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Column 347Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy
Banks, Matthew (Southport)
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes
Bruce, Ian (Dorset)
Carlile, Alexander (Montgomery)
Carlisle, John (Luton North)
Channon, Rt Hon Paul
Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)
Donohoe, Brian H
Durant, Sir Anthony
Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)
Grant, Sir A (SW Cambs)
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Column 347Jessel, Toby
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
King, Rt Hon Tom
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Lawrence, Sir Ivan
Maitland, Lady Olga
Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Martin, Michael J (Springburn)
Mitchell, Sir David (NW Hants)
Neubert, Sir Michael
Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley
Porter, David (Waveney)
Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn
Ross, William (E Londonderry)
Shaw, David (Dover)
Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
Townend, John (Bridlington)
Townsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)
Twinn, Dr Ian
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)
Tellers for the Noes: Mr. David Wilshire and Mr. Julian Brazier.
Column 347Question accordingly agreed to.
Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Tony Banks, Mr. Tony Benn, Mr. Harry Cohen, Mr. Jeremy Corbyn, Ms Dawn Primarolo, Mr. Bill Etherington, Mrs. Anne Campbell, Mr. Chris Mullin and Mr. Alan Simpson.
Mr. Tony Banks accordingly presented a Bill to establish a national body to promote the health advantages of vegetarianism: And the same was read the First time; and ordered to be read a Second time upon Friday21 April, and to be printed. [Bill 78.]
That the draft Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989 (Continuance) Order 1995, which was laid before this House on 2nd March, be approved.
At the beginning of last year's debate, I said that successive Home Secretaries had looked forward to the time when they would no longer have to come to the House to argue for the continuation of the exceptional powers first introduced in 1974. I also noted that, for most of the intervening 20 years, that had been very much a hope rather than an expectation. By the time that I came to wind up our short debate last year, the IRA had reinforced the point by launching a number of mortar bombs at Heathrow airport, thereby endangering the lives of many people from this country and overseas.
For nearly six months after that debate, terrorist activity continued at a high level in both Great Britain and Northern Ireland. A further five members of the security forces were killed in Northern Ireland, and a further 96 were injured. On this side of the Irish sea, it was only the skilful interception at Heysham on 12 July of a trailer containing a two- tonne bomb that prevented untold destruction in one of our towns or cities.
Nine days later, a bag containing explosives and other bomb-making material was denied to terrorists only when a passenger on an Oxford-Reading train removed it in the hope that it might contain something more valuable.
As recently as 13 August, the IRA planted two bicycle bombs: one in Brighton, which was safely defused; and the other a device outside Woolworth's in a busy shopping street in Bognor. It was pure good fortune that the Bognor device, and the subsequent bomb found on 22 August in a litter bin outside Laura Ashley in Regent Street, did not produce the same tragic consequences as the two explosions in Bridge street, Warrington.
Since then, the IRA cessation of violence and the subsequent loyalist ceasefire have transformed the situation. For the first time for many years, the people of Northern Ireland can go about their daily business without fear of violence from republican or loyalist paramilitaries. For the first time for many years, the imminent threat of IRA violence in the towns and cities of Great Britain has receded.
The Government have done, and will continue to do, everything in their power to consolidate the ceasefire into a lasting peace. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced on 21 October that we were prepared to make a working assumption that the cessation was intended to be permanent and, accordingly, exploratory dialogue began between officials and representatives of Sinn Fein on 9 December. Shortly afterwards, exploratory dialogue with so-called loyalist groups began. Both sets of dialogue continue.
It remains the Government's earnest hope that those who have previously supported the use of violence to advance their cause can be brought fully and irrevocably
Column 349within the political process. That of course means that there needs to be substantial progress on the issue of decommissioning arms and explosives.
Sir Anthony Grant (Cambridgeshire, South-West): Has my right hon. and learned Friend read the extraordinary report that Mr. Adams and various IRA people are bringing a case in the European Court to claim vast sums of damages for being excluded from this country? Is he aware that that has caused outrage among my constituents, and no doubt many other people, who feel that it would be monstrous if huge sums of the taxpayer's money were extracted by those people, after all the misery and suffering that they have caused for years? Can my right hon. and learned Friend give us some reassurance about that?
Mr. Howard: I can understand the outrage to which my hon. Friend refers. The case was brought in the courts of the United Kingdom. It has been referred, on a point of law, to the European Court of Justice. Reports that the European Commission has made
representations in support of the Adams claim are inaccurate. There is an exception in the provisions in the European treaty for free movement of people, for purposes of maintaining security, and I therefore do not share the opinions that have been expressed, in the newspaper reports to which my hon. Friend referred, about the likely outcome of that case.
Mr. Bernard Jenkin (Colchester, North) rose --
Mr. John Greenway (Ryedale) rose --
Mr. John Greenway: The speech of my right hon. and learned Friend thus far and the most recent intervention have been about terrorism emanating from Ireland, and possibly from Northern Ireland, spreading into the rest of the United Kingdom. Does he agree, however, that there is great anxiety about the terrorist threat from outside the United Kingdom in respect of other matters?
Is it not the case that the two outrages in the past year, which have involved the serious injury of no less than 18 people, were not the work of the IRA but of an entirely different terrorist threat? In York and Harrogate, no less than five incendiary devices were activated, which were believed to be the work of the animal rights movement.
Obviously, we need those powers, regardless of the continuing peace process in Northern Ireland, which of course we all want.
Mr. Howard: My hon. Friend is absolutely right to draw attention to the continuing danger from terrorism, quite apart from Northern Irish terrorism. I agree that we shall certainly need powers to tackle terrorism on a permanent basis. Whether they would need to be precisely the same powers that we have needed in the past 20 years is a matter that falls for consideration. When the appropriate time has been reached, that matter will be given the consideration that it deserves.
Several hon. Members rose --
Column 350noticed that there is to be a lifting of exclusion orders as Her Majesty's Government seek to respond to what is happening. Does the Home Secretary agree that, although the Ulster Unionist party has disagreed with the concept of temporary exile within the United Kingdom, the IRA-Sinn Fein have not lifted any of the exclusion orders that they have imposed on the people that they have expelled from their homes-- never mind the hundreds that they have expelled from earth?
Mr. Howard: I agree with the hon. Gentleman, and let me give him an assurance. The decisions that have been taken about individual exclusion orders by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and those decisions that I have taken, which I shall explain to the House in a moment or two, have been taken on security grounds, and on no other grounds, and will continue to be taken on precisely that basis, and that basis alone. Several hon. Members rose --
Mr. Terry Dicks (Hayes and Harlington): Will my right hon. and learned Friend give the House an assurance that, irrespective of what any European Court says about Mr. Adams and his allegation that he has lost his rights by being denied entry, this Government, our Government, my Government, will take no notice, will flatly refuse to recognise his so- called rights and flatly refuse to pay him, or any of his ilk, any money at all?