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Mr. Speaker: It is very kind of the hon. Gentleman to remind me of my job, but he is quite right. I remind the

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hon. Member for East Londonderry (Mr. Campbell) that we are examining a narrow issue and that he should not include other matters. The debate is about registration and nothing else.

Mr. Campbell: I accept that, Mr. Speaker. If the hon. Member for High Peak (Mr. Levitt) wishes to check the veracity of the comments on the millions of pounds that Sinn Fein has acquired, he may do so, but I will, of course, accept your ruling, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Members on both sides of the House ought to be aware that, as Sinn Fein moves into the precincts in the coming months, it will take advantage of every facility that is on offer in the House. It will do so as a means not of moving towards the political process but of corrupting it, and I hope that hon. Members on both sides of the House will be well aware of that move.

1.2 pm

David Burnside (South Antrim): As a new Member of the House, I visited Elizabeth Filkin soon after being elected to seek her advice on what I was required to register. This motion raises many interesting questions, and I look forward to reading the entries in the Register of Members' Interests relating to the four members of Sinn Fein, three of whom are members of the army council of the Provisional IRA—Martin McGuinness, Gerry Adams and Pat Doherty. I sought advice from Elizabeth Filkin and the new commissioner, who will, I hope, advise members of Sinn Fein.

I understand the history and background of English company law; I am chairman of David Burnside Associates—a public relations company established under English company law. It declares its returns, and anyone can visit Companies House to see its audited reports. People know the legal entity that is the company. I also register the company's clients for whom I would have to register an interest in the House. I have taken guidance on my remunerated interest, and I hope that I will adhere to the rules so long as I am a Member. I also register company directorships for which I am unremunerated.

The army council of the Provisional IRA comes from the very clear, historic legal structure of an army. If I may, with respect, I would advise the Commissioner for Standards to get hold of the Provisional IRA's rule book, which is very similar to a company's articles of association. It contains guidance, rules, regulations and instructions on the operation of the Provisional IRA, three members of which have joined the House, but will not take the Oath and will not become equal Members of Parliament with the rest of us. They should come into the House and be open to the same scrutiny as I and all other right hon. and hon. Members would be if we breached the rules and standards to which we are meant to adhere. We cannot call those Members into the Chamber because they will not take the Oath of Allegiance.

The Inland Revenue does not investigate the Provisional IRA, but I think it is fair to suggest that the new Commissioner for Standards should carry out a clear and open investigation. I hope that he will invite Mr. McGuinness, Mr. Adams and Mr. Doherty to the office across the road to get the full details of their articles

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of association and their membership of the Provisional IRA. I also hope that the commissioner will examine its overseas fund-raising activities, including its links with the FARC, a drug-running terrorist organisation in Columbia that has international links with the Provisional IRA and the three Members whom I have mentioned.

We continue to have two classes of Members of Parliament—first class and second class. We are second-class Members because the IRA and Sinn Fein are being given rights and privileges without responsibilities. That is an insult to the traditions of the House.

1.6 pm

Mr. Simon Thomas (Ceredigion): I want to place on record the parliamentary support of Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National party for the report. I congratulate the Committee's Chairman and its members on their work. They swiftly produced a report to plug an obvious gap in the membership rules of some Members of the House.

We supported the Government's motion in December and agree with the principle that Sinn Fein Members should use the facilities of the House, bearing in mind the particular circumstances that have arisen over many years and generations in Northern Ireland. We hope that we are taking steps towards the normalisation of democratic politics in Northern Ireland. We certainly support the report.

1.7 pm

Sir George Young: With the leave of the House, Mr. Speaker, I am grateful for the support of hon. Members on both sides of the Chamber for the recommendation. Some hon. Members raised issues that go broader than the motion. I understand those strong feelings, but I hope that they will understand if I do not respond to their points.

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Peter Bottomley (Worthing, West): Perhaps it would help if the Electoral Commission picked up on those points that are more relevant to its remit than to the commissioner.

Sir George Young: My right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) asked about compliance, which the hon. Member for South Antrim (David Burnside) also mentioned. If all Members have not registered at the end of the period, anyone can make a complaint that will be considered in the normal way by the commissioner and my Committee. As with other reports, we would make recommendations to the House for it to decide on the appropriate action.

My hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) and the hon. Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Tyler) touched on the circumstances in which a donation to a constituency association needs to be registered. Paragraph 22 of the code of conduct sets out the circumstances in which it is necessary to register a donation to an association—namely, when it is linked to the candidacy or the membership of the House. Otherwise, as the hon. Member for North Cornwall said, it is a matter for the Electoral Commission.

The commissioner is an independent officer of the House. If a complaint is made, he will make inquiries in the normal way, and that would be the route for the hon. Member for South Antrim to follow.

With those remarks, I commend the report to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,


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Orders of the Day

Football (Disorder) (Amendment) Bill

Lords amendments considered.

Clause 1

Repeal of provisions of Football (Disorder) Act 2000


Lords amendment: No. 1, in part 1, line 2, leave out "In".

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Bob Ainsworth): I beg to move that this House agrees with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Speaker: With this we may discuss Lords amendment No. 2.

Mr. Ainsworth: Amendment No. 1 is a technical change consequent to amendment No. 2, which introduces a five-year sunset provision in respect of sections 14B, 21A and 21B of the Football Spectators Act 1989, which contain measures introduced in the Football (Disorder) Act 2000.

The House will recall that the original aim was, through the Bill, to enshrine those measures on the statute book without time limit. When he introduced the Bill, the Minister of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Denham), who has responsibility for crime reduction, policing and community safety, made it clear that there was compelling evidence in favour of maintaining sections 14B, 21A and 21B on the statute book. The measures they provide are a tailored and proportionate response to the menace of English football disorder abroad. They strike a balance between national and international interests and individuals' civil liberties, and, having undergone a thorough practical legal examination in the past 19 months, they have not been found wanting.

The House will have noted that when England played Netherlands in Amsterdam a few weeks ago, about 12,000 England fans made the trip. As those who monitor such events already know, although it was a high-risk game, not least because the Dutch have their fair share of football hooligans, there were only 12 English arrests. The behaviour of the overwhelming majority of England fans was excellent, and they are to be congratulated. The fans are clearly working hard to improve their image and reputation.

It is important to recall that in 1993—the last time England played an away international against Netherlands—there were riots in Rotterdam and about 1,000 English fans were arrested. We have moved on since the dark days of mass football hooliganism, which culminated in the appalling scenes witnessed during Euro 2000. However, the Bill makes clear our aim of making further progress in the spirit of co-operation, and I am pleased to report that that is exactly what happened in the other place.

Members on both sides of this House and of the other place recognise the need to avoid any hint of complacency. To lose the measures, which are due to lapse in August, would send out an entirely negative

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message to our European partners and to the increasingly well-behaved majority of England fans. It would undermine the anti-hooligan strategy and weaken the power of the police and courts to act against the thugs. Furthermore, it would be regarded by some as an encouragement to resume a pattern of repeat offending overseas at a time when England prepares to embark on its Euro 2004 campaign.


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