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Sir Ivan Lawrence: That raises other problems and the right hon. Gentleman's comments do not meet the point that I am making. I am making a much simpler point and I need not repeat what I have just said. I am unhappy


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about this, but I understand that it is inevitable. Therefore, I reluctantly go along with the Government's response to the Opposition's suggestion.

I should like clarification on two points. First, speaking frankly and openly, we have been worried by the fact that too often solicitors may have told accused people to say nothing when, on many occasions, what they may have said could have been helpful to the defence. I wonder whether the problem of what solicitors shall say, bearing in mind the new caution, has been sorted out by the Law Society and its ethical committee. How far have those considerations progressed with the Law Society? Is it changing its rules and ethical obligations to conform with the changes proposed in the Bill? Secondly, regardless of how the caution works in Northern Ireland, no one can deny that it is quite convoluted. It can be simplified. I wonder whether the proposed caution is set in stone or whether it is open to wider consideration which might produce a shorter and simpler version. Modesty forbids me from suggesting one now, but I will quietly, perhaps in a letter, propose alternatives to my hon. Friend the Minister, and I hope that others will do likewise. It is obviously sensible that we should have as simple and as straightforward a caution as possible, particularly if we are not going to allow legal representation in certain circumstances.

Mr. Peter Hardy (Wentworth): In this brief intervention I want to refer to a constituency case which may be interpreted as suggesting that the right of silence should be expunged, but which I hope will convince the House that it is not that which should attract attention, but the need for common sense in the legal process.

Not very long ago, a man was caught breaking into the house of a constituent of mine. The police responded to a call with enormous speed and the man was caught red-handed burgling my constituent's home. When the police accosted him, he said "I am exercising my right of silence." When the papers went to the public prosecution office, it decided that it could not prosecute because that man was exercising the right of silence. The Minister may recall that I had correspondence with the Home Office on the matter which led, I believe, to its being reviewed.

It is not the existence of the right of silence that was wrong. What was wrong was that the court was denied the opportunity to hear that charge and perhaps ensure that the criminal who was sheltering behind the right of silence secured a rather tougher sentence for wasting public time and causing mayhem than was the case. I suggest that the Minister should advise the Crown Prosecution Service to allow the court to have the opportunity to exercise its judgment rather than remove a freedom which may be of considerable historic importance.

Question put, That the amendment to the Lords amendment be made:--

The House divided: Ayes 264, Noes 286.

Division No. 307] [7.00 pm

AYES


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Abbott, Ms Diane

Adams, Mrs Irene

Ainger, Nick

Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)


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Allen, Graham

Alton, David

Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)

Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale)


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Armstrong, Hilary

Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy

Ashton, Joe

Banks, Tony (Newham NW)

Barnes, Harry

Barron, Kevin

Battle, John

Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret

Beith, Rt Hon A. J.

Bell, Stuart

Benn, Rt Hon Tony

Bennett, Andrew F.

Benton, Joe

Bermingham, Gerald

Berry, Roger

Betts, Clive

Blair, Tony

Blunkett, David

Boateng, Paul

Boyes, Roland

Bradley, Keith

Bray, Dr Jeremy

Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E)

Brown, N. (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)

Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)

Burden, Richard

Byers, Stephen

Caborn, Richard

Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)

Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)

Campbell-Savours, D. N.

Canavan, Dennis

Cann, Jamie

Chidgey, David

Chisholm, Malcolm

Church, Judith

Clapham, Michael

Clark, Dr David (South Shields)

Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)

Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)

Clelland, David

Clwyd, Mrs Ann

Coffey, Ann

Cohen, Harry

Connarty, Michael

Cook, Robin (Livingston)

Corbett, Robin

Corbyn, Jeremy

Corston, Ms Jean

Cousins, Jim

Cunliffe, Lawrence

Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)

Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John

Dalyell, Tam

Darling, Alistair

Davidson, Ian

Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)

Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)

Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)

Denham, John

Dewar, Donald

Dixon, Don

Dobson, Frank

Donohoe, Brian H.

Dunnachie, Jimmy

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eastham, Ken

Enright, Derek

Etherington, Bill

Evans, John (St Helens N)

Fatchett, Derek

Field, Frank (Birkenhead)

Fisher, Mark

Flynn, Paul

Foster, Don (Bath)

Foster, Rt Hon Derek


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Foulkes, George

Fyfe, Maria

Galloway, George

Gapes, Mike

Garrett, John

George, Bruce

Gerrard, Neil

Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John

Godman, Dr Norman A.

Godsiff, Roger

Golding, Mrs Llin

Graham, Thomas

Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)

Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)

Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)

Grocott, Bruce

Gunnell, John

Hain, Peter

Hall, Mike

Hanson, David

Hardy, Peter

Harman, Ms Harriet

Harvey, Nick

Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy

Henderson, Doug

Heppell, John

Hill, Keith (Streatham)

Hinchliffe, David

Hodge, Margaret

Hoey, Kate

Hogg, Norman (Cumbernauld)

Home Robertson, John

Hood, Jimmy

Hoon, Geoffrey

Howarth, George (Knowsley N)

Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)

Hoyle, Doug

Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)

Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)

Hughes, Roy (Newport E)

Hutton, John

Illsley, Eric

Ingram, Adam

Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)

Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)

Janner, Greville

Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side)

Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)

Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)

Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)

Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)

Jowell, Tessa

Keen, Alan

Kennedy, Charles (Ross,C&S)

Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn)

Khabra, Piara S.

Kilfoyle, Peter

Kirkwood, Archy

Lestor, Joan (Eccles)

Lewis, Terry

Liddell, Mrs Helen

Litherland, Robert

Livingstone, Ken

Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)

Llwyd, Elfyn

Loyden, Eddie

Lynne, Ms Liz

Macdonald, Calum

Mackinlay, Andrew

Maclennan, Robert

MacShane, Denis

Madden, Max

Maddock, Diana

Mahon, Alice

Mandelson, Peter

Marek, Dr John


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