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Column 609was able to intervene and to ensure that she was properly reimbursed for her financial losses resulting from a situation for which she was entirely blameless.
That is only one example of the important work that the ombudsman carries out. I am delighted that the Bill is now on the way and I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Winchester on getting it moving.
Question put and agreed to.
Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.
Lady Olga Maitland (Sutton and Cheam) rose
Lady Olga Maitland (Sutton and Cheam) : Mr. Deputy Speaker, I am grateful for your indulgence in permitting me to continue with the Bill. It was launched in the House some weeks ago by the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. McAllion), and it relates to a requirement that there should be insulation against heat loss of dwelling units provided by the conversion of existing dwellings and for connected purposes. In short, we are discussing bringing proper energy efficiency, and consequent savings, into the realm of houses and domestic units altogether. The Government are committed to improving energy efficiency in housing as part of their international commitment to reduce this country's carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000. It is an ambitious programme, but it does show the degree of the Government's commitment.
Domestic energy accounts for about one quarter of carbon dioxide emissions in this country. The programmes and measures in place to improve and promote energy efficiency across public and private housing sectors are ambitious and imaginative and constitute important improvements.
I wish to mention council housing and I am delighted to see that the Minister for Housing, Inner Cities and Construction is present. The Green House programme has established a network of replicable energy efficiency demonstration projects to encourage local authorities to develop and apply energy efficiency strategies within their housing programmes. It is a useful project. We are well aware of the general principles of energy conservation and, in a rather haphazard fashion, apply them to our homes. When we put lagging in the loft or install double glazing, we make an important start. But we know that our efforts are not as efficient as they might be and that we could probably do more.
As a result of the Green House programme, 180 schemes across 130 authorities have now been completed or are under way, with the funding over the three-year life of the programme totalling £60 million--no short measure of commitment. Overall, schemes are expected to deliver an average carbon dioxide saving of up to 50 per cent.--a considerable saving to our own pockets--and up to 40 per cent. reductions in energy consumption. That will have a significant effect in protecting the environment.
Column 611From 1993-94 onwards, local authorities are required to include energy efficiency as an integral part of their housing strategies and investment programmes. I am sure that the principle is appreciated, but local authorities need a nudge to make that commitment. Energy efficiency is now one of the factors taken into account in considering the annual housing investment programme allocations. Interim guidance draws on the lessons of the Green House programme and was issued in 1993 to help authorities and to show ways of maximising scope for cost- effective use of resources. It will be of enormous benefit. We should not consider only council housing. As we now have more diversified assisted housing programmes, we must also consider housing associations that fall within the same remit. The Housing Corporation's scheme on development standards sets out the corporation's requirements and recommendations for all housing projects that receive housing association grant. It is also the basis on which the corporation will assess associations' performance in developing housing projects. Associations will be required to demonstrate exactly what action they are taking. They must help people appreciate the extent of the programme required.
We should consider the domestic sector. I have particular admiration for the housing energy efficiency scheme, which provides low-income households with advice and grants for insulation and draught-proofing. More than 500,000 homes have been provided with insulation since the scheme began in 1991, which is a high progress rate. The provision of the home energy efficiency scheme for 1994-95 is to be almost doubled and extended to include all householders over the age of 60 and the disabled. Bearing in mind the fact that those people feel the cold most keenly, that will have a double benefit and I am sure that it will be greatly appreciated.
I should like to expand a little on the home energy efficiency scheme which provides grants for basic energy efficiency measures. It will pay for such measures as loft insulation, tank and pipe lagging, draught proofing and energy advice. In his Budget, my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor helpfully announced that provision for the home energy efficiency scheme was to be almost doubled and extended to pensioners.
It being half-past Two o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.
Order for Second Reading read .
Second Reading deferred till Friday 22 April .
Order for Second Reading read .
Second Reading deferred till Friday 22 April .
Order for Second Reading read .
Second Reading deferred till Friday 22 April .
Debate further adjourned till Friday 22 April .
Order for Second Reading read .
That, notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order No. 14 (Exempted business), the Speaker shall
(1) at the sitting on Monday 18th April put the Question on the Motion in the name of Mr. Secretary Gummer relating to Local Government not later than one and a half hours after it has been entered upon ; and
(2) at the sitting on Monday 25th April
(i) put the Question on the Motion in the name of Sir John Cope relating to Customs and Excise not later than one and a half hours after it has been entered upon ; and
(ii) put the Question on the Motion in the name of Mr. William Waldegrave relating to Government Trading Funds not later than Ten o'clock ;
and the first such Motion may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour.-- [Mr. MacKay.]
Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.-- [Mr. MacKay.]
Mr. Nigel Forman (Carshalton and Wallington) : My reasons for raising the case of my constituent, Mr. Gordon Warren, on the Adjournment are that it is the longest-running constituency case in my 18 years as a Member of Parliament. I have attempted on many occasions to get a just and lasting settlement for Mr. Warren during 12 of those 18 years. I would have dropped the case long ago, as my constituent urged me to do several times, had I not been convinced of the injustice done to him and the moral strength of his cause. I am making this final parliamentary attempt to clinch a just and lasting settlement for my constituent. I hope and believe that the debate will make a decisive difference.
I shall offer a brief history of the case, which should be of interest to the Minister and the House. The whole sorry saga began in April 1982 when PC Gordon Warren, as he then was, refused to attend an improper all-night party at Sutton police station. Mr. Warren was subsequently penalised for his proper behaviour and retired from the force not long after.
In July 1982, an inference was drawn that he was mentally ill. That was done in his annual qualification report written by then Inspector Bourne- Taylor. In January 1985, a medical certificate on Mr. Warren was signed by a Dr. Bott, medical officer of the Metropolitan police, which alleged that my constituent was mentally ill. In January 1986, another medical certificate, which was subsequently found by the High Court to be unlawful, was signed by the same Dr. Bott stating that my constituent suffered from personality disorder and paranoid tendencies.
Having tried repeatedly with my help over those early years to get a satisfactory solution via political pressure on the Metropolitan police and on successive Home Secretaries in their role as police authority for the Metropolitan police, my constituent understandably chose to explore the possibilities of a legal remedy through the courts. That led him to take the matter to the High Court in May 1988 where, at the end of the hearing, he was awarded about £12,000 in damages for wrongful dismissal from the force, and his taxed costs. In parenthesis, I should say that the Metropolitan police tried to settle the case in 1988, before it went to court, with an offer of £70,000 damages plus costs, which would have included £33,700 allocated from Mr. Warren's commuted pension, to which he had substantially contributed over the years.
That out-of-court offer was not acceptable to my constituent because, had he accepted it, he would have been bought off partly with his own money and he did not consider the sum to be adequate compensation for all that he had suffered at the hands of the Metropolitan police.
In June 1989, Mr. Warren took his case to the Court of Appeal, when he was awarded a further £3,500 damages and the Lord Justices made some deservedly complimentary remarks about him. Subsequently, my constituent sought my help again, in the hope that the pressure that could be exerted by his Member of Parliament would make a positive difference. The upshot was that in November 1990, the Metropolitan police offered Mr. Warren an ex
Column 614gratia payment of £50,000 to settle the grievance and to compensate for the harm done to him. Once again, that was not acceptable to Mr. Warren.
With my further help, pressure on the Metropolitan police was renewed, with the result that their ex gratia offer increased to £70, 000 in the summer of 1991 following my strong representations to the then Commissioner, Sir Peter Imbert.
Once again, my constituent understandably felt that that was another example of too little, too late--one characteristic of the whole sad story. Mr. Warren rejected the offer, not least because the suggested terms of the apology that was to accompany the payment were not adequate. At my constituent's request, I renewed my efforts after the 1992 general election.
The result of sustained pressure from me and others since then is the Metropolitan police's latest offer, made in February this year, of an ex gratia payment of £85,000 coupled with a certificate of service signed by Commissioner Condon, stating that Mr. Warren's police service had been exemplary, together with an endorsement of the earlier apology offered by Commissioner Imbert accepting that there was no truth in the allegations made against Mr. Warren and offering a full, unqualified apology.
Such progress as has been made towards a fair and final settlement owes much to the efforts of Sergeant Mike Bennett of the Metropolitan Joint Branch Board ; Rev. Clive Taylor, former chaplain to the Metropolitan police ; Dr. Ian Smith, my constituent's general practitioner ; and Mr. Tony Judge, editor of the magazine Police . Sergeant Bennett wrote in Police Review :
"Gordon Warren's problem stems from a combination of the intransigence of those in authority, who have stuck together, and an ex-constable who had the effrontery to take them on."
Mr. Judge wrote in Police :
"To this select band of brave, infuriating misfits, let me welcome Gordon Warren. By now, many of you will have heard the name. He was driven out of the Met after 28 years' unblemished and unblamed service, on a specious diagnosis of paranoia. It took him four years to get the High Court to overturn that disgraceful decision and award him a paltry £12,000 damages."
My constituent has for his part accepted that if a satisfactory package of apology, certificate and ex gratia payment can be put together, he will give his written undertaking not to pursue the matter further. The components of the possible settlement have been clearly identified by me and others. For clarification, they are a suitably generous ex gratia payment commensurate with the harm done to my constituent and the length of time that he suffered both physically and mentally ; a certificate of exemplary service signed by Commissioner Condon ; an endorsement by Commissioner Condon of the apology earlier offered by Commissioner Imbert ; and, if all the foregoing are achieved, a written undertaking from Mr. Warren not to pursue the matter further. Obviously that fourth element is most important. I feel sure that when my hon. Friend the Minister catches your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, he will think that those are the right and just elements in any final settlement.
The real issue now, therefore, hinges first on the terms of the apology, which must be unqualified and explicitly recognise the wrong that the Metropolitan police has done to its former employee and my constituent, and secondly
Column 615on the level of the ex gratia payment in compensation to Mr. Warren, which must be sufficiently generous for the reasons that I stated. I must leave the appropriate words of the apology for my constituent to agree, in consultation with representatives of the Metropolitan police. As to the sum of public money involved in the ex gratia payment, I have always pressed for a generous sum : first, to take full account of the harm done to my constituent by this long and tragic saga ; secondly, to give the Metropolitan police a sporting chance to settle the matter once and for all and thus put behind them one of the shabbier episodes in their history.
My constituent, for his part, has always assured me that it is his personal honour and integrity that he wants recognised in a just and final settlement, and that he has not pursued his own cause for so long simply, or even principally, for material recompense. In the light of those factors and the fact that the final draft letter of apology--of which I have a copy --for Commissioner Condon's signature, is, in my eyes, fair, generous and unqualified, I believe that it should be possible, even after so many years of strife and misunderstanding, for men and women of integrity and good will to resolve this sad case once and for all.
To my way of thinking, the final paragraph of the letter, to which I have referred, strikes the right tone of accuracy, justice and humility on the part of the Metropolitan police. I very much hope, therefore, that Mr. Warren will be able to accept it as the key part of the overall settlement. For the avoidance of doubt, and for the interest of the House, I will quote the last paragraph of the letter that would come from Commissioner Condon. It reads :
"The Metropolitan Police Service fully accepts that there was no truth in the allegations that you were mentally ill."
"you" referring, not to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but to my constituent, Mr. Warren
"In spite of the various efforts which have been made to correct matters, it is clear that you are entitled to a full apology which I unreservedly give."
Before I close, there is one aspect of the matter that I must place on record, at the repeated request of Mr. Warren. It concerns what did or did not happen to the allegations that he made, as long ago as 1983, against Inspector Bourne-Taylor, who was in charge of Sutton police station on the night of the improper party in April 1982 ; against Chief Superintendent Rideout, who was then the superior officer involved in subsequent decisions on the incident ; and against Dr. Bott, the chief medical officer of the Metropolitan police, who signed the defamatory and untrue medical certificates relating to Mr. Warren. The key questions, to which my constituent has never been given satisfactory answers are these.
First, were Mr. Warren's 1983 allegations against those three individuals officially recorded and fully investigated ? Secondly, was an investigating officer appointed, and did that officer give him an opportunity to make a full statement and hand over evidence supporting his allegations ? Thirdly, was Mr. Warren informed of the result of those investigations in any way ?
If my hon. Friend is not in a position today to provide those answers, I should be grateful if he would use his good offices to get answers to me and my constituent in due course.
In conclusion, at the end of this sorry saga, I hope that the Metropolitan police will swallow their misplaced institutional pride, and keep their own legal department
Column 616firmly under control, and that the Commissioner will seize this opportunity finally to revolve the issue on an honourable and fair basis. I pay tribute to those in the Metropolitan police--there have been many--who have striven for a fair settlement, but I cannot end without censuring the deplorable action of Inspector Bourne- Taylor, Chief Superintendent Rideout--as he then was--and Dr. Bott, who were the three individuals most directly responsible for this long catalogue of injustice to my constituent.
The main thing that my hon. Friend can do is strongly to advise our right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary, who is, of course, the police authority for the metropolis, to use all his influence to clinch the sort of settlement package that I have outlined, including, notably, a financial payment at a level sufficiently high to serve the interests of natural justice.
I thank my hon. Friend the Minister for listening so attentively to what I had to say and I look forward to hearing from him a constructive and helpful response which will serve to bring relief to my constituent and restore to the Metropolitan police the reputation for fair and honourable treatment of their employees, which has been badly tarnished in this case.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Charles Wardle) : I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member foCarshalton and Wallington (Mr. Forman) for setting out so clearly and lucidly the case of his constituent, Mr. Gordon Warren. Mr. Warren will, I feel sure, appreciate the sustained support that my hon. Friend has given him throughout his long-running dispute with the Metropolitan police. I do not doubt that all hon. Members try to support their constituents whenever they feel that they have a legitimate grievance, but my hon. Friend sets an example to all of us by the energy, commitment and attention to detail that he has shown in this case.
My hon. Friend has already said that this is the longest-lasting grievance in his constituency files, dating back more than a dozen years. The matter is indeed complex and entangled, and I fear that what I have to say in reply to him may not allow his second oldest constituency case immediately to take the place of Mr. Warren's, but I hope that, on reflection, he and Mr. Warren may feel that the elements of a fair and reasonable settlement have finally moved into place and that this debate has acted as the catalyst for their successful combination.
There is not the time, nor I think the need, for me to rehearse the entire history of this very regrettable case or to go over all the ground that has been covered so well by my hon. Friend. There is now substantial agreement among all the parties where it matters. I believe that I owe it to my hon. Friend and his constituent to put that consensus on the record today.
First, there is complete agreement that Mr. Warren served with great credit throughout his career with the Metropolitan police. As my hon. Friend said, the Commissioner has made plain his intention to provide Mr. Warren with a certificate of service, again confirming his exemplary conduct. There is no question about that.
Secondly, there is complete agreement that Mr. Warren's compulsory retirement in 1986 resulted from a
Column 617medical certificate that was not sustainable in law. Moreover, there is complete acceptance of the decision of the medical referees that he was not mentally ill, despite what may have been implied in a staff report prepared about him, or as was certified by the Metropolitan police's chief medical officer.
Thirdly, and this follows clearly and absolutely from the first and second points that I have enunciated, it is accepted by all parties that Mr. Warren was unfairly treated and unlawfully retired from the Metropolitan police. His initial complaint was not properly handled, and I think that that is accepted by everyone.
The Metropolitan police were fundamentally responsible for the chain of events which led to Mr. Warren's unlawful retirement. They accept that fact, as does my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary as the police authority for the Metropolitan police, and so do the Government. Nor is there any question but that Mr. Warren should have redress : the question is precisely what and precisely how much.
There is an important fourth point that cannot and should not be overlooked and which I hope that Mr. Warren will accept must form part of the consensus. I refer to the fact that the whole matter of the unlawful retirement, including the investigation of Mr. Warren's formal complaint in 1983, was examined by the High Court in 1988 and the Court of Appeal in 1989. The courts examined the conduct of the Metropolitan police and of Mr. Warren during the events surrounding his unlawful retirement. The judgment of the courts, which took account of the way in which the Metropolitan police handled Mr. Warren's complaints, must be central to deciding the form and content of the redress that Mr. Warren should receive.
I hope that that addresses the point made by my hon. Friend in the latter stages of his speech. If there is any room for doubt after I have concluded my remarks, I shall write to my hon. Friend to offer further clarification.
The point is simply this. Mr. Warren has had the judgment of the highest courts in the land. They have awarded him compensation for injustice. What we are debating today is an offer of settlement over and above what the High Court and the Court of Appeal awarded. The final part of the consensus is that there should be two main elements--we have discussed the certificate already--to the final settlement between the Metropolitan police and Mr. Warren : first, an admission of fault and an apology by the Commissioner clearing Mr. Warren's good name ; secondly, financial compensation.
First, with regard to the money element, in 1987 Mr. Warren was offered, with Home Office approval, as my hon. Friend has said, an ex gratia settlement of £70,000, of which approximately £34,000 represented commuted pension. The offer was rejected and Mr. Warren pursued his case by way of judicial review before the High Court. The court agreed, and the Metropolitan police accepted, that Mr. Warren had been unlawfully retired on medical grounds, but it refused to order reinstatement or to award exemplary or aggravated damages. Instead, he was awarded some £13,000 compensation for loss of overtime and earnings on top of the pension and payments already accepted.
Mr. Warren appealed to the Court of Appeal, seeking
Column 618reinstatement and further damages. In 1989, the appeal was dismissed, though a further payment of £3,500 was ordered by the court. The Court of Appeal concluded that
"in the circumstances of the case a modest sum would be proper". Lord Justice Balcombe went on to say directly to Mr. Warren : "Looking at this case, as we have done, objectively, while I think we all appreciate the grievances you have felt . . . the police have behaved very properly after the initial problem was recognised." Lord Justice Balcombe also referred to what he hoped was a recognition on Mr. Warren's part that there are
"two sides to this particular story".
Mr. Warren was refused leave to appeal to the House of Lords both by the Court of Appeal and, directly, by the House of Lords. Mr. Warren was not, apparently, content with the judgment of the courts and he returned to a direct approach to the Metropolitan police. He sought an ex gratia payment. In November 1990, following careful consideration of the history of the case, an offer of £50,000 was made. Mr. Warren rejected the offer.
Mr. Warren and my hon. Friend then took the matter up with the then Home Secretary. A further full review of the case followed, as a result of which the then Commissioner concluded, and the Home Office agreed, that although there was no legal liability, it would be right to increase the offer to £70,000. This was a very generous offer, exceeding by far the sums contemplated by the High Court and the Court of Appeal, and including provision for Mr. Warren's legal costs and a generous supplement to the sum already awarded for loss of earnings and overtime. Mr. Warren again rejected the offer. It is essentially that final offer, uprated to take account of inflation, which was placed on the table again in February this year in a further attempt to resolve the matter. The uprating brought the final offer up to £85,000.
I am afraid that my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary and I have gone as far as we can in authorising expenditure from the Metropolitan police fund. We have gone much further than the courts, and we have certainly gone further than reimbursement for loss of earnings and overtime. There is no possibility of going further. I trust that my hon. Friend will accept that if we were to do so we would risk flouting the judgment of the Court of Appeal as to what would be proper in the case.
With regard to the terms of the apology on which my hon. Friend expanded so helpfully, the position is straightforward. The Commissioner rightly wishes to offer Mr. Warren a full apology, endorsing what was earlier offered by Sir Peter Imbert and making it absolutely clear that, as the Court of Appeal put it, authority failed in its duty of fairness to Mr. Warren.
Mr. Warren received, in confidence, a draft of an apology. As my hon. Friend has said, Mr. Warren wrote to the Metropolitan police complaining that the terms of what was sent to him were not what he had been led to expect. The difficulty here, I believe, arose not because of any breach of good faith. I hope that Mr. Warren will accept, as is indeed the case, that the Commissioner had no wish to water down the terms of the apology.
I understand that the Metropolitan police have reconsidered the detailed wording of the apology to see whether a more acceptable formulation can be arrived at. I believe that it has been possible to adjust the wording in a way which fully reflects the Commissioner's wish to give
Column 619Mr. Warren the apology he deserves. The House will have noted the passage from the final draft letter that my hon. Friend quoted a few moments ago.
I very much hope that what I have said today, followed by an amended apology together with the certificate of exemplary service and £85,000, will prove acceptable to Mr. Warren. Although, as I have said, the Department
Column 620cannot properly approve any increase to the sum on offer, we stand ready to offer all the help we can to my hon. Friend and to his constituent in bringing this very regrettable affair to a satisfactory conclusion as soon as possible.
Question put and agreed to.
Adjourned accordingly at five minutes to Three o'clock.
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