Diplock Report

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th December 1972.

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Photo of Mr Philip Goodhart Mr Philip Goodhart , Beckenham 12:00 am, 14th December 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects to receive the report from Lord Diplock on the administration of justice and the combating of terrorism in Northern Ireland.

Photo of Mr William Whitelaw Mr William Whitelaw , Penrith and The Border

I received the report of the commission chaired by Lord Diplock on 6th December and it is now being considered by Her Majesty's Government. I am extremely grateful to the commission for the speed with which it has completed its difficult task.

Photo of Mr Philip Goodhart Mr Philip Goodhart , Beckenham

Will the report be published? Now that Lord Diplock has finished his task so swiftly, will my right hon. Friend consider a suggestion that he should be asked to turn his attention to the problem of combating terrorism in other parts of the United Kingdom?

Photo of Mr William Whitelaw Mr William Whitelaw , Penrith and The Border

On the first point, the report will be published. On the second point, I am very pleased to confine my responsibilities to Northern Ireland.

Photo of Mr Peter Archer Mr Peter Archer , Rowley Regis and Tipton

Will the right hon. Gentleman publish his proposals for a Bill of Rights before the border poll?

Photo of Mr William Whitelaw Mr William Whitelaw , Penrith and The Border

I cannot make any such commitment. I shall merely consider what the hon. and learned Gentleman has said.

Photo of Mr Stanley McMaster Mr Stanley McMaster , Belfast East

When does my right hon. Friend intend to introduce legislation, if any is required, to implement the Diplock recommendations?

Photo of Mr William Whitelaw Mr William Whitelaw , Penrith and The Border

The first thing is for the Government to consider the report and to publish it so that it may be considered, and then the question of legislation will arise—but that must be a matter for my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House.

Photo of Mr Merlyn Rees Mr Merlyn Rees , Leeds South

Referring to the answer which the right hon. Gentleman gave to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. Peter Archer) on the subject that we discussed at length the other evening, may I ask him to consider the point that my hon. and learned Friend has made—and which we made the other night—that the Diplock terms of reference were drawn up on a narrow front? Before a decision is taken on the implications of Diplock, will there be wider consideration, in the context of a Bill of Rights?

Photo of Mr William Whitelaw Mr William Whitelaw , Penrith and The Border

I certainly note and will consider what the hon. Gentleman has said.