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Mr. Ingram: I am probably still misunderstanding the point at this late stage. The inference cannot be brought into play until the accused has the opportunity to speak to a solicitor, which is an important protection for the individual in those circumstances. The point about inference is that it relates only to membership or alleged membership of an organisation, and can be used only in such circumstances. Clearly, an officer could be investigating other terrorist-related crimes when he comes across the possibility of membership. Those issues are separated out. The inferences to be drawn from silence relate only to the second element and not to the first. I hope that that has answered the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

The hon. Member for Broxtowe (Dr. Palmer) asked about the continuing need for the measures in the Bill. Since it has been designed to deal with a specific set of circumstances, it will remain in force as long as it can be put to good effect. I mentioned the need for a comprehensive review of anti-terrorism legislation, which we are undertaking, and the Home Secretary has given assurances on that and on the annual review that will take place, in line with a published report.

The hon. Gentleman also mentioned clauses 5 and 6. In deciding whether to bring a prosecution under those clauses, the authorities, including the Attorney-General,

2 Sept 1998 : Column 840

will consider the public interest, the human rights situation in the country in which the offence is to be committed--[Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Lord): Order. The buzz of conversation is making it extremely difficult to hear what the Minister is saying.

Mr. Ingram: Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I was saying that the human rights situation in the country in which the offence is to be committed may be a relevant factor in that consideration.

My hon. Friend also asked whether United Nations resolutions would be taken into account when the Attorney-General decides whether to prosecute. That might be a relevant factor. However, if the planned offence is non-political, such as child sex abuse, it may well not be. That is a matter for the Attorney-General.

Other hon. Members made similar points, asking whether, if a crime has taken place in a non-democratic country, prosecutions should not take place here. If a crime has taken place, the usual course would be a prosecution in the relevant country. However, if there is evidence of a conspiracy here to commit that offence, a prosecution here under the new provisions would be possible, assuming that the accused was within the United Kingdom jurisdiction.

My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Mr. Corbett) said, among other things, that the Bill seemed to be based on the assumption that nothing had changed in Northern Ireland. I can tell him that the opposite is true. Almost everything has changed there. The whole political landscape has changed, and the whole approach to many of the groups that have been involved in violent actions has changed over recent months. Indeed, it is changing on a daily basis.

I am surprised that my hon. Friend makes that charge against my right hon. Friends and myself as we introduce the Bill. It is because there is a change and we have a new set of circumstances, because we have now specified organisations, and because specific small groups are now the only ones involved in violence, that we can take this course of what we hope will be effective action.

The Bill we seek to pass today comprises elements concerned with both criminal evidence and conspiracy. The measures on conspiracy are an important step inthe fight against international terrorism and other international crime. The Bill closes off a loophole through which people engaged in planning terrorist and other criminal activities abroad can abuse this country's hospitality.

Making such conspiracies an offence will improve our ability to tackle the growing threat from international terrorists and other criminals. They will no longer be able to use this country as a base to plot their evil activities. The Bill will send a clear message to those who conspire to commit such crimes that we are committed to fighting them with all the means at our disposal. They will find no safe haven in the United Kingdom.

The provisions on criminal evidence will form a new and vital element in the Government's strategy for delivering to the people of Northern Ireland a secure and peaceful future. The new measures will support the political process and ensure that the laws applying north and south of the Irish border are in step, and that there is no hiding place for terrorism.

2 Sept 1998 : Column 841

It is worth while looking for a moment at the pattern of bomb attacks by dissident terrorist groups since the Good Friday agreement on 10 April. In Lisburn, County Antrim, on 30 April, a 600 lb bomb was successfully defused by the Army. No group claimed responsibility. In the border town of Belleek on 9 May, two mortar tubes were discovered in the car park of an hotel near the police station. The Real IRA claimed responsibility.

On 15 May, the Continuity IRA claimed that it had abandoned a car and trailer bomb at Kinawley in County Fermanagh. Two mortars, containing between 100 lb and 150 lb of explosives, were recovered by the Army and made safe. On 16 May, the Army defused a bomb in Armagh, again close to the police station. The Real IRA claimed responsibility.

On 24 June, a 200 lb car bomb exploded in the centre of Newtownhamilton close to the police station. It caused more than £3 million-worth of damage to commercial and residential property. Let us be thankful that there were no serious injuries. The INLA claimed responsibility.

On 1 August, the Real IRA planted a bomb in Banbridge, and gave a completely inadequate 20-minute warning. The bomb, containing 500 lb of explosives, detonated, causing damage to property to the tune of nearly £4 million. Two police officers and 33 civilians were injured. Again, it was a miracle that there were no deaths.

Dissident groups have also been active in the Republic of Ireland and here in Britain. On 23 May, two cars travelling towards Jonesborough were stopped by the Garda Siochana and found to contain between 700 and 800 lb of home-made explosives and a number of mortar tubes. On 10 July, the Garda and the London Metropolitan police, in a joint operation, intercepted six primed fire bombs in the London area. That campaign culminated in the horrors of Omagh.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister mentioned the scale of the death and injury. In addition to the 28 lives lost and many hundreds injured, there is the impact of trauma on many of the relatives, those from the emergency services, and others caught up in one way or another in the dreadful events of 15 August. The personal loss and injury are uppermost in all our minds. The structure of Omagh also suffered a searing blow that will take time to rectify.

That is the backcloth against which the Bill is being considered. It makes a grim picture, but it shows not only the determination of some groups to cause mayhem, death and destruction and to bring down the Belfast agreement, but the determination and the success which the security forces--the Army, and the RUC and the Garda working in close co-operation--can claim. Without their professionalism, the position would be worse still.

Some hon. Members have made explicit and implicit criticisms of police officers during the debate. I ask them to reflect on the many unseen brave actions of the RUC and the security forces, who daily put their lives on the line in the fight against terrorism and in defence of our freedoms.

Obviously, we all oppose the aim of those who conspire and perpetrate evil to destroy the peace process. They care nothing for who or what they destroy in pursuit of their goal. We must not let their efforts succeed. We must stop them in their tracks. We must apprehend them, and, using the due and proper processes of law and the courts, we must see to it that we crush their operational capacity.

2 Sept 1998 : Column 842

There must be no more atrocities like the one visited upon Omagh, now left with its heart, and the hearts of its people, ripped apart by evil thugs. This Government, the Irish Government and the heads of the respective police forces are united as never before in our determination to stamp out those who threaten, through terrorist actions, to deprive the people of Northern Ireland of the peace and prosperity that they so wish for and so much deserve.

The Bill will enable those terrorists who are aiming to wreck the Belfast agreement to be targeted. They are already isolated. Let there be no mistake about that. They have no support, north or south of the border. Their actions are against the will of the vast majority of the people in these islands. Parliament has a responsibility, and we owe it to the people to give the security forces the exceptional powers that they now need to deal with this aberration.

I commend the Bill to the House.

Mrs. Ann Taylor (Dewsbury) rose in her place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.

Question put accordingly, That the amendment be made:--

The House divided: Ayes 17, Noes 391.

Division No. 358
[12.22 am


AYES


Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Best, Harold
Corbett, Robin
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Dalyell, Tam
Etherington, Bill
Grant, Bernie
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
McAllion, John
McDonnell, John
McNamara, Kevin
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Pollard, Kerry
Sedgemore, Brian
Skinner, Dennis

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. Jeremy Corbyn and
Mr. Dennis Canavan.


NOES


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Alexander, Douglas
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Amess, David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Banks, Tony
Barron, Kevin
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Beggs, Roy
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bell, Martin (Tatton)
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Bermingham, Gerald
Berry, Roger
Betts, Clive
Blair, Rt Hon Tony
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Blunt, Crispin
Boateng, Paul
Borrow, David
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Breed, Colin
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnett, John
Burns, Simon
Butler, Mrs Christine
Butterfill, John
Cable, Dr Vincent
Caborn, Richard
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Cash, William
Caton, Martin
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chaytor, David
Chidgey, David
Chisholm, Malcolm
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
(Rushcliffe)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Collins, Tim
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Yvette
Cotter, Brian
Cousins, Jim
Cran, James
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Curry, Rt Hon David
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, John
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donaldson, Jeffrey
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Dowd, Jim
Duncan, Alan
Edwards, Huw
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Evans, Nigel
Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Faber, David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Foulkes, George
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Fox, Dr Liam
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Roger
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Gibb, Nick
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Goggins, Paul
Golding, Mrs Llin
Goodlad, Rt Hon Sir Alastair
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Gorrie, Donald
Gray, James
Green, Damian
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grocott, Bruce
Grogan, John
Hague, Rt Hon William
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hammond, Philip
Hanson, David
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Harris, Dr Evan
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Heald, Oliver
Healey, John
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Home Robertson, John
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Horam, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hunter, Andrew
Hurst, Alan
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, Adam
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson Smith,
Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, Ms Tessa
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keetch, Paul
Kelly, Ms Ruth
Kennedy, Charles (Ross Skye)
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Key, Robert
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lansley, Andrew
Laxton, Bob
Leslie, Christopher
Letwin, Oliver
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Linton, Martin
Livsey, Richard
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Lock, David
Loughton, Tim
Love, Andrew
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacGregor, Rt Hon John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McIsaac, Shona
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Mackinlay, Andrew
McLoughlin, Patrick
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Maginnis, Ken
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Major, Rt Hon John
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Peter
Maples, John
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Martlew, Eric
Mates, Michael
Maxton, John
May, Mrs Theresa
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Alun
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)
Moss, Malcolm
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Norman, Archie
Norris, Dan
Oaten, Mark
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Hara, Eddie
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Öpik, Lembit
Organ, Mrs Diana
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paisley, Rev Ian
Palmer, Dr Nick
Paterson, Owen
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Pickles, Eric
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prior, David
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, Ms Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Raynsford, Nick
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Reid, Dr John (Hamilton N)
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rogers, Allan
Rooker, Jeff
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Ross, William (E Lond'y)
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Ms Joan
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
St Aubyn, Nick
Salmond, Alex
Salter, Martin
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sayeed, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Short, Rt Hon Clare
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Snape, Peter
Soley, Clive
Spellar, John
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steen, Anthony
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Streeter, Gary
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Swayne, Desmond
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
(Dewsbury)
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thompson, William
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Touhig, Don
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tyler, Paul
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Vis, Dr Rudi
Walter, Robert
Wareing, Robert N
Waterson, Nigel
Watts, David
Webb, Steve
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Whitney, Sir Raymond
Wicks, Malcolm
Willetts, David
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Willis, Phil
Wills, Michael
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Noes:


Mr. Kevin Hughes and
Mr. Robert Ainsworth.

Question accordingly negatived.

2 Sept 1998 : Column 846

Main Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 62 (Amendment on Second or Third Reading), and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 63 (Committal of Bills),


Question agreed to.


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