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I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
When, last March, my noble Friend Lord Whitelaw asked the House to renew the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1976, he said that the Government intended to introduce a Bill to replace the Act. Subject to the consultations that were then in progress, it was intended that the Bill would implement the changes recommended by Lord Jellicoe, whose review of the operation of the 1976 Act was published in February.
The Bill we are debating today incorporates the changes recommended by Lord Jellicoe. They are designed to ensure that the law achieves what Lord Jellicoe saw as the proper balance between the safety of the public and the rights of the individual.
The first Act was passed as an emergency measure in November 1974 in response to an intensive campaign by the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland and on the mainland. In the first 20 days of that November there had been 11 attacks on the mainland, killing four people and injuring 35, and on the night of the 21st explosions in two Birmingham pubs killed 21 and injured another 183 people. The Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Bill was introduced on 27 November, passed through all its stages in one day, and came into force on 29 November. It was renewed six months later, and in 1975 a new Bill was introduced to give Parliament the opportunity to debate the provisions in more detail than had been possible in 1974. That Bill became the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1976, which will be repealed by the Bill we are debating today.
Both the previous Acts of 1974 and 1976 have been subject to renewal by Parliament at regular intervals— six months and one year respectively. That has served to remind us all that the powers that it bestows on the Secretary of State and the police are exceptional, not to be taken for granted, and to be exercised only with the greatest care and consideration. As the fourth Home Secretary to be called on to exercise those powers, I can acknowledge readily that, in other circumstances, I would regard them as wholly unacceptable. But, like my predecessors — and like both Houses of Parliament, which have renewed them on nine occasions — I am certain that the powers form an essential part of our armoury in the fight against terrorism.
The threat from terrorism is the most direct challenge facing society today. Fortunately, there has not been an Irish terrorist incident on the mainland since the London park bombings last year. But that is not because the terrorists have lost their will. That is, sadly, shown clearly by events in Northern Ireland. The Provisional IRA and INLA are constantly working towards and planning equally bloody attacks in Great Britain. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the dedicated work of the police who follow up the most tenuous leads and piece together evidence. They provide a bulwark against further outbreaks of senseless violence. The day-to-day work involved is hard, unremitting and sometimes dangerous, and its successes must often go unknown and unrecognised by the public. But we must be all the more grateful to those who do this work and take the risks on our behalf.
The Bill gives the Secretary of State power to proscribe organisations concerned in Northern Irish terrorism, and creates a range of offences connected with such organisations. It enables him to exclude persons from the United Kingdom, from Great Britain or from Northern Ireland if it seems to him expedient to do so to prevent acts of terrorism. Part 3 makes it an offence to contribute or solicit support for acts of terrorism, and to withhold information about such acts. The Bill also gives the police the power to arrest suspected terrorists without a warrant and to detain them for a limited period, which may be extended with the authority of the Secretary of State.
I do not propose to deal in detail with all the provisions, but will focus on the major powers in the Bill, and above all on the changes that it makes to the provisions of the 1976 Act. The first of those changes related to the powers of arrest and detention. In giving the police those powers, the 1976 Act stated explicitly in every section, except those relating to arrest and detention and to the port powers, that the acts of terrorism referred to are acts of terrorism concerned with Northern Irish affairs. The intention was to provide a power to detain a person who was suspected of being a terrorist, even though it was not known what cause he supported. But it was nevertheless made clear during the passage of the 1976 Act that that section, like the Act as a whole, would be used to combat Northern Irish terrorism and not, knowingly, against other terrorist groups. That undertaking has been honoured.
But, as well as the threat from Irish terrorism, there is a newer danger facing us today—from members of international terrorist groups, often with middle east connections, who have in recent years operated increasingly in the capitals of Western Europe. We have had our share of this violence. I need only remind hon. Members of the shooting of the Israeli ambassador here in London last summer—an assassination attempt for which those responsible are now serving long sentences. We fully recognise the seriousness of the threat to public safety posed by international terrorism. And so we have accepted Lord Jellicoe's recommendation that the power of arrest and detention, which was introduced to counter the threat posed by Irish terrorists, should be applied also to international terrorists.
We have also accepted Lord Jellicoe's view that those powers should not cover groups concerned in what he defined as "domestic terrorism"—that is, terrorisim directed at influencing the internal affairs of the United Kingdom with the exception of Northern Ireland. Clause 12 has been drafted in such a way as to exclude the activities of, for example, Welsh and Scottish extremist groups. To date, mercifully no "domestic" group has been seen as posing a threat to public safety which is at all comparable to that posed by Irish or international groups. Should the picture change, the Government would, of course, be ready to consider asking Parliament to extend those powers as necessary.
It is only the powers of arrest and detention which we propose should be extended to international terrorists. This is because powers are needed only for purposes which cannot be fulfilled in any other way. For the most part the international terrorists at whom the extension in clause 12 is directed will be foreign nationals. The powers in the immigration legislation will provide adequate means of keeping them out of the United Kingdom without the need to resort to the exclusion powers in this Bill. The proscription arrangements, too, would not be relevant to an organisation which does not recruit, to a significant level, in the United Kingdom.
I must make it quite clear that the Government are determined to pursue a policy of close co-operation with other countries to stamp out international terrorism. Our police and security forces work closely together. A notable example of that was the interception at Le Havre of a large consignment of weapons, bound for the Republic of Ireland. I have no doubt that their ultimate destination was the armouries of the Provisional IRA. The success of the operation was the result of co-operation between the authorities in a number of countries.
I gave it as an illustration not of the impact of this Bill, which has not yet come into effect, but rather of the international co-operation which is a crucial part of the battle against terrorism. I hope that the House will allow me the indulgence of giving that illustration, as an illustration of that point and of that point only.
Several of Lord Jellicoe's recommendations were designed to improve the exclusion order system. Under the present arrangements there is no time limit on such orders. Although they may be reviewed after three years, they have an indefinite life. Lord Jellicoe recommended that orders should have a life of three years, after which they would lapse.
In making this recommendation, Lord Jellicoe said that he was not implying any criticism of the three-year review procedure. He felt that something more was needed— that the Secretary of State should need to justify the continuance of the order, rather than expecting the excluded person to provide grounds for its revocation. It would be open to the Secretary of State to make a new order against someone who was the subject of an earlier, expired order. The Government have accepted that recommendation.
The 1976 Act lays down a number of conditions which may exempt a British citizen from the exclusion order procedure. Under sections 4 and 5 of the Act a British citizen may not be excluded from a part of the United Kingdom— either Northern. Ireland or Great Britain—in which he has been ordinarily resident for 20 years. Lord Jellicoe recommended that this qualifying period should be reduced to three years. We have accepted that change, which is designed to ensure that the exercise of the power to exclude does not involve uprooting people from areas where they have been settled for many years, resulting in bitterness, the break-up of families and increased alienation from society.
A further change recommended by Lord Jellicoe and incorporated in the Bill is designed to encourage more excluded persons to make use of the system under which they may make representations against exclusion. Under the present system an excluded person may make representations within 96 hours of being served with the exclusion order and may include in them a request for an interview with one of the advisers appointed by the Secretary of State, to whom all such cases are referred. But an interview can be granted only if the subject has not yet been removed from that area from which he is excluded. That means that, in practice, a person who makes representations must remain in custody until an interview can be arranged, if he has requested one, and subsequently until the Secretary of State has considered his representations and the adviser's reports and has reached a decision in the case.
Lord Jellicoe suggested that the combined effect of the 96-hour rule and the fact that there is no entitlement to an interview after removal created a disincentive to make representations—a view supported by the fact that only 44 people have done so since 1974 out of nearly 300. He therefore recommended that there should be an absolute right, within the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, to an interview with an adviser, and that the period within which representations may be made should be extended to seven days. In accepting these recommendations we have introduced a further extension which is designed to reduce the time spent in custody by encouraging people to agree to be removed from the area from which they are excluded. Accordingly, for those who do agree to this, the Bill provides for the deadline for making representations to be further extended to 14 days.
Now that I have explained the changes to the 1976 Act, I shall deal briefly with each of the present Bill's parts.
I begin by drawing attention to clause 17. It affects the whole character of the Bill by providing that its life shall be limited to five years from the date of the Royal Assent, and that it shall, like the 1976 Act, be subject to annual renewal. The introduction of a limited life reflects the view of Lord Jellicoe, which we share, that
special powers require exceptional safeguards, and it must ultimately be for Parliament, which granted these powers, to satisfy itself that both powers and safeguards are well used and effective".
The introduction of a limited life for these measures will ensure that the need for the powers and their extent will be fully considered in detail and de novo before the fifth anniversary of Royal Assent.
The Home Secretary has been talking about the effectiveness of this legislation. Will he confirm that more than 5,000 completely innocent people, whose only crime was to be Irish, have been arrested under this legislation and subsequently released? Does he not accept that that has been a running sore among many ordinary Irish people and that the legislation has not been effective with them? What code of conduct is contained in the legislation to ensure that people are not manhandled, strip-searched or held in detention for unnecessarily long periods?
I do not for one single moment accept that the numbers to which the hon. Gentleman refers prove that the legislation has not been effective. The use of the powers of detention under the legislation has acted, first, as a deterrent to persons other than the people who have been detained and, secondly, it has in the course of the detention of those concerned enabled some to be excluded and charged on the basis of information obtained and, in the case of many others, enabled information to be obtained that was of direct value in the battle against terrorism, even though it did not lead to action against the people concerned.
It has been made clear not by me but by the courts that that is a legitimate and necessary use of the power. The right hon. Gentleman should be aware that we are discussing a severely limited period of detention, not on the basis of a completely arbitrary exercise of the power, but on the basis of the exercise of the power by the police for 48 hours. For any extension beyond that there is a requirement that the Secretary of State, who is answerable to the House, should be satisfied that the persons concerned have been involved in or are likely to be involved in acts of terrorism. Although I accept that, were the position with regard to terrorism other than what it is it would be intensely undesirable for these powers to exist or be used, I think that in the context in which we live the existence of the power, which has been on the statute book and supported by Governments of both political parties for a number of years, is sadly justified.
Of the Bill's five parts, parts I and III are substantially the same as the equivalent provisions of the 1976 Act: part II relates to exclusion, and part IV, which embodies the powers of arrest and detention, includes the changes that I have already described. Part V includes the change in the duration of the legislation.
Clause 1 gives the Secretary of State the power to proscribe in Great Britain organisations which appear to him to be concerned in terrorism occurring in the United Kindgom and connected with Northern Irish affairs. The organisations proscribed are named in schedule 1. Clause 1 also makes it an offence to belong to, to invite or provide financial support for, or to arrange a meeting of, a proscribed organisation.
Clause 2 makes it an offence to wear any item of dress or carry or display any article which suggests membership of or support for a proscribed organisation. Neither clause applies to Northern Ireland, where the Secretary of State has separate powers of proscription.
Part II of the Bill relates to the making of exclusion orders. Clause 3 says that the Secretary of State may exercise the power to make exclusion orders
in such a way as appears to him expedient to prevent acts of terrorism
related to Northern Irish affairs. It enables him to revoke an exclusion order at any time and imposes on all orders a time limit of three years. Under the transitional arrangements in clause 18, exclusion orders still in force on the date of Royal Assent will expire three years from that date, unless they are revoked earlier. This will enable all the 280 or so orders now existing to be reviewed during that three-year period so that decisions on whether they should be revoked or remade may be taken.
Will my right hon. and learned Friend make one thing clear? At the end of a three-year period, when an exclusion order under the Bill ceases to have effect, it will, I trust, be open to the police to apply for an extension of that order if they believe it to be justified.
It would be a fresh order, but they would be able to make such an application.
Clauses 4, 5 and 6 relate to the three different types of exclusion order. In each case, before making an order, the Secretary of State must be satisfied that the person in question is, or has been, concerned is the Commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism related to Northern Irish affairs or intends to became so concerned.
I think that at an earlier stage in the Home Secretary's speech he indicated that where terrorism other than that connected with Northern Ireland was in question the effect of exclusion orders from the United Kingdom could be produced under the immigration law.
As the right hon. and learned Gentleman mentioned clause 6, may I direct his attention to subsection (2), which provides that an exclusion order may prohibit a person from being in the United Kingdom. Are not there circumstances in which a person is in the United Kingdom and the immigration law would not permit that person, at any rate as promptly as desirable, to be excluded from the United Kingdom?
I do not think that that would be the case in the circumstances that I have described, but I should like to look further at the point raised by the right hon. Gentleman. I believe that the immigration powers would be sufficient to cover such a case in the circumstances that I have in mind.
Clause 6 is for use against persons who are not British citizens and permits the exclusion of such a person from the United Kingdom.
Clauses 4, 5 and 6 contain a variety of safeguards designed to prevent undue hardship arising from an exclusion order. In all cases, the Secretary of State is required to have regard to whether a person's connection with a country or territory other than the one from which he may be excluded is such as to make exclusion appropriate. For exclusion orders against British citizens, there are two further safeguards. They may not be excluded from both Great Britain and Northern Ireland or from a part of the United Kingdom in which they have been ordinarily resident for three years. As I said, that is a change.
Clause 7 gives excluded persons the right to make representations against their exclusion, and requires the Secretary of State to refer these representations to an independent adviser nominated by him. I have described the changes in those arrangements.
Clauses 8 and 9 are essentially the same as the equivalent sections of the 1976 Act. Clause 8 provides that the Secretary of State may have an excluded person removed if he consents, if he has made representations which have not been accepted, or if he had not made representations within the period specified.
Part III relates to miscellaneous offences. Under clause 10, it is an offence to make or solicit any contributions, whether financial or otherwise, in the knowledge that they will be used for the Commission, instigation or preparation of acts of terrorism related to Northern Irish affairs. Such money is liable to be forfeited following a conviction.
Clause 11 makes it an offence to withhold from the police and, in Northern Ireland, from the security forces any information that might assist in preventing acts of terrorism or in securing the apprehension, arrest or conviction of any person for a terrorist-related offence.
Part IV relates to arrest and detention and embodies the major change that I described earlier—the extension of the police powers to international terrorists. Clause 12 gives the police the power to arrest without warrant a person whom they have reasonable grounds for suspecting of involvement in the Commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism related to Northern Irish or international affairs, of being the subject of an exclusion order, or of having committed an offence under clauses 1, 9 or 10. The major change here from the 1976 arrangements is the explicit inclusion of international terrorism, but a further change recommended by Lord Jellicoe is also included—the removal from the list of "arrestable" offences of the one now to be found in clause 11, which makes it an offence to withhold information about terrorist matters.
A person arrested under clause 12 may be detained for up to 48 hours and, with the authority of the Secretary of State, for up to a further five days. Under the 1976 Act, the Secretary of State could agree to only one extension which could be for any period up to five days. This Bill incorporates a change which will allow the Secretary of State to agree to more than one extension. For example, he might authorise a three-day extension, after which a new application for no more than two further days would be necessary. As with the existing arrangements, the total period of detention will not be permitted to exceed seven days. I hope that by use of this provision it may be possible to ensure that each arrested person spends the minimum possible time in custody.
Two related recommendations made by Lord Jellicoe have already been implemented. A follow-up report is prepared for each extension so that we can consider whether the purpose for which it was granted has been achieved, and thus both monitor individual cases and gain a general impression of how useful this power is. Also, unless circumstances make it impossible, every application for an extension is considered by me personally. If that is not possible, one of my ministerial colleagues takes the decision.
A further group of Lord Jellicoe's recommendations was designed to ensure that people detained under this legislation have the same rights as any other detainees. The Police and Criminal Evidence Bill, which I shall be introducing later this week, will give effect to those recommendations by providing for access to legal advice and for the notification of a relative or friend of a detainee's whereabouts.
I have implemented two more of Lord Jellicoe's recommendations—numbers 33 and 38—by asking Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary to carry out a study of the police work at ports. Lord Jellicoe noted considerable variation between ports in the way in which controls were operated, and identified some deficiencies in the physical accommodation provided in connection with the controls. The study will also cover the recommendation that all passengers on commercial flights and sailings between Great Britain and the island of Ireland should complete landing and embarkation cards.
Clause 13 and schedule 3 empower the Secretary of State to make, by statutory instrument, an order which enables security checks to be made at all ports. We envisage that the order, which will be laid before the House as soon as possible after this Bill receives Royal Assent, will be similar to the one now in operation, but it will incorporate a few changes to reflect recommendations made by Lord Jellicoe.
Each debate on the prevention of terrorism legislation, throughout the nine years of its life, has focused on the need for a balance to be struck between civil liberties and public safety. Introducing the 1974 Act on its Second Reading, the then Home Secretary, now the right hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Jenkins), said:
It cannot be without reluctance that we contemplate powers of the kind proposed in the Bill, involving as they must some encroachment—limited but real—on the liberties of individual citizens. Few things would provide a more gratifying victory to the terrorists than for this country to undermine its traditional freedoms in the very process of countering the enemies of those freedoms. This we must keep in mind not only today but in the future as we persevere in what may not be a short struggle to eradicate terrorism from this country."—[Official Report, 28 November 1974; Vol. 882, c. 634.]
Those words are as true today as they were then, and the end of the terrorist menace is still not in sight.
In March 1977, the right hon. Member for Morley and Leeds, South (Mr. Rees), introducing the debate on the renewal of the 1976 Act, said:
It is right that the balance between civil rights and the need for the protection of our citizens should be weighed up and discussed. There is a balance to be struck, and my judgment is that the continuance of the Act is a necessity."— [Official Report, 9 March 1977; Vol. 927, c. 1475.]
In recent renewal debates, the Labour party has moved appreciably from this position, although it was not until this year that the Opposition decided to vote against renewal.
We have been given notice of the terms of a reasoned amendment which the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) intends to move. Apparently, it will make clear that the basis of the Opposition's rejection of the Bill is that Lord Jellicoe found that there can be no clear proof of the effectiveness of such measures and that some people in Northern Ireland who are opposed to terrorism believe that the Bill will foster support for terrorists.
It is understandable that the Opposition should seek to look to Lord Jellicoe for support for their stance, but I am afraid that I have concluded that the use of this selective quotation implied in the reasoned amendment is not a fair one. There can be no clear proof—there is no question of that—and the Opposition have known perfectly well since 1974 that that was the case, although all those years they supported special measures.
The need for a preventive measure cannot, by definition, be demonstrated in that sort of way, and Lord Jellicoe was bound to say that. But if the Opposition quote Lord Jellicoe they should quote the conclusion that he reached in his review. It was that after nine months of intensive inquiry, completed only a few months ago, he believed that special legislation effectively reduced terrorism and that it should be continued for as long as a substantial terrorist threat remained.
When it comes to the extended detention power just mentioned, Lord Jellicoe concluded:
In the light of my inquiries and of the evidence submitted to me, I have therefore come to the firm conclusion that if the
power of extended detention were abolished, the police both in Northern Ireland and on the mainland would be seriously handicapped in dealing with terrorists.
He concluded that the renewal of legislation was justified and made recommendations, which we are implementing in the Bill, for changes in it taking account of the need to preserve that delicate balance between individual liberties and the protection of the public, which we all have at heart.
I believe that we must strike at that difficult balance. We must provide the necessary powers, provide proper safeguards and ensure that the powers are used fairly. The Bill seeks to strike just such a balance.
I believe that there are many others in the House, not just my right hon. and hon. Friends, who will share my regret that the Opposition once again are departing from the position that they followed so wisely for nine years in the national interest. The previous legislation has been a real asset in the battle against terrorism. The Bill is similar in its essential features, but it incorporates important and useful improvements largely in a liberalising direction. It is important that the House should send the Bill into Standing Committee by a large majority. I invite it to do so.
I beg to move, to leave out from "That" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:
this House declines to give a Second Reading to a Bill which includes the power of arbitrary arrest and detention and the exclusion of British Citizens from parts of the United Kingdom, which is based on a Review that concedes that there can be no clear proof of the effectiveness of such measures, and which, in the opinion of some of Northern Ireland's most distinguished opponents of terrorism, will give nothing but support to the terrorists in Northern Ireland.
In short, I oppose the Bill for reasons of both principle and practice. It seems to me to be wrong in principle because it proposes wholly unacceptable erosions of our civil liberties. It seems to me to be wrong in practice because, far from destroying or even disabling terrorism, it will have the effect of antagonising and alienating law-abiding British citizens.
The objections in principle and the objections in practice cannot be separated. Thanks to the Bill, Irishmen who hate and despise the IRA will be open to persuasion that this Parliament speaks eloquently of liberty from time to time but votes to abandon our cherished liberties when it is urged to do so by the Government.
I know that those of us who vote for the amendment but have voted for the Prevention of Terrorism Act and its orders in the past are required to reconcile those two particulars, and I propose to essay that task immediately. I do not think that performing that duty poses any great intellectual problem.
The origins of the prevention of terrorism powers are not in dispute. The Act which the Bill replaces is the child of what came to be called the Birmingham pub bombings of 1975. I recall that day very well. Six of my constituents were murdered. As a result of those murders — 21 murders in all—the maimings and the damage that was done on that night, the House and the whole country were in an emotional turmoil.
The draconian measures then advanced were accepted for a variety of reasons, all of which I supported and defended at the time and all of which seemed right and perhaps were right at the time. They ranged from the need to take immediate powers to frustrate an imminent and widespread terrorist assault, which some people feared was a matter of days away, to the necessity of protecting the law-abiding majority of Irish citizens living here by demonstrating that the tiny minority of terrorists who lived amongst them would be weeded out and treated with no mercy.
In the eight years since the decision was taken the reasons advanced for renewing the prevention of terrorism powers have changed constantly. Last year's justification was that a few terrorists were still caught and that a great deal of intelligence about terrorists was still obtained.
I say at once, because of what the Secretary of State said in reply to my intervention, that I find the idea of imprisoning innocent men and women so that they may provide information for the police is a power that is inconsistent with the operation of a free society. It is no good the Secretary of State saying to the House that such powers have been endorsed by the courts. They have been endorsed by the courts because the House has passed laws which make it possible for the police to behave in that way. That is the most circuitous argument that the right hon. and learned Gentleman could possibly use. But I say what I tried to say to the right hon. and learned Gentleman during his speech. The idea that innocent men and women may be held in custody for up to seven days simply to obtain information from them seems to me to be a denial of their liberties and a negation of the freedom that we ought to protect.
The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) argues as he has consistently throughout our debates on this matter. May I put to him a question that I think that it is important for him to answer? There are two conceptions of civil liberties. One is the right of someone freely to enter the country, which a cherished civil liberty, if anyone has the ability to do so. The other civil liberty is the right of an individual to go about his business free from molestation, the bomber and the murderer. That is the distinction that the right hon. Gentleman has to draw in striking the balance and defining what he regards as civil liberties.
There is a little intellectual confusion in the hon. Gentleman's terms, but I understand his point. He will recall that I said at the beginning of my speech —and I promise to return to it in a moment—that one of my objections to the Bill was that it did not fulfil the purpose which its proponents claimed. Far from beating the IRA, which I wish to do with as much fervour as the hon. Gentleman, in many ways it helps and comforts the IRA. I propose to turn to that in a moment.
I was trying to deal with the changing nature of the justifications for the prevention of terrorism powers. Once it was because of an imminent assault by terrorists and the need to protect the Irish population. Then it became the need to gather intelligence and to catch a few terrorists.
I know that the right hon. Gentleman would not wish to misrepresent anything that I have said. If I have not made myself sufficiently clear, I would welcome a chance to clarify my views. I did not say that the purpose of the power was to obtain information. As the right hon. Gentleman will see from clause 12:
A constable may arrest without warrant a person whom he has reasonable grounds for suspecting
that he has been concerned in acts of terrorism or for anticipating that he may be concerned in them. The Secretary of State is then faced with the question whether to impose an exclusion order or bring a prosecution. What I have said is that even if, on evidential grounds or otherwise, it is not possible in those cases to bring a prosecution before the courts or even to impose an exclusion order, the fact that information of value may be obtained means that the exercise of the power has not been pointless even though the purpose achieved has not been the purpose enshrined in the statute.
I did not accuse the right hon. and learned Gentleman of regarding that as the sole purpose or virtue of the measure, although I think the records show that one of his predecessors said so. I was about to say that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has produced a new justification, which is, in part, the result of the Jellicoe report. That justification is the need to make sure that London, which is alleged to be a centre of international terrorism, is able to act against terrorism of all sorts.
That justification for what the Home Secretary is proposing is wholly bogus. We have coped during the past 10 years with the circumstances that the Jellicoe report describes, and I do not believe that, were it not for the Irish dimension, the idea of international terrorism would be brought forward as a justification for these powers.
The arguments for the powers have shifted from year to year. The previous Home Secretary, now Lord Whitelaw, had two arguments. He argued that the decline of terrorism proved that the Act was working and must be retained. He also argued that the fact that terrorism was not declining proved that we needed the Act and must retain it. The arguments have always altered in accordance with the intellectual taste of the Minister, but one thing has been repeated time after time. One Home Secretary after another has either expressed the pious hope or made the confident assertion that the powers would not last for much longer. On every occasion, however, we are asked to extend them for a year, five years or an indefinite period. We are moving further and further away from the permanent abandonment of the rules, which would characterise a free society. Arbitrary arrest and arbitrary imprisonment are becoming more and more acceptable as a permanent part of our lives. For that reason, if for no other, a vote against the Second Reading of the Bill is justified.
Although I was not dealing with these matters at the time, I understand it was only earlier this year that the Opposition began to vote against these provisions. What happened between 1982 and 1983 to persuade the right hon. Gentleman that a provision which, broadly speaking, he had been prepared to accept had become unacceptable?
Two things happened. First, I repeat that it is the permanence of the powers, by definition, that makes them more unacceptable. Secondly, the Government refuse to hold an inquiry into the necessity for the powers. The Governrnent have talked —the Home Secretary has talked today—as if Lord Jellicoe inquired into the necessity for the prevention of terrorism powers. In fact, Lord Jellicoe was specifically prevented from doing so by his terms of reference, which required him to examine the powers on the assumption that they were necessary. That is the second point which makes us question the Government's judgment.
On 7 March, against my advice—I was in the No Lobby—the House voted to renew the legislation that will be replaced by this Bill. I said then that to arrest and imprison an innocent man or woman without warrant, and to hold that man or woman in custody without charge, was not only wrong in itself but represented the poising of the Government and the country at the top of a disastrously slippery slope. Once we considered the possibility of denying traditional liberties year after year, we could not know how far we would travel along that path. It is no coincidence that on 7 March the Government proposed that Irishmen—let us not be mealy-mouthed; we are talking about Irishmen—could be arbitrarily arrested, imprisoned and banished to a specific part of the United Kingdom. On 3 June the Home Secretary proposed that Irishmen—he had Irishmen specifically in mind—could be hanged as though convicted, even though no jury had found them guilty of murder.
Once we are prepared to tolerate some erosion of civil liberties, there is no knowing what will follow. If we abandon the principle of rigid adherence to the rule of law and the protection of individual liberty, we cannot be sure what next step may appear acceptable because of our previous conduct.
Every Home Secretary who has advocated the powers under discussion has conceded that they infinge our traditional liberties. In 1981, the then Home Secretary said
they infringe our shared concept of civil liberties."—[Official Report, 18 March 1981; Vol. 1, c. 341.]
In 1982, he was equally precise. He said:
The Prevention of Terrorism Act makes a considerable inroad into the civil liberties of which we are justly proud".— [Official Report, 15 March 1982; Vol. 20, c. 151.]
This year he was just as frank, describing the powers as making
sad inroads into our cherished traditions of civil liberties."— [Official Report, 7 March 1983; Vol. 38, c. 568.]
However, both the previous and present Home Secretary have always managed to reconcile themselves to these unhappy necessities by phrases such as the following, used by the then Home Secretary in March this year:
we must continue to use every practical and useful tool in our hand to frustrate tenon"— [Official Report, 7 March 1983; Vol. 38, c. 567.]
The Home Secretary concluded that the Act is a vital instrument to the end of frustrating terrorism.
Today, his successor has said very much the same thing. He has said that in other circumstances we would regard these powers as unacceptable, but that they are necessary if terrorism is to be beaten. He says that it is necessary to take powers under part I of the Bill to proscribe organisations that promote and encourage violence. If it is any consolation to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, I can tell him that that is the one part of the Bill with which I am in sympathy. I can see no reason why we should tolerate collections on behalf of, and demonstrations in support of, men and women who advocate murder as an instrument of political policy.
The Government have, however, been remarkably selective in their choice of proscribed organisations. I would have more faith in the Government's objectivity on those matters if more organisations, rather than fewer, were proscribed. However, I do not argue this evening about the advisability or propriety of part I of the Bill. It is in reading part II that I begin to feel that the Government are wrong in both principle and practice. Part II proposes internal banishment — a penalty unknown in England between Tudor times and 1976. That penalty has always seemed to me to be deeply offensive to the citizens of Northern Ireland — the Province which becomes the receptacle for most of the excluded persons. I welcome the changes from previous procedure proposed in the Bill. I welcome the decision to make it impossible to exclude a person from an area in which he or she has lived for years. I welcome the limited life of the exclusion order. The hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Griffiths) is no longer with us. I hope that the implication of his wish will not be granted, and that the exclusion orders will not be renewed time after time at the point when they lapse. The principle of requiring a re-application seems to me to be right.
Notwithstanding those two improvements, the Opposition's argument remains one of principle. We are asked to support the internal exile of what amounts to innocent men and women. I shall turn to the concept and definition of innocent men and women in a moment, because my remarks apply with equal force to part IV. Indeed, that part is just as objectionable as part II.
Part IV proposes powers of arrest and prolonged detention. It proposes 48 hours' detention on the sole authority of the police, and a further five days on the Home Secretary's fiat. Although I welcome the small revisions that allow the Home Secretary more flexibility in deciding whether a man or woman should have an extended detention of one, two, three, four or five days, the unacceptable principle remains. According to our law, arrested persons should be brought to court as soon as possible, because, uncharged and untried, they are innocent. The men and women about whom we are talking who are excluded from one part of the United Kingdom and who are arrested and held without charge or conviction are innocent people.
I have made that point in previous debates and someone has always said, as the evening wore on, "Ah, such people may not have been convicted by the courts, but we know them to be guilty even if we cannot prove it." It is said that that is why such people are arrested, and that even if we do not know them to be guilty and cannot prove their guilt, we know that they associate with people who are guilty and reprehensible in every way. If there is any logic, the logic behind the power must lie in the assumption that there are such guilty men and women who cannot be convicted according to the process of the law, but who must nevertheless be detained. I can think of no more dangerous denial of liberty than taking powers to arrest and detain on the basis that such people cannot be convicted in court, but that, as the Government know that they are guilty, they must nevertheless be imprisoned.
Unless we know a man to be guilty and can convict him in this country at least, he should not be arrested, detained or held in those circumstances.
Does my right hon. Friend remember what happened recently in Zimbabwe? The very Conservative Members who seek to introduce this Bill cried out loud—quite rightly in my opinion — about those who were incarcerated by the Government there—[HON. MEMBERS: "For how long?"] —although they had not been found guilty. It does not matter for how long. It is the principle that counts. My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) is making the point that the double standards being employed by Conservative Members cannot possibly lead to anything that will help to end the intractable struggle that we are all involved in.
I had intended to avoid international comparisons but some Conservative Members cried out "For how long?". It seems that we have a new concept of freedom—that it is a free society if people are arrested and detained without trial for a little while, but that it is not a free society if they are arrested and detained for a long time. That is a new concept of our peerless liberties and internal freedoms. However, the former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland seems to be somewhat agitated and may wish to intervene.
I thought that the right hon. Gentleman was arguing about the length of time. He said that it was the understanding in our law that it was all right to arrest someone provided that he is brought before the court as soon as possible. As he well knows, the law does not specify any time. It may be 24, 36 or 48 hours. If someone is detained for longer than that it is wrong. Therefore, I do not quite understand why he should object to hon. Members talking about the length of time.
I shall explain the position to the right hon. Gentleman. I had assumed that he understood the legislation before us. My complaint is that according to our normal procedures a man or woman is brought to trial at the first opportunity. Under the powers contained in the Bill a person is arrested and detained and not brought to trial at all. It is not the intention to bring him to trial. Therefore, there is a substantial difference in the two judicial systems.
I shall remind the House of the statistics. Since 1974 295 exclusion orders have been made in Great Britain, but only 52 of those affected have even been charged with any offence. The other 243 have not even been charged with breaking the law in any way. The position is even more disturbing given the record for arrest and detention. Up to the end of last year 5,555 people had been arrested under the Act. Of them, 88 per cent. were released without charge or exclusion. Only 83 of those 5,555 individuals were found guilty of any offence under the Act. The legislation is intended to apply to people who are technically, and therefore literally, innocent. That is wholly unacceptable, not least — to repeat the amendment — because the necessity, validity and efficacy of the provisions are by no means proven.
The Home Secretary tells us that Lord Jellicoe concluded that the measure was necessary. I do not dispute that, so the Home Secretary can relax. However, by his terms of reference, Lord Jellicoe was required to conclude that the measure was necessary.
The right hon. Gentleman is not doing justice to Lord Jellicoe. In paragraph 1 Lord Jellicoe said that before he took on the assignment on the terms that the right hon. Gentleman has outlined, he satisfied himself that
some form of special legislation was indeed required to deal with the continuing threat posed by terrorism throughout the United Kingdom.
He then said:
I have since become convinced, in the course of the more detailed inquiries I have carried out in the last nine months or so, that if special legislation effectively reduces terrorism, as I believe it does, it should be continued as long as a substantial terrorist threat remains.
Therefore, it will not do to say that Lord Jellicoe's terms of reference did not allow him to consider whether the legislation was necessary. He satisfied himself of that before he took on the assignment.
If the Home Secretary is going to continue to interrupt me, I hope that in future he will address himself to the point that I am making. I do not want to diminish the authority or validity of Lord Jellicoe's work in any way. I simply assert something that is irrefutable. Lord Jellicoe's terms of reference required him to consider not the necessity for such powers but their operation. The terms of reference are specific. Had Lord Jellicoe wished to report that no such powers were necessary, it would not have been within his terms of reference.
However, Lord Jellicoe said something that I hope the Home Secretary will listen to carefully and try to understand. In paragraph 55 Lord Jellicoe said:
There can be no clear proof that the arrest powers in the Prevention of Terrorism Act are, or are not, an essential weapon in the fight against terrorism.
If we are to give Lord Jellicoe the credit that the Home Secretary demands, and which I am sure Lord Jellicoe deserves, we must give proper weight to that judgment. That judgment is as it says it is. The Government are taking these powers not because they are certain that they will in some way assist in the fight against terrorism, but because they might do so and because we hope —[Interruption.] Perhaps the Home Secretary would like me to say that such powers are being taken because Lord Jellicoe thinks that they will have that effect. Others have thought that they will not have that effect.
I hope that the Home Secretary will calm himself and accept that in paragraph 55 there is that agnostic judgment about the efficacy and validity of those powers. In the name of a judgment that cannot be proved either way, 500 innocent men and women are locked up, and 250 innocent men and women are banished. That cannot be justified in a free society.
Surely it is preposterous to refer selectively to paragraph 55, in which the noble Lord referred to his ability to take a more informed view, without repeating the conclusion to that section, which appears in paragraph 65. In bold type it says:
In the light of my enquiries and of the evidence submitted to me, I have therefore come to the firm conclusion that if the power of extended detention were abolished, the police both in Northern Ireland and on the mainland would be seriously handicapped in dealing with terrorists.
Surely selective quotations from Lord Jellicoe's report will not help anyone. I hope that the Labour party will have the intellectual honesty to take Lord Jellicoe's report as a whole.
If the hon. Gentleman wants me to tell him that I agree with Lord Jellicoe that there is a case for these powers, I give him the pleasure of conceding that. I hope that the hon. Gentleman understands the point that I am making. On my and Lord Jellicoe's judgment there is no certainty in these matters. We are sending innocent men and women to prison in the hope that this will prevent terrorism. Lord Jellicoe and, I suspect, the Home Secretary believe that it will help to prevent terrorism. However, we are not acting with any degree of certainty.
What clear proof—I use Lord Jellicoe's words—would the right hon. Gentleman require if he were the Home Secretary faced with the problem of countering terrorism? How can there be clear proof? What evidence, proof or facts would the right hon. Gentleman require if he were in the position of my right hon. and learned Friend who has responsibility for these matters?
The Labour Party would do a great deal more than has been done before we started locking up and exiling innocent men and women. That is the nature of my complaint. I hope that the hon. Gentleman now understands it.
Lord Jellicoe made another judgment about the continuation of these powers. He said that the legislation
should remain in force only while it continues to be effective, only if its aims cannot be achieved by use of the general law, if it does not make unacceptable inroads on civil liberties".
Before the Home Secretary leaps to his feet to say that on all three points Lord Jellicoe answered yes, I say that I know that to be the case. However, on a closer examination it is difficult to say that the three rules which Lord Jellicoe laid down have been observed.
We all agree —even the hon. Member for Epping Forest (Sir J. Biggs-Davison)—that the effectiveness of the rules cannot be certain. The Home Secretary may insist that there is some certainty and says that if we knew what the Government know but cannot tell us we would understand how necessary these measures are. That is not an acceptable basis on which to pass legislation in a free Parliament, nor is it acceptable for a free Parliament to be told that terrorism can be combated in this fashion through the collection of information. That is an argument for perpetual powers while even the slightest degree of terrorism continues.
I fear that, although the five-year limit to the operation of the Bill reduces the permanence of the powers—at least, in the Bill's title — it will reduce the annual scrutiny that we give to the legislation as it comes up for renewal every year. Many of my hon. Friends would argue that there has been insufficient scrutiny. In March this year we scrutinised the legislation in a one-and-a-half hour debate after 10 pm. I do not doubt that, in future, Government business managers will say to the Opposition, "Of course, we cannot have a full day's debate. After all, the legislation lasts only five years." I believe that we will reduce rather than increase — as the Home Secretary suggests—the time for scrutiny of this Bill.
Much of the object of the Bill could be achieved if the courts were used for the purposes outlined in the Bill. There is not a scrap of evidence in the Jellicoe report to demonstrate that the courts cannot be used in this way. There is an assertion, but no justifying evidence, that the courts could be used a great deal more than they are at the moment to prevent genuinely suspected terrorists from entering this country, rather than having general trawls, and to obtain convictions from guilty persons rather than act as intelligence-gathering institutions. Surely the question about unacceptable inroads into civil liberties can have only one answer.
Another question posed by Lord Jellicoe is whether sufficient powers would help to defeat terrorism or whether they would hinder it. I remind the House of the words of the noble Lord Fitt, whose judgment on these matters was properly respected and whose heroic opposition to terrorism was properly admired in the House.
He had no doubt about the effect of the Prevention of Terrorism Act on the prospects of terrorism and terrorist organisations in Northern Ireland. First, it had the definite effect of convincing law-abiding Irishmen that they were being discriminated against by the Parliament in Westminster. The Act was intended to distinguish between them and others. The Act was the Act that bit on them when, for wholly legitimate purposes, they came to the United Kingdom. The Act was something that enabled the forces of terrorism to argue in Derry and in Belfast that there is one law for the English but the normal rules of law do not apply in Northern Ireland, when it is convenient for the Imperial Parliament, as they still call it, to erode the proper civil liberties that should apply to us all.
I have no doubt that Lord Fitt was correct constantly to argue that the existence of those powers, instead of driving a wedge between terrorists in Northern Ireland and loyal and law-abiding Irishmen, drove a wedge between the law-abiding Irish community and the Parliament here in Westminster. That wedge was partly driven in because of the way in which the law was applied.
If we are dealing with selective quotations from the Jellicoe report, I hope that I may select three that the Home Secretary did not think it worth while mentioning in his speech today. The criticism embodied in them is in no way accommodated in the new Bill and it was not even acknowledged by the Home Secretary in his speech.
Lord Jellicoe, in paragraph 134 — I provide that information for assiduous hon. Members on the Back Benches—said that there was some truth in the criticism that the powers were normally used against the casual and the unkempt. In paragraph 101, Lord Jellicoe said that the officers at some ports were often tempted to use the powers to question visitors about non-terrorist crimes. In paragraph 101, Lord Jellicoe said that it was relatively common for five or six days of detention to elapse before access to solicitors was permitted.
If we are not to alienate the Irish population, the Home Secretary must turn his mind to that matter. He has not done so today, nor, as I understand it, has he done so within his Department. Because of such facts, as well as the existence of these powers, terrorists are able to argue that Irishmen are afforded a second-class sort of justice when they arrive in Britain. And because we enable them to do that, it gives bonus and benefit only to the enemies of law and order rather than to those of us who want to see law and order throughout the entire United Kingdom.
I end with my final quotation from Lord Jellicoe's report. In paragraph 10, Lord Jellicoe says:
The most important assistance which the police can have in the fight against terrorism is not special powers but the support of the public. It is vital that such powers do not unnecessarily alienate … any section of the law-abiding population".
Because we believe that they do, we argue that as the practical reason for voting against the Bill. Add to that our
argument in principle—the case that civil liberties are intolerably eroded—and I believe that the case for the reasoned amendment becomes unassailable. I urge my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote for it tonight.
For 25 minutes or half an hour we have been listening to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) attempting to explain why in 1983 he is advising his right hon. and hon. Friends to behave in exactly the opposite way to that in which they behaved in 1982, 1981, 1980, 1979 and for all the years since 1974 when he and his right hon. and hon. Friends held the responsibility for this country's affairs.
The right hon. Gentleman's explanation of that volte face is unconvincing. He called the arguments of principle in aid a great deal. He argued that it is wrong for us to lock people up for more than the minimum period of 24, 36 or 48 hours or to stop them moving freely about the country. I agree that such action is undesirable, but it was equally undesirable in 1979. If he thinks that such action is undesirable now, why did the right hon. Gentleman vote for it in 1979? He did not address himself to that part of the argument. I still do not fully understand why. It is rather sad that the right hon. Gentleman should put himself up for—or be put up to argue—the case that he has made today.
I agree that we are concerned with principle in this case. I dislike the idea of parting from the principle that if a person is locked up he should be brought before a magistrate as soon as possible. That principle is one of the great strengths of our system and I dislike departing from it as much as does the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman quoted the Jellicoe report many times. I should like to make just one quotation. Paragraph 65 reads:
I have therefore come to the firm conclusion that if the power of extended detention were abolished, the police both in Northern Ireland and on the mainland would be seriously handicapped in dealing with terrorists.
That is the conclusion that I reached when I had responsibility for Northern Ireland. It is the conclusion that anyone who has to deal with this hideous problem and tries to preserve peace reaches. That is why I support my right hon. and learned Friend and why we should give the Bill a Second Reading.
We do not want a Bill such as this, but nor do we want the terrorism that has been responsible for so many hideous crimes for so long. Like Lord Jellicoe, I see no sign of terrorism diminishing. No hon. Member can say that he believes that there will be no more terrorism in a year's time. I wish that we could say that, but we cannot. The Government and their agents, the police, need extra powers to deal with this phenomenon.
My right hon. and learned Friend dealt with the Bill in some detail. He told us that part IV deals with arrest and detention and that part II deals with exclusion. There are differences between them. Clause 12(1), (2) and (3) enable a person to be arrested on suspicion and detained for 48 hours and the Secretary of State to extend that period to a maximum of seven days if he thinks fit. My right hon. and learned Friend told us that this part of the Act is not confined to terrorism connected with the affairs of Northern Ireland. My right hon. and learned Friend drew the House's attention to 12(2)(b) which refers to
acts of terrorism of any other description except acts connected solely with the affairs of the United Kingdom".
That is odd as it appears to enable a constable to arrest and keep for 48 hours—and for the Secretary of State to extend that period of detention to seven days—the sole survivor of those who occupied the Iranian embassy a few years ago. It appears that it would also enable the Secretary of State to extend the detention of a person who broke into the Ulster Office in London and held people who worked there captive in pursuit of the aims of his organisation in Northern Ireland. However, clause 12(2)(b) would not enable the Home Secretary to do anything about a person who broke into the offices of the Department of the Environment and held many of the staff at gunpoint, demanding that the Secretary of State for the Environment guarantee that the greater Manchester council not be abolished. That, too, seems rather odd. Such acts are all the same and are carried out for the same motive, yet only some offenders can be caught under the Act. I should lake my right hon. and learned Friend to examine that matter.
Part IV provides powers that are not confined to terrorist acts concerned with Northern Ireland whereas those provided by part II are. That, too, is curious. An international terrorist, for example, can be arrested and held for seven days under part IV but he cannot be excluded under part II. I should have thought that the most sensible course of action would be to stop him entering the country in the first place. My right hon. and learned Friend said that he thought that he had powers under immigration legislation to stop such a person coming here. I am not sure about that.
As the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) said, what happens if that person is already here and has a right to be here? Immigration legislation will riot help the Home Secretary then. Many of us have experience of immigration laws, how they work and the safeguards that we have properly insisted upon. As a result someone who wants to come to Britain is often able to spin out his stay here, albeit not exactly where he wants to be, for months. The Act enables an excluded person to be got rid of in seven days plus such time as it takes the Home Secretary to consider what his adviser says. That need riot be more than two days. That process is a much cleaner, quicker and more effective method of dealing with terrorists. My right hon. and learned Friend would be prudent to re-examine this part of the Act to assess whether it would be useful to extend to international terrorists powers of exclusion that are now used in respect of acts connected with Northern Ireland.
Is not the right hon. Gentleman worried that someone who is likely to be subject to an exclusion order has no right to know that he is under suspicion, that he has no right to know whether there is any evidence against him, that he has no right to cross-examine such evidence if there be any, that he has no right to a trial or public hearing, that he has no right to know on what grounds, if any, representations that he has made have been rejected and that he has no right to appeal to the court?
Yes. I shall explain why shortly. As Lord Jellicoe says, such decisions are Executive ones, not those of the courts. If they were, people would come before the courts. The hon. Lady can argue that such powers should not exist. I believe that they should. I am suggesting that if they exist my right hon. and learned Friend should consider exclusion as he might find it helpful—it would certainly be more logical—if he had such powers in connection with offences other than those to do with Northern Ireland.
I occasionally used the Secretary of State's power under clause 12(3) to extend the period of detention. It was never an easy power to use. I was always anxious that I was not doing the right thing by signing, or withholding my signature from, an application. Arising out of that difficulty, I was glad to see Lord Jellicoe's recommendation that, by administrative means, the Home Secretary should ensure that he is given more information to help him make up his mind about whether to sign an application and that the matter should be followed up. If an application is granted there should always be a report of its outcome. Both those procedures are helpful, first, in enabling the Home Secretary to make up his mind and, secondly, to those making the application, who will know that it is subject to scrutiny.
In paragraph 41, page 15, of his report Lord Jellicoe states:
The legislation provides that 'the Secretary of State' may extend a period of detention. This does not mean that an extension has to be in writing under the Secretary of State's own hand, and it could in law be carried out on his behalf by an official. However, while there have been rare occasions when authority to detain beyond 48 hours has been granted on the responsibility of an official, the application has been seen and approved by a minister as soon as possible thereafter.
Soon after I assumed my responsibilities in Northern Ireland, I came across a case where an application has been signed by an official, and I immediately gave instructions that that was never to happen again. Obviously, I wished to sign applications myself, if that were physically possible, and if I could not, I made it clear that in my Department no officials could sign it, only Ministers, who were answerable to me and ultimately to the House. I believe that my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary said that he wished to follow that course. All right hon. and hon. Members would wish him to reiterate that statement and especially his assurance that applications will never be signed by officials.
There is no crime of terrorism known to our law. All crimes committed by terrorists are crimes in themselves, whatever the motive: murder, causing bodily harm, kidnapping and destruction of property and so on. Terrorists are criminals — no more and no less. However, because the Bill is entitled the Prevention of Terrorism Bill, and because we believe that it is right to give the Secretary of State special powers to bring such people before the courts to prevent their committing further offences, we must define their acts. Clause 14 does that. It states:
'Terrorism' means the use of violence for political ends, and includes any use of violence for the purpose of putting the public or any section of the public in fear".
I dislike that definition, which was given in the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Acts 1974 and 1976 and in the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1973, because of the word "political". Political aims and objectives are respectable, and all right hon. and hon. Members have them, but violence is not respectable. I fear that the definition does not help us. We have extradition treaties with a range of countries. From time to time we seek to have extradited from those countries somebody who is wanted here in connection with a crime committed
in pursuit of terrorist activities. As we all know, in more than one fairly good democratic country we have lost, and the person we want is not extradited because he goes to the courts and claims that his acts were political. I do not agree with that. I do not agree that, because the motive for murdering someone is political, it is any better than murdering someone for his money. However, it seems to work in some countries to our disadvantage. Such people can claim that their acts are political by referring to our legislation. They can say, "It says that it was political in the British Act." I wish to get rid of that word.
We all know what we mean by "terrorism". We do not mean terrorising elderly ladies in order to steal their money, although that is just as terrifying. We mean people who wish to overthrow or to divert the Government of the country. I am not competent to suggest an alternative definition—others could do that better than I— but I suggest the definition in clause 3(6) at the top of page 4, which is
acts of terrorism … designed to influence public opinion or Government policy".
That is not ideal, but it is better than the definition in the Bill. I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend will address his mind to the matter to try to find a more satisfactory definition.
The inclusion of the word "political" here is not so much hallowed by our domestic municipal law but is a commonly accepted principle of public international law in the context of extradition, to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. The political exception in matters of extradition has operated not just for decades but since well into the last century and has given rise to little difficulty.
No, I will not, because I am about to conclude my remarks, and there is little time for other hon. Members to join in the debate because we started late.
I entirely support my right hon. and learned Friend in bringing forward the Bill. It contains several alterations, all of which are more liberating, as suggested by Lord Jellicoe, whose review has been most helpful and to whom we owe a great debt of thanks. I am sure that we need the powers. I hope that we shall not need them for the full five years of the Act's life, but I have a nasty feeling that we may.
Any form of legislation that introduces not even a judicial power but an Executive power of banishment must be extremely unwelcome, for the idea of banishment is completely foreign to our idea of law in the United Kingdom. For we should bear in mind that in this debate we are talking about a United Kingdom problem. We are not talking about banishing people to a foreign country across a hostile water; we are talking to a considerable extent about banishing them from the major parts of the United Kingdom to another part. Therefore, we should hesitate strongly before adopting such Executive powers.
Introduced as it was by a Labour Government, and renewed by a Labour Government in 1976, prevention of terrorism legislation has come to have a public perception which we are forced to accept: not only does the public accept it, but it has been accepted by politicians at both ends of the political spectrum in the House during the years. I suspect that were the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) the Home Secretary now, he too would be introducing legislation strikingly similar to this.
Responsible Governments and, indeed, the public rightly regard it as the duty of the Government to protect the maximum number of members of the public possible; to protect the public from outrages such as the Regents Park massacre, and the Birmingham pub bombings years earlier. Sadly, there is no evidence that the likelihood of outrages of that sort has diminished. Therefore, with very grave misgivings the parliamentary Liberal party has decided that it must support the principle of this legislation.
It is important to bear in mind that we are not judging a terrorism Bill as in the past this House has, for example, judged a theft Bill or a homicide Bill. We are judging a Prevention of Terrorism Bill, the very idea and definition of which involves the concept of Executive as opposed to judicial powers. If we accept the need for those Executive powers, we must in principle support a Bill of this type. However, in Committee we shall seek adamantly to obtain changes in the Bill because we regard some of its provisions as far more draconian than are necessary for such extreme legislation.
I remind the House that Lord Shackleton—we have almost forgotten about him in this debate—said in paragraph 159 of his report in 1978:
I do not believe that legislation of this kind should have any degree of permanence without a continuing and careful scrutiny of its operation and its implications for civil liberties. Although it is not for me to judge what measures nay, in the longer term, be necessary to deal with terrorism, I hope that the temporary concept of this legislation will not diminish.
Although Lord Jellicoe much more recently spoke of a maximum duration of five years, we Liberals are of the view that a five-year maximum is too long, that three years is quite long enough and that the whole matter should be fully argued once again, not merely in terms of annual review, but in relation to a new Bill, if need be, in three years time. We shall so argue.
Another matter that causes us particular concern is the duration of exclusion orders. While we accept that, unfortunately, they are necessary, exclusion orders may have drastic effects on the families and working and business lives of those who are excluded. We must remember that these are often—indeed, usually—people against whom no crime has been proved or even alleged. We are of the view that an exclusion period greater than two years exacerbates these problems, and we shall oppose that. We shall do so bearing in mind our view that exclusion orders of themselves offend the European Convention on Human Rights. While at present we accept their necessity, we feel that not enough attention has been given to the relationship between this proposed legislation and the European Convention on Human Rights. We are also worried about the lack of provision for safeguarding the rights and interests of those who are detained.
It shows a limited regard for this House that the Government have not seen fit to publish the new Police and Criminal Evidence Bill before this debate. It makes one wonder whether the Government want to hurry the Bill through because of their embarrassment at not meeting all the Jellicoe demands in the Police and Criminal Evidence Bill.
Let me take a little time to remind the House of some of Lord Jellicoe's recommendations, which are closely intertwined with the Police and Criminal Evidence Bill and which demanded that a responsible conduct of this matter required the publication of that Bill before today's debate.
In conclusion 17 on page 91 of his report Lord Jellicoe said:
Subject to additional or alternative provisions relating to welfare, access to legal advice and the right not to be held incommunicado, all provisions of the Home Office draft code relating to the treatment of persons in police custody should apply to persons arrested or detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act in England and Wales.
In conclusion 21 on page 92 he said:
The absolute right of access to a solicitor after 48 hours' detention under the emergency legislation, which applies in Northern Ireland, should apply also throughout Great Britain for persons held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. In relation to England and Wales, this absolute right should be included in the Police and Criminal Evidence Bill; in relation to Scotland, pending an appropriate legislative opportunity, it should be incorporated in force orders".
The noble Lord said in conclusion 22:
Persons detained under the Act for more than 48 hours anywhere in the United Kingdom should be entitled to legal advice on a similar basis to 'ordinary' suspects in England and Wales under the proposals in the Police and Criminal Evidence Bill".
In conclusion 23 Lord Jellicoe said:
It should be the duty of the uniformed custody officer, after the suspect has spent 48 hours in custody under the Act, to remind him of his absolute right to consult a solicitor and to ask him if he wishes to exercise this right. The reply should be entered on the custody record, and the suspect invited to sign. If he refuses to sign, this should be noted. This provision should apply throughout the United Kingdom and should be incorporated, as appropriate, in force orders and in the draft code relating to the treatment of suspects".
I quote finally from conclusion 25 on page 92, which stated:
Any person detained at a police station under the Prevention of Terrorism Act should be entitled (a) to consult privately with a solicitor at any time during his detention, and (b) to have a friend or relative or other person known to him or likely to take an interest in his welfare informed without delay of the fact and place of his detention, unless an officer of superintendent rank or above believes on reasonable grounds that such consultation or notification would have one of the four consequences set out at recommendation 24. In the case of both (a) and (b), the police should lose this limited discretion to refuse on the expiry of 48 hours' detention. These provisions should apply throughout the United Kingdom, and should be included, as appropriate, in the Police and Criminal Evidence Bill and in force orders".
I understood the Home Secretary to be giving some assurances that in certain respects the Police and Criminal Evidence Bill would reflect recommendations made by Lord Jellicoe in relation to that Bill, but I did not understand him to give the assurance that all those requirements would be met in that Bill. We just do not know, because the Bill has not been published. We shall be watchful of that. It is crucial that Lord Jellicoe's recommendations in relation to the Police and Criminal Evidence Bill should not be ignored, for they ask for no more than the signs which mark out a society which cares about fundamental civil rights as compared with one which does not. In deciding whether to continue our support when the Bill comes back to the Floor of the House, we
shall scrutinise closely the amendments that it has been possible to push through in Committee and the Government's attitude to them.
We are especially concerned, too, because the Bill fails to provide another important safety measure — that "continuing scrutiny" of which Lord Shackleton spoke so many years ago. Some form of continuing monitoring of the legislation from week to week is needed — if necessary by reference to a Select Committee, or by other means — so that the next inquiry on Shackleton or Jellicoe lines will be founded not on speculation but on evidence.
Let me tell the House something of my constituency. It was created out of what I would claim were the best parts of the constituencies of Bosworth and Loughborough. To the north there is the historic town of Castle Donington, near to which is the east midlands airport, which is soon to have its runway extended. There is also the Castle Donington race track, which will host the Formula 1 British grand prix in the not-too-distant future.
To the west is the town of Ashby-de-la-Zouch. I hasten to assure the House that the town of Ashby has been there a good deal longer than I have and, as far as I know, my family did not take their name from it. Hon. Members will recall that Ashby has a castle which was destroyed by the parliamentary forces in the civil war; a castle which was made famous by Sir Walter Scott in his novel Ivanhoe. To the east of the constituency is the town of Shepshed and to the south the important town of Coalville, which, as its name implies, was founded on the Leicestershire coalfield. The pits of this coalfield are among the oldest in this country and have a wealth of things of industrial and archaeological interest. Robert Stevenson designed and built machinery for these mines and it is hoped that they will be retained for posterity as museums.
Sadly, the mines in the Coalville area are about to close and we shall be facing an unemployment rate as high as anywhere in the country. This is a matter which I shall be anxious to raise at another time, in another debate. Hon. Members will appreciate that I represent a diverse constituency, consisting as it does of rural areas, some light industry and the mines.
I pay tribute to my predecessors, my hon. Friend the Member for Bosworth (Mr. Butler), and the hon. Member for Loughborough (Mr. Dorrell). My constituents were fortunate in being represented by those two hon. Members, each of whom, in his different way, looked after their interests with such care and gave so much to the area. I am grateful to both of them for their help and kindness before, during and since the general election.
As to the Bill that we are debating, I represent middle England and I feel that I also represent the values of middle Englishmen and Englishwomen. We have a justified pride in our great institutions, and in particular in our legal system. As a barrister, practising at the criminal bar, I share in that pride. One of the most important rights, if not the most important right, is that of liberty. No Englishman may be kept in custody indefinitely, without charge, and without being brought before the courts. If such an event were to occur, the prerogative writ of habeas corpus would be issued. In recent cases, the courts have been granting this writ after suspects have been detained for 48 hours, and rightly so, for a man's liberty is not lightly to be taken away. Those who have seen the effects of imprisonment know that 24 hours is a long time, and 48 hours is a very long time.
I am pleased to see, in clause 12(3), that that period of 48 hours is given statutory force. However, the rest of that clause effectively restricts the court's powers to grant a writ of habeas corpus, as the Home Secretary is authorised to extend the period of detention to up to five days. Therefore, we are seeing an erosion of an important principle which has evolved over the centuries, and it is an erosion which can be supported only because of the exceptional nature of the problems confronting us and, more importantly, because the Act, if we pass the Bill, will have a limited life.
Most lawyers dislike evidence that is obtained from a suspect after a long period of detention. The longer a person is detained, the less value anything that he may say has, and I have experience of false confessions. While these exceptional circumstances require exceptional measures, I am pleased that the Home Secretary will consider carefully each application for an extension. The clause should not be used as a cover for offences that fall outside the Bill.
I should like to see a safeguard that prevents any evidence obtained in interviews with a subject during a period of extended detention being used for offences other than those under the Bill. We must be vigilant and not let these terrorist organisations erode our liberties, because that is what they have set out to do. Having said that, I thank the House for listening so courteously to me and I shall support the Bill as a necessary measure.
I congratulate the hon. Member for Leicestershire, North-West (Mr. Ashby) on his maiden speech. He spoke with clarity, he is articulate and he showed an interest in the part of the United Kingdom from which I come. I hope that he will continue to show the same interest in our problems and in the difficulties that we face.
I have lived with the awful reality of terrorism for 14 years, and when I examine the Bill I find it difficult to accept that virtually every variation from the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1976 appears to be designed to give greater rights to the villains—in this case the terrorists—while the Bill appears to take little or no account of the victim. I would find it most disquieting if any hon. Members were to seek to condone this approach by their arguments.
Part I does not apply to Northern Ireland, only to Great Britain. Nevertheless, one must view it with scepticism, especially subsection (1)(c). One knows that it will simply not be enforced. The equivalent part of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 is never implemented and the Provisional Sinn Fein, in the persons of Gerry Adams, Danny Morrison and Owen Canon, regularly contravene this law with impunity. The right of those who speak or act in support of proscribed organisations to broadcast by radio or television in Northern Ireland or in Great Britain has not been dealt with. However, such actions contravene if not the letter, the spirit of the Act.
The Provisional Sinn Fein has never equivocated in its advocacy of the merits of republican violence, which in today's terms means the genocide of Protestant farmers such as Cyrus Campbell in my constituency, a man who lived and worked close to the frontier with the Irish Republic. At least in relation to such broadcasts the Irish Republic's laws are more realistic than the laws that exist in the United Kingdom.
In part II, it appears that there is no longer any justification for restricting these measures to terrorism specifically related to Northern Ireland. The world today is brimful of terrorism and people are living in a fool's paradise if they imagine that it will not spill over into the United Kingdom, with a view, in the words of the Bill, to influencing opinion and policy on matters all round the globe. As it stands, the Bill is thus an anachronism.
The Bill is an anachronism in another respect. The original legislation was passed in circumstances, I believe, of near panic, when the rate of terrorist murders here and in Ulster was immensely higher than it is today. If this legislation were being introduced now for the first time, no one would dare to argue in favour of the insulting division it creates between Great Britain and Northern Ireland or of making it possible within the United Kingdom for a citizen to be ordered to go and live in another part.
To those who advocate that powers to arrest and detain for a period of up to seven days should be set aside because that may lead to an erosion of liberty, I would point out that both Lord Jellicoe and those of us who have to live with terrorism recognise that there are times when good intelligence—sure intelligence—and admissible evidence are not the same thing. In the war against terrorism good intelligence can be ignored only if we are prepared to sacrifice the safety of the innocent. It is the duty of the police to act on good intelligence in an effort to obtain, by questioning, admissible evidence.
I ask whether 48 hours or 96 hours or seven days are too long, or not long enough, to hold someone about whom there is good intelligence. I do not know, but I know that if legislation were incorporated in this Bill to ensure that it was not possible for a suspect to have the automatic and inherent right to remain silent when asked a reasonable question, we should not find that, again and again, the guilty go free and the innocent continue to be slaughtered.
Today we should direct our efforts to the maintenance of public confidence in the law's ability to suppress terrorism and to support the security forces in that effort. I fear that this Bill will do little to protect British citizens in Northern Ireland. Let me rephrase what I said at the start. Why have so many hon. Members argued to give greater rights to the felon—in this case, the terrorist— but appear to take little or, indeed, no account of the victim? Unless the Bill can be strengthened, and unless there is a removal of the anachronisms in part II, to which I alluded, my colleagues and I will have the greatest reservations about supporting its Third Reading.
I am glad to follow the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis). When he speaks about terrorism he does not speak in an academic manner. He has the knowledge which is derived from representing a constituency which suffers from terrorism and which is close to that border across which so many terrorists escape and take refuge. I am glad to follow the hon. Member also because I agree with his strictures on part II, the provision which denies persons from Northern Ireland the same rights as other United Kingdom citizens to move and to reside within the United Kingdom.
Since direct rule was brought in we have been accustomed to Northern Ireland being used either as an assault course for cadet Ministers or as Siberia for dissident Ministers and their disciples. However, Northern Ireland should not be used, as Ulster people complain, as a dustbin for suspects from Great Britain. Most of the traffic, as the Jellicoe report explains, is in one direction. Paragraph 165 says:
Up to the end of 1982, 230 excluded persons had been removed from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, and 37 from Great Britain to the Republic of Ireland.
The power has been exercised predominantly against citizens of the United Kingdom.
Lord Jellicoe, to whom the House owes a deep debt of gratitude. recommended, and the Bill proposes, certain mitigation of the power of exclusion exercised hitherto, but it remains a mild version of the internal exile which some very distinguished Russians endured under the Tsars and since. The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) did not appeal to the Conservative Benches because, as the hon. Member for Montgomery (Mr. Carlile) said, had he been sitting where my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary sits he would be proposing or supporting legislation of this kind. Nevertheless, he spoke of internal banishment and I agree with the right hon. Gentleman's criticism of internal banishment as provided for in this legislation. Indeed, it conflicts with what Lord Jellicoe says in paragraph 11, that
special anti-terrorist legislation should be framed and administered so as to minimise rather than to accentuate the differences between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom".
I expect that I am not the only hon. Member to have received a report of the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights. That is the body in Northern Ireland presided over by the right hon. David Bleakley. The Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights describes exclusion as
punitive in effect … and a diminution of an important civil right.
It says later:
As Lord Jellicoe conceded, much the same arguments apply to justify internment without trial".
I would describe this power of exclusion as interning someone on a long lead. It would be more honest and more efficacious, and less destructive of family life and ties, to reintroduce and use highly selectively the power of internment, later called detention, which in earlier troubles proved successful in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, against the major organisation proscribed in this legislation, an organization—the IRA —which is the common enemy of the Republic and the United Kingdom.
I make only that one point. I put it forward not dogmatically but for consideration, and I support the Bill.
It is clear to me that undermining the administration of justice—which the Bill does—will do two things. First, it is unfair and unjust to innocent individuals haplessly caught up in its sweeping powers. Secondly, far from reducing terrorism, it assists it, by providing terrorists with a fresh source of grievance.
I wish to deal with three points in the Bill: first, the banning of organisations which "appear" to be concerned with terrorism; secondly, the offence of withholding information about terrorism; and thirdly, exclusion orders.
First, the powers which the Bill seeks to give Ministers to deal with organisations which seem to be concerned with terrorism are very wide and dangerous. The Bill seeks not to ban the Irish Republican Army or the Irish National Liberation Army, but to give the Minister powers to ban organisations which "appear" to him to be involved with terrorism. Once such a power is on the statute book the House will have no control over its use. If it appears to the Minister that an organisation is involved in terrorism, no inquiry is required, no evidence need be produced, there is no right of appeal to the court and no parliamentary debate need take place. The power could be used to ban those organisations whose supporters regard them as political parties. That is the power that the Government are seeking to place on the statute book.
We have no business to put into Ministers' hands powers so open to misuse. It is not good enough to say that we should trust the Minister and rely on his good will. Parliament must be vigilant. We must guard our democratic rights. We have no business to abrogate those rights to a Minister. We must also remember that, however offensive the views put forward, the right to express them is a basic civil liberty. If individuals conspire to commit a crime or incite someone else to commit a crime, they are guilty of a specific criminal offence. That is how the matter should be dealt with, not by the wholesale banning of organisations. Conservative Members have said that terrorists are criminals. I agree, and those who commit criminal acts should have the criminal law used against them.
Secondly, I am deeply worried about the offence of withholding information. My hon. Friends and I are in favour of the public co-operating with the police when they seek to investigate or prevent criminal offences from being committed. It is a contradiction in terms to believe that people can be forced to co-operate or to seek the cooperation of a community by threatening its members with a criminal charge if they do not co-operate.
The Bill also undermines the fundamental principle of the right to silence. We must remember that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty and is not obliged to incriminate himself. The offence of withholding information cuts right across such a principle. Furthermore, it cuts across the fundamental right of an innocent person to go about his business without being arrested or detained unless he himself is suspected of having committed a criminal offence.
Much has been heard about Lord Jellicoe's propsals, but Lord Shackleton suggested that this power in the Prevention of Terrorism Act should be repealed, saying that it had
an unpleasant ring about it in terms of civil liberties.
In practice, the relevant section of the Prevention of Terrorism Act has been used, as this provision in the Bill
will doubtless be used, as a sweep-up provision when there is insufficient evidence to charge terrorist suspects with substantive offences.
As to exclusion orders, we criticise other countries for using internal exile, but that is precisely what this provision means. The person about to be excluded has no right even to know that he is under suspicion; he has no right to know the evidence against him; he has no right to cross-examine any evidence that has been put forward; he has no right to a trial or a public hearing; he has no right to know, when representations have been made, on what grounds those representations are considered or rejected; and he has no right of appeal to a court.
The provision which proposes an interview is no more than a charade. It does not change the basic injustice of the way in which internal exile will operate. Even if the Government believe that those who are the subject of such orders are genuinely involved in terrorism but cannot be charged, what business have the Government to exclude suspected terrorists to Northern Ireland or vice versa?
For those reasons, the Opposition will vote against the Bill.
I congratulate, in his absence, my hon. Friend the Member for Leicestershire, North-West (Mr. Ashby) on his maiden speech. He spoke well and in a forthright manner on this matter.
I have listened to the debate and especially to the two most recent speeches, those from the hon. Member for Peckham (Ms Harman) and the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis), who has the greatest experience of the impact of terrorism on the community. About a year or 18 months ago, I spoke in the constituency of Fermanagh and South Tyrone and witnessed at first hand some of the relatives of those who had suffered at the hands of terrorists. I accept, of course, that when debating terrorism and the response to it, it is a question of balancing rights and liberties, as my hon. Friend the Member for Chichester (Mr. Nelson) wisely said. Northern Ireland has suffered tremendously in recent years. If the loss of constituents in Northern Ireland was occurring in constituencies in England, be it in the constituency of the hon. Member for Peckham or in mine, the outcry would be incredible. If as many murders and terrorist activities were taking place in England, we would be under far greater pressure than we are just because the terrorist activities affect only the 17 Northern Ireland constituencies.
When the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) introduced the Opposition's argument, he was not very convincing when he tried to explain the difference between his present attitude and his attitude when in Government in 1974–79. I do not believe that this legislation breaks new ground of principle in terms of the balance between the people's rights and liberties as compared to those in 1974. The right hon. Gentleman used the word "draconian" for what was done in 1974. However, in 1975 and 1976 and during the ensuing years, when he held ministerial office, he supported the legislation which he now decries, and legislation which does not have the number of safeguards, as a result of the Jellicoe report, as has the legislation before us. During that time, he supported legislation more stringent than that which we are now considering. When he speaks of antagonising and alienating law-abiding British citizens, I wonder what the impact of his words will be on people in Northern Ireland who have personally been affected by the terrorism that they have endured year in and year out for the past 10 or 15 years.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) is a democrat. Is it not possible that he was carrying out a decision by a wide group and that he had opinions of his own—which he had? The hon. Member for Billericay (Mr. Proctor) is not in order. He should inquire more deeply.
I thought that the Labour Government acted according to collective Cabinet responsibility. If the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook honestly thought as the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery) describes, he should have done the decent thing and resigned when the reaffirmation of the powers came up for consideration. The right hon. Gentleman did not do that in any of the years that the matter came up. I do not recall that he was strident when in Opposition. Perhaps that was because Mr. Wedgwood Benn cajoled a sizeable section of the Labour Opposition into changing its opinion and that, in the absence of Mr. Benn, the policy has changed.
The discussion that is now taking place is wrong. It is suggested that my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) did not believe in what he said. He is not here to answer that allegation. It is disgraceful. My right hon. Friend should be given the opportunity to answer the accusation.
Right hon. and hon. Members have to leave the Chamber from time to time and my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) would respond if he were here. My right hon. Friend said clearly that his anxiety had been increased by the assumption that the legislation was still necessary. He said that we were learning from experience of the growing evidence that the Act was playing into the hands of the paramilitaries. If the hon. Member for Billericay (Mr. Proctor) does not address himself to that, his argument is irrelevant.
I realise that right hon. and hon. Members must leave the Chamber, but that does not inhibit me from commenting upon a speech. I am sure that the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook would be happy about that.
Of course we are talking about experience. In a democracy people can change their views. Obviously the Opposition Front Bench has changed its view. That is all that I am saying. Government Members do not agree with that change of view. It was not underlined or supported by Earl Jellicoe in his report. The reverse is true. I understand that difficulty is experienced by the official Opposition when a person examines a matter for nine months and comes to a view which is contrary to their view. Earl Jellicoe has looked closely at the experience of recent years; he has made his recommendations and the Government have acted upon them.
I support the Home Secretary in introducing the legislation. I am sure that in Committee hon. Members will discuss the differences between the 1976 legislation and the new measures. We shall have to examine each change to see whether it weakens our attack upon terrorism. The Government will have to justify each change that they propose to ensure that the terrorist will not win. It is best for such a debate to take place in Committee.
One reason why I am keen to support the legislation is that it deals with terrorism not only in relation to Northern Ireland. The legislation is more sweeping in its outlook.
In paragraph 23 of his report Earl Jellicoe states:
The most notable trend in this area in Great Britain has been the increasing threat posed by international terrorism.
That is true. We have not escaped that threat. I believe that the 1980s and 1990s will be characterised by examples of terrorism across national frontiers. I believe that battles, not only in connection with the middle east, but with other parts of the world, will be fought on the streets of London and elsewhere. Therefore, I am delighted that the Government are addressing themselves to that problem.
Earl Jellicoe mentioned three incidents—the Iranian embassy siege of 1980, the appalling attempted murder of Mr. Argov, the Israeli ambassador, in June 1982, and the hijacking of a Tanzanian airliner to Stansted airport in February 1982. I represent an Essex constituency and I should like to place on record the great debt of gratitude that we all owe to the chief constable of Essex and to the Essex constabulary for the magnificent way in which they handled that hijacking episode. Of course we hope that there will be no further hijackings, but we cannot be sure. I assume that we plan in the expectation that such incidents will take place from time to time and that there will be similar threats.
If the Government intend that Stansted should be an "ideal" airport to handle such hijacking emergencies. I hope that they will deal kindly with the cost burden which falls upon the county of Essex. The Home Office has not said that that is the strategy, but if it is we should regard hijackings and the cost of dealing with them as a national responsibility instead of expecting Essex to pick up the bill.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Spelthorne (Sir H. Atkins) talked about clause 12(2)(b) and the legislation applying to international terrorism; to terrorist activity connected with Northern Ireland but not with domestic terrorist activity elsewhere. He gave the somewhat spurious example of someone from the Greater Manchester council visiting the Department of the Environment with a gun.
There is a severe and real danger for our capital city of London and our other large cities and urban conurbations in the potential for terrorists to exploit racial tension. Black and white alike will try to exploit the position.
My views on immigration are well known. The change in the population through immigration has created strains and stresses in our inner city areas. Both black and white alike have been exploited in the past——
That is the hon. Gentleman's view. Black and white alike will be exploited in a way that has not happened before. There have been riots among black and white populations in the recent past, sometimes involving Molotov cocktails. Terrorism takes place in Northern Ireland daily, and it is not beyond the wit of man to follow the example set on the other side of St. George's channel. There are those who seek to destroy our society and our democratic institutions. They will use terrorist devices, such as the bomb and the bullet, in inner London and elsewhere.
I am pleased that the Government have spotted the problem and are concerned about it. The Home Secretary told my right hon. Friend the Member for Spelthorne that the Government would wait and consider further before extending the powers in the legislation to domestic terrorism. I believe that it is worth considering whether we should not include that power in the Bill now, rather than wait for terrorist activity to begin and then have to run back to the House to include it in the legislation. If we believe, as I think the Home Secretary believes, that there is a threat of domestic terrorism, it would be sensible to insert the appropriate measure to combat it in the Bill now rather than wait until it happens and then try to plug the gap.
The Government are right to legislate to stamp out international terrorism. What is the Government's view on those terrorist organisations that have their offices, and sometimes even their headquarters, in London? They indulge in terrorism around the world. Will the Government deal with those organizations——
Whatever the nature of terrorist activity, the Government have a right to stamp it out. They must ensure that London does not become the headquarters for international terrorism in the rest of the world.
I support the Government's intention to reconsider the legislation in five years. The next five years will see increasing advances in terrorism and its means and abilities. As democratic politicians we must keep in step, if not ahead, of any terrorist developments. It is right that in five years the House should consider the matter again in the light of what has happened in the intervening period. The legislation may need to be changed or strengthened to put it in context with the nature of terrorism then operating.
The hon. Member for Billericay (Mr. Proctor) portrays a self-fulfilling prophesy. He believes that terrorism will grow during the next five years. There is little evidence to suggest that. Criminality might grow, but that must always be dealt with by criminal law. The hon. Gentleman made the point, which has some truth in it, that it is often necessary to secure a balance between rights and liberties and the need to protect society. It is where that balance is drawn, how it is drawn, and where we put the line that is important. What worries me about the Bill — and it worried me about the original Bill in 1976—is that we are seeking to negate some of our basic democratic rights.
There was a time when, if someone was incarcerated, there had to be more than simply a suspicion. A person had to be brought before a court and a crime had to be proved. Now, as has been shown by the 5,000 people who have been "detained", one does not have to be guilty of an offence. The Home Secretary said earlier that such action might deter others. That is an appalling attack on our fundamental democracy. No one should be incarcerated in any form, for any time, unless he has committed an offence.
Conservative Members may disagree with me, but once we start down the road that it is in the interests of the state to detain, that will negate the whole of democratic liberty. The basis of our democratic liberty is the right to walk free. This Bill is wrong in the same way as the last Bill was wrong. In the passion of the moment following the Birmingham bombings, we sought to create a system to deal with temporary problems. Society was panicked and an Act of Parliament was passed that negated all our concepts that go back to the Magna Carta. That Bill has been sustained and nurtured year by year. In the interest of expediency, it was kept going a little longer and a little longer. What has happened? There is no evidence to suggest that it has in any way helped or hindered in the fight against terrorism.
Let it not be said that I in any way support terrorism. Anybody who commits any crime deserves to be punished. A terrorist is nothing more than a criminal. But we cannot beat ideas and dreams by legislation—we can do so only by showing that our ideas and dreams are best. The only way to solve the Irish problem is by understanding the thoughts and dreams of Irishmen. We must find a solution that fits those thoughts and dreams. I speak as a Dublin-born man, coming from a long blood line of Irishmen. We will not find a solution to the Irish problem in this legislation. What we give to one party becomes automatically something that the other side of the argument will always oppose. We cannot solve the problem of Northern Ireland by producing Bills such as the one we are debating.
The Bill deals not only with Northern Ireland but, as was said earlier, has a secondary side to it. Two organisations are proscribed in the Bill. There is nothing to stop the Minister increasing that number. Where would we start? What would we enlarge the legislation to cover? Who then would become the next terrorist?
I apologise for interrupting the hon. Gentleman. He may have overlooked clause 14(10) which appears to secure that there must be proceedings in this House if an order is to be made increasing the number of proscribed organisations. I see that the Minister confirms that. That is at any rate some comfort.
It is a minor comfort and I accept the right hon. Gentleman's correction. The Government of the day who, perforce, hold a majority can seek to use their majority to say that X is going to be proscribed in addition to what is already in the Bill and that will then become part of the system. I am worried that we are beginning to develop the concept of proscription and banning.
As I said earlier, ideas are defeated only by better ideas. They are not defeated by proscriptions.
The hon. Gentleman has said twice that ideas can be defeated only by better ideas, but in a democratic society those ideas have to be translated into votes at the ballot box. The plain truth is that the IRA has not managed to translate its ideas into votes at the ballot box—in fact, the IRA has been consistently rejected there and the IRA and Irish Republicanism have turned to violence.
Let it not be said that I am in any way arguing in favour of the IRA. I am trying not to limit my remarks purely to the IRA. The principles of the Bill go wider than the Irish question— far, far wider. An idea can be beaten by a better idea and that better idea can win at the ballot box.
We come back to the fundamental principles of democracy. The democracy of our society is that the majority view prevails. The minute one goes down the other track and says that an idea can be beaten by legislation, with proscription, with exlusion, with exile and containment, one begins to negate the principle of democracy. In the explanatory memorandum to the Bill we are told that clause 2
makes it an offence for a person to dress, or to display any article, in a public place in such a way as to suggest that he is a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation.
Clause 2 shows how wide the dangersire becoming. It is an almost Orwellian concept—the thought police. We have started on that road. If one has a badge on one's lapel, for example, a tricolor, it could be thought that one was a supporter of Sinn Fein or an Irish, Fenian or republic-type organisation.
Or a shamrock, as my hon. Friend rightly says. The thought apparently gives rise to an offence—what the prosecutor thinks one was thinking. We have always had in this country the concept of criminal law that in order to commit an offence one has not only to think that one is committing an offence but that one has to do something. This Bill takes us on to the road where the very thought becomes the offence.
There will always be people who have ideas and who have thoughts, who may not agree with any particular group of people. We must never make it an offence for that thought to be an offence. If we are to have a free and democratic society people have a right to their views and opinions and to their liberty.
I shall vote against the Bill tonight. I shall vote for the Opposition's reasoned amendment. I shall do so with this thought in mind. If we have a society worth protecting and a society which claims to be democratic and free, we have a right to say what we want. I do not want to be a part of a society in which, for the sake of expediency, it is thought necessary to incarcerate without any good reason because we suspect and believe. I shall not support a Government who wish to bring such legislation before the House. Liberty is a precious thing. We have a duty to fight for and protect it on every occasion. It is being attacked by the Bill.
As a Member representing a constituency in a part of the United Kingdom where the powers available under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act are most needed, I rise to support the retention of these powers and I recommend them to the House as being vital. If hon. Members were to walk behind coffins as members and representatives of the Loyalist community have had to do over the past 12, 13 and 14 years, the House would not need much convincing that such powers are essential. I believe that the Bill needs to be strengthened. I trust that in Committee every change proposed in the Bill will be closely scrutinised.
There has already been much talk in the debate about the balance between the liberty of the citizen and public safety. The best way to safeguard the United Kingdom community and to allow people to have their civil liberties is to crush terrorism and to allow peace and stability to return to this great kingdom. Is it the policy of Her Majesty's Government to eradicate terrorism? As long as it is not—I believe from the present policy on security that it is not—the citizens of the United Kingdom will be under a continual threat from terrorism, whether international, the IRA or the INLA.
Hon. Members have spoken about the length of time that the act has been on the statute book. The hon. Member for Foyle (Mr. Hume) would know a good deal about that from his associations over the past few years. He rode on the back of the CRA to get to his present position. The sooner terrorists are beaten, the sooner such Bills will not be needed. Let us take all-out steps to beat the terrorists.
The hon. Member for Foyle should remember that a person was murdered in Northern Ireland today. It was not one of the hon. Gentleman's constituents. It was not one of his ilk. It was not one of his people. He happened to be only another Loyalist, only another Protestant. It was a member of the SDLP, Councillor Sweeney, the chairman of Magherafelt district council, who, when Lord Mountbatten was murdered and when 19 British soldiers were blown to bits, laughed and said that he would shed no tears over them. When it was pointed out that many of the soldiers were Roman Catholics and his fellow Church members, that SDLP man said, "But they're not Irish." That is the truth of the situation.
I challenge the hon. Member for Foyle, because it is in the records of Magherafelt district council. It is in the books and on the record for ever. Indeed, that member of the hon. Gentleman's own party said that he was happy for his view to be recorded. Let not the leader wash his hands when things happen that do not suit him. The hands of his party members in my constituency are soiled by their links with terrorist organisations and by their sympathies for the IRA. Let the hon. Gentleman not come to the House and try to pull the wool over anyone's eyes. The people of Ulster know exactly where his party stands.
The best way to remove the need for the Bill is to remove the terrorist and to destroy the terrorist threat and allow every decent citizen, whether Protestant, Roman Catholic or any other religion, to get on with living in peace and prosperity in our beloved Province.
But there are exceptional circumstances. Let us not close our eyes to that. Terrorists have a grip of violence on a community in a part of the United Kingdom. I listened carefully to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), who said that the. Bill replaces an Act which was brought in after the Birmingham pub bombings when the House and country were in emotional turmoil. Because there are no bombs at the moment in the right hon. Gentleman's constituency, he seemed to be saying "Let the rest of the United Kingdom go there. We are all right. We are not suffering. We do not need these measures." I remind the House that it is responsible for the whole of the United Kingdom and for dealing with terrorism, no matter in what part of the United Kingdom it may be taking place.
I have listened to Opposition Members talk about the rights of those who are brought in. Let me ask a question. What about the rights of Ulster's murdered? What about the rights of a man going to work with a lunch box under his arm—unlike many Republicans who lie in their beds and take every state benefit available? [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] It is the truth. I challenge any hon. Member to prove that I am wrong.
What about the man on his way to work who is shot down like a dog? What about his wife? What about his children? What about the innocent people who suffer in the United Kingdom? There is no talk about their rights. We do not hear shouts about the rights of the innocent in Ulster. Not at all. But we hear a lot of talk about the rights of the terrorist—the person who perpetrates the acts against innocent people. If the United Kingdom and this Parliament have the sort of twisted mentality that leads them to put all their efforts into defending terrorists instead of defending those who are terrorised, the House has sunk low indeed. But I believe that the House will give a resounding vote in support of the Bill.
On behalf of my colleagues and myself, I say that there is a genuine desire to do away with the need for such a Bill. I do not want these measures remaining for ever as an Act of Parliament. But let us not close our eyes to reality. Let us not blinker or blind ourselves. People are being murdered and extraordinary measures are needed to deal with the terrorists in our midst.
I have been dismayed to witness the policy move by the Opposition Front Bench. Of course, there is a new leadership and I suppose that that is the best time to have a shift of policy. But the Opposition now say that they were wrong on the policy that they have supported in the House for years. They talk of draconian measures, but the only changes that have been made in the legislation have weakened the resolve to defeat terrorism instead of strengthening it. Therefore, I cannot understand, by any stretch of the imagination, why Labour Members seem so desirous of having the Bill removed.
Let me say a word to those who call for further safeguards or seek the scrapping of the original Act. After the Jellicoe report was published, certain safeguards were introduced. The report recommended that legislation of this nature should require periodic full re-enactment by Parliament in addition to annual renewal and that after a lifespan of five years a brand new Bill should be required. That would allow detailed amendments in the light of experience and changing circumstances after each full Parliament and should, therefore, allay genuine fears.
However, I must state clearly that the safeguards that I ask the House to be most concerned about are those for the ordinary citizen who has nothing to fear from the law, but a lot to fear from the terrorist. All the hon. Members from Northern Ireland who regard themselves as constitutional politicians, including the hon. Member for Foyle, know full well that the IRA would shoot down like a dog any person in the Roman Catholic community who did not bow and scrape on the ground to its ideas and philosophies. The IRA would put down such people just as it would put down any Protestant. The IRA does not care who people are or what camp they come from. I say that we must safeguard every citizen in the United Kingdom.
I am not worried by the Opposition's policy movements. I am sorry that, as a new Member, I do not know the names of all Labour Members. No doubt there are some I would want to forget anyway, but the hon. Lady — I think her name is Ms. Short — is getting very excited. If she wants to intervene, I shall be happy to give way to her.
I thank the hon. Member for giving way. After the hon. Gentleman's enormous, amazing emotional outburst, will he let us know whether he is opposed to the use of force and terrorism from all sides in Northern Ireland? Is he opposed to the use of force by Unionist forces in Northern Ireland?
I make no apology to the House. Every democratically elected hon. Member must condemn terrorism, from whichever side it comes. I remind the House that there is a threat to the position of the United Kingdom and, in particular, the part that I was elected to represent. I shall certainly do all in my power to oppose the challenge to democracy in Ulster which is centred on the IRA and INLA.
The Bill is not a Democratic Unionist party measure. It names two organisations—the IRA and the INLA. I did not choose those names.
May I introduce myself to the hon. Gentleman? My name is Adams and, would you believe, I am the hon. Member for Paisley, North. I should like to hear the hon. Gentleman's comments on that.
You are talking at length about democracy. The basic question that the House wants answered is whether, in your opinion, Ireland is or is not a country. If Ireland is a country, what is the majority view on home rule in Ireland as a whole? If you do not accept Ireland as a whole as being a country, will you give an historical analysis of the situation to explain to us why Ireland is not a country?
Order. I hate to intervene, because interventions tend to prevent other hon. Members who wish to take part in the debate having the opportunity to do so. However, I want to remind the House that we do not refer to hon. Members by name. The hon. Lady just mentioned is the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short), and she should be referred to in that way. Similarly, other hon. Members should be referred to by their constituencies. What is more, hon. Members must not accuse the Chair of wanting to do this or that.
I was delighted to hear the intervention of the hon. Member for Paisley, North (Mr. Adams) and to learn that he comes from such a sensible constituency. However, I am not sure that the hon. Gentleman has the mind of the House. He said that the House wanted to know the answer to his question. I am not sure that it does. I do not believe that the hon. Gentleman asked the question on behalf of the House with the knowledge of the mind of the House. However, to reply to his question, I say merely that I and those who elected me are British. We are from British Ulster and we are proud of it. We have nothing to do with the Irish Republic or with any other foreign state. I am proud to be in the House equal to any other citizen who sits on these Benches and who comes from this part of our homeland.
On several occasions the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Rev. William McCrea) has said that he feels himself to be British. That being so, is it right to support a Bill which provides that one part of Britain can have people excluded from it? Does he support the idea that my constituents on Merseyside can be restricted to Merseyside, the Scots to Scotland or the Welsh to Wales?
I am delighted to respond to that intervention, because in my concluding remarks I want to address myself to an anomaly in the Bill.
Many people in Northern Ireland are totally dissatisfied with some of the Bill's provisions. I have in mind especially the one relating to exclusion orders. The effect of the exclusion order is to make Northern Ireland a dumping ground for terrorists. So far, more than 200 people whom the Home Secretary considers to be associated with, or about to be associated with, terrorists have been exported from one part of the United Kingdom to another part — Northern Ireland. If these excluded persons are considered to be a danger to the population on the mainland, how can the Government justify sending them back to Northern Ireland? Presumably it does not matter if they perpetrate violence in Northern Ireland. Are we second-class citizens who do not deserve protection from potential terrorists?
The majority of the population of Northern Ireland are concerned about that provision in the Bill. If it is argued that there is nowhere else to send them, I suggest that they might be sent to the haven which they profess to love so dearly. Many of them hold and carry Irish passports. Why not send them back to the poverty-stricken country which they are trying to get the rest of us to join? I shall be happy to see them go, and I hope that many of them would contribute to their fares back to that foreign state. This provision ought not to be in the Bill. I trust that when it comes to be examined in Committee proper changes will be made to it.
No terrorist should be allowed to sleep easily in his bed at night. The state should be a scourge to these evil people. The Bill hardly allows that, but at least it is a start. For that reason, I ask the House to support it.
I rise, not to speak for long, but to share with the House some information that I have about the origins of the Bill because it is important to take them into account before deciding finally to support the Bill.
I was working in the Home Office at the time the original Bill was drafted and presented to the House. As we have been reminded, it came rapidly after the bombings in a pub in the centre of Birmingham.
Late that night I was sitting in the Ministerial. Box listening to the debate on the Prevention of Terrorism Bill. Next to me was the man who drafted the Bill. Repeatedly I turned to him to ask in what way the different provisions would have prevented the Birmingham bombings. Eventually he replied, "You know very well that is not what it is about. We have to appease them. They are after capital punishment. They have to be given something." That was the mood of the House that night, and it was the reason why the Act was passed.
Now we have the legislation, and we see the House at its worst, capable of justifying any provision by constant use of the word "terrorism". The House is meant to be the Mother of Parliaments, the defender of democracy and the upholder of civil liberties and the rule of law throughout the world. But we hear it use the word "terrorism" to excuse the undermining of any principle of the rule of law. It is used to excuse a system of internal exile and to create our own little Siberia which, a few years ago, we would have thought an intolerable concept within any notion of a country which enjoyed the rule of law. We have a system of detention where people can be held for up to seven days without being told of any charge, without necessarily being charged and without any right to call in a legal representative to defend them.
The Bill had its origins in that mood. It was not passed with the thought that any real act of terrorism could be prevented. It was a bundle of provisions to appease a mood of fear and anger. I well understand the mood, but it is not good enough as the basis for legislation. It is not good enough to undermine the civil liberties of all the people of the United Kingdom.
The powers repeated in the Bill are seen as a threat to the Irish community throughout Great Britain. I refer to Irish people who have no connection with any political activities. They fear these provisions because they undermine their liberties and our own, too.
The Bill is a threat to us all, and we see that now in that our notion of what is a civil liberty and what are reasonable legal provisions is being eroded. We see that in the Police and Criminal Evidence Bill, which was introduced in the last Parliament and is about to be reintroduced. We see similar erosions of civil liberties. We see the rule of law eroded. That, too, questions how long it is right to detain people without charge.
Many of tonight's speeches have tried to justify an even further erosion of our liberties, but they have not sought to justify the specific powers in the Bill. Hon. Members simply repeat that terrorism is wrong and that measures must be taken against it. They do not explain why these provisions creating these breaches of the rule of law can be justified.
I am privileged to know that this legislation was introduced originally for the wrong reasons. The desire was to appease the fear that the House would demand the restoration of capital punishment to deal with terrorism in Northern Ireland. These powers were never justified in themselves.
The evidence since the introduction of this legislation shows that it is nonsense. If we look at how the powers have been used, we see no justification for them because they have not been a great aid in preventing terrorism. One cannot pretend that that is so. That is simply false. Any decent democrat—anyone who cares for liberty in this country—should look at the evidence and think again, and have enough dignity and honour to change his mind. There is nothing wrong in changing one's mind. My party is proud to be capable of doing so.
I understand that in the first half of 1983, 83 people were detained under the Act, 11 were held for more than 48 hours with the permission of the Home Secretary, three were the subjects of exclusion orders and six charged with an offence under the Act. Sixty-seven of the 83 people detained were released.
In every year except one since the original Bill became law, there has been a dramatic fall in the number of detainees. The number has declined from a peak of 1,067 in 1975. Despite what the previous speaker said, the Act has been working. There is, however, never a time for complacency. The problem has an international dimension which affects our debate today. We face also the problem of the growing trend towards violence in the Western democracies, and the problem of trying to define terrorism. I agree with the previous speaker that to stand up and chant "terrorism" does little to solve the problem. Equally, I feel strongly that when the House intends to restrict the activity of even a single individual — especially when there is to be a restriction of freedom of movement, and detention outside the normal time limit — we need to consider the matter with the utmost gravity, calmness and clarity.
We have to balance the safety of the public against the rights of the individual. We are talking only about a very small number of very dangerous people, supported in this country by a small number of fanatics and overseas by those who, if they were better informed, would not support terrorism in our islands. The vast majority of people are wholly out of sympathy with terrorism of any kind, at any time and in any place.
The breadwinners of many families in my constituency are members of the Services. The husbands are often serving in Northern Ireland, and the strain engendered by their daily exposure to terrorism has an appalling effect on family life. It is our duty to make sure that the families at home are not equally exposed. We should do everything we can to restrict terrorism. Internationally, our servicemen are increasingly subject to terrorism in carrying out their peacekeeping tasks. We owe it to them and their families not to lose any resolve tonight and not to change our minds.
There is another group of people in my constituency who are dedicated to the protection and saving of human life. The work of those people has saved hundreds of lives in Northern Ireland and elsewhere. I refer to the Defence Establishment at Porton Down. Those who work there are bound to official secrecy, but no one would be happier than they to see an end to terrorism and conflict. They often work under a cloud of suspicion, and often have to cope with misplaced hysteria; but every terrorist bullet or bomb that kills or maims, or seeks to kill or maim, makes the work of that establishment more important. I speak not from prejudice or hysteria but from experience, having recently visited the establishment and seen the expertise, dedication and high standards which are upheld by all those scientists, doctors and vets. We would be letting them down as well if we failed to give the Bill a Second Reading.
I have mentioned the international dimension. In January 1977 the United Kingdom signed the European convention on the suppression of terrorism. In our name, Anthony Crosland agreed to disregard the political nature of terrorist crimes for the purposes of extradition. The rights of those accused or convicted of terrorism are not the only human rights. The victims or potential victims of acts of terrorism and of all forms of crime also have rights. I am very disappointed by the failure of the Government of the Irish Republic to sign the European convention on the suppression of terrorism, but we in this country can hold our heads high because of our efforts to combat international terrorism. Terrorists know that they are not safe here, and we must keep it that way.
The problem is often the definition of terrorism. The trend to resort to violent acts when the views of minorities do not win through in the democratic process is something to which we shall have to address ourselves much more closely in the future. The Institute for the Study of Conflict recently pointed out in a report that the incidence of violence attributable to political motives represents only a small fraction of the total. Today the Home Secretary has accepted the possibility of the need to proscribe other domestic groups. The institute concluded that the potential for terrorism is considerable and remains a challenge to the Western democracies.
When does civil disobedience become terrorism? The institute has suggested a scale with bombing, hijacking and kidnapping at one end and, at the other end, the occupation of public buildings, protest marches and demonstrations where violence appears only on the fringes, as in France and West Germany. Half way along the scale might appear all acts of mass law-breaking such as the illegal Stonehenge festival and the so-called peace convoy which has progressed from Glastonbury through Stonehenge, Greenham Common and Norwich and is now, by anarchic and antisocial behaviour outside Salisbury, causing considerable distress in my constituency.
It is important that we set down markers about what we believe to be the right balance. We need to draw a clear line between acceptable and unacceptable forms of demonstration and disagreement in a democracy, and to persuade minorities to use votes rather than bullets. The right to protest must be maintained, but I am increasingly worried by interference from single-issue minority pressure groups in the human rights of the majority. Therefore, it is even more important to draw a very firm line between the acceptable and the unacceptable. That is our duty in this debate, and that is why we must not weaken our resolve or change our minds tonight.
About a quarter of an hour ago we heard the authentic voice of moderation from Mid-Ulster. It reminded me of the reason for the red lines on the Floor of the Chamber. We all have a place in the cloakroom for keeping our swords. There are little pink ribbons there. There was a time when people came armed to the House of Commons. Thank God the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Rev. William McCrae) had no weapons at his disposal tonight. We would have been in a parlous position if his impassioned moderation——
—had left him with a spear or some other such ancient weapon in his hand
I welcome the length of this debate. Over the years, I have taken part in all the debates on this subject. They lasted for about an hour and a half and were held late at night. In former days there was a bipartisan policy. At that time the Labour party was so backward that it did not realise how deadly the legislation was. It now realises how deadly this Bill is. Many of us struggled against the previous Bills. Literally only a handfull of us used to vote against this illiberal measure. As my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) has mentioned, the legislation stemmed from the panic following the bombs in Birmingham.
Some Conservatives Members and Members of Parliament for Ulster talk as though bombs do not go off in places such as McGurk's bar, and as though a group of masked men did not stop people going to work, or put up barricades against those workers so that they themselves could dominate the struggle to share power. I welcome the fact that we have several hours of debate, because we need time to discuss the most intractable political problem that we face. Some people say that we should crush the terrorists and that that would solve the problem. However, I should like to remind the House of why we are in this mess and how it all began.
The voice that we heard from the other side of the House was the authentic voice of those who caused the trouble long ago. The minority community in Northern Ireland — the original Irish — was suppressed by the Scottish planters. The English, who had trouble with the Scots, were astute enough to use the Scots against the Irish, because they also had trouble with the Irish. Indeed, I saw the English do the same thing in India. Very similar Acts were introduced to hold down the Indian people. Ultimately, however, there was a withdrawal.
I notice that the 1974 Act and the subsequent Acts were temporary provisions. That qualification is now being removed. Apparently, the reason is that this Bill is wider than the previous legislation. We have been told by one of those on the Conservative side of the House that there could be trouble. If that hon. Gentleman had managed to get through his speech without saying something about immigrants I, for one, would have expected Big Ben to strike 13. One expects a certain sort of speech from that source.
The legislation remains draconian. Some people are almost ready to polish their jackboots. However, we in the Labour Party have taken a great leap forward. Once only 12 or 15 of us opposed it, but now the Labour Party believes again in a united Ireland. It will vote against this draconian measure. We believe that ordinary criminal law is quite sufficient to deal with the terrible problems. Most of us face problems in a reasonable manner. Most people are against any form of terrorism, whatever its source. However, some voices, which are raised so fiercely and in a passionate and headstrong manner, fuel the terrorists.
Some people approach this terrible problem in a sectarian manner, thus showing that they have learnt nothing from the dreadful struggle that has led to the renewal of this legislation. A few hon. Members attended the previous renewal debates, and a few attend now. Most people want to speak. The problem is larger now. More people realise that this legislation will nit do the slightest good after it has been passed tonight. There will still be politics, the trouble will still occur and we shall still be talking, as we have done this afternoon, of people being put into the Maze prison and trying to escape.
Our problems need political solutions that demand a subtlety and an intensity of thought, not voices that fuel the flames and cause even deeper trouble when they are published in the newspapers. The Labour Party believes that we are discussing this problem in a more rational and broader manner.
Exclusion orders are draconian, terrible and unjust in every way. The authentic voice of moderation, which we heard earlier, used an expression to which I draw attention. That voice said that Ulster was becoming a jumping ground for terrorists. That apparently simple statement assumes that anybody who is excluded is a terrorist when there has been no trial of any kind. This will intensify our problems and reveal the sectarianism that caused them. Democracy will solve our problems. If one side extends democracy to the other—this has not occurred so far— we shall be well on the way towards solving our problems.
It is appalling that it is assumed that everybody who is excluded is a de facto terrorist when there has been no judge or jury. The Government assume such people are terrorists. This legislation inevitably produced the nightmare of the "supergrasses". It was as inevitable as night following day that the frustration felt through not solving the problem politically would result in a violation of natural and legal justice in Northern Ireland. The legislation will seem to produce quiescence for a short time but it will inevitably bring the terrorists more into play, especially those on the minority side. They will say that this is an example of British justice wherein one man who is a confessed murderer can go before a court and put other men on trial. This will intensify the problem.
This Bill will contribute towards the failure to solve political problems and the Government will then have recourse to so-called solutions which will not do anything. The mentality that produced this Bill is the same as that which produced the "supergrasses" and violated natural and legal justice.
Successive Governments have grossly underestimated the political problem that we face. However, we are now beginning to come to grips with it. I invite Conservative Members to consider the issue more profoundly and in a less sectarian way.
To the extent that we underestimate the problem, we shall renew Acts of Parliament such as this year after year. The melancholy renewal will go on 10 or 20 years from now because of our failure to solve the political problem that confronts us.
As I have said many times before, terrorist leaders are not just thugs and gangsters. Some of them are, but many are political animals who are deeply convinced that they are fighting for a cause. It is far more difficult to defeat someone who believes that he is fighting for a just cause. In so far as we insist on their being thugs and gangsters and fail to analyse the politics of the conflict, we shall fail to solve the problem. A solution would be easier if terrorist leaders were all thugs and gangsters. We could then crush them easily, as the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster wishes. However, the solution is more complex, subtle and lies more deeply than that. The problem is political and it requires a political solution.
The Bill is so illiberal that it deepens the problem. Increasing numbers of people now recognise that. That recognition will be shown in the Division Lobby tonight. We shall vote against this Bill in greater numbers than ever before.
My speech will be mainly practical and technical. I do not aspire to the emotional heights of either my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Ulster (Rev. William McCrea) or the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery).
I congratulate Lord Jellicoe on his report. It is excellent. I have studied it carefully. I have corresponded with my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary about some of the recommendations. For the benefit of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) I shall quote one of Lord Jellicoe's conclusions with regard to the Bill, based on his studies and interviews. At paragraph 56 he said that the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1976
has led to the charging and subsequent conviction of a large number of people guilty of very serious criminal offences connected with terrorism, which in many cases would not and could not have resulted from arrests under other powers.
Lord Jellicoe's conclusion is not to be lightly dismissed. The Act has helped in the conviction of terrorists.
I should like to congratulate my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary, who has arrived at a felicitous moment, and thank him warmly for the care and attention that he has given to some of the points that I have put to the Home Office on behalf of the Police Federation. I am grateful to him. In general, it is satisfied with his conclusions.
In the 20 years during which I have been a Member of Parliament, I have made something of a study of terrorism. I am in no sense an expert and I would always bow to the superior knowledge of Ministers— it is based on the much greater information that is available to them. But I have reached two conclusions which I should like to share with my right hon. and learned Friend. The first is baleful. There is likely to be more rather than less terrorism both in the world as a whole, and in Great Britain. Sadly, many more innocent people will be killed by terrorists. Many of our leaders will risk assassination. I say this because of the advance of technology. When President Kennedy was assassinated, the man who shot him had to stand on a building about 200 yards from him to draw a direct line of sight. Today, such an assassination can easily take place with one of the precision-guided missiles, with which the world is littered and which frequently are stolen from the armies of the East or the West. It is technically possible for such an assassination to be carried out at a great distance and with far less risk to the terrorist.
Similarly, we now have fiendish devices which make it possible to plant a bomb three or six months in advance of its detonation by remote control. Right hon. and hon. Members should visualise the possibility of such a device being planted, for example, at the Cenotaph between three and six months before 11 November, a device capable of detonation at a long distance but almost impossible to detect. In short, terrorism is a scourge which I fear will get worse.
My second conclusion is this. If a state, its Parliament and Government do not provide protection for ordinary people, they will take the law into their own hands to provide that protection for themselves. That is precisely the pattern of events in Northern Ireland. Unchecked terrorism breeds counter terrorism. Therefore, as my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary said, our duty is to strike the balance between maintaining public safety on the one hand and preserving individual rights and freedoms on the other — between providing the law-abiding majority with the security to which they are entitled, and avoiding the trap of overreaction or repression, which may serve the terrorist's ends by undermining democratic values which Governments, in free societies, exist to uphold. That is the dilemma facing the Government and the police.
The police are well aware that people in free societies are so sensitive to charges of repression that they, the police and security services, must not be seen to overreact. Yet their first duty and most important social service is to protect the citizens from threats to their lives and safety. I use this definition of the balance we must strike on good advice. My words are the words just used by Sir Kenneth Newman when he explained to the European Atlantic group the balance that he seeks to strike when maintaining the liberties and freedoms of London in the face of terrorist attack.
I shall skate over most of the Bill quickly because much of it is a replay of the previous Act. I welcome the broad changes that the Home Secretary made, and I am sure that he is right to consider past Acts against international terrorists, and not solely terrorists from Northern Ireland who might threaten our society. The quarrels of Greek and Turk, and of Arab and Jew can explode in the streets of London. The time has come when no Government who care for the peace of their people can fail to have the power to exclude those who would take terrorist actions against those people. I also welcome the other changes in the Bill.
Alongside the legislation that my right hon. and learned Friend rightly seeks, the prevention of terrorism requires several administrative actions. The first of those relates to intelligence about terrorist organisations. If terrorism is to be contained, we must be able more effectively to collect, collate, analyse and make use of advance information in depth about the nature of terrorist agencies, their ideological background, their leadership and its motivation, their finances, communications, weapons and internal disciplinary arrangements. Above all, we need to know more—much more than we do at present—about their international ramifications.
I emphasise the latter point because there can no longer be any doubt that terrorists in one country assist terrorists in other countries. Weapons stolen from a Swiss army depot have turned up in the hands of terrorists as diverse as the Red Brigades, the Baader-Meinhof gang and certain factions of the PLO. PLO training camps in Yemen have been used to familiarise European terrorists with automatic weapons and land mines, and there is circumstantial evidence—I put it no higher than that—that the IRA has benefited from connections with other terrorist organisations in Europe and perhaps in north Africa. Nor can the possibility be excluded—I choose my words carefully— that Soviet and some East European stare security services from time to time may have used terrorist organisations in other countries to assist them in their efforts to damage Western interests.
I should also mention the existence of the paid professional assassin—the Jackal, to use a name from contemporary fiction. Such men are available for terrorist hire. They may be few or many — I have no way of knowing—but they can and do operate internationally. They are by no means confined to one cause with one set of targets. Provided that the money is right and the risks are not too great, the Jackal will go anywhere.
I mention the international dimension solely to emphasise my point about the need for better intelligence and more advance information and background about every terrorist agency that might be used to attack us. It is easy to say, but exceedingly difficult — perhaps impossible—to achieve this in real life; but we must do better. I should be grateful if my right hon. and learned Friend will take the time—he does not have much—to assure himself, and therefore the House, that our intelligence agencies are well enough staffed and resourced to gather all the terrorist intelligence that is available. I hope that they are not so over-concentrated on the Soviet threat—although I do not minimise it—as to be unable to devote sufficient time and effort to the non-Soviet terrorist threat outside as well as inside Northern Ireland. I also ask my right hon. and learned Friend to satisfy himself that our British system of collating and analysing the copious data that is obtained about terrorism is the best available. Do we apply the most effective methods of operational research? Do we have the most efficient technology, such as computers, to assess intelligence material and to relate it to the practicalities of the threat that we face?
Is my right hon. Friend content with the state of international intelligence sharing about terrorism? I am aware of the arrangements that have been worked out with European Governments, and I have had some experience of the collaboration between the Americans and ourselves that has assisted greatly in tackling some aspects of the IRA in recent years. However, with the technical facilities of international communication improving so dramatically, the Government need to be confident that we are getting, as well as giving, all the relevant data that bear on terrorist threats. How does my right hon. Friend judge the quality of international intelligence sharing?
The second area of administrative action that I hope my right hon. Friend will bring forward as a counterpart to this necessary legislation is action to make it harder for terrorists and criminals of all kinds to get hold of weapons. The other day, not half a mile from this House and only about 200 yards from Buckingham Palace, armed police officers from the anti-terrorist squad arrested a man with a large supply of guns and ammunition in Belgravia. The guns included two Smith and Wesson revolvers, a magnum gun, a magnum colt, three magazines, a Churchill rifle and 300 rounds of ammunition. The man had no firearms certificate. He was able to persuade the court, and, I think, the police, that he had made a mistake. He intended this arsenal to be transferred to one of his friends overseas, and was able to persuade the court that he was
about to apply for a firearms export certificate".
I accept that. That was the view of the court, and as my right hon. Friend knows, I always accept the verdicts of British juries.
I merely refer to that case because there has been a rapid increase in the number of weapons available in this country to those who would use them for no good purpose. Sadly, the world is littered with surplus firearms from the NATO and Warsaw Pact armies. The world is also stuffed with surplus ammunition which can be bought on any black market. I understand the heavy task in front of my right hon. Friend, but through the Minister of State I hope that he will assure us that he will satisfy himself, as a new Home Secretary, that the arrangements made for the custody of weapons by the British Armed Forces and police are up to date and burglar proof.
I end with a cautionary tale. The other day, as we all know so well, some fanatic terrorist in Beirut drove an army lorry full of explosives to the place where the American marines were sleeping and another drove a similar lorry to the place where the French were sleeping. The result was close to 200 dead. My fear is that terrorists are imitative. I do not believe that is is likely for such an incident to have taken place in Northern Ireland, because such is now the experience of the RUC and the British Army that the preparedness of their barracks would make it virtually impossible for any such driver to do so. Nonetheless, many of our depots in Great Britain could be vulnerable. I ask my hon. Friend to satisfy himself that such a thing could not happen here.
We would do well to remind ourselves that this is a Bill devoted to the prevention of terrorism. Terrorism is no more nor less than seeking to achieve political ends by the use of violence.
A number of Labour Members have referred to political ideas. The hon. Member for St. Helens, South (Mr. Bermingham) referred to dreams. No one is opposed to dreams or political ideas — the opposition is towards using violence to achieve those ends. Unless Parliament prevents the use of violence to achieve political ends, the whole fabric of democracy is at risk.
During the debate we have heard a number of clearly absurd assumptions about the Bill from Labour Members. The hon. Member for Peckham (Ms. Harman) suggested that the Bill challenged the right of silence. If she were to look at paragraph 217 on page 84 of Lord Jellicoe's report she would see that a case is reported there, from the High Court in Scotland, which shows that there is no intention that an individual should be forced to incriminate himself as a consequence of the Bill. The right of silence for an individual is still sacrosanct.
The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) referred to the arbitrary arrest of innocent individuals. However, there is nothing arbitrary about the powers of arrest under clause 12. There have to be reasonable grounds for suspecting that an offence has taken place. If there are no reasonable grounds for that suspicion, the prerogative of habeas corpus will lie.
We have also heard criticism of the exclusion order, about which Lord Jellicoe says that
its value is difficult to demonstrate in a convincing way.
He goes on to make a conclusion that is worth remembering. He says:
I conclude, in effect, that the exclusion of some people under these powers has materially contributed to public safety in the United Kingdom and that this could not have been achieved through the normal criminal process.
Labour Members would do well to dwell on the fact that, although these powers may be exceptional, they are not as draconian as they would have us believe. I have listened to all of the debate and I have yet to hear a rational argument as to why the Opposition have supported the Prevention of Terrorism Act, but have suddenly changed their minds over the Bill.
Lord Jellicoe rightly says that exceptional powers require exceptional safeguards. The difficulty is that most of the exceptional powers are in the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1976 and most of the exceptional safeguards require administrative or other action. In paragraph 9 Lord Jellicoe suggests that
The police throughout the United Kingdom should be reminded by the appropriate Secretary of State that the power of arrest under section 12 should be exercised only where the use of no other power is appropriate to the end sought.
There are further references in paragraphs 17 and 18 to the Home Office draft code relating to the treatment of prisoners in police custody, and there are references in paragraph 19 to the RUC code.
There is also that long and somewhat complex provision, which will have to be contained within the statutory instrument, about the hours and times of detaining individuals. Will the Home Secretary make available in the Library something on Lord Jellicoe's conclusions about the administrative action and on whether the Government intend to carry them out, and in what way if they do so? Otherwise, the House has no real opportunity to scrutinise the exceptional safeguards that Jellicoe has put into his report, most of which rely on administrative action rather than statutory provision.
The Bill must be supported by the whole House.
The central theme of speeches from the Opposition Benches has been that the problem is a lack of evidence that the Bill is necessary and that it is a major invasion and infringement of our civil liberties. That has been our central theme.
It has been my fear for many years that we tend to respond to essentially political problems by attempting to clamp down on civil liberties in the hope that by dealing with the symptoms of political problems somehow the political problems will resolve themselves. The evidence for that is not good. It is not sufficient, as the Home Secretary and a number of Conservative Members have tried to do at times, simply to blame previous Administrations and ask, "Why have you changed your mind?" There are many arguments against that, not least that if we did not change our mind on the basis of the evidence before us that has been growing year by year and progressively becoming more powerful—I shall come to this matter in greater detail later—we should be guilty of betraying the purposes of this House.
I should also like to remind the Home Secretary and other Conservative Members that we have never yet had a study into whether the Act is effective. I know, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) knows, that Lord Jellicoe formed the opinion that it was necessary and effective. However, that is not a detailed inquiry. That is not evidence for and against. I shall address some of my remarks to the matter tonight. So let us hear no more of this nonsense that it is not appropriate to have a different view of the matter over the years.
Overall, the effect of the erosion of civil liberties in this country is frightening. I remember the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974, and I understand why people both here and outside not only wanted legislation of this nature but wanted to go further. The feelings were deep and angry, and understandably so. However, the job of this House is to protect civil liberties.
My overriding concern for many years—it has been expressed by many people — is that democracies throughout history are rarely destroyed overnight. It is a slow but steady erosion of civil liberties and civil rights, to which people have become accustomed over the years. Each erosion seems reasonable. Some dramatic act has taken place, like the Birmingham pub bombings, and it has seemed reasonable to take action, but at the end of the day people realise that the liberties to which they have been used over many years are not there to defend one. Then it requires only a major crisis. When societies drift into major crises they are often about economics or war, and the economics can be about mass unemployment or high inflation. Those are the times when societies get into trouble. It is then, more than at any other time, that people need the protection of civil rights that have been built up over the years. If those rights are no longer there to defend the people it is no good if hon. Members or anyone else complain when the man of iron takes over. That is how it happens in history, and let no one believe that democracy is safe unless people are alert to that danger. It is the duty of every person in this House, of whichever party, to be alert to that danger, and one of my criticisms of many of the speeches that we have heard tonight from the Conservative Benches is that there has not been significant evidence that they are alert to that danger.
Does not the hon. Gentleman also agree that the iron men, as he puts it, have more frequently come to power on the back of the breakdown of law and order, of terrorism unchecked, and that that, more than anything else, has been the source of dictatorship?
What the hon. Gentleman should look at, and look at in more depth—I shall comment on some of his remarks in a moment, if I have time—is the action that leads up to that period, before the breakdown in law and order. I shall come to that in a moment. If one does not examine that aspect, it becomes too late to take the action that is needed.
The Tory party is historically weak in protecting civil liberties. It has always been a reluctant and resentful convert — [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] — to democratic procedures. Throughout history it has rejected many extensions of the franchise, and it has resented and tried to repel other civil liberties that we in this country have fought for. The Tory party prefers what I shall describe as benign authoritarianism — and sometimes it is not so benign. We witness that from time to time in the stage-managed conferences with the deferential political eunuchs engaging in standing ovations to order.
When Lord Jellicoe says that the Prevention of Terrorism Act should stay, he gives four reasons. He said, first, that it must be effective; secondly, that the aims cannot be achieved by a general law; thirdly, that it must not be unacceptable to civil liberties; and, fourthly, that there must be safeguards against abuse. I am worried, as Conservative Members rarely address themselves to those matters.
The right hon. Member for Spelthome (Sir H. Atkins), who has special knowledge of Northern Ireland, is anxious that the word "political" should be dropped from the definition of terrorism. Of course, it could be dropped, but the giveaway is in the Act because ministerial and not judicial power determines whether a person is detained or excluded. Whether abroad or in this country it is a political act if the person charged can say that he was detained on the direct instructions of the Secretary of State with no judicial involvement whatever. Simply removing one word from the Bill cannot remove the political nature of the act.
I was referring to the case of a man against whom a warrant exists for his arrest for committing murder. I suppose that that offence can be said to be political, but I do not think that it is. I object to his being able to go to the courts in his own country and say that his motive was political and therefore the crime was different.
That is precisely my point. One can say exactly the same on the basis of the Bill regardless of whether the word "political" appears because the detentions and exclusions will be on ministerial and not judicial decisions. In other words, we know that the act is political and we must face up to its implications in terms of our civil liberties and law.
I am not surprised that the Liberal party supported the Bill. However, I am a little worried that Liberal Members did not stay to see the argument through. They told us that they would light the Bill clause by clause and then said that they would support it. That is a curious position.
The hon. Member for Leicestershire, North-West (Mr. Ashby) made a very encouraging maiden speech and I congratulate him on it. Most of us were sitting of the edges of our seats. At one time I thought that not only was he making a maiden speech but that he would criticise his own Government on the Bill. He correctly pointed out that this was an erosion of habeas corpus, a matter dear to his heart. He is quite right to say that and I respect him for it. I hope that in time we shall encourage him to firm up on that belief and take his convictions into the Lobby with us. If he needs any advice on that subject I shall gladly help him. I also congratulate him on the brevity of his speech, which was impressive.
I have referred to the erosion of civil liberties. The hon. Member for Epping Forest (Sir J. Biggs-Davison) gave the best example. He said that we should return to selective internment. That is the problem. There are umpteen arguments that can be put forward to prevent terrorism and the erosion of civil liberties.
I believe that in the end we would have internment and a Prevention of Terrorism Act as well. The argument is always that we must have more and more power to defeat terrorism because we have failed to face the political arguments that underlie it.
The hon. Member for Epping Forest said that the provision is turning Northern Ireland into a dustbin for terrorists. The feeling in Northern Ireland about this matter is immensely strong. Not only has the Northern Ireland Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights rightly condemned this, but many other people do not see why it is all right for terrorists to walk the streets of Belfast but not all right for them to do so in Britain. Misunderstandings occur as to whether we have indentified terrorists, but, having been labelled as such by the exclusion orders, they are seen in that light by the people of Northern Ireland.
In the light of the Government's policy on Northern Ireland, it is significant that they are still prepared to treat Northern Ireland in a different manner from the rest of the United Kingdom — and not only in this respect. The Government go further by introducing embarkation cards for the island of Ireland.
The hon. Member for Billericay (Mr. Proctor) brought in the racial factor by innuendo. He will know my views about racialism. He forgot to mention that one of the main triggers in the inner city riots to which he referred was the method and style of policing. If we do not carry the people with us in policing methods, we shall lose their support. At best we shall experience civil disorder of the type that he described and at worst paramilitary grouping of the type experienced in Northern Ireland. We must take the people with us if we want to defeat terrorism.
The hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Rev. William McCrea) made an impassioned speech. Although we all respect the problems that face hon. Members from Northern Ireland, they do not have a monopoly of concern about what happens there. I have been involved in Northern Ireland matters in the House since 1980. Part of my reason was that concern. The hon. Gentleman's care and concern would be more convincing if he had been able to condemn paramilitary activity from both sides without prompting from my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short). Recognition of what is happening on both sides of the sectarian divide is necessary.
I have talked about the slow erosion of civil liberties. I am talking not only of the prevention of terrorism measures and the emergency provisions, but of the increased powers of the police and immigration officers. We must not forget that the legislation applies to immigration officers. I am talking about searches in the Houses of Parliament and the extension of the powers of security guards, which seem reasonable in their own right, but they undermine our civil liberties. I understand how they came about in the 1960s and 1970s, but unless we take a long-term view of what is happening, we shall end up without any of the civil liberties that we have been used to and for which we have fought so hard.
Both Shackleton and Jellicoe say that they recognise the dangers to civil liberties but believe that terrorism makes that necessary. We must ask the central question. Where is the evidence? Where is the evidence that the Act has been successful? It is not in the statistics. It is in the assumption that covert intelligence-gathering will be done by people, some of whom may have had links, knowingly or unknowingly, with terrorism. Jellicoe does me the honour of using my argument on pages 4 and 5 of the report. The words that he uses bear a marked similarity to my written evidence. The argument is that the terrorist's aims, whether in Northern Ireland or in a number of other places, is normally to force the Government into increasingly repressive legislation particularly against those whom the terrorist seeks to represent. That is a crucial part of the argument.
The philosophy is not new. It goes back many hundreds of years. It has been around in other societies at other times. It was emphasised by Carlos Marighella in writings in the 1950s and 1960s. Many terrorist writings, particularly in relation to the IRA, take their ideas and beliefs from that source. It is worth reading about the aims of terrorism. Carlos Marighella says that:
The armed forces … are mobilised and undertake routine police functions. Even so they find no way to halt guerilla operations, nor to wipe out the revolutionary organisation.
The aim is to make the Government enforce curfews, road blocks, searches and mass arrests. The legislation encourages the arrest of innocent people. I wish to emphasise the evidence given by General Richard Clutterbuck, who said about the terrorist
like all revolutionaries he regards his chief enemy as the liberal reformer.
He believes that the enemy of the paramilitary terrorists is the liberal reformer who protects and defends civil rights.
It is difficult to get the balance right. The Home Secretary spoke about that. However, there are good indications of the level of success. Both Lord Jellicoe and the Home Secretary failed to address themselves to that. I hope that the Minister will do so when he replies. What are the implications? First, there is the attitude of those among whom the terrorists seek to operate. We have convincing evidence that the Irish people feel that they are the targets for the legislation. We know from the backgrounds of those who have been picked up that they are the targets. We are, therefore, alienating them. Their alienation takes different forms. First, it may be passive, in that those who do not actively support terrorist actions nevertheless refuse to co-operate effectively with the security forces.
Secondly, aggrieved people may provide cover for terrorist activities. Thirdly, there may be a willingness to join a terrorist group or one of its front organisations.
There is considerable evidence that that has been happening. Convictions in the Diplock courts show that the majority of offenders are under 25. Most of them have not been convicted before. The evidence is strong that the paramilitary groups on the Republican side are well able to recruit. They argue strongly that those whom they seek to represent have no hope with democratic politics and that there is no hope of their civil rights being defended by the House of Commons. They quote as an example the Prevention or Terrorism Act. It is not the guilty who are picked up but their friends and relatives. A general feeling is encouraged that people cannot trust the police, the security forces or the British Government and at the end of the day the only people who will fight for them are the paramilitary groups on the Republican side.
The statistics show that 5,555 people were arrested between 24 November 1974 and 31 December 1982 under the Act. Of those, 88 per cent. were released without charge. Only 2.1 per cent. were charged with offences under the Act. That says something about Lord Jellicoe's view that general laws should be used to deal with certain cases. The purpose of the Act is to collect information — it has nothing to do with convicting terrorists. The Act's purpose is to cross-examine people about other people and so gain information. Only 1.5 per cent. are found guilty under the Act. Yet we justify an Act that strikes at the very basis of our civil liberties.
We have legislation — and further legislation now before us—that is failing in its purpose. To some extent it is assisting the paramilitary groups. It offends against the traditions of British democracy.
In paragraph 70 of the report, Lord Jellicoe states
the decision whether to extend detention depends on criteria which are not susceptible of judicial assessment.
In other words, he is saying clearly, and without any attempt to conceal it—it is to his credit that he does not want to conceal it — that it is a political and not a judicial action. If we took that to be the Sakharov case, the distinction is not great. The Russians went in for exclusion on a basis rather different from ours. They justified it on political grounds. We are now doing exactly the same. The reasons may be different but the principle is precisely the same. Reference was made earlier to those arrested in Zimbabwe and then, incidentally, rearrested.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am sorry to interrupt my hon. Friend because he is making an important speech, but is it right for the Home Secretary to sit looking at something to do with football, which has nothing to do with the business of the House? The right hon. and learned Gentleman clearly is not listening to the speeches being made. There has always been a clear understanding in the House that hon. Members, especially Ministers, should be courteous to each other.
I am grateful to my hon. Friend, but I suspect that the Home Secretary's concern about civil liberties has never been so great that he would listen to detailed arguments of this type. That is evidenced in some of the legislation that he is prepared to bring forward. The arguments about the Act are detailed and should be dealt with seriously. I would be encouraged if the Home Secretary would do that.
Lord Jellicoe pointed out that we are involved in political legislation. We are saying that there are now acts which should no longer be dealt with by the judiciary but by Ministers of State. In the Zimbabwe case those involved were rearrested after having been found not guilty. Under the present Act a person was found not guilty by the court but was immediately subject to an exclusion order. If we are to be serious about our protection of civil liberties, we should look to that aspect because we have lost the principle. The reasons may be different and there may be different emphasis on those reasons, but the principle has been lost. That is what makes the Act such a dangerous one.
I ask hon. Members to consider, regardless of their political affiliations, what I am about to say. If during the 1950s or 1960s someone had come to Britain and predicted that in a few years' time Britain would be going in for internal exile in the form of exclusion orders from one part of the United Kingdom to another—which we have not had, as Sam Silkin said when he was Attorney-General, since the Middle Ages — giving no reasons to the person, giving him no right to know the evidence against him, giving no right to cross-examine those who had collected the evidence, giving no right to a trial or any public or formal hearing, giving no right to know on what basis any representation had been successful or unsuccessful either before, during or alter the exclusion, giving no right of appeal to a court or tribunal, he would have been scoffed at. In addition to this picture of a futuristic Britain painted perhaps by an hon. Member in 1950s or 1960s, if he had gone on to say that this power would be given not only to the police but to immigration officers, that they would have the power to detain for up to seven days without charge and perhaps without the suspect being able to see a solicitor or friends and relatives, and that the suspect could be finger-printed and those fingerprints and records could be kept on file even though no charge was laid, again, would he not have been scoffed at? People would have said that that was not a picture of Britain in a few years' time but a picture of an authoritarian state. But that is Britain in the 1970s and 1980s. The Bill is intensely dangerous and the House has a duty in this matter going far beyond party loyalty and going deep into the traditions and beliefs of the House that have been hard fought for over the years.
Civil liberties are essential to any democracy. Tonight, we are eroding them yet again. The term "temporary" has been taken out of the title of the Bill. We started off reviewing the original Act every six months. The period was then extended to 12 months. Now it is five years. We shall be re-enacting it in five years' time unless we have the wit to repeal it, as I hope we shall.
On the record of the past 10 or 15 years, we shall continue on the track that we have been following. The Opposition say that it is time to look again and to recognise that we cannot beat terrorism by eroding the civil liberties which are the target of the terrorists' attack. If we are true to that and true to our traditions and beliefs in the House, we shall vote against the Bill.
We have had a very interesting debate and I am grateful to all those who have made constructive contributions. I shall do my best to reply to the various points made, but it might he appropriate if I made one or two general points first.
What happened in Beirut yesterday is a dreadful reminder of the foul and bestial deeds that twisted people with twisted minds are prepared to perpetrate for political ends. Of course, we should never let our horror at such events warp our judgment. In a free society such as ours we should always be on our guard lest in our determination to beat the bombers we do their job for them and destroy freedom itself.
On the other hand, few would deny that sometimes individual rights have to be curtailed to protect more fundamental rights and to protect the slate itself. Few would deny that sometimes there is a place for exceptional powers. A balance has to be struck between the need to protect the public on the one hand and the need to safeguard the rights and freedom of the individual on the other.
I think that we have found the right balance in the Bill. While its primary purpose is the protection of the public from the violence of terrorist fanatics, it also seeks to ensure that those who are subject to exceptional powers are fairly and justly treated.
I emphasise, because it seems to have been forgotten during the debate, that the Bill gives far more protection to those who might be detained or made subject to exclusion orders than the Opposition apparently thought necessary when they were in office and introduced the original measures.
I do not think that I shall be alone in saying that the speech of the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) was extraordinary. It might be better to draw a veil over it. I am sorry that he was out of the Chamber when the debate came to its drarnatic climax. The right hon. Gentleman's hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery)—he has been the right hon. Gentleman's hon. Friend until now, though I wonder whether he still will be—tried to come to the right hon. Gentleman's rescue by saying that we all had to recognise that obviously the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook did not believe a word of what he was saying, but he had to say it because of a decision made by the Labour party. The right hon. Gentleman was not in the Chamber at the time, but I can tell him that that is precisely what was said by his hon. Friend the Member for Hillsborough.
I shall do better than that. I shall read Hansard tomorrow, and I ask the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook to read it as well.
The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook got himself into a complete tangle, and he did that as a result of trying to be too subtle by half. He picked out a few words at the beginning of paragraph 55 of the Jellicoe report and constructed round them the proposition that Lord Jellicoe himself had doubted the value of these powers of arrest and detention. It took only a few moments to direct the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the conclusions reached by Lord Jellicoe when he studied the matter.
In paragraph 62 the noble Lord states quite categorically:
I believe that the 48-hour-plus-five-days power under section 12 should remain.
In paragraph 65 he goes on to say that
if the power of extended detention were abolished, the police both in Northern Ireland and on the mainland would be seriously handicapped in dealing with terrorists."—
The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook latched on to the first sentence of paragraph 55 and hoped that we would all close our eyes to what ensued in the following paragraphs.
The right hon. Gentleman then pointed to the fact that a large number of people who had been made subject to exclusion orders had not in the event been charged. One of the objects of the power is to exclude suspected terrorists who cannot be prosecuted because the evidence against them is of such a delicate nature that it cannot be presented in court, not least because to reveal it to the accused would almost certainly be to reveal to him the source of the information and put at risk the life of the person concerned.
The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that 88 per cent. of those detained were not charged. He did not mention that a very large proportion of those detained were detained under port powers. He ignored entirely paragraph 139 of the report in which Lord Jellicoe said that the primary purpose of the port powers was
to deter those involved in terrorism from attempting to enter a particular territory, by demonstrating that they are likely to be caught. The value of a deterrent power is not demonstrated by the numbers apprehended.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Spelthorne (Sir H. Atkins) deserves the thanks of the House for directing our attention to a large number of extremely important matters. He asked whether it was right that the clause 12 powers were not to extend to other than Northern Ireland or international terrorism. That is right. The reason why that is in the Bill is that Lord Jellicoe concluded that no domestic group had so far been seen as posing a threat to public safety which was at all comparable to that posed by Irish or international groups. The theme of the Bill is to go no further than was proposed by Lord Jellicoe. We believe that Lord Jellicoe has got the balance right and that we should not take powers unless they are essential.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Spelthorne said that exclusion orders could not be made in respect of international terrorism. Again he was entirely right. The reason for that is again contained in the Jellicoe report. We consider that there are adequate powers under the Immigration Act and particularly in section 3(5)(b) of the Immigration Act 1971 to deport someone on the ground that his presence in this country is not conducive to the public good.
Paragraph 41 of the report indicates that, at present, an extension of detention does not have to be made in writing under the Secretary of State's own hand. My right hon. Friend was quite right to say that it would be wrong if that a power as important as this was not exercised by the Secretary of State himself. I am glad to be able to tell my right hon. Friend that we accept the recommendation made by Lord Jellicoe at paragraph 73 of the report.
My right hon. Friend said that he was concerned about the definition of terrorism in clause 14(1) and its effect on extradition proceedings. I have to tell him that that definition has stood the test of time and has not been exploited in the courts to undermine the effectiveness of earlier Acts. Furthermore, I believe that the definition in the Bill can make little or no impact on extradition cases, as such cases involve the allegation of a specific offence.
The hon. Member for Montgomery (Mr. Carlile) made an interesting speech. He told us that the Liberal party supports the need for the Bill but will seek to make changes in Committee. We will await news of those proposed changes with interest. The hon. Member mentioned two of them in his speech. He said that he would like the Act to have a life of three rather than five years, and that he would like exclusion orders to last for two years rather than three. As the Bill reduces the life of exclusion orders from 20 years to three years, it may be considered that in his second point the hon. Gentleman is merely nit-picking and trying to find a battlefield where none exists. He says that the Liberal party does not like the idea of 20 years. He says that it does not like three years either, but that it would settle for two.
The hon. Gentleman expressed disappointment that the Police and Criminal Evidence Bill had not had its First Reading before this debate. There is nothing sinister in that. Although I must not disclose in detail the terms of that Bill, I can tell the hon. Gentleman that it is our intention to carry out the recommendations contained in paragraphs 17, 21, 22, 23 and 25 of Lord Jellicoe's report.
I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Leicestershire, North-West (Mr. Ashby) on his eloquent speech. It was a pleasure to listen to him. He was right to remind us that any erosion of personal liberty can be justified only by exceptional circumstances. He had obviously tried to strike a balance in his own mind—as every Member of this House must try to do—before deciding to support the Bill.
The hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis) said that there can be good intelligence without the existence of admissible evidence. How right he was. There can be good intelligence that cannot be revealed to the suspect without imperilling the safety of others.
My hon. Friend the Member for Epping Forest (Sir J. Biggs-Davison) said that Ulster should not be used as a dustbin for terrorists. He referred to the recent report of the Northern Ireland Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights, according to which the exclusion powers were being used to discriminate against the people of Northern Ireland. We must get this absolutely clear.
I agree that under these powers more people are excluded from Britain than from Northern Ireland. However, terrorist attacks in Britain inevitably tend to be committed by people who have travelled here from Ireland, while those that take place in Northern Ireland tend to be committed by those already living there, or by those who have come over the border from the South.
The hon. Member for Peckham (Ms. Harman) made an interesting speech in which she made quite clear her objection to the power of proscription, as, indeed, did the hon. Member for St. Helens, South (Mr. Bermingham). I quite understand what both of them had to say but, with respect, they both tended to ignore the affront that would be caused to others if people could once again flaunt their support for terrorist causes.
The hon. Member for Peckham seemed to ignore the fact that clause 14(10) requires an affirmative resolution of the House before any additional body can be added to the list of proscribed organisations in the schedule. At one point she seemed to suggest that clause 11 made it an offence for a person to refuse to incriminate himself. That is not so. Clause 11 states:
If a person who has information which he knows or believes might be of material assistance—
(a) in preventing the commission by any other person of an act of terrorism".
Thus, it does not refer to an act of terrorism by the person being questioned.
The hon. Member for Hillsborough spoke of his belief in the need for a united Ireland and for political solutions to many of the problems. One always sympathises with those who want peaceful solutions to problems, but not many hon. Members would go along with him in saying that terrorists are deeply convinced political animals who believe they are fighting for a just cause — [Interruption.] They are certainly animals. Everyone is entitled to struggle to achieve peacefully his political ambition, but Members of Parliament of all people should make it plain to all that they could never countenance the use of force to obtain political ends.
Why then do the Government support a policy in Northern Ireland under which those known to have committed terrorist crimes are given immunity because they give evidence against their accomplices?
Under English law it has always been possible for the prosecution to allow someone to turn Queen's evidence and so give evidence for the Crown. It is for the state to decide where the balance of advantage lies. It is not a power to be used lightly, but if scores of lives could be saved by giving one man immunity from prosecution and by putting many others in prison, it is obvious what the prosecuting authorities should do.
My hon. Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Griffiths) rightly pointed out that there is growing evidence of terrorists in one country supporting terrorists in other countries. He called upon us to see that there was better intelligence about terrorist agencies throughout the world. He wanted us to ensure that our agencies were sufficiently well staffed to do their work. He wanted to know whether there was enough international intelligence sharing. This is not the time to reply to the various points. They are good points, and obviously they will be read by many and will be borne in mind. My hon. Friend is correct in saying that it is our job to make it more difficult for terrorists to get hold of weapons.
My hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Baldry) pointed out — I think he was answering the hon. Member for Hillsborough—that no one is opposed to dreams, but most hon. Members are opposed to the use of violence to achieve those dreams. He was correct in saying that there was nothing arbitrary about the powers of arrest in the Bill. A great deal of loose language has been used. These are powers that can be exercised only on reasonable suspicion.
My hon. Friend said that what the Government resented was not the fact that the Opposition had changed their mind—anybody is entitled to change his mind—but the fact that not once during this debate had anybody on the Opposition Benches who previously voted for these measures explained why he had changed his mind.
Does the Minister agree that the Bill represents a fundamental change in the criminal law, in that in the past arrests occurred on the ground of evidence, whereas arrest or detention can occur now merely on the ground of reasonable suspicion? Reasonable suspicion is now sought to replace the doctrine of reasonable evidence for the cause of arrest.
The Bill gives the Executive exceptional powers, and no one doubts that for one moment. I was referring a moment ago to the fact that for nine years the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook was perfectly happy for his Government and other Governments to have these exceptional powers. Now he trots along to the House and without giving us any explanation says that he has had a great change of mind. The hon. Member for Hillsborough let the cat out of the bag. The Labour Government in office recognised the need for emergency powers, and the Labour Governments of 1974 and 1976 legislated accordingly. Each year thereafter the Labour Government invited Parliament to renew the powers, and Parliament did so.
In 1983 the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook invited his colleagues to vote in the opposite direction when the terrorist menace was no less than it had been and when 1982 had been the worst year since 1974 for deaths— there were 11 in all—as a result of terrorist acts.
I say with the utmost respect to the Minister that he has not answered the question about reasonable suspicion. Is he attributing to that a subjective reasonable suspicion or an objective reasonable suspicion? He is introducing a new concept of law into our system. Can the Minister answer my hon. Friend?
Instead of the Minister pursuing this ridiculous charge, which we have dealt with over and over again, will he give some time in the remaining minutes available to discuss how the Bill will prevent terrorism? Let us have some evidence and deal with the serious points of alienation and the rest to which he has not addressed himself.
The problem with any measures such as these is that it is not possible to prove how many people have been deterred by the existence of the powers in them. However, there can be no doubt that Lord Jellicoe concluded that the powers were necessary. I have quoted chapter and verse to Opposition Members. They do not like it.
It is possible to argue that, if one takes exceptional powers, they can be used as a recruiting agent for terrorists. However, there is an equally strong argument that many terrorists will be deterred from entering Britain if they must face controls at the ports. Many terrorists will be deterred from committing criminal and terrorist acts if they are detained under these powers.
The Minister is avoiding my questions again and it is clear that he has not taken account of what I have said. I gave two examples of how an assessment of whether the Act works could be made. He has not even thought about them. Will he give the House some hope that he will at least consider them? If he does not, we shall have good reason to believe that, far from preventing terrorism, the Bill will play into the hands of paramilitary groups.
Once again I must invite the hon. Gentleman's attention to the Jellicoe report, which provides ample support for the reintroduction of a Bill which until recently Opposition Members thought necessary for the protection of the public. The Oppostion's volte face was a sickening and humiliating surrender by the so-called moderates in the Labour party to the extremists. The amendment is of the same order.
If the Bill were not passed, some inconvenience suffered by people who travel between Ireland and the mainland would be removed, but the difficulty of the police in identifying and catching terrorists and preventing them from carrying out their heinous acts would be greatly increased. If the Bill were not passed and there were no security controls at the ports, people could come and go at will. They would include active terrorists. There would be public anger when it was realised that the Secretary of State could not prevent the most undersirable and vicious creatures travelling freely from one part of the United Kingdom to another. There would be nothing short of outrage when members of the IRA started to flaunt themselves in public, hold meetings and cadge coppers to buy bombs with which to blow up people.
There is no doubt that the police want these powers which have helped them significantly in their fight against terrorism. The police deserve our good wishes for their work. It is more important, however, that they receive the practical support which the Bill will provide. We have not yet succeeded in stamping out terrorism. While the threat remains it is our duty to the British people to do all that we reasonably can to meet it. The Opposition would have us make it easier for the terrorists. We shall carry out our duty and make it as difficult as possible.
|Division No. 45]||[10.00 pm|
|Adams, Allen (Paisley N)||Hardy, Peter|
|Alton, David||Harman, Ms Harriet|
|Anderson, Donald||Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Heffer, Eric S.|
|Ashton, Joe||Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)|
|Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)||Home Robertson, John|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Hoyle, Douglas|
|Barron, Kevin||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)|
|Beckett, Mrs Margaret||Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)|
|Bell, Stuart||Hume, John|
|Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)||Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Kinnock, Neil|
|Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E)||Lamond, James|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)||Leighton, Ronald|
|Callaghan, Rt Hon J.||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)||Lewis, Terence (Worsley)|
|Canavan, Dennis||Litherland, Robert|
|Clark, Dr David (S Shields)||Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)|
|Clarke, Thomas||Lofthouse, Geoffrey|
|Clay, Robert||Loyden, Edward|
|Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.)||McCartney, Hugh|
|Cohen, Harry||McDonald, Dr Oonagh|
|Coleman, Donald||McGuire, Michael|
|Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.||McKay, Allen (Penistone)|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton North)||McKelvey, William|
|Corbett, Robin||Mackenzie, Rt Hon Gregor|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||McNamara, Kevin|
|Cox, Thomas (Tooting)||McWilliam, John|
|Craigen, J. M.||Madden, Max|
|Crowther, Stan||Marek, Dr John|
|Cunliffe, Lawrence||Marshall, David (Shettleston)|
|Cunningham, Dr John||Maxton, John|
|Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly)||Meacher, Michael|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)||Michie, William|
|Deakins, Eric||Mikardo, Ian|
|Dewar, Donald||Millan, Rt Hon Bruce|
|Dixon, Donald||Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)|
|Dobson, Frank||Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)|
|Dormand, Jack||Nellist, David|
|Douglas, Dick||O'Brien, William|
|Dubs, Alfred||O'Neill, Martin|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Orme, Rt Hon Stanley|
|Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.||Parry, Robert|
|Eadie, Alex||Patchett, Terry|
|Eastham, Ken||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Edwards, R. (W'hampt'n SE)||Pike, Peter|
|Evans, loan (Cynon Valley)||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)|
|Evans, John (St. Helens N)||Prescott, John|
|Fatchett, Derek||Radice, Giles|
|Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)||Redmond, M.|
|Flannery, Martin||Richardson, Ms Jo|
|Foot, Rt Hon Michael||Roberts, Allan (Bootle)|
|Foster, Derek||Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)|
|Foulkes, George||Robertson, George|
|Fraser, J. (Norwood)||Rogers, Allan|
|Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald||Rooker, J. W.|
|George, Bruce||Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)|
|Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)||Rowlands, Ted|
|Sedgemore, Brian||Thorne, Stan (Preston)|
|Sheerman, Barry||Tinn, James|
|Shore, Rt Hon Peter||Wardell, Gareth (Gower)|
|Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)||Wareing, Robert|
|Silkin, Rt Hon J.||Welsh, Michael|
|Skinner, Dennis||White, James|
|Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'kl'ds E)||Williams, Rt Hon A.|
|Soley, Clive||Winnick, David|
|Spearing, Nigel||Young, David (Bolton SE)|
|Strang, Gavin||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)||Mr. James Hamilton and|
|Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)||Mr. Harry Cowans.|
|Ancram, Michael||Fookes, Miss Janet|
|Arnold, Tom||Forman, Nigel|
|Ashby, David||Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)|
|Ashdown, Paddy||Forsythe, Clifford (S Antrim)|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Forth, Eric|
|Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H.||Franks, Cecil|
|Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)||Freeman, Roger|
|Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)||Freud, Clement|
|Baker, Kenneth (Mole Valley)||Gale, Roger|
|Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)||Galley, Roy|
|Baldry, Anthony||Gardiner, George (Reigate)|
|Banks, Robert (Harrogate)||Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde)|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Beggs, Roy||Goodlad, Alastair|
|Beith, A. J.||Gorst, John|
|Bellingham, Henry||Grant, Sir Anthony|
|Best, Keith||Gregory, Conal|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Griffiths, E. (B'y St Edm'ds)|
|Biggs-Davison, Sir John||Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)|
|Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Grist, Ian|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Ground, Patrick|
|Bottomley, Peter||Grylls, Michael|
|Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n)||Gummer, John Selwyn|
|Brandon-Bravo, Martin||Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)|
|Bright, Graham||Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)|
|Brittan, Rt Hon Leon||Hampson, Dr Keith|
|Brooke, Hon Peter||Hanley, Jeremy|
|Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes)||Hannam, John|
|Browne, John||Hargreaves, Kenneth|
|Bruce, Malcolm||Harris, David|
|Bruinvels, Peter||Harvey, Robert|
|Buck, Sir Antony||Haselhurst, Alan|
|Burt, Alistair||Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael|
|Butcher, John||Hawksley, Warren|
|Butterfill, John||Hayes, J.|
|Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y)||Hayhoe, Barney|
|Carlisle, John (N Luton)||Hayward, Robert|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Heathcoat-Amory, David|
|Carttiss, Michael||Heddle, John|
|Cartwright, John||Henderson, Barry|
|Chapman, Sydney||Hickmet, Richard|
|Chope, Christopher||Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Hill, James|
|Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)||Hind, Kenneth|
|Clarke Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Hirst, Michael|
|Colvin, Michael||Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)|
|Coombs, Simon||Holt, Richard|
|Cope, John||Hooson, Tom|
|Cormack, Patrick||Howard, Michael|
|Couchman, James||Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)|
|Crouch, David||Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)|
|Currie, Mrs Edwina||Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk)|
|Dickens, Geoffrey||Howells, Geraint|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Hubbard-Miles, Peter|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.||Hunt, David (Wirral)|
|Dover, Denshore||Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)|
|Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)||Hunter, Andrew|
|Emery, Sir Peter||Jackson, Robert|
|Eyre, Reginald||Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Hillh'd)|
|Fallon, Michael||Johnson-Smith, Sir Geoffrey|
|Farr, John||Johnston, Russell|
|Favell, Anthony||Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)|
|Fenner, Mrs Peggy||Jopling, Rt Hon Michael|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine|
|Kennedy, Charles||Penhaligon, David|
|Kershaw, Sir Anthony||Percival, Rt Hon Sir Ian|
|Key, Robert||Pollock, Alexander|
|King, Roger (B'ham N'field)||Porter, Barry|
|King, Rt Hon Tom||Powell, Rt Hon J. E. (S Down)|
|Kirkwood, Archibald||Powell, William (Corby)|
|Knight, Gregory (Derby N)||Powley, John|
|Knight, Mrs Jill (Edgbaston)||Prentice, Rt Hon Reg|
|Knowles, Michael||Price, Sir David|
|Knox, David||Proctor, K Harvey|
|Lang, Ian||Raffan, Keith|
|Latham, Michael||Rathbone, Tim|
|Lawler, Geoffrey||Rhodes James, Robert|
|Lawrence, Ivan||Ridsdale, Sir Julian|
|Lee, John (Pendle)||Robinson, Mark (N'port W)|
|Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)||Robinson, P. (Belfast E)|
|Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark||Roe, Mrs Marion|
|Lester, Jim||Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)|
|Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd)||Ross, Wm. (Londonderry)|
|Lightbown, David||Rossi, Sir Hugh|
|Lilley, Peter||Rowe, Andrew|
|Lloyd, Ian (Havant)||Rumbold, Mrs Angela|
|Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham)||Ryder, Richard|
|Lord, Michael||Sackville, Hon Thomas|
|Lyell, Nicholas||St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon N.|
|McCrea, Rev William||Sayeed, Jonathan|
|McCurley, Mrs Anna||Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')|
|McCusker, Harold||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
|Macfarlane, Neil||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)||Silvester, Fred|
|MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)||Sims, Roger|
|Maclean, David John.||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Maclennan, Robert||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)||Smyth, Rev W. M. (Belfast S)|
|McQuarrie, Albert||Soames, Hon Nicholas|
|Madel, David||Speed, Keith|
|Maginnis, Ken||Speller, Tony|
|Major, John||Spencer, D.|
|Malins, Humfrey||Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)|
|Malone, Gerald||Squire, Robin|
|Maples, John||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Marland, Paul||Stanley, John|
|Marlow, Antony||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Marshall, Michael (Arundel)||Steen, Anthony|
|Mather, Carol||Stern, Michael|
|Maude, Francis||Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)|
|Mawhinney, Dr Brian||Stevens, Martin (Fulham)|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Mayhew, Sir Patrick||Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)|
|Meadowcroft, Michael||Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire)|
|Mellor, David||Stradling Thomas, J.|
|Merchant, Piers||Sumberg, David|
|Miller, Hal (B'grove)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Mills, lain (Meriden)||Taylor, John (Strangford)|
|Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)||Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)|
|Mitchell, David (NW Hants)||Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman|
|Moate, Roger||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Molyneaux, Rt Hon James||Terlezki, Stefan|
|Moore, John||Thomas, Rt Hon Peter|
|Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)||Thompson, Donald (Calder V)|
|Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)||Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)|
|Moynihan, Hon C.||Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)|
|Mudd, David||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Murphy, Christopher||Thurnham, Peter|
|Neale, Gerrard||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Needham, Richard||Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)|
|Nelson, Anthony||Tracey, Richard|
|Neubert, Michael||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Nicholls, Patrick||van Straubenzee, Sir W.|
|Nicholson, J.||Vaughan, Dr Gerard|
|Norris, Steven||Viggers, Peter|
|Onslow, Cranley||Waddington, David|
|Oppenheim, Philip||Wakeham, Rt Hon John|
|Ottaway, Richard||Walden, George|
|Owen, Rt Hon Dr David||Wall, Sir Patrick|
|Page, Richard (Herts SW)||Wallace, James|
|Paisley, Rev Ian||Waller, Gary|
|Parris, Matthew||Ward, John|
|Patten, Christopher (Bath)||Wardle, C. (Bexhill)|
|Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth||Watson, John|
|Watts, John||Woodcock, Michael|
|Wells, John (Maidstone)||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|Wheeler, John||Yeo, Tim|
|Whitfield, John||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Whitney, Raymond||Younger, Rt Hon George|
|Winterton, Mrs Ann||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Winterton, Nicholas||Mr. Tim Sainsbury and|
|Wolfson, Mark||Mr. Douglas Hogg.|
|Division No. 46]||[10.15 pm|
|Ancram, Michael||Forman, Nigel|
|Arnold, Tom||Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)|
|Ashby, David||Forsythe, Clifford (S Antrim)|
|Ashdown, Paddy||Forth, Eric|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Franks, Cecil|
|Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H.||Freeman, Roger|
|Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)||Freud, Clement|
|Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)||Gale, Roger|
|Baker, Kenneth (Mole Valley)||Galley, Roy|
|Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)||Gardiner, George (Reigate)|
|Baldry, Anthony||Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde)|
|Banks, Robert (Harrogate)||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Goodlad, Alastair|
|Beggs, Roy||Gorst, John|
|Beith, A. J.||Grant, Sir Anthony|
|Bellingham, Henry||Gregory, Conal|
|Best, Keith||Griffiths, E. (B'y St Edm'ds)|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)|
|Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Grist, Ian|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Ground, Patrick|
|Bottomley, Peter||Grylls, Michael|
|Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n)||Gummer, John Selwyn|
|Brandon-Bravo, Martin||Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)|
|Bright, Graham||Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)|
|Brittan, Rt Hon Leon||Hampson, Dr Keith|
|Brooke, Hon Peter||Hanley, Jeremy|
|Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes)||Hannam, John|
|Browne, John||Hargreaves, Kenneth|
|Bruce, Malcolm||Harris, David|
|Bruinvels, Peter||Harvey, Robert|
|Buck, Sir Antony||Haselhurst, Alan|
|Burt, Alistair||Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael|
|Butcher, John||Hawksley, Warren|
|Butterfill, John||Hayes, J.|
|Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y)||Hayhoe, Barney|
|Carlisle, John (N Luton)||Hayward, Robert|
|Carttiss, Michael||Heathcoat-Amory, David|
|Chapman, Sydney||Heddle, John|
|Chope, Christopher||Henderson, Barry|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Hickmet, Richard|
|Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)||Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.|
|Clarke Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Hill, James|
|Colvin, Michael||Hind, Kenneth|
|Coombs, Simon||Hirst, Michael|
|Cope, John||Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)|
|Cormack, Patrick||Holt, Richard|
|Couchman, James||Hooson, Tom|
|Crouch, David||Howard, Michael|
|Currie, Mrs Edwina||Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.||Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk)|
|Dover, Denshore||Howells, Geraint|
|Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)||Hubbard-Miles, Peter|
|Emery, Sir Peter||Hunt, David (Wirral)|
|Eyre, Reginald||Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)|
|Fallon, Michael||Hunter, Andrew|
|Farr, John||Jackson, Robert|
|Favell, Anthony||Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Hillh'd)|
|Fenner, Mrs Peggy||Johnson-Smith, Sir Geoffrey|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey||Johnston, Russell|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)|
|Jopling, Rt Hon Michael||Norris, Steven|
|Kershaw, Sir Anthony||Oppenheim, Philip|
|Key, Robert||Ottaway, Richard|
|King, Roger (B'ham N'field)||Page, Richard (Herts SW)|
|King, Rt Hon Tom||Paisley, Rev Ian|
|Kirkwood, Archibald||Parris, Matthew|
|Knight, Gregory (Derby N)||Patten, Christopher (Bath)|
|Knight, Mrs Jill (Edgbaston)||Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth|
|Knowles, Michael||Penhaligon, David|
|Knox, David||Percival, Rt Hon Sir Ian|
|Lang, Ian||Pollock, Alexander|
|Latham, Michael||Powell, Rt Hon J. E. (S Down)|
|Lawler, Geoffrey||Powell, William (Corby)|
|Lawrence, Ivan||Powley, John|
|Lee, John (Pendle)||Prentice, Rt Hon Reg|
|Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)||Price, Sir David|
|Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark||Proctor, K. Harvey|
|Lester, Jim||Raffan, Keith|
|Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd)||Rathbone, Tim|
|Lightbown, David||Rhodes James, Robert|
|Lilley, Peter||Ridsdale, Sir Julian|
|Lloyd, Ian (Havant)||Robinson, Mark (N'port W)|
|Lloyd, Peter, (Fareham)||Robinson, P. (Belfast E)|
|Lord, Michael||Roe, Mrs Marion|
|Lyell, Nicholas||Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)|
|McCrea, Rev William||Ross, Wm. (Londonderry)|
|McCurley, Mrs Anna||Rossi, Sir Hugh|
|McCusker, Harold||Rowe, Andrew|
|Macfarlane, Neil||Rumbold, Mrs Angela|
|MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)||Ryder, Richard|
|MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)||Sackville, Hon Thomas|
|Maclean, David John,||Sayeed, Jonathan|
|Maclennan, Robert||Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')|
|McNair-Wilson, M. (N'bury)||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
|McQuarrie, Albert||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Madel, David||Silvester, Fred|
|Maginnis, Ken||Sims, Roger|
|Major, John||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|Malins, Humfrey||Smyth, Rev W. M. (Belfast S)|
|Malone, Gerald||Soames, Hon Nicholas|
|Maples, John||Speed, Keith|
|Marland, Paul||Speller, Tony|
|Marlow, Antony||Spencer, D.|
|Marshall, Michael (Arundel)||Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)|
|Mather, Carol||Squire, Robin|
|Maude, Francis||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Mawhinney, Dr Brian||Stanley, John|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Mayhew, Sir Patrick||Steen, Anthony|
|Meadowcroft, Michael||Stern, Michael|
|Mellor, David||Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)|
|Merchant, Piers||Stevens, Martin (Fulham)|
|Miller, Hal (B'grove)||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Mills, lain (Meriden)||Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)|
|Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)||Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire)|
|Mitchell, David (NW Hants)||Stradling Thomas, J.|
|Moate, Roger||Sumberg, David|
|Molyneaux, Rt Hon James||Tapsell, Peter|
|Moore, John||Taylor, John (Strangford)|
|Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)||Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)|
|Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)||Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman|
|Moynihan, Hon C.||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Murphy, Christopher||Terlezki, Stefan|
|Neale, Gerrard||Thomas, Rt Hon Peter|
|Needham, Richard||Thompson, Donald (Calder V)|
|Nelson, Anthony||Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)|
|Neubert, Michael||Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)|
|Nicholls, Patrick||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Nicholson, J.||Thurnham, Peter|
|Townend, John (Bridlington)||Wheeler, John|
|Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)||Whitfield, John|
|Tracey, Richard||Whitney, Raymond|
|Twinn, Dr Ian||Wilkinson, John|
|van Straubenzee, Sir W.||Winterton, Mrs Ann|
|Vaughan, Dr Gerard||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Viggers, Peter||Wolfson, Mark|
|Waddington, David||Wood, Timothy|
|Wakeham, Rt Hon John||Woodcock, Michael|
|Walden, George||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|Wall, Sir Patrick||Yeo, Tim|
|Wallace, James||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Waller, Gary||Younger, Rt Hon George|
|Wardle, C. (Bexhill)||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Watson, John||Mr. Douglas Hogg and|
|Watts, John||Mr. Tim Sainsbury|
|Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Alton, David||Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)|
|Ashton, Joe||Loyden, Edward|
|Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)||McKelvey, William|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Marshall, David (Shettleston)|
|Barron, Kevin||Meacher, Michael|
|Beckett, Mrs Margaret||Mikardo, Ian|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Nellist, David|
|Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)||Parry, Robert|
|Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Canavan, Dennis||Pike, Peter|
|Clay, Robert||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)|
|Cohen, Harry||Richardson, Ms Jo|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Roberts, Allan (Bootle)|
|Cox, Thomas (Tooting)||Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)|
|Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly)||Rogers, Allan|
|Dixon, Donald||Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)|
|Eastham, Ken||Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)|
|Fatchett, Derek||Skinner, Dennis|
|Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)||Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)|
|Harman, Ms Harriet||Wareing, Robert|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Lamond, James||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Lewis, Terence (Worsley)||Mr. Martin Flannery and|
|Litherland, Robert||Mr. Andrew Bennett|