New Clause 1 — Independent Members: Declaration Against Terrorism

Part of Police (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 4:30 pm on 26th March 2003.

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Photo of Paul Murphy Paul Murphy The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 4:30 pm, 26th March 2003

I shall do my best to respond to the various points that have been made in what has been a long but interesting debate.

Mr. Taylor spoke about suspended sentences. As I said earlier, we have made it clear that the reference in the new clause is only to those sentences that remain suspended—that is, where the sentencing judge has seen fit to suspend the sentence unless certain subsequent events trigger its coming into force. It is the judge who will have reached that conclusion, taking into account all the relevant factors. I do not think that it is for us to second-guess judges in the way proposed.