New Clause 6 — Power to make control orders

Part of Orders of the Day — Prevention of Terrorism Bill – in the House of Commons at 11:26 pm on 28th February 2005.

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Photo of Mark Fisher Mark Fisher Labour, Stoke-on-Trent Central 11:26 pm, 28th February 2005

My hon. Friend Mr. Foster misses my point. Of course, Members on both sides of the House are entitled to vote and to believe passionately what they believe. We are all honourable Members and we have serious views. I am not complaining that my hon. Friend does not feel the same way about things as me. I am saying that the House has not had time to go into the detail of the Bill.

There is a schedule that explains how control orders work, but we have not had a moment—not even a minute—to discuss it. These are serious matters, but we have not taken them seriously. I fully respect my hon. Friend's views and opinions, but we have not scrutinised a hugely important Bill. We have not done ourselves credit.

We are sent here to scrutinise. I feel that on these Benches we have put too much blind trust in party and have not trusted enough in our own consideration. However, everybody comes to their own view. It is not yet beyond the wit of the House to get this right. The extraordinary thing about the debate is that beneath the criticism and, sometimes, the bad temper there is clearly a will on both sides of the House to get the Bill right. There were flickerings of that when the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary invited the other parties to Downing street. It is clear that everybody, because they are concerned about the threat of terrorism, wants to try to find a solution, but that will not be achieved by the adversarial process inherent in both our judicial system and the House; it must be through consensus and debate. Intercept evidence in court and other matters are difficult.

We shall not reach a solution by opposing each other. The Government must go into discussion with the other parties. I detect good will from all the other parties in the House to try to find a solution and a compromise.

I do not pay attention to the opinion polls that the Home Secretary was shoving down our throats. I do not think that the public will take it kindly if we come up with ill considered, ill-thought-out legislation. They will not respect us. We should give ourselves the time to come up with the difficult and quite subtle things that are needed to sort out these problems. I believe that we can do that, but it is ridiculous that we are now dependent on the other place. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves, and we ought to learn from this and ensure that the House insists in future on its will to have time to debate important legislation and the wit, good will and respect for one another to come to difficult, but possible, compromises.