I beg to move,
That the draft Northern Ireland (Emergency and Prevention of Terrorism Provisions) (Continuance) Order 1992, which was laid before this House on 19th May, be approved.
The order will renew the emergency powers and provisions currently operating in Northern Ireland. The debate also gives us the opportunity to review the operation of a number of new provisions contained in the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1991, the benefits of which are already beginning to be seen. First, I shall speak briefly about the need for the provisions.
We have available yet again the invaluable help of Lord Colville's review. As always, Lord Colville has thought deeply about the nature of the emergency powers and has consulted widely about their operation. He has suggested this year a number of significant and specific improvements, some of which I will mention later. I very much welcome, however, his central conclusion that:
The new Act, and new arrangements in it, seem to have been introduced and have since been operated without any appreciable adverse reaction.
He does not recommend the suspension of any of its provisions.
It is entirely right that Parliament should take this annual opportunity to see whether the emergency powers and provisions continue to be needed. Determined as we are to bring about the elimination of terrorism, the Government aim by co-ordinated policies to eliminate the need for these measures. For the present, however, it is my duty to report to the House that, regrettably, they remain essential and that we intend that they continue to be used, certainly with sensitivity, but with unremitting resolution.
During the past 12 months the campaign of violence by terrorists from both sides of the community has continued with all its malignity and futility. Since July, 101 people have died and many more have been injured. Homes and livelihoods have been destroyed by bombs and incendiaries recklessly strewn in the midst of human beings or in the premises of businesses which provide employment and prosperity. I will give examples from the past six months alone. A young mother was gunned down in a chemist's shop. A 17-year-old boy was murdered while working in his father's shop. A young policewoman on patrol was killed and a male colleague hideously injured by a horizontal mortar fired at their passing vehicle. A pensioner sitting in a bar was murdered entirely at random. Eight workmen returning from their lawful employment were murdered by the detonation of a mine. Five customers in a betting shop were murdered by a machine gunner.
The terrorists, on whatever side, claim to present themselves as soldiers fighting honourably. Some soldiers —and some honour—when they defile their very humanity like this. They have no mandate for what they do. They are bereft of any justification and they have no chance of success—hence their futility, for neither the people of Northern Ireland, nor their Government, nor the Irish Government, will yield to their attacks. I think that this is dawning on them, and I intend to reinforce the message. The toll exacted would have been far worse were it not for the shrewd and courageous operations of the security forces. The terrorists have been forced to abort many of their intended operations by reason of most valuable intelligence and resulting interdiction. Substantial finds of arms and munitions and numerous arrests have been made. In 1991, 391 people were charged with terrorist-type offences, including 120 with murder or attempted murder. For the first four months of this year, the figures were 140 and 44 respectively.
It is thanks to the brave men and women of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the armed forces, and the determined and professional leadership under which they operate, that the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland conduct their daily lives in safety and normality. Measures continue to be taken which will further improve the effectiveness of the security forces' operations. Most importantly, last week a second deputy chief constable was appointed. Following a review of the senior command structure of the RUC, he will be responsible for all operational police work, including the gathering of counter-terrorist intelligence and its prompt employment by both the RUC and the Army.
It is a deputy chief constable, not an assistant chief constable. He will have overall operational control under the chief constable. The primacy of the police being in place, and continuing to be in place, the Army's operations are ultimately under his direction. That is as much so in intelligence as in other operational areas.
I recognise that the fight against terrorism must always be within the rule of law and that anything else—any murky business that has come to light, or allegations of it—only helps the terrorists. That is my view. Does the Secretary of State agree that when it comes to a mandate, which he mentioned, there seems not to be one for the Provisional IRA? We know that the Provisional Sinn Fein lost a seat in the general election, and all the evidence suggests that there is no majority within the minority community when it comes to voting for terrorism. The Provisional IRA always claims that it speaks for the Irish people as a whole, but when it last contested elections in the Irish Republic it obtained less than 2 per cent. of the vote. Is it not important for these people to recognise that after 22 years of terrifying crimes—the Secretary of State has referred to some of the crimes committed by terrorists in the past six months—in Northern Ireland and on the mainland, they have not achieved anything? Would it not be wise for the terrorists to recognise that the objectives that they have set themselves have not been achieved, or anything like it?
I agree with every word that the hon. Gentleman has said.
I think that it would be helpful if I summarised, albeit briefly, the principal provisions that we propose shall be renewed in a few days' time if the order is accepted. The Act provides the legal basis for the trial of terrorist-type cases by a single judge—the so-called Diplock courts. It contains special rules on the admissibility of confessions in scheduled cases. It provides for the discretionary proscription of terrorist organisations in Northern Ireland. It provides the security forces with powers to stop and question, arrest, search and seize. It contains statutory rights for persons arrested to have a person informed of their arrest and whereabouts, and to have access to legal advice, and it regulates the private security guard industry in Northern Ireland.
Last year's Act strengthened the law in several respects. These include new offences of possessing items intended for terrorist purposes, of directing terrorist organisations and of constructing bypasses around border crossing points which have been closed by the security forces. It created new powers for the security forces to examine documents and other recorded data found during searches, to seize equipment used to reopen closed border crossings, and to employ civilian specialists in conducting searches and in investigating terrorist finances.
Last year's Act also introduced new safeguards in the exercise of the emergency powers. These include allowing the security forces to stop and question people about their identity and movement only for so long as is necessary, and requiring particulars of searches of premises, dwelling houses and, in some instances, vehicles to be recorded in writing. The Act requires me to produce codes of practice covering the detention, treatment, questioning and identification of terrorist suspects in police custody and to use the new powers to investigate terrorist finances, about which I shall say more in a moment. It contains provisions for the appointment of an independent assessor of military complaints procedures.
I apologise for not being in my place at the beginning of my right hon. and learned Friend's speech. Does he intend to introduce videotape recordings of interviews with suspects in Northern Ireland? As he well knows, having had great responsibility for the matter on the mainland when he was Attorney-General, we are moving towards the practice here as a safeguard against any sort of miscarriage of justice which might result from interrogations. I understand that there is a move towards having the practice adopted for terrorist offences on the mainland. If it is to be the practice on the mainland, as a matter of logic it should be adopted in Northern Ireland. I shall be grateful for any indication that my right hon. and learned Friend can give of his thinking on the matter.
My hon. and learned Friend asks an important question about a topic to which, naturally enough, I shall be coming in a few moments when I refer to the holding centres. I have no responsibility for what happens on the mainland, but I have responsibility for what happens in Northern Ireland. Perhaps my hon. and learned Friend will allow me to come to the point specifically in a few moments.
First, I shall deal with the terrorists' finances. Lord Colville notes that the new provisions in the Act relating to terrorist finances are very significant. There can be no doubt of the great importance of action disrupting the ability of terrorists and terrorist organisations to finance themselves and interrupting the flow of funds to them. As the Chief Constable has reminded us, in recent years more than 300 people have been convicted of involvement in illegal funding operations, which were probably worth about £45 million. More recently, terrorists have been engaging in much more elaborate methods of fund raising and of concealing their funds. It was to counter that trend that the special powers of investigation set out in section 57 and schedule 5 were enacted.
I am glad to be able to tell the House that all those provisions are now in force, and the signs are that they will prove extremely useful. They have already underpinned the provisions that were first to be introduced. A recent and major operation was conducted by the security forces called operation Cristo with the full support and co-operation of their counterparts in the Republic. The preparation of the draft code of practice for the conduct of investigations into terrorist finances is nearly finished. When that is completed, it will be circulated for comment before being laid before Parliament.
With regard to the holding centres, it is necessary, as in Great Britain, so in Northern Ireland, that the police should have appropriate powers to detain for questioning people whom they suspect of terrorist offences. Those powers must be subject to safeguards but, as Lord Colville mildly points out, the bringing of the guilty to justice is as much a feature of a proper criminal justice system as is the protection of the innocent from wrongful conviction.
It is essential, however, that allegations of ill-treatment of persons in police custody be dealt with in a way which secures the confidence of the public. The maintenance of the rule of law requires compliance from the police as much as from everyone else. Physical assault is a criminal offence, and abuse of persons in custody is strictly forbidden.
The review discusses in some detail the circumstances in which such allegations arise. Some, as Lord Colville points out, undoubtedly arise for the purpose of undermining public confidence in the police. But whenever a complaint is made against the police it is, as it must be, thoroughly investigated. The evidence is sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland who decides, in accordance with his normal criteria, whether any prosecution should be instigated or whether further inquiries are necessary.
Very properly, a wide range of statutory and administrative safeguards for those in police custody exists. For example, an extension of detention requires the Secretary of State's authority. The suspect has a right to have a member of his family or a friend informed of his arrest and whereabouts, and a right to consult a solicitor privately. All interviews are monitored by close-circuit television. They are monitored for the purpose of seeing that nothing is going wrong, but not recorded.
My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) utters thoughts which, I recognise, are quite widely shared, and they have been considered by the Government in the past. Lord Colville in his report records that the Government have firmly rejected the suggestion that in the interrogation of terrorist-type suspects a television record should be kept. That has been the view of the Chief Constable and it remains his view, and I believe that, having regard to the special circumstances in Northern Ireland, for which I alone am responsible, and the problems of investigating terrorist offences, the arguments against the suggestion outweigh the persuasive arguments which can be put forward in favour of it.
Detailed custody records are maintained in writing. There is a right to regular medical examinations and to a continuous period of at least eight hours rest in any period of 24 hours free from questioning, travel or interruption. A further reinforcement of those safeguards will be provided by the forthcoming codes of practice that I have mentioned.
It would be helpful if the Secretary of State could inform the House how much has been spent in out-of-court settlements arising from allegations of ill-treatment in holding centres and how it is that such money has been spent although there is not one recorded occasion of any person monitoring an interrogation considering it necessary to stop that interrogation. That contradiction needs some explanation.
Such matters are not so simple as they sometimes seem. I do not have at my fingertips the figure for compensation awarded as a result of claims brought in that context in recent years, but perhaps my hon. Friend the Minister of State will be able to provide it when he replies. However, it is not easy for such a claim to be defended. It is by no means uncommon for those representing a claimant who has begun civil proceedings to refuse to co-operate with the police. That means that it is difficult for the allegations to be investigated, which has a bearing upon the ultimate decision as to whether an agreed disposal is to be made. It certainly has a bearing upon the disparity between the number of cases which are settled in that context and those which lead to disciplinary or even criminal investigation.
I was referring to the forthcoming codes of practice governing the detention, treatment, questioning and identification of persons detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Before going any further, I should complete that point by saying that we all know there are considerable constraints on disciplinary, let alone criminal, proceedings when a long time has elapsed. If a long time has elapsed, taken up by the progress of a civil claim, that has a bearing on the ability to bring disciplinary proceedings even in a case where, on legal advice, a settlement has been arranged.
Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that the recording and retention of a tape, even for six months or a year, would prevent a claim from being made in the first place by a suspect who alleges maltreatment?
Of course I agree with that, but other considerations have to be taken into account, not least among which is the effect that the knowledge that a televised recording is being made of the interview might have, and foreseeably would have, upon someone who in other circumstances might be prepared to speak, knowing that he would have no control over what happened to that tape recording.
I have decided that an independent commissioner for the holding centres of Castlereagh and elsewhere shall be appointed. His duty will be to visit the centres on a random basis so that Ministers and the general public may be assured that the safeguards and procedures to protect the interests of persons detained are being fully implemented.
The lay visiting scheme introduced by the police authority has undoubtedly been a success and the commissioner scheme will draw heavily on that experience. I shall be consulting the Chief Constable and the police authority on how the arrangements for the commissioner scheme should be carried forward and I shall make a further announcement soon.
The reliability of statistics is obviously an important factor in securing public confidence that all is well. Lord Colville has shown that there is substantial room for improvement here and that is being taken in hand. We are examining his other proposals closely. For every reason it is desirable for us to take all practicable steps, as he recommends, to secure comprehensive, contemporary records of what happens when someone is detained in custody, and that we propose to do.
I come now to how we should handle questions of police and Army conduct. I know that we all agree that the conduct of individual police officers and soldiers is central to their operational effectiveness. Any security force activities which break the law, or otherwise fall short of the professional standards required, will not be met with a blind eye. They will be impartially investigated, as is happening in connection with events at Coalisland, East Tyrone, at present. Where the necessary evidence exists, it will be reported to the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland.
Those are precisely the standards that the security forces set themselves, which their arduous training inculcates and which all units—I emphasise all units—strive to maintain. I ask the House and those outside to remember that there is constant interaction between the security forces and the public, the vast majority of it friendly and with no hint of friction.
However, complaints, sometimes entirely justified, are made and the timely processing of complaints is an important part of the maintenance of good relations with the community. Lord Colville mentions that the Army is now setting itself targets for the speedy resolution of formal complaints made to it. That is part of the process that I am describing, and I intend shortly to announce the appointment of an independent assessor of military complaints procedures under the power contained in the Act.
Will those powers allow the investigation of a complaint from any member of the public—or from the House—about the activities, behaviour and standards of very senior officers who may still be involved in army intelligence, specifically in the force reconnaissance unit, or will they simply apply to the squaddie on the street?
The terms of assessment for the independent assessor of military complaints procedures will have to be worked out. I understand the hon. Gentleman's point, however, and I think that he can take comfort from the fact that there is no doubt in the minds of the Army authorities, the police authorities or the Government that the rule of law must be maintained. If criminal allegations are made, they will be investigated. If complaints are made about the conduct of soldiers they, too, will be investigated within this procedure. I cannot tell the House the terms of reference, but it will be up to the authorities I have mentioned to decide whether, ultimately, the hon. Gentleman's question is answered in the affirmative.
Will the Secretary of State reinforce the view expressed by his predecessor, the right hon. Member for City of London and Westminster, South (Mr. Brooke), in an earlier debate? The right hon. Gentleman said then that no member of the security forces, however junior or senior, would be allowed to act in a way that was not compatible with the law. Will the Secretary of State put it on record again that no member of the security forces or of the general public in the north of Ireland will be allowed to act above and beyond the normal law?
The hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that the answer to both questions is yes, without qualification.
Border crossings are also discussed in the review. Lord Colville bestows deserved praise on the security forces for their efforts to deal sensitively and quickly with the community issues that are bound to arise from the need to resite and modernise permanent vehicle checkpoints. He gives a number of examples of the use of the powers conferred by the Act in border areas, which illustrate their importance.
My hon. Friend the Minister of State will have more to say about that when he winds up the debate, but let me say now that the efforts of the Garda and the Irish army in the fight against terrorism also deserve praise. Their diligence and professionalism have already led to a series of major arms finds and arrests this year. That includes the discovery of more than 1,500 kg of home-made explosive in Donegal, and of 51 rifles, two machine guns and 20,000 rounds of ammunition in Cork.
Mr. Flynn, the Irish justice Minister, has said that those discoveries have almost certainly saved lives, and I readily endorse that. The Irish Government share our determination that terrorism should not prevail, and we work closely with them to ensure that co-operation on the ground is close. Much has been achieved, but much undoubtedly remains to be done to ensure that terrorists—whether in the north or in the south—cannot escape justice.
I recognise the basic desire of people in the neighbourhood to be able to cross the border. North of the border, however, there are criminal sanctions against the reopening of crossings which have been lawfully closed by the security forces, while south of the border such powers do not exist. We are discussing the matter with our counterparts in the Irish Government and, as with other issues, we hope to achieve much more by way of co-operation in our effort to ensure that terrorists from both sides of the border do not escape justice.
The question of frontier controls is very important. It has been suggested that frontier controls between member states will be unlawful in the EEC. If, for instance, the European Court ruled against such controls and they are therefore bound to be removed, could that not lead to the introduction of the carrying of identity cards within the Province? Might not that help the security forces rather than hindering them?
There is nothing to prevent member states from maintaining security controls. My hon. Friend knows very well the difference of opinion between the British Government and others about the effect of treaty legislation in that context.
Time spent on remand in custody is probably the last topic in Lord Colville's report with which I shall deal. It is an important subject. Lord Colville refers to the recommendation, in his report on Belfast prison, about the need to reduce the time that prisoners spend on remand in custody in Northern Ireland. My predecessor accepted that the case for cutting such remand times was "unanswerable". I agree, and the agencies involved in the prosecution process share my anxiety.
We have accordingly decided to introduce a special scheme in Northern Ireland, aimed at reducing and monitoring the time defendants spend in custody before they are tried on indictment for scheduled offences. The scheme will start on 1 July. It will impose administrative targets for scheduled custody cases, which present the most serious delays. The targets set will be to take such cases from first remand to committal stage in 38 weeks; and from committal to arraignment, when the defendant enters his or her plea, in 14 weeks—a period of 12 months overall from first remand to arraignment.
Those targets are challenging, and will require a significant improvement in the processing of such cases in Northern Ireland. They can be achieved only through the agencies' having agreed—as they have—to introduce new arrangements to monitor closely the progress of the cases involved, and to introduce new reporting arrangements for cases which are in danger of overrunning.
I should have preferred to introduce even tighter time limits straight away. I have had to conclude that that is not a reasonable realistic expectation for the time being, but I emphasise that I wish to see further reductions in remand periods over and above those being introduced in the next few weeks. I have naturally considered whether to introduce a statutory scheme, but I have had to reject that option because I cannot at present be satisfied that it could operate without a real risk of dangerous people being released.
I believe that the measures that I have outlined today will lead to a significant and welcome improvement in the time scheduled remand prisoners spend in custody and will lay the necessary foundations for sustained and continued improvements for the future. They are designed to ensure that Lord Colville's wish to reduce remand times is given substance, and will start to be realised. I know that the whole House will wish to express our deep gratitude and admiration to the security forces, and the prison service, for their dedicated and frequently dangerous work. We ask so much of them, and I believe that we get it in a measure that no other country could begin to approach. The Government are determined that the necessary resources, in terms both of manpower and equipment and of an appropriate framework of law, shall be in place to enable them to carry out their duties successfully.
Finally, I pay particular tribute to the long-suffering people of Northern Ireland who endure bravely, with resolution and resilience, an ordeal which has gone on for more than 20 years. Given the subject matter of today's debate, it is inevitable that our focus should principally be on security matters, but that is only one element of our policy on Northern Ireland. Social and economic programmes and the pursuit of constitutional, political progress are fundamental to a just and tranquil future for the people of Northern Ireland. Those policies affect far more people directly than those who will ever encounter personally the emergency legislation that we are discussing.
It is my most earnest desire, and that of the Government, to help the people of the Province to secure such a future. Meanwhile, we shall continue to confront terrorism with unremitting resolution, by the careful deployment of all the formidable measures and means made lawful by the legislation which is justly provided for that purpose. I commend the order to the House.
These renewal debates have become a traditional occasion for the House to reflect on security developments, to listen, as we have with interest, to the fresh developments that the Secretary of State outlines and to consider the general security position. I wish only that the paramilitaries of all persuasions would occasionally stop and reflect on the lives that they take, that they wreck and that they lay down themselves. Perhaps they might then realise the awful waste, hurt and despair that they create.
Although I am not so convinced about the commitment of some Conservative Members to civil liberties that I can argue that the legislation would no longer exist in the absence of terrorism, it must be clear that there would be no pretext or justification for the order if the paramilitaries stopped the killing.
We recognise that some emergency legislation may be necessary, but we cannot support the order. Our reasons have been well rehearsed, particularly in debates on the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1991. As long as the power of internment remains in the legislation, even if it has not been activated, it is unacceptable to Labour Members. It is a constant reminder of the unacceptable face of the state and an admission of political failure.
Like the Secretary of State, I should like to express, on behalf of the Opposition, our admiration for the courage and resourcefulness of members of the RUC, the Army and the prison service. We ask them to do a difficult job and, by and large, they do it professionally and effectively.
The Opposition fully support the police and the Army in their efforts impartially to uphold the rule of law. That is why we view with concern any departures from the high standards that are set by the vast majority of police officers and soldiers. Any such departures damage public confidence in the administration of justice and make life more difficult and dangerous for the security forces.
I should like to quote Sir John Hermon:
This is not some simplistic war being fought, this is a complicated political, social and community problem which requires handling with the utmost sensitivity and understanding.
The Opposition therefore view with deep concern the allegations about the ill-treatment of detainees at the Castlereagh holding centre. For the first time, Amnesty International has issued an urgent action alert in connection with incidents within the United Kingdom and associated with Castlereagh.
In many cases, detainees have subsequently received compensation as a result of their detention and their treatment while in custody. I regret to say that I find the sections of Lord Colville's report on this issue far from convincing. If there is any evidence that moneys paid in compensation end up in the coffers of terrorist organisations, one would expect criminal charges to ensue, for that would be a criminal offence. There has been no sign of that, no evidence and no cases brought.
I regard it as an undesirable statement to make about any group. I believe that one should deal with people as individuals. To make sweeping generalisations without taking into consideration the circumstances in which the litigation arises is, I think, not the wisest course to take. I was surprised to read what the noble Viscount said.
Until such time as adequate and credible safeguards are put in place at Castlereagh, those allegations will continue to gain credence. The damage that such incidents do to confidence in the security forces should be well known by now. Neither they nor police officers will be safe from false accusations until safeguards are established.
A number of options have been advanced to provide conditions in which the RUC can conduct its investigations in a correct and effective manner. It cannot help the pursuit of justice if the police are not seen to be above suspicion.
I deal now with the point that was made earlier by the hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence). Perhaps the most satisfactory safeguard would be video-recording suspects' interviews. This has been a long-running controversy, and the arguments on all sides are well known. I regret that Lord Colville seems to have given up hope on the suggestion. His previous report contained the most persuasive case and arguments in its favour—far more persuasive than the present report.
We hope that the Government and the Chief Constable will finally see sense on this issue. Television recordings can protect the identity of the interrogating officer—the techniques are simple—and can prevent accusations about a blow being struck. It is possible to tape-record interrogations in such a way that an application could be made to a judge in chambers if it were felt that the transcript of sensitive intelligence material was likely to fall into the wrong hands, provided that it was not dependent on the bringing of the case. The Minister of State shakes his head in disagreement. If he would like to say why, I should be happy to give way. He does not take the point.
In paragraph 6.5 of his report Lord Colville quotes from a letter that we should seriously consider. It says:
The damage to the reputation of the RUC and the United Kingdom as a whole which results from the continuing
publicity, if not credibility, given to these allegations far outweighs any marginal advantage which may account to the security forces from the absolute privacy surrounding the interrogation process.
It is worth repeating that
the continuing publicity … given to these allegations far outweighs any marginal advantage".
I would have hoped that, with the arrival of a new Secretary of State, there would be greater appreciation of the need for that safeguard to be introduced, especially if it is to be introduced on this side of the water and if it is also to be used in terrorist-related offences on this side of the water.
There are other forms of safeguards that could be employed more efficiently, some of which the Secretary of State outlined. One is ensuring that detainees have a genuine right to legal advice, a right that is severely qualified at present by time and other matters to which the Secretary of State referred. It would be helpful if he could explain the stark contrast between the practice in Northern Ireland and that on this island. In Britain, detainees under the PTA have legal representation as a matter of course, and the fact of detention is usually broadcast all over the place by the police. In Northern Ireland, suspected terrorists are routinely denied access to legal advice and held incommunicado. Why the difference?
I regret to say that the arguments used in defence of the status quo are unworthy of those who advance them. Essentially, it boils down to a suggestion that the legal profession is not to be trusted. If true, it would be an appalling indictment of the condition of Northern Ireland society. Allegations about and insinuations against members of the legal profession are not only disgraceful but dangerous, as the murder of Mr. Finucane showed.
Even in a recent book called "Big Boys' Rule" by Mark Urban, the degree to which the slur on the legal profession is maintained is clear. Accepting it as gospel and producing no evidence at all, he states:
There is undoubtedly a community of republican lawyers, supported financially by the movement, which is prepared to act in ways which might be considered unusual in Britain. For example, the lawyer may agree to pass a message from a terrorist to his commander, or might use cross-examination of a security force witness in an attempt to probe whether an operation had resulted from a leak within the IRA.
Despite such insidious suggestions, no member of the legal profession has ever been prosecuted for abusing his or her status as an officer of the court on behalf of terrorist organisations or individual terrorists; nor have any complaints been made to the appropriate disciplinary bodies. I am sure that the Secretary of State, as a former Law Officer, should have a particular interest in defending the right of defence and ensuring that there is full appreciation of the fact that lawyers acting for the defence are as important for the rule of law as judges and prosecutors.
The Secretary of State announced in skeleton form his suggestions for an independent visitor or commissioner to attend the holding centres. He did not say why he could not accept immediately the recommendation of the Police Authority for Northern Ireland that ordinary lay visitors should attend the centres. He did not say to whom the new commissioner will be answerable; nor has he given any details of the commissioner's precise powers or the statutory basis of those powers. It would be far better if the authority's proposals for lay visitors had been accepted, but we shall consider with interest what has been suggested.
It is also interesting that the Secretary of State announced that the gentleman or lady who is to examine procedures in the Army is to deal with complaints. The fact must be taken on board that it is a power not to examine the substance of complaints but only to examine the procedures for dealing with complaints. That is a very different matter.
A number of recent developments have cast some doubt on the policy of police primacy. We believe that, although there are obvious difficulties, the principle that the police should be responsible for law and order is vital if there is ever to be normal society in Northern Ireland. Any deviation from police primacy is a setback for such hopes. Recent incidents such as those in Coalisland are under investigation by the RUC, so any detailed comment would be inappropriate. However, many people would like an answer to the question, "Who is in control?" The Secretary of State tried to answer that question and said that the control rests purely with the police. It must be said that recent experiences and experiences of what is happening now tend to suggest that on occasions the police are not and have not been fully in control.
Can the Secretary of State therefore assure us that he is satisfied with the preparation now being given to military units before they come to take up service in Northern Ireland and that there is adequate supervision of the military by the police? No one should seek to underestimate the difficulties and frustrations experienced by young soldiers who live with the constant risk of death or injury and fear of ambush, but it is precisely discipline and respect for the law that distinguish the legitimate armed forces from their terrorist opponents. That is something on which we all agree and must insist.
As the role of the Army is to assist the civil power, can the Secretary of State give a further assurance that the RUC has control over the deployment of the military forces and that the requirements of the police take precedence over military rivalries? There has been a recent case in which military disrespect for the authority of the RUC reached frightening proportions—I refer to the case of Mr. Brian Nelson. If the allegations in Monday night's "Panorama" programme are accurate, there is great cause for concern about the operations of the security forces in Northern Ireland.
The Nelson case raises serious questions. These are not matters that can be swept under the carpet—they go to the heart of the issue. Is Britain serious about upholding law and order and establishing a society in which all sections of the community will be fairly treated, or is Northern Ireland an adventure playground for secret agents? I hope and believe that the former is true. If not, we will have dealt a massive blow to all the efforts of those working for peace and justice, especially the thousands of police officers and soldiers who go about their difficult jobs with dedication and integrity. However, if the Secretary of State wants to convince us that all sections of the security forces operate within the law, some explaining still needs to be done.
We know that Mr. Nelson violated the law but, as he was an agent of the force reconnaissance unit, it is difficult to understand why his criminal activities developed to such an extent and why he alone was subject to prosecution. Surely some of his handlers were accessories before, and certainly after, the fact of some very evil deeds, but they allowed him to continue.
We presume that a review of the relations between the various intelligence gathering agencies has taken place since the arrest of Mr. Nelson. Indeed, the announcement of the appointment with which the Secretary of State began his speech is proof of that, but can we now assume that the RUC's special branch has the full co-operation of military intelligence, that police primacy in intelligence is a reality and that no agents will be run by any bodies without the knowledge of the police?
The Secretary of State nods his head in agreement, and that is welcome.
The Nelson case also demonstrated the importance of guidelines for the use of agents. Colonel J, the commander of the FRU at the time, argued that the Home Office guidelines were inapplicable in Northern Ireland. Is that true? If so, have new, specific guidelines for Northern Ireland been introduced to prevent agents indulging in the kind of mayhem perpetrated by Mr. Nelson and his miscellaneous colleagues? Do Home Office guidelines rule in Northern Ireland or are there different guidelines?
I seems clear that the Nelson operation yielded next to nothing to the RUC. Do the Secretary of State and the Government stand behind the claim that Mr. Nelson saved more lives than he destroyed? The House would also be interested to hear what arrangements have been made to prevent the recurrence of such an extraordinary case.
The hon. Gentleman refers to those incidences on the basis of media reports. I wish to point out the dangers of doing so. A programme broadcast some time ago entitled "Death on the Rock" was acclaimed by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and won an award. But that programme was based on very unreliable witnesses. Bearing in mind the media content of the hon. Gentleman's speech, will he join me in asking the recipient of the award, who obviously did not do his research, to return that award?
I welcome the hon. Gentleman's interjection in the debate. First, the killing of three unarmed people when no bomb was in evidence and for an event that was supposed to take place in three days' time, with evidence given by people behind screens, makes me extremely worried about the handling of such matters by the security forces in this country and Gibraltar. Secondly, the transcript of much of Mr. Nelson's trial revealed many of the facts that I have stated. Thirdly, I am aware of no action that has been taken against the producers of that programme, nor of any comment by Government sources that it was inaccurate in any detail.
"Panorama" also made specific accusations that are so appalling that the truth must be established as quickly as possible and remedial action taken if necessary. Did the FRU help Mr. Nelson to turn the chaotic files of the UDA into effective intelligence? Did Mr. Nelson give five warnings prior to the murder of Terence McDaid? If so, why were they ignored?
Will the Minister of State explain when he winds up why the FRU attempted to conceal evidence from Mr. Stevens, a senior police officer appointed by the Chief Constable of the RUC? What action was taken against those responsible? Why were they not proceeded against for seeking to pervert the course of justice?
By now, the South African connection with loyalist terrorists is beyond doubt. I cannot understand why the representatives of a state that colludes with terrorists to kill inhabitants of Northern Ireland are still permitted to fly their flag in Trafalgar square. If "Panorama" is to be believed, matters are much worse than previously suspected. A military intelligence agent appears to have been involved in arms shipments from South Africa, which were allowed to enter Northern Ireland and were later used in at least eight murders at the Milltown cemetery and the bookies on Ormeau road.
I can only conclude that the sooner South Africa has a democratic Government, the better for Northern Ireland. I am particularly concerned that agents who were involved in those terrible mistakes might still be active or involved in the security forces.
I have listened to the hon. Gentleman on that subject in the past but have never found that his comments have much substance. May I make one thing clear: we are not swapping tit-for-tat allegations between nasty, mean terrorist organisations, but discussing the role and conduct of the British Army. We condemn the IRA and all the other terrorist organisations out of hand. We are discussing the standards that we expect from our forces.
Is the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter) aware that a Sunday newspaper that carried a comment of his has paid substantial damages to a constituent of mine because of exactly the same kind of nonsense that he has spoken today? That is a matter of quantifiable fact.
That "Panorama" programme made a serious allegation against the right hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King). I hope that he will make a statement at the earliest opportunity to clarify matters. The programme alleged that, when he was at the Ministry of Defence, the right hon. Gentleman or someone acting on his behalf wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions while he was considering the evidence against Mr. Nelson to say what a valuable agent Mr. Nelson had been to the Army. Is that true?
The Secretary of State is obviously not prepared to reply to my question. It is important because, if it is true, it means that a senior Cabinet Minister, or subordinates acting on his behalf, attempted to lean on the DPP while he was considering whether to bring charges against a man accused of the most terrible terrorist crimes. If it is true, it is another hammer blow to the independence and credibility of the criminal justice system. It means that a senior Minister interfered in the course of justice in a Department to which he is not directly related that was seeking to decide, on the evidence before it, whether charges should be brought.
Yesterday, The Independent made other allegations from which various inferences can be drawn. It may reflect on the allegation, which the Secretary of State does not seek to contradict, made in "Panorama". It said:
Early in 1987, Colonel J's superiors came under pressure from Tom King, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. According to one source: 'King was complaining—"Where are your successes?" The clear message from King was: "You must do better."'
One of the FRU's responses was to seek clearance to insert a new agent into the loyalist paramilitary groups. This was opposed by MI5, which argued that the Special Branch had already penetrated the Protestant paramilitary organisations with its own agents.
The Special Branch was not even informed, but Colonel J, with political backing, was able to overcome MI5's objections and Brian Nelson was recruited.
The effect of Brian Nelson's recruitment, against the advice of MI5 and without special branch being informed —allegedly because of political pressure—resulted in all the evil consequences that we have seen.
I hope that the Government will realise the significance of those matters and will not treat them with their usual complacency. If we want the rule of law to prevail, we must respect it ourselves and we cannot write to the DPP pointing out the value of a particular agent.
There are no short cuts to a solution in Northern Ireland. There may be temptations to cut corners with the rule of law. Indeed, the legislation on which we are voting tonight shows not only what happens when we yield to that temptation but leads us into more temptation. We do not want the Government to lead us into temptation; we want them to work to deliver us from the evil of terrorism. We do not believe that they are doing that adequately and, for that reason, we shall vote against the order.
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. The statement has just been made, which you may have heard, that I did not give the right hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King) notice of my question. I wrote to him today:
Just a brief note to inform you that I shall be referring to the Nelson Case and your part in it in tonight's debate.
Yours, Kevin McNamara.
The note was on the board at 2 pm.
I do not propose to follow the remarks of the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara). Nobody should be tried in this House on speculation or media presentation. Nor should a Member of this House be entitled to say to another Member, "I give you an opportunity to reply" and take his seat. If the allegations are of such a serious nature—the hon. Gentleman went on for some time—how can proper clearance be made in an intervention? Unfortunately, it seems that in tonight's debate the hon. Gentleman has made a long and serious accusation against the Army and has moved away from the fact that we need to defeat terrorism. That is what is important. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I do not follow all the ramifications of his speech.
As the first Member from Northern Ireland to be called in this debate, I should like to pay tribute on behalf of the Northern Ireland people to the gallant special constable, Glenn Goodman. I salute his memory tonight, as do all right-thinking Ulster people. I also salute the courage and integrity of his wife. I assure her that what she said tonight is what many widows in Northern Ireland have said. I salute her as a courageous woman who deserves the sympathy of the whole community and our praise.
Yesterday, the chairman of the Royal Ulster Constabulary Police Federation, Mr. Beattie, said:
If war weariness is affecting the community it is not quite sufficiently evident yet among our politicians. For those of us on the outside of the political talks it seems that progress is extremely disappointing …
It will also be much more tragic if we allow the paramilitaries to fill the political void by claiming that their murderous activities reflect the frustration of ordinary people with the political process.
I utterly deplore Mr. Beattie's remarks. Since he was appointed to his office, he has had the habit of making remarks against politicians. Yet when he is challenged he does not name them—he says, "All politicians".
The elected Members of Northern Ireland have had no say whatever in controlling the security strategy of the police, the Army or the Ulster Defence Regiment during the troubles since Stormont was abandoned. We have had no responsibility whatever. Over and over again the elected politicians of Northern Ireland are blamed for failures in a strategy for which they are not responsible. This House took into its control the entire war against the IRA and any other terrorist organisation in Northern Ireland, and it is responsible. Successive Governments, whether Labour or Tory, are responsible—not us. I want to make that perfectly clear tonight.
There is a contradiction between Mr. Beattie's two paragraphs. First, he tells us that he is disappointed, although he is outside the talks, that this war weariness has not caught up with the politicians. I have news for him: the people of Northern Ireland are not war weary and the men whom he pretends to represent are not war weary. I challenge him to hold an opinion poll of the members of the federation and to announce the results publicly. The ordinary man in the street and the policeman who has to carry out his task is not war weary. He does not want the politicians in Northern Ireland to cobble up some miserable betrayal and then pronounce that it is a recipe for peace. Mr. Beattie does not know what is going on behind the doors in Stormont and he will not hear about it from me. Mr. Beattie should mind his own business and not pillory Northern Ireland politicians.
Mr. Beattie then makes the strange statement:
if we allow the paramilitaries to fill the political void by claiming that their murderous activities reflect the frustrations of ordinary people with the political process.
That statement contradicts his first statement. He wants to blame politicians and then he attacks ordinary people as if they would think it right that paramilitaries should act in that way because they are frustrated. I will leave Mr. Beattie to carry out his opinion poll and I look forward to seeing the result next time he brings out his glossy magazine. Knowing the policemen, their wives and families, as well as the bereaved and the awful suffering that they have endured, I can tell the House that war weariness is not apparent in them or in the ordinary people of Northern Ireland. They will not give in to any plan of surrender or compromise.
Explanations and exercises of so-called understanding terrorism, how it operates and why we must work this way and that way will not defeat terrorism. The men and women of Northern Ireland do not crave for the philosophies of certain politicians and others to explain to them why we have terrorism in the Province. Every day they see the full force and tangible reality of a terrorised existence. They know from desperate experience and personal scarifice that there is terrorism, and they want that terrorism stopped. They look to the Government, who are now responsible for controlling the strategy of the fight against the IRA and other terrorists, to stop this war. No amount of political initiatives or talks will bring the violence to an end. Politicians are not plenipotentiaries for the billigerents. Indeed, the belligerents are not at the talks table and I trust that no Government will ever bring them to that table: they need to be told that they cannot bomb their way to it.
What I see is yet another endeavour to give respectability to the IRA. I do not believe that there is any difference between Sinn Fein and the IRA. One cannot carefully package part of a terrorist organisation, call it by another name, sit down with its representatives and engage in a dialogue with them, claiming that by that means they will be encouraged to persuade the IRA men to leave their weapons and stop their murders. Sinn Fein is part of the IRA, and it has pulled off a great propaganda stunt. Now its members can say, "Oh, but the clergymen accept that we are not the IRA." Today, another effort has been made to give credibility to these murdering thugs and to those who speak for them and justify their diabolical wickedness and are part and parcel of their organisation.
The sooner the Government and the House learn of their awesome responsibility to seek to protect the citizens of Ulster by extinguishing terrorism, the better it will be for everyone. Emergency legislation, military and police manpower, superior fire power and vast amounts of expenditure on security will not in themselves bring an end to terrorism. They are the ingredients, but without the proper strategy they will never bring an end to the conflict.
The Government and the House must have the will to win the war against the IRA republican terrorists, who kill three times as many people as any other organisation in Northern Ireland. What I say about the IRA, I say about other terrorist organisations, some of whose members are referred to in the House as "Protestant" paramilitaries. I never hear IRA men referred to here as "Roman Catholic" IRA men. The House should realise that it is an insult to the Protestant people and the Protestant ethos to say that terrorists are Protestants. Terrorists have rejected the very ethos of Protestantism, which is the belief in civil and religious liberty for all men. All terrorists must be crushed, and we must face up to the IRA now.
Pandering to the political needs of the IRA by permitting members of Sinn Fein to have a role, however minor, in the political institutions of the land legitimises the organisation's message and gives it hope. Its members thrive upon the hope that, some day, they will be at the table. An ecumenical clergyman whom I heard speaking in the general assembly of the Irish Presbyterian Church argued that, even if the four parties at the table in Northern Ireland reached a settlement, the fifth party would still be at loggerheads and the problem would still be with us. Given that sort of thinking, Ulster people must ask themselves what the end will be.
The Government should show their will to extinguish any hope that the terrorists may have by proscribing Sinn Fein and bringing its members to justice for illegal activities. If the Government know of other organisations that should be proscribed, they should proscribe them. They are responsible, and they must do what it is their business to do.
Neither the vast sums of money spent, nor increased RUC and military manpower will defeat the IRA. It is the proper allocation and deployment of that money and manpower that will defeat it. The security policy of Northern Ireland must change, and change significantly.
The reactive mentality of protectionism must change to a proactive mentality of dynamic aggression against the terrorists. The security forces and not the terrorists must take the initiative. One cannot win the war against the IRA by spreading the security forces in an attempt to protect all IRA targets. If, as Government sources tell us, there are about 500 IRA men, why cannot they be monitored and marked by the security forces and dealt with when they try to pursue their campaigns of murder? The time has come for a change in strategy and in Government policy.
We must also get off the treadmill of emergency legislation. We are debating yet another renewal tonight, and emergency legislation has now become the norm. This is the way we live in Northern Ireland: the norm is terrorism and murder. It has become normal for our children to be brought up against that background. My children are past 20 and, every day of their childhood, they heard of policemen being murdered, of bombings, killings and awful attacks. We must break away from that norm, and ask what emergency legislation does. It serves only to maintain the status quo, and we shall not get anywhere without a change of strategy.
Emergency legislation is the excuse that successive Governments have used to maintain the status quo. The law-abiding people are willing to forgo some of their civil liberties if it means an end in the short to medium term to the nightmare, but they are not willing to give them up indefinitely just so that the Government can maintain the status quo. That should not be the motivation behind the legislation that the Government introduce. The motivation ought to be to deal effectively with the violence, to nip it in the bud, and to bring about stability and peace—and not allow the emergency situation to be institutionalised by time, which is what is happening.
The Unionist population is not convinced that the present Government have the will to defeat terrorism, not just in condemnatory, graphic, melodramatic descriptions but by definite actions that strike at its heart. Actions speak louder than words. The people of Northern Ireland have no confidence in the Government's will to deliver peace. They say, "Give us an effective security policy and you will get our full confidence and support. Let us see the job being done." The IRA and all its fellow travellers—those who talk to it—are deceiving themselves when they say that they are interested in political progress. They are more concerned with inflicting the vilest crimes on a free people to ensure that, in any political statement, they can call the tune.
What would Ireland be if the IRA won the war? What sort of settlement would it be? Who would want to live in an Ireland controlled by the IRA? In the infant days of the Irish Free State, the new Government under Michael Collins demonstrated its determination to extinguish violence. There was resolution and determination—a lesson which the British Government should learn from Irish history.
So much money has been wasted in Ulster because the Government have not destroyed terrorism. In January this year the total compensation paid out over the past nine months was £22.8 million. Provision for bomb-damaged property between January and March was a further £10 million to be paid on compensation claims. If the Government pursued a policy of inflicting injury on the IRA, there would be no need for that expense. Targets are many and terrorists are few. We cannot expect the police to protect every possible target. They ought to be deployed against the terrorists.
We must also consider the disruption. The City of London has witnessed the kind of disruption that the IRA has caused in our city. The disruption that terrorism brings robs our city and Province of employment and investment. Last year 19 days were lost due to traffic being thrown into chaos because of bomb alert hoaxes. One hundred and forty-three vehicles have been hijacked in the past 12 months in an attempt to bring our city to a standstill. In respect of only 23 of those hijackings of vehicles was anyone arrested, brought to court and tried.
In the past 12 months, bomb disposal experts responded to 1,758 call-outs. That was the highest total in 13 years and it looks as though the record will be broken again this year. Those are the sad statistics. The largest bomb ever used in Northern Ireland was defused at Annaghmartin. Massive bombs were exploded in Glenanne, Kilrea, Markethill and Craigavon. That is what has happened since we last discussed these matters.
The spiral of appalling killings is becoming more horrendous as 1992 advances. Forty-seven people have been killed already this year, 45 of them civilians. More than 12,000 troops are in Northern Ireland. In all, there are about 35,000 security personnel in the Province. Yet the Government assure us that there are only 500 active terrorists. Why, then, cannot the security forces do something to deal with the problem? The spiral of vile criminal activity will continue for as long as the current inept attitude of the Government is permitted to continue. Emergency legislation can be successful only if it is backed up with effective action.
We heard from the Secretary of State about border security. I was not satisfied when he said that the people who open the roads in Northern Ireland cannot be prosecuted because there is no law in the south about that. Those people come into Northern Ireland and do that particular job. We hear about it continually on the radio. Public figures and representatives advocate opening roads. No effective action seems to be taken against that.
I could repeat the things that I have said over many years in this place, but I do not want to weary the House. Northern Ireland can climb out of the litany of failure only if democratic structures are nurtured and the security forces are given the opportunity to deal with the problem.
The one point with which I want to deal tonight is the attitude of the Irish Government in deliberately refusing to extradite people wanted in Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom for terrorist attacks. The list of IRA men freed in the Irish Republic yet wanted in the United Kingdom continues to grow, despite claims and promises that the law will be reformed.
In February 1990 there was the case of Clarke and Finucane—convicted IRA murderers who had escaped from the Maze prison. They were released by the Irish Supreme Court on the spurious judgment that if they were returned to the Maze they would be "assaulted or injured." Such allegations do more to destroy any hope of good cross-community and cross-border relations.
In 1990 the courts in the south refused to extradite Owen Carron him for political offences. The political offence was the possession of firearms. In December 1988, in the case of Patrick Ryan—the most notorious case in recent Irish history of extradition—the Irish Attorney-General permitted that priest to go free on the basis that he could not receive a fair trial if he was extradited. Patrick McVeigh, who was wanted for charges of bombings in the United Kingdom, had his warrant refused by the Irish court on the basis that it was faulty.
In August 1986, John Gerard O'Reilly, who was wanted in Belfast on charges of conspiracy to murder, was released in Dublin because the warrants were defective. In March 1986, Evelyn Glenholmes, a triple IRA murder suspect, was released in Dublin because of alleged faulty warrants. In December 1985, Brendan Burns, who was wanted for killing soldiers in Northern Ireland, was released because warrants were declared invalid.
In December 1982, Dominic McGlinchy was wanted for murdering an elderly postmistress. The Irish Supreme Court ruled that such a murder was not a political offence, and he was the first suspect to be extradited to Northern Ireland for trial. At his trial in Northern Ireland, he was acquitted—I am sure that he would agree that it was a fair trial—and re-extradited to the Republic, where he was jailed for other offences. The excuse that suspects would not get a fair trial in Northern Ireland has been exploded —it is a myth. Claims that suspects will receive an unfair hearing in the United Kingdom courts are purely fictional. Two years after the McGlinchy episode, Seamus Shannon was returned for trial in Belfast in connection with the murder of Sir Norman Stronge and his son. Shannon was acquitted.
Other cases in which suspects have been extradited include Gerard Harte, who was extradited in 1988 and gaoled, Robert Russell. who was extradited in August 1989 and regaoled, and Paul Kane, who was extradited in April 1988 and regaoled.
Those extradition figures show the absolute failure by the Republic to keep faith with its claim of wanting to be a good neighbour. The IRA can openly abuse the border as a safe haven, and the Irish Supreme Court openly sanctions such claims. It is little wonder that the northern majority refuse to participate in any proposed cross-border relations.
In 50 per cent. of those extradition cases in which the British Government have been successful in extraditing a suspect, the suspect has been acquitted, thus making a mockery of the Irish Supreme Court's claim that those who are extradited to Northern Ireland for political offences will not receive a fair trial.
The time has come when the Government must look carefully at the problem of those who are held in Castlereagh. I do not see any difficulty in showing a video without sound, indicating whether an officer approaches a prisoner, whether he strikes a prisoner, or whether he does anything that he should not do. I do not see what the objection is. There are some objections to recording an entire interview because of security reasons, and I can understand why, but I do not see why there should be such objections to a picture. Not only Roman Catholics but Protestants object.
I have a serious case at the moment involving accusations by a mother who was taken to Castlereagh. She is an old woman of 70, and she was taken to Castlereagh and shown her son sitting in a cell. The police are alleged to have said to her, "You see your son there? Well, he will be there for ever." That is very serious. The way to deal with such a case is to film the people concerned. There may be difficulties for the defence and for security in recording everything that is available, but I do not see why we cannot have a camera record of a suspect—
Perhaps I can help the hon. Gentleman. That facility has existed for some time. Cameras are monitored independently by uniformed members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary quite separate from the investigation branch in Castlereagh. All the time a suspect is under interrogation he is watched from outside on a closed-circuit video by a uniformed officer of the rank of inspector.
No, the interviews are not recorded, but the inspector takes a note of when the person for interview goes in and how long he is there and watches him the whole time he is there. That is part of the inspector's daily duty.
I accept what the Minister says, but he has not given me any new information. I must not have put my message across. I am arguing that a recording should be made which can be made available when accusations are made. I can only see that as helping to clear police officers. I know that it is a usual ploy of people brought in for questioning to accuse the police. We all know that. Why cannot we have a recording of the interview without any words being recorded? I am aware of the argument about a full recording of the words. I am talking about seeing the interview afterwards. That is an important point and the Government must face up to it.
We must also make it clear that there is no support in any part of the community for holding people for long periods without trial. That feeling goes across the communities. It is not a pleasant thing to be held in Crumlin Road prison. I have done two stretches there, so I know Crumlin Road prison well. It is unpleasant to be in a cell for 24 hours every day. I do not know whether any men here have been in a cell, but to sit there with the door locked 23 hours a day for perhaps a year or 18 months is unacceptable.
When I visit the prison as the Member of Parliament for my constituency and as the Member of the European Parliament for the whole of Northern Ireland, all the men say, "Get us tried. Get us to court. Then, if we are found guilty, at least we shall have reasonable living conditions." Living conditions in Crumlin Road prison are not reasonable. The Government must face up to that, and I hope that they will. I know that there are difficulties.
I am glad that there is now proper segregation in the Crumlin Road prison and that we do not have confrontations between various sets of visitors. I hope that that segregation will long continue. The Government may argue tonight that it is not separation or segregation but no longer do Republicans and Loyalists mix. I was talking to a prisoner the other day when I was doing my duty at the prison who said, "I never see a Republican." I said, "Long may it continue." The Republicans say, "I never see a Loyalist." That is the way it ought to be.
I hope that the conditions in Crumlin Road will be brought under careful scrutiny by the Government and that something will be done to ease not only the time that it takes to bring people to trial but the conditions in which they are held while waiting for trial.
It was most appropriate that Lord Colville prefaced his report by outlining the dilemma that the Government and security services face in the fight against terrorism. Unfortunately, I was once again disappointed at the way in which the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) trivialised the debate and displayed what at best can be called a degree of naivety in dealing with the difficulties that face the security services in their fight against terrorism. I pay tribute to members of the security services who place themselves between the law-abiding community and those people who would bring murder and mayhem to our community.
I suppose that an example of the difficulties that the security services have was the bombing campaign in Belfast over the Christmas period. Business men and Christmas shoppers were held to ransom by the terrorists, and the imposition of security checks at the level necessary to prevent bombings was also a source of frustration to the community. Inevitably, it led at times to the community being less than sympathetic towards the job that the security services had to undertake.
It is important that sensible decisions are taken more quickly, and before the event. As to the Belfast bombing campaign, my right hon. Friend the Member for Lagan Valley (Mr. Molyneaux) and I had numerous meetings prior to that campaign with the former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. We told him that our information indicated that vast quantities of explosives were being brought across the frontier from the Irish Republic into west Belfast so that a campaign could be mounted.
We pressed privately and publicly for a couple of extra battalions to be deployed along the frontier, so that a degree of interdiction could occur. That advice was not heeded. We have two extra battalions now and we are glad to see them, but they were not made available in time.
The Government and the Ministry of Defence must give a greater commitment to the task confronting the security services. When reinforcement in the short term or medium term is required it should be available when requested—not after the event. It is important also that our cross-frontier checkpoints are properly manned. I shall refer to them in detail later. While there remains ineffective liaison and co-operation with the Irish Republic, we must look to our own frontier defences.
We are not helped by our own tourist board, which goes out of its way to criticise our frontier checkpoints—describing them as ugly, forbidding and an offputting experience for tourists. That is totally to misunderstand the need for the checkpoints, to proect those who live close to the frontier—as my constituents do—and to intercept arms and explosives coming from the Irish Republic in considerable quantities.
I do not need to remind the House that Libya supplied 150 tonnes of arms and explosives that were imported into the Irish Republic. They were dispersed throughout that jurisdication, and are now brought across as required to enable terrorists to wreak havoc on our community. I suppose that I can expect little else from the Northern Ireland tourist board than criticism of the checkpoints given that it sees the conflict as a curiosity factor that could be positively harnessed to encourage people to visit Northern Ireland. I hope that the Secretary of State and his Ministers will pay more heed to the ordinary people, who for 20 years have withstood the onslaught of terrorism, than to those who sit in ivory towers and who believe that some 5 per cent. of abnormal people should be catered for in the tourist programme. I do not know what the tourist board's ideas do for the 95 per cent. of people who come to Northern Ireland for justifiable reasons.
I am worried because I read today that the Killeen checkpoint may be abandoned. I do not believe that it has been totally effective. For years, members of my party and I have argued that a checkpoint that can be driven around quite easily is ineffective. We have made official representations on that issue but we have not been heard. Instead of making amends for its shortcomings, we have heard the hint—it was perhaps only a fishing exercise to see how we would react—that the Killeen checkpoint may be closed. If that was a fishing exercise, I assure those responsible that we are not prepared to see the frontier opened up, with no checks against the importation of weapons and other illegal goods.
The purpose of permanent vehicle checkpoints needed to be re-examined, because for years and years we have argued that "permanent vehicle checkpoint" is the wrong name for such frontier posts. It suggests the wrong idea. I would prefer to call them permanent patrol bases, because to use them simply to prevent traffic moving backwards and forwards across the frontier is not enough. We must use them as jumping-off points for pre-emptive patrolling. Patrolling cannot take place 10 to 15 miles from the frontier, because that creates a no-man's-land, in which the terrorist dominates and in which he is able to lay land-mines and prepare ambushes. Those areas become more difficult to police.
Lord Colville referred to those actively involved in trying to open up unapproved roads that lie between the various monitored and official routes across the frontier. I am afraid that those people are able to operate because of the ineffective legislation in the Irish Republic. They approach closed roads from the Irish Republic with lorry-loads of stones, earth-moving equipment, diggers and bulldozers and, from there, they are able to reopen the crossings, thus providing more access points for the terrorists who murder and bomb in Northern Ireland.
Does the Secretary of State agree that most of the bombs exploded within 15 to 20 miles of the frontier had been prepared in the Irish Republic? Again and again the vehicles involved are stolen in Clones, Dundalk or Sligo. Close to the frontier the campaign is directed from the Irish Republic, but the weapons and explosives used in Belfast also come from the Irish Republic, from as far away as Limerick. As Lord Colville says, there is no justification for saying that the closure of minor, or, as we call them, unapproved, roads greatly hinders farmers on both sides of the frontier. It may cause a small amount of difficulty. Lord Colville said that the diversion caused by the closure of Farellys crossing in my constituency was about 3 km.
Between 100 and 125 tonnes of Gaddafi's weaponry is still in the Irish Republic and somebody has to persuade the Government of that jurisdiction to do more to find that weaponry more quickly. In the interim, we must try to implement an effective means of interdiction close to the frontier. It is too late when the explosives wreak havoc in Belfast of Lurgan or other Northern Ireland towns.
The Government must concentrate not just on weapons; they must investigate racketeering. I congratulate Customs and Excise, the police and the Army on their success to date and on the seizure in the past month of thousands of illegally copied videos and pornographic material. That has been a serious blow to the IRA's ability to finance itself. But not enough is being done to ensure that the finances of illegal organisations are cut much more quickly. I know that that is difficult.
Lord Colville says that with the single market there will not be the same rip-off with hydrocarbons, beers and spirits and other such products. But we are worried not just about illegal videos and pornographic material. Illegal substances such as clenbuterol, better known as angel dust, are widely used not just in Ireland but throughout Europe. In Ireland angel dust is profitable. I shall give the House an idea of how profitable it is. A cannister that is "wholesaled" for £40 will be passed on to the farmer for £120. That is a 300 per cent. profit. The farmer will be able to treat 10 animals with that amount of angel dust, and each animal will probably increase in value by between £100 and £150. There will be a profit of between £1,000 and £1,500 from the farmer's £120. Does anyone believe that a business that is more profitable than that of cocaine, so we are told, will be missed by the terrorist? The terrorist controls the market from the rest of Europe into Ireland and from South America into Ireland.
Sadly, I must find fault with the Department of Agriculture. In its desire not to harm the majority of good, decent farmers who are trying to make a living and produce good beef for the consumer, it sweeps the issue under the carpet at an early stage. I went to the Department and I was assured that its checks and balances were such that the use of clenbuterol could not be sustained. I was told that it would be detected but, unfortunately, that has proved not to be so. As a result, the terrorist is making great capital.
The Government fall down, as it were, when it comes to claims against the Royal Ulster Constabulary that are made by those who are taken in for interrogation. On being released, there are claims of ill-treatment, which constitute a real money-spinner. We reached the stage when a firm of solicitors, Madden and Finucane, to which I have referred in the House before, is able to boast on behalf of its clients about the vast sums that it has obtained in compensation from the Northern Ireland Office without ever having to go to court. Out-of-court settlements are unforgivable.
I am not sure whether the hon. Member for Newry and Mourne was worried about the description—I cannot remember it exactly—of the people of Northern Ireland as "litigious". In other words, it was said that they were keen to get into court. We saw examples of that for years when actions were brought against the road service authority. There was no obligation on anyone to lift his foot or to look where he was walking. Indeed, the exact opposite was the case. If someone thought that he could find a hole to fall into, he sought it diligently. There were estates where there was not one house in which someone had not been to court claiming damages because of a fall in the street.
Claims resulting from the state of the road surface dropped dramatically when claimants were forced over the step and into the court to prove their case. Out-of-court settlements are a disaster.
It would be interesting if those claiming ill-treatment by the police were forced into court where they could be cross-examined. We would see some interesting people with some interesting connections in court. It might be a revelation.
One of the most surprising of all claims that were settled out of court was that made by the widow of Daniel Doherty. Daniel Doherty was shot in Londonderry as he approached a hospital there, armed and intent on killing a member of the security services. One fails to understand how his wife could be compensated for his death.
I remind the House of the reply when I asked about the case. I was told:
It is not the practice to publish details of police investigations. The death of Daniel Doherty was fully investigated by the RUC, and the report passed to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who directed 'no prosecution' of the soldiers involved.
However, I believe that it is widely accepted that Daniel Doherty was engaged in terrorist activities when he was killed."—[Official Report, 16 December 1991; Vol. 201, c. 59.]
The irony of that award to Daniel Doherty's widow is that the person who was attacked received no compensation, nor when he died prematurely did his widow. Where is the justice in that? The Secretary of State and his team must give some consideration to that. Justice is as much about ensuring that people who do not deserve do not get as about ensuring that people who do deserve receive what is rightly theirs.
The whole issue of answers in the House must be considered carefully. It is necessary that members of the community and Members of the House should know what is going on, but again and again when I ask questions I find that the facts about the situation in Northern Ireland are hidden.
Last December, I asked about the award of compensation when terrorists had been shot dead or shot and injured by the security services. I was told:
The available information is set out in the table below. It should be noted that this information, which is based on the date of settlement and not of the incident concerned, does not differentiate between 'terrorist' and 'non-terrorist' incidents". —[Official Report, 12 December 1991; Vol. 200, c. 522.]
How can the House be kept informed when we do not differentiate between terrorists and non-terrorists when it comes to the compensation that is awarded, mostly in out-of-court settlements?
If there is One issue on which I agree with the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North it is the issue that many of us consider to be the crux of the Northern Ireland security question—but I think that I agree with every hon. Member in the House on that issue. I believe that there must be de facto police primacy in Northern Ireland. It is not enough simply to believe in police primacy; it must work in practice, and so far it has not done so.
I do not intend to go into the Nelson case, as the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North did, or to rely on newspaper reports or television programmes. I followed the trial of Brian Nelson, however, and elements in it deeply disturbed my colleagues and me. Let me say clearly that, although my party wishes to give the security services wholehearted support, we do not intend to try to justify the unjustifiable. If we do that, we shall deliver the security services in their entirety as hostages to fortune: it would be self-defeating as well as morally wrong.
The police know exactly how far they can go within the law—and God knows, at times decisions are difficult; mistakes have been made, and will be made again. They know how far they can go, because it is clearly laid down for them. For that reason, I believe that no aspect of security must be hidden from the police. The new deputy chief constable will have operational responsibility for all aspects of policing, and I look forward to seeing him get to grips with all the available intelligence and information, whether it is made available to the Army, MI5 or the police themselves. Someone will be accountable, and in that way we shall deprive the terrorist of one of his greatest weapons: the insinuation that the security services are involved in illegal activities.
A problem arises when Army units are brought into Northern Ireland for three-month roulement tours. I am not happy even with six-month roulement tours, but I know the difficulty of providing the necessary level of military manpower in Northern Ireland. As has already been mentioned tonight, an unfortunate situation recently developed in Coalisland, in my constituency. Soldiers behaved unwisely, but I do not believe that they were to blame: they had been brought in on a three-month roulement tour, without being given the proper training that should be available to everyone who serves in Northern Ireland.
It would be wise to ensure that, in future, three-month roulement battalions are held at brigade reserve level and are not put on the streets where, without the proper briefing and knowing that they are in difficult areas, they tend to view the entire community as hostile. That attitude is reciprocated. There are many decent people in Coalisland, but there is a strong IRA element within the community. We must not give those people the opportunity to exploit our weaknesses. Things have now settled down, and I hope that such an incident will not happen again. My party wholeheartedly supports the security services, but we cannot justify the unjustifiable.
My final point—
We shall hear many platitudes from the hon. Gentleman but little that is designed to help the situation in Northern Ireland or to show some understanding of the position in which our security forces find themselves.
I welcome the news that a commissioner will be given access to the holding centres. That will help to protect the police, who have a difficult job in those centres. I hope that the commissioner's brief will be very carefully thought out and explicitly defined. In the past five or six years, great improvements have been made in monitoring holding centres. More attention is now paid to the way in which notes are validated. That is an improvement compared with 10 or 15 years ago. There are now means of visually overseeing what goes on when suspects are being questioned.
Most sensible people will agree entirely with Lord Colville's decision that video-recordings should not be made. Without the present system of questioning, less intelligence would be given to the security services. Much good work is done in holding centres in a way that protects the person being questioned as well as the questioner. It would not matter what method was used to acquire the video recordings or to try to safeguard their use, there would come a time when a solicitor or barrister would be able to convince the court that it was in the interests of justice to see those recordings, and lives would be put in danger.
I hope that, although the commissioner will have the right to visit unannounced at any time, day or night, he will not have direct access to the room in which suspects are being questioned. I believe that he will have the right to watch and listen to what is shown on the video. In that way, he will be much more effective. The police will not know that he is there, so their behaviour will at all times have to be circumspect; nor, of course, will the suspect know that the commissioner is there, so he will always have difficulty deciding how and when he should allege ill-treatment. Overall, meticulous care in the way in which the police carry out their duties is important—it is also important for their benefit.
The morale of the community depends on the legislation available to deal with terrorism. Many would think that the legislation is inadequate, but if we had the task, I do not think we could do much better. Legislation must be fair and must be accepted by the vast majority of the community if it is to work. I am concerned that the community does not have confidence in the legislation, and it is the direct responsibility of the Northern Ireland Office to reassure the community.
In 1984–people died as a result of terrorism. In 1990–91, the last year for which I have figures, 82 people died. That is an increase of 90 per cent. since the period just before the Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed. In 1985, 89 per cent. of murders were carried out by Republican terrorists and 11 per cent. by Loyalist terrorists. In 1990 the figure for Republican groups was 71 per cent. and for Loyalist groups it had risen to 29 per cent. Again, I believe that that was due to the lack of morale in the Loyalist community. I hope that the Secretary of State will bear in mind the need to raise the morale of the community through the passing of honest and reliable information to the community and to the House. That is a prerequisite for success against terrorists in the community.
Order. I must inform the House that, unless speeches are curtailed on a voluntary basis, I shall not be able to call all hon. Members who wish to speak.
A sense of déjà vu descends over relatively seasoned debaters of this issue, and rehearsed arguments are given a further hearing. My position is unequivocal and unambiguous: I deeply lament and regret the circumstances which have led to the measures but, given those circumstances, I regard the measures as absolutely essential and look forward to their being approved tonight.
I wish to be selective and return the debate to Lord Colville's report. In his opening remarks, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State drew attention to the summary statement on page 2 of Lord Colville's report, which says:
The new Act, and new arrangements in it, seem to have been introduced and have since been operated without any appreciable adverse reaction. I do not recommend the suspension of any of its provisions.
That makes good reading, but some points are worthy of attention and debate.
I was particularly interested in Lord Colville's comments on one of the new sections in the Act, section 30, and the provisions regarding the possession of items intended for terrorist purposes. The origins of that measure lie in Lord Colville's report of 1990 on the emergency provisions legislation. Lord Colville acknowledges that it is early days yet and says that, so far, there have been no convictions. At the time of his writing, three people were on remand. None the less, he points to that item as being a valuable weapon in the armoury against terrorism and already sees signs of its having a deterrent effect. That is encouraging and we can look forward, next year or whenever we next review the matter, to seeing further evidence of the progress of that part of the measure.
The second subject to which I wish to refer is the obtaining of confessions, to which the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) referred in his opening comments. Lord Colville's 1992 review seems to show that he is happy with what he has found. He concludes on page 10:
Certainly nothing has happened to throw doubt on the wisdom of having re-enacted section 11 this time last year".
On page 14, he writes:
I cannot accordingly recommend that there is any material which should now lead to a relaxation of the section 11 rule. If anything terrorists are becoming more adept at resisting interrogation".
Notwithstanding Lord Colville's comments, it is right that we still question why there is a divergence with regard to the admissibility in evidence of statements between EPA and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. I have not yet been reassured that sufficient grounds exist for that divergence. I note that Lord Colville's paper refers to hostile assessments of the situation in Northern Ireland in the light of that section.
Another area of concern is complaints about ill treatment at holding centres—pages 24 to 38 in the report. By any criteria of judgment, the catalogue that Lord Colville describes makes uneasy reading. In his report on the prevention of terrorism legislation in March last year, he spoke of his growing concern about complaints of ill treatment at holding centres. Page 25 of the report says:
I suggest that something needs urgently to be done.
His 11-point description of a typical course of events makes profoundly disturbing reading. Will my hon. Friend the Minister, in summing up the debate, note that we want to eliminate the running sore of disquiet on those matters?
Having said that, I warmly welcome the measures and sincerely hope that they will meet with the approval of the House tonight.
This is one of the most depressing debates in the House, for the good reason that there is a certain amount of ritual about it. That ritual repeats itself because the problem and its supposed solution keep being repeated ad infinitum.
If we had the honesty to admit reality, it is that there is no solution to be found through this type of legislation. That is not to say that there is not a need for legislation that copes with terrorists. From listening to tonight's debate, one would almost assume that the order will solve the problems. I regret it, but in two, five, 10 or 20 years' time, exactly the same problems will be faced by those dealing with the legislation and exactly the same points and comments will be made, if we do not have the honesty to question the basis of the legislation—that it provides the power to find a solution. I do not believe that that is possible. To stop this ritualistic dance, I ask of us all not to repeat what we have said ad infinitum. That is what we are doing.
The Government, whatever their structure, will defend the legislation with great self-righteousness. They will score political points over the Opposition. The Opposition, whatever their complexion, will oppose because they are the Opposition. The Northern Ireland Members who are here from all parties will range over various factors, from angel dust, through people getting their big toe broken and a compensation claim, to the human tragedies that face us all. If we do not face up to the facts, that kind of black theatre will continue. Sooner or later, a Member on the Government Benches, whoever the Government are, will have the courage to ask: is this not becoming a ritual, is there not another way, are we not at the end of history and at the beginning of the future, and is there not a way other than continuing as we are doing?
What are we doing? Each time the legislation is debated, the law is diluted further. That is not a political point; it is a fact. We have more troops to guard those who are building the border checkpoints, about which the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis) spoke at great length. A British Army brigadier told us publicly that it took one brigade to guard those who were building the look-out post at Annaghmartin. While that was happening, the Irish army was across the border guarding the brigade that was guarding those who were building the checkpoint. I call it black theatre and that example starts to put it into perspective.
We now have more technology on the hillsides and look-out posts that see nothing. We have look-out posts that cannot see when terrorists are sitting in front of them making and planting bombs. Those look-out posts are causing anxiety about possible radiation, but the one thing that they cannot do is see. We have more dubious tactics. Could anyone on this side of the Irish sea have watched the "Panorama" programme without feeling slightly ashamed, embarrassed and squeamish about the allegations? I am not in a position to know whether or not they are true, but I do know that the men who made that programme took more than a year to make it, and they were so thorough in their research that I believe that we should at least look at it seriously.
Of course we shall have more checkpoints of the kind referred to by the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone. It is thought good to have these great checkpoints —it keeps people happy. If I happened to live in Britain and if my son were one of the young soldiers blown to bits in one of those static checkpoints, there just to reassure people or keep them happy, I should be a very angry man indeed. Two young men have been blown to bits in my constituency, in a checkpoint which I believe serves no security purpose whatever.
Unless we face reality, and unless some of us start having the courage to question things which we have accepted, or which have been accepted, for so long, we shall have more self-perpetuating failure. It could be the beginning of the future if we had a little bit of courage. If not, we shall come back year after year, for however many years it is, and we shall all be saying the same things.
It is interesting reading the reports in Hansard. One could almost have written in advance most of the speeches that have been made tonight—the reference to angel dust being the honourable exception. In reality, there is nothing more for the Minister to say. He cannot take away from the legislation; he adds a little each time. There is little more that any of us can say. We can only try to ask for a change of thinking on the subject. We must ask ourselves the fundamental question: is the legislation capable of succeeding and of solving the problem? If it is not, the Government should think again.
I take this opportunity—it may cause me problems—to say to the IRA that it cannot win with this campaign of violence. There can be no military victory for the IRA, and I say to it unequivocally, "Stop now, without any discussion, because what you are doing is wrong." I say to the Government that they cannot win either. There can be no military victory for this Government or for any other Government in circumstances such as this. So I say to the Government, too, "Stop. Think. Reassess the situation and see whether you are going down the wrong road". Is there not another way of proceeding, which will not cost the British taxpayer £2.5 billion a year—money which, by and large, goes down the tubes in a wholly unproductive way—and which will not cost lives, scar the countryside with look-out posts, closed border roads, checkpoints in the hills or whatever? They should ask themselves whether there is another approach to the problem.
It is time that some of us started to tell the IRA and the others involved in the search for a military solution—and that is the Government—that our peace, lives and future happen to be more important that their prejudice or principles. The people of Northern Ireland deserve better than to be locked into military combat between two sides, neither of which can win. It is time that there was some thinking on that. I know that that view will not be accepted readily—of course it will not—but it is time that someone started asking some questions.
Much has been made of the "Panorama" programme, and I shall not labour the point. I merely ask what sort of system it is which, after 20 years and with all the legislation that is in place, must rely on the dubious tactics whose use was alleged on that programme. In a previous renewal debate, the then Secretary of State, the right hon. Member for City of London and Westminster, South (Mr. Brooke), said:
we shall continue to work unreservedly for the defeat of terrorism with all the means at our disposal that are compatible with the letter and spirit of the rule of law." [Official Report, 12 March 1990, Vol. 169, c. 32.]
Would any objective person watching that "Panorama" programme accept that that was compatible in any way with the spirit and letter of the rule of law? I make no judgment about that programme. However, if a reputable programme with the investigative powers of "Panorama" makes so many allegations, it is not doing that without information or with faulty information.
It is clear from the transcript taken in a court of law that Colonel J was, in his own words, in many ways colluding with murder and ignoring it. If that is the case, we had better sit up and end the self-righteousness that is injected into this kind of debate. We should ask ourselves what kind of society is being left for us in the north of Ireland.
Yes, we have our problems. We have enough of them and we do not need any more. We do not need that can of worms every two, three or five years. That is not compatible with the rule of law.
Perhaps the most serious point is the allegation that Colonel J and FRU knew that arms were to be shipped into the north of Ireland from South Africa, but they did not intercept them. Those arms were used to kill the lady from the chemist's shop, the people in the betting shop on the Ormeau road and God knows how many other people. If that is so—and it must be the Government's responsibility to discover whether it is true—Colonel J should be in the dock to answer for collusion and involvement in murder. As a former Prime Minister once said, "Murder is murder is murder." There cannot be any conditions on it. I hope that the Secretary of State and the Minister of State will take that on board and ensure that we do not have such a legacy in Northern Ireland.
I want to make a few points about the Colville report. Lord Colville is always complimented when he produces his report. I have tried to understand the mind of Lord Colville in his most recent report. Normally his reports are very objective and impartial. As a lawyer, he has been able to deal with the problems from a distance and to assess them.
About 14 pages of Lord Colville's report rubbish the right of a person to make a claim of ill-treatment while in custody. I am not naive enough to think that people do not make spurious claims. However, I believe that there are enough problems to be dealt with in Northern Ireland and there should not be 14 pages of highly partial and pejorative terms like "dubious purposes." The report states:
even unmeritorious claims can bring acquittal or substantial tax-free cash sums, or both, to those who do not deserve it.
That is in regard to court decisions or decisions to settle out of court. Not only does the report pour scorn on those who make claims; it pours scorn on the legal process itself.
The report also states:
The system can so seriously be exploited that it serves as an encouragement to false accusations.
Are we saying, or is Lord Colville implying as some previous speakers have implied, that the people of the north of Ireland do not have any integrity whatever? As a person from the north of Ireland, I resent that.
The final insulting paragraph of the report states:
Considering the allegiance of some of those who exploit the system it is not fanciful to suppose that terrorist organisations take at least part of the damages awarded, so that they are being financed directly at the taxpayers' expense.
The report continues:
That harsh catalogue deserves intricate analysis of which I will attempt to sketch the outlines.
It does not, with respect. It demands proof that that happens. It demands hard facts in at least one case to back it up. Is it there? Lord Colville is a lawyer, someone who has been preparing his report for a number of years. There is not one scrap of evidence—nothing which is not hypothetical. There is nothing to suggest that the points that he makes in the first 14 pages have any great relevance to the problem. That is most disappointing indeed. That brings his position into question. That section of the report certainly seems to be an apologia for the legislation rather than a critical analysis of it. Surely a person who is engaged to do that task must provide evidence if he draws such fundamental conclusions. He has not done so.
Lord Colville then concludes by making three recommendations which disturb me. The first one is that a log of everything be kept so that
the slightest incident is noted lest it should turn into a complaint … by way of pre-empting any later claim of abuse.
That reminds me of a statement by Willie John McBride when he was captain of the British Lions when they went to play New Zealand. His instruction was, "Get your retaliation in first, lads." The report smacks of that. and that cannot be good for the legislation or the consideration of it.
If we are to advise people to pre-empt any claims of abuse, what will happen to that log? How would one deal with the incident at Coalisland? Have we a log on that, as Lord Colville tells us? If he is right, it surely is written in the log book of some of those soldiers. Then they will tell us why they acted unwisely, as the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone said, when they went into a bar, shot three people and destroyed the bar. That is a fact. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will tell us about that. There was a photograph of the incident in Derry. Was that in a log? If we are not going to be honest about these matters, we will merely conduct a charade, and that must be challenged.
Some of Lord Colville's other points should also be challenged. They are that a number of claims are spurious because they are not backed up by complaints to the Police Complaints Commission. He is implying that, in effect, the way to deal with that is to ensure that anybody who makes a civil claim for compensation should be required to make a formal complaint so that one version may be compared with the other.
A person in my constituency made a complaint to the Police Complaints Commission. He was subsequently charged with an offence by the RUC. His evidence to the Police Complaints Commission was used against him in court by the police. How did the police get that evidence from the Police Complaints Commission? Is that ethical? Is that professionally correct? People would be very concerned if that approach were taken. I shall give the person's name to the Minister of State so that he can inquire into the matter. I have the name, the time and the place. That is something into which Lord Colville should inquire, but he comes out with recommendations that simply do not measure up.
Much was made about checkpoints. I believe that checkpoints are a death trap for those who have to man them. The Minister and the Secretary of State know my views, so I shall not labour them. But at a time when frontier posts are coming down all over Europe, when Europe is beginning to integrate and when other countries are moving away from the history and the problems, we arc building more frontier posts and more edifices on the border. Instead of letting in a breath of fresh air, we are entering the siege mentality that has been shown throughout the debate tonight.
We should examine the ethos of the legislation closely, not least where it refers to terrorist financing. There was a massive operation not so long ago, mainly in my constituency. I am told that it involved 1,000 soldiers and policemen and that it was remarkably successful. I am not sure that any charges have been brought as yet. I do not know whether any charges will be brought. I do not know whether any charges will centre on some people involved in terrorism.
However, ordinary decent people in Newry, south Down and south Armagh were subjected to that operation who have no connection with terrorism. We were worried when it was trumpeted from the Northern Ireland Office in the media that the operation was the final body blow to the IRA in that area. It was not very efficient. I hope that the Minister will take steps to ensure that the next time it is efficient.
One gentleman, whose name I shall give to the Minister, had his house raided. His life insurance policies were taken away. Photocopies of the policies were sent back. That is against the legislation in any case. Photocopied life insurance policies are no use to anyone because they are not accepted. Of course, at the end of the day, it was the wrong man and the wrong house anyhow. But still his life insurance policies have not been returned.
In another case, a highly respected accountant was searched. Even though the warrant identified the files that were to be taken, every other file in not only his house but that of his mother-in-law and his partner was scrutinised. In a third case, a person had his house identified as that belonging to another person of the same name. He was subjected to the same type of approach.
What does that do in a place such as south Armagh? What attitude does it leave among ordinary, decent people? It leaves them with the impression that when it comes to the operation of the legislation, they come a poor third and their position is not given much consideration. I know that the Minister of State thinks that it is funny, but I happen to believe that every individual has a right to respect for his or her position and his or her rights.
If an individual breaks the law, society has the right to subject that person to the rigours of the law through a proper court system. But the longer that legislation such as we are considering tonight remains, the more we postpone the day when we can set about solving the problems and the greater legacy of distrust and lack of confidence in the law the Government will leave in my country. It is time that they started to face up to that.
Madam Speaker, although for reasons that you will readily understand it seems rather a long time ago, I recall that the elegance of the language used by the Secretary of State in introducing the debate did nothing to conceal the horror of the catalogue of death and destruction of which he spoke. Indeed, if anything, the dispassionate account that he gave underlined the unspeakable nature of the behaviour which he described as a justification for the renewal of the order.
I welcome the Secretary of State's announcement about the appointment of an independent commissioner and an independent assessor. He will understand that we will want to know the terms of the appointments, and the competence that attaches to them.
I welcome the Secretary of State's remarks about his attempts to reduce the time suspects spend on remand. The whole House welcomes the efforts that he will put into that. I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will not close his mind entirely to the possibility of a statutory scheme. Already within the United Kingdom there is one jurisdiction in which a statutory scheme operates with great success, although I do not pretend for one moment that a statutory scheme such as that in Scotland could be brought into existence by the mere passage of a piece of legislation.
If there is a Division, I shall advise my right hon. and hon. Friends to vote for the order. We shall do so not with any great enthusiasm but because we view it as a regrettable necessity. We shall vote for the order with considerable reservations—not least because it is our profound belief that the rights, protections, and civil liberties of all United Kingdom citizens should be the same wherever they live.
Only in the most unusual circumstances can there be any justification for departing from those principles. It is my sad conclusion again this year that such circumstances still obtain in Northern Ireland and justify renewal of the order. That circumstances exist to justify such draconian powers as those that it contains must be a matter of profound regret to us all.
We must not maintain those powers for an instant longer than necessary. We should tolerate them grudgingly, and work to withdraw them at the earliest possible date. Such powers should never be embraced enthusiastically, for they represent a serious incursion into the rights which citizens of the United Kingdom are entitled to expect, and which we look for in all civilised systems of government.
Why do I believe that the powers are justified and that the order should be renewed? It can only be because the cancer of terrorism still stands at the heart of life in Northern Ireland. It can only be because I believe that the powers provide a means of containing that cancer. It is my profound belief that we delude ourselves if we think that more and more stringent powers, or even the more stringent exercise of powers already available, will bring peace and tranquillity to the Province.
So long as the legislation is seen to be strictly necessary, it will be acceptable to the people of Northern Ireland, but if abuses occur or if the powers are too wide the legislation will become counter-productive and public confidence will be dissipated.
I listened with interest to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara). I am sorry that he is not in his place, although he has been present throughout the debate. I hope that I do not do him an injustice, but I understood the hon. Gentleman to say that if there is a Division he and his party will be unable to vote for the continuance of the order—I see that the hon. Gentleman has returned to his place—because of their resistance to the power of internment.
I did not understand the hon. Gentleman to challenge the necessity for the other powers in the order. I share his repugnance for the existence of the power of internment, but not his conclusion. If circumstances justify the existence of the other powers, is it adequate to deny those powers to the security forces because of the existence of a power that is not being exercised? That is a question of judgment, but if the hon. Gentleman does not challenge the need for the order's powers, save for that of internment, surely he ought to consider carefully whether he is not dealing the security forces a hand that they will find extremely difficult to play.
There are some who argue for the use of the internment power—curiously, the debate has been notable for an absence of reference to that—and I do not doubt the sincerity of their belief, but I am equally sincere in my belief that its use would be counter-productive. Its use would result in the alienation of communities and create an atmosphere of desperation. It would be a signal of impotence in the face of terrorism.
When the Diplock courts were established on the recommendation of Lord Diplock, I cannot imagine that they were ever seen as more than a short-term measure. Is it not time to reconsider whether trial by jury should be available in Northern Ireland, as in other parts of the kingdom, unless it can be shown that good cause exists for not allowing that right? Should not the onus rest on the prosecution in Northern Ireland to show good cause why a man or woman should not have his or her guilt or innocence determined by a jury?
I understand the security implications of video taping the interviewing of suspects. I am disappointed, however, that the Government do not show a willingness at least to experiment to see if such recordings could not be made without prejudice to the interests of state or security. Surely such recordings would reduce the scope for the denial of confessions subsequently or for unfounded attacks on police methods. Their use might have consequences in terms of combating more easily false claims made against the police. I hope that the Government will keep an open mind on this, because in my judgment the video recording of what transpires between police and suspect would be more likely—it is a question of balance—to serve the interests of justice than the fact that such recording is not available now.
I can say as much from my professional experience as from anything else that it is the nature of the transaction between the suspect and the police which frequently allows someone accused of a crime a peg upon which to hang a defence which would not otherwise be available. I hope that what has been said about the video recording of such interviews will be seriously considered by the Government.
One does not use the word conversion easily in respect of the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) lest it be thought to imply anything other than the stern Calvinism or Protestantism of which he is a robust proponent. However, his conversion to the idea that the use of such recordings should be considered reflects a great change of opinion on his part. I hope that I do not do the hon. Gentleman an injustice, and I hope that the Government will keep an open mind on the topic.
The order offers no long-term solution. The best hope for that lies in the talks that the Secretary of State has instituted. It is right and proper that they should not form any part of our discussions tonight. I am not party to those talks, but those engaged in them should understand that the people of the United Kingdom earnestly hope for a successful outcome. They are too worldly and too used to violence in Northern Ireland to believe that a solution is likely to be at hand immediately, but those engaged in the talks should calculate how much good will would result from progress in those talks. They should consider the extent to which the sustained progress and political stability created by such a successful outcome might make orders such as the one that we are debating superfluous. It is too much to hope that we are debating such an order for the last time, but is it too much to hope that that day will not for ever be postponed?
The hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell) effectively criticised the Labour party's attitude to the legislation. I hope that that that criticism will be taken to heart by Labour Members if the House divides, although I hope that it will not. The hon. and learned Gentleman also said that the legislation makes serious incursions into the rights of citizens. I had difficulty following him on that point because, bearing in mind the fact that the internment power is not operational. no provision in the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1991 in any way conflicts with the European convention on human rights. Therefore, that Act is not a serious incursion into the rights of citizens. Comments could be made about the detention powers in the prevention of terrorism Act, but that is another matter.
My hon. Friend the Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis) welcomed the Secretary of State's announcement about the introduction of an independent commissioner for police centres. I also welcomed his comment about remand prisoners. I am glad to know that there will be target time for bringing people forward for arraignment to reduce remand periods. I understand the reluctance immediately to adopt a statutory scheme, such as the one in Scotland, but I hope that, when the informal targets have been reached, we can move to a statutory scheme, because failure to achieve sensible progression could lead to a deterioration of the position. Such a statutory scheme would ensure that there is no subsequent backsliding.
Much of the debate has turned on Lord Colville's report. Like other hon. Members, I congratulate Lord Colville not only on that report but on his series of reports over the years. They are well worth reading. My one regret about them is that they do not seem to receive the circulation and study that they deserve. People who are worried about the legislation will find that Lord Colville checks matters such as applications for extension of periods in detention and looks extensively at individual cases. That is a considerable reassurance.
I should like to deal with a few other issues in Lord Colville's report. He says that the current difficulties about definition arise from the difference in statistics emanating from the Lord Chancellor's office and the Northern Ireland Office and suggests that that conflict should be resolved. Perhaps the Minister will outline the arguments on definition and say why we cannot have reliable statistics. Such statistics are important. How else can one measure the effectiveness of legislation?
In the previous Parliament, I tabled a question about how often those convicted of murder were actual trigger men for people who placed bombs. I was informed that it was not possible to answer that, because statistics were not available. That is quite incredible. Without such statistics, how can we measure the effectiveness of the security forces and the legal system?
I regret to say that I have the impression that the number of trigger men who are convicted of murder in any one year could probably be counted on the fingers of one hand. If figures were available, they would demonstrate that the system is not as effective as it should be. I fear that such figures as are available give a somewhat false impression.
On the fifth page of the report, Lord Colville discusses the legislation that is designed to deal with terrorist funds. He refers to the position on the Channel islands and on the Isle of Man. He notes that power is available to extend part of the emergency provisions legislation to the islands. He then states:
Whatever may be said about the efficacy of section 13 and schedule 4 to the Prevention of Terrorism Act, it must be of direct concern that the fullest possible range of facilities
should be to hand for the authorities in those jurisdictions to give such assistance as they can to expose terrorists' off-shore accounts and money laundering.
Two issues arise from that passage. The Prevention of Terrorism Act provisions that operate on some of the islands are much narrower than those in the emergency provisions legislation. Part VII of the EPA deals with the confiscation of the proceeds of terrorists' illegal activities. I think that it is fair to say that the PTA provisions on terrorist funds—the Minister's comments will be interesting—are virtually useless. The EPA provisions may be useful, but the PTA provisions are not. That underlines the need for uniform legislation throughout the British Isles, but excluding the Republic of Ireland.
In the same passage of his report, Lord Colville refers to protection payments and tax. Unfortunately, his comment is wrong. I have personal experience of persons who reported that they were being intimidated by terrorists and were making protection payments. They found that, as a result of taking up the invitation of the previous Secretary of State to report these matters, they were raided by the Inland Revenue, and found themselves in a much worse situation. Lord Colville states that he is not aware of such cases, but unfortunately they exist. His comment is no response to the position of those citizens, who behaved, perhaps at a later date, in a responsible manner.
That brings me to the section of Lord Colville's report which refers to cases of irresponsibility on the part of the television medium. At paragraphs 4.2.9. and 10 he refers to a case that went to court in 1991. The defendant was a man called Gilgunn. A complaint was made by the detainee's mother on his behalf to the Anglo-Irish secretariat alleging serious threats made to him by the police. In the witness box, however, the detainee made no attempt to substantiate the allegation. The judge in the case said:
I am satisfied that there is no truth in any suggestion that any threat of this kind was made at any time. I have said previously that Gilgunn was an intelligent young man. He is also, I am satisfied, a manipulative young man.
Lord Colville continues:
In the recent Channel 4 documentary programme 'Behind the Walls of Castlereagh', Mr. Gilgunn repeated these allegations. I heard no reference to the comments made by the judge.
The inescapable conclusion is that Gilgunn manufactured the complaint in an attempt to discredit the RUC and that Channel 4 was too gullible. It is not the only time that there has been such gullibility. I recall the notorious "Despatches" programme which alleged the existence of a so-called inner circle in which it was said that police and loyalist terrorists plotted assassinations. What was produced on screen in the way of evidence was singularly unconvincing.
After the programme, in an attempt to bolster their case, those involved in the production of "Despatches" supplied the RUC with names, some of whom they said were members of the inner circle. Some of the names were not even in the RUC, although those involved with "Despatches" said they were. I believe that the RUC is satisfied that none of those named was so involved.
If the programme makers had consulted any reputable journalist operating in Ulster, they would have been told that the allegations were fantasies. Indeed, some journalists working in Northern Ireland are now reluctant to have any dealings with Channel 4 programmers as a result. I understand that the programme cost about £250,000, which is something worth considering.
I suspect that the programme involved more than gullibility. The person who made it was no wide-eyed innocent coming to Ulster for the first time. He was a native of Ulster who in his student days was associated with extreme Republican politics.
If the police succeed in their attempts to compel "Despatches" to disclose its sources, I think that it will be found that essentially that programme had one source—a person who is known to have a Republican political background. We shall then see that the programme was tainted from the outset. The sinister aspect of the programme was that, in addition to smearing the police, it effectively identified members of a mythical inner circle and so targeted individuals in the Loyalist community. That is a dangerous consequence of irresponsibility.
That naturally leads one to the programme earlier this week and the case of Mr. Nelson. Like other hon. Members, I shall suspend judgment on that until we know more of the facts. It illustrates what we do know from what has come out through the courts and elsewhere and underlines the danger of competing organisations in intelligence matters and the danger of not having proper co-ordination and effective control.
I am not drawing any conclusions about what may have happened. It is clear from what we know that Mr. Nelson was or may have been a double agent. It is unwise to conclude that all his actions were controlled by his intelligence handlers, but there is sufficient in the public domain of a reputable nature to show that there is cause for concern.
I appreciate the difficulties of inquiries into intelligence matters, but I should like to be reassured that there will be an investigation into those matters and that as much as possible will be put into the public domain so that we can see where the truth lies. However, as I say, I caution against taking what emanates from Mr. Nelson as gospel because it comes from a tainted source.
The hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) said that the "Panorama" programme, which I am afraid that I did not see, alleged collusion in the importation of arms. If I remember correctly, all the arms that were being imported for the UDA on the occasion to which the hon. Gentleman refers were seized and the majority of the arms destined for the UVF were also found.
Those arms were imported by a group known then as Ulster Resistance. Some of them were handed over to the UDA and some to the UVF. A consignment was seized by the police outside Tandragee and the rest have not been recovered. It has been established that the gun which killed the people in the betting shop was imported in that shipment.
I am aware of that fact. The facts are, as I stated, that all the weapons in that shipment going to the UDA were found. The majority of those going to the UVF were found. It is said that there were some going to another organisation which have not been found. If, as the hon. Gentleman says, the gun used in that terrible attack was found, it could well be from the UVF contingent.
The significance of the situation is that Mr. Nelson was said to be working for the UDA, and all the weapons destined for the UDA were seized by the RUC. I think that there is no dispute about that.
The hon. Gentleman referred critically to a long passage in Lord Colville's report about complaints against the police. At this stage, I shall simply urge hon. Members to read everything that Lord Colville says on that point. He makes a number of cogent points analysing the way in which the system is not working effectively. There is a serious problem here, because of the way in which the civil legal system is being used to give a false impression.
The actions of the authorities on that point—particularly the Northern Ireland Office—are reprehensible. It is wrong to settle those cases. They should be contested unless it is clear that there is wrongdoing by the soldiers and policemen concerned, in which case, by all means settle. But, as I understand it, Lord Colville points out that cases are being settled because the material to defend them is not available. His suggestions are directed towards ensuring that evidence is preserved.
It is wrong to criticise the suggestion that detailed records should be kept when they are kept, for example, on interrogation and patrolling. Anyone who reads the passage concerned will note that Lord Colville makes some cogent points, which probably provide uncomfortable reading for the Northern Ireland Office: they require a positive response and certain changes.
The current IRA bombing campaign has, of course, caused great concern, which has increased significantly over the past year. My own constituency has suffered the effects of three large bombs. One, containing 1,200 lb of home-made explosive, was defused at Banbridge; another, containing over 2,000 lb of HME, destroyed Craigavon RUC station, wrecked a nearby Catholic school and damaged a Catholic church, various community services and hundreds of houses. The third, containing over 1,000 lb of HME, tore the commercial heart out of Lurgan, a town in my constituency.
Following the bombing of the Baltic exchange in London, people in England may have some idea of the effect of such large bombs. The bomb in the City, however, affected modern buildings, and most of the damage—although it was bad at the time—was essentially superficial: the structures remained intact, and the damage can be repaired relatively easily. In Lurgan, two entire blocks with over a dozen different buildings suffered severe structural damage. I do not want to labour the point, but I think it fair to say that immediately afterwards—and, indeed, today—the town resembled scenes from the blitz.
The bombs did not come from nowhere. A large home-made explosive bomb takes time to prepare: fertiliser must be ground up, other ingredients must be bought and mixed in, and the thing must eventually be assembled and primed. Grinding up the fertiliser for a large bomb requires several days' work, which must be done in places where there is apparent freedom from detection or interruption.
I believe that the bombs that went off in my constituency were made up in the IRA safe havens along the south Armagh and Monaghan frontier; I am not sure which side was involved, but that was where they originated. They were not, however, moved up along the length of Armagh, where they might have been intercepted by vehicle checkpoints. It is believed that they were taken up through the salient in the Irish Republic created by County Monaghan, crossed the frontier into east Tyrone and then moved into north Armagh.
The police in my constituency may sometimes suspect that a bomb is in transit. They then face the impossible task of covering all the likely targets. That, of course, cannot be done; judgment must be exercised, and the defence of some targets prioritised. It is then child's play for the IRA to see which way the police have gone, and to go the other way and hit a target that has apparently been left open. Many believe that that happened in Lurgan. After the event, the hon. Member for Peterborough (Dr. Mawhinney) mentioned a last-minute reconnaissance car going through the town, and that lends support to their belief.
If that happened, however, I think that it would be wrong to blame the police. As I have said, theirs is an impossible task. The question that should be asked is, why are they given that task? The obvious response must be to go to the source of the bombs, and cut off the movement at that point rather than trying to catch the bombers when they come in. That must focus attention on the frontier areas—not to keep people happy, but to keep people alive and our towns intact.
At this point, we come up against what I regard as a fundamental flaw in the Government's policy: a flaw that has vitiated policy for over a decade, and will continue in the future to render of no avail the sacrifices of soldiers and policemen. The Government believe that they must at all costs have the co-operation of the Irish Republic on the frontier. They have some co-operation, but the truth is that they do not and will not have effective co-operation; effective, in the words of the previous Secretary of State —the right hon. Member for City of London and Westminster, South (Mr. Brooke), who I am glad to see is present—to end the use of the border as a resource for terrorism.
I think that a little quiet reflection on the nature and objectives of the Catholic Irish nation will make it clear why that degree of co-operation will not be forthcoming. The necessary job can be done by our British security forces. It will be done when the necessary reassessment of policy has been made. The legislation that we are renewing contains almost all the legal tools necessary for the job. All we need is for Ministers to have the wit and the will to use them well.
I am always worth waiting for: that is why the House has been waiting so long.
I thank the hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble) for being brief. I know that he wanted to make more points if time had been available. I thank him for leaving enough time for the Minister of State and me to reply to the debate.
I should like to reinforce one of the points that the hon. Member for Upper Bann made. He claimed that Lord Colville's conclusion in paragraph 2.1.5 is incorrect. The paragraph refers to anecdotal stories of employers co-operating with the authorities, who would then attract the attention of the Inland Revenue and Customs. Lord Colville says, quite clearly and categorically, that there is no factual basis for that fear. What the hon. Member told the House a few moments ago is completely contrary to that conclusion, so I should like to hear the Government's view.
It feels as though we started the debate a long time ago. I regret that the Secretary of State is not here—that is not a criticism—as I wanted to thank him for taking us so clearly and succinctly through the order, and for the overview he gave of the security situation in the Province in the past 12 months.
If I had been Secretary of State, I would have felt some trepidation, because this must be the first occasion in recent years when the Secretary of State had his two immediate predecessors hovering in the shadows. I should like to think that they were here to give him moral support. I am sure they were, but perhaps they were here also to ensure that he stayed on the straight and narrow and trod the path that was so well laid out by them.
It was a delight to me, and I am sure to the House, to see the right hon. Member for City of London and Westminster, South (Mr. Brooke) acting as Parliamentary Private Secretary, conveying information from the Box to the Minister of State. I hope that he does not intend again to seek a ministerial career, which he gave up recently.
The Secretary of State went through the customary practice of congratulating Lord Colville on the review. Perhaps I may enter a counter-view. There is a growing view in the Province—clearly not a majority view—that perhaps Lord Colville has passed his sell-by-date. It is felt that, regrettably, he has not introduced the reforms that were suggested in previous reports. We certainly regret that he feels that there is no point in advocating changes that the Government have already rejected. That relates to a point made by a number of hon. Members—in previous years, Lord Colville has argued for televised recordings which were refused by the Government, and it is unfortunate that he has not reiterated that suggestion.
We welcome the Secretary of State's words about the close and growing co-operation between the security forces north and south of the border. The co-operation shows an increasing willingness and desire by the United Kingdom and the Irish Governments to ensure that terrorism does not succeed, and co-operation will increase in order to bring about that state of affairs.
We also welcome the time limits set for prisoners on remand. I realise that it is on a non-statutory basis at the moment, and although we welcome it, it should not be too long before the system is placed on a statutory basis.
We agree that it is essential to pursue social and economic policies to enhance the lives of all the citizens of Northern Ireland. I only wish that the Secretary of State had the necessary freedom to introduce policies that would increase the living standard for the people there, but I strongly suspect that the curbs on public expenditure that are likely to take place in Great Britain will also impinge on citizens in Northern Ireland. Instead of an improvement in living standards, there will be a standstill.
We share the Secretary of State's view that there is a need for a political settlement in the Province. Despite all that has been said, until there is a clear political settlement which is seen to be fair to all the citizens of the Province, the good will shown by the Governments and politicians from both sides of the divide will come to naught. There must be a political settlement which is seen to be fair and non-discriminatory and one in which all citizens of the Province feel that they are equal in a social, political and economic sense.
The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) gave us his usual views, and I am sure that the House was grateful to receive them yet again. He referred to a certain gentleman, whose name I forget, not knowing what was going on behind closed doors at Stormont. He tantalisingly hinted that he knew, and I thought for one moment that he was going to share his knowledge with the House so that not only he and Ministers but all hon. Members could share his knowledge of any progress being made in Stormont. I was extremely disappointed that the hon. Member for Antrim, North, who is usually loquacious, did not go on to give us that information.
I do not often agree with the hon. Member for Antrim, North, although we disagree in a gentlemanly way. However, I agree with two points that he made, and I certainly agreed when he said that it should be made clear to the terrorists and their apologists that they cannot bomb and murder their way to the conference table. He certainly has the Labour party's support on that, and I would guess that he has that of every right hon. and hon. Member.
I also agree with the hon. Member for Antrim, North —he shares the view of the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis)—that there should be a visual record at the Castlereagh holding centre to assist the police and to help to refute allegations made against them. That alone will make it easier for the authorities to refute allegations and prevent people of violence from being able to use those allegations to undermine public confidence in the security forces.
When the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone talks about the need to curb racketeering and close off funds to terrorists, he has the House's full support. In speaking of the need for police primacy, not just in theory but in practice, he again echoes a view repeatedly expressed by the Opposition. My hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) has occasionally been unfairly criticised for persisting in putting that view.
The hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter) said that Lord Colville had drawn attention to complaints about ill treatment at holding centres. He then said that the disquiet arising from those matters needed to be eliminated. If that is the hon. Gentleman's view, why did not he suggest the next logical step: to introduce recording equipment into those centres so that there would be a visual record to help in refuting most of those allegations? I was a little disappointed that the hon. Gentleman picked up a point made by Lord Colville but did not then take the next logical step.
In a succinct—perhaps a euphemism for brief—speech, the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell) asserted that the reintroduction of internment would be counter-productive. We agree that it would be a recruiting sergeant for terrorists in the Province. He then asked why the Labour party was voting against the renewal order this evening. There is not time adequately to answer that question now—[Laughter.] If those hon. Members who laugh at that assertion read in detail the Second Reading debate last year, they will see all the constructive criticisms that we made about the legislation in Committee, on Report and on Third Reading. They will then realise that we had sound and valid reasons for opposing it, and the necessary changes have still not been made to it.
I shall name but two of our objections to the legislation: first, the question of internment remaining on the statute book; and, secondly, the power to seize documents—a matter that is even dearer to the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East. If the hon. and learned Gentleman reads those debates—
I am delighted that the hon. and learned Gentleman will find time. I just wish that Conservative Members would avail themselves of the same opportunity.
In the few minutes remaining to me, I shall make one general political point. The debate has shown that, although we may hold differing views on the efficacy of the emergency provisions legislation, all Members and parties are united in our determination that terrorism will not succeed. Political change must be brought about through the democratic process, not by the power to bomb and murder. No one can bomb their way to the conference table.
We all recognise the difficult and dangerous work undertaken by the RUC and the security forces. On behalf of my party, I pay tribute to them for their bravery and steadfastness. We must never forget that, in the battle against terrorism, the security forces are there to protect citizens' lives, not to place them at risk; to protect individual freedom, not to undermine it; and to uphold the rule of law, not subvert it. There is no doubt in my mind that in most instances those high ideals are upheld, but when they are not, the consequences provide succour to the terrorists and make the job of the security forces that much more difficult. It is in all our interests that, in the defeat of terrorism, no corners are cut and no laws deliberately broken.
Finally, let me make our position absolutely clear: we intend to force a Division on the order, and I urge support from all quarters of the House.
I warmly endorse the penultimate words of the hon. Member for Leicester, South (Mr. Marshall). We entirely agree with everything that he said about the necessity for the forces to act honestly within the law and evenhandedly. I congratulate him on, for the large part, a moderate and sensible speech. I hope that my saying so from here will not damage his credibility, but we find little to quarrel with in most of what he said. The hon. Gentleman has a problem and he was honest enough to say that he did not intend to explain to us tonight what it was. That is why he is urging his colleagues not to support the order.
The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) started down that road, using a slightly different tack from usual—but then he has been known to change his fig leaf from time to time. Although he produced a different fig leaf this time, that is to say that he could not support the order because inherent in it remained powers of detainment—not an argument that has been in the forefront of his reasons for opposing the measure in the past—the order does nothing of the sort. The power of detention, or internment as he called it, is not dealt with in the order and could not be brought into force without our coming to the House for an affirmative order. Therefore, that reason is even less valid than usual.
In looking to what I hope is mainstream thinking that would command support in both Houses, one can do no better than quote the words of Lord Mason in the last debate in the other place. He spoke for many people when he said:
Unfortunately the circumstances are such within the United Kingdom that some liberty must be sacrificed in the defence of liberty, insidious though that may be. It is the price that must be paid in defence of our democracy … Nothing gives the IRA more joy and some encouragement than to see a divided House, and especially the image created by some within Parliament of seeming to be too protective of the terrorists and their political allies, rather than wishing their destruction."—[0fficial Report, House of Lords, 13 February 1989; Vol. 504, c. 33-4.]
That used to be the words of the mainstream Labour party and I long for the day when it is so again.
Tonight's debate has enabled the House to examine once again the requirement for, and the scope of, the emergency powers now in effect in Northern Ireland.
I listened with care to the Minister's quotation from Lord Mason, who has a point of view, even if it is not one shared by us. The Minister gave the impression, at least, that the Opposition display some softness towards terrorism. He will know of our loathing and hatred for terrorists on both sides of the sectarian divide, not least for the Provisional IRA, whose members have for 22 years committed the worst type of crime, as I said in my intervention in the speech by the Secretary of State. Will the Minister therefore reconsider and recognise that, although there are genuine differences of opinion, there is no difference of opinion in the House when it comes to condemning the crimes and atrocities that have been perpetrated, some of which have occurred in the past six months?
I acknowledge unreservedly that that is the view of the hon. Gentleman, and I have never questioned that. But some Labour Members entertain these people —they have brought them over to the mainland and into this House. For as long as that happens, it will be perfectly reasonable to point it out.
I welcome the scrutiny that we have given the measure tonight. It is entirely right, in a parliamentary democracy such as ours, that there should be full and open debate on the need for exceptional powers such as these. In that regard, I must say that I do not share the view expressed by the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) that our annual debates are no more than a ritual. It is because we examine the legislation every year, because changes are made in the light of experience and because we continue to draw on the independent advice of people such as Lord Colville that they are not a ritual but a real event, and I am glad that they take place—inconvenient though that may be for some of us.
The Government's aim is a full return to normality and the eradication of terrorism in Northern Ireland. That is our first priority. Terrorist organisations are criminal conspiracies, representing perhaps the most dangerous threat to the fabric of any democratic society. We are determined that they will not prevail. Violence in pursuit of political ends is neither acceptable nor inevitable and for so long as it continues terrorism will be met with a firm, resolute and proactive response.
Within that basic approach, however, it is open to the Government—indeed, it is incumbent on them—to introduce specific measures and powers, where the ordinary law is insufficient, to enable the police and Army to deal with the particular difficulties that they encounter in protecting society from terrorism and apprehending the perpetrators of it. The Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1991 and the relevant sections of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 also being renewed by the order do precisely that.
We have had a wide-ranging and interesting debate, and I shall be dealing with some of the points raised by hon. Members in such time as I have. Before I do so, however, it may be worth illustrating the practical application of the emergency provisions Act measures by examining one particular case—the refurbishment of a number of permanent vehicle checkpoints. The hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis) made some valuable points based on his considerable experience of these matters, and I promise him that I will consider them carefully.
The permanent vehicle checkpoints in border areas provide protection for communities particularly vulnerable to terrorist attack. They deter terrorists by controlling cross-border traffic. They block key escape routes used by terrorists and they provide bases for security force patrols working in dangerous areas.
Following a thorough review, 10 permanent vehicle checkpoints in Fermanagh and Londonderry are being refurbished and improved. In some cases, they are being moved a short distance to more operationally suitable sites. The upgrading programme, which began in south-east Fermanagh, is designed to reduce inconvenience to local communities by improving traffic handling arrangements as well as to provide better protection and improved accommodation for security force personnel at the bases.
The entire exercise provides an example of how powers provided for in one part of the Act can be used to ameliorate the impact of the operation of others of its powers. We recognise the disruption caused to local people by the necessary use at the checkpoints of the powers to stop and question people for so long as is necessary to ascertain their identities, movements and any knowledge that they may have of recent terrorist incidents, and to search vehicles under sections 23 and 26 of the Act.
Part of the refurbishment programme is intended to reduce or remove the lengthy traffic queues that can build up by redesigning or resiting the PVCPs, providing space for controlled bypasses and lay-bys where inquiries and searches can, where necessary, be made without delaying other traffic. The necessary land is, in a number of cases, being acquired using powers contained in section 24 of the Act, and compensation is being paid under section 63. Work is still in progress, but I understand that the new arrangements for the finished checkpoints have proved much more acceptable to local communities. The repositioning of some checkpoints may also allow the reopening of one or two minor roads in the south Fermanagh area. The Irish security forces have been providing necessary security for the operation on their side of the border and their assistance has been greatly appreciated.
I turn now briefly, I am afraid, to some of the points that have been made during the debate. Reference has been made to videotape recording. Of course we acknowledge that there is genuine concern about the interview procedures. I know that that is a difficult subject and I have made it my business early in my new incarnation to go to Castlereagh. I have been right round the course that a detained person goes round and I have seen every aspect that that person goes through. I have also seen the controls and checks intended to ensure that there is no ill-treatment.
There is provision for medical inspection as soon as the detained person arrives and for a log to be opened to show where that person is at every moment of the day and night. Every time the person is taken out of the cell, even to go to the lavatory, and is returned to it, that is recorded. Whenever that person is taken to an interview room, that is recorded by someone who is not involved in the investigation. That is an imporant safeguard. The people who carry out that part of the handling of a detained person are uniformed members of the RUC. All the time that someone is being interviewed in an interview room, that is monitored by a uniformed police inspector who is not part of the investigation team.
The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) wanted to know whether we could go even further than that and provide a record. We have obviously considered that. However, there are difficulties which do not simply relate to the difficulties in obtaining a confession. It is important that people should understand that.
There are difficulties in that some people who belong to terrorist organisations will have their lives and the lives of their families put at risk if they so much as talk to the authorities. That is why many of them adopt a policy of silence to start with. That is visible to the inspecting officer and to the inspector who is present. If a recording of the tape became available even showing that the detained person had opened his or her mouth—never mind whether to make a confession—perhaps just to ask the time of day, there are fears that that person, his friends or relations could be in danger from the terrorists who would suspect—
I am sorry, I will not give way as I have only a very short time left. I am trying to reply to the debate.
That is why the Chief Constable and those who advise us have concluded that it would not be right to move further at the moment. However, I happily give the undertaking that we will continue to monitor the situation. We do not want those who are detained to be able to sue us afterwards. That makes no sense. However, so long as there are real dangers and when life might be at stake, we must take the cautious view.
The hon. Members for Kingston upon Hull, North and for Antrim, North referred to out-of-court settlements. Lord Colville makes it clear that many of those actions cover a portmanteau of complaints and that in those that include an allegation of assault that claim is very often not substantiated or pursued. The police authority is now analysing civil action settlements to determine in how many cases the settlement relates to a claim of assault and in how many to some procedural error. The results of that study will be made public.
The House may be interested in one example cited by Lord Colville. The plaintiff alleged false imprisonment, wrongful arrest and assault. The police contested the claim, and the assault claim was not accepted by the court, but compensation was paid for overholding—that is, for holding him for too long. The plaintiff was delayed for 45 minutes while a doctor was called to make a final medical examination. Those are some of the problems that we are up against in settling out of court, and they have nothing to do with ill-treatment.
The hon. Member for Antrim, North complained about Crumlin Road and delays on remand. I hope that he is as pleased as others have been with the announcement that we really are seeking to tackle the problem by administrative means, and I repeat my right hon. and learned Friend's assurance that we will not be satisfied with a year's limit if we can bring it down further.
As to the conditions in Crumlin Road, I have visited that prison myself, although I did so voluntarily and not as a guest of the governor. There are some difficult accommodation problems there. It is an old Victorian prison in the middle of the city. The governor, the staff and the prison department in the Northern Ireland Office are making herculean attempts to put that right, but it is inevitably a fairly slow process.
Mention was made by several hon. Members of the independent assessor. His terms of reference will be published when they reach fruition. Of course, that information will be given to the House at the appropriate time.
Legislation, no matter how well-focused and appropriate, is effective only when it is properly enforced. I am pleased to report to the House that the vigorous and impartial actions of the police and Army are bringing real results. The level of security force activity is very high. In addition to the numerous patrols mounted by the RUC, the Army currently undertakes 250 to 300 patrols per day, day in and day out in the Province. For that it should be thanked. That very high figure should be put into perspective when the inevitable but fortunately rare occurrence of improper action by the security forces takes so much of the headlines. It is in the context of 300 or more patrols of young professional soldiers and police going out in fear of their lives day after day that we get the odd regrettable incident. But there is one way in which that can be stopped at once, and that is for the terrorists to stop their deadly business. There would then be no further need for Army or police patrols. Last year, more than twice as many people were charged with murder as in 1990. Adjustments to force structures and deployments to meet the evolving threat continue to be made where appropriate. Reference has already been made to the establishment of the new post of Deputy Chief Constable (Operations), and I note the wide welcome that that has received in the House. Recruitment of the additional 441 police officers, which was announced last November, continues. For example, an addition al 104 regular officers and 40 reservists were recruited during May alone.
Although I welcome the appointment of the Deputy Chief Constable, I do not want anybody to think that there will be an immediate panacea as a result of it. We are hoping, as the terrorists' tactics evolve and change, to evolve and change the structures whereby the control and co-ordination of all the security forces takes place. Having a senior policeman clearly in charge of all operations of the police and the Army is, I hope everyone will agree, a step in the right direction.
Our commitment to the defeat of terrorism is undiminished. I hope that that message is getting through to the terrorists on both sides. There are some small signs that it is. Whether it is or not, the security forces will continue their relentless pursuit of the criminals. The emergency powers continued by this order are vital to enabling them to carry out that task. In that context, we would all agree with the valuable contribution by the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell). It is on that basis and not with any pleasure, of which some accused us, but with reluctance and determination that I commend the order to the House.
|Division No. 30]||[11.29 pm|
|Adley, Robert||Browning, Mrs. Angela|
|Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)||Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Burns, Simon|
|Alexander, Richard||Burt, Alistair|
|Allason, Rupert (Torbay)||Butler, Peter|
|Amess, David||Butterfill, John|
|Ancram, Michael||Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)|
|Arbuthnot, James||Carrington, Matthew|
|Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)||Carttis, Michael|
|Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv)||Cash, William|
|Ashby, David||Channon, Rt Hon Paul|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Chaplin, Mrs Judith|
|Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)||Churchill, Mr|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North)||Clappison, James|
|Baldry, Tony||Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)|
|Banks, Matthew (Southport)||Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey|
|Banks, Robert (Harrogate)||Coe, Sebastian|
|Bates, Michael||Colvin, Michael|
|Batiste, Spencer||Congdon, David|
|Beggs, Roy||Conway, Derek|
|Beith, A. J.||Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)|
|Bendall, Vivian||Coombs, Simon (Swindon)|
|Beresford, Sir Paul||Cope, Rt Hon Sir John|
|Blackburn, Dr John G.||Cormack, Patrick|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Couchman, James|
|Booth, Hartley||Cran, James|
|Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)||Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia||Davies, Quentin (Stamford)|
|Bowden, Andrew||Davis, David (Boothferry)|
|Bowis, John||Day, Stephen|
|Brandreth, Gyles||Deva, Nirj Joseph|
|Brazier, Julian||Devlin, Tim|
|Bright, Graham||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James|
|Brooke, Rt Hon Peter||Dover, Den|
|Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)||Duncan, Alan|
|Duncan-Smith, Iain||Legg, Barry|
|Dunn, Bob||Leigh, Edward|
|Durant, Sir Anthony||Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)|
|Eggar, Tim||Lidington, David|
|Elletson, Harold||Lightbown, David|
|Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)||Lilley, Rt Hon Peter|
|Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)|
|Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)||Lord, Michael|
|Evans, Roger (Monmouth)||Luff, Peter|
|Evennett, David||MacKay, Andrew|
|Faber, David||McLoughlin, Patrick|
|Fabricant, Michael||McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick|
|Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas||Madel, David|
|Fenner, Dame Peggy||Maginnis, Ken|
|Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)||Maitland, Lady Olga|
|Fishburn, John Dudley||Malone, Gerald|
|Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)||Mans, Keith|
|Forsythe, Clifford (Antrim S)||Marland, Paul|
|Forth, Eric||Marlow, Tony|
|Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)||Marshall, John (Hendon S)|
|Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)||Martin, David (Portsmouth S)|
|Freeman, Roger||Mates, Michael|
|French, Douglas||Mawhinney, Dr Brian|
|Gallie, Phil||Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick|
|Gardiner, Sir George||Merchant, Piers|
|Garnier, Edward||Milligan, Stephen|
|Gill, Christopher||Mills, Iain|
|Gillan, Ms Cheryl||Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)|
|Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles||Mitchell, Sir David (Hants NW)|
|Gorman, Mrs Teresa||Moate, Roger|
|Gorst, John||Molyneaux, Rt Hon James|
|Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)||Montgomery, Sir Fergus|
|Greenway, John (Ryedale)||Moss, Malcolm|
|Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)||Needham, Richard|
|Grylls, Sir Michael||Nelson, Anthony|
|Hague, William||Neubert, Sir Michael|
|Hamilton, Rt Hon Archie||Nicholls, Patrick|
|Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)||Nicholson, David (Taunton)|
|Hampson, Dr Keith||Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)|
|Hannam, Sir John||Norris, Steve|
|Hargreaves, Andrew||Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley|
|Harris, David||Oppenheim, Phillip|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Ottaway, Richard|
|Hawkins, Nicholas||Page, Richard|
|Hawksley, Warren||Paice, James|
|Heald, Oliver||Paisley, Rev Ian|
|Heathcoat-Amory, David||Patnick, Irvine|
|Hendry, Charles||Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey|
|Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael||Pawsey, James|
|Hicks, Robert||Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth|
|Hill, James (Southampton Test)||Pickles, Eric|
|Horam, John||Porter, Barry (Wirral S)|
|Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)||Porter, David (Waveney)|
|Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)||Portillo, Rt Hon Michael|
|Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)||Powell, William (Corby)|
|Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W)||Rathbone, Tim|
|Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)||Redwood, John|
|Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)||Richards, Rod|
|Hunter, Andrew||Riddick, Graham|
|Jackson, Robert (Wantage)||Rifkind, Rt Hon. Malcolm|
|Jenkin, Bernard||Robathan, Andrew|
|Jessel, Toby||Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn|
|Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey||Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S)|
|Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)||Robinson, Mark (Somerton)|
|Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)||Ross, William (E Londonderry)|
|Jones, Robert B. (W H'f'rdshire)||Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)|
|Kennedy, Charles (Ross, C & S)||Ryder, Rt Hon Richard|
|Key, Robert||Sackville, Tom|
|Kilfedder, James||Sainsbury, Rt Hon Tim|
|King, Rt Hon Tom||Shaw, David (Dover)|
|Kirkhope, Timothy||Shepherd, Rt Hon Gillian|
|Kirkwood, Archy||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Knapman, Roger||Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)|
|Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)||Skeet, Sir Trevor|
|Knight, Greg (Derby N)||Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)|
|Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)||Smith Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|Knox, David||Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)|
|Kynoch, George (Kincardine)||Soames, Nicholas|
|Lait, Mrs Jacqui Speed, Keith|
|Lawrence, Ivan||Spencer, Sir Derek|
|Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)||Trotter, Neville|
|Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Spink, Dr Robert||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Spring, Richard||Viggers, Peter|
|Sproat, Iain||Walden, George|
|Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John||Walker, A. Cecil (Belfast N)|
|Stephen, Michael||Walker, Bill (N Tayside)|
|Stern, Michael||Wallace, James|
|Stewart, Allan||Waller, Gary|
|Streeter, Gary||Ward, John|
|Sweeney, Walter||Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)|
|Sykes, John||Waterson, Nigel|
|Tapsell, Sir Peter||Watts, John|
|Taylor, Ian (Esher)||Wells, Bowen|
|Taylor, Rt Hon D. (Strangford)||Whittingdale, John|
|Taylor, John M. (Solihull)||Widdecombe, Ann|
|Taylor, Matthew (Truro)||Wilkinson, John|
|Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)||Willetts, David|
|Temple-Morris, Peter||Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)|
|Thomason, Roy||Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)|
|Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)||Wolfson, Mark|
|Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)||Wood, Timothy|
|Thurnham, Peter||Yeo, Tim|
|Townend, John (Bridlington)||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)|
|Tredinnick, David||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Trend, Michael||Mr. Sydney Chapman and|
|Trimble, David||Mr. Timothy Boswell.|
|Adams, Mrs Irene||Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)|
|Ainger, Nicholas||Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)|
|Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)||Clelland, David|
|Allen, Graham||Coffey, Ms Ann|
|Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale)||Cohen, Harry|
|Austin-Walker, John||Connarty, Michael|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Cook, Frank (Stockton N)|
|Barnes, Harry||Corbyn, Jeremy|
|Battle, John||Corston, Ms Jean|
|Bayley, Hugh||Cousins, Jim|
|Beckett, Margaret||Cox, Tom|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Cryer, Bob|
|Bennett, Andrew F.||Cummings, John|
|Benton, Joe||Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Dalyell, Tam|
|Berry, Roger||Darling, Alistair|
|Betts, Clive||Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)|
|Boateng, Paul||Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)|
|Boyce, Jimmy||Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'l)|
|Boyes, Roland||Denham, John|
|Bradley, Keith||Dixon, Don|
|Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E)||Donohoe, Brian|
|Brown, N. (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)||Dowd, Jim|
|Burden, Richard||Eagle, Ms Angela|
|Byers, Stephen||Eastham, Ken|
|Caborn, Richard||Enright, Derek|
|Callaghan, Jim||Etherington, William|
|Campbell, Ms Anne (C'bridge)||Evans, John (St Helens N)|
|Campbell-Savours, D. N.||Flynn, Paul|
|Cann, James||Foster, Derek (B'p Auckland)|
|Chisholm, Malcolm||Foulkes, George|
|Clapham, Michael||Fyfe, Maria|
|Galloway, George||Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S)|
|Gapes, Michael||Martlew, Eric|
|George, Bruce||Meale, Alan|
|Gerrard, Neil||Michael, Alun|
|Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John||Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)|
|Godman, Dr Norman A.||Milburn, Alan|
|Godsiff, Roger||Miller, Andrew|
|Golding, Mrs Llin||Moonie, Dr Lewis|
|Gordon, Mildred||Morley, Elliot|
|Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)||Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley)|
|Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)||Mudie, George|
|Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)||Mullin, Chris|
|Gunnell, John||Murphy, Paul|
|Hain, Peter||O'Brien, William (Normanton)|
|Hall, Mike||O'Hara, Edward|
|Hanson, David||O'Neill, Martin|
|Harman, Ms Harriet||Orme, Rt Hon Stanley|
|Hendron, Dr Joe||Patchett, Terry|
|Heppell, John||Pickthall, Colin|
|Hill, Keith (Streatham)||Pike, Peter L.|
|Hinchliffe, David||Pope, Greg|
|Home Robertson, John||Powell, Ray (Ogmore)|
|Hood, Jimmy||Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lew'm E)|
|Howarth, George (Knowsley N)||Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)|
|Hoyle, Doug||Primarolo, Dawn|
|Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)||Quin, Ms Joyce|
|Hutton, John||Raynsford, Nick|
|Illsley, Eric||Redmond, Martin|
|Ingram, Adam||Reid, Dr John|
|Jackson, Ms Glenda (H'stead)||Robinson, Geoffrey (Co'try NW)|
|Jackson, Ms Helen (Shef'ld, H)||Roche, Ms Barbara|
|Jamieson, David||Rogers, Allan|
|Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side)||Rooney, Terry|
|Jones, Ms Lynne (B'ham S O)||Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)|
|Jowell, Ms Tessa||Short, Clare|
|Keen, Alan||Simpson, Dennis|
|Kennedy, Ms Jane (L'p'l Br'g'n)||Skinner, Dennis|
|Khabra, Piara||Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)|
|Kilfoyle, Peter||Smith, C. (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)|
|Leighton, Ron||Squire, Rachel (Dunfermline W)|
|Lewis, Terry||Steinberg, Gerry|
|Livingstone, Ken||Strang, Gavin|
|Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)||Tipping, Paddy|
|Loyden, Eddie||Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold|
|McCartney, Ian||Wardell, Gareth Gower)|
|McFall, John||Wareing, Robert N|
|McGrady, Eddie||Watson, Mike|
|McKelvey, William||Wicks, Malcolm|
|McMaster, Gordon||Winnick, David|
|McNamara, Kevin||Wise, Audrey|
|Madden, Max||Wright, Tony|
|Mallon, Seamus||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Mendelson, Peter||Mr. Jack Thompson and|
|Marek, Dr John||Mr. Jimmy Dunnachie.|