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Mr Percy Grieve: I am grateful for the opportunity of making a brief contribution. This may well be the last speech that I make in the House of Commons, because, in view of the Prime Minister's announcement today, not many debating days are left. By saying that, I hope that I shall not be excluded from catching Mr. Speaker's or Mr. Deputy Speaker's eye if the occasion arises, but I must be realistic and say...
Mr Percy Grieve: In the experimental period, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind, and ask all those concerned to bear in mind, that we must avoid any cheating in the taping of interviews? It would be of no use to substitute the taping of interviews for the present system if the taping were then subjected to the criticism—all too often undeserved—that is levelled against the present system.
Mr Percy Grieve: Further to that answer, will my hon. Friend avoid, on behalf of the Conservative side of the House at any rate, this insistence upon the point that only violent offenders should be sent to prison? There are many people who prey upon the public by burglary, fraud and other means from whom the public must be protected by means of prison sentences.
Mr Percy Grieve: Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that the reduction has taken place in both the provinces and London and that the London courts are to be congratulated on their great efforts in the last two years, by prolonging the hours of sitting, to catch up with the backlog?
Mr Percy Grieve: Few hon. Members are held in greater respect that the right hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ashley). I listened with interest to the constructive proposals that he made. I do not agree with all of them. With some, I can go along with the right hon. Gentleman. I cannot, however, accept his stricture that the Government have been responsible for smashing the west midlands. Without...
Mr Percy Grieve: One example of the gross over-optimism that prevailed in the motor industry only a few years ago was the investment of £31 million of public money in the new Rover car assembly lines in my constituency. It was assumed that there would be a demand for hundreds of Rover motor cars a week. The figure had never been attained previously and it has never been reached since. It is a tragedy for...
Mr Percy Grieve: Has the hon. Gentleman paused to ask himself why that should be? Is it not because the goods could be produced more cheaply and efficiently elsewhere? Should we not be aiming at counteracting that and producing them more efficiently and with greater productivity here?
Mr Percy Grieve: We all recognise that there is great truth—
Mr Percy Grieve: —in the catalogue of failure to which my hon. Friend has alluded. However, does he agree that there has been a great change in the management of the motor industry, especially of Leyland, which is manifesting itself today in considerable achievement?
Mr Percy Grieve: Does the hon. Gentleman really believe that it is window-dressing to prevent persons from taking advantage dishonestly of a change in the rules by entering Britain for marriages of convenience? If that is not window-dressing, I do not know where his criticisms are directed.
Mr Percy Grieve: The hon. Gentleman really must get his facts right. The European Court has nothing to do with the matter. It has only gone before the Commission and there has been no firm decision.
Mr Percy Grieve: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order for the Leader of the Opposition to usurp question time to make a series of statements, however incomprehensible they may be?
Mr Percy Grieve: The hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Mr. Sever) expressed himself with far more moderation and persuasion than most Opposition speakers today. His constituency is not far from mine, but I cannot imagine that what he said about scrapping the 1981 Act and these rules will commend itself to my constituents, and I doubt very much whether it will commend itself to many of his. We have heard...
Mr Percy Grieve: I am glad to say that it is nothing of the sort. We subscribe voluntarily to the European Convention on Human Rights. We could withdraw at any time, but our subscription to that convention will, for the reasons that I have tried briefly to set out, benefit Britain. I hope that we shall not withdraw.
Mr Percy Grieve: I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way. He is always most courteous in these matters. I do not agree with those who believe in repatriation as an answer to problems which may have been created by immigration. The hon. Gentleman referred to what is happening on the Continent. Is he aware that, at present, the Socialist Government in France are finding themselves obliged, because of the...
Mr Percy Grieve: Does the hon. Gentleman not appreciate that this matter has not yet come before the court? It has only gone before the commission.
Mr Percy Grieve: Does the right hon. Gentleman not consider that the existence of something as a major criminal offence is very different from matrimonal law? Does he not also consider it intolerable that within the United Kingdom a serious criminal offence in one part should be lawful in other parts?
Mr Percy Grieve: The European Court of Human Rights, which the hon. Gentleman describes as a remote body, is one on which there is a British judge, and it is one which administers a convention to which this country is a party. It has decided that the law prevailing in Northern Ireland in this matter is contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, to which the United Kingdom is a party. If the hon....
Mr Percy Grieve: Does the hon. Gentleman understand that in England trespass is not a criminal offence? Will he tell the House what would happen to Mr. Fagan if he went to Holyrood House instead of Buckingham Palace?
Mr Percy Grieve: They are advised by people such as my hon. Friend.