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Baroness Park of Monmouth: I think there are two further ancillary arguments. First, the fact that three citizens of the Irish Republic who came from Dundalk to Omagh were killed and Spanish guests of that country were killed has undoubtedly made it much easier for the Irish Government to act firmly because the feelings of people in the Republic of Ireland are far more directly engaged than they have ever been before. This is a moment to move if we are going to, and I strongly suggest that we should.

The other argument is that this measure would enable people to be put away without threat to the continuing

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sources of intelligence--I believe this point was made by a noble and learned Lord--but also it would mean that we would not see (as I fear we otherwise will) the RUC threatened, attacked and vilified for attempting to make this imperfect legislation work. It is not going to work and the RUC will get the blame for it. Therefore that is another reason for seriously considering internment as a way of creating safety and putting away dangerous people and not exposing the forces of law and order in Northern Ireland to the kind of vilification they will otherwise suffer at the hands of Sinn Fein/IRA.

Lord Mayhew of Twysden: Yesterday the Prime Minister in another place was surely signalling that the Government's mind is not closed and that the Government are not saying they are incapable of visualising circumstances in which internment would be appropriate. Given that, surely it can be accepted that it will be desirable for the Government to have their tackle in order on a contingent basis. As I understand it, that is the sole purpose of the group of amendments in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Molyneaux. If you have decided that the circumstances are appropriate, you do not want to have to go through all the paraphernalia of laying the orders de novo; you want to be able to activate something which you have previously put in place. Mr. Bruton has criticised the Government's repeal of the provisions for detention. I listened to Dr. Garret Fitzgerald on a radio programme some 10 days ago saying he could not understand why the British Government had repealed it.

Surely no options would be closed off if the Government were to accept these amendments. On the contrary, they would be acting consistently with the signals that they have been given which are, when all is said and done, only prudent and sensible signals if these amendments are to be accepted. I felt very sad that the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, was withdrawn rather than having it tested before the Committee. But the realities, I suppose, are as they have been described. We cannot do anything now.

I hope that the Government will now consider it only consistent with the prudent stand taken by the Prime Minister yesterday and will accept the amendments of the noble Lord, Lord Molyneaux, which get the Government's tackle in order on a contingent basis.

Lord Cooke of Islandreagh: The noble Viscount, Lord Brookeborough, gave very lucidly the various reasons why at some time internment may be the only way to deal with the problem. There is just one other reason that I would add. These terrorist organisations are mainly controlled by godfathers who take good care to keep their noses out of it and to keep themselves clean. It would be almost impossible to incriminate them or find them guilty by any clauses such as we have covered today in the Bill. These godfathers are also running the most evil financial organisations connected with drugs and other things. It is vital, in closing down

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terrorism, as we hope will happen, that we take these godfathers out. I do not see any other way than detention for doing that.

Lord Dubs: May I deal first with two specific points that were raised. I say to the noble Lord, Lord Cope, that the Government's review of terrorism will include internment within its scope.

Secondly, I say to the noble Baroness, Lady Park, when she implies that this legislation will not be effective and that the RUC thinks the same, that the RUC supports this legislation. It is wrong to suggest otherwise.

Baroness Park of Monmouth: Forgive me, I certainly did not intend to imply that. If I did I most categorically withdraw it. That was my interpretation. I had no intention of suggesting what the views of the RUC were; I do not know.

Lord Dubs: I thank the noble Baroness. If I misunderstood her as well, that clarifies the matter.

We have spent a great deal of the past 10 hours considering safeguards for individuals under this legislation. Many noble Lords expressed concern that there were, in certain instances, inadequate safeguards under the provisions of this Bill. We are now having the call for internment, which would most emphatically be a decision by government to deprive individuals of their liberty without trial and without the normal safeguards which the law provides for the protection of the accused. That is what internment is and that is what this particular amendment asks for. Its use could only ever be justified as a last resort.

As has already been explained, the purpose of the Bill is to target the existence of dissident terrorist groups using the due processes of the law and the courts. Surely that is a better way forward, if we can make it work, and I believe we can.

That said, the Government have made it clear that they would act to re-introduce internment if they could be convinced as to its effectiveness. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister said he does not rule out taking the power of internment in the future. In reaching a decision in the future about that matter, the Prime Minister would obviously pay careful attention to the views of the Taoiseach. At present both governments agree that the operational co-operation in place, together with the political co-operation, represent the best way forward. The Government remain to be convinced that at this point in time internment would be an effective measure.

I understand the reasons why noble Lords are putting it forward but I believe that it would not, at this time, be appropriate. This Bill represents a better way forward and one which is more consistent with a democratic society that believes in the rule of law.

Lord Molyneaux of Killead: Mention has been made of co-operation with other Irish Prime Ministers in statements made recently by others. In case someone might feel left out, I refer to one Prime Minister, Mr

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Haughey. He was not always regarded as being co-operative. I do not know whether it is known formally that for somewhat over a year when he was Prime Minister and I was leader of my party we made speeches to each other over the airwaves and through the newspapers without the news industry understanding what was going on or reading the signals. In a curious way, I believe that we paved the way for that which has now come to pass.

It may also strike Members of the Committee as somewhat unusual for a member of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland to suggest that we play fair with the Irish Prime Minister and the Irish Government of the day. That applies with even greater force now. I beg Her Majesty's Government to have the courage and fairness to opt for full reciprocity as a matter of real urgency, not least because 28 persons lost their civil rights in Omagh. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 27 and 28 not moved.]

Clause 4 agreed to.

Clause 5 [England and Wales]:

[Amendments Nos. 29 to 31 not moved.]

Lord Henley moved Amendment No. 32:

Page 7, leave out lines 29 to 33.

The noble Lord said: I intend to speak briefly on this amendment and to later amendments. I have the impression that another place is rather anxious to see the return of the Bill. I dare say that some Members of the Committee in this House are anxious to see the departure of the Bill.

Some criticisms have been made by many people better qualified than myself on the matter about the drafting of the Bill. Yesterday Mr Robert Marshall-Andrews, an eminent QC in another place, described it as possibly the worst drafted Bill he had ever come across. I put down the amendment relatively late following the remarks of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick. In taking one example, he picked out subsection (6) of new Section 1A in Clause 5. If I paraphrase him correctly, he said that it was incapable of being understood. The noble and learned Lord may have been wrong in that description. If so, no doubt it will be relatively easy for the Government to explain exactly what the words in subsection (6) mean. I move the amendment in order to ask whichever member of the Front Bench will respond to explain exactly what the words in that clause mean. I beg to move.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: It was very unkind of Mr Marshall-Andrews to say that this was the worst drafted Bill he had ever seen. But of course he has much less experience than many of us here in such matters.

It is a quite simple explanation. Subsection (6) explains how subsection (4) is to be interpreted in respect of reference to the commission of an offence. As the Committee has seen, subsection (4) is designed to catch behaviour not necessarily triable at present in England and Wales. If we leave out subsection (6)

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nothing in that new Section 1A will work. Subsection (6) is the means by which new offences of conspiracy, defined in new Section 1A of the 1977 Act (referred to at the top of page 7 of the Bill), are embedded in existing conspiracy law, Section 1. That is the purpose of it. It looks a little opaque, but I hope that I have shed some light on it. It really is quite simple, and I am sure it is all the fault of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd, for confusing us!

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