Police (Northern Ireland) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:30 pm on 8th November 2000.

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Photo of Lord Tebbit Lord Tebbit Conservative 7:30 pm, 8th November 2000

My Lords, I am not sure that the United Nations necessarily always speaks for the whole civilised community of this world. It does not do me much good to know that some of these resolutions have been supported by some of the most repulsive regimes in the whole of this world. Of course they will support them. They will not do anything about them, as we know. But I believe that good intentions of this kind should be set out clearly on the face of the Bill.

That is not just a matter of principle for me. It also reflects what the noble and learned Lord said. If the amendment is to have any effect, the words have to be clear in the minds of police officers on the streets. Can one imagine a member of the police force in Northern Ireland confronted with the situations which we have seen in Northern Ireland in the past? Standing there, suddenly there come before him, like the life of a drowning man, umpteen resolutions from the United Nations. He would see them all in his mind and suddenly know what to do! Of course he would not. But he just might if the matter was on the face of the Bill, having been filleted out and put into plain common sense language.