HL Deb 01 July 1985 vol 465 cc956-68

2.55 p.m.

Report received.

Clause 2 [Warrants for interception]:

The Lord President of the Council (Viscount Whitelaw) moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 2, line 39, at end insert— (" (2A) The matters to be taken into account in considering whether a warrant is necessary as mentioned in subsection (2) above shall include whether the information which it is considered necessary to acquire could reasonably be acquired by other means.")

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, which I think comes to be associated with that I am now moving, seeks, like his amendment in Committee, to introduce into Clause 2 limitations on the circumstances in which warrants could be issued.

In Committee I said that the Government held to the view, as they had during proceedings in another place, that the incorporation of White Paper language in legislation was extremely difficult. This was not because the descriptions of practice were wrong or that the Government wished to back away from them; on the contrary, I have emphasised to your Lordships that the introduction of this legislation will not be the occasion for any lowering of standards or extension of practice. I also pointed out, as did the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, that the term "necessary" in Clause 2 really was a very considerable limitation. In the light of the views expressed in your Lordships' Committee, however, I undertook to consult my colleagues to see whether something could be done, though I felt unable to give any undertaking that our search would be successful. We have given a lot of thought to this matter since then, and the amendment I now move is in consequence of it. I promised we would try to meet the spirit of the noble Lord's amendment, and I believe we have gone a long way to doing so.

The amendment in my name clarifies "necessary" in Clause 2. When considering whether a warrant is necessary, the Secretary of State will have to consider whether the information in question could reasonably be acquired by other means. He will thus be expressly obliged by law—as, of course, he always is in practice —to examine any alternatives there may be. There could be a number of reasons why they were not suitable. They might simply not work. They might be too slow, and in Committee I pointed out to your Lordships from my own experience just how vital speed could be in preventing some crimes or terrorist outrages.

The amendment also allows the Secretary of State to take proper account of other considerations. For example, it might be likely that alternatives would be discovered, and he ought not to be obliged to reject interception if the consequences of the discovery of other methods would be unacceptably high. Your Lordships can no doubt conceive of circumstances where the premature revelation of an investigation would be disastrous, perhaps because it would allow terrorists to escape and set off bombs another day.

The Government do not believe that the concept of impracticability proposed by the noble Lord in his amendment, with respect to him, takes adequate account of proper considerations of this kind, but—not surprisingly, your Lordships may think—believe that their amendment does. It follows existing practices and allows the Secretary of State to form a balanced judgment in the circumstances of the case. His judgment will of course be subject to review by the Commissioner and the tribunal. Finally, I should point out that by being framed in this way the amendment applies also to the Secretary of State's other warrant powers; that is, renewal and the duty to cancel, which refer back to "necessary" in Clause 2. The noble Lord's amendment does not achieve that.

The noble Lord's amendment also contains a separate element on serious crime. The Government have of course considered carefully whether that could also be incorporated. But the considerations here are rather different, and in our view it would not be appropriate to try to put this particular criterion in the Bill. I think we really do come here to a concept which it was easy enough to express in some non-statutory words to guide the Secretary of State in exercising his discretion, but which is very difficult if not impossible to pin down in precise statutory language. What the 1980 White Paper was clearly getting at was that individual warrants were not to be issued speculatively, in order to acquire criminal intelligence at large. The phrase that comes to my mind, from my time at the Home Office, is "a fishing expedition".

There had to be a clear and definable aim to the warrant, which the White Paper expressed in terms of an arrest and conviction. I am sure that none of your Lordships would dispute the rightness of this underlying principle that warrants in crime cases should be issued for a definite end—the frustration of particular criminal acts and the bringing to justice of those concerned—and not for generalised intelligence gathering. I know that I always made sure that this principle was satisfied before I signed such warrants on serious crime grounds; and I can assure your Lordships on behalf of the Government that it will continue to be applied regardless of the outcome of our present debate.

But when we contemplate putting these matters into statutory form we must consider not only the undoubted need and commitment to observe the spirit of this particular principle but also the precise statutory effect of the words chosen to embody that spirit. That, I am afraid, is where the noble Lord's amendment falls down; and I am afraid too that we have not ourselves found any way acceptably to capture the principle concerned in statutory language, though I can assure the noble Lord that we have looked into this most conscientiously to see whether we could meet him on this as on the other part of his amendment.

Perhaps I could illustrate the difficulty with some examples which are, as I hope your Lordships agree, clearly within the spirit of the White Paper principle, but would unfortunately be difficult to accommodate in a statutory formula reflecting it. The definition of serious crime encompasses acts outside this country. That makes it possible, as has been explained, to authorise interception in the case of an offence overseas; for example, an international drugs ring using this country only for the passage of messages.

It is absolutely right that the United Kingdom should be able to play its full part in the international fight against drugs, but not really practicable to insist that the Secretary of State can do this only if he thinks arrest and conviction likely in a country on the other side of the world. And what of the case of a threatened hijacking? The Secretary of State might be told that interception is very likely to show when and where it is planned, enabling special security measures to be taken. But these measures could very well frighten the hijackers off, so that they cannot be caught. What is the Secretary of State to do: refuse a warrant, even though the crime could have been prevented; or authorise it, but not allow preventative measures, risking loss of life and negating the point of the whole exercise?

These examples of course may be only very exceptional, but by putting the arrest and conviction formula in the Bill there would be no room for such exceptions, however important they were. The Government do not believe that these would be acceptable results and are forced to conclude that this further element cannot be incorporated.

I have sought to show that my colleagues and I did as we promised to do. We considered very carefully what we could do to meet the considerations so effectively argued by the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon. I believe we have been able to meet him on the central issue—that of the use of alternatives—and I hope he will feel that the Bill will be the better for its inclusion. I am of course glad, as in other cases, to give public recognition to the noble Lord's part in its being brought forward. On that basis and in that spirit I commend the amendment in my name to your Lordships. I beg to move.

Lord Mishcon

My Lords, your Lordships will appreciate we are dealing with Amendments Nos. 1 and 2. Amendment No. 2: Page 2, line 39, at end insert— (" ( ) A warrant shall not be issued unless—

  1. (a) no other method of investigation is available, or all other methods have failed or are impracticable; and
  2. (b) in the case of paragraph (b) of subsection (2), there are reasonable grounds for believing that an interception is likely to lead to an arrest and conviction.").
The noble Viscount, with his usual graciousness, kept his undertaking to consider the points that I ventured to make at Committee stage. My main concern and, I believe, the concern of all your Lordships was that we carried out the intent of the White Paper—I am referring to the White Paper of February this year—which stated at paragraphs 18 and 19, on page 8: The enactment of legislation will mean that the grounds on which a warrant can be issued will be expressly set out in statute. The Secretary of State will have to satisfy himself that these grounds are met before he can sign or renew a warrant". I now miss out a couple of sentences to go on to paragraph 19, which states: In all cases the Secretary of State will be empowered to issue a warrant only if he considers that it is necessary to do so for one or more of the purposes prescribed in the Bill". It was because of the anxiety which I know was in every section of your Lordships' House that I tried to get the very matters mentioned in the White Paper contained in the Bill before us. I well recognise that the noble Viscount, in his reply on behalf of the Government, made clear various difficulties that there might be in putting in a statute every one of those considerations, especially those relating to crime. He was kind enough to write to me to explain the Government's thinking on this and to say that he was going as far as he could, after the consideration which he gave to this with his colleagues, to meet the points I made. As I said, he very clearly explained the difficulties in regard to the inclusion of all the matters contained in my amendment.

I repeated the amendment in order, quite obviously, that the Government might have an opportunity of explaining, as the noble Viscount has done, how far the Government could go. I accept the fact that they have gone as far as they can. I can only hope that clear guidelines will be issued in order to effect the safeguards that are set out in the White Paper on the exercise of this very omnipotent power that the Secretary of State is given under this legislation.

Therefore I end by saying that with the leave of the House I will not move my Amendment No. 2, and I thank the noble Viscount for his Amendment No. 1.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 2 not moved.]

Lord Mishcon moved Amendment No. 3: Page 2, line 42, after ("information") insert ("of international importance").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in my view we now come to a very important matter on this Bill. Clause 2, as your Lordships will remember, deals with the question of the necessity for a warrant to be issued—a matter that we dealt with somewhat indirectly on the last amendment. The following words are used in Clause 2(2): The Secretary of State shall not issue a warrant under this section unless he considers that the warrant is necessary". Paragraphs (a) and (b) then set out matters with which I am not concerned in this amendment. However, we then come to a matter mentioned on quite a few occasions, I believe, at Second Reading: (c) for the purpose of safeguarding the economic well-being of the United Kingdom".

In the speech that I made on Second Reading I ventured to suggest that those words were somewhat all-embracing, even though they had the safeguard which was incorporated, and still is, in Clause 2(3) that: A warrant shall not be considered necessary", in respect of that matter, unless the information which it is considered necessary to acquire is information relating to the acts or intentions of persons outside the British Islands".

If one again looks at the Government White Paper upon which the Bill is founded, one sees an interesting paragraph, paragraph 22: The legislation will empower the Secretary of State to issue warrants where they are necessary for safeguarding the economic well-being of the United Kingdom but only if they are for the purpose of acquiring information about matters outside the country". I could quote the various dicussions that took place at the Committee stage about what the White Paper meant and what those words mean, but I do not intend to bore your Lordships with more quotations unless I find it necessary to do so, if I may put it that way, because of the Government's reply. Your Lordships can take it for granted that the purport of the discussions, and, as I understood it, of the Government's answer, was that at all times we were discussing international matters which related to economic affairs and where as a nation we were going to be weakened or affected adversely by the sort of thing upon which interception was desired.

I ventured to say that in my view that was extremely necessary because of the interpretation that might otherwise be given to that power of the Secretary of State which I thought was not highly advantageous, for example, to our merchant bankers. I ventured to instance the case of where a foreign customer was telephoning, or indeed communicating in writing, with his merchant bank, seeking advice as to whether it would be a good idea to sell a considerable amount of sterling and turn it into dollars. I look forward to the time when such communications will be concerned with whether it is worth while selling dollars in order to purchase sterling. But whichever way it may be, it could be argued that they are obvious matters which, if one wishes to interpret very strictly the words at present in the Bill, concern the very economic wellbeing of the country. It did not seem to me to be a very good advertisement for our merchant banks that we were announcing to the world at large that if such conversations took place, interception could take place by a warrant of the Secretary of State.

The noble Viscount, in replying on behalf of the Government, made it clear that that kind of thing was certainly not in the mind of those who drafted this Bill, nor of the Government who are obviously behind the Bill. I venture therefore in this amendment, which I think is a very important one, to make that position abundantly clear. As I understood it, everybody on the Government's side has said that we are dealing with matters of international importance. If that is said clearly in the Bill, we shall all know where we stand. I beg to move.

Lord Campbell of Alloway

My Lords, before I oppose the amendment on practical grounds, perhaps your Lordships will allow me to put the record straight and to apologise to the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, for contradicting him on the effect of the ouster clause at the Committee stage. On that he was right and I am afraid that I was wrong.

The grounds upon which I oppose this amendment are practical, and I shall be brief. The qualification, "of international importance", as I see it, imports into an objective concept—the acquisition of information—a subjective question of imprecise meaning as to what is or is not of international importance. What is relevant in the interests of safeguards against economic sabotage of the United Kingdom is the act or intention of those outside the British Islands, such as they are, to take effect here. It is a question of national importance to acquire that information. With respect, is it really to the point whether the information as such is of importance not only to us but also to other countries?

Therefore is it not impracticable, and could it not be unwise and dangerous—although such of course is not the intention of the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon—to import those words of limitation which, as I see it, could in certain circumstances inhibit the Secretary of State from acquiring information which was of importance only to us but which it was very important that we should acquire? I hope that that is a reasoned objection to some of the problems to which the amendment would give rise.

3.15 p.m.

Lord Denning

My Lords, I hope that your Lordships will not accept the amendment. It is necessary to remind your Lordships what is the role of the Secretary of State when he issues a warrant. It is a wide, almost political, role very often in which he has to make a decision not on a legal matter but on whether it is necessary in certain circumstances to issue a warrant of that kind. We should leave him to make the right and necessary decision. If one pleases, let him have guidelines, but do not put into statute that he must or must not take this or that into account. There is then always the danger of some lawyer or someone else afterwards before the tribunal saying, "Oh, this warrant is bad. It is invalid because he did not take this into account and the statute said that he ought to take it into account". We should widely entrust him to do what in his judgment is necessary and leave him to follow the guidelines which are proper and which have been set out in the White Paper, but do not let us interfere with his judgment by laying down positive rules as to the extent to which he can go. Leave it to his judgment. Do not put words such as this into the statute.

Viscount Whitelaw

My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, that at the Committee stage we had an important debate on an important part of the Bill. I hoped that at that stage I was able at least to put the problem clearly where it belongs, in an international context. In withdrawing his amendment in Committee on the economic criterion, the noble Lord said that he would study very carefully what had been said. I hope, however, despite some of the powerful support which I have had and which I shall come to, he will allow me to cover some of the ground I covered on that occasion, because I believe that it is material to the points that he has raised today. Also, because of the possibility of misunderstanding about this phrase it is right that I should set the matter out once again very clearly. The noble Lord has explained his purpose very properly of seeking to introduce more precision into this part of the Bill. I am bound to tell him, however, that although I fully understand his reasons for wishing to do so, for some of the reasons which my noble friend Lord Campbell of Alloway and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, gave, this is not a change which the Government feel that they can accept.

Your Lordships will appreciate from the exchanges in Committee that this criterion does no more than reflect long-standing practice undertaken by successive Governments of both major parties. It has also been pointed out, but it bears repeating, that the criterion in the form in which it appears in the Bill is very considerably narrower than the provision in the European Convention on Human Rights which it mirrors and which has no qualification of externality at all. In common with a number of other provisions in the Bill it is important to take it as a whole in order fully to understand the restrictions that it contains.

In the first instance, Clause 2(2)(c) specifies that the purpose of the warrant must be the safeguarding of the economy. It is thus essentially a protective measure.

The second limitation is found in the requirement that it is the national economy which is to be safeguarded. The matter must be of significance to the economy of the United Kingdom, not of some small constituent part of it which has no impact on the country as a whole. Finally, and most immediately relevant to the noble Lord's amendment, is the requirement that the purpose of the interception must be purely external. This is secured through Clause 2(3) which the noble Lord seeks to change. It is here in particular that the provision is much narrower than its counterpart in the European Convention.

The information which it is the purpose of the warrant to acquire must be information about the acts or intentions of persons outside the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. As a result, purely domestic developments cannot in any circumstances at all give rise to a warrant on the grounds of their economic significance. I again emphasise to your Lordships that the effect of these restrictions is cumulative: the warrant may be issued only because of what is happening abroad, only to safeguard the economy and only in the economic interests of the United Kingdom as a whole. I do not believe that is vague and I do not believe it gives the Secretary of State undue licence.

I must invite your Lordships also to consider the noble Lord's amendment in this context. In doing so, I cannot give specific examples, any more than I was able to do in Committee, without doing damage to the national interest. On that occasion, however, I referred in a general way to a threat to the supply from abroad of a commodity on which our economy was particularly dependent. Before the Secretary of State could properly issue a warrant he would have to consider the nature of the threat and the significance of it and of the commodity to the economy of the country as a whole. He would also have to satisfy himself that the purpose of the warrant was to acquire information about things overseas.

What does the term "of international importance" add to this? On the one hand, it does not, in the Government's view, appear to enhance the protection to people in this country. That is given by the limitations I have set out. On the other hand, it appears to impose restrictions on the Secretary of State which could in certain circumstances prevent him from continuing long-standing practices and prevent him from effectively safeguarding the country's economy.

The essential point of this criterion is that the Secretary of State is empowered to protect this country's economy from external threats. What matters is the significance of the information to the economy of this country, as my noble friend Lord Campbell of Alloway pointed out, not in the eyes of the international community. I believe it is immaterial what other countries may think of the information or what significance that information may have to their affairs. They might have different sources of supply. They might not rely in the same way on this particular commodity.

The amendment seems to require the Secretary of State to form a judgment about what other countries, or perhaps the international community as a whole, would think of a particular category of information, and empowers him to issue a warrant only if, for reasons unconnected with our economic well being, the information is important to other countries as well. This is a fundamental rewriting of the requirement of externality already contained in Clause 2(3). The information would have to be external not only in its nature but in its significance. Surely, what is required is what the provision secures: that the information is external in its nature but national in its significance.

In responding to the noble Lord's amendment in Committee I pointed out how important a part of our foreign policy was the protection of this country from adverse developments overseas. The protection of our economy at the international level is of crucial importance. I fear that the inclusion of these additional words in the Bill would prevent the Secretary of State from fulfilling his proper task in the national interest of seeking to offer that protection. Of course I know that the noble Lord has no intention of their having that effect.

As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, pointed out in Committee, the provision as it stands allows the Secretary of State to form a proper judgment. He has said the same again this afternoon. That is of course a judgment which can be independently reviewed by the commissioner and by the tribunal, so the Secretary of State is not the final arbiter. In short, as it stands, this provision allows the Secretary of State to perform his duty in the national interest, provides significant and comprehensive protection to people in this country, and subjects everything to independent scrutiny.

I fully appreciate the motives which led the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, to consider whether it was possible to narrow this criterion. I hope that in the detail which I have given in my reply to him I have properly responded to the concern which he felt. However, having heard my explanation I hope he will feel on reflection that what are in the Bill already are very significant restraints and that he will see some of the difficulties with the approach which he has very fairly put forward in this amendment. It is on those grounds, and having given a full explanation of what I recognise as an important matter, that I ask the noble Lord whether he will withdraw his amendment.

Lord Mishcon

My Lords, it is extremely difficult to deal with courteous language of that kind and not seem to be discourteous if one comes to a conclusion which is contrary to that which the noble Viscount would want me to reach. Thus I feel that I am under a duty, in politeness apart from anything else, to explain why it is that I still adhere to this amendment.

Perhaps I may say this to the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, who very graciously said that my views on ouster in relation to another provision of this Bill happened to be correct and his happened to be wrong. The number of occasions when I am sure I am wrong and he is right equal the number of occasions when the reverse is the situation. I hope that we shall continue to exchange these courtesies across the Floor of the House. I am obliged to the noble Lord for what he said.

I turn to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning. Here, I am in some difficulty because the noble and learned Lord is a person with whom it is very difficult to differ on matters of law. However, when one finds occasionally—and it is very occasional—that the noble and learned Lord might have misled himself in the course of an argument, I know he will forgive me if I point it out to him. I thought that the gravamen of what the noble and learned Lord was saying was that it might be that a lawyer would submit to the tribunal formed under this Bill that the Secretary of State had erred in the way in which he had exercised his jurisdiction. The only way in which I gently remind the noble and learned Lord of the position is that under the provisions of this Bill of course no lawyers at all will appear before the tribunal. They will have no right of attendance, and not even any right of representation, although I suppose the tribunal at its discretion may read any written representations. All the tribunal will do will be to meet in secret, as the noble and learned Lord in other helpful contributions that he has made on this Bill has said was indeed so necessary. Therefore, the fact that lawyers might make submissions is I think not going to be a danger because of the procedure we have under this Bill: they will have no right so to do.

It may very well be that there are difficulties in the wording of my amendment, though I do not see them. However, there are far greater difficulties in leaving this position as vague as it is: giving the right to the Secretary of State to issue a warrant to interfere with communications, whether by telephone, radio or in the post, because of the national wellbeing from an economic point of view.

3.30 p.m.

There are all sorts of instances I could think of where your Lordships would not think it proper for the Secretary of State so to do. Indeed, when the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, gently chides me because he says that this question of whether it is of international importance is a subjective judgment, I should have thought that the judgment is much more subjective if the words remain undefined. Everyone seems to think that it has to be of importance as between nation and nation, not necessarily to another nation. But, from our point of view, it will have to be of some international importance if my amendment is accepted.

I feel that it is not a powerful argument—I hope that I shall be forgiven if I say this—to say, as the noble Viscount did to me, that we are copying the words of the convention that is set out as an appendix in Annex 1 to the Government White Paper. If we followed, in our legislation, the wording of conventions issued in Europe, whether by the European Court or by the European bodies, our legislation would be far less precise than we should want it to be. Indeed, in that very paragraph, as I pointed out at Committee stage, there are all sorts of things that were said to be exemptions and exceptions from this rule. There was mention of the protection of health or morals and the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. Those are vague phrases that we would never allow into a statute of this kind. Indeed, we have not allowed them, and the Government have not asked us to allow them.

I turn back, therefore, to the whole basis of my argument. It is all very well to say that a Secretary of State would not do what we did not wish him to do. It is all very well to say that there may be guidelines in White Papers. It is all very well to say, as the noble and learned Lord said, thinking in terms of great Secretaries of State, of whatever political party, that this country has had the privilege of having, that they would not behave in a way that we did not want. We are legislating—this has so often been stated that it is almost a hackneyed argument—for future Governments of whatever nature. We are legislating in a way that may be seen by the world. I say to your Lordships, with all humility, that we must, must, must limit this power to intercept to matters in regard to economic affairs which are of international import. It is upon that basis that I shall seek the opinion of the House.

Lord Maude of Stratford-upon-Avon

My Lords, I have listened with great care to the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon. While I understand that he wishes to limit the power that the Bill gives to the Secretary of State, I simply cannot feel that his amendment is either helpful or practicable. "Of international importance" is something that has to be defined by someone. "Of international importance" surely means that it is not only important to this country but is important to other countries—at least one country overseas—as well. Who decides that it is important to some other country overseas? It seems to me that it would be possible for someone overseas to do great harm to our own economy without their own government or people, or any of their international neighbours, thinking that it was of any importance to them at all. This seems to me not only a matter that is almost impossible to define but one which is in fact liable to lead us into worse difficulties than now. I hope very much that my noble friend will reject the amendment.

Viscount Whitelaw

My Lords, I think that I owe the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, a short answer. Of course, I accept that if he decides that he wishes to take the view of the House, that is perhaps the only way that we can proceed. But, before he does so, I would like to put two points to him. The noble Lord mentions that he would not wish us slavishly to follow the European convention. I would prefer to point out to him that we have not done that. Our provision is, in any case, a great deal narrower than the European convention.

On the second point, my noble friend Lord Maude has made, I think, a major point. The Secretary of State would have to form a judgment, not only of the significance to this country, but, indeed, about what other countries, or even the international community as a whole, might think in this case. That is how the phrase "of international significance" might be interpreted. It would be very difficult for a Secretary of State to decide on this criterion. Frankly, I think that if he had to do so, it would perhaps mean that he would not provide that safeguard to our own national economy that he ought to do.

I would ask the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, to see that, already, the criteria set out are very clear. They affect a judgment that a Secretary of State can make about the situation in this country. I find it very hard to see how he could take a decision on what might be happening in other countries. Indeed, it might be the case that what was very important for the economic well-being of this country would not he important to the economic well-being of the other countries. It might actually be to some extent against their own national interests. Would, then, the Secretary of State not be able to have a warrant to issue in the interests of this country because some other countries in the international community might think otherwise? This is a case that has to be considered on those merits. I apologise to your Lordships for taking more time over the matter, but I accept at once that it is very important. I feel very strongly about the point I have made. It is a point, I must tell your Lordships, that is bound to be in the mind of the Secretary of State, who, in the long run, we are asking to interpret what we put in the statute.

Lord Harris of Greenwich

My Lords, I do not propose to discuss the merits of this proposal except to say, without, I hope, being pompous, that I understood that we were all entitled only to one speech at Report stage. I understood that the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, had replied to this debate. I only say this for the purposes of further debate this evening. I may be wrong, but no doubt this will be explained to me.

Viscount Whitelaw

My Lords, I am always very tentative, in view of my extreme newness in your Lordships' House, to interpret various rules. I understand that Ministers are allowed to make second speeches of brief duration. If I have offended by making a somewhat long speech in the first instance, I did so in the hope, although it does not seem to have been altogether successful, of persuading the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, of the strength of my case. If I made a short intervention afterwards, it was to add to what I had said previously. If either the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, or myself, in making a second speech, have transgressed the rules, we are wrong. I apologise, but I should like to say to the noble Lord that we were discussing a matter that is very important. It was right that we should have discussed it.

Lord Mishcon

My Lords, with the leave of the House, which I think is the well worn expression before one commences to speak—before one even gets the leave of the House—may I say at once that this is important? As I am sure the noble Lord, Lord Harris, would immediately concede, we wanted to hear the noble Viscount's reply. I am put in a difficulty because I have a reply to his reply. I do not think that it will be sensible, even with the leave of your Lordships, to say more than one sentence. I hope that I can limit it to one sentence. It is this. Quite obviously, "international import", means that it is of great importance to this country and affects another country. It has not got to be important to the other country. Having said that, I rest my argument. I feel that it is so important that one should have the view of the House that I intend to test it.

3.40 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 3) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 45; Not-Contents, 91.

Ardwick, L. Leatherland, L.
Birk, B. Listowel, E.
Blyton, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.
Boston of Faversham, L. Milford, L.
Bottomley, L. Mishcon, L.
Briginshaw, L. Molloy, L.
Brockway, L. Morton of Shuna, L.
Bruce of Donington, L. Nicol, B.
Caradon, L. Oram, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L. Phillips, B.
Collison, L. Pitt of Hampstead, L.
David, B. [Teller.] Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L. [Teller.]
Davies of Leek, L.
Davies of Penrhys, L. Rea, L.
Dean of Beswick, L. Serota, B.
Elwyn-Jones, L. Shackleton, L.
Ennals, L. Shepherd, L.
Fisher of Rednal, B. Stewart of Fulham, L.
Gallacher, L. Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L. Strabolgi, L.
Houghton of Sowerby, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L. Turner of Camden, B.
Kissin, L. Wilson of Rievaulx, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E. Fraser of Kilmorack, L.
Ampthill, L. Glenarthur, L,
Annan, L. Gray of Contin, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Gridley, L.
Beloff, L. Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L.
Belstead, L.
Berkeley, B. Halsbury, E.
Bessborough, E. Home of the Hirsel, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. Hooper, B.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Hylton-Foster, B.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Ilchester, E.
Caithness, E. Kimball, L.
Cameron of Lochbroom, L. Kinloss, Ly.
Campbell of Alloway, L. Kinnaird, L.
Campbell of Croy, L. Lane-Fox, B.
Cayzer, L. Lauderdale, E.
Cottesloe, L. Long, V. [Teller.]
Cowley, E. Luke, L.
Cox, B. Malmesbury, E.
Crawford and Balcarres, E. Marley, L.
Davidson, V. Marsh, L.
De Freyne, L. Maude of Stratford-upon-Avon, L.
De La Warr, E.
Denham, L. [Teller.] Merrivale, L.
Denning, L. Mersey, V.
Drumalbyn, L. Milverton, L.
Dudley, B. Molson, L.
Effingham, E. Mottistone, L.
Ellenborough, L. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Elton, L. Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Faithfull, B. Norwich, Bp.
Nugent of Guildford, L. Stamp, L.
Pender, L. Sudeley, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L. Terrington, L.
Porritt, L. Teviot, L.
Portland, D. Trefgarne, L.
Rankeillour, L. Trenchard, V.
Rawlinson of Ewell, L. Vaux of Harrowden, L
Rodney, L. Vickers, B.
Russell of Liverpool, L. Vivian, L.
St. Aldwyn, E. Westbury, L.
St. Davids, V. Whitelaw, V.
Sandford, L. Wise, L.
Seebohm, L. Wynford, L.
Sempill, Ly. Young, B.
Sharpies, B. Young of Graffham, L.
Skelmersdale, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.