Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: My right hon. and learned Friend will recall that he made a speech on 24 June 1993 in which he said that there would be a reduction of only 450 in the work force at Rosyth. He went on to say that there was every confidence that, if the work force applied themselves, they would increase their numbers, employment and benefits. That seems to have gone by the board. I have one simple question. Why?
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: Does not the hon. Gentleman appreciate that, if a Scottish institution produces Scottish legislation that affects England and all other parts of the kingdom in respect of road traffic, safety or health, we shall be creating a schismatic situation which will destroy the Union, not strengthen it?
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: I understood that legal aid was given only to those who required assistance and who could not afford litigation without it. I find it astonishing that in England it can be given, with impunity, to millionaires. Will the Lord Chancellor and the Attorney-General consider the matter, because it is a wrong on the public that the poor should pay for the rich to litigate?
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: On the question of bank holidays, is my right hon. Friend aware that when the late leader of the Labour party, Mr. Michael Foot—[Interruption.]—the ex-leader, introduced May day as a bank holiday it was called Union day? But what was not known was that that was the date when Scotland and England were united under the Act of Union. That is how it should be celebrated.
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: As the increase in world population is its greatest threat, will my hon. Friend make it a Government priority to address all international organisations to make them aware of the frightfulness that will result from the multiplying exponential curve of world population?
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: The last time the extraordinary exercise of local government reorganisation was undertaken, Fife regional council did not add one hen or chicken to its population or alter its responsibilities in any way. It nevertheless increased the membership of its police from 16,000 to 18,000 and that of all other services by three. A socialist organisation did that: will it do the same this time?
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: I will be brief. I had intended to speak for three hours, but I will speak for three minutes. The issue seems simple to me. I cannot understand why anyone has not already legislated for seat belts to be provided in all vehicles carrying people at risk, whether they are of tender age, in old age or middle-aged. My one criticism of the amendment is that it is restricted to school children. Why...
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: rose—
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: Has an hon. Member resigned? My hon. Friend the Minister will remember that, during the last Scottish Question Time, I asked how many houses owned by local authorities were not occupied. Does not the number of unoccupied houses far exceed the number of people who want to be housed?
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: Will my hon. Friend remind the Opposition that those houses were all built by local authorities under socialist control and were probably designed by socialist planners—and that if there is any complaint about them it should be directed to those who got it so wrong?
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: As a Scottish Member, the hon. Gentleman might know that that is already a law in Scotland under the Criminal Justice Act 1980. I do not know what he is complaining about. Why should it not apply to England?
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: I have some slight experience in the courts, not only in Scotland, but in England and abroad. I have never comprehended the concept of the right to silence, which is not a constitutional right—
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: It is not a constitutional right anywhere. In this country, before the end of the last century, at different dates in England and Scotland, the accused—as I would call him, others might call him the defendant—was not allowed to give evidence. He was an exhibit. The right to silence was necessary because he could not give evidence. If it was alleged that he had said something, he could...
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: Not at all—the person accused was completely deprived of the ability to deny what anyone alleged that he had said because he was not allowed to speak. He was just an object on view.
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: No, I will not give way. I am not wrong. I know a little about the law. No doubt the hon. Member knows more—
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: I have defended one or two people and appeared in one or two courts in my day, but obviously the hon. Gentleman has much more knowledge than I do.
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: Let me speak about the right to silence. Every citizen on this globe is required to give evidence. He can be called back from Australia, New York or anywhere else and be forced to give evidence on pain of contempt of court. That is true of everyone except the one citizen whose evidence it is essential to hear—the accused. I always thought it was ludicrous that the one witness whose evidence...
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: I admire the hon. Gentleman's brave speech; it is most courageous. But I ask him to pause on the question of hearsay evidence, because anybody can say that someone said something which they did not say.
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn: There are two matters that I should like my right hon. and learned Friend to address. First, what burden of proof is required to establish that injuries are genuine and claims are not false? Secondly, would not a system of appeal—by the Crown in the case of the effects of injury becoming less severe, and by the victim in the case of the effects of injury worsening—get over the difficulty...