Orders of the Day — Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:53 am on 26th June 1985.

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Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Epping Forest 12:53 am, 26th June 1985

The right hon. and learned Member for Warley, West has refused, because of the influences within his party, to recognise what is recognised by all reasonable people—that to defeat terrorism it is sometimes necessary to forgo some of the elements of individual freedom and liberal conventions.

The House and the country must honestly recognise that some sacrifice of liberal convention and individual freedom is unavoidable. It was extraordinary to witness the Leader of the Opposition praising the police for their achievement without announcing that the Labour party had seen reason and would support the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act.

The Labour party has gone further tonight. We are told that it will oppose the renewal of these emergency powers. The right hon. and learned Gentleman knows in his heart that those powers are necessary, because those who know the province better than he — such as his right hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley, Central—will have told him so. These powers are regrettably necessary. If they had any sense of decency, those who claim to be an alternative Government, who wish to take office at some future time and to administer the Province of Northern Ireland, would refuse to vote against the renewal of these necessary powers.