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considered, or seek in any way to act as a further court of appeal. That would amount to political interference in the proper work of the courts.

Mr. Wallace's claims of innocence were carefully considered on a number of occasions in the past and found to consist of arguments about matters that have already been considered in the courts. Therefore, they have not been seen by us as evidence of a kind that might justify my right hon. Friend's intervention. In those circumstances no grounds have been found on which to justify any interference with Mr. Wallace's conviction.

In tonight's debate we heard of a book by Mr. Paul Foot entitled "Who Framed Colin Wallace?"--a number of copies of which we have secured within the Home Office.

Mr. Dalyell : Has the Minister read it?

Mr. Patten : As I explained to the hon. Member for Brent, East on 14 June, we are carefully considering the material contained in Mr. Foot's book. When I say carefully, I mean very carefully. When that process is completed, we shall decide whether any action is called for in respect of Mr. Wallace's conviction. I must emphasise that every case in which a miscarriage of justice is alleged is given the most careful and detailed consideration.

All sorts of allegations have been made about evidence in Mr. Foot's book concerning the Kincora boys' home and the alleged conduct of the security forces. Such allegations are certainly not new. Following Mr. Wallace's conviction for manslaughter in 1981, he turned his attention to the investigation in 1982 by Sir George Terry. Mr. Wallace alleged that both the Army and the intelligence services knew of the homosexual activities at Kincora long before the matter became public and that, rather than reporting those activities, they sought to use that information for their own ends.

All I can do, and all I shall do, is repeat the statement made by ministerial colleagues on numerous occasions, as recently as during Northern Ireland questions on 22 June. All the allegations raised by Mr. Wallace about the conduct of the security forces in Northern Ireland have been fully and carefully investigated not only by the Royal Ulster Constabulary but by Sir George Terry and Judge Hughes, in 1984. No evidence was discovered as a result of those investigations to substantiate any of the allegations of criminal activity.

It must be said also that Mr. Wallace was given every opportunity to give evidence during those inquiries. However, despite assurances being given to him that he would not be prosecuted for any breach of the Official Secrets Act in respect of any information that he communicated concerning those matters, Mr. Wallace refused to do so. And despite every obstacle being removed from his path, he consistently refused to substantiate any part of his allegations. It is very important that the House realises that.

All the points made in tonight's debate will of course be taken into account, because an allegation of a miscarriage of justice is an extremely serious matter, and the Home Office takes such cases extremely seriously. What a tragedy that a debate on a serious issue, an allegation that there has been a miscarriage of justice, should have been so distorted and blackened by a bizarre, absurd and ridiculous attack on the memory--the hon. Member for Brent, East is smirking. He cares nothing about any decent human

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values. All he has done, supported by the hon. Member for Linlithgow, is to attack the memory of a brave colleague who gave his life so that freedom in this country and the freedom that we enjoy in this Chamber might continue to be enjoyed in the face of an IRA threat which, as far as I can see, the hon. Member for Brent, East supports. The hon. Gentleman has lowered himself not only in the eyes of this House but also in the eyes of all British people by his dreadful, dreadful allegations during the debate. Nothing will ever take away the smear on his reputation which he has planted there. All hon Members agree that Airey Neave gave his life for our freedom.

Mr. Dalyell rose --

Mr. Patten : That is something--

The motion having been made after Ten o'clock, and the debate having continued for half an hour, Mr. Deputy Speaker-- adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order. Adjourned at twenty- five minutes past Eleven o'clock.

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