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Lord Colville, when he wrote his report in 1991, also drew attention to those problems and the way in which they might be circumvented.
Mr. Howard : I can understand the hon. Gentleman's reluctance to give way. [Interruption.] On that specific point, following my right hon. Friend's suggestion in 1988 that we seek a way of involving the judiciary in that power, a review was carried out, and the result of that review was
Column 305announced to the House, as I said earlier, by the Foreign Secretary's successor as Home Secretary in November 1989. Therefore, we did carry out that review.
We have considered whether there might be a different way to achieve that objective, and we have come to the conclusion that there is not. We cannot be accused of not looking to see whether there are other ways of doing it.
Mr. Blair : My argument to the Home Secretary is that it was not that the present Foreign Secretary, when Home Secretary, was ruling that out on the grounds of security. He said that he would seek a judicial mechanism. He did not rule it out as inconsistent with the purposes of the 1989 Act.
I am sorry that the hon. and learned Member for Burton (Sir I. Lawrence), the Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, has left his place. I thought it extraordinary when he intervened earlier, because this is what he said in respect of the power of detention in December 1988 :
"It would be more acceptable to many of us to require a judicial element--a judge, if there is no problem of availability, or a stipendiary magistrate . . . But what is needed is that the public should have confidence that injustice is not being done by the procedures. I think that a judicial element would meet that requirement."--[ Official Report , 6 December 1988 ; Vol. 143, c. 232.]
We can agree or disagree on whether that is necessary, but it is patently absurd to suggest that, by advocating a judicial element, one is destroying the security basis of the legislation.
Mr. Gary Streeter (Plymouth, Sutton) rose
Not merely did they all say that, but I discovered last night that the Government's Standing Commission on Human Rights in 1988 said the same : it said that there should be a judicial element. The idea that that is something beyond the ken of any reasonable person to propose is patently absurd. Every time that Conservative Members make that type of argument, they simply underline the degree to which they are prepared to be unreasonable in making their case.
Mr. Streeter rose
Mr. Howard rose
Mr. Howard rose
Mr. Streeter : I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. He must accept that it is quite an amusing spectacle watching him try to defend the indefensible. [Hon. Members :-- "Sit down."] If the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues vote against the measure tonight, what message does that send to terrorists ?
Mr. Blair : I have sent the clearest possible message of what we believe. The only people trying to send a different message in respect of the Opposition are Conservative Members. That is the absurdity.
Mr. Howard rose
It is true that my predecessor, now the Foreign Secretary, said that he would seek a way to involve the judiciary in the decision-making process. So did my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Sir I. Lawrence). The nature of the investigation which was then carried out was to see whether we could find a way to involve the judiciary which would not undermine the exercise of the power and deprive it of its practical effect.
We came to the conclusion that there was no such way, as was announced by the noble Lord Waddington in November 1989. It is no good the hon. Gentleman ignoring that investigation and its outcome. We have considered it ; there is no such way. The hon. Gentleman must face that.
Mr. Jeff Rooker (Birmingham, Perry Barr) : As someone who was in the House when the original legislation was passed just after the Birmingham pub bombings, the perpetrators of which have not yet been put in prison even though the legislation has been in place for 20 years, may I say to my hon. Friend that the British public who are watching the debate are entitled to expect grown-up politics to operate in the House today ?
I remind my hon. Friend that I have never yet voted against the renewal of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989, because I have always been conscious, even with its defects, of the connection with the Birmingham pub bombings and carnage that day. However, I will vote against the measure tonight, simply on the grounds of the Home Secretary's performance in the past few days, including his speech today, because it does not constitute serious grown-up politics, which the people of this country are entitled to expect.
It is said that what is involved is not a judicial process : the argument-- the only argument there is, in fact--is that the nature of the process of deciding an extension of detention is not truly a judicial one and is incapable of being dealt with other than by executive act. Precisely that argument was rejected in the European Court, but let me deal with it myself.
What is the purpose of having an element of judicial control ? It is not simply to provide a process of legal reasoning or logic ; it is that that judicial element is independent of executive action. The liberty of the subject should be taken away not by the act of a politician but by a court of law. That is the basic point. The debate is not simply an abstract debate about the nature of the process of reasoning : it is a fundamental debate about the nature of liberty, and those who have the right to deprive people of liberty. That is why it would be so much better to have that judicial element, as was accepted some years ago, even by Conservative Members.
In respect of exclusion orders, I must say to the Home Secretary that he is a man who cannot make a case without exaggerating it out of existence. The idea that, by opposing
Column 307exclusion orders, one is making an outrageous attack on the entire nature of our fight against terrorism is patently absurd when considered against the historical background. First, nothing has been more contentious than exclusion orders, and nothing has ever been expressed to be more temporary--as was the case throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
Exclusion orders have been strongly criticised by many. For example, Enoch Powell said in February 1987 :
"The inherent objectionableness of a power to exclude from one part of the United Kingdom into another is undiminished, but the evidence for utility continues to diminish. I hope that we shall see the end of it, certainly no later than the new edition of this Act."--[ Official Report , 10 February 1987 ; Vol. 110, c. 277.] I discovered last night that the then Home Secretary, now Foreign Secretary, sent Sir Cyril Phillips a letter--a public letter, although it does not appear to have received much publicity--when Sir Cyril conducted his review of the Act. The then Home Secretary wrote : "I entirely accept that the exclusion powers, especially those under sections 4 and 5 which permit the exclusion of a British citizen from part of the United Kingdom, very considerably infringe ordinary civil liberties. I think it very proper to remind Parliament that these powers are controversial and that it is possible to discontinue while still renewing other parts of the Act." I fully understand that the Home Secretary came down in favour of retaining the powers. However, I put it to Conservative Members that it can hardly be said to be unreasonable to argue that the powers should be properly, fully and seriously reviewed independently to see whether they need to be maintained or not--indeed, the last full review, that of Lord Colville, suggested that they go. That is the answer to the point made a moment ago.
It is worth spending a moment considering why the orders have aroused such controversy. First, they represent a form of internal exile. That cannot be disputed. They allow complete freedom of movement within Northern Ireland to people excluded from the mainland, and complete freedom of movement on the mainland to those excluded from Northern Ireland, so they are, by their nature, odd. Conservative Members may wish to consider that they are in one sense essentially anti-unionist.
Secondly, they involve someone being deemed or dubbed a terrorist not by a court of law but by an executive order. The Home Secretary can make an exclusion order only if he is satisfied--not merely if he has reasonable grounds for suspecting--that someone is a terrorist. There is no trial. There are no representations. There is no ability to know the evidence. There is no effective appeal.
It is not that, as Mr. Rowe said, exclusion orders are simply an infringement of freedom of movement ; it is that the person is then deemed to be a terrorist. He does not know the evidence and he cannot appeal against it. He then becomes a target for other terrorist activity. That is why the matter has now been referred to the European Court by our own Court of Appeal.
Rev. Martin Smyth (Belfast, South) : We in Northern Ireland look askance on the leper colony aspect at times. But there was a judicial review--there was a trial in London. Can the hon. Gentleman tell us what London people would say about the case of a person who was acquitted by a court in London ; who said that he was not a terrorist and disagreed with terrorism ; who was excluded
Column 308under the Act ; and who was buried in County Tyrone as second in command of the Tyrone battalion of the Provos, shot in a gunfight with the Army ?
Mr. Blair : As the hon. Gentleman knows, many of those of the Ulster Unionist persuasion have been against exclusion orders. That is not because people do not condemn terrorism--they do. It is because they think that we must see whether, in attempting to use the security services to weed out terrorism, we do so in a way that is fully compatible with the ordinary rule of law.
Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness and Sutherland) rose
Mr. Graham Riddick (Colne Valley) rose
I entirely accept that an argument can be advanced in favour of exclusion orders. I do not take the unreasonable position described by the Government : I do not say that no one can reasonably argue the case for them. What I say is that it is so clear that they are potentially open to abuse that it is right that they should be fully and independently reviewed--as happened seven years ago--to see whether they are still necessary.
I find his argument in favour of an independent review of some different kind from the report of Mr. John Rowe--an eminent former chairman of the Bar Council--extremely difficult to understand. We have before us a very thorough report, whose author has consulted all those closely involved in the day-to-day conduct of security matters and which does not stand on its own but is one of a series of annual reports.
The hon. Gentleman will acquit me of the charge of seeking to divide the House on this issue, because he knows that I have always favoured cross- party agreement where possible. It appears to me likely, however, that the lack of consensus on the issue is between those in his own party and not across the Floor of the House.
Mr. Blair : I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman is absolutely wrong. First, the previous report--undertaken by Lord Colville in 1987--which was a full and independent review, recommended that exclusion orders should go. The hon. Gentleman's point is therefore particularly foolish.
Secondly, Mr. Rowe's report examines not whether the powers are necessary but whether they have been properly operated within the definition in the legislation. The hon. Gentleman has not understood the point that I am making.
Mr. Mallon : Lest there be any doubt about it, I should point out that Mr. Rowe did not consult widely about this matter within Northern Ireland. He did not consult my party or, I understand, the Ulster Unionists, and many other organisations that should have been consulted were not. I therefore regard the report as deficient.
Column 309the fight against terrorism, but Ulster Unionists, too, see the purpose of reviewing the necessity for exclusion orders.
Mr. Blair : No. I have been immensely generous in giving way. It is because of those objections, and because we wanted to see whether there was not a different way--in accordance with the normal rule of law--of meeting the same objectives, that we attempted to secure serious discussions with the Government. We did so because we know that, when we strip away the political rhetoric, we share the same objectives of deterring and defeating terrorism--but also because we want to uphold our traditional rule of law and the principles that go with it. In attempting to balance those competing purposes, we should engage in discussions without rancour, or accusing each other of being soft on terrorism, and with a genuine desire to find agreement.
The Government say that they want such agreement. The Home Secretary said today that he wanted an all-party approach. They used to criticise us for seeking change in the way we did, and they asked us to do it differently. Indeed, when my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) first defined our objections to the Acts, the Government suggested how we should object. The then Home Office Minister, who is now the Secretary of State for Education, said :
that is, my right hon. Friend
"were really interested in serious discussions with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and had a list of things he wanted to discuss . . . surely he should have gone to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, perhaps on Privy Councillor terms, to talk to him about the sort of changes he wanted."--[ Official Report , 4 March 1991 ; Vol. 187, c. 66.]
That is what we have done. How was that action met by the new Home Office regime ? It was met not only with a refusal to consider our proposals, but with an out-of-hand rejection. The story was then planted in the press before we had even received the courtesy of a reply. That is not seeking agreement in the interests of peace and security ; it is playing politics with the issue.
Moreover, we have not even asked the Government to agree immediately to our objections. We do not expect them to go "Snap," but have merely asked them seriously to consider the proposals, as the former Secretary of State for Education asked us to do. One way to achieve that would be to undertake a full and independent review of the judicial process under a senior respected figure, on whom we could agree with the Government, the Ulster Unionists, the Social Democratic and Labour party and other interested parties. We could examine that and other aspects of the prevention of terrorism Act, to point the way towards its improvement. It has been seven years since the last full review, and that was conducted by a Government adviser. It is almost decade since Sir Cyril Phillips, a High Court judge, considered the matter. It is high time to consider the process again. As I said earlier, Lord Merlyn-Rees, a distinguished former Labour Home Secretary supports such a review. Much has changed in the past year. There has been a joint declaration and a new search for peace. We have joined the Government in those initiatives. We have attempted to rise above party differences--whatever they
Column 310may be--to search for peace. We refrained from exploiting the issue when it was revealed that the Government had been in talks with the IRA, although they publicly denied that fact.
One other major change has occurred. The IRA's last remaining argument has been removed. It has lost its last vestige of respectability because, as the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) said, it refuses even to support self-determination. It seeks unity by the bomb, not through the ballot box. We should shout that from the rooftops. By using that argument, there is a chance of uniting all democratic elements against the undemocratic terrorists to turn the tide, not only in security terms, but politically. So much has changed and can be achieved ; that is why it is important that we should try to bring the House together, and why I urge the Home Secretary even now to consider our requests in the spirit in which they were made, to unite the House, and to defeat the terrorism that we all detest.
The speech of the hon. Member for Sedgefield (Mr. Blair) had been trailed as embarking on a new initiative. I assume that his speech included the views that the Leader of the Opposition voiced to the Prime Minister in the talks that took place. Having listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Sedgefield, I do not think that it marks a new beginning. It reminded me of speeches by his predecessors as shadow Home Secretaries, the right hon. Members for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), and for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman). In 1990, the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook made five similar proposals, questioning the need for the extension of detention and for the exclusion orders. The only new item in the speech of the hon. Member for Sedgefield concerned the independent review. I am sceptical whether such a review would achieve anything. There has been a bit of party banter, but I do not believe that any Opposition Member supports or condones terrorism. My experience as a Minister and Member of Parliament has assured me that that is the case. Opposition Members' protests against terrorism can be just as eloquent and strong as those from Conservative Members. It is not sufficient, however, only to condemn terrorism and its aims ; one should be prepared to will the means to defeat terrorism. That is where one has to take difficult, executive decisions.
The history of the prevention of terrorism Acts has been well rehearsed by both Front-Bench spokesmen. It was put on the statute book by Roy Jenkins. Every Home Secretary, of any party, who has exercised the Act's powers has confirmed that they were necessary, as has each Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and there are many quotations to confirm that. As a Minister who had to exercise those powers, I have no doubt that they are necessary.
The hon. Member for Sedgefield reminded us that my noble Friend Lord Whitelaw said that the Act was an infringement of civil constitutional rights. The House has to examine the matter carefully when it decides about such rights, especially when it has to decide whether to curtail
Column 311them. It has to be satisfied that there is a reason for curtailment and that there is a reasonable process to ensure that the exercise of executive power is done fairly and properly.
The decisions that I had to make were not taken lightly. One reviews each case carefully because one knows that one's signature on a piece of paper will either extend the period of investigation of a suspect or exclude someone from one part of the United Kingdom. I took those decisions carefully as, I am sure, did my predecessors and successors.
Under the powers of exclusion, there is a procedure for review.
Mr. Ken Livingstone (Brent, East) : When the right hon. Gentleman had to exercise those powers, how did he weigh in his mind the fact that the people whom he was excluding from the mainland of Great Britain were a danger and were involved in terrorism and that he was sending them back to a Province that had already borne the brunt of that terrorism ? Did he not feel that there was a danger that he was concentrating all the killing and violence on those who had already borne the most pain ?
Mr. Baker : I never felt that. The security and safety of the public in the whole country, not just on the mainland, is almost the prime consideration of any Home Secretary. Other Ministers have specific responsibilities for Northern Ireland.
The Opposition changed their view in 1983. My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary sketched the history of that conversion, which was not sudden. After the Labour party lost office in 1979, it split on the first vote on the PTA. The noble Lord Merlyn-Rees voted for the extension of the Act. The Labour party abstained in the vote in the following two years. In 1983, it decided to vote against the Act.
Ever since, the shadow Home Secretary, the hon. Member for Sedgefield, and his two predecessors have been trying to get the Labour party off that awkward hook. It is impaled on it largely because of its left-wing and nationalist elements. The hon. Member for Sedgefield smiles, but he knows that what I am saying is true. He has advanced his arguments rather more elegantly than his predecessors, but his argument remains the same and the problem remains the same for the Labour party.
I now come to the exercise of the powers and the power of extension of investigation. Some 30 cases were brought to me. One must examines cases very carefully indeed. In several of those cases, the investigation led to a charge being laid. I believe that my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary said that, of the 39 extensions for which he has been responsible, charges were laid in 17 cases--nearly half. That statistic proves the validity of the operation.
I do not think that the hon. Member for Sedgefield denies the operation, or the need of it, but he says that it should be subject to judicial process. That is an easy thing to say, but ultimately it is an executive decision. The House has given that power to a member of the Executive, principally the Home Secretary, but on occasions the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. I believe that it should remain an executive decision.
Column 312My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary said in the arguments against that approach that it would be difficult to devise a judicial process that was justiciable. It would be impossible, for example, to reveal to the defence at that stage of the examination the security evidence that would lead the Home Secretary to make the decision for the extension. I do not believe that that is an appropriate solution. I believe that our derogation is correct. I used the power of exclusion several times. I used it in the case to which the hon. Member for Belfast, South (Rev. Martin Smyth) referred. The case involved someone who was accused of terrorism in this country. He went on trial and was found not guilty. On the same day, I excluded him. I was attacked for that. He was found not guilty by the British courts, but I excluded him because I believed that there was evidence that he was likely to engage in terrorist activities. He went back to Northern Ireland and was killed with three other terrorists engaged in an attack on the Coalisland police station. I believe, therefore, that these difficult decisions are sometimes necessary. That is why I hope that the House supports the order.
I understand the difficulty that hon. Members on the Opposition Front Bench are in. I have not tried to depict the hon. Member for Sedgefield, or indeed the Labour party, as soft on terrorism. Terrorist activities are not lessened in our country. Look at the number of arrests that have been made in the past few months--I warmly congratulate the police and security forces on effecting those arrests--after the Downing street declaration. Cells in this country are still operating, planning to maim, kill and destroy. Terrorists do not have debates such as this. They do not debate whether there should be a stay of execution when the bullets are passed out and when they are told to kill their victims. They do not decide whether there should be an extension of interrogation when torturing somebody for more than 48 hours, or less than that.
I would not say that any Government must put themselves to the level of terrorists, but Governments must make difficult decisions. In this area, those decisions are the most difficult. Because of the way in which I saw the powers operated by my colleagues and by me, I believe that the decisions were conducted fairly and properly. I do not believe that injustice was done. Indeed, I believe that the security of the country was greater because of them.
Mr. David Trimble (Upper Bann) : Before launching into what has obviously been the controversial point in the debate so far, I should restate the position of the Ulster Unionist party. We support the legislation. We believe that it is necessary, and that it is necessary this evening for the House to renew the legislation. The only issue that is before the House is whether the Act in its present form should be renewed. We support that. None the less, I wish to say a little on the two items that have been discussed so far. To a certain extent, I agree with some of the views expressed by the hon. Member for Sedgefield (Mr. Blair). That is nothing new. If hon. Members look at our contribution to the debate last year, they will see that we have some concerns about the exclusion orders and the
Column 313way in which the seven-day detention power is authorised. We feel that there are matters that can be looked at. I have no doubt that the seven-day power is needed. I do not wish hon. Members to misunderstand that. I am not suggesting in any way that there should be a reduction in the power to detain people for that period. It is interesting to look at the statistics. Looking at the United Kingdom as a whole, of the 495 extensions, nearly half have exceeded the four-day period--the period that the European Court fastened on in the Brogan case--thus showing that there is a need to go beyond that period. Some 66 detentions went the full seven days. It is interesting that, in Northern Ireland, full seven-day detentions were only 12 per cent. of the total detentions, but the figure was much higher in Great Britain. Of the 29 extensions in England and Wales, nine went the full seven days ; of the 10 extensions in Scotland, four went the full seven days. That underlines the need to retain the power to extend detentions for up to seven days in some cases. We then come to the problem presented by the decision of the European Court on Brogan. Brogan is the problem. I do not think that the Brannigan case gets us out of the difficulty. It has been the policy of the Government over the years, rightly so, to try to frame anti-terrorist legislation to avoid the need to derogate and to restrict derogations to situations where they are absolutely essential, and not derogate as a matter of course. Although the European Court upheld derogation of the Brannigan case, I do not think that we can be satisfied with that. If we can find a way to meet the problem, we should seriously look at it.
Article 5(3) of the European convention refers to people being "brought promptly before a Judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power."
We should focus on that phrase.
I am disappointed that, so far in the debate this afternoon, hon. Members are assuming that the alternative to the present procedure is one involving, say, a High Court judge and court proceedings as they are commonly understood in this jurisdiction. That is not the way to proceed. I quite agree with people who say that one cannot involve the judges in the normal way and that one cannot have a hearing in which the intelligence material on which the police desire to detain a person is disclosed to the defendant and the defence adviser, but what is wrong is that people are thinking of conventional court proceedings.
The hon. and learned Member for Burton (Sir I. Lawrence) pointed in his brief intervention to the way out of that. He referred to the continent and France, where people are detained for much longer periods. Those detentions are entirely consistent with the European convention, because they are authorised by a judicial officer. They are not authorised as a result of normal court proceedings on the English common law model, with someone having his or her day in court and barristers and solicitors being briefed on either side ; a French juge d'instruction operates on a dossier that contains material, some of which would be admissible in an English court and some of which would not. He considers the dossier and looks at the matters. That is the sort of proceedings of which we should think. We should think in terms of creating a procedure whereby a judicial officer takes a decision on the basis of a file, which may contain intelligence material disclosed to him and to no one else. It is not the normal court proceedings. It may not strike hon. Members steeped in
Column 314English common law tradition as court proceedings, but it would satisfy the European convention, because it would be a decision taken by a person who is independent of the judiciary and accustomed to analysing the material. That solution, which was hinted at by Lord Colville in earlier reports, should be considered. It is not that foreign to proceedings in at least one of the jurisdictions in the United Kingdom--Scotland, with its procurator fiscal--which bear so many similarities to the continental systems.
A problem arises because the European Court is staffed mainly by people who operate against the background of a civil law tradition ; we are in difficulties with regard to that. There is no problem in adapting our procedures to fit in with my proposed solution. Reference has been made to the statement by Lord Waddington, then Home Secretary, in 1989. I have examined that statement, and it seems to me that Lord Waddington was not willing to consider the radical new procedure that I have just outlined-- that he, too, was thinking in terms of conventional court proceedings. In my view, such proceedings would be inappropriate in this context.
I hinted briefly at my proposed solution in a speech in our equivalent debate last year. I have spelt it out in a little more detail today, because I do not think that hon. Members have considered it sufficiently. I do not know whether the review conducted some years ago, to which the Home Secretary referred, considered such a procedure. Lord Waddington's 1989 statement does not hint at any consideration on his part. I shall be interested to hear whether any reference is made to it in the Home Secretary's winding-up speech.
There has also been some controversy about exclusion orders. I am happy to reiterate the stance that my hon. Friends and I have taken over the years. We consider exclusion orders to be objectionable in principle. I refer to exclusion orders that operate within the United Kingdom, banning people from one part of it and--as hon. Members have said--creating a form of internal exile. We do not object to orders that exclude people from the United Kingdom ; we think those quite appropriate. Such action is possible under immigration law, and this legislation simply adds to and reinforces that power.
Exclusion within the United Kingdom--which, as I have said, we find inherently objectionable--is not new or unique, as some hon. Members seem to believe ; it repeats legislation introduced in the 1930s. At the time of an IRA bomb campaign launched in 1938, the House responded by introducing legislation that provided for a form of exclusion order. In 1974, faced with another emergency, civil servants in the Home Office blew the dust off the 1939 files and whipped out the legislation again. Wartime controls on movement across the Irish sea were also fairly stringent, but those were slightly different circumstances.
I think that exclusion orders are the lazy way of proceeding : because a precedent was there, people reached for it. There is some merit in examining other possibilities. It occurs to me--although this thought may not be welcome to other hon. Members--that exclusion orders operate on exactly the same legal basis as the power to intern. In terms of the factors that must be considered and the nature of the decision involved, there is no difference between making an exclusion order and internment. It could be said that exclusion orders mean treating Northern
Column 315Ireland as one huge internment camp. Some of my hon. Friends are asking, "If we are to take a decision of that nature, why not go the whole hog ?"
Another suggested procedure is more detailed surveillance. That is worth looking into, although I do not think that it would be possible without compulsory identity cards, to which some hon. Members would object. We do not share that objection and think that the option should be seriously considered. In any event, however, the European Union may compel the Government to act, and some interesting proposals have been made in that context.
I noted with interest the hon. Member for Sedgefield's observation that no major review had been conducted for seven years. I endorse what was said by the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) about the current review, although I do not wish to go into the details. In the past, I have complimented Lord Colville on his reviews, which I have found very helpful but, as the hon. Member for Sedgefield pointed out, those reviews operate within the framework of reference provided by the existing legislation, to determine simply whether powers have been exercised within the terms of the Act. There has been no fundamental reconsideration of the legislation as a whole since 1987, and I see some merit in remedying that.
I would not want such a review to be conducted purely in terms of the prevention of terrorism Act ; I think that it should examine anti-terrorism legislation generally. It should take up a point made repeatedly by my party--that there is considerable merit in consolidating the PTA and the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978. It is surely anomalous to retain two separate systems, given that they interlock and cannot be considered in isolation. For example, the arrest power in the PTA is the primary arrest power used in Northern Ireland to deal with terrorism. The vast majority of detention extensions are made in Northern Ireland with regard to Northern Ireland terrorism. I hope that it is in order for me to refer to amendments that have been moved in the current Committee stage of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill. The Government have moved an amendment modifying both the PTA and the emergency provisions Act ; they have moved new clauses that bring aspects of the latter into the former. That shows the extent to which the two codes overlap.
Never is a single, comprehensive code more necessary than when matters relating to terrorist financing are dealt with. I find it amazing--as did Lord Colville, who commented repeatedly on the fact--that we have two separate codes to deal with that. One relates only to Northern Ireland, the other to England and Wales--as if people thought that the terrorists had not learnt how to move money from London to Belfast, or from London or Belfast to the Isle of Man, the Channel islands or elsewhere. Of course they can do that, and we need more comprehensive legislation to deal with the position. Page 18 of Mr. Rowe's report refers briefly to the channel tunnel, suggesting that it might enable terrorists to move in and out of the United Kingdom. Of course we should be concerned about that possibility, but we should also be concerned about the tunnel's being a potential target for terrorism. My right hon. Friend the Member for