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The Prime Minister : As for human rights, one was asked the simple question as to whether one believed that human rights started in 1789 with the French declaration of human rights. The simple answer in historical terms is no.
Mr. Jeremy Hanley (Richmond and Barnes) : The whole House should congratulate my right hon. Friend on her contribution to this excellent summit. May I also congratulate her on putting the drug issue at the top of the agenda? She spoke earlier about how to reduce the
Column 33demand for drugs and on laundering. Could she say what international steps should be taken to reduce the supply of drugs, especially in producer countries?
The Prime Minister : My hon. Friend has lit upon what is perhaps the most difficult thing. We know where the drugs are grown and the extent to which they are grown. They are grown in sovereign countries and we are not able, except by exhortation or by getting at the money which those drugs fetch on the international market, to reduce the amount that is sold. Of course there are United Nations programmes for substitute crops, but they bring in but a small income compared to the amount that people get for drugs ; it is difficult to get at the problem in that way. Therefore, we have decided that the best way to do it is to try to track down the money, to see if we can find out where it is being laundered so that we can confiscate it and stop the traffic by that means.
Several Hon. Members rose--
Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North) : Was it recognised, particularly by President Bush, that if the countries of eastern Europe are to be able to go their own way, which I certainly support, the same should apply equally to countries in central and south America? One thinks of what happened in Chile in 1973, and the United States involvement there. Could the Prime Minister simply answer this question--why is it that, of all those Heads of Government who went to the summit, she was the only one who considered it appropriate to denigrate the events of 1789 and to act in such an impertinent way when she was asked questions on French television?
The Prime Minister : The hon. Member likes freedom of speech for himself but not for anyone else. I was asked a straight question--did I think that human rights began with 1789 in France? The honest answer can only be no. Surely the hon. Member is not saying yes.
Mr. Nicholas Baker (Dorset, North) : Does my hon. Friend accept that she is entitled to some sympathy in having to attend events that commemorate bloodshed and terror which led to the suppression of freedom and to one of the worst tyrannies that Europe has ever known, by comparison with which what the Chinese Government did to their own citizens in Peking recently would appear trivial? Does my right hon. Friend agree that the assurances given by the economic nations to the people of Hong Kong are worth very much more than the Yeovil plan to allow 3.25 million people to have the right of residence here?
The Prime Minister : Tyranny does not vary very much from country to country where it is practised ; that is what comes out of all the history books. With regard to Hong Kong, yes, we understand precisely the lack of confidence which people there feel because of events which have taken place in China, which is why we constantly raise the matter in every international forum. We have to try to bring back some confidence to the people of Hong Kong and to make sure that the agreement which we honourably entered into is honoured when it comes to 1997 so that the way of life of the people of Hong Kong can continue to be maintained. The best chance of that is for Hong Kong to
Column 34continue to be prosperous and to have its way of life as now, although we shall obviously increase the amount of democracy there. We have full international support for that. I hope that the financial institutions will continue to give their full international support to Hong Kong.
Mr. Alan W. Williams (Carmarthen) : In discussions on global warming, did anyone agree with the Prime Minister's rather eccentric view that nuclear power is the answer to the greenhouse effect, or was there a wider consensus that energy conservation, insulation and efficient use of energy are the answer?
We are now producing a quarter more gross domestic product using less energy than we were in 1973. That shows the much greater efficiency we have now, and that efficiency has been stepped up in the past four years for which figures exist
With regard to nuclear energy, I said that paragraph 4.1 of the communique --I will not read out the whole paragraph again--stated : "we recognize that nuclear power also plays an important role in limiting output of greenhouse gases".
We are not suggesting that we rely totally on nuclear power, but I doubt very much whether we shall be able to get the output of greenhouse gases down sufficiently without the use of nuclear power. Of course, France is the lead country in the proportion of electricity generated from nuclear power.
Mr. Jacques Arnold (Gravesham) : Does my right hon. Friend agree that, in coping with Third-world debt, the principle of fairness is extremely important? Should all Third-world countries that have an equal state of development not be treated equally, whatever the state of their external debt? I am thinking particularly of Chile, which has an excellent record of repayment and servicing of debt.
The Prime Minister : My hon. Friend is aware of what has been done about the debts of the very poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Under the leadership of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor, we agreed to write off their debts, because they were never going to have a chance to get out of their great difficulties. For the middle-income countries, we have the special Brady plan. Beyond that, much of the debt is, of course, debt from commercial banks and must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis between the commercial banks and the countries concerned. My hon. Friend is aware that some negotiations are going on at present. Otherwise, I agree that it must be on a basis of fairness. We should recall, too, those many countries which have borrowed not more than they could afford but smaller amounts, and have never failed to repay and service their debts on time.
Mr. Rhodri Morgan (Cardiff, West) : The Prime Minister's views of the French revolution can perhaps be best summed up by saying that there is no vinism like chauvinism. In contrasting her ozone-friendly words with her pollution-infected deeds, can she tell the House whether this week she intends to provide some back-up action to those brave declarations by telling her Energy Secretary that he should accept the spirit of the cross- party amendment to bring in an obligation to consider energy efficiency and conservation on Thursday, when we will
Column 35consider the Lords amendments to the Electricity Bill? Or are we to assume that, when the Prime Minister says that she intends to fight for protectionism in all its forms, she includes environmental protectionism as well?
The Prime Minister : If the hon. Gentleman looks at all the facts and figures, he will be aware that this country's record on environmental protection is better than it was under any previous Government and is going ahead fast--whether it is in taking out the sulphur dioxide from our coal, which is costing some £2 billion, in the vast amount of more than £1 billion that we are investing this year to provide better water supplies or in energy efficiency. The Electricity Bill will for the first time require electricity supply companies to provide guidance to their customers about the efficient use of electricity, which will be a licence condition that the director can enforce. The trouble with the Opposition is that they canot hold a candle to the excellent record of the Government, whether it be in economic growth or in providing environmental protection.
Mr. Keith Raffan (Delyn) : I join in welcoming the setting up of the financial action task force to attack the laundering of illicit profits from the drug trade. Will my right hon. Friend tell the House whether the international conference on drugs next year will have as one of its main objectives a multilateral agreement to back up that task force, so as to ensure that the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986 can be implemented even more effectively?
The Prime Minister : We shall do that. The conference is to reduce the demand for drugs. We are not waiting for an international conference to try to get more bilateral agreement so that we can trace the profits of the drug peddlers. That will continue to be the case.
The international task force is due to report to us in April 1990, so that we can consider its proposals in the next economic summit.
That the European Community Document No. 8337/88 and the Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum submitted by the Department of the Environment on 10th July 1989 relating to the control of discharges of dangerous substances to water be referred to a Standing Committee on European Community Documents &c.-- [Mr. Heathcoat-Amory.]
That the following provisions shall apply to the remaining proceedings on the Bill :--
Committee 1. The proceedings on the Bill in the Standing Committee to which the Bill is allocated shall be brought to a conclusion at or before 1 p.m. on 27th July 1989, and the Standing Committee shall report the Bill to the House on or before that day. Report and Third Reading 2.--(1) The proceedings on consideration and Third Reading of the Bill shall be completed in one allotted day, and on that day--
(a) the proceedings on consideration shall be brought to a conclusion at Ten o'clock ; and
(b) the proceedings on Third Reading shall be brought to a conclusion at midnight.
(2) The Business Committee shall report to the House its Resolutions as to the proceedings on consideration of the Bill not later than the third day on which the House sits after the day on which the Chairman of the Standing Committee reports the Bill to the House.
(3) The Resolutions in any Report made under Standing Order No. 80 (Business Committee) may be varied by a further Report so made whether or not within the time specified in sub-paragraph (2) above, and whether or not the Resolutions have been agreed to by the House. (4) The Resolutions of the Business Committee may include alterations in the order in which proceedings on consideration of the Bill are taken.
Procedure in Standing Committee 3.--(1) At a sitting of the Standing Committee at which any proceedings on the Bill are to be brought to a conclusion under a Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee the Chairman shall not adjourn the Committee under any Order relating to the sittings of the Committee until the proceedings have been brought to a conclusion.
(2) No Motion shall be made in the Standing Committee relating to the sitting of the Committee except by a member of the Government, and the Chairman shall permit a brief explanatory statement from the Member who makes, and from a Member who opposes, the Motion, and shall then put the Question thereon.
4. No Motion shall be made to alter the order in which Clauses, Schedules, new Clauses and new Schedules are taken in the Standing Committee but the Resolutions of the Business Sub-Committee may include alterations in that order.
Conclusion of proceedings in Committee 5. On the conclusion of the proceedings in any Committee on the Bill the Chairman shall report the Bill to the House without putting any Question. Dilatory Motions 6. No dilatory Motion with respect to, or in the course of, proceedings on the Bill shall be made in the Standing Committee or on an allotted day except by a member of the Government, and the Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith. Extra time on allotted days 7.--(1) On an allotted day paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 14 (Exempted business) shall apply to the proceedings on the Bill for two hours after Ten o'clock.
(2) Any period during which proceedings on the Bill may be proceeded with after Ten o'clock under paragraph (7) of Standing Order No. 20 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) shall be in addition to the said period of two hours.
(3) If an allotted day is one to which a Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 20
Column 37stands over from an earlier day, a period of time equal to the duration of the proceedings upon that Motion shall be added to the said period of two hours.
Private business 8. Any private business which has been set down for consideration at Seven o'clock on an allotted day shall, instead of being considered as provided by Standing Orders, be considered at the conclusion of the proceedings on the Bill on that day, and paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 14 (Exempted business) shall apply to the private business for a period of three hours from the conclusion of the proceedings on the Bill or, if those proceedings are concluded before Ten o'clock, for a period equal to the time elapsing between Seven o'clock and the conclusion of those proceedings.
Conclusion of proceedings 9.--(1) For the purpose of bringing to a conclusion any proceedings which are to be brought to a conclusion at a time appointed under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee or the Business Sub-Committee and which have not previously been brought to a conclusion, the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall forthwith put the following Questions (but no others)--
(a) any Question already proposed from the Chair ;
(b) any Question necessary to bring to a decision a Question so proposed (including, in the case of a new Clause or new Schedule which has been read a second time, the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill) ;
(c) the Question on any amendment or Motion standing on the Order Paper in the name of any Member, if that amendment is moved or that Motion is made by a member of the Government ;
(d) any other Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded ;
and on a Motion so made for a new Clause or a new Schedule, the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall put only the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill.
(2) Proceedings under sub-paragraph (1) above shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House.
(3) If an allotted day is one on which a Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 20 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) would, apart from this Order, stand over to Seven o'clock-- (
(a) that Motion shall stand over until the conclusion of any proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee, are to be brought to a conclusion at or before that time ;
(b) the bringing to a conclusion of any proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee, are to be brought to a conclusion after that time shall be postponed for a period equal to the duration of the proceedings on that Motion.
(4) If an allotted day is one to which a Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 20 stands over from an earlier day, the bringing to a conclusion of any proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee, are to be brought to a conclusion on that day shall be postponed for a period equal to the duration of the proceedings on that Motion. Supplemental orders 10.--(1) The proceedings on any Motion made in the House by a member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order (including anything which might have been the subject of a report of the Business Committee or Business Sub-Committee) shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion one hour after they have been commenced, and paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 14 (Exempted business) shall apply to the proceedings.
(2) If on an allotted day on which any proceedings on the Bill are to be brought to a conclusion at a time appointed under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee the House is adjourned, or the sitting is suspended, before that time no notice shall be required of a Motion made at the next sitting by a member of the Government for varying or supplememting the provisions of this Order.
Column 38Saving 11. Nothing in this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee or Business Sub-Committee shall--
(a) prevent any proceedings to which the Order or Resolution applies from being taken or completed earlier than is required by the Order or Resolution ; or
(b) prevent any business (whether on the Bill or not) from being proceeded with on any day after the completion of all such proceedings on the Bill as are to be taken on that day.
Re-committal 12.--(1) References in this Order to proceedings on consideration or proceedings on Third Reading include references to proceedings, at those stages respectively, for, on or in consequence of re- committal.
(2) On an allotted day no debate shall be permitted on any Motion to recommit the Bill (whether as a whole or otherwise), and Mr. Speaker shall put forthwith any Question necessary to dispose of the Motion, including the Question on any amendment moved to the Question.
Interpretation 13. In this Order--
"allotted day" means any day (other than a Friday) on which the Bill is put down as first Government order of the day, provided that a Motion for allotting time to the proceedings on the Bill to be taken on that day either has been agreed on a previous day, or is set down for consideration on that day ;
"the Bill" means the Football Spectators Bill [Lords] ; "Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee" means a Resolution of the Business Sub- Committee as agreed to by the Standing Committee ; "Resolution of the Business Committee" means a Resolution of the Business Committee as agreed to by the House.
The House will be familiar with the aims of the Bill from our debate a few weeks ago. It has two major objectives--first, to provide the statutory framework for a national membership scheme for football spectators ; and, secondly, to enable the courts to impose restriction orders on hooligans to prevent them from travelling to key matches abroad.
The Bill was introduced because powerful measures are needed to break the link between football and hooliganism. That was apparent when the decision to legislate was taken after the serious incidents at the European championships in 1988. It is still apparent now in the light of the events that spoiled the end of the 1988-89 football season--more than 100 arrests only a week after the Hillsborough tragedy and other serious incidents right up to the last weekend of the season when a pitch invasion at Crystal Palace resulted in 16 injuries, including a stabbing.
Against that background, it would be totally irresponsible for the Government to waste the progress that has been made on this Bill and to throw away, for another year, the opportunity to deal with hooliganism. That is why I am introducing this motion today, to ensure that there is proper consideration of the Bill, but also steady progress. We cannot neglect our responsibilities while serious incidents continue to disrupt matches, to drive potential spectators away and to harm the reputation of the game.
The tragic events at Hillsborough meant that we delayed consideration of the Bill. That was entirely seemly and proper. But acts of hooliganism and violence did not cease after Hillsborough and it would be totally irresponsible to go on delaying while we wait for further incidents to confirm the low regard in which English fans are held across Europe. The Government do not accept the
Column 39argument that the Bill should be postponed until we have seen the findings of the Taylor inquiry. We fully recognise the importance of this inquiry into safety matters and we have, at all stages, promised to look with care at its recommendations, particularly any that may be relevant to the setting up of the football membership scheme.
Mr. Menzies Campbell (Fife, North-East) : If Lord Justice Taylor says that a football membership scheme such as is proposed would have contributed to the events at Hillsborough or even made them worse, will the Government abandon the scheme?
Mr. Wakeham : It is not helpful to have a hypothetical discussion of such matters. We shall have a proper debate on them when we have the report to consider. As I have already said, we have promised to look with care at the Taylor inquiry recommendations, particularly any that may be relevant to the setting up of the football membership scheme. However, as has been explained before, the Bill does not implement the national membershiip scheme. It provides an enabling framework within which the football membershp scheme will be set up. The Government recognise that the Taylor inquiry's findings may be relevant to the scheme and that Parliament will want to be aware of them before final decisions are taken. There is no question of the Government rushing through the scheme before those findings have been considered, but Government amendments have been tabled to the Bill to meet the concerns about safety matters.
Mr. Robert N. Wareing (Liverpool, West Derby) : The Minister has just said that the Government have no intention of rushing the scheme through without the House being given a chance to consider the Taylor report. Should the final report of the Taylor inquiry not be published until December, does that mean that the Government are willing to hold back on the Bill until such time?
Mr. Wakeham : No. We are proceeding with the Bill. What we are talking about is its implementation, and we have given an undertaking that the national membership scheme will not be set up until we have had a chance to consider the Taylor report. That does not mean that we shall hold up the Bill.
Mr. Denis Howell (Birmingham, Small Heath) : I am obliged to the Leader of the House for giving way, as this is an important matter. What he is now saying is that the House will have no opportunity to write into the Bill any conclusions that we draw as a result of the Taylor proposals. What he is saying is that the Football Membership Authority, or the Secretary of State acting under the powers in the Bill, will have that opportunity, but not this House. That is thoroughly objectionable.
Mr. Wakeham : The important point is that the House will have the opportunity to approve or to reject such proposals. There will be two opportunities for full parliamentary consideration of the scheme after the inquiry's report--one before the FMA is appointed and one after the scheme has been submitted to the Secretary of State for approval.
Column 40We cannot afford to lose, for another year, the chance to deal with these important matters, especially with the approach of the world cup in 1990. I have therefore tabled this motion. It is, of course, not a matter for me how time in Committee is allocated, but I think that I have allowed reasonable time, given that there is substantial agreement about part II of the Bill. Having said that, it is important that we get on. The Committee has still to discuss some important matters in part I, in particular the role that the licensing authority might play in safety issues. The House agreed to the instruction allowing safety matters to be considered and the relevant Government amendments were tabled on Thursday. Given the great concern about safety, I should have thought that everyone would be anxious to reach that part of the debate. Some progress has been made, but it has been rather erratic.
Mr. Keith Vaz (Leicester, East) : If the Leader of the House has had a chance to look at the Hansard reports of the Committee stage, he will note that, in respect of clauses 2 and 3, his ministerial colleagues have told the Committee and given undertakings that they will consider suggestions made by the Opposition. Does he agree that this occurred only because of the lengthy discussions which took place and the evidence produced by Opposition Members? Bearing in mind the fact that the spirit of the Bill should produce co-operation between Front-Bench Members and others to ensure that we solve the problem of hooliganism and put forward suggestions which will benefit football and that Ministers have said that they will consider suggestions, does the right hon. Gentleman agree that to allow us more time in Committee would permit more suggestions to come forward that would help to make the Bill a constructive vehicle which ensured that football progressed?
Mr. Wakeham : My hon. Friend the Minister of Sport said that he would consider a number of points raised, and certainly he will do so. The substance of my case is that there is plenty of time, both in the remaining Committee sessions and on Report, for answers to be given. There will be a Report stage and a Third reading and, in my judgment, that is adequate time.
After nine sittings over 37 hours the Committee has reached the first set of amendments to clause 5 of this 24-clause Bill. It is not even half time yet, which is not surprising since the first two sittings were largely repeats of the Second reading debate. I have already explained about the future opportunities to consider the Taylor recommendations, although it is difficult to understand why the Opposition are so keen to implement a report that they have not seen, but not to push ahead with measures in line with the Popplewell report, which we have all had a chance to read and consider-- [Hon. Members :-- "No."] The measures are in line-- [Interruption.] Keep calm.
The Popplewell report suggested that the clubs should consider a membership scheme. It was the clubs which said that they were not prepared to do so unless the scheme had statutory backing. Therefore, I stick to my point.
During the first two sittings of the Committee--
Mr. Frank Dobson (Holborn and St. Pancras) : Is it not the case that in an interim report--not the final report--Popplewell said that he recommended that urgent consideration be given by football clubs to introducing a
Column 41membership system so as to exclude visiting fans? He recommended only consideration of a scheme, which is utterly different from the Government's recommendation.
Mr. Wakeham : Of course, the Popplewell scheme was not identical to the Government's. He was suggesting a voluntary scheme. It was the football clubs' failure to come up with one which led us to take action. These matters can and will be the subject of great debate. It does not mean that we need not get ahead and deal with these matters.
During the first two sittings of the Committee, the Opposition team was ruled offside on no fewer than 17 occasions and asked to remain within the scope of the debate. Events since then have made it difficult to know what to expect from the players in a team who seem unable to settle their team tactics from one sitting to the next. On clause 1 there were 13 groups of Opposition amendments to consider, but after four of them were discussed, there was a change of heart. The remaining nine sets were withdrawn and the Committee went straight to the clause stand part debate. This encouraging progress continued on clause 2 where all the Opposition amendments were once more dropped. Clause 3 went to the other extreme, and a closure motion was needed to get on ; and so it continues. I should like to think that, by introducing this motion, I am doing a favour to everyone on the Committee by focusing their minds on a reasonable timetable which will allow sensible and steady progress through the remaining stages of the Bill. Otherwise, I fear that we shall not be able to act in time for the 1994 world cup, let alone the 1990--
Mr. Joseph Ashton (Bassetlaw) : Despite the long list that the Leader of the House read out and the fact that there have been more than 30 hours of debate, does he accept that the Government Whip moved the closure only once in all that time--so how could there have been filibustering?
Mr. Wakeham : The hon. Gentleman is wrong : I gather that it was moved twice. I am not arguing that there has been filibustering. It has never been my case that there has been. My case is that we need a structured debate to achieve finality on this matter in a reasonable length of time.
As I am often reminded, I have introduced a number of timetable motions in my time as Leader of the House, so I have had the opportunity to explore the various philosophies on the use of the guillotine. I have often had cause to quote the distinguished expert on the subject, the right hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Foot), who believes that guillotines are justified only towards the end of the Session to get Government measures through.
I have favoured an early introduction of timetable motions to allow proper time to be assigned to each part of the Bill. I have tended to rely on my judgment rather than on that of the right hon. Gentleman who, as he well knows, was the only Leader of the House since the war to lose a guillotine motion and to fail to pilot one of his guillotined Bills to Royal Assent. But on this occasion, the motion meets his test and mine, which convinces me that I am right to introduce it, and I look forward to his support.
The provisions of the motion are entirely adequate. Thirty-seven hours have already been spent on part I, which is the more contentious part of the legislation. This
Column 42timetable allows at least 30 more hours to consider the rest of the Bill, depending on when the Committee chooses to sit. After that, there will be a full day for Report and Third Reading, when proceedings on Third Reading can continue until midnight. I stress again that this will not be the last opportunity for parliamentary scrutiny of these measures. In all, I see this motion as a happy release for everyone. We can go off for the summer in the knowledge that we are well on the way to completing the necessary measures. For the first time, we shall have an effective way of keeping troublemakers out of football matches at home and abroad and to restore the reputation of the game. I therefore commend the motion to the House.
Mr. Frank Dobson (Holborn and St. Pancras) : There are three main reasons for today's guillotine motion to curtail debate on the Football Spectators Bill : first, the Government's business managers are no good at getting their legislation through the House ; secondly, the Bill is a ludicrous measure ; thirdly, the Government are so embarrassed by the way in which they are losing the argument that they want to bring debate to an end as soon as possible.
Let us look first at the record of the Government's business managers. In the first Session of this Parliament, we sat for 218 days, the fourth longest Session in history. The Government curtailed debate by use of the guillotine on no fewer than six Bills--the highest ever number of guillotines in one Session.
Despite all that, the Government got through only 49 Bills, the lowest total in the first Session of a Parliament in modern times. The average for a first Session is 70 Bills, and the record is 104. So far in this Session, the Government have introduced just 33 Bills which, if the final total, would be the lowest number in any Session not interrupted by a general election.
However, to get these 33 Bills through, the Government have had to limit debate by guillotining six of them. So almost one fifth of this year's business has had to be guillotined. Clearly, much of this low production results from the effectiveness of the Opposition. The only other explanation is the incompetence of Members on the Government Front Bench-- in particular, the ineptitude of the Chief Whip and of the Leader of the House. That, presumably, is why, with a majority of 100 and having made so little progress, they feature so largely in all the rumours about a Cabinet reshuffle.
Let us examine the Bill itself. Despite objections from us, it was introduced first in the House of Lords. By custom, controversial measures are not first introduced in the Lords, but this one was. Surely that was not because their Lordships had any special experience of, knowledge of, or insight into what happens on the terraces or even in the stands of English and Welsh football grounds. In my time they have always been regarded as experts on "huntin', shootin' and fishin' "--certainly not on football.
Whatever the reason, it is a fact that the Bill introduced in the Lords related only to hooliganism at football matches and to no other problem. It recognised no danger to the safety of football spectators other than that posed by hooligans. Then came the Hillsborough disaster, at
Column 43which point even the Government had to acknowledge that other factors affected the safety of football spectators, so they deferred consideration of the Bill.
At that point, we suggested that the Government should withdraw the Bill and await the outcome of the judicial inquiry into the disaster. We suggested that, once the country had the benefit of Lord Justice Taylor's report, football authorities, the police and representatives of the supporters, together with the Government and the Opposition, should sit down to work out practical proposals designed to reduce hooliganism and to make it safer for men, women, children and old and handicapped people to watch football matches in comfort and security.
We offered to help to formulate such proposals and we promised that we would help the Government to get the necessary legislation on the statute book as soon as possible. The Government refused point blank--