Northern Ireland (Detainees)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th December 1975.

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Photo of Mr Ian Gow Mr Ian Gow , Eastbourne 12:00 am, 4th December 1975

I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 to discuss a specific and important matter which should have urgent consideration, namely, the release by the Secretary of State of detainees from the Maze Prison. I do not think that I need address you, Mr. Speaker, on the question whether this matter is either specific or important. I confine myself to its urgency. There are four reasons why it is an extremely urgent matter.

First, the Secretary of State has said all along that the question of releasing detainees should be related to the level of violence. The level of violence in Ulster has recently increased, and in my opinion that in itself justifies a revision of tie policy laid down by the Secretary of State.

Secondly, the Secretary of State said that the policy of releasing detainees will be completed before Christmas. That gives us only three weeks to release the remaining detainees. That, again, gives an element of urgency to the matter.

Thirdly, there is the question whether those released from detention are themselves involved in violence after release. On Monday of this week it was reported after an explosion in Belfast that one of the men whose bombs exploded had been released by the Secretary of State in March this year.

Finally, a moment ago I asked whether the Patronage Secretary could find time for us to discuss this matter before Christmas. He confirmed that we could not do so under the normal procedure. That is an additional reason why the House should have an opportunity to debate a matter of supreme importance to the whole country, particularly Ulster.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

The hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gow) was good enough to give me ample notice of his intention to make this application. I have listened carefully to what he said, and I have also had regard to what took place in the House earlier today. My decision reflects not the importance of the subject but the procedural aspects. I do not think it appropriate for such an application to succeed.