with a good deal of reluctance and some hesitation, it is still my view—not because it was my view several years ago—that we ought to leave this clause in the Bill.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Elton)

My Lords, I should begin by saying that I fully understand the concern underlying the arguments advanced by noble Lords against the offence in Clause 11. I have considered very deeply, in consultation with my right honourable friend the Home Secretary and with colleagues in Northern Ireland and elsewhere, whether we could agree to relinquish the clause or to remove Section 1A, to which most criticism has been directed. We have been driven to conclude that we should be wrong to do so, and I must dwell for a moment on that.

It may be helpful to your Lordships if I give some illustration of the kind of case in which prosecutions have been brought for the offence now embodied in Section 11 of the 1976 Act, and which are to be embodied in this clause. In Great Britain, eleven of the 13 prosecutions were against people who had had knowledge of the whereabouts of a notorious provisional IRA terrorist and who had not given that information to the police. The remaining two related to persons who had information about the manufacture of incendiary devices and the whereabouts of weapons stores.

These are serious matters—a dangerous and ruthless terrorist at large in Great Britain, details about weapons and devices which could be used to kill and to maim. People who have this kind of information and do not give it to those who can act upon it and thus save life are actually acquiescing in the bloodshed and mayhem which may follow from their failure of public spirit.

Because of the greater number of prosecutions in Northern Ireland, I cannot be as specific about individual cases there, but I can say a little about the kind of case in which changes are brought. As we all know—and none better than the noble Lord, Lord Fitt; (and I would join with him at this point in his condolences to those so recently bereaved)—one of the ways in which terrorists operate is by hijacking cars or taking over a house to carry out their crime. Clearly, when a person is held prisoner there is no way in which he can give information, but there are cases often involving people who sympathise with the terrorist cause but who do not wish to become actively involved, in which an agreement is made that the police will not be informed about a stolen car or about a house which has been or is to be taken over until a certain period has elapsed. I believe it is right that where people have done this—perhaps in the full knowledge that the car would be used to facilitate an attack or actually to kill somebody, or the house would be used as a snipers' perch—they should be subject to the process of law.

The noble Lord, Lord Fitt, spoke at Committee stage with convincing passion and this afternoon with convincing coolness of conditions in the Province and of the appalling fear in which honest men and women can be put when they are used as the utterly unwilling tools of terrorism or when they are put entirely innocently in possession of information about terrorist deeds and terrorist intentions. The noble Lord reminds us, in the stark language of experience, that people can be threatened with terrible reprisals if they give information that will lead to the arrest of a terrorist criminal or the forestalling of a terrorist crime.

I ought to remind your Lordships of two things. The first is the extent to which the authorities in the Province are now able to keep secret the identity of those who give them such information. The noble Lord himself has drawn attention to one scheme which enables them to maintain secrecy of identity. The noble Lord is familiar with the Confidential Telephone Service. It is open to anyone, anywhere to ring Belfast 652155. No one has to give a name. The calls are not traced. The identity of callers is not known.

If, later, the caller were to fall under suspicion of an offence under Clause 11, to have made the call would be an immediate bar to further proceedings, He, or she, would merely have to say when it was made and if indeed it had been made that would be that—and there would be no publicity. But the noble Lord will say that one cannot always get to a telephone, or that in some cases one can only do so by putting oneself at risk of being suspected by terrorists of giving terrorist secrets away to the police.

There is, as I have said before—and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, has very helpfully reminded your Lordships of it—the defence of reasonable excuse provided in subsection 1. The courts are familiar with conditions in the Province. They are as capable as your Lordships of weighing the terrible conflict of interests, of loyalties, even of instincts, under which people there may be required to live. We ought not to assume that they will in some way forget that they are dealing with human beings who love one another and fear for one another as well as for themselves, and I do ask your Lordships to have confidence in the judiciary to do its job, which is a necessary part of the job of protecting society from both the evil corrosion of terrorism and the unjust operation of the law.

The noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, expressed concern about the possibility that journalists may be hampered in their proper functions by the knowledge that they may be liable to prosecution for this offence. As I said during the Committee debate on this clause, I do not accept that journalists should be under an obligation different from that applied to the rest of the population. If they have information which they know or believe might be of material assistance in preventing acts of terrorism or in leading to the capture of terrorists, and the withholding of such information is an offence under this legislation—as I believe it must remain—it must be an offence for journalists, too.

Lord Shackleton

My Lords, if the noble Lord the Minister will allow me to correct him, I did not say that journalists should be exempted. I said that an unforeseen and undesirable consequence of using this sort of power was that it would hamper them, and that the ordinary moral and disciplinary conditions should apply. I did not suggest that they should be exempted.

Lord Elton

My Lords, I did not wish in any way to misrepresent the noble Lord, and if I have, I apologise. It seems to me there is still force in the argument that journalists should be subject to the same legal and moral obligations as the rest of us, and it ought not to be necessary to distort legislation in order to protect their profession for any purpose.

I am quite clear that there can be no exemption for journalists, and that the safeguards for them must be the same as the safeguards for everyone else. Those safeguards consist principally of the defence of reasonable excuse and the objectivity of the courts. Given the exceedingly modest use that has been made of this power, they will not have need of that safeguard over often.

There is also the reassurance given by paragraph 3, Schedule 3, to which I failed to draw your Lordships' attention at Committee stage and for which the noble Lord, Lord Monson, asked, that proceedings cannot be instituted without the consent of my right honourable and learned friend, the Attorney General or, in Northern Ireland, the Attorney General for Northern Ireland.

The noble Lord, Lord Wigoder, has said it would not be realistic to seek to keep this clause in the Bill and that it confuses moral with legal duty. In the circumstances of Northern Ireland particularly, and in the country at large and generally, there is a lot of advantage if legal and moral duties do unmistakably coincide.

Some of your Lordships view this clause with a certain distaste, and that I understand, but terrorism is a far more distasteful matter. There is no question in my mind that the cure is a great deal better than the disease and it is well worth keeping in the Bill. I hope I have made that clear.

Your Lordships will be looking at this clause not on its own but as a part of the Bill, and you will be looking at the Bill not on its own but in its proper context. An important part of that context is made up of the safeguards to the operation of the Bill as a whole, and the Bill itself provides important safeguards. For a start, Parliament will have an opportunity to scrutinise the case for continuing the Act each year. That is not a new provision and there were some complaints at Committee stage that perhaps Parliament seemed to treat that renewal as routine. The remedy for that must to a large extent rest with individual members of this House and in another place.

A new safeguard in the present Bill is that the life of the Bill, once enacted, cannot be extended beyond five years. Parliament would have to look de novo at the entire Act if it was thought that any of these powers should continue beyond that time. Those are important safeguards. I hope that House will accept that the Government does recognise and welcome close scrutiny of these exceptional powers. It is clear from the Marshalled List, however, that several of your Lordships would like to see some additional safeguards. It is upon that in particular that the Government has focussed its attention since Committee stage.

I do not think that your Lordships would wish me to speak now to the amendments to later clauses. If I were to do so I am afraid that this debate would snowball into confusing proportions. Noble Lords will wish to know, however, that we have proposals on both Clause 12 and Clause 14 which differ from those on the Marshalled List, but which are addressed to the same essential problems. We recognise the desirability of finding something stronger than a merely administrative way of limiting the powers at large in Clause 12. We also recognise the desirability of adding a further dimension, in the form of a commission, to the supervision of the working of the Act which rests at present with the Secretaries of State and Parliament itself.

I do not wish your Lordships to let that earnest of good intentions cloud your judgment of the merits of the present question—that Clause 11 should not stand part of the Bill. Emphatically, I believe that it should do so. My noble friend Lord Jellicoe believes that it should do so. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, believes that it should do so. I hope your Lordships will agree with us all that it should do so.

4.12 p.m.

Lord Mishcon

My Lords, we are dealing in this amendment with a proposal which was put forward by my noble friends and myself and by the noble Lord, Lord Wigoder, and his friends at the Committee stage. It is repeated today from both Benches and it is supported by no less a Member of your Lordships' House than the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, whose report was viewed with the utmost interest and admiration when it came before your Lordships' House. Therefore, your Lordships will find that there is very ample support for the Motion, That Clause 11 should not stand part of the Bill. It means that the Motion has received support from people who have said that they regard this Bill as being a very necessary Bill, and who have supported all its other measures. Why, therefore, is there the thought in their mind that Clause 11 should be omitted?

I intend to deal with only two matters. The first is that those of us who are accustomed to the sanctions of criminal law find this clause offensive in that it does not deal with a perpetrator of a crime or someone who is at all interested in the crime itself; it deals with the failure to give information. We must view this, as the noble Lord, Lord Fitt, has said—and who has had better experience of terrorism than he?—against the background of Northern Ireland in its present lamentable state.

We view it in that context, knowing—and the noble Lord, Lord Wigoder, briefly referred to this matter, but I would like to give a little more detail—that we are dealing with a clause which found its way into the prevention of terrorism legislation by a very odd course. It was not even in the 1974 Bill. It was not even in the 1976 Bill when it first came before Parliament. The first time it ever came into existence at all was by an amendment that was moved at Committee stage and which was at first resisted by the Government as being unnecessary, but eventually the Government had second thoughts in view of the amendment moved by a Back-Bench Member, and it has now found its way into this Bill. So it has not had "an origin of necessity" (if I may put it that way) so far as anyone dealing with this legislation is concerned.

Secondly, the noble Lord the Minister was perfectly fair, as he always is, in referring your Lordships, according to the information given to him, to how this measure was working out in prosecutions that had taken place and in the investigations of the police. One got the impression that it had to be a pretty diehard case—if I may put it that way—before the police even seriously investigated it.

I am going to read to your Lordships from a very recent account of a case under Section 11—the very one with which we are dealing—in the Irish News of 20th February 1984, only a matter of a couple of weeks ago. I am told—and I could not have a better authority—that the Irish News is a most reputable paper and one which is very objective in its editorial policy.

Having said that, let me read to your Lordships this extract. I shall read it in full because I believe that it will weigh with your Lordships very heavily indeed, because it will give your Lordships a completely contemporary idea of the evil of this clause. It is headed, "Escape hostage may be charged". It says: Belfast: A man whose terrified family was held hostage during the mass IRA escape from the Maze jail last year could face criminal charges. An official RUC report on hostage victim 38-year-old Ian McFarlane has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions. RUC sources believe he could be accused of withholding information about the eight escapers who burst into his isolated home last September. For six hours Mr. McFarlane, his wife and three young sons were held hostage at their cottage near Dromore, Co. Down. As they fled, the fugitives made Mr. McFarlane swear on the family Bible that he would not alert police search parties combing the area for 72 hours. A deeply religious church-goer, Mr. McFarlane kept his oath after consulting his local preacher. Since then, the McFarlane family has lived in fear of IRA reprisals and wants to emigrate to England. But the husband cannot leave the North until the DPP decides whether to prosecute. An RUC spokesman said: 'A file on the McFarlane incident and its circumstances has been sent to the DPP for direction"'. I have read an account from the paper concerning the McFarlane family, dated only a matter of three weeks ago. I could not, in my view, put forward a more eloquent argument for the Motion, That Clause 11 should not stand part of the Bill.

Lord Wigoder

My Lords, there is little that I can add to that. Does the noble Lord, Lord Elton, want to say something?

Lord Elton

Yes, my Lords, with the leave of your Lordships' House. The noble Lord has just quoted a specific case with which I am not familiar and which may indeed be sub judice. So I cannot really comment on that specific case. But I did make copious reference to "reasonable excuse", and the noble Lord will probably have some idea of what plea might be entered. But I do not think that I ought to discuss the case further.

Lord Mishcon

My Lords, I was not dealing—and I think perfectly fairly—with what might happen when this matter reached a criminal court. I left my observations—as did the newspaper—with what had happened to that man in regard to police inquiries. In spite of the words "reasonable excuse", the matter has been referred, according to this report and according to an RUC spokesman, to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Lord Fitt

My Lords, will the noble Lord give way for just a moment?—because there are exceptional circumstances in the case which has just been referred to—

Noble Lords


Lord Wigoder

My Lords, I only want to make one or two observations on the points that have been raised in the course of this interesting debate. First, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, referred several times to the position of a person who puts the police off the scent. We are not considering in this clause the question of putting the police off the scent. In this clause we are considering the question of a person who, for particular reasons in particular circumstances, may remain silent. That is all.

In the course of his reply the noble Lord, Lord Elton, gave, first, an example about a person who might know that his car had been stolen and who, by agreement with the thief, remained silent for a particular period of time in order to enable the getaway to take place. Unless I am very mistaken, that would be covered by the common law in any event, because the man would clearly be an accessory to an offence that had been committed, and it certainly would not need this clause to cope with him.

Then the noble Lord, Lord Elton, referred to the arrangements by which anonymous telephone calls can be made. I do not think that that meets the problem at all because over and over again, if a person in the conditions prevailing in Northern Ireland is interrogated, it is bound to be apparent to him who, in fact, has given the information, whether it is by means of an anonymous telephone call or a call to a number that cannot be traced, or whatever it may be. I think that it is an unrealistic safeguard.

Thirdly, the noble Lord, Lord Elton, repeatedly referred to the words "reasonable excuse". Short of duress, I am in some doubt as to whether there would be reasonable excuse. I am in some doubt whether, in the case which the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, raised—and it cannot be sub judice if no charge has been preferred—that reasonable excuse could be put forward, however grave the ordeal the man had, in fact, suffered at the time he was taken hostage.

I would add only one other matter, which is that the noble Lord, Lord Elton, has still, inadvertently, omitted to give the figures as to what happened to the 22 people in Northern Ireland who were convicted under the corresponding section to this one over a period of 10 years. If he would give us the number who were sent to prison and for how long, it might be some indication as to just how seriously the offence is regarded by the Northern Irish courts. If the noble Lord would like to intervene, I am very happy to sit down.

Lord Elton

My Lords, I regret to tell the noble Lord, as a result of inquiries that I made about this on his behalf, as it were, between the stages, in Northern Ireland, that the results of these cases are not separately recorded.

Lord Wigoder

My Lords, I hear that with a certain amount of gloom, if we are to be told at a later stage that there will be particular reviews of the operation of the Act so that the Houses of Parliament can discover just how effective Clause 11 is.

Finally, the noble Lord, Lord Elton, repeatedly referred to people who fail to give information as failing in their public duty or in their public spirit. That may be so, but it depends very much on individual circumstances. But I accept that it may be so. However, what I find quite an unwarrantable intrusion on the ordinary liberties of the ordinary person, particularly in Northern Ireland, is that there should be a law on the statute book saying, in effect, that every failure of that public spirit is a criminal offence. I do not find that acceptable. I know that your Lordships will agree that there is room for an honest difference of opinion about the merits of this clause. I think that at this hour that honest difference of opinion should be expressed in the Lobbies.

4.24 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 1) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 92; Not-Contents, 129.

Airedale, L. Listowel, E.
Amherst, E. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.
Attlee, E. Longford, E.
Aylestone, L. McNair, L.
Banks, L. Mais, L.
Barnett, L. Mar, C.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Mayhew, L.
Beswick, L. Mishcon, L.
Bishopston, L. Molloy, L.
Broekway, L. Nicol, B.
Bruce of Donington, L. Oram, L.
Burton of Coventry, B. Parry, L.
Caradon, L. Peart, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L. Perry of Walton, L.
Collison, L. Phillips, B.
David, B. Pitt of Hampstead, L.
Dean of Beswick, L. Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L. [Teller.]
Denington, B.
Diamond, L. Prys-Davies, L.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L. Roberthall, L.
Elwyn-Jones, L. Rochester, L.
Ennals, L. Sainsbury, L.
Ezra, L. Seear, B.
Fisher of Rednal, B. Sefton of Garston, L.
Fitt, L. Serota, B.
Foot, L. Shackleton, L.
Gaitskell, B. Shinwell, L.
Gallacher, L. Simon, V.
Gladwyn, L. Somers, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L. Stallard, L.
Grimond, L. Stedman, B.
Hale, L. Stewart of Alvechurch, B.
Hall, V. Stewart of Fulham, L.
Hanworth, V. Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Houghton of Sowerby, L. Stone, L.
Hughes, L. Strabolgi, L.
Hunt, L. Strauss, L.
Hylton, L. Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Ilchester, E. Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Irving of Dartford, L. Tordoffi, L.
Jeger, B. Underhill, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L. Wigoder, L. [Teller.]
John-Mackie, L. Wilson of Langside, L.
Kennet, L. Wilson of Rievaulx, L.
Kilmarnock, L. Winterbottom, L.
Lawrence, L. Wootton of Abinger, B.
Leatherland, L.
Abinger, L. Caithness, E.
Adeane, L. Campbell of Alloway, L.
Ailesbury, M. Carnegy of Lour, B.
Alexander of Tunis, E. Carver, L.
Allen of Abbeydale, L. Cathcart, E.
Alport, L. Chesham, L.
Ampthill, L. Clitheroe, L.
Auckland, L. Cockfield, L.
Avon, E. Coleraine, L.
Bauer, L. Cork and Orrery, E.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Cox, B.
Bellwin, L. Craigavon, V.
Beloff, L. Cullen of Ashbourne, L.
Belstead, L. Daventry, V.
Bessborough, E. Denham, L. [Teller.]
Blake, L. Denning, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. Drumalbyn, L.
Brookes, L. Effingham, E.
Broxbourne, L. Elliot of Harwood, B.
Bruce-Gardyne, L. Elton, L.
Ely, M. Onslow, E.
Enniskillen, E. Orkney, E.
Faithfull, B. Pender, L.
Fanshawe of Richmond, L. Pennock, L.
Ferrers, E. Porritt, L.
Fortescue, E. Portland, D.
Fraser of Kilmorack, L. Radnor, E.
Gainford, L. Rankeillour, L.
Glanusk, L. Reigate, L.
Glenarthur, L. Renton, L.
Glenkinglas, L. Richardson, L.
Gowrie, E. St. Aldwyn, E.
Greenway, L. St. Davids, V.
Gridley, L. Sandford, L.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. Selkirk, E.
Sempill, Ly.
Hampden, V. Shaughnessy, L.
Hawke, L. Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Hemphill, L. Skelmersdale, L.
Henderson of Brompton, L. Soames, L.
Hornsby-Smith, B. Spens, L.
Hylton-Foster, B. Strathcarron, L.
Kemsley, V. Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Kinnaird, L.
Kitchener, E. Strathspey, L.
Lane-Fox, B. Sudeley, L.
Long, V. Suffield, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L. Swansea, L.
Lyell, L. Swinton, E. [Teller.]
McAlpine of Moffat, L. Terrington, L.
McAlpine of West Green, L. Teviot, L.
McFadzean, L. Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Macleod of Borve, B. Thorneycroft,, L.
Mancroft, L. Tonypandy, V.
Marley, L. Trefgarne, L.
Merrivale, L. Trenchard, V.
Mersey, V. Trumpington, B.
Middleton, L. Tryon, L.
Milverton, L. Vaizey, L.
Molson, L. Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Mottistone, L. Vickers, B.
Mowbray and Stourton, L. Vivian, L.
Munster, E. Wardm of Witley, V.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L. Westbury, L.
Northchurch, B. Whitelaw, V.
Nugent of Guildford, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.