Prisoners and Human Rights

Contingencies Fund, 1977–78 – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29 March 1979.

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Photo of Mr Evelyn King Mr Evelyn King , South Dorset 12:00, 29 March 1979

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has and what investigations he has made as to the state of prisons and any infringement of human rights existing therein in countries with which the United Kingdom have extradition treaties.

Photo of Dr Shirley Summerskill Dr Shirley Summerskill , Halifax

Our diplomatic representative in the country concerned would keep the United Kingdom Government generally informed of such matters. We would ask for specific inquiry to be made before deciding whether to order the surrender of a fugitive committed by the courts in any case where there was reason to suspect that the penal or judicial system of the requesting State was unacceptable.

Photo of Mr Evelyn King Mr Evelyn King , South Dorset

Does the Under-Secretary of State accept that where prison conditions in other countries are less satisfactory than they should be, there is good ground for revising extradition treaties? Will the hon. Lady have regard to recent cases in that respect?

Photo of Dr Shirley Summerskill Dr Shirley Summerskill , Halifax

The Extradition Act 1870 is being further examined by an interdepartmental working party. No doubt it will take that matter into account.

Photo of Mr Enoch Powell Mr Enoch Powell , South Down

Is the Under-Secretary of State aware that the temperate nature of her statement of the policy of the Government contrasts favourably with the behaviour of politicians in foreign countries who see fit to pontificate in public on inadequate, and in many cases false, evidence, upon the conditions in Her Majesty's prisons?

Photo of Dr Shirley Summerskill Dr Shirley Summerskill , Halifax

The Government have certainly noticed that.

Photo of Mr Chris Price Mr Chris Price , Lewisham West

Will my hon. Friend have another look at the case of Mr. A. J. Simpson, about whom I have already written to her? Is she aware that before he was extradited to the United States she gave me her solemn assurance in writing that he would not be subjected to solitary confinement as part of his sentence? Is she aware that that assurance has been completely and flagrantly broken and that he is now in solitary confinement? When can I expect a reply to my letter?

Photo of Mr Hugh Dykes Mr Hugh Dykes , Harrow East

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he has prepared any guidance to candidates in the European elections as to when they can commence formal campaigning under the European Assembly Elections Regulations 1979.

Photo of Mr Hugh Dykes Mr Hugh Dykes , Harrow East

Would it not be helpful to give guidance, because in this case the election date is fixed and therefore there is confusion?

Photo of Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop , Tiverton

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Somebody appears to be taking photographs with a flashlight. Is that not out of order in the House?

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

It is highly irregular for anyone to take pictures in the House. No doubt, if it is not on the Floor of the House, the matter will be attended to.

Photo of Mr Hugh Dykes Mr Hugh Dykes , Harrow East

Would not a guidance document be helpful, because candidates are confused about when they will be campaigning officially? Is the commencement date for the campaign 7 May?

Photo of Mr Brynmor John Mr Brynmor John , Pontypridd

The date will be 2 May when the formal step is first taken. There is no difference from a parliamentary election, in the sense that if a candidate spends money to promote his candidature he must be prepared to include that in his return of expenditure.