Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Lord Monson: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for giving way. I simply pointed out that there were precedents for internment carried out by the United Kingdom.

Lord Dubs: My Lords, I do not deny that there are precedents but there are not many successful ones.

The noble Lord, Lord McConnell, asked why it was intended to do this now. The Bill is before us. The Government made this commitment when in opposition. We do not see it as a confidence-building measure but a commitment made some time ago when in opposition having assessed the situation in Northern Ireland and decided that this was not an appropriate measure to keep on the statute book. I am grateful for the comments made by my noble friend Lord Fitt, and I thank him for the general support that he has given the Government on this particular proposition.

The noble Lord, Lord Cooke, believed that this should be referred to as "selective detention". I do not argue about terminology, but "internment" has been its description up to now. The Government fully accept that they have a responsibility to protect all citizens. In the circumstances of Northern Ireland, which have been difficult for many years, governments of both parties

26 Mar 1998 : Column 1357

have done their best. The Government are determined to protect all citizens in Northern Ireland and elsewhere but we do not believe that the connection between that proposition and support for this amendment has been made out.

I hope that noble Lords will not divide the House on this amendment. Our intention to seek to remove the internment provisions was clearly signalled before the election. If noble Lords were successful in deleting the clause it would leave the Government with no option but to seek to overturn the amendment in another place. It is the Government's view that the arguments for repealing the internment provisions are overwhelming. They far outweigh the arguments for retention. The Government cannot see any circumstances in which they could defend the use of the power. It is outdated and draconian. The Government consider that its use would play into the hands of terrorists who would revel in its longer term effect both on the Government and in terms of recruiting to and strengthening the terrorist organisations. Internment would inadvertently but in large measure operate against the interests of the people of Northern Ireland, and therefore against the interests of us all.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: My Lords, hanging over the debate has, of course, been the experience of the 1970s. That is not surprising. It has hung over every debate on detention. The noble Lord, Lord Merlyn-Rees, told us that he had been unable to discover the Secretary of State whose idea it had been to introduce internment in the 1970s. In doing so, I fear that he demonstrated proof of the old saying that success has many parents but failure is an orphan.

The noble Lord, Lord Fitt, told us that the problem arose because of the way in which internment was carried out; that, in particular, it was carried out against Catholics only, and that it did not apply in the Republic simultaneously which made it too easy to avoid.

The scenarios we have suggested at earlier stages of the Bill when debating this subject did not envisage the detention of Catholics only. On the contrary, we have constantly made it clear--I did in my earlier remarks--that it is terrorists of both persuasions, if that is the phrase, who did not accept the peace process for whom we thought it might be necessary.

We have also made clear on previous occasions that the co-operation of the Republic of Ireland would be essential to success if internment were to be introduced. I think there has been agreement from every speaker, except the Minister, that it is possible that after a settlement--if a settlement is not accepted--it might be necessary to revert to this policy, with all its difficulties; that it would have to be supported in the Republic of Ireland; and that it would have to be done in as fair a way as possible, and so forth. It would need the best possible intelligence, and we are agreed that the intelligence is much better now.

If it may be necessary to use the power after a settlement, it is important to retain it on the statute book because of the difficulties of giving a warning by

26 Mar 1998 : Column 1358

introducing a Bill into this House or another place and ensuring its passage through Parliament before taking action. I believe therefore that we should keep powers of detention on the statute book. I seek to press the amendment.

4.42 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 1) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 69; Not-Contents, 132.

Division No. 1


Aberdare, L.
Abinger, L.
Ashbourne, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Berners, B.
Blatch, B.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Brookeborough, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L. [Teller.]
Carnock, L.
Clanwilliam, E.
Cochrane of Cults, L.
Cooke of Islandreagh, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Davidson, V.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Ellenborough, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Erne, E.
Erroll, E.
Gainford, L.
Gladwyn, L.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harrowby, E.
Holderness, L.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Jopling, L.
Kintore, E.
Leigh, L.
Lyell, L.
McConnell, L.
Milverton, L.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monckton of Brenchley, V.
Monson, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Moore of Wolvercote, L.
Mountgarret, V.
Napier of Magdala, L.
Nelson, E.
Newall, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Prior, L.
Rees, L.
Renton, L.
Romney, E.
St. John of Fawsley, L.
Seccombe, B.
Skelmersdale, L.
Strafford, E.
Strathcarron, L.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Sudeley, L.
Taylor of Warwick, L.
Tebbit, L.
Vivian, L.
Westbury, L.
Wilson of Tillyorn, L.
Wise, L.
Wynford, L.


Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Callaghan of Cardiff, L.
Calverley, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Chorley, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
David, B.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Diamond, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Ezra, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Fitt, L.
Gallacher, L.
Geraint, L.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanworth, V.
Hardie, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Henderson of Brompton, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Ilchester, E.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Judd, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Kilbracken, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Levy, L.
Longford, E.
Lovell-Davis, L.
Ludford, B.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
McNair, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mallalieu, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Merrivale, L.
Meston, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Newby, L.
Nicholson of Winterbourne, B.
Nicol, B.
Orme, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Rochester, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L.
Russell, E.
Sainsbury, L.
Sandberg, L.
Sandwich, E.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Stallard, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Macclesfield, L.
Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitty, L.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

26 Mar 1998 : Column 1359

4.51 p.m.

Lord Cope of Berkeley moved Amendment No. 2:

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page