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Mr. Maginnis: The Minister referred to the soldiers in Londonderry. He said that the Attorney-General has given certain guarantees, but he said also that the soldiers will have to be identified. We know that, however innocent they may be, identification will blight their lives and leave them vulnerable to threats, and perhaps violence, from illegal organisations. Will he not reconsider the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for East Londonderry (Mr. Ross) and perhaps view it in the context of this Bill?

Mr. McFall: The hon. Gentleman's point about Bloody Sunday is a judicial matter and will be referred to the Saville inquiry. The Attorney-General has made a clear public statement in that regard.

The hon. Member for East Londonderry referred to the horrendous nature of the crimes and said that those responsible must be pursued. The Government agree: the crimes are horrendous and the perpetrators can expect to pay for their actions. However, that issue is separate from this Bill, which has an humanitarian purpose.

It is nice to see my hon. Friend the Member for North-East Derbyshire (Mr. Barnes) back in the House after a long illness. He has a long-running interest in and dedication to Northern Ireland issues, and he made some very potent and moving points, focusing on the families and on the genuine desire for peace. I congratulate my hon. Friend on his speech and on his commitment to Northern Ireland issues.

In summing up for the Opposition, the hon. Member for Beaconsfield raised several issues. We agree that the Northern Ireland Arms Decommissioning Act 1997 is quite similar to the Bill before us tonight, and I welcome the hon. Gentleman's comments in that regard. He raised several questions about remains that are found and asked whether the full facts will come to light at an inquest. I assure the hon. Gentleman that a full post mortem and inquest will take place, as is usual with any murder. The findings will be made known in the usual way and the same amount of information will be made public. For example, the coroner might ask for evidence from a pathologist, and that will be given in public. As with any other inquest, the coroner will have full powers.

The hon. Gentleman asked why someone giving evidence only about the cause of death will have no immunity. The Bill is about locating the remains of victims. The provision of relevant information by the commission will trigger the protection that is mentioned in clauses 3, 4 and 5.

By way of intervention, the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone asked about time-limiting the Bill. The Government are not keen to close the door to the provision of information about "The Disappeared" either from the IRA or any other organisation. The hon. Gentleman knows that the IRA produced a list of nine names at the end of March. Some people--such as the individuals who came to the Palace of Westminster today--have expressed dismay that their relatives' names were not on the list. The families of those who were not on the list hope that, in time, details of the location of their loved ones' remains will be provided. That is why we are not time-limiting the Bill.

10 May 1999 : Column 81

I hope that I have responded to most of the points raised today. This has been a very moving experience for us all. I pay tribute to my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, who has met family members and others in Northern Ireland on many occasions. He knows more than anyone about the pain and the anguish, but we have seen it for ourselves today. We have spoken to the mothers who lost sons under the age of 21. Those mothers brought their sons into the world full of hope and joy for the future, but that hope and joy were cruelly extinguished. Those mothers and their families want to retrieve the remains of their loved ones so that they can celebrate their lives in a dignified and a Christian manner. We owe it to them to do everything possible to effect that outcome. If we can, we must ease their pain, not continue it.

That is why the Government have introduced this Bill. We welcome hon. Members' comments, but we remain focused on its humanitarian purpose. We hope that the passage of this Bill will bring some comfort to those who have waited for it for far too long.

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

The House divided: Ayes 289, Noes 10.

Division No. 168
[7.50 pm


AYES


Ainger, Nick
Alexander, Douglas
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Ashton, Joe
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Ballard, Jackie
Barnes, Harry
Barron, Kevin
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Bennett, Andrew F
Benton, Joe
Bermingham, Gerald
Berry, Roger
Betts, Clive
Blizzard, Bob
Borrow, David
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Butler, Mrs Christine
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Chidgey, David
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Corbett, Robin
Cotter, Brian
Cousins, Jim
Crausby, David
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cummings, John
Cunliffe, Lawrence
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Dobbin, Jim
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drown, Ms Julia
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Foulkes, George
Fyfe, Maria
Galloway, George
Gapes, Mike
George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godman, Dr Norman A
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hain, Peter
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Harvey, Nick
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hoey, Kate
Home Robertson, John
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Ms Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, Rt Hon Adam
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Ms Jenny
(Wolverh'ton SW)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Kingham, Ms Tess
Kirkwood, Archy
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Laxton, Bob
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Linton, Martin
McAvoy, Thomas
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McIsaac, Shona
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Maxton, John
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Öpik, Lembit
Organ, Mrs Diana
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Powell, Sir Raymond
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Raynsford, Nick
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Rendel, David
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooker, Jeff
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Miss Geraldine
(Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Southworth, Ms Helen
Spellar, John
Squire, Ms Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Ward, Ms Claire
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Willis, Phil
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wise, Audrey
Wood, Mike
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. Robert Ainsworth and
Mr. David Jamieson.


NOES


Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Kensington)
Colvin, Michael
Garnier, Edward
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hunter, Andrew
Jenkin, Bernard
Maginnis, Ken
Robathan, Andrew
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)

Tellers for the Noes:


Mr. William Ross and
Mr. Desmond Swayne.

Question accordingly agreed to.

10 May 1999 : Column 83

Bill read a Second time.

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


Question agreed to.

Committee tomorrow.


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