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holding centres. It is not a question of what the Chief Constable wants. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State and I have to make very careful judgments. We have to weigh up all the issues. On some occasions, we disagree with what the Chief Constable wants. Earlier tonight, my right hon. and learned Friend announced that some of the Chief Constable's proposals for the review of the law were not acceptable and gave reasons.

On the question of people detained for interview in holding centres, my right hon. and learned Friend and I are convinced that for the time being-- we keep the matter under review--there would be grave repercussions for the fight against terrorism if tapes of any kind were to find their way into the legal system. Those in custody would know it and would be fearful of the consequences of disobeying the instructions of their terrorist organisations not to co-operate with the police. That important consideration must weigh heavily with the House.

We have heard from many hon. Members about the horror and evil of terrorism in Northern Ireland and the indiscriminate killing there. It would be a serious error of judgment were we to disregard the level of that violence and the advice which the Chief Constable gives to my right hon. and learned Friend as his principal security adviser.

Mr. McNamara : What is different in principle between audio recordings in Paddington Green police station and those in Castlereagh police station for people accused of terrorist offences ?

Sir John Wheeler : I can help the hon. Gentleman with that. I am glad to learn that he has visited Castlereagh holding centre. It is important that hon. Members who are concerned with the issues should be able to see for themselves what goes on in that centre. There is no mystery about the operation of that centre or about the work of the RUC.

I suspect that the hon. Gentleman has not yet had the time to visit Paddington Green police station in my constituency--which I do regularly-- and discuss that very point with the police officers responsible for that establishment. The two police stations deal with totally different terrorist situations. People in Great Britain are not being murdered by terrorist gangs because of the information which they give to police. People in Northern Ireland are liable to be murdered by terrorist gangs.

That it is the principal reason why, for the time being, the advice that my right hon. and learned Friend and I are resolved to accept is that we should continue with the present arrangements for the safety of the people who are subject to that interview process.

Mr. Trimble : I wish merely to remind the right hon. Gentleman that he has only two minutes left. I posed a very important question to him concerning the interpretation of paragraph 10 of the joint declaration which he must deal with.

Sir John Wheeler : The hon. Gentleman did indeed raise that very important question which I shall come to at once in view of the time. I can confirm that for our part we stand by paragraph 10 of the joint declaration which calls for

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"a permanent end to the use of, or support for, paramilitary violence. They"

that is, the British and Irish Governments

"confirm that, in these circumstances, democratically mandated parties which establish a commitment to exclusively peaceful methods and which have shown that they abide by the democratic process are free to participate fully in democratic politics and to join in dialogue in due course between the Governments and the political parties on the way ahead."

I confirm to the hon. Gentleman the point which he seeks.

Mr. John D. Taylor : Will the right hon. Gentleman give way ?

Sir John Wheeler : I shall not give way now. The terrorists are Mr. John D. Taylor rose

Sir John Wheeler : I shall not give way, as I have but a minute left.

The terrorists are a small and unrepresentative minority of the people in Northern Ireland. They are abhorred by the overwhelming majority, both within Northern Ireland and further afield. They have nothing to say. They will not win. It is our duty, and one which we will not shirk in the defeat of terrorism

It being three hours after the motion was entered upon, Mr. Deputy Speaker- - put the Question, pursuant to order [19 May] :-- The House divided : Ayes 257, Noes 154.

Division No. 258] [11.28 pm


Aitken, Jonathan

Alexander, Richard

Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)

Allason, Rupert (Torbay)

Alton, David

Amess, David

Ancram, Michael

Arbuthnot, James

Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)

Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv)

Ashby, David

Atkins, Robert

Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)

Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)

Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North)

Baldry, Tony

Banks, Matthew (Southport)

Batiste, Spencer

Beggs, Roy

Bellingham, Henry

Bendall, Vivian

Beresford, Sir Paul

Biffen, Rt Hon John

Blackburn, Dr John G.

Bonsor, Sir Nicholas

Booth, Hartley

Boswell, Tim

Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)

Bowden, Andrew

Bowis, John

Brandreth, Gyles

Brazier, Julian

Bright, Graham

Brooke, Rt Hon Peter

Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)

Browning, Mrs. Angela

Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)

Burns, Simon

Burt, Alistair

Butler, Peter

Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)

Carlile, Alexander (Montgomry)

Carrington, Matthew

Carttiss, Michael

Cash, William

Clappison, James

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coe, Sebastian

Colvin, Michael

Congdon, David

Conway, Derek

Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)

Coombs, Simon (Swindon)

Couchman, James

Cran, James

Davies, Quentin (Stamford)

Davis, David (Boothferry)

Day, Stephen

Devlin, Tim

Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James

Dover, Den

Duncan, Alan

Duncan-Smith, Iain

Dunn, Bob

Durant, Sir Anthony

Elletson, Harold

Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)

Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)

Faber, David

Fabricant, Michael

Fenner, Dame Peggy

Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)

Fishburn, Dudley

Forman, Nigel

Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)

Forsythe, Clifford (Antrim S)

Forth, Eric

Foster, Don (Bath)

Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)

Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)

Freeman, Rt Hon Roger

French, Douglas

Gale, Roger

Gallie, Phil

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