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Mr. Nigel Griffiths (Edinburgh, South) : Is the Secretary of State aware that the White Paper is testimony to the lamentable record of the Government over nine years of failing to train people? Not only have they given training opportunities at a lower rate than the United States, France and Germany, but they have provided fewer than even Taiwan and South Korea. Will he tell the House what in this vacuous paper gives hope to the 6,000 youngsters who are currently unable to be offered YTS places by his Government?
Mr. Rifkind : As the level of resources and training provided during the past 10 years was light years in excess of anything provided by the last Labour Government, any defects in the United Kingdom in regard to training certainly did not begin in 1979.
Dr. Lewis Moonie (Kirkcaldy) : Among the cliche s and half-truths of the statement and the Minister's waffle today, there are one or two real nuggets of wisdom. The White Paper, in page 9, states : "Efforts to date to persuade the private sector to take greater interest in and responsibility for training have had disappointing results Even though skills shortages in some sectors are already becoming apparent, industry as a whole is still insufficiently aware of the key changes ahead in the labour market and so is not planning ahead to cope with future needs."
What makes the Minister think that people who have failed to plan for their own needs are in any way capable of planning for everyone else's needs?
Mr. Rifkind : That is a perfectly reasonable question. I make two points in response to the hon. Gentleman. First, Scottish industry and the Scottish CBI have said that they wish to be given the responsibility for the provision of training and for developments described in the White Paper. Industry would not have been calling for that a few years ago.
Secondly, in the past few years there has been the very welcome development of the enterprise trusts which have similar activities, which owe their genesis to the private sector in Scotland, and which now cover virtually the whole of Scotland. The fact that hundreds of local business men throughout Scotland have given their time, effort, enthusiasm and sometimes their resources not for the
Column 199immediate benefit of their own companies-- although their companies often indirectly benefit--but to identify the local economic requirements of their community and to act in a responsible and constructive way in developing the potential of their locality is a very good reason for believing that they will respond to these new opportunities as they have said they will.
Mr. Calum Macdonald (Western Isles) : I welcome the Government's admission that the Highlands and Islands Development Board, which the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland described from the Front Bench in a Scottish Grand Committee debate on 14 July 1988 as a Bennite instrument of state intervention, has been of central importance to improving life in the highlands and islands in the past 20 years. Will the Secretary of State answer the question that he failed to answer from the hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Mrs. Michie) and give an assurance that none of the three options will in any way diminish the unique social remit of the Highlands and Islands Development Board?
Mr. Rifkind : As the hon. Gentleman knows, there are lots of bens in the highlands and islands of Scotland, and I am sure that a good proportion of them have the unqualified admiration of all my hon. Friends. I am happy to give the assurance that the hon. Gentleman seeks. We recognise the distinctive contribution of the HIDB in the highlands and islands. We look forward to a contribution from the HIDB and from those who live in the highlands and islands on the sort of structure that they believe would be relevant in their circumstances.
Dr. Norman A. Godman (Greenock and Port Glasgow) : Will the Secretary of State give an assurance that the SDA's area projects will not be diminished or adversely affected in any way by these proposals? More particularly, will he give the people of Inverclyde an assurance that the Inverclyde initiative will continue with its work? I remind him that annex A on page 29 contains an admission that Greenock, together with Irvine,
"exhibit a very high rate of unemployment."
Does he agree that the Inverclyde initiative, which has not done a great deal until now, requires more resources than the threat of being shifted to Irvine or some other place?
Mr. Rifkind : I assure the hon. Gentleman that there is no danger of the Inverclyde initiative being shifted to Irvine. He will be aware that I had a meeting with representatives of the local community in Inverclyde, who gave me a number of examples and suggestions as to what they believe should be the structure and format of the Inverclyde initiative. We have been able to respond positively to all of them, including the most important of all--the creation of the enterprise zone.
Mr. Thomas Graham (Renfrew, West and Inverclyde) : I am quite surprised at the Minister. It was a lovely package but it says nothing because the most important element is missing--new money. There is no new money here. There is nothing to tackle the crisis that is about to arise in my constituency with the closure of the Bishopton royal ordnance factory.
The Minister mentioned employer-led initiatives. There are nearly no employers left in my constituency because the Government have done their best to close them. The most recent occurrence, at CalMac, is to move 200 jobs from Gourock to Oban. What does the Minister propose
Column 200to do about the workers who will not move there? Is he going to retrain them? Nearly every penny that is committed here could be spent on the 1,100 jobs that will be lost in Bishopton. My constituents will see this as a fancy package with poison inside it. No one wants it unless it produces the goods. It does not produce the goods for Scotland. We need new money--a massive injection of cash--without it being frittered away by the Government.
Mr. Rifkind : That was a splendid, if not predictable, contribution from the hon. Gentleman. I appreciate that his solution for every problem in Scotland--and no doubt anywhere else in the world--is more money, but he does not appear to have worked out what he would do with it if it were provided. As Scottish Enterprise will have resources of £500 million, which represents the current resources of the Training Agency and the SDA, he can hardly suggest that it will be skimped for ways of ensuring that the needs of his constituents and of those in other parts of Scotland will be fully satisfied.
Mr. Tony Worthington (Clydebank and Milngavie) : When the Hughes plan was mooted, I welcomed it because it would return training to Scotland and to Scottish control, but that is not what is proposed here. The White Paper states that the Department of Employment will remain the lead agency and that it will set the national framework. At the moment, if one wants to change the employment training scheme or the youth training scheme, one writes to the Department of Employment in order to get to the organ grinder, but one is referred back to the monkey. Will the Secretary of State confirm that nothing in the proposal will allow any Scottish alteration of the employment training scheme, the youth training scheme or any other scheme?
Mr. Rifkind : The hon. Gentleman has entirely misunderstood what is in the White Paper. I would advise him to read it more carefully before he jumps to conclusions. The White Paper and my statement today say that the national training policy will be decided jointly by the training Ministers. Obviously the Secretary of State for Employment, whose responsibilities cover 45 million people in the United Kingdom, is the lead Minister. It would be very odd for it to be otherwise. Training policy will be determined by the Ministers who are responsible for training, and in future the Secretary of State for Scotland will be responsible for training policy in Scotland.
Mr. John McAllion (Dundee, East) : The Secretary of State said that he expected two thirds of the local agencies to consist of the senior ranks of private sector business. Will he expand on the role that he envisages for local authorities in the agencies, and in particular the mechanics for securing local authority representation? It is only a matter of weeks since his hon. Friend the Minister of State, Scottish Office came to Dundee and sang the praises of the local authority-led Tayside enterprise board as representing all that is best in co-operation between the public and private sectors. Why does he disagree with his ministerial colleagues in this matter?
Mr. Rifkind : I have already said that local authorities, as employers in their areas, together with other employers, will be perfectly free to come forward with proposals for local agencies. The primary purpose of the initiative is wealth and job creation. That must clearly be the primary
Column 201responsibility of those in manufacturing industry and in commerce and business generally. Therefore, any initiative that is not led by those who are essentially involved in the business of wealth and job creation would fail from the start. Local authorities have a contribution to make, as have other non-industrial organisations referred to in the White Paper, but it would be quite unrealistic to pretend that their responsibility in this area of policy should be the same as or greater than that of local industry.
Mr. Charles Kennedy (Ross, Cromarty and Skye) : Further to the question by the hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. Macdonald), may I say that the Secretary of State is quite right to point out that there are many bens in the islands and highlands, but there are also a few buts. One of them is on page 29. The White Paper seems to equate the social and economic features of Skye and Wester Ross with those of Sutherland, which would be true to an extent, and of Thurso and Wick. Surely the Secretary of State must concede that the economic base of northern Caithness is substantially different from those of Skye and Wester Ross. Looking to the future--it is a gloomy one--the only similarity that I can see is that, if the potential threat to Dounreay, as outlined by the Secretary of State for Energy, ever comes to pass, both areas will share in a sad major industrial rundown. In Skye and Wester Ross, it will involve the Kishorn yard, and, in the Caithness economy, it will involve Dounreay. What is the other basis on which it is a manageable area in terms of the similarities that the White Paper seems to suggest?
Mr. Rifkind : I shall be happy to hear the views of the hon. Gentleman and of those who live in those areas. If there is to be a structure of local agencies in the more sparsely populated parts of Scotland, clearly such areas cannot be so small as to be unlikely to provide those who will actually be responsible for running the local agencies and supervising the implementation of training policy. There is a certain minimum area size for an agency to be viable. Mr. Kennedy It is enormous.
Mr. Rifkind : It is certainly enormous in geographical terms, but it covers a total population of 55,000-- [Interruption.] No one is questioning the importance of it. As I said, these are not final conclusions on the areas of the local agencies.
The hon. Gentleman must consider whether an area as small as Skye or as small as Skye and Wester Ross-- [Interruption.] In terms of population, it is very small--can provide the personalities and the framework that would enable a local agency to carry out its responsibilities. The hon. Gentleman will not be serving the interests of his constituents if he puts forward proposals which, by their essence, are non-viable. This is not a conclusion ; it is a suggested framework of proposals, and the hon. Gentleman might like to bear that in mind.
Mr. Jim Sillars (Glasgow, Govan) : On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have already given you private notice of this matter. I refer to Scottish Question Time well ahead of 21 December, when we should first discuss these matters. I refer also to substantial interventions made by English Members during Scottish Question Time. I am seeking a remedy from you within the powers that are available to you and within your responsibilities.
On 30 November, in column 714 of Hansard, when the Scottish Transport Group statement was before the House, there was an interruption on the Opposition side of the House, no doubt because a Conservative Member representing an English constituency wished to speak. You said :
"This is a United Kingdom Parliament."--[ Official Report, 30 November 1988 ; Vol. 142, c. 714.]
However reluctantly, I acknowledge that that is the case. More importantly, in column 352 of Hansard, on 22 July 1987, you are recorded as saying :
"Scottish Members take part in English Question Times and English Members may take part in Scottish Question Times."--[ Official Report, 22 July 1987 ; Vol. 120, c. 352.]
You, Mr. Speaker, seriously misdirected yourself on the facts. This is not a personal attack upon you. I am sure that at some time in their careers everyone sitting in the House of Lords, the highest Bench, has misdirected himself. The important thing is that, when somebody misdirects himself, he must re-examine the conclusions that he drew at that time.
I have carefully looked through questions on the Order Paper, Department by Department. In my humble opinion, there is no such thing as a Department that can be categorised as dealing only with English questions. Moreover, even the Department of the Environment, which has a finger in the pie in the administration of Edinburgh castle, has a United Kingdom dimension, however large or small. I have read "Erskine May" and Standing Orders. In a sense, the House is rather like the legal system, which operates on the common law and on statute, the common law being practice and the statutes being the Standing Orders. Under the heading "Written and Unwritten Procedure", in page 209 of "Erskine May", it states :
"On its smaller scale, the study of English parliamentary procedure presents the same difficulty as the study of English law in that its rules are not covered by any comprehensive and authoritative code." It goes on to state :
"The written part is merely a pendant to the unwritten part." We must look at "Erskine May" and Standing Orders to define exactly what your powers and responsibilities are, Mr. Speaker. Obviously, practice is important. When I was previously in the House, the practice was quite clear. Scottish Question Time was dealt with by Members of Parliament from Scottish constituencies. Looking at Standing Orders, which are the equivalent of statute law, the recognition of the Scottish dimension within the United Kingdom Parliament has been a progressive affair over a period of years. When I first came to the House in 1970--you will recall this from your previous incarnation also, Mr. Speaker--when the Scottish Grand Committee was established, people such as Sir William van Straubenzee, who told the
Column 203Tory Whips that his name rhymed with Mackenzie, were directed to the Scottish Grand Committee. In those days Committees were made up to represent the Government and the Opposition numbers in the House. Many English Members served on the Scottish Grand Committee--a sort of purgatory for those whom the Whips did not like. Over time, that practice has been dispensed with.
Above all, this is a political institution, and it must be sensitive to political reality. It became an untenable practice to load the Scottish Grand Committee with Members of Parliament representing English constituencies. Why has the practice--
Mr. Sillars : I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, but I must disagree with you. They are specific matters. We are talking about the change in practice, and that change is a recent one. It goes back only to the 1987 general election results. If you compare the period before that with the period since the general election, you will see that the practice has fundamentally changed. I suggest that the matter is within your powers and responsibilities. It is no longer the case that Scottish Question Time is reserved for Scottish Members of Parliament.
I seek two actions from you, Mr. Speaker. They are within your powers and responsibilities. The relevant authorities setting out your powers and responsibilities are "Erskine May" and Standing Orders. "Erskine May", in page 334, clearly states :
"The Speaker is the final authority as to the admissibility of questions.
The Speaker's responsibility in regard to questions is limited to their compliance with the rules of the House."
I shall quote an analysis of Scottish Question Time since this Parliament was established after the general election.
Mr. Speaker : As we have an important debate following this matter, in the interests of the House--we are dealing with the interests of the House--I think it would be sensible if the hon. Gentleman were to come to see me about this matter, when I would gladly and willingly consider it with him in great detail. I do not think that it is appropriate to raise these issues when we have such a busy day in front of us.
Mr. Sillars : That is an unacceptable suggestion from you, Mr. Speaker, because "Erskine May" tells us that the place to raise a point of order of public concern is in the House, and that is exactly what I am doing. I am about to give you an analysis of the position since 1987 which demonstrates clearly the unacceptability of the new practice that you have introduced.
Mr. Speaker : Order. I have been here at Question Time and the hon. Gentleman has not been here. I know what he is talking about, and I do not need to be reminded of it. Mr. Sillars : I take it that you are familiar with the fact that English and Welsh Tory Members of Parliament have asked nearly 20 per cent. of balloted questions and 15.9 per cent. of supplementaries, whereas the SNP has asked only
Column 2045.9 per cent. of supplementaries-- [Interruption.] It is you, Mr. Speaker, who selects supplementaries. Four Tory Members representing English constituencies have been able to ask more questions than my hon. Friends in the SNP parliamentary group.
I will tell you why I am raising this with you in public, Mr. Speaker. On 21 December I want to ask the Secretary of State for Scotland a question about drug abuse in Govan and how further aid can be given to communities dealing with that problem. My constituents will fail utterly to understand if I am knocked out of the queue by English Tory Members who have no interest in the Scottish matter. Therefore, I am asking you to say that you will not select English Tory Members to ask supplementaries and that you will convene a conference of the Whips of the four relevant parties.
I hope that you will not refer me to the usual channels, Mr. Speaker, because, if you do, I shall refer you to Standing Order No. 130, which lays an obligation on this House to have a Select Committee on Scottish Affairs. The operative word is not "may" but "shall". Eighteen months into this Parliament, the usual channels have still failed to deliver.
Mr. Walker : I have no wish to detain the House. When you take into consideration all the points raised by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Sillars), as I am sure you will, I trust that you will bear in mind the fact that Members, such as myself, who regularly attend Question Time, are frequently not called because of the numbers on these Benches. Frequently, Scottish Labour Members are called on matters in which we on this side have an interest. That is how this balances out. I hope that you will bear that in mind when you consider such aspects of this United Kingdom Parliament.
Mr. Speaker : I repeat that this is a United Kingdom Parliament and I have no authority to change that. It is a heavy responsibility for Mr. Speaker to be completely even handed. We welcome back the hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Sillars) after some time--[ Hon. Members :-- "Oh!"] Order. In that case I welcome the hon. Gentleman back. He only needs to do the arithmetic to see that if the Chair were wholly fair no Member of Parliament would be called to speak in a debate more than about four times a Session on average. If he looks at the record, he will find that members of his party have done rather better than that, largely because I have an obligation to look after the rights of minority parties.
I shall certainly not be put in a position of agreeing only to call Scottish Members at Scottish Question Time because this is a United Kingdom Parliament and certain questions, for instance on the Forestry Commission, can be answered only by Scottish Ministers. Therefore, it is perfectly legitimate for English Members to table questions on the day for Scottish questions and to participate as Members of a United Kingdom Parliament, just as it is legitimate for Scottish Members to take part in questions directed to other Departments, as was the case at both Employment Question Time and Prime Minister's
Column 205Question Time today. I had not anticipated what the hon. Gentleman was going to say, but his party did rather well today. I do not think that he has any complaint.
Mr. Dennis Canavan (Falkirk, West) : I raised a similar point of order in July last year about the first Scottish Question Time after the general election. If you check Hansard, Mr. Speaker, you will see that you made a mistake in referring to English questions and you corrected yourself afterwards and reference to said United Kingdom questions.
The hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Sillars) makes a fair point. There is nothing in the Standing Orders to prohibit an English Member from intervening in Scottish Question Time, but until July 1987 by custom, tradition and practice only rarely, if ever, did English Members intervene in Scottish Question Time. The tradition was broken last year because, to be blunt, the Labour party was too successful in Scotland, winning 50 of the 72 seats, and the Tories were reduced to a discredited rump of 10. We are being punished for our success because now it is more difficult for a Scottish Labour Back Bencher to catch your eye due to the infiltration of English Tory Members. All we are asking is that you use your discretionary power, Mr. Speaker, return to what was the custom and tradition of the House before July 1987, and let us have more opportunities to speak on behalf of our constituents.
Several Hon. Members rose--
Column 206I also have to bear in mind that we have questions to the Northern Ireland Office. In the past, I have been heavily criticised by Labour Members who have not been called for calling too many Northern Ireland Members to ask questions and supplementaries. Some of those hon. Members are nodding their heads now. I have a heavy responsibility and the House had best leave this to Mr. Speaker, whom I hope they trust to be entirely fair.
Mr. James Couchman (Gillingham) : Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the substantial transfer payments from England to Scotland, is it not entirely reasonable that English Members should represent English taxpayers' interests by asking questions about Scottish business at Scottish Question Time?
Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan) : Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. May we have your direction on the point raised about Standing Order No. 130, which states that a Select Committee on Scottish Affairs "shall be" established, not "might" or "may be" established. What recourse do I have as a Back-Bench Member to ensure that this House follows its Standing Orders? Is that matter not in your province, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Speaker : Last week there was a procedure debate in which the Leader of the House promised a debate on that very matter. If the hon. Member and his hon. Friends think that Mr. Speaker's practice should be changed, we have a Procedure Committee which has wide powers of reference and he could put this matter about Scottish questions to it. If the House in its wisdom decides that only Scottish Members should be called at Scottish Question Time or only Ulster Members at Northern Ireland Question Time, I shall follow that decision. Until then, I propose to carry on as I have in the past, being even handed to both sides of the House.
Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Bill
Order for Second Reading read.
Mr. Speaker : I have selected the reasoned amendment in the name of the Leader of the Opposition. Since we have such a late start to this important debate, I appeal for brief contributions from the Front and Back Benches.
Like my predecessors, Labour and Conservative, I have to show that the necessary effort against terrorism requires certain limited powers for the police and for the courts which go beyond those granted by the ordinary law. I hope that I shall not have great difficulty in doing that this afternoon because events in all our minds make the argument for me.
The Bill covers international as well as Irish terrorism. There are examples of how we have suffered from international terrorism which I need not rehearse because they are familiar to the House. But for some months now our fellow countrymen in Northern Ireland, and we ourselves, have been living through a particularly intense phase in the latest campaign by the Provisional IRA. The past 20 years have seen in the United Kingdom a terrorist campaign unparalleled in the western world, aimed ostensibly at the goal of a united Marxist Ireland. This campaign has caused the death of almost 3,000 men, women and children, more than three quarters of them Irish men and women. It has also been responsible for the deaths of more than 400 soldiers. This year alone 91 people have been killed in Northern Ireland.
Those statistics take their place among all the other statistical information with which we are bombarded, but they do not tell the full story of the individuals--of 21-year-old Gillian Johnson murdered in county Fermanagh : she is not just a statistic ; a 12-year-old schoolgirl severely injured when a bomb exploded on a school bus ; two elderly householders killed when a booby trap bomb exploded in a block of flats in Londonderry ; 32 soldiers and six police officers killed this year ; Mr. Lavery and his 13-year-old granddaughter murdered last week in the village of Benburb.
It should not be just for right hon. and hon. Members representing Northern Ireland constituencies to lay those tragedies before us. Recent events prove beyond doubt a point that was made at Question Time today--that we must redouble and intensify our efforts to tell the world the simple truth about the Provisional IRA.
I want to make two brief points before I come to the Bill. The record shows that the only currency in which the Provisional IRA is interested is that of corpses. In creating misery they are masters, but in advancing towards a united Ireland they are failures. They have not broken the determination of the people of Northern Ireland. They have not deflected our security forces. They have not bullied the House or our constituents into calling on us to abandon the effort against them. The few and fractious
Column 208voices raised in support of the abandonment of Northern Ireland find no echo. For all their ferocity, the IRA has failed, and will continue to fail.
A month ago the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) accused the Government of working on
"the cardinal error that somehow we can make the law defeat terrorism."-- [ Official Report, 2 November 1988 ; Vol. 139, c. 1113.]
But it is not an argument against a particular measure that by itself it does not do all that is required. Success against terrorism in Northern Ireland, as elsewhere, depends on energetic co-operation in the security effort on both sides of the border. It depends on all the valiant efforts, in which the hon. Gentleman's party joins, being made to reconcile the two communities in the north. It depends on sustaining the economy. But it also depends, and depends crucially, on having in place laws properly adapted to the prevention and pursuit of terrorism. Terrorism is a crime, but it is an exceptional crime, directed at the heart of society, carried out on the whole by well-trained and well-equipped men. Society has to learn to protect itself by measures to prevent terrorism and then, if necessary, to bring terrorists to justice.
The Bill is called the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Bill, not the "Punishment of Terrorism" Bill. The limited special powers which I shall ask the House to approve save lives because they are powers of prevention. I exercised those powers for a year as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and for three years in my present position and, incident by incident, I have no doubt of that. If we have to wait to act until evidence of a specific offence is available, we may have to wait until there is a victim. That is to wait too long. We must be able to act where we can before blood is spilled on the streets.
The first Prevention of Terrorism Bill was introduced by a Labour Government in two days in November 1974 in the light of a particular violent campaign on the mainland. Members of the Opposition Front Bench once grasped the nettle and took the action that they have since come to oppose. The 1974 Act and the Act passed two years later in 1976 contained many of the powers which we have come to see as essential to our security forces--proscription, special powers of arrest and detention and exclusion, as well as examination at ports handling traffic within the common travel area. The 1976 Act was replaced by a further Act in 1984, which was given a five year life. It expires on 21 March 1989.
The Bill before the House replaces that Act. In working it out we have had in mind three principles. We want to preserve the core of the powers which have proved their worth in the fight against terrorism. We want to bring before the House a number of new measures, principally financial, which we believe will add significantly to those defences, and we want to bring in a number of reforms which have been proposed in the review of the legislation by Lord Colville.
During the passage of the 1983 Bill my predecessor announced an independent scrutiny of the operation of the Act each year. There have been thorough and critical reviews by Sir Cyril Philips in 1984 and 1985, and by Lord Colville in 1986 and 1987. Last year I asked Lord Colville to widen his terms of reference to consider not just the operation of the Act but the legislation as a whole. The Bill includes many of his recommendations, and I thank him for the care and thoroughness with which he has
Column 209approached a difficult and sometimes thankless task. Lord Colville has agreed to continue his work of scrutinising the operation of the Act, by the police and the Executive, and that is good news. The central powers in the Bill remain unchanged because we believe that they are needed. Lord Colville accepted the continued need for the powers of arrest and detention, but disagreed with us over exclusion. I share Lord Colville's dislike for exclusion in principle. I must take great care when exercising the power. A great amount of detail is brought before me in each case. But I see no alternative when it is not possible to bring charges against those who are planning acts of terrorism. Let me give an example. Earlier this year the police were able to locate and follow a number of people in London whom they suspected of being members of an IRA active service unit. It was not possible to bring charges against them because no terrorist act had yet been committed. But I had no doubt on the information available to me that they should not be allowed to remain here to prepare or plan for acts of terrorism. As right hon. and hon. Members will know, we sometimes have intelligence which, for obvious reasons, we cannot quote in court. Case by case, there are justifications for exclusion. Let me give another practical example which crops up from time to time. Exclusion seems to be justified when people convicted of serious terrorist offences talk openly in prison of their intention to become involved in terrorism again once their sentence has expired. There again, with the proper precautions, a decision on exclusion is justified.
Mr. Tony Banks (Newham, North-West) : Will the Home Secretary accept from me that no Opposition Member supports terrorism or bomb outrages, or indeed, as far as I know, the IRA? However, since the right hon. Gentleman is giving examples, let me give him one. One of my constituents, Peter Clifford, a bookseller, was arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and, frankly, that was an outrage. That is why people such as me object to it. How many people have been arrested under the Act but have never been charged with terrorist offences?
Mr. Hurd : I am sorry that I gave way to the hon. Gentleman. I was dealing with exclusion. He misses the whole point of the legislation, which is prevention. It is illusory to suppose that every act of detention or exclusion can be justified only if a charge follows. If the hon. Gentleman had been following my argument, he would know that the whole point is that that is not necessarily so.
Mr. Andrew Hunter (Basingstoke) rose --
Mr. Hurd : I shall give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter), but I have already shortened my speech considerably because, as Mr. Speaker said, we are starting at a late hour through no fault of ours, and that will limit to some extent my giving way.
Mr. Hunter : I just felt that my right hon. Friend was being too fair in referring only to Lord Colville's objections to exclusion orders. It is equally relevant to record that Lord Jellicoe, in his review, regarded exclusion orders as being vital to public safety and to combating terrorism.
The system of three-year reviews introduced in the last Bill has meant a substantial reduction in the number of people excluded, which is now 123. Even if the power were used even less than it is now, I should continue to believe that in a rare number of cases it is necessary.
The power to arrest and detain persons on reasonable suspicion of involvement in the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism has shown itself to be an invaluable part of our armoury, and Lord Colville had no hesitation in recommending its continuance.
The House is aware of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Brogan and others, which was delivered last week. The court found that the purpose of the arrests of the four applicants in that case fell well within the purposes permitted by the convention--that these arrests were based on reasonable suspicion of the commission of an offence within the meaning of the convention, and that the intention behind the arrests was to bring charges if sufficient and usable evidence could be obtained. The judgment makes it clear that the arrest powers--a cornerstone of our prevention of terrorism legislation--do not conflict with the European convention on human rights.
Where the court differed from the Government was not over the arrest power or the length of detention available under the Act, but on the need for detainees to be brought before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power.
The Government have no doubt that the seven days detention, which has been available under the 1974 Act and its successors, is fully justified in some cases in order to give the police time to complete often complex inquiries to establish--
Mr. Chris Mullin (Sunderland, South) rose --