Orders of the Day — Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Bill

– in the House of Commons at 10:26 pm on 25th January 1984.

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Photo of Mr Leon Brittan Mr Leon Brittan , Richmond (Yorks) 10:26 pm, 25th January 1984

I beg to move, that the Bill be now read the Third time.

The Bill fulfils the commitment made to the House by my right hon. Friend Viscount Whitelaw, then Home Secretary, in March 1983, that the Government would give effect to the changes to the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1976 recommended by Lord Jellicoe and that we should do this by introducing new legislation.

I believe that I speak for the majority of hon. Members in expressing once again our gratitude to Lord Jellicoe for his willingness to undertake the daunting task of reviewing the operation of the legislation and for the painstaking, thorough and, above all, authoritative character of his conclusions and recommendations. Even those who, in Committee and elsewhere, have opposed the need for a Bill have in most cases welcomed the changes recommended by Lord Jellicoe.

I thank my hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State for his invaluable work in steering the Bill through Committee and my hon. Friends who were members of the Committee for their contribution to it. The debate was almost always constructive and good natured.

I do not wish to spend a long time tonight discussing the merits of the Bill. The House has had plenty of opportunity, during the nine years in which the legislation has been in force, to consider the measures which it embodies and which are re-enacted here with the improvements recommended by Lord Jellicoe. Despite the Opposition view, formed in some extraordinary way in the past 12 months, that we do not need these measures and that they are unacceptable—although they introduced them and have been supporting them for nine years—I believe that there is substantial public support for the measures. The Department receives a steady flow of letters expressing concern, if anything, that the measures taken by the Government to combat terrorism are not strong enough—a flow which, as hon. Members may know from their own postbags, increases dramatically following the kind of outrage that we experienced before Christmas but which has still not led the Opposition to change the view that they so inappropriately put forward last autumn.

The changes to the existing legislation incorporated in the Bill are designed to preserve the balance between public safety and individual rights. They are not dramatic, but they are none the less important for that. Under the Bill, exclusion orders will have a life of three years and the police will have to make a fresh case, based on recent intelligence, if they want a new order to be made to replace one which has expired. It will no longer be possible to exclude a British citizen from a part of the United Kingdom in which he has been living for three years. Until now the exemption has operated only after 20 years. Once the new arrangements in clause 7 are in force, it will be easier for excluded persons to make representations against their exclusion and they will be guaranteed, in almost all circumstances, the right to a personal interview with one of the advisers.

I accept that these improvements will not in any way answer those who argue that the exclusion powers are wrong in principle, but even they will have to agree that the changes have made the measures less draconian, and will welcome them. We have already had a most interesting debate about the issue which has generated more concern, both in Committee and among interested groups, than any other aspect of the Bill — the application of the powers of arrest and detention to international terrorists. I do not propose to say any more about that subject now.

I shall, however, deal briefly with the exclusion from clause 12 of "domestic" terrorism. Lord Jellicoe said that he had considered and rejected the idea that the powers should be available for use against persons whose terrorist activity related purely to "domestic" matters. I share his assessment of the position. As I have said, I shall be ready to reconsider it should the threat posed by domestic groups become more serious. That is a proper and justifiable view to take.

Photo of Mr Dafydd Elis Thomas Mr Dafydd Elis Thomas , Meirionnydd Nant Conwy

In his earlier response to my intervention, I believe that the Home Secretary—we shall see this in Hansard tomorrow—said that "so far" the power had not been used in relation to groups that were concerned with possible political domestic violence relating to Scotland or Wales. Will the Home Secretary expand on those words and explain how far is "so far"? When do arsonists, whom all hon. Members condemn, become terrorists in his definition?

Photo of Mr Leon Brittan Mr Leon Brittan , Richmond (Yorks)

It is a matter not when they become terrorists, but when the degree of threat that they pose is sufficiently serious to justify taking the measures that we have taken in respect of other forms of terrorism. Groups such as the Scottish National Liberation Army and the Animal Rights Militia have mounted attacks on public figures by means of postal devices and arson. Serious though such incidents are, they do not compare in scale or effectiveness with the attacks by the IRA or the INLA or the vicious attacks that some international terrorists have carried out in London. It is not possible to specify in advance or to imagine a series of incidents that would lead one to take a different view, but it is right that we should be chary of coming to that view prematurely.

There can have been few pieces of legislation which, during a 10-year life, have had as much parliamentary rime regularly devoted to them as the prevention of terrorism legislation. The Government are satisfied that the Bill reflects the amount of care and consideration that it has received over the years. Of course, it amounts to an infringement of civil liberties, but I believe that that infringement is as small as is consistent with providing the public with the best protection that Parliament can provide against the havoc that can be wrought by terrorists.

Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman Shadow Secretary of State (Home Office) 10:33 pm, 25th January 1984

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley) for his work in leading for the Opposition on the Bill in Standing Committee and throughout most of today's proceedings. The Opposition owe him a great debt for all his work. I thank also my hon. Friends who served on the Standing Committee and stated our arguments on the Bill.

On the Second Reading last October, the Home Secretary said that the powers that the Bill contains would in other circumstances be unacceptable. Tonight, in an earlier debate, he said that those powers are inimical to our tradition of civil liberties. Most hon. Members would agree with those statements. The Government must justify to the House in what circumstances unacceptable powers, inimical to our tradition of civil liberties, should be accepted.

The first Bill of this kind, introduced by the right hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Jenkins) in 1974, was to meet the circumstances that arose following the horrific Birmingham pub bombings on 21 November 1974. That Act was intended to last for six months. In fact, it lasted until 1976 when it was replaced by another temporary provisions Act which was intended to last, in the first place, for one year. Eight years later, we are being asked to replace that temporary provisions Act with an Act which is intended to last for five years.

The Bill's original title was the Prevention of Terrorism Bill. The Committee that considered it forced the words "Temporary Provisions" into its title. It was as well that that was done, to remind the Government that this legislation, now, after various manifestations, in its 10th year on the statute book, was originally intended to survive for only six months in response to a specific emergency.

Can the House really be sure that when the new Act expires, some time in 1989, it will not immediately be replaced by yet another version, which may be scheduled to last even longer or may even be intended to be permanent, but which may still be called temporary? A six-month Act is finding a permanent place on the statute book for powers which the Home Secretary describes as wholly unacceptable and inimical to our tradition of civil liberties.

The powers in the Bill are obnoxious to all who believe in democratic freedoms. They include the power of internal exile and the power of prolonged detention without charge. Even the right in clause 7 to make representations against an exclusion order is an abuse of the rule of law, since the person making the representations will not be allowed to see or hear the evidence that he is required to refute. Not only will he have to prove his innocence, but he will not even be told of what offence he has to prove himself innocent.

Photo of Mr Robert Parry Mr Robert Parry , Liverpool, Riverside

My right hon. Friend makes the important point that the Bill has a life of five years. Is he aware that most detentions take place in Liverpool and that people who have visited my constituency for trade union conferences, weddings and even funerals have been detained and had their fingerprints taken and that, even though they have been released without being charged with any offence, their fingerprints are kept on file? Is that not a travesty of civil liberties?

Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman Shadow Secretary of State (Home Office)

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, because I shall be dealing with the effect of the legislation on innocent people. The point that he makes is relevant to Liverpool, because a high proportion of those detained under the legislation are detained on Merseyside.

If the powers in the Bill are to begin to be justified, the Government have the duty to prove to the House that they are both necessary and effective. They have so far proved neither. Between 24 November 1974, when the first Act came into operation, and 30 September last year, 5,683 persons were detained under the legislation. Of those, only 116 were charged—2 per cent. of the total. Of those 116, 12 were acquitted and one was awaiting trial, and four cases were dropped. The remaining 99–1·75 per cent. of the total of those detained—were found guilty. Of those 99, 44–0·8 per cent. of the total—were fined, discharged or given suspended sentences, and 27–0·5 per cent.—were imprisoned for less than one year. None of those people could be described as dangerous terrorists. We are left with 28 people out of 5,683, or 0·5 per cent., who were imprisoned for more than one year. Of those, 21 were imprisoned for more than five years.

The House must ask itself whether a success rate of 0·5 per cent., at most, justifies the continuation of powers that the Home Secretary himself describes as wholly unacceptable and inimical to our tradition of civil liberties.

Of the persons detained, only 298–5·24 per cent.—were subject to successful exclusion orders. The Act has been responsible for the detention of nearly 5,700 people, of whom 95 per cent. were innocent of any offence under this of any other legislation.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Epping Forest

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman Shadow Secretary of State (Home Office)

In justifying the renewal of the powers, the Government point to Lord Jellicoe's inquiry. That inquiry cannot be regarded as holy writ, vindicating and justifying all that follows from it. Its terms of reference required the acceptance of the continuing need for legislation against terrorism". My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), commenting on the appointment of Lord Jellicoe, said that he would examine the conclusions of the inquiry with the greatest, but most sceptical, care. In advance, we made it clear that we would not necessarily accept the inquiry as the final word. After Lord Jellicoe reported, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook said: on the most critical question of balance between protection and liberty he comes down on the wrong side of the argument"—[Official Report, 7 March 1983; Vol. 38, c. 569.] On that basis, 10 months ago the Opposition voted against the renewal of the 1976 Act. The Government have no right to quote Lord Jellicoe in aid as some universally accepted objective authority, especially as they themselves refused to implement three of Lord Jellicoe's key recommended safeguards: first, that police applications to detain suspects beyond 48 hours before charge should be approved by the Home Secretary personally; secondly, that officers at ports should continue to have the right to detain persons without suspicion only to ascertain whether they have been, or may be, involved in terrorism, for up to 12 hours, after which they should have reasonable suspicion; and, thirdly, that suspects should have an absolute right to see a solicitor after 48 hours detention. How effective have the Acts been in achieving what their titles claim—the prevention of terrorism? It is a sad and horrific fact that, despite this legislation, savage acts of terrorism have continued, the most recent being the sickening bombing of Harrods last month. The Secretary of State has cited the Harrods bombing as an example of the justification for this legislation, but that bombing is an example of the failure of the legislation. Nine years of this legislation did not prevent the Harrods bombing, and so far it has not been effective in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

No one expects any legislation against crime to be wholly effective, but the Home Secretary would carry more conviction if he responded positively to the question posed by my hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith and if he said—we would not have expected any details—that, to his positive knowledge, specific terrorist acts which might otherwise have taken place did not take place precisely and solely because of this legislation.

Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman Shadow Secretary of State (Home Office)

Precisely. He would not know. Yet he justifies the legislation by claiming that he does.

The Home Secretary has been unable to demonstrate that this legislation has been uniquely and necessarily preventive or successful in apprehending those who have committed terrorist acts. In effect, he has admitted the reverse, for on Second Reading he told the House: 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."—[Official Report, 24 October 1983; Vol. 47, c. 54.] Those would-be assassins were caught without the use of the prevention of terrorism legislation. They would have been caught had that legislation never existed. Indeed, other legislation, not intended solely to deal with terrorism, has been more successful in countering terrorism that this legislation, specifically designed for the purpose.

Photo of Mr Leon Brittan Mr Leon Brittan , Richmond (Yorks)

I apologise for intervening now, but I was so staggered at something that the right hon. Gentleman said—the touchstone of the accuracy of his remarks—that I thought I had better check. I was right. He was wholly wrong in saying that the three recommendations by Lord Jellicoe would not be implemented.

There was the suggestion that the Home Secretary personally should be responsible for extensions. That assurance has been given and is already in effect. As to 12 hours' detention at ports, the right hon. Gentleman should know that that will be in the supplemental order where it logically belongs. As to the right to see a solicitor after 48 hours. it has been made abundantly clear that that would be dealt with in the Police and Criminal Evidence Bill in the exact terms of Lord Jellicoe's recommendation.

The right hon. Gentleman ought not to found his argument on a mis-statement of that kind.

Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman Shadow Secretary of State (Home Office)

We are grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for that commitment on the Police and Criminal Evidence Bill.

Photo of Mr Leon Brittan Mr Leon Brittan , Richmond (Yorks)

That really will not do. The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that he must not use language in that way.

Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman Shadow Secretary of State (Home Office)

As I said, we are grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman—

Photo of Mr Leon Brittan Mr Leon Brittan , Richmond (Yorks)

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman Shadow Secretary of State (Home Office)

I am responding to the right hon. and learned Gentleman. We are grateful to him for his assurance with regard to the Police and Criminal Evidence Bill. Those of us serving on that Committee will note what he says and expect that undertaking to be fully observed by the end of our consideration.

Photo of Mr Leon Brittan Mr Leon Brittan , Richmond (Yorks)

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman Shadow Secretary of State (Home Office)

In a moment. I have something else to say in response to the right hon. and learned Gentleman.

I studied the Bill with great care before rising to speak. I am aware that clause 12(3) says: A person arrested under this section shall not be detained in right of the arrest for more than forty-eight hours after his arrest; but the Secretary of State may, in any particular case, extend the period of forty-eight hours by a period or periods specified by him. I now take it that the Home Secretary is going on record as asserting—and is assuring the House—that such cases will not go before a junior Minister, such as an Under-Secretary, at any stage, but that every one will be dealt with personally by himself.

Photo of Mr Leon Brittan Mr Leon Brittan , Richmond (Yorks)

The right hon. Gentleman is wriggling, but he will not succeed. He is now trying to suggest, deliberately or because he has not bothered to read the proceedings, that the assurances I have just given are new ones that he has managed to elicit. He knows perfectly well that the three points I made are already on record. For him now to pretend that this is something new is an attempt to conceal the fact. In suggesting that the recommendations were not being implemented, he was saying something that was wholly without foundation.

Photo of Gerald Kaufman Gerald Kaufman Shadow Secretary of State (Home Office)

I am most grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman. Of course I studied the Committee proceedings; I would not dream of coming here without doing so. One reason why I wanted to refer to clause 12(3), which I have now done, and of which I was fully aware before the right hon. and learned Gentleman intervened in his fulsome indignation, was to check whether every one of these applications will now go to the desk of the Secretary of State. That is fine, very good, excellent.

The would-be assassins of the Israeli ambassador, to whom the Secretary of State referred in his speech, were caught irrespective of the legislation—either that which is on the statute book or that which is before us this evening.

I want to make it clear, so that there shall be no doubt on the subject, that Opposition Members detest and loathe terrorism. We reject any notion or claim that any political aims or objectives can justify murder and mayhem of the kind that this island has to endure from time to time, and that Northern Ireland has to endure all the time. We in the Labour party want to prevent terrorism. We want to pursue terrorism. We believe with all our hearts that it is unacceptable to give way to terrorism.

Giving way to terrorism can show itself in two ways: first, in yielding to terrorists' demands as a result of their filthy crimes, and we in the Labour party are totally opposed to that; and, secondly, in undermining the fabric of our democratic society, and so handing to the terrorists a victory that they do not deserve and of which they must equally be deprived. It is because we hate the terrorists and their methods, and because we wish to protect democracy against them, that we shall vote in the No Lobby tonight.

Photo of Mr Harvey Proctor Mr Harvey Proctor , Billericay 10:52 pm, 25th January 1984

I shall not delay the House long, but I think it right to place on record tonight our thanks to my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary and my hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State for the careful, patient and diligent way in which they have answered our queries and amendments, both on the Floor of the House and in Committee.

The strange aspect of this legislation is not the attitude of the Government, but that of Her Majesty's Opposition. [HON. MEMBERS: "Boring."] Hon. Members may find it incredibly boring, but I shall continue. On Second Reading, the Official Opposition moved a reasoned amendment, and 144 Labour Members voted for it, and not for the Bill's Second Reading. Then 46 Labour Back Benchers voted against the Second Reading completely. So there was a split in the Labour party on the matter.

Why have Her Majesty's Opposition changed their mind? Why did Labour Ministers introduce this legislation in 1974 and 1976, whereas now, in this Parliament, its Front Bench sides with the pressures from its Back Benches against it? Is it because the source of the contention—the question of Northern Ireland being an integral part of the United Kingdom—has been settled? No, the question remains. If it is not that, perhaps those who seek to detach Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom by bullet and bomb have changed their aims and no longer pursue violence. No, not at all. Is it a change of tactics of the terrorists that makes our anti-terrorist legislation redundant or counter-productive? No, it is not that either.

For the parliamentary Labour party and Her Majesty's Opposition, the change is not one of mind, logic or intelligence on this subject; it is a change in the composition of the parliamentary Labour party. It is the shrinkage of the PLP in the House following the 1983 general election and the deliberate and determined shift to the left of the remaining Labour Members that has produced the tidal flow that has washed over the previously moderate Opposition Front Bench.

The right hon. Member for Manchester, Ardwick (Mr. Kaufman) talks about his concern about terrorism, and we remember what he said before Christmas about the Harrods bombing: We in the House of Commons, and the British people whom we represent, are united in our utter and implacable determination to stand firm against the evil men who perpetrated this deed, and who now characteristically and contemptibly, seek to creep away from the consequences of their inhumanity. The British Parliament will make no concessions to the bullet and the bomb.We welcome the additional security measures that the Home Secretary has announced and we earnestly hope that they will grant a greater measure of safety to our people as they go about their lawful and peaceful occasions" — [Interruption.] I do not know why Labour Members are heckling as I quote the words of the shadow Home Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman continued: Every effort must and will be made to trace and capture those responsible for Saturday's outrage, together with their fellow gangsters. All of our people are aware of the risks they face and know that they must be accepted if the methods and processes of democracy are to be upheld." — [Official Report, 19 December 1983; Vol. 51, c. 21.]

Photo of Mr Martin Flannery Mr Martin Flannery , Sheffield, Hillsborough

The hon. Gentleman is even embarrassing the Government Front Bench.

Photo of Mr Harvey Proctor Mr Harvey Proctor , Billericay

Are those not empty words in view of the deeds of Her Majesty's Opposition when it comes to the consideration of prevention of terrorism legislation? Should not the people of our country know that they are voting against legislation which proscribes the IRA and the Irish National Liberation Army? Do the people know that that is what the Opposition are voting against? Do they know that they are—

Photo of Mr Harvey Proctor Mr Harvey Proctor , Billericay

The Opposition are obviously demonstrating the great attributes of democracy and free speech. Do the people know that they are siding with terrorists when it comes to exclusion? Are they aware of the hypocrisy of the Opposition when they seek to criticise and oppose legislation which they were pleased to support when they were in office? Thanks to the Government, especially my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary, the recommendations of Lord Jellicoe have been inserted in legislation, including safeguards which will continue for the life of the legislation, which cannot exceed five years.

The right hon. Member for Ardwick talked about what will happen in five years' time. I hope that there will be no terrorism in five years' time. That will be the real motive force for making the legislation redundant. But if in five years's time there is terrorism that is connected with Northern Ireland or any other part of the United Kingdom, or with international terrorism, surely the Government would have a duty to legislate against dangers similar to those that we are now seeking to counter, and to introduce even more effective measures. The right hon. Gentleman and the Opposition are full of empty gestures tonight when it comes to terrorist activity.

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has referred to international terrorism, which the Bill covers. He said: We recognise very strongly indeed that terrorism wherever it occurs must be unreservedly condemned and whether terrorism takes place in Birmingham or Pretoria or any other city or place around the world it must be treated as the scourge of our modern times and opposed by all means possible and any qualification to such a condemnation would be inappropriate and would be unjustified. Tonight, the Opposition put down that unacceptable and unjustified qualification to our campaign and war against the terrorists in the United Kingdom, and I hope that the people of our country take note of that.

11 pm

Mr. J. Enoch Powell:

There are essentially three elements in the Bill. To one of them, the exclusion orders, my hon. Friends and I have been opposed, not recently, but ever since this legislation was introduced 10 years ago. We regret that we failed in our attempt to remove that element from the Bill during our proceedings. That leaves two elements.

One element is part I, dealing with the power of proscription and the two organisations which are proscribed under it. Regretfully, I have to say, as I have said before, that I cannot imagine that it would be thought to make sense if the House today said that circumstances had so changed that whatever justification there was 10 years ago for that proscription had ceased to exist.

The remaining element is one which we discussed at length this evening. I refer to the special powers of arrest and detention. The House should not be under any misapprehension about the exceptional nature of those powers or why they are held to be relvant to the prevention of terrorism. I must trouble the House with a few paragraphs from a report which appeared just before Christmas in the Belfast Telegraph. It said: The three held in London are not, it is understood, suspected of being directly involved in the bombing.Special Branch and anti-terrorist squad detectives have rounded up known IRA sympathisers and are now pressing them for information.The majority will not be suspected of having directly taken part in the attack, but it is thought that they could lead to the bombers. After listening carefully to the speech of the Home Secretary and to his explanation for the fact that part IV extends to terrorist organisations not connected with the affairs of the United Kingdom, it should be clear to all hon. Members that this legislation arms the police and security forces with exceptional powers. That being so, my hon. Friends and I must take account of the view stated in the Jellicoe report that the arrest powers … have proved themselves far too valuable to be dispensed with while a substantial threat from terrorism remains". We cannot remain deaf to the statements made to us by those who know that the existence of such powers is, and can be, the main means of detecting and bringing to punishment those who are guilty of terrorism. That being so, we feel obliged, despite our strong objection to the second element, parts II and III, not to oppose its passage tonight.

It was on a motion of mine in Committee that the Bill was adorned with the words in brackets "Temporary Provisions." We have been obliged reluctantly to accept — and it is a historical fact — that terrorism connected with the affairs of Northern Ireland is the reason why the measure was placed on the statute book and is still the reason why it remains there. That does not, for those of us who represent constituencies in Northern Ireland, make the provisions any less temporary.

Nor does it lessen our hope and belief that before five years have run their course these powers will no longer be found to be necessary. We do not regard them as a permanent, lasting and irremovable burden on those whom we represent or on this kingdom. On the contrary, we believe that the sincere application by this House and Her Majesty's Government to their undertakings to the Province will bring about circumstances in which we shall be able to look back on this legislation as a phase that has passed.

Photo of Mr Alex Carlile Mr Alex Carlile , Montgomery 11:06 pm, 25th January 1984

On Second Reading I made it clear that we on these Benches accepted the need for temporary legislation of this type—the appalling terrorism that has taken place in London since that debate of course has not made us change our minds—but we regard the Bill as oppressive by its very nature.

I also made it clear at that time that we regarded it as being unduly draconian. Indeed, if the statutory provisions were interpreted in the spirit of the speech made tonight by the hon. Member for Billericay (Mr. Proctor), nothing could more clearly highlight how draconian in its operation this measure could be. However, I think that I can say with some confidence that the spirit and feel of the hon. Gentleman's speech will make decent Conservatives shudder when they read it tomorrow morning.

We will not vote against the Bill, because to do so would indicate that there should be no legislation of this type; whereas we accept, as I said, that this type of legislation is required. But by abstaining on Third Reading, we signal our belief that the Bill should be further amended in the other place. Indeed, Liberal and Social Democratic peers will table amendments in the other place and will seek to ensure that they take advantage of the opportunity to do so which we did not have, not having had a Member on the Committee that considered the Bill.

In making our judgment on Third Reading, we must bear in mind a number of underlying considerations, one being—this leads us to the conclusion that legislation of this type is needed—that the Government have a duty to protect the largest possible number of citizens to the greatest possible extent, but within the acceptable limits of our legal and social system and standards.

On the other hand, we as Liberals and Social Democrats — [Hon. Members: "Where are they?"] — find this denigration of a balanced view, as I am sure the people of this country will find it highly offensive. We take the view that we must never cease in our vigilance to protect the private citizen against laws that involve the risk of arbitrary application without regard to natural justice. That risk looms large in some parts of the Bill. In the wake of the Harrods bombing, in a number of cases the nightmare of the knock on the door in the night has unjustly become a reality. [Laughter.] The case of the McLelland family in north Wales is an example. It is obvious to those of us who take an interest in the people of north Wales, rather than in what some hon. Members seem to regard as the more hilarious aspects of the legislation, that what happened to Mr. and Mrs. McLelland was nothing more than a fishing expedition for possible information, rather than being based on any reasonable suspicion that they were involved in, or with, a proscribed organisation.

Perhaps more important by far, the greatest injustice imposed by the Bill is not that of being detained temporarily without reason, but rather the risk of internal exile, founded upon sparse information and remote hearsay. That danger too must be guarded against, but it is not properly safeguarded against in the Bill.

We must bear in mind—I am sure this is a reality— the fact that every person who is unjustly excluded from Great Britain and escorted on to the plane represents an atom of resentment that is liable to split and mushroom into terrorism.

In considering these provisions we must recognise that, while both Shackleton and Jellicoe thought on balance that the powers of which we speak were effective in reducing terrorism in Great Britain, those conclusions were reached without an objective scrutiny of any detailed evidence of the operation of the provisions from case to case.

As I think at least Opposition Members would agree, even official Opposition Members, an exclusion order is potentially devastating for the family and the job prospects of the person excluded. There is no right of appeal or scrutiny of the individual cases arising from the Bill. We are very unhappy that, on Third Reading, not having had the opportunity to table amendments in Standing Committee, we are faced with a Bill that still contains no provision for scrutiny. The nominated advisers to date have undoubtedly been skilful and fair, but that is not enough. We need at least to protect people who are subjected to exclusion orders through some quasi-judicial procedure.

In new clause 1 we proposed a framework which might be used to provide that scrutiny, but it was not accepted. That framework could also be used to provide civil redress against proven wrongs. That would do much to reduce the resentment felt in, for example, the cases which the peace people in Northern Ireland have highlighted. A man may serve long and lonely years in prison and want to avoid being involved in terrorism again. Such a person can be arbitrarily and wrongly excluded from Great Britain and forced by pressure on his family to take part in terrorism in Northern Ireland. The Bill does nothing to alleviate such cases.

The Government have failed to come to grips with many of the important civil liberties issues which cause great anxiety. Of course I accept that there remains, on the one hand — [HON. MEMBERS: "On the one hand."] We are not ashamed of saying "On the one hand". It is high time that the Government took a balanced view. We believe that the Government have not gone any distance to meet out misgivings. [Interruption].

Our view is that we should not be seen in this House—

Hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Photo of Mr Paul Dean Mr Paul Dean , Woodspring

Order. The House believes in freedom of speech. The hon. Member is entitled to be heard.

Photo of Mr Alex Carlile Mr Alex Carlile , Montgomery

We should not indulge ourselves —[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—in over-reaction of the type expressed in Committee, which is typified by the hon. Member for Billericay. This legislation could be made more effective, but in a more acceptable form.

Photo of Mr Gerry Bermingham Mr Gerry Bermingham , St Helens South 11:18 pm, 25th January 1984

I put on record tonight that which I put on record at the beginning of the Bill's passage— that the measure is unnecessary. A series of simple points demonstrates that. In Committee I asked the Minister of State how many people had been prosecuted under section 2 of the Act. I was told that the total was two. Both charges were withdrawn and the offence of breach of the peace substituted. We do not need the exclusion orders any more, simply because they are used less and less.

The legislation has served its purpose. Criminals should be dealt with by the criminal law. Terrorists are murderers and bombers and they are given dignity by being given a special place in law. We should seek to avoid that. Terrorists are no different from any other criminals and they should be treated accordingly. We have adequate laws to deal with them.

When asked about clause 12, the Home Secretary said that the question of extension had been dealt with by a circular. That worries me greatly because circulars are not the way to legislate or to provide safeguards in legislation. Will the Home Secretary give an undertaking that he will inform the House if at any stage that circular is withdrawn or altered in any way? It is of considerable concern to people outside the straightforward, as it were, Irish question. In Committee it was shown in speech after speech that there were many interest groups in Africa and the far east who were worried about the meaning of clause 12. We should be given an undertaking about the circular.

Like its predecessors, the Bill has been conceived and debated against a background of horror and acts which emanate from the land from whence I came, Ireland. It is a Bill which acts basically against the Irish and gives offence to many Irish people.

Photo of Mr Robert Parry Mr Robert Parry , Liverpool, Riverside

I agree with my hon. Friend. As one of the few hon. Members of the House who were born in the Republic of Ireland, does he agree that the Bill discriminates not only against the Irish, whether from the Republic, Northern Ireland or the mainland, but particularly against Roman Catholics?

Photo of Mr Gerry Bermingham Mr Gerry Bermingham , St Helens South

The legislation has, tragically, had that effect. The solution to the Irish problem does not lie in legislation of this sort, but in beginning to ask the Irish what they want. They have not been asked since the days of Strongbow. Should we not ask the Irish how they see their future, in or out of the context of the North, the South or England. That is the only way forward. The way forward does not lie in setting the Irish up as a separate entity for whom special legislation is needed.

I shall vote against the Bill for the simple reason that if we are to have a series of islands where all men are thought to be equal, legislation should always lie equally in respect of all men. To differentiate between certain groups is in itself an affront to the concept of equality and to the concept of history that we have in the House.

Photo of Mr Dafydd Elis Thomas Mr Dafydd Elis Thomas , Meirionnydd Nant Conwy 11:23 pm, 25th January 1984

All hon. Members who have spoken in the debate have indicated their distaste for the legislation. Some have indicated a liberal and libertarian objection to it. Some hon. Members have felt unable to vote according to their conscience, but I leave that as their problem.

In the final stages of the debate I want to deal with one central issue, the recommendation by Lord Jellicoe that guidance should be issued to police services throughout Great Britain by circular on the proper use and limits on use of clauses 1 and 2. As has already been referred to by hon. Members, in London and north Wales recently there has been evidence of the misuse of the legislation by police forces and also evidence of a deliberate attempt by the media to give the impression that action was being taken when it was not. We have seen the phenomenon of moral panic where the media have been manipulated, whether deliberately or indirectly, by sources close to police services. The impression has been given that the arrest and detention of certain persons was connected with the tragic and appalling murders at Harrods, when there was no such connection.

Much reference has been made to the Harrods bombing and the relevance of this form of legislation to it. I shall not detain the House by quoting at length from the papers, but on Thursday 19 January the Liverpool Echo wrote: Armed detectives probing the Harrods bombing outrage arrested two people during a swoop in Abergele, North Wales". suggesting a connection, yet by the Saturday the same paper was able to say: From the beginning of the inquiry it has been understood that there was no question of any direct link between the couple and the bombers.The Standard of Thursday 19 January suggested another connection, so it is clear that some police source of information or misinformation was active in seeking to justify what had happened.

The Daily Telegraph of 20 January made the allegations referred to earlier in the debate about an apparent link between the IRA and Welsh nationalists who had been burning down holiday cottages. I quote from a report by John Weeks and James Allan: In return for money and other assistance from the IRA, the Welsh nationalists are believed to have provided safe houses in Wales for Irish terrorists on the run. That kind of irresponsible journalism can only lead to a situation in which not only Irish persons but all other ethnic and cultural minorities in the United Kingdom are labelled through this legislation as somehow dissident and a threat to the state.

The evidence from the GLC ethnic minorities unit of the way in which the legislation has operated in London confirms that it has been used to harass political activists to prevent demonstrations and the expression of opposition to events in Ireland and to justify fishing raids for intelligence and information.

The events at Abergele were thus not isolated incidents. The figures given by the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman) show that it is the usual practice for this legislation to be used to detain people who are subsequently not charged under it. It is a catch-all intervention in people's financial affairs, as the allegations in the Abergele case show, and in their private lives, as other detentions and raids have shown.

Will the Home Secretary give an assurance today that the guidance demanded by Lord Jellicoe will be given and that it will be made clear to police forces in Merseyside, London, north Wales, all the port areas and all other places where the legislation is used that it shall not be misused as it clearly has been by certain police forces recently, particularly in the Abergele incident?

Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 11:28 pm, 25th January 1984

I shall be brief. I speak for myself and not for my party.

The judgment that Members have to make when they debate matters of this kind is never easy, as they have to try to reconcile the liberty of the individual with the desire of all of us to ensure that terrorism finds no place within our shores. I have reached the view that, in the difficult task of trying as a Parliament to produce a peaceful solution for Northern Ireland and its people, it is vital that the flag of civil liberty should be held higher now than ever before.

When we have to proclaim the principles by which we act, while respecting the difficult journey that other hon. Members have to make before reaching their decisions about how to vote on the specifics of legislation that will never be perfect, I believe that it is important, above all, that the rights of the people of Northern Ireland as individuals and the rights of those temporarily on this side of the Irish sea are seen to be the same as those for all other citizens and as we should wish for all our fellow citizens at all times. It is counter-productive to tilt the balance against the individual in the way that the legislation does that.

For that reason, and while hesitating to disagree with those of my colleagues who come to a different view, I shall oppose the legislation. I believe that, in the long term, the sooner we rid ourselves of what is intended to be a derogation of standards which we as a country have long proclaimed, the sooner we shall resolve the problems of terrorism, which are the subject of tonight's debate.

Photo of Mr Robert Parry Mr Robert Parry , Liverpool, Riverside 11:30 pm, 25th January 1984

I shall be brief. Like many of my hon. Friends, I wish to record my complete opposition to the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery), others of my hon. Friends and I have always spoken against such draconian measures.

1 am a Liverpool Member. I have received many representations about people who have been arrested and detained in Liverpool. The Liverpool to Dublin boat sails from my constituency, as does the Liverpool to Belfast boat. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman) said earlier, the large numbers of people who have been detained, and the few who have been convicted, have made us opponents of the Bill.

The centre of the Liverpool Irish community is in my constituency. I have received many representations on behalf of those who have been detained, many of whom have not been found guilty of any offence and have been released. Yet innocent people have their fingerprints and photographs taken and kept on file. That is a travesty of British justice.

Other incidents have caused great concern to the Irish community in Liverpool. For example, people who have been detained under the prevention of terrorism provisions have lost the opportunity of promotion at work, and, in some cases, have actually lost their jobs. I know that some people have had nervous breakdowns, or even tried to commit suicide. Those are the tragic side effects of these provisions.

I and my colleagues will vote against the Bill. I hope that the Home Secretary will take on board the question of innocent people having their fingerprints and photographs kept on file, and do something about that.

Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 184, Noes 84.

Division No. 143][11.33 pm
AYES
Ashby, DavidHayes, J.
Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H.Hayward, Robert
Baldry, AnthonyHeathcoat-Amory, David
Beggs, RoyHickmet, Richard
Biggs-Davison, Sir JohnHicks, Robert
Boscawen, Hon RobertHind, Kenneth
Brandon-Bravo, MartinHirst, Michael
Brittan, Rt Hon LeonHolland, Sir Philip (Gedling)
Budgen, NickHolt, Richard
Burt, AlistairHooson, Tom
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)Howard, Michael
Chalker, Mrs LyndaHowarth, Gerald (Cannock)
Chapman, SydneyHubbard-Miles, Peter
Clegg, Sir WalterHunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Cope, JohnHunter, Andrew
Cranborne, ViscountJessel, Toby
Crouch, DavidJones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Currie, Mrs EdwinaJones, Robert (W Herts)
Dicks, T.Key, Robert
Favell, AnthonyKnight, Gregory (Derby N)
Fenner, Mrs PeggyKnowles, Michael
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)Lang, Ian
Forsythe, Clifford (S Antrim)Latham, Michael
Fox, MarcusLawler, Geoffrey
Freeman, RogerLee, John (Pendle)
Gale, RogerLeigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)
Galley, RoyLightbown, David
Garel-Jones, TristanLilley, Peter
Goodhart, Sir PhilipLloyd, Peter, (Fareham)
Goodlad, AlastairLuce, Richard
Gregory, ConalLyell, Nicholas
Griffiths, E. (B'y St Edm'ds)McCrea, Rev William
Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)McCurley, Mrs Anna
Ground, PatrickMcCusker, Harold
Grylls, MichaelMacfarlane, Neil
Gummer, John SelwynMacGregor, John
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire)
Hampson, Dr KeithMaclean, David John.
Hanley, JeremyMacmillan, Rt Hon M.
Hannam, JohnMcQuarrie, Albert
Harvey, RobertMaginnis, Ken
Haselhurst, AlanMajor, John
Hawkins, C. (High Peak)Malins, Humfrey
Hawksley, WarrenMalone, Gerald
Maples, JohnSilvester, Fred
Marlow, AntonySims, Roger
Mather, CarolSmith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Maude, FrancisSoames, Hon Nicholas
Maxwell-Hyslop, RobinSpeller, Tony
Merchant, PiersSpence, John
Meyer, Sir AnthonySpencer, D.
Miller, Hal (B'grove)Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Mills, Iain (Meriden)Stanbrook, Ivor
Mitchell, David (NW Hants)Stanley, John
Moate, RogerSteen, Anthony
Molyneaux, Rt Hon JamesStern, Michael
Morris, M. (N'hampton, S)Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)Stevens, Martin (Fulham)
Moynihan, Hon C.Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Murphy, ChristopherStewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Neale, GerrardStradling Thomas, J.
Needham, RichardSumberg, David
Neubert, MichaelTaylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Newton, TonyTemple-Morris, Peter
Nicholls, PatrickTerlezki, Stefan
Norris, StevenThomas, Rt Hon Peter
Onslow, CranleyThompson, Donald (Calder V)
Oppenheim, PhilipThompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
Osborn, Sir JohnThornton, Malcolm
Ottaway, RichardThurnham, Peter
Page, Richard (Herts SW)Tracey, Richard
Pawsey, JamesTrotter, Neville
Peacock, Mrs ElizabethTwinn, Dr Ian
Powell, Rt Hon J. E. (S Down)van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Powell, William (Corby)Viggers, Peter
Powley, JohnWaddington, David
Prentice, Rt Hon RegWakeham, Rt Hon John
Proctor, K. HarveyWaller, Gary
Raffan, KeithWatson, John
Rhodes James, RobertWatts, John
Rhys Williams, Sir BrandonWells, Bowen (Hertford)
Ridsdale, Sir JulianWheeler, John
Robinson, Mark (N'port W)Wilkinson, John
Robinson, P. (Belfast E)Winterton, Mrs Ann
Roe, Mrs MarionWinterton, Nicholas
Rossi, Sir HughWolfson, Mark
Rowe, AndrewWood, Timothy
Ryder, RichardWoodcock, Michael
Sackville, Hon ThomasYeo, Tim
Sainsbury, Hon TimothyYoung, Sir George (Acton)
Sayeed, Jonathan
Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')Tellers for the Ayes:
Shelton, William (Streatham)Mr. David Hurd and
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)Mr. Archie Hamilton.
NOES
Alton, DavidLewis, Terence (Worsley)
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Loyden, Edward
Barron, KevinMcGuire, Michael
Beckett, Mrs MargaretMcKay, Allen (Penistone)
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)McKelvey, William
Bermingham, GeraldMackenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Boyes, RolandMcNamara, Kevin
Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E)McWilliam, John
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)Madden, Max
Campbell-Savours, DaleMarek, Dr John
Canavan, DennisMaxton, John
Clay, RobertMaynard, Miss Joan
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.)Meadowcroft, Michael
Cohen, HarryMikardo, Ian
Cook, Frank (Stockton North)Nellist, David
Corbyn, JeremyParry, Robert
Cowans, HarryPatchett, Terry
Craigen, J. M.Pike, Peter
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly)Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)Prescott, John
Dewar, DonaldRedmond, M.
Dobson, FrankRichardson, Ms Jo
Dormand, JackRoberts, Allan (Bootle)
Dubs, AlfredRoberts, Ernest (Hackney N)
Eastham, KenRogers, Allan
Evans, John (St. Helens N)Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)
Fatchett, DerekSedgemore, Brian
Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
Fisher, MarkSkinner, Dennis
Flannery, MartinSmith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)
Foot, Rt Hon MichaelSnape, Peter
Godman, Dr NormanSoley, Clive
Golding, JohnStrang, Gavin
Hamilton, James (M'well N)Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Harman, Ms HarrietThorne, Stan (Preston)
Hattersley, Rt Hon RoyWarden, Gareth (Gower)
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)Wareing, Robert
Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall)Welsh, Michael
Home Robertson, JohnWinnick, David
Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark)Tellers for the Noes:
Kaufman, Rt Hon GeraldMr. Frank Haynes and
Leighton, RonaldMr. Don Dixon.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.