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Rhodesia (Bingham Report)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th December 1979.

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Photo of Sir John Morris Sir John Morris Shadow Attorney General 12:00 am, 19th December 1979

I am sure that the whole House, and the Opposition especially, will want to study with great care the important statement made by the Attorney-General. The right hon. and learned Gentleman is dealing with a matter of grave concern not only to the United Kingdom but to countries abroad, and to all those who have been concerned with clear breaches of law in this country. It is a matter of grave importance for those who are concerned with the rule of law—be it in our domestic matters or in international matters, and in the matters contained in the statement especially—that on the advice tendered to the Attorney-General it appears that we cannot now deal with these matters in the proper way, which is in the courts. That is a matter of regret. Against that background we shall want further time to consider the issue.

How many companies and individuals have been prosecuted so far for breaches of sanctions, and what have been the penalties imposed? It there not a danger, as is manifest in the conclusions to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has come, that the minnows have been dealt with and that it is not possible, for whatever reason, to deal with the big fish? Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman recall that the House resolved that there should be an inquiry into the whole affair and that a contrary view was taken by another place? What is the Government's view about a further inquiry?