Football Hooliganism — 20 Jun 2000

I beg to move,

That this House condemns unreservedly the actions of hooligans purporting to support the England football team at the Euro 2000 championships; hopes that there will be no repetition of these actions and that UEFA's threat to expel the England team from the tournament will not be acted upon; notes that UEFA and others have criticised the Government's lack of action to tackle football hooliganism; further notes that proposals to stop unconvicted hooligans from travelling to international matches were brought forward by Opposition honourable Members during proceedings on the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and the Football (Offences and Disorder) Act 1999 but were not taken up by the Government, despite the Minister for Sport's statement that such powers were necessary; calls on the Home Secretary to explain the inaction and delay that has characterised the Government's approach, despite the undertakings given by Ministers to bring forward their own proposals; and calls on the Government urgently to take the action it has promised for two years to tackle the problem of the thugs who are a disgrace to this country's proud footballing tradition.

Last Monday, I spoke to Mr. Chevenement to apologise on behalf of the British Government and people for the events in Marseilles. We are committed to doing whatever we can to ensure that such disgraceful scenes are not repeated in future soccer tournaments.--[ Official Report , 22 June 1998; Vol. 314, c. 720.]

will follow the lead of the Dutch authorities. Alcohol was not banned in the Netherlands, but regulations were laid down requiring the sale only of very low-strength alcohol. That seems to have worked satisfactorily.--[ Official Report , 19 June 2000; Vol. 352, c. 43.]

acted in such a way as to give reasonable cause to believe that an order . . . is necessary to prevent him from disturbing good order at any designated football match outside the United Kingdom or during the period before or after any designated football match outside the United Kingdom . . .

I feel that this proposal is very important.

Last night, the Minister of State, Home Office, the hon. Member for Norwich, South (Mr. Clarke), told "Channel 4 News" that there was "a very strong case" for the proposal. However, it seems that the case has not been strong enough until now, and the proposal was not sufficiently important for the Home Secretary to include it in any of the 10 Home Office Bills this Session.

a number of Members taking part expressed their concern

dropped because the bill was disrupted by a minority of Conservative backbenchers.

I would be extremely concerned if . . . we went further down the road of giving greater powers to the police in cases where convictions have not been confirmed. . . We should allow nothing . . . to compromise our commitment to civil liberty.

I have always been quite strong on civil liberty and human rights issues.--[ Official Report , 16 April 1999; Vol. 329, c. 491-99.]

The power to make banning orders in respect of people without conviction is necessary . . . the Government will want to return to the matter . . . We need to find a way of dealing with these people.

We accept that the issue is complex and that the Bill--

is not the right place to deal with it . . . we may be able to deal with this issue later in a Government Bill.

With the Euro 2000 championships coming up, it is important that we do not have gaps in legislation.

slightly worried that we will lose the legislation in the long term.

I hope that the Minister's assurance is correct . . . People will question our judgment if incidents in the coming months or years show that we have let the loophole remain.---[ Official Report, Standing Committee D , 5 May 1999; c. 5-7.]

Only once these measures are being fully used can we start to assess whether there is need for further legislation.

passed the buck to the Belgians,

a lot to answer for,

for the past eight days been covertly filming known football hooligans who have evaded checks and controls to get into Belgium and Holland.

We are pretty certain that, in all but 15 cases, our work has been effective in ensuring that those people did not travel abroad.

worked almost completely to prevent those people from travelling abroad.--[ Official Report , 19 June 2000; Vol. 352, c. 40-44.]

the majority of people that UK authorities hoped would be denied entry to the host countries are now in Belgium and the Netherlands.

We will need to revisit the range of powers we have. We need to learn the lessons from all these events.

It is not the best idea by your country to do nothing. We have confiscated passports to try and avoid trouble.

It is regrettable that the Government in the United Kingdom has not introduced legislation which would make it possible to stop registered hooligans from travelling.

There was an agreement between the British Government and our Ministry of the Interior to stop as many people as possible who might commit offences. It has not been implemented. I do not understand why they were allowed to come here. Too many dangerous hooligans have reached the Continent.

The actions over the last 48 hours have left a scar on the tournament and left us wondering why more was not done to prevent them from travelling . . . Other governments have shown that it can be done and we call on the UK government to take the necessary steps as a matter of urgency.

The government is struggling to recover from a situation they made for themselves when they chickened out of introducing that legislation,

Straw passed the buck to the Belgians and they are rightly furious.

If the Government had done more, then we wouldn't be in the position we are today.

On recommendation 24--providing a power for the court to issue restriction orders on known hooligans without conviction--the Government sees merit in the proposal but requires further consideration on ECHR implications before taking the matter forward,

I have given careful consideration to whether the issue of domestic and international bans without conviction would in principle be compatible with our obligations under ECHR and the EU Treaty. I have concluded that they would.

I beg to move, To leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:

"wholly deplores the violence in Belgium during the Euro 2000 competition perpetrated by United Kingdom citizens, and condemns the irresponsibility and criminality of those involved; welcomes the good co-operation between the British police and National Criminal Intelligence Service with the law enforcement agencies in Belgium, the Netherlands and France by which a large number of individuals with banning orders from football-related convictions against them have been prevented from travelling to Belgium and the Netherlands; strongly supports the many measures already taken by Her Majesty's Government, the police and other agencies; and endorses the further measures announced by the Secretary of State for the Home Department yesterday."

Do you accept that some of those who were arrested were innocent?

Yes of course, yes of course.

Do you regret that?

Of fact, a fact you regret it that's the problem. When we are doing our operations in the street, it's rather difficult to make the difference between those who committed some crimes in the street and those who were together with them and did nothing.

They used to bite yer legs, have beards and moustaches, wear Cossack after-shave and live on steak and chips with lager.

The Sun used a similar headline: "Heroes 1, Jankers 0". No other newspapers in the world describe football results in that way. Indeed, the language of most countries does not include insults to foreigners, and certainly does not include the range and complexity of insults that ours does. We cannot even engage in a debate about the European Union without using tabloid language and talking about Frogs and Krauts. As I say, I do not blame the tabloids, but tabloid journalists cannot write racist rubbish of that sort and then write editorials or features condemning the behaviour of the very people whose attitudes they have, in my view, fostered and, in certain cases, encouraged. No doubt I shall be ripped to pieces by some of the tabloid editors tomorrow. It will not be the first time, and I am sure that I can live with it. We know that what I have said is true, and it is about time that tabloid editors and journalists realised that they cannot whip up such behaviour and subsequently condemn it. They must realise that they are part of the problem.

Last week, the vast majority of this country felt shame at the behaviour in Marseilles of so-called English supporters--who comprised only a small number of the English people in Marseilles, and in no way represented genuine English football supporters, any more than they represented the people of this country itself.

Nevertheless, we saw for ourselves the damage that was done and the violence that was committed.--[ Official Report , 22 June 1998; Vol. 314, c. 710.]

Of the nearly 400 now being deported, just 15 have been identified as previously known hooligans and of those, one has had a domestic exclusion order against him.--[ Official Report , 19 June 2000; Vol. 352, c. 37.]

Young English males . . . gripped by an urge to get drunk and violent

It is fashionable to be a lout. And to be a lout abroad is very heaven.

The bottom line is that there were a lot of young men aged between 18 and 30 who get drunk and like to cause trouble. They talk about provocation but to these people someone speaking German is considered provocation.

The politicians ought to front up in the midst of a riot to see for themselves what it feels like to be intimidated, abused, roughed up, vomited on, stolen from and, in every sense of the word, offended. Then, perhaps, they would not talk quite as much about civil liberties and nets, but instead find the guts to eradicate this plain yobbery.

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:--

The House divided: Ayes 132, Noes 363.

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 130 (+2 tell)082.5%
Independent1 0033.3%
Lab329 (+2 tell) 0079.8%
LDem31 0066.0%
PC2 0050.0%
SNP0 1016.7%
UUP0 1011.1%
Total:363 132077.5%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

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no rebellions

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