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Mr. Alun Michael (Cardiff, South and Penarth): We have no option.

Mr. Howard: They will vote in that way not because, as the hon. Gentleman just said, they have no option, but because, as the hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble) pointed out, their leaders do not have the courage to face out their Back Benchers who will never support this legislation. If people ever want to know how a Labour Government would behave, they should study carefully the Labour party's attitude to this legislation, and they will find no better or more accurate guide.

The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) made a characteristic speech, although it was not always clear to me whether he was supporting the order. I suggest that the order itself is the strongest indication of the Government's determination to protect the security of the people of the United Kingdom--those in Northern Ireland and those in Great Britain. That is what the powers in the order are all about, and that is why I am asking the House to renew its provisions this evening.

The hon. Gentleman raised one issue in particular that I should like to explain. It was in relation to Mr. Rowe's report on the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The hon. Gentleman suggested that my approach was different from that of my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Secretary. However, my right hon. and learned Friend's answer of 17 February to which the hon. Gentleman referred was about a different report by Mr. Rowe--his separate report on the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1991--which was substantially completed before the ceasefire. Indeed, that report did not fully take account of the new situation, but

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the more recently completed review of the PTA emphatically does so. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will take that explanation on board. The right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith), like the hon. Member for Upper Bann, asked for further consideration to be given to judicial involvement in the detention and exclusion procedures. I understand the concerns that lie behind that request. Both hon. Gentlemen said that they were sure that a way could be found to achieve that, but did not identify that way.

That is the difficulty--a real, practical difficulty--to which no solution has been found by any independent reviewers who have considered such matters in the past. It is easy to say, "A way must be found," but less easy to find and identify it. I have examined the matter myself and come to the conclusion that the difficulties in the path of finding the solution are indeed formidable. I do not believe that they could easily be overcome.

There was great strength in the intervention by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King). We must always be keen in these matters to avoid confusing form with substance, and I think that there is a considerable danger of our doing so. Mr. Rowe got it right when he talked in his report about the need to avoid a situation in which a procedure was regarded as judicial simply because the person carrying it out was a judge. There is a great deal of force in that observation.

Mr. Trimble: I thank the Secretary of State for giving way, especially as time is short. The right hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King) was referring to how the problems were avoided in France where there can be a judicial review with extensive detention. To pray in aid what the right hon. Gentleman said in fact points up the fact that there is a solution if only the Home Secretary looks to France.

Mr. Howard: I confess that I understood my right hon. Friend's intervention in an entirely different way. He was pointing out that we have the substance, which achieves the maximum protection of the liberties of the individual by the strict limit--a matter of days--that we place on detention of this kind, whereas other countries may have more of the form. However, if one looks at the substance and finds that someone can be detained for two years in some circumstances, one can but conclude that this country's approach is far superior on every count, including that of protecting the liberties of the individual.

Mr. Mallon: Is it not the case that, where the judgment is being made on intelligence, not evidence, a judicial review will not work, and that, where the judgment is being made on evidence, there is no call for the judicial review? The problem is that people are being held for seven days, not on evidence but on intelligence.

Mr. Howard: The hon. Gentleman misunderstands the entire basis for these provisions. If there is evidence, people are taken before a court and convicted, but, in the kind of emergency that we have been facing, one has to take action against people where there is no evidence that would warrant a conviction, but where there is intelligence on which one must act if one wants to save lives. That is the reason that we take action based on intelligence, and that is why it is not susceptible to a judicial process.

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I was sorry that the hon. Gentleman took the line he did, and that he criticised Mr. Rowe and his report. There was no basis for the strictures that he passed on Mr. Rowe, and I hope that he will reconsider his attitude. I fear that the attitude that he displayed demonstrates just how far there is to go before we have a true meeting of minds on the future of Northern Ireland. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will reconsider his position.

The speech by the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) was the most muddled to which the House has been treated for a very long time. He was completely unable to explain why he was inviting his party to vote against the measure. He cannot take issue with its provisions, but is inviting his party to vote against it for a reason that has nothing to do with the measure itself, and nothing to do with the powers contained in the order.

He is inviting his party to vote against it because he says that he wants some different kind of review now, rather than at the appropriate time. It was a disgraceful speech, on a fundamental matter affecting the safety and security of the people of this country, and is explicable only on the basis that the leadership of his party is not prepared to face out those Labour Back Benchers who would never vote for legislation of this kind.

It was not without significance that the only contributions from Back-Bench Labour Members were from those who are opposed root and branch to the legislation. That is the truth that lies behind the fine words of Labour Front-Bench Members. We will not be deflected from our determination to take whatever measures are necessary to protect the lives and security of the people of this United Kingdom. That is why I commend the order to the House.

Question put:--

The House divided: Ayes 314, Noes 212.

Division No. 98] [7.00 pm


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Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)

Aitken, Rt Hon Jonathan

Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)

Alton, David

Amess, David

Arbuthnot, James

Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv)

Ashby, David

Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy

Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E)

Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)

Baker, Rt Hon Kenneth (Mole V)

Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)

Baldry, Tony

Banks, Matthew (Southport)

Banks, Robert (Harrogate)

Bates, Michael

Batiste, Spencer

Beggs, Roy

Beith, Rt Hon A J

Bellingham, Henry

Bendall, Vivian

Beresford, Sir Paul

Biffen, Rt Hon John

Booth, Hartley

Boswell, Tim

Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)

Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia

Bowden, Sir Andrew

Bowis, John

Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes

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Brandreth, Gyles

Brazier, Julian

Bright, Sir Graham

Brooke, Rt Hon Peter

Brown, M (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)

Browning, Mrs Angela

Bruce, Ian (Dorset)

Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)

Budgen, Nicholas

Burns, Simon

Burt, Alistair

Butcher, John

Butler, Peter

Butterfill, John

Carlile, Alexander (Montgomery)

Carlisle, John (Luton North)

Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Lincoln)

Carrington, Matthew

Carttiss, Michael

Cash, William

Channon, Rt Hon Paul

Clappison, James

Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)

Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ru'clif)

Coe, Sebastian

Conway, Derek

Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)

Coombs, Simon (Swindon)

Cope, Rt Hon Sir John

Cormack, Sir Patrick

Couchman, James

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Cran, James

Davies, Quentin (Stamford)

Davis, David (Boothferry)

Day, Stephen

Deva, Nirj Joseph

Devlin, Tim

Dicks, Terry

Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen

Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James

Dover, Den

Duncan, Alan

Duncan-Smith, Iain

Dunn, Bob

Durant, Sir Anthony

Dykes, Hugh

Eggar, Rt Hon Tim

Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)

Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)

Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)

Evennett, David

Faber, David

Fabricant, Michael

Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)

Fishburn, Dudley

Forsyth, Rt Hon Michael (Stirling)

Forsythe, Clifford (S Antrim)

Forth, Eric

Foster, Don (Bath)

Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)

Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)

Freeman, Rt Hon Roger

French, Douglas

Gale, Roger

Gallie, Phil

Gardiner, Sir George

Garnier, Edward

Gill, Christopher

Gillan, Cheryl

Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles

Gorman, Mrs Teresa

Gorst, Sir John

Grant, Sir A (SW Cambs)

Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)

Greenway, John (Ryedale)

Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)

Grylls, Sir Michael

Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn

Hague, William

Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archibald

Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)

Hampson, Dr Keith

Hanley, Rt Hon Jeremy

Hannam, Sir John

Hargreaves, Andrew

Harris, David

Harvey, Nick

Haselhurst, Alan

Hawkins, Nick

Hawksley, Warren

Hayes, Jerry

Heald, Oliver

Heath, Rt Hon Sir Edward

Heathcoat-Amory, David

Hendry, Charles

Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael

Hicks, Robert

Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence

Hill, James (Southampton Test)

Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)

Horam, John

Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter

Howard, Rt Hon Michael

Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)

Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)

Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)

Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)

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