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Mr. Clive Soley (Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush) (Lab): Extreme forms of terrorism pose a serious and complex problem to democratic societies. To impress on the United States the dangers of its Guantanamo Bay policy, will my right hon. Friend remind that country that, in the 1970s, as a good friend of this country, it warned us of the dangers of internment in Northern Ireland? It was right to warn us then and we are right to warn it now.
Mr. Andrew Tyrie (Chichester) (Con): A moment ago, the Foreign Secretary prayed in aid the internments that took place at the beginning of the second world war. They were subsequently widely held to have been a mistake both in the United States, where Japanese were detained, and the United Kingdom. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman keeps that point in mind when he talks to his American counterparts.
Have the Government assessed the effect of Guantanamo Bay on global public opinion and the damage that it does to the values that we are seeking to export? Will the Foreign Secretary state unequivocally that the Government consider Guantanamo Bay to be contrary to international law? What representations to that effect has he made to the United States Administration?
Mr. Straw: I made the point about internments in the second world war to remind the House that in war situationsand quasi-war situationsotherwise unacceptable and uncomfortable measures sometimes have to be taken. It is all very well for the hon. Gentleman to say that the internments in the second world war were later regarded as a mistake. That is true of their scale but not necessarily of everybody who was detained. However, I put that to one side. I simply wanted to bring out the point that we must better understand why the United States felt it necessary to take such action.
Let us be clear: the information that has been obtained from a good many detainees in Guantanamo Bay has helped to make the world a safer placesafer for us and our constituents as well as for the United States and those in other countries. That is the position.
Mr. Mohammad Sarwar (Glasgow, Govan) (Lab): Does my right hon. Friend agree that the detention of 2,000 prisoners for two years without trial cannot be justified or condoned in any circumstances? Does he also agree that the imprisonment for 14 months of three Afghan children, who were afterwards given one football each as a gesture, is a blatant violation of international law?
On the wider question, it is obvious that the sentiment of the House is as stated. It is similar to that of the Government: individuals who are detained should either be brought to trial in accordance with internationally accepted standards or returned, in this case to the United Kingdom. We shall continue to follow that policy.
Ross Cranston (Dudley, North) (Lab): I congratulate my right hon. Friend and the Attorney-General on all their efforts behind the scenes to achieve the result so far. However, there is considerable disquiet about the four young lads from Tipton and separate arrests in my constituency under the Terrorism Act 2000. The majority sentimenta view that I shareis that when offences have been committed, people have to account for them. However, given the disquiet, will my right hon. Friend talk to colleagues so that decisions can be made and resources allocated to enable the police and the prosecution authorities to fast-track those cases if there are to be proceedings under the Terrorism Act against the returnees and more generally?
Of course, there will always be concern among those who are arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 and their families about their nature of their arrests, but the Act was approved in the House four years ago on an all-party basis because of the emerging threat that we assessed. Prevention of terrorism legislation at the time was defective because it was only effective in protecting our communities against Irish terrorism, not the new forms of international terrorism. Individuals suspected of terrorism correctly have clear rights under the legislation.
I accept my hon. and learned Friend's point about resources. If the individuals come back and are subject to prosecution, it would be reasonable for their cases to be fast-tracked, given the lengthy detention that they have already had to endure. I will draw that suggestion to the Attorney-General's attention.
There is evidence that parents are worried about this. An ICM poll in The Guardian last year showed that 70 per cent. would support the banning of fizzy drink vending machines in schools. In an era in which parents and health professionals are increasingly worried about obesity and nutrition, junk food in schools is rapidly becoming an anachronism.
The past 20 years have seen a startling rise in the proportion of children who are overweight or obese. Since 1982, the number of such children has more than doubled, and 10 per cent. of today's six-year-olds are obese. The chief medical officer for England has called childhood obesity a "public health time bomb". If present trends continue, at least one fifth of boys and one third of girls will be obese by 2020. According to experts, that is the conservative estimate.
Children who are overweight or obese tend to become overweight or obese adults, leading in the long run to high blood pressure and other health problems. Obese children are far more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. An American survey has shown that severely obese children have a 93 times greater chance than average of developing diabetes. A long-term study of 51 Canadians who were diagnosed with that type of diabetes before the age of 17 showed that by the age of 33, seven of them
I do not claim that vending machines in schools are the only, or even the primary, cause of the problem. The rise in childhood obesity clearly reflects broader changes in lifestyle and diet in our society. However, vending machines whose primary products are fizzy, sugary drinks, crisps and chocolatewhich the Americans describe with the term "foodstuffs of no nutritional value"are a clear example of how schools, and by extension the state, allow the problem to go unchecked and are seen to promote and encourage those products. The fact that we cannot do everything to solve the problem at once does not mean that we should do nothing.
I have just mentioned America. Several US states and school districts have proposed or passed legislation similar to this Bill. I hope that the problem of childhood obesity in Britain will not have to reach US proportions before we take such measures here. All over the world, people are considering such proposals. In Canada, from September this year Coca-Cola and Pepsi will remove all their fizzy drinks from vending machines in schools and replace them with healthier products. I am sure that they are doing that to pre-empt legislation. In this country, Coca-Cola has just announced that it will remove all advertising on its vending machines in schools. It is clearly worried about what the Government might do, and I hope that it has good reason to be.
The food and drink industry does not make sizeable profits from vending machines in schools, but those machines raise the profile and familiarity of the industry's products with children and adolescents. Children are already disproportionately targeted by advertisers of fatty, sugary and unhealthy foods. Indeed, 40 per cent. of all adverts shown to children on television are for those products. Whether such adverts should be banned is a matter for another day, but to allow those brands into our schoolsto allow the work done in the classroom to be undone in the corridoris to take a desire to avoid accusations of nanny statehood to a ridiculous extreme.
Banning junk food in school vending machines will not turn us overnight into a nation of superhuman children, bursting at the chance to win Olympic golds; if only things were so simple. However, it is a step that we can take. When I was at school, I was exposed to much old-style Welsh nonconformism. To paraphrase what I was told then, just because we have junk food sellers does not mean that we have to have junk food sellers in the temple. It is time to throw them out.
Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Jon Owen Jones, Mr. David Amess, Paul Flynn, John Austin, Ms Debra Shipley, Dr. Richard Taylor, Mr. Win Griffiths, Mr. Bob Blizzard, Mrs. Jackie Lawrence, David Taylor and Chris Ruane.