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Mrs. Currie: This has been a superb debate, showing the House of Commons at its very best. I would like to thank those hon. Members from both sides of the House who have expressed their support for the new clause. The matter is already before the European Court of Human Rights, which we helped set up four decades ago.[Hon. Members: "What about democracy?"] I say to my hon. Friends that I agree with them. I would rather that this House decided on the issue. The Committee has the power to do so, and it should decide tonight.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:--

The House divided: Ayes 120, Noes 188.

Division No. 125
[9.07 pm


Allen, Graham
Alton, David
Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale)
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy
Barnes, Harry
Barron, Kevin
Battle, John
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Bennett, Andrew F
Bermingham, Gerald
Betts, Clive
Boateng, Paul
Bowden, Sir Andrew
Bradley, Keith
Bray, Dr Jeremy
Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E)
Brown, M (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)
Brown, N (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Burden, Richard
Byers, Stephen
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)
Carlile, Alexander (Montgomery)
Carrington, Matthew
Chidgey, David
Chisholm, Malcolm
Clark, Dr David (South Shields)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Coffey, Ann
Corbett, Robin
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)
Darling, Alistair
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)
Denham, John
Dobson, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Etherington, Bill
Fatchett, Derek
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Fisher, Mark
Foster, Don (Bath)
Fraser, John
Fyfe, Maria
Galloway, George
Garrett, John
Gerrard, Neil
Godman, Dr Norman A
Godsiff, Roger
Gordon, Mildred
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Harman, Ms Harriet
Harvey, Nick
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Hayes, Jerry
Heppell, John
Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)
Howarth, George (Knowsley North)
Hoyle, Doug
Hughes, Robert G (Harrow W)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)
Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)
Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)
Jowell, Tessa
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Kennedy, Charles (Ross,C&S)
Kirkwood, Archy
Lestor, Joan (Eccles)
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Loyden, Eddie
McFall, John
Mackinlay, Andrew
Maclennan, Robert
McMaster, Gordon
McNamara, Kevin
Madden, Max
Martlew, Eric
Meacher, Michael
Michael, Alun
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Milburn, Alan
Miller, Andrew
Morris, Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Paul
O'Brien, Mike (N W'kshire)
Pike, Peter L
Pope, Greg
Prentice, Bridget (Lew'm E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo, Dawn
Quin, Ms Joyce
Rendel, David
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent)
Salmond, Alex
Scott, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Sedgemore, Brian
Short, Clare
Simpson, Alan
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Andrew (Oxford East)
Smith, Chris (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Straw, Jack
Timms, Stephen
Tyler, Paul
Vaz, Keith
Wallace, James
Watson, Mike
Wray, Jimmy

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Tony Banks and
Mr. Harry Cohen.


Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)
Alexander, Richard
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)
Amess, David
Arbuthnot, James
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)
Baldry, Tony
Banks, Matthew (Southport)
Bellingham, Henry
Beresford, Sir Paul
Booth, Hartley
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)
Bowis, John
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes
Brandreth, Gyles
Brazier, Julian
Bright, Sir Graham
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Browning, Mrs Angela
Burt, Alistair
Carlisle, John (Luton North)
Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Lincoln)
Carttiss, Michael
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Coe, Sebastian
Colvin, Michael
Congdon, David
Conway, Derek
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)
Cope, Rt Hon Sir John
Couchman, James
Cran, James
Davies, Quentin (Stamford)
Day, Stephen
Dixon, Don
Dover, Den
Duncan, Alan
Dunn, Bob
Durant, Sir Anthony
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)
Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)
Evans, Roger (Monmouth)
Evennett, David
Faber, David
Fabricant, Michael
Fenner, Dame Peggy
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Fishburn, Dudley
Forman, Nigel
Forth, Eric
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Freeman, Rt Hon Roger
French, Douglas
Gale, Roger
Garnier, Edward
George, Bruce
Gill, Christopher
Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Gorst, Sir John
Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)
Grylls, Sir Michael
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archibald
Hanley, Rt Hon Jeremy
Hannam, Sir John
Hargreaves, Andrew
Harris, David
Hawkins, Nick
Hawksley, Warren
Heald, Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Hendry, Charles
Horam, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)
Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Jack, Michael
Key, Robert
King, Rt Hon Tom
Kirkhope, Timothy
Knapman, Roger
Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Knight, Rt Hon Greg (Derby N)
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Lawrence, Sir Ivan
Legg, Barry
Lennox-Boyd, Sir Mark
Lewis, Terry
Lidington, David
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Lord, Michael
Luff, Peter
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
MacKay, Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Madel, Sir David
Maitland, Lady Olga
Malone, Gerald
Mans, Keith
Marlow, Tony
Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Mellor, Rt Hon David
Merchant, Piers
Mills, Iain
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Mitchell, Sir David (NW Hants)
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Moss, Malcolm
Nelson, Anthony
Neubert, Sir Michael
Nicholls, Patrick
Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Norris, Steve
Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Patnick, Sir Irvine
Patten, Rt Hon John
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Pawsey, James
Pickles, Eric
Porter, David (Waveney)
Rathbone, Tim
Reid, Dr John
Richards, Rod
Riddick, Graham
Robathan, Andrew
Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn
Ross, William (E Londonderry)
Rumbold, Rt Hon Dame Angela
Sackville, Tom
Sainsbury, Rt Hon Sir Timothy
Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian
Shepherd, Sir Colin (Hereford)
Shersby, Sir Michael
Skeet, Sir Trevor
Snape, Peter
Soames, Nicholas
Spellar, John
Spencer, Sir Derek
Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset)
Spicer, Sir Michael (S Worcs)
Spink, Dr Robert
Steen, Anthony
Stephen, Michael
Streeter, Gary
Sweeney, Walter
Sykes, John
Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy (Southend, E)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomason, Roy
Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Townsend, Cyril D (Bexl'yh'th)
Turner, Dennis
Viggers, Peter
Walden, George
Waller, Gary
Ward, John
Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Watts, John
Wells, Bowen
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Ann
Wiggin, Sir Jerry
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)
Wolfson, Mark
Wood, Timothy
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Simon Burns and
Dr. Liam Fox.

Question accordingly negatived.

9 May 1996 : Column 512


Amendment made: No. 80, in line 5, leave out 'fingerprinting of' and insert

'taking of fingerprints and samples from'.--[Mr. Soames.]

Bill reported, with amendments.

Order for Third Reading read.--[Queen's Consent, on behalf of the Crown, signified.]

Motion made, and Question proposed,That the Bill be now read the Third time.--[Mr. Soames.]

9.19 pm

Mr. Cohen: There are issues that show that, contrary to what the Minister would have us believe, all is not fine in the armed forces. I shall concentrate on one example--racism. The Commission for Racial Equality recently issued a report on the Household Cavalry, about which there was subsequently a formal investigation. That report has not been mentioned during the Bill's passage, but it should have been properly dealt with by the Minister.

I have a summary of the report. It points out that the Household Cavalry ran its own mobile display team, which visited primarily small rural towns that were

The Household Cavalry recruited through regimental associations that tended

Its recruiters were also largely located

9 May 1996 : Column 513

The Household Cavalry recruited purely a white force, which became apparent in the number--it was nil--of its ethnic minority recruits. The summary states:

    The weight of evidence was that some at least of these had been steered away to other regiments."

A key point is:

The summary goes on to state:

    An ethnic minority applicant was deterred by others telling him not to go into the Guards because 'they hate blacks'.

    One ethnic minority recruit to the Household Cavalry in the mid 1980s had experienced a 'barrage of racism' during his training and afterwards.

    In the year after the CRE launched the investigation, there were three ethnic minority recruits to the Household Cavalry, reversing the total absence in the preceding five years."

Later, the summary states:

Corporal Malcolm, who subsequently made the complaint--

The CRE concludes:

    "that the Commanding Officer had, in effect, given an unlawful discriminatory instruction to the officer in command of the REME detachment."

That was a scathing report on the racism existing in the Household Cavalry.

I know that the British Army, through the Ministry of Defence, is now committed to a five-year programme of measures to promote racial equality, which is to be implemented in close liaison with the CRE, but that two-year examination of the Household Cavalry found that there had been racial discrimination in recruitment and transfers, and racial abuse and harassment in individual cases.

The Ministry of Defence almost had racial equality measures imposed on it. Only after discussions did it agree to introduce them voluntarily. It had to sign a formal agreement that it would.

I put it to the Minister that the report was damning, the action is now extremely late and implementation of racial equality measures in the Army should be treated as a matter of urgency. The same applies to the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy, which should fall into line quickly with action, programmes and policies of their own to end racial discrimination. I know that, if that does not happen, the Ministry risks having a non-discrimination notice imposed on it next year. It is important that it implements racial equality measures. In its press release in response to the report on the Household Cavalry, the Campaign for Racial Equality said:

9 May 1996 : Column 514

There have been appalling cases of racism in the armed forces. I have examples of plenty of them. An article in The Guardian of 5 March gave many. A man called Scott Enion, who fought in the Gulf with the British forces, is now considering taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights because of the racism that he encountered. He said in The Guardian:

Although the Minister claims that the Government are out to recruit more people from the ethnic minorities--indeed, there is a crisis in recruitment--the number of recruits from ethnic minorities dropped by 25 per cent. last year. The figures for 1994-95 show that the total was just 1 per cent. in the Navy, 0.9 per cent. in the Army and 0.5 per cent. in the RAF. That compares with an ethnic minority population of 6 per cent. in Britain as a whole.

There really is a danger. As we saw in the previous debate on homosexuals and lesbians in the armed forces, the Army does not want to comply with standards that are accepted as standard elsewhere in the country or to respect civil liberties. In his reply to the debate on new clause, the Minister quoted Colin Powell of the United States forces as saying that discrimination against homosexuals was different from racism, but it is not different in relation to how people are treated by the armed forces. In both cases, the armed forces say that the standards that apply in the community at large do not apply to them. By adopting that approach, the armed services run a risk of becoming a nation within a nation and not properly reflecting the society they serve. That is a dangerous state of affairs in a democratic country.

The report on the Household Cavalry was scathing. The Conservative Government have been in power for17 years, but they have made no attempt to tackle racism in the armed forces until now--and they are doing so only because the issue was forced upon them by the Commission for Racial Equality.

The Minister mentioned General Colin Powell. The top military man in the United States is a black man. No black man is anywhere near a position of power in the British Army. A black person in the United Kingdom armed forces is probably lucky to reach the rank of sergeant.

The Minister and the Government have displayed enormous complacency in respect of racism in the armed forces. It has continued for 17 years and it has been exposed by the CRE report on the Household Cavalry.I suspect that it will be left to a Labour Government--hopefully, in the not-too-distant future--to tackle racism in the armed forces so that they represent all the people in our nation.

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