Policing (London)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:02 am on 28th June 1985.

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Photo of Mr Nigel Spearing Mr Nigel Spearing , Newham South 11:02 am, 28th June 1985

Before dealing with the Commissioner's report, I wish to comment on some of the points raised in the debate so far.

Terrorism is one of the problems that London has to face, as the hon. Member for Beckenham (Sir P. Goodhart) rightly said, but terrorism arises from those who believe that they are so enlightened and have so much access to the truth that they are prepared to use violence in pursuit of their faith. Causing bodily harm with bombs and rockets catches the headlines, as the distressful events of the past few days have shown, but there are other kinds of violence. I am sorry that the Home Secretary has left, but I hope that he will read my comments.

I refer to exchanges in the House on an earlier occasion about the severe drain on the Metropolitan police caused by the miners' dispute and its profound effect on the morale, activities and attitudes of the Metropolitan police. I believe that that dispute was unnecessary, but Conservative Members laughed out loud when my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman) dared to suggest that it might have been deliberately precipitated. This is a debating Chamber and I wish to dwell for a moment on that issue because it is a well-known and well-documented fact that five years or more ago a certain right hon. Gentleman advocated certain lines of action for the Conservative party.

A year ago, I wrote to Mr. MacGregor about Cortonwood. I am not a mining Member, but I happen to know something about that issue. I received no reply from Mr. MacGregor, but I received a reply from his deputy. I am satisfied that the action taken at Cortonwood was provocative and ill-considered and may have been designed to precipitate a dispute. I put it no higher than that, but it is certainly no laughing matter. One of the problems in this country and throughout the world is that people dismiss basic points about so many things that go wrong without properly examining the small print.