Lord Kennedy of Southwark contributions to the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019


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Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill Debate

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Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill

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Lord Kennedy of Southwark Excerpts
Tuesday 15th January 2019

(1 year, 8 months ago)

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Leader of the House
Earl Howe Portrait Earl Howe - Hansard

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and the noble Lord, Lord Judd. I beg your pardon. The noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, should speak first.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Lab Co-op) - Hansard

My Lords, I rise briefly to say that I support the amendments before us. I am pleased that the Government have listened to the proposal put by my noble friend Lord Rosser, who is unable to be with us today. I think that the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, has raised an important issue as regards the medical terminology used, but I think that the noble Earl has answered the point in terms of what can be expected. Generally, I support the amendments because they certainly clarify what we put forward in the first place and I thank the Government for listening in this case.

Earl Howe Portrait Earl Howe - Hansard

My Lords, I am doubly grateful to all noble Lords who have spoken. I am sympathetic to the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, but only up to a certain point. Given that this is Third Reading, our starting point has to be that any further amendments to the Bill should be limited to those that are absolutely necessary to improve the drafting of the Bill in the light of the amendment agreed by the House at Report. I am not persuaded that adding to the list of exemptions from the offence properly falls within the category of amendments that we should now be contemplating at this late stage of the Bill, either today or when the Bill returns to the Commons to consider the Lords amendments.

However, I can assure the noble Baroness that the Government will keep the list of exempted purposes under review. The Bill now helpfully includes a power by regulations—a Henry VIII power to all intents and purposes—to add to the list of exempted purposes should it be appropriate to do so in the light of experience of operating the new offence. I am sure that officials in the Home Office will closely scrutinise the use of this power and will work with their colleagues in the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to determine if peacebuilding could usefully be added to the list of exempted reasons in the future.

But I need to make clear to all noble Lords that this is a nicety. In the absence of such an exemption the Government are clear that entering and remaining in a designated area for the purpose of engaging in peacebuilding would constitute a reasonable excuse. We have that all-encompassing provision, as the noble Baroness is aware, in the Bill. There is a problem associated with any approach that has within it a list of some kind, which is why we started out with a very short list indeed. Through our debates we persuaded ourselves that it would be helpful to augment the very short list that the Government started off with, but we have to ask ourselves where we stop.

I hope what I have said has offered some assurance to the noble Baroness and she understands that, while it would not be appropriate to add peacebuilding to the list of exemptions at the moment, that will not preclude us doing so in the future, should there be an operational imperative.

Break in Debate

Lord Marlesford Portrait Lord Marlesford (Con) - Hansard

My Lords, this Bill was intended to do everything necessary at present to counter terrorism and protect our borders. It does not. I have made repeated attempts to persuade the Government to evaluate—just evaluate—the need for a secure personal identity number system, with biometrics held on a secure central database with which the biometrics of any UK citizen could be compared online by those authorised to do so. The Home Office has refused point blank to even consider this suggestion. This is inexcusable. I recognise that the default position of the Home Office has long been to ignore, reject or oppose external suggestions for changing its procedures, practices or policies, but that is not a satisfactory situation. That it may get away with such behaviour can of course be a reflection on the effectiveness of Ministers, some of whom are coaxed into being mere parrots of Home Office views. I suspect that a rule of the department is, whenever necessary, to remind Ministers “Theirs not to reason why”.

On border control, I will make three points. First, the list published in Hansard, in response to Written Questions I have put down periodically since 2012, of Home Office immigration officials who have been sentenced to often long periods of imprisonment, up to eight or nine years, for misconduct in public office—that is what Hansard describes their offence as being, in most cases—now includes over 50 such cases. This is a disgrace which should have been tackled long ago. All that has happened is that the Home Office has now decided to withhold the names of those who, in open court, have been so convicted, apparently on the grounds that it infringes their privacy or human rights. Secondly, there is still no record, for online access at entry and departure points, of other passports held by UK passport holders. Thirdly, the Home Office seems to have been caught by surprise, with the Home Secretary having had to hurry back from holiday, by the sudden increase in the number of illegal immigrants who have sought to travel to the UK across the Channel in small boats. This was both predictable and predicted, and it can be expected to increase greatly next summer unless effective action is taken to halt it.

Perhaps I could end by quoting Sherlock Holmes:

“From a drop of water a logician could infer the possibility of … a Niagara”.

I am afraid there is a shortage of logicians in the Home Office.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark - Hansard

My Lords, I join others in thanking the Government and in particular the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Trafford, and the noble Earl, Lord Howe, for the way they have conducted themselves in the course of this Bill. I enjoy our tussles across the Dispatch Box very much and I have great respect for both noble Lords on the way they conduct themselves in the House, as does the whole House. I thank them very much for that. I also thank Ben Wallace MP, the Security Minister, for his engagement in this Bill—he has been very helpful. I too thank my noble friend Lord Rosser. He is much missed, and I hope he will be back in the House very soon. He is certainly more forensic in dealing with the Government, and I look forward to having him back by my side shortly.

I also thank the officials from the department, the Bill team and other officials from the Home Office and elsewhere whom we met. They were able to discuss our concerns and look at the issues that we were raising, and they came back in a very positive way. That was very helpful for me and my noble friend Lord Rosser.

I thank noble Lords across the House for their contributions. As the Minister said, they have been wide-ranging and authoritative. Something that we certainly saw on this Bill was the authority that people spoke with on a variety of issues. In particular, as has been said, the contributions by the noble Lords, Lord Anderson of Ipswich and Lord Carlile, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, and the noble Baroness, Lady Manningham-Buller, helped us to understand where we were coming from.

I thank Grace Wright from the opposition office. She has been helpful and supportive in her guidance to me, and ensured that we were able to put our arguments forward well and effectively. She is a skilful member of staff and we are very appreciative of the work that she does for us all.

All sorts of claims and counterclaims have been flying around for the last hour or two about who did what or who did not in relation to the Bill. That is all quite regrettable, and I am not going to engage in it. All I will say is that my job as the opposition spokesperson here is to table amendments and put forward suggestions and ideas to engage with the Government. Hopefully, we all agree that the Bill was necessary; it is about ensuring that we keep our country safe and can deal with the threats that are posed. At the same time it is about protecting our liberties, and that is the balance that we always have to find. That is certainly my and my colleagues’ job here. I think we have got the balance right. The Government have listened on a number of issues, and I thank them very much.

I also thank the Minister for her comments on the issue of Prevent. We had certainly hoped that the Government would look at reviewing it, and clearly they will. Hopefully, in time we will have some good news about that, but if not then I am sure we will have a further debate in the House. At this stage, though, I again thank the House with respect to the Bill.

Bill passed and returned to the Commons with amendments.

Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill Debate

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Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill

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Lord Kennedy of Southwark Excerpts
Monday 17th December 2018

(1 year, 9 months ago)

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Home Office
Lord Hylton Portrait Lord Hylton - Hansard

I will conclude what I was saying. I believe that this amendment is modest and necessary and will be helpful. It will provide statistics with which future judgments can be made, so I support it.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Lab Co-op) - Hansard

My Lords, this issue was raised by the noble Lord, Lord Stunell, in Committee and again today on Report. As he told the House previously, in 2016-17, 6,093 people were referred to the process, but only 6% of them were referred to a Channel programme. The ethnicity and religion of those who are referred are missing from the data. That omission denies the Minister, officials and others important and valuable data.

The noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Trafford, was clear in Committee that the Government wholeheartedly agreed with the intent of the amendment, but she was not convinced that it was needed to achieve the intention. When she responds, will she update the House on the work that is being done by the Home Office chief statistician, who, we are told, is looking at this issue?

To conclude, I support the aims of the amendment. It will provide valuable information for the Government. It would be welcome if the Minister could update the House on whether what has been asked for could be done through other means.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford - Hansard

My Lords, I thank noble Lords who have spoken to this amendment, particularly the noble Lord, Lord Stunell. I will be happy to update the House on some of the work that is going on. The Government agree wholeheartedly with the principle that activities under the Prevent strategy are made as transparent as possible.

The noble Lord, Lord Carlile, mentioned the Prevent oversight board. I am pleased to hear that it met just the other day. However, there is great interest in the operation of the Channel programme, and the publication of statistics on it has already added to that transparency, dispelled some of the myths which surrounded its operation, and provided useful substance to debates in this House. We have so far published data on referrals to Prevent, and the progress through the Channel system of those referrals, covering in detail 2015-16 and 2016-17 and, in lesser detail, the previous years from April 2012. The latest set of statistics, covering 2017-18, was published last week.

The published data covers the numbers at different stages of the process from initial referral, through discussion at Channel panel, to the provision of support. It includes, among other things, the type of extremism which led to the referral; the age, gender and regional location of the person referred, and the sector which made the referral. It also looks at how successful the programme is.

The data is still at a relatively early stage in its development and is therefore classed as experimental statistics. Feedback from users is very important as the dataset develops, and it is clear from noble Lords’ comments that additional categories of data, such as the religion and ethnicity of those who are referred—as the noble Lord, Lord Stunell, said—would be a welcome addition to the current set. As I indicated in Committee, working through the Home Office chief statistician, we would be happy to explore including this data in future publications. At this stage, that would depend on the quality and completeness of the data.

I mentioned in Committee that currently at least half of the records supplied to the Home Office do not include ethnicity or religion. The publication of such variables could therefore be misleading at this stage. There will clearly be more work which officials can do to ensure that this data is captured and recorded in an accurate and nationally consistent manner.

I return briefly to a point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Stunell, in Committee. He was interested in whether referrals made by the police were more or less likely than others to end up being discussed on Channel panels and offered support. I promised at the time to look at the underlying data to see if such an analysis were possible, and I am happy to confirm what my noble friend Lady Barran said on that occasion—that this data already forms part of the published data set and can be found in accompanying tables available on the GOV.UK website.

On the understanding that the Home Office chief statistician is looking at the issue raised in this amendment, I hope the noble Lord will be happy to withdraw it.

Break in Debate

32: Clause 19, page 22, line 2, at end insert—

“(8) The Secretary of State must, within the period of 6 months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed, make arrangements for an independent review and report on the Government strategy for supporting people vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism.(9) The report and any recommendations of the review under subsection (8) must be laid before both Houses of Parliament within the period of 18 months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.(10) The laying of the report and recommendations under subsection (9) must be accompanied by a statement by the Secretary of State responding to each recommendation made as part of the independent review.”

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark - Hansard

My Lords, this is an issue that we debated in Committee when an independent review of Prevent was called for. The Prevent programme introduced by the Labour Government in 2003 has undoubtedly done much valuable work. My moving of this amendment should in no way be seen as not recognising that fact. As when we last debated this issue, I pay tribute to all those who work to keep us safe, to divert people away from a life of terrorism and to support people who contribute positively to the community. We should all recognise the good work that has been done. I am not aware of any specific problems that give rise to concern, but that does not in itself negate the fact that it is good practice to review matters.

The amendment does not specify who should carry out the review. I would be happy for it to be placed under the remit of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. It seems preferable to do that rather than appoint another person to carry out the review. Prevent has not been the subject of an independent review; I very much believe that the programme would benefit from that sort of oversight.

Clearly, questions have been raised over the programme’s operation and effectiveness. Some are justified, but other criticisms have been stirred up deliberately to undermine the programme. I see my amendment calling for review not as seeking to undermine the good work that has been done but as a sound, sensible, careful look at an area of policy and a programme that deals with matters of the utmost concern to the country as a whole and to individual communities.

In addition to the review, my amendment calls for a report to be laid before Parliament within 18 months of the Bill becoming an Act, and for the Secretary of State to produce a statement to accompany the report. I beg to move.

Lord Anderson of Ipswich Portrait Lord Anderson of Ipswich (CB) - Hansard

My Lords, we should have pride in the achievements of the many excellent people who work locally in Prevent, and in the increased transparency that has been a notable feature of the past few years. I have in mind not only the helpful publication of statistics but recent initiatives such as the staging in the West Midlands of simulated Channel panel meetings through which outsiders have been brought in to witness the process of decision-making.

As the noble Lord, Lord West, has indicated, triumphalism about the successes of Prevent would be quite out of place. In its report last month, the Intelligence and Security Committee noted that the failure to pick up attack planning by the Parsons Green tube bomber, Ahmed Hassan, despite him having been an active Channel case, highlighted what the committee called,

“deep-rooted issues in the administration”,

of Prevent. Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu described Prevent in an interview this February, when he was senior national co-ordinator for counterterrorism, as “hugely controversial”. He went on to say:

“Prevent, at the moment, is owned by the Government, but I think it should be outside central government altogether ... Rather than the Government handing over a sum of money and then it becoming state-sponsored with accusations of demonising communities, it should be locally generated. We have gotten all of that messaging the wrong way around, it should be grassroots up”.

I mention this to encourage noble Lords to avoid complacency on this subject and because the Minister quite rightly expressed in Committee her strong respect for Mr Basu’s views. Perhaps it shows that the best of us are not monolithic in our views; with great respect to my noble friend Lord Carlile, that is true also of the noble Baroness, Lady Warsi, whose recent book is both nuanced and constructive in its approach.

The legitimate questions raised by Mr Basu could be multiplied: how should Prevent relate to other safeguarding mechanisms on the one hand and to the Government’s Counter-Extremism Strategy on the other? How robust are the mechanisms for measuring success? To what extent should concerns derived from Prevent contacts be shared with counterterrorism police and others? Decisions as to the future direction of Prevent are of course for Ministers. It was encouraging to hear from my noble friend Lord Carlile that the Prevent oversight board might be showing signs of renewed life. But independent review of the operation of Prevent by a security-cleared person, based on the widest possible engagement with those affected, could help to inform those decisions. It could also provide much-needed public reassurance about an initiative which is so hotly debated that it has been described as “5% of the budget and 85% of the conversation”.

As Mr Basu said in February:

“Government will not thank me for saying this, but an independent reviewer of Prevent … would be a healthy thing”.

I agree, and I hope your Lordships will too.

Break in Debate

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford - Hansard

The noble Lord is absolutely right, and that team is growing. I think my noble friend Lord Marlesford is concerned about the Home Office in general, but I can confirm what the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, says.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark - Hansard

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords for their contributions to the debate today, in particular the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, my noble friend Lord Harris of Haringey, my noble friend Lord West of Spithead, and the noble Baroness, Lady Warsi. These are serious matters, and counterterrorism work in all its strands is important to keep us safe, and we support the Government to do that. It is also important that these things are looked at independently, and as I said in my opening contribution, I am happy for this review to be undertaken by the independent reviewer.

I note what the noble Baroness said about the amendment as drafted, but other than saying there should be a review, it is fairly open on how it takes place. I did not see why that caused the Government particular problems. I have listened carefully to all of the contributions, and to the response of the noble Baroness. Although I have great respect for her, I am not persuaded by her response, and so I wish to test the opinion of the House.

Amendment 32A

Break in Debate

Lord Garnier (Con) - Hansard

My Lords, it might encourage my noble friends on the Front Bench to do as the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, has indicated. I find the principles behind the amendments in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, very attractive. No doubt some practical points need to be sorted out. I am much encouraged by the wording,

“it is or has been”,

in proposed new subsection (4)(a) in Amendment 32A. I fully take on board the concerns a Government might have relating to the publication of the reasons for making a decision under the review of proscription provisions in Amendment 32B. That said, there seems to be, at least as a matter of theory, a lot to commend the amendments from the noble Lord, Lord Anderson. I encourage the Government to see whether something can be crafted that will enable something similar to this to come on to the statute book, not least for the reasons of departmental policy squabbles that those of us who have been in government know so much about.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark - Hansard

My Lords, this issue was also looked at in detail in Committee. The noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, raises an important issue concerning groups that have been added to the list of proscribed organisations and that have, to all intents and purposes, stopped engaging in the activity or activities that led to them being added to the list in the first place and the risk to individuals getting caught up in that.

I have listened carefully to the issues raised in that previous debate and in today’s debate and reflected on them, but I have come to the conclusion that I am not persuaded that the change proposed by these amendments is necessary or right at this time. The first duty of government is to protect the public. As we have heard, the 2000 Act already provides a mechanism for an organisation to seek deproscription: there is detailed in Section 4 and further in Section 5 an appeals process to the Proscribed Organisations Appeals Commission. Further, on a point of law, organisations can go to the Court of Appeal.

I say in response to the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, that there is a process already in place and further, on the points that the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, made regarding Northern Ireland, I am not persuaded that these amendments are right today. That is not to say that the points raised by the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, could not be considered to be introduced at some point in the future, but I am not convinced on the merits of the case at this time.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford - Hansard

My Lords, these amendments return to an issue raised with some force by the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, in our earlier debates. I am conscious that I was unable to persuade him of my view that the well-intentioned amendment he tabled in Committee would not be in the public interest. I am grateful to him for the further amendment which he has tabled, which would operate in parallel to his original proposal for annual reviews, and which he has explained is intended to address some of the concerns the Government have with that proposal. On careful consideration, regretfully, I cannot agree that it does do so and the Government are not able to support it for reasons I will come to shortly.

Before I come to the detail of the amendments, I should be clear that the Government consider proscription to be a necessary power that plays an important role in protecting the public. Organisations are proscribed for a good reason: because they are terrorist in nature, and because it is in the public interest to prevent them being able to operate or to gain support in the UK. This plays an important role in protecting the public from potentially very dangerous organisations, as well as more generally in maintaining public confidence and, where relevant, supporting our international partners in the struggle against terrorism. The Government also consider that the power’s impact is proportionate to that purpose.

In forming this view I have in mind that, beyond restricting the ability of an individual to engage in the specific activities covered by the proscription offences relating to the particular organisation which has been proscribed, the power does not otherwise impact on their ability to conduct a normal day-to-day life. The impact of proscribing an organisation is not, therefore, overly intrusive or unavoidable from the individual’s perspective.

Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill Debate

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Monday 3rd December 2018

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Lord Judge Portrait Lord Judge (CB) - Hansard

My Lords, I cannot agree with everybody. The noble Lord, Lord Harris, made the crucial point that both these provisions have to be read together. This is a single policy decision. We have talked about 13 year-old boys but let us try a different example: the ANC when Mr Nelson Mandela, one of the heroic figures of the last century, was a member of that organisation. Undoubtedly it did, and was minded to, use what we would all call terrorism in the cause of defeating apartheid. There is no problem about arresting him. I consider it perfectly possible for an individual to say, “I entirely agree with the aims of the ANC—the idea that a man or woman should be distinguished against because of the colour of his or her skin is simply unacceptable. But I disagree with using bombs to achieve that objective”. They would therefore, using perfectly ordinary English language, not be supporting the ANC. But in saying, “I find that its objectives are entirely admirable and I agree with them”, they would be supportive of it. The distinction between these two words is rather significant and merits consideration. I respectfully suggest that we should go to either “supports” and “reckless”, or “supportive of” and “intent”. Either way, those alternatives would have identified a significant piece of conduct which ought to be criminalised.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Lab Co-op) - Hansard

My Lords, Amendments 1 and 2, in the names of the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, and the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, concern issues that we discussed in Committee. I listened carefully to the debate then and have listened carefully to the debate this afternoon. I have great respect for the noble Baroness but I want to make it clear that if she puts her amendment to the vote today and divides the House, we will not be with her. For me, the crucial word is “and”, which links new subsections (1A)(a) and (1A)(b). My noble friend Lord Harris of Haringey made the point that we need to read and consider both paragraphs together.

In Committee, the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, put it much more eloquently and succinctly than I can and he has done so again today. In Committee, he said:

“First, it recognises that even in this relatively gun-free”,

society,

“if someone expresses support in a certain way for a proscribed organisation, it may put some of our fellow citizens in mortal danger of their lives.”.

He went on:

“It does not criminalise the expression of support, rather it forbids and criminalises the expression of support on certain terms as set out in proposed new Section 1A(b), and that is the test of recklessness. Recklessness requires awareness of the risk that is being taken by the speaker”.—[Official Report, 29/10/18; cols. 1130-31.]

I agree very much with that position and, on the basis of it and what I have heard today, we will not support the noble Baroness in the Lobbies today. I did not accept at all her point that you can be supportive of an organisation but not support it. I think that if you are supportive of it, you do support an organisation. The clause as drafted is reasonable and, for me, it strikes the right balance.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con) - Hansard

I thank noble Lords who have spoken in this debate and particularly the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, for moving her amendment. She has set out her position on this clearly and consistently, but I hope that your Lordships will indulge me if I rehearse the reasons why the Government cannot support the amendments.

As the noble Baroness said, Clause 1 amends Section 12(1)(a) of the Terrorism Act 2000, under which it is currently an offence to invite another person to support a proscribed terrorist organisation. An invitation in this context may be explicit or indirect, and may be implicit or opaque, but for a conviction to be secured the prosecution must be able to prove that the person intended to influence others to support the terrorist organisation. I recognise that, when considered in the abstract, this may appear to be the right threshold for the offence. However, in its operation it has been shown to leave a significant gap in the ability of the police, the CPS and the courts to act against hate preachers and radicalisers, as noble Lords have pointed out. This is because such individuals will often be careful to err on just the right side of the law. They will express opinions and beliefs which, in the judgment of a reasonable person, would be likely to have the effect of encouraging others to support proscribed terrorist groups but will stop short of statements which would go far enough to allow the CPS to prove that they intended such encouragement. This is despite them clearly and unambiguously risking harm to the public by virtue of their expressions.

This gap is illustrated by some of the cases to which I have previously drawn the House’s attention, and which were described by Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu in his evidence to the Public Bill Committee in the House of Commons. I urge noble Lords to examine that evidence carefully. In those cases, it was not possible to prosecute prolific and high-profile preachers of hate who had made highly inflammatory public speeches which were very clear about the speaker’s own support for terrorist organisations and methodology and which were on any reasonable assessment likely to cause their audience to be influenced to support a proscribed organisation. They included open admiration for Daesh and other terrorist groups and praise for their methods, ideology and activities.

However, I hope I will reflect the views of many noble Lords when I say that the current position strikes the wrong balance if it allows such obviously harmful behaviour to go unchallenged. This is behaviour that can have a powerful effect in initiating or moving along the process of radicalisation. There are radicalisers and hate preachers who have, time and again, been shown to have played a prominent and influential role in the backgrounds of those who have been convicted of planning or carrying out terrorist attacks.

Clause 1 is intended to close the gap I have described by bringing within the ambit of the Section 12(1)(a) offence individuals who are reckless as to whether they will cause this harm to arise. We have previously debated what is meant by “reckless”, but I think it is worth briefly setting this out again, before I turn to my concerns with the noble Baroness’s proposed amendments to Clause 1.

To answer the noble Baroness’s question, the term “reckless” is a well-established and well-understood concept in the criminal law, and one with which the courts are familiar, in particular as a result of clear case law established by the then Appellate Committee of this House in 2003 in the case of R v G and another. A person acts recklessly where he or she is aware that in the circumstances there is a risk that their conduct will result in the proscribed outcome, and they none the less engage in that conduct in circumstances where a reasonable person would not.

So, under Clause 1, a person might act recklessly if, in the course of addressing an audience consisting primarily of individuals whom he believes are of an Islamist extremist mindset, he speaks of his own support for Daesh, believing he has a degree of influence over the audience and being aware of the risk that members of the audience will be influenced by him to support Daesh. I hope noble Lords will not disagree when I say that a reasonable person would not, and should not, proceed to make that speech in those circumstances. A person who none the less does so would therefore be doing so recklessly. It may not be possible to prove beyond reasonable doubt an intention to influence their audience to support Daesh, but I consider it appropriate and proportionate that the courts can hold them to account if they are reckless in this way. Clause 1 will ensure that this is the case.

Turning now to Amendment 1, the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, set out a concern that the reference to a statement that is “supportive” of a proscribed organisation might risk a person being found guilty of a terrorism offence having tweeted their support for a legitimate political objective which happens to be shared by a proscribed terrorist organisation. She gave the examples of support for an independent Kurdistan and for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Occupied Territories, both of which are entirely legitimate standpoints but which are also objectives of, respectively, the PKK and the military wings of Hamas and Hezbollah. I have previously assured her, and I am happy to repeat those assurances, that this is not the case. In her example, there would be no suggestion that the person supported terrorist methods to achieve the political objectives to which they aspired or that they supported any proscribed terrorist organisation. There would, therefore, be no basis on which a reasonable person might equate such a statement with support for the PKK or for the proscribed wings of Hamas or Hezbollah or might anticipate that a listener would be influenced to support those organisations. As such, the statements would not meet the recklessness test and would clearly not be caught by Clause 1.

The noble Baroness further highlighted in Committee that the existing Section 12(1)(a) offence refers to,

“inviting support for a proscribed organisation”,

whereas Clause 1 refers to,

“opinion or belief that is supportive of a proscribed organisation”.

She suggested that “supportive” is, intentionally, a broader wording, which will cast the net of the offence more widely than would be the case if the word “supports” were used instead.

I think we are all clear that there is no difference in meaning in the context of the drafting. The existing Section 12(1) offence criminalises those who invite others to support a terrorist group. That word has the wider meaning that the noble Baroness described, repeating what the court said in Choudary, but in the new offence, we are talking about an opinion or belief. As a matter of syntax, an opinion or belief cannot support an issue; a person supports something. That is why parliamentary counsel has used the word “supportive” here. There is no intention to introduce a wider concept than the existing offence. Crucially, new Section 12(1)(b) requires that a person will be encouraged to support a proscribed group by the expression.

However, I can offer the noble Baroness a clear assurance that it would in any event have no meaningful impact on the effect of the clause, the scope of the offence or the range of causes that would be caught by it. This would be exactly the same whichever formulation were used.

Amendment 2 would remove the recklessness test and replace it with one that effectively repeats the existing position in the Section 12(1)(a) offence, so it would still be necessary to prove the same deliberate act of invitation to support.

The noble Baroness has made it clear that she does not support the purpose of Clause 1, and I respect that view, even if I do not agree with it, but I should make it clear to noble Lords that the amendment would entirely nullify the utility of this clause and, as such, were it to be made, we might as well simply strike the whole clause from the Bill.

I hope that with that explanation, noble Lords are satisfied and the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw her amendment.

Break in Debate

Earl Attlee Portrait Earl Attlee (Con) - Hansard

My Lords, I thank the Minister for tabling the amendment. It is hard to think of any reason other than journalism or academic research, but it is good that the legislation as it will be drafted allows for that possibility. As for my noble friend’s point about journalism, it has never been accurately defined. Other terrorism legislation refers to journalism, but the drafting of my noble friend’s amendment makes it quite clear that it has to be journalistic work.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark - Hansard

We fully support government Amendment 6 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Trafford, and moved by the noble Earl, Lord Howe. As we have heard, it responds to concerns raised during consideration of the Bill in Committee in this House and the other place. It is a helpful amendment, as it puts in the Bill a specific provision making it clear that a person has a reasonable excuse for possession of certain material where it is for the purpose of carrying out journalistic or academic research.

Amendment 7 is an amendment to Amendment 6. I have considered it carefully and can see the point being made the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, but the amendment is unnecessary and would add nothing to the clause as amended by Amendment 6. As the noble Earl said, “but … not limited to” covers the other points made. As amended the clause is fine; I do not think that we need the other amendment. The noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, made some important points which I hope the Minister will respond to, but we support the government amendment.

Earl Howe Portrait Earl Howe - Hansard

My Lords, I am grateful to all noble Lords who have spoken, especially for the supportive comments from the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, and my noble friend Lord Attlee, but also for the very helpful remarks from the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy. I shall endeavour to cover all questions that have been put.

The noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, asked a drafting question. She asked where paragraph (a) will actually fall in the text. I can tell her that paragraph (a) will begin with the words after line 40 on page 2, so I hope that it will run in the broad way rather than the narrow way in which she hoped it would.

Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill Debate

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Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill

(Committee: 4th sitting (Hansard): House of Lords)
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Wednesday 14th November 2018

(1 year, 10 months ago)

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Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Portrait Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb - Hansard

My Lords, my Amendment 62 would require consultation on the right to protest and undertake peaceful, non-violent direct action. This is a very personal amendment for me because I do go to peaceful protests, and it is possible that some other Members of your Lordships’ House do as well—although, looking round, possibly not.

I am compelled to bring the amendment for personal reasons but also in the knowledge that the Stansted 15 are undergoing a criminal trial for heroically trying to stop deportations in response to the Windrush scandal and the Government’s now discredited hostile environment policy. I also bring the amendment in the name of all environmental protectors who are harassed by armies of police and private security in the fight against fracking. This includes the Fracking Three, who were thrown in jail by a judge who had family ties to the oil and gas supply chain. They were later freed by the Court of Appeal. I also highlight the tree protectors in Sheffield, who spent years trying to stop the council felling thousands of healthy trees. They faced rough tactics by the police, and the council has taken unprecedented steps that risk bankrupting individual protesters.

I pay my respects to all environmental protectors in the UK and around the world who face persecution and prosecution for the crime of protecting our planet. A noble Lord earlier said something about civil liberties being outdated. Not in my world they are not. I argue that if we want to live in a democratic society, civil liberties are a crucial component of it.

A common thread runs through all the cases that I just mentioned. That thread is the use and abuse of laws which stamp out legal, peaceful protest. Whether it is terrorism legislation at Stansted, obstruction of the highway in Lancashire or trade union legislation in Sheffield, we see time and again that the state will use the law creatively to deter and punish those who put their bodies on the line to fight injustice and environmental destruction.

There is an emerging application of civil injunctions, which means that companies and councils can bankrupt people for exercising their right to protest, even when they have not broken the law. Environmental protesters and campaigners have faced persecution in other ways, too. We have often been designated as domestic extremists and put into the same category as far-right neo-Nazis and the man who murdered MP Jo Cox. We have been spied on by the police and had our campaigns infiltrated by police officers. Some of us have even been deceived by police into forming a sexual relationship as part of their cover story. The sense of state intrusion in our lives is difficult to convey, and undoubtedly puts many people off taking part in protests.

We have seen our causes proved right with time. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that even if we meet the targets in the Paris climate agreement, which is unlikely, we will still see catastrophic consequences. The anti-fracking movement, once mocked for its suggestion that fracking would cause earthquakes, has been proven right by Cuadrilla causing dozens of quakes in the vicinity of its fracking site in Lancashire. Those quakes have repeatedly breached the upper limits set by the Government’s “gold-standard fracking regulations”. The Government’s response has been to change their myth-busting fact sheet from stating that fracking does not cause earthquakes to saying that it does not cause “serious earthquakes”.

If the suffragettes were alive today, they would be standing alongside us as domestic extremists facing trumped-up criminal sanctions for doing the right thing. I am sure that in time history will recognise the environmental movement as forcing the same scale of social change as the suffragettes are credited with today.

For these reasons, my amendment would require the Government to conduct a consultation on the impact of the Bill on the right to protest and to consult on a statutory system for designating people as “domestic extremists”. This is an essential first step towards enshrining a true right to protest in the UK, recognising that people should have legal defences when they act in protection of the environment and human rights. The powers in the Bill would add to the already long list of laws which can be used or abused against honest, dedicated campaigners—and that must be opposed. I beg to move.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Lab Co-op) - Hansard

Amendment 62 proposed by the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb, seeks to add a new clause to the Bill after Clause 21concerning the right to protest.

The right to protest peacefully is an extremely important right that we should all cherish. I have been on a few marches and protests in my time. I have usually gone with a few friends, standing up for what we believe in. Many of my noble friends have been on marches, and I am sure many other noble Lords have been as well. I do not think any one group can claim that they are the party of protest marches.

I hope that the Government will agree that this is an important issue. The right to protest is an important one that we should all cherish. I have generally agreed with the Bill, and am happy to support it. However, I accept that we are giving the Government some extra powers. I support the Bill because it has a narrow focus, dealing with some very important matters, so I hope to get some assurance from the Government. I would not want to see anything in the Bill to stop people protesting peacefully; it is very important that we do not have that.

The noble Baroness raised a point about domestic extremism, which is an important issue. I like the noble Baroness very much. We get on, and sometimes we agree on things, and sometimes we do not. I do not regard her as a domestic extremist; she is a campaigner and a noble Member of the House who makes a valuable contribution. It is important that people should not be branded or grouped together so that somehow, their rights can be taken away. However, let us be clear: there are dangerous people in this country. People who have been born here can be very dangerous; they can be on the hard right, the hard left, in other groups, or religious extremists. We need to have laws in place to deal with them, but at the same time we need to protect our right to protest and stand up for what we believe in. I look forward to the Government’s response.

Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Portrait Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb - Hansard

Can I just say to the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, that I was not trying to corner the market in protest? I was thinking that perhaps a lot of Members would not have the time to do that sort of thing.

Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill Debate

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Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill

(Committee: 3rd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords)
Lord Kennedy of Southwark Excerpts
Monday 12th November 2018

(1 year, 10 months ago)

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Lord Paddick Portrait Lord Paddick - Hansard

My Lords, in moving Amendment 43 I shall speak also to Amendments 44 and 45 in my name and that of my noble friend Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames.

Clause 16 arises out of a recommendation from the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, that,

“there should be a statutory bar to the introduction of Schedule 7 admissions in a subsequent criminal trial”.

I am looking to the noble Lord for assistance because I find this piece of the legislation somewhat impenetrable—but I will give it a go.

The amendments in this group seek to probe whether the clause does what the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, intended. Amendment 43 would ensure that a Schedule 7 admission can be used in subsequent proceedings for an offence under paragraph 18 only if the admission relates to an offence committed on the occasion to which that questioning relates. For example, if a person wilfully obstructs a Schedule 7 search and makes an admission relevant to that search, the admission would be admissible. If the admission related to a previous Schedule 7 search at a different time or at a different port, it would not be admissible.

Amendments 44 and 45 would ensure that paragraph 5A of Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 at sub-paragraph (2)(c) does not thwart the former independent reviewer’s intention. Sub-paragraph (2)(c) seeks to make an exception of admissions made during a Schedule 7 encounter if, on a prosecution for some other offence that is not a paragraph 18 offence, the person makes a statement that is inconsistent with what he said during a Schedule 7 encounter. This, on the face of it, seems to me to counter what the independent reviewer intended.

However—here we are into the realms of the BBC Radio 4 “Today” programme’s puzzle for the day, at least for someone like me who is not legally qualified—sub-paragraph (3) appears to suggest that the admissions under sub-paragraph (2)(c) are admissible only if the defence introduces a Schedule 7 admission or asks a question in relation to a Schedule 7 admission during proceedings arising out of the prosecution. Can the Minister confirm that I am correct, or explain what Schedule 16 actually means? I beg to move.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Lab Co-op) - Hansard

My Lords, Amendment 43, in the names of the noble Lords, Lord Paddick and Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames, seeks to add a clarification at the end of the sub-paragraph that would make it clear that when someone is charged with the offence of refusing to co-operate, this must have happened at the same time as when the oral answers were given for it to be admissible. That seems to me to be a fairly sensible clarification. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, that for someone who is not legally qualified, the legislation is very detailed and difficult to understand. The amendments are very good in probing the points that the Bill is getting at, so I look forward to the Minister’s response.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford - Hansard

As the third person to be not legally qualified to respond to this, I thank both noble Lords for raising some important issues with respect to Clause 16. As we have heard, the clause provides for how oral answers or information given to examining officers in response to questioning under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 can be used in subsequent criminal proceedings. Noble Lords will be aware that the powers under Schedule 7 are essential to help the police to tackle the threat posed by terrorism. I have listened carefully to the points made today about these powers and the concerns about how they might be used. One important check and balance for port and border powers is the statutory bar that we are introducing in Clause 16, which is also mirrored in Schedule 3. Under Schedule 7 there is a legal duty on those examined to give the examining officer any information that the officer requests. It is an offence under paragraph 18 to wilfully fail to comply with this duty. Unlike where someone has been arrested and has a right of silence, an examinee under Schedule 7 is compelled, under pain of prosecution, to answer questions put to him or her.

By introducing a statutory bar on the admissibility, as evidence at criminal trials, of any answers or information given orally in the course of a Schedule 7 examination—where the suspect will not have been arrested or cautioned—we are providing greater clarity and therefore comfort to the subjects of these examinations, and helping police to exercise their powers under Schedule 7. We are including a corresponding statutory bar in Schedule 3. The bar will provide that reassurance to examinees who might be unwilling to answer questions for fear of incriminating themselves that their oral answers or the information they provide will not be used against them.

The principle of excluding material from criminal proceedings on fairness grounds is reflected in Section 78 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, which already provides the courts with the discretion to exclude such evidence if it would have an adverse effect on the fairness of proceedings. In the case of Beghal in 2015, the Supreme Court held that criminal courts would almost inevitably use Section 78 to exclude from criminal trials any answers or information given in Schedule 7 examinations. This clause puts the position beyond doubt and, in doing so, fulfils our commitment to the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, to legislate in this way.

However, the statutory bar is not absolute—a point that the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, recognised, as did the Supreme Court in the Beghal case. There are three exceptions. First, the bar will not apply where the individual is charged with an offence under Schedule 7 of wilfully obstructing or failing to comply with an examination. Secondly, it will not apply where an individual is prosecuted for perjury. Finally, the bar will not apply for another offence where, in giving evidence in relation to that offence, a defendant makes a statement inconsistent with their oral response to questioning under Schedule 7—providing that the defendant is the party to adduce evidence relating to that information, or asks a question relating to it.

Amendment 43 seeks to narrow the first of the three exceptions to that bar that I have just described. The amendment is intended to ensure that oral answers or information given in an examination are used as evidence against the person in criminal proceedings only where they are charged with wilfully obstructing or failing to comply with a duty arising during that particular examination, and not as evidence in proceedings for the obstruction of any earlier or subsequent examination.

We are of the view that this amendment is unnecessary, as what it seeks to provide for is already the case in practice. This is a consequence of the way the paragraph 18 offence is drafted, requiring as it does “wilful”—that is, “knowing”—obstruction or breach of an obligation. It is not possible for a person’s answer or information given in one examination to represent a knowing obstruction of, or non-compliance with, any previous or subsequent examination. At the time the answer or information is given, the person is beyond the point in time at which he or she can knowingly obstruct a past examination—and nor can it be known that he or she will be subject to a future examination, so they cannot knowingly obstruct it. The current drafting of the Bill therefore secures the outcome that the noble Lords intend: namely, that answers given in an examination can be used in evidence only in a prosecution for wilful obstruction of that examination, and not any other examination. We believe that this is the right outcome.

Amendments 44 and 45 seek to remove the third exception to the statutory bar in its entirety. This is an important exception, which allows the prosecution to challenge a defendant where they have provided statements to the police in a Schedule 7 examination which are inconsistent with, or contradict, statements made later in criminal proceedings. To accept these amendments would give defendants in such situations the confidence to knowingly mislead the court in the case of another prosecution, as any contradictory statements they made during a Schedule 7 examination would not be admissible.

This third exception to the statutory bar reflects the legal exception that already exists in other legislation—for example, Section 360 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and, more recently, Section 22C of the Terrorism Act 2000, which was inserted by the Criminal Finances Act of 2017. It is not unique to terrorism legislation and, consequently, I see no case for removing the third exemption.

This clause introduces an unambiguous fair-trial safeguard. But, in putting the almost inevitable application of Section 78 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act beyond doubt by means of this statutory bar, it is right that we reflect the legitimate exceptions that the Supreme Court has itself contemplated, in confirming that the statutory bar should apply other than,

“in proceedings under paragraph 18 of Schedule 7 or for an offence of which the gist is deliberately giving false information when questioned”.

I hope that that is a clear explanation of what the noble Lord asked and that he will be content to withdraw his amendment.

Break in Debate

Lord Stunell Portrait Lord Stunell (LD) - Hansard

My Lords, first, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, for giving me such full attention in her speech: I appreciate that. According to paragraph 3.2 of the Prevent report that the Government published in March this year, the police made 1,946 referrals to the Prevent programme, which was 32% of the nominations made. The education service, by which I think they mean schools and colleges, made an almost identical number of referrals, 1,976, also described in the government publication as 32%. The question that I am happy to hear repeated by the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, is: are those figures appropriate? Is the net catching too many fish? I understand the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, which is perfectly fair, but the same paragraph of the same report says that 2,199 cases “required no further action”, which is 36% of those referred. The total of those referred to “other services” is 2,748, which is 45%. If one adds those two together, over 80% are referred or require no further action.

Where are they referred to? Thirty per cent are referred to education, 17% to the police, and 29% to local authorities. Exactly what all this means will come up in the debate on the following amendment, as will whether the reporting system is giving us the kind of information and insight that the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, just tried to throw on the subject. I await the Minister’s response with great interest. I certainly support the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, in moving the amendment today.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark - Hansard

Clause 19 provides for a local authority to have the power to refer a person who is vulnerable to or at risk of being drawn into terrorism to a Channel panel for support. Amendment 54 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, would place a requirement in the Bill that the person who previously referred the individual cannot be the representative of the local authority on the panel.

The noble Baroness set out a clear and compelling case for the amendment, and I will be happy to support her. She addressed a number of points that need to be responded to by the Minister in this short debate. The noble Lord, Lord Carlile, also made an important point about the risks to decision-making if you are the person making the referral and you make decisions as well. It may be that the Minister will say that the points made by the noble Lord will be taken into account by the local authority anyway, so it would not get into that situation, but he made a very valid point.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford - Hansard

I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, for explaining her amendment. It might be helpful if I begin by briefly explaining how an individual is referred to a Channel panel, before turning to why it is important that we do not preclude someone who refers an individual from sitting on the panel itself. I apologise to noble Lords who know precisely how someone is referred to a Channel panel.

When talking about referrals to Channel, it is important to recognise that it is a two-stage process, the second of which is covered by the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. The first stage is the initial raising of a concern that someone might be vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. I take slight exception to the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, describing the person as the “accused”; they are not accused but are being referred because they are vulnerable.

This referral can be done by anyone at all, such as, but not limited to, a social worker—referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Carlile—a teacher, a police officer, a healthcare worker, a family member or, indeed, a friend. All such concerns will eventually, if they make it that far, be assessed by the police, often using information provided by local partners to help them. The police will decide whether there is a genuine vulnerability that merits the attention of a Channel panel and, if there is, make a referral to the panel. This second-stage referral is covered by the 2015 Act. The purpose of Clause 19 is to allow a good deal of that assessment process and second-stage referral to be carried out by local authority staff.

The chair of the Channel panel can invite local partners to the panel, and this will almost certainly include the professional who has made the second-stage referral, and perhaps the individual who raised the initial concern, particularly if they are both from one of the panel’s statutory partners. Both of these professionals are likely to have important information on the subject of the referral. I mentioned social workers—as did the noble Lord, Lord Carlile—because noble Lords will be able to see that in other contexts where the referring person may be involved, such as safeguarding, it is important and not a conflict.

Break in Debate

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con) - Hansard

I just want to clarify one point. I believe that the information about the difference in referrals to Prevent that end up at a Channel panel is in the Home Office information bulletin. So the answer to the noble Lord’s question about whether a police referral is more likely to get through than education or local authority referrals is that it is just over half as likely to get through if it is initially a police referral. Therefore, I think that your Lordships can take some comfort from this being, as the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, suggested, genuinely about safeguarding rather than a criminal justice intervention.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark - Hansard

My Lords, Amendments 55 and 56 in the names of the noble Lords, Lord Paddick and Lord Stunell, seek to insert amendments to Clause 19. As we have heard, Amendment 55 would require the collection and release of data which details the religion and ethnicity of a person referred to a panel. This could provide valuable and meaningful data to help the Government in dealing with these very difficult matters, and I very much agree with the noble Lord, Lord Stunell, in this respect. When he listed what is included, it was even more interesting to reflect on the fact that these two pieces of information are not collected. I am sure that the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Trafford, will address that point in her reply.

On the face of it, Amendment 56 seems very sensible—but it may well be that it is not necessary, so I will listen carefully to the Government’s response.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford - Hansard

My Lords, I shall start by addressing Amendment 55. I wholeheartedly agree with the noble Lord, Lord Stunell, that it is very important that both the Prevent programme and the Channel process are open to public scrutiny, and, to this end, we support calls for greater transparency. Indeed, we have already published two years-worth of Channel statistics, covering 2015-16 and 2016-17—the latter in March of this year. We are committed to publishing these statistics on an annual basis, and expect to publish 2017-18 data towards the end of this year.

The data is extensively quality assured before publication to ensure accuracy. However, due to the provisional nature of the dataset and the need to further develop and improve our data collection, it is currently published as “experimental statistics”, indicating that the information is, as I said, at an early stage of development. As such, we look for feedback from users on what information is included, while working to improve training and guidance for those responsible for providing the data and assessing its quality and limitations.

We absolutely appreciate that figures on ethnicity and religion are likely to be of interest to users of these statistics, for all the reasons that noble Lords have outlined. Working through the Home Office Chief Statistician, we are happy to explore the inclusion of such data in future publications. However, I should stress that whether this proves to be possible will depend on a number of factors, including the quality and completeness of the data. To give an example, currently at least half of the records supplied to the Home Office do not include ethnicity or religion, so publication of such variables could be misleading at this stage. However, that is not a no; it is saying that we will work on statistics that will be useful to the public and provide for wider transparency.

Turning to Amendment 56, I am pleased that the noble Lord, Lord Stunell, recognises the significant role that a Channel panel can have in helping to safeguard very vulnerable individuals. Although the Government agree wholeheartedly with the intent of the amendment, I will set out why we do not think it is needed to achieve this end.

Section 36(4) of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 requires the Channel panel to prepare a plan for an individual whom the panel considers appropriate to be offered support. Section 36(5) sets out what information must, as a minimum, be included in such a support plan—that is, how consent is to be obtained; the nature of the support to be provided; the people who will provide the support; and how and when the support will be provided.

The current wording of the Act does not preclude other information being included in the support plan, but it should also be recognised that this is not the only place where information about the individual being discussed is recorded. The vulnerability assessment framework, for example, contains relevant information about the particular vulnerabilities of the individual, drawing on all the information from the various panel members. Panel minutes will contain the record of the multiagency discussion and a risk assessment is also completed. All these documents are brought together within the case management file.

The Government agree entirely with the thrust of the amendment, which is that it is essential that the panel is aware of, takes account of, and indeed records, all matters relevant to the safeguarding needs of the individual. As noble Lords will know, that is the bread and butter of what Channel panels are about, and I reassure the Committee that the statutory Channel duty guidance makes it clear that this is the case. Paragraph 71 of the guidance, for example, says:

“The panel must fully consider all the information available to them to make an objective decision on the support provided, without discriminating against the individual’s race, religion or background”.

However, the support plan is not necessarily the right place to record that information. It is intended instead to be a simple, unambiguous document that sets out exactly who will do what and when with regard to the actual support being provided. Requiring panels to include other information here, rather than in other parts of the case management file, would be likely to diminish rather than add to its value within the process.

The noble Lord asked whether Prevent was discriminatory. The statistics reflect the type of extremism being referred and what happens at each stage of the process. It is important to note that a one-third of all cases provided with support were actually referred for far-right concerns. He also asked which agencies had the highest and lowest conversion rates from referral to support. I will be happy to look at the underlying statistics and see whether that analysis is actually possible, and I will get back to him on that.

I hope that I have given the noble Lord sufficient information so that he will feel that he can withdraw his amendment, on the understanding that the Home Office Chief Statistician is looking precisely at the issue that he raised in Amendment 55.

Break in Debate

Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon Portrait Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon (Lab) - Hansard

My Lords, I speak as a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights. Most of what I was going to say has already been said by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, as we are both on the committee. I want to add to what has been said that the Joint Committee is concerned that the Prevent programme is being developed without first conducting an independent review of how it is currently operating. We are also concerned that any additional responsibility placed on the local authority must be accompanied by adequate training and resources, to ensure that the authorities are equipped to identify individuals who are vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. We also reiterate our recommendation that the Prevent programme must be subject to an independent review.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark - Hansard

My Lords, Amendment 57A, tabled by me and my noble friend Lord Rosser, is similar to Amendment 57. However, the amendment in my name seeks to require the Secretary of State to produce a statement to accompany the review, when it has reported to Parliament, which responds to each recommendation made.

First, I place on record my thanks to all those who work to divert people from a life of terrorism and keep them on the path to a constructive life where they contribute positively to the community. We should all recognise the good work that has been done. It is, though, an important part of good governance to review matters regularly to see whether policies are working as intended or improvements can be made. That is in no way intended as a criticism of any particular programme, or of the generality of the programme.

The noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, made important points about transparency and the need for a review. I very much agree that this strategy is important and we must make sure that we get it right. The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation would seem to be the right person to undertake this review when they are appointed. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Stunell: I have seen no project—the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, intervened on this—that is actually failing. The review should be much more about the programme generally than specific projects.

There is a concern about the programme’s aims. We have to be clear as to those aims and look at whether communities have lost confidence in the programme. If they have, what are we going to do about that? Trying to understand the positives and the successes, as well as the failures, is a good thing to do. Further, the Prevent programme has the aim of community cohesion but concern has been expressed about whether this is deliverable in the light of spending reductions among local authorities, as my noble friend Lady Lawrence of Clarendon make clear in her contribution.

It is necessary to review the programme. As I said, that is not a criticism but it is important to review it to understand whether we are getting the programme right.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford - Hansard

My Lords, perhaps I may start with a statement about our common values. A comment was made at the beginning that I or the Government were against British values. I state for the record that I am in absolutely no way against British values or the common values that we hold in this country, but the Government are committed to doing everything they can to protect communities from the threat of terrorism. That is a noble aim. It is vital that we use all the means at our collective disposal to divert people from terrorist-related activity.

As the noble Baroness, Lady Manningham-Buller, said, Prevent is one of the four pillars that comprise Contest, the UK’s counterterrorism strategy. It is designed to safeguard and support those vulnerable to radicalisation, and to prevent their becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. To put this into context, it might help if I initially explain Prevent’s aims and the reasons that the Government have maintained the programme. It has three overarching aims. The first is to tackle the causes of radicalisation and respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism. The second is to safeguard and support those most at risk of radicalisation through early intervention, identifying them and offering support. The third is to enable those who have already engaged in terrorism to disengage and rehabilitate. I do not think anyone could disagree with those aims.

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Earl Howe Portrait Earl Howe - Hansard

My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Marlesford for again setting out his arguments in favour of establishing a national identity register. I give way to the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark - Hansard

That is very kind. It is my fault. I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, was going to jump up—but obviously he did not in the end. The noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, raises an important point with his amendment and it is important that we have this discussion. We have moved on from identity cards—that was a policy that my party certainly at one time supported—but our data is held by all sorts of organisations. In many cases non-government organisations have more data and know more about us than government organisations. As the noble Lord said, his amendment calls only for the possibility and desirability of a review. In that sense, I hope that he will get a reasonable response from the noble Earl.

Earl Howe Portrait Earl Howe - Hansard

Once again, I thank my noble friend for the amendment. As he will recall, in 2010 the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition decided to end the identity card scheme and the associated national identity register because it was expensive and represented a substantial erosion of civil liberties—and I have to tell him that this Government have no plans to revisit that decision. There are good reasons for that. We have not seen any evidence that a national identity number or database would offer greater protection against terrorism or greater control at the border. There is no evidence that it would have prevented the 2017 terrorist attacks in the UK, and it has not prevented the attacks in France and Belgium, where national identity registers are in place. If my noble friend’s concern relates to people entering this country from abroad, I simply say that the UK is not in the Schengen area: we retain full control of our border and can carry out the necessary checks on those entering the UK.

UK citizens’ biometric data that is already held is stored in different government databases for specific purposes, with strict rules on how they can be used and retained. We cannot foresee any benefits that would justify the expense of introducing a national identity number for everyone in the country linked to a centrally held database which, if it were biometric, would presumably hold the biometric data of all of us indefinitely—an idea which, as I mentioned earlier, Parliament has expressly rejected. Protecting the public and keeping citizens safe is a priority for the Government. We are making big investments to those ends. We believe that the investment that we are making in better security, better use of intelligence and cybersecurity is a more effective use of our resources.

Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill Debate

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Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill

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Wednesday 31st October 2018

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Earl Attlee Portrait Earl Attlee (Con) - Hansard

My Lords, I too support the amendment. When I read it, I was surprised that it did not include the words “take up arms against Her Majesty’s forces” or something to the same effect. It is, as my noble friend pointed out, a procedural point. I gently point out, however, that we in this House have great freedoms of manoeuvre and are able to table amendments that you simply would not be able to in the House of Commons. I hope that, in the end, the provision will include the words “taking up arms against Her Majesty’s forces”. We cannot have UK citizens attacking the UK or its forces in an organised way while still enjoying our way of life and the privileges of living in the UK. How do we think our security services and Armed Forces feel when they realise that a member of the enemy was brought up in the UK?

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Lab Co-op) - Hansard

My Lords, Amendment 34, moved by the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, was the subject of some debate at Second Reading, and the issue has since been referred to several times. I was not persuaded then that this is the right way to proceed and, having listened to a number of noble Lords speak in favour of the amendment, I am not persuaded now.

As we have heard, the Treason Act 1351 is still in force today, although it has been amended. I believe it was last used to prosecute William Joyce in 1945 after the Second World War. As the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, said, it has a somewhat chequered history. There is ample opportunity to prosecute British citizens, and those who are not British citizens, who commit acts of terrorism for a range of offences, using legislation that is already on the statute book.

Lord Elystan-Morgan (CB) Hansard

My Lords, on the prosecution of William Joyce, I do not believe that any reliance at all was placed on the Treason Act. The basis of the prosecution against him was that he had left this country holding a British passport and, as such, had relied on the guarantee of safety of this country. There was, therefore, a reciprocal duty on him, which led him of course to commit treason.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark - Hansard

I bow to the noble Lord’s greater knowledge on the matter and would not attempt to dispute his point.

The Bill gives the Government further powers and increases the sentence for various offences, which deals with the point about adequacy of sentencing. The Bill also gives further powers to the police and the intelligence services, which is important.

Having read the amendment, I see the point noble Lords are making, but it seems rather messy to me. I do not see what it would achieve for us. It is not a question of being timid. I love my country. My family came here as immigrants and this country has been very good to us. I just do not think the amendment is appropriate.

In response to the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, of course the first duty of the Government is to protect their citizens, and we support the measures they take in that sense and support them in the Bill. We will question them and argue over issues, but we support the Government in their measures to do that. I just do not feel that this amendment, no matter how well intentioned, takes us any further forward.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con) - Hansard

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in the debate and my noble friend Lord Faulks for moving the amendment. In your Lordships’ House, every day is an education. My noble friend Lord Howe informs me that William Joyce was an Irishman falsely using a British passport, so perhaps the Irish among us should feel—

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Lord Paddick Portrait Lord Paddick - Hansard

My Lords, Amendment 36 is in my name and that of my noble friend Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames, and I will also speak to our other amendment in this group, Amendment 38.

Part 4 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 requires those convicted of certain terrorism-related offences to keep the police informed of changes in their circumstances. Clause 12 sets out additional requirements by amending Section 48 (notification of changes) to include a new subsection (4)(c):

“If a person to whom the notification requirements apply becomes the registered keeper of, or acquires a right to use, a motor vehicle the identifying information of which has not previously been notified to the police, the person must notify the police of the identifying information of that motor vehicle”.

Slightly worryingly, they must give notification within three days.

We are reminded of the terrorist attacks in Westminster and London Bridge, where hire vehicles were used and—if I am right—in the case of the London Bridge attack at least, the car was hired within 24 hours of the attack. Amendment 36 adds that the right to use a motor vehicle includes the right to use it as a borrower or by renting. I expect the Minister to say that “the right to use” includes borrowing with the consent of the owner, but it is questionable whether, were the person intending to use the hire vehicle for illegal purposes, the contract with the car hire company would allow it to be used for such a purpose and therefore the person would legally not have the right to use it. In any event, it is clearer and more reassuring to include reference to borrowing and hiring of cars in the Bill. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, said earlier, it is much better if the law says what it means.

Amendment 38 addresses Schedule 1, and the new Schedule 3A to the Counter- Terrorism Act 2008 in relation to the financial information that those subject to notification requirements must provide. It requires information to be provided about each account that the person holds with a financial institution, but it does not cover accounts held by others to which the person may have access—for example being an authorised signatory to an account held by someone else.

It also does not cover a credit card account held by someone else where a second card may have been issued to the person subject to the notification requirements. We believe these to be omissions to the financial notification requirements. Amendment 38 therefore includes accounts which they are entitled to operate.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark - Hansard

My Lords, Clause 12, as we have heard, is concerned with the notification requirements in the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008; it inserts additional matters into the Act that have to be reported in respect of motor vehicles. Amendment 36 moved by the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, sets out and includes the issue of borrowing or renting a vehicle. He rightly set out the whole issue about people renting or borrowing vehicles for use in the terrorist attacks that happened in Manchester, London and elsewhere. This is very sensible and proportionate amendment which identifies a potential loophole. I hope the Government will support it.

On Amendment 38, which amends Schedule 1 to the Bill, the noble Lord raised a very important point about the notification requirements for financial information— someone may have access to or may operate a bank account; they do not have to be the account holder. He made an important point about being the authorised signatory or being able to use a credit card. I am worried that, as it stands at present, the Bill could allow people to get around the notification requirements it proposes.

The noble Lord has raised important points on both amendments and I hope the Government can respond positively.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford - Hansard

I thank both noble Lords for their contributions to the debate, and thank the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, for what I believe are helpful amendments. I appreciate that they are intended to ensure more comprehensive coverage of the information to be notified.

Amendment 36 relates to the notification of the details of any motor vehicle which a registered terrorist offender is the registered keeper of, or acquires the right to use. Sadly, we have seen the use of motor vehicles as weapons in a number of recent terror attacks. Here in Parliament we have seen first-hand the devastating impact that such an attack can have, in the Westminster Bridge attack which took place last year. The benefits are obvious, ensuring that convicted terrorists are required to inform the police of any vehicle of which they have use.

I therefore fully recognise and support the intention of Amendment 36. It is essential that the provision should extend properly to vehicles which are borrowed or hired, which is the point the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, made. Hired vehicles were used in both the Westminster Bridge and Finsbury Park attacks last year. The terrorists responsible for the London Bridge attack attempted to hire a much larger vehicle than the van that was eventually used in the attack. This was just in the UK. We have also seen the use of vehicles as weapons in the Nice truck attack in July 2016, the Las Ramblas attack in August 2017 and the Berlin Christmas market attack.

I assure the noble Lord that this issue was carefully considered in the drafting of Clause 12, and that the existing reference to vehicles which the terrorist offender acquires the right to use will fully cover vehicles that are borrowed or rented. The Explanatory Notes to the Bill make this point. I therefore suggest that Amendment 36 is not needed, and I hope the noble Lord will feel content to withdraw it.

Amendment 38 similarly relates to a possible gap in the information to be notified to the police, in this instance relating to financial accounts. As currently drafted, this clause specifies that an offender must provide details of any account that they hold with a financial institution, or that is held by a company through which they run a business. Amendment 38 would expand this to refer also to any financial account which the registered terrorist offender is entitled to operate. The noble Lord has explained that this is intended to cover a scenario where a terrorist seeks to use an account which is not held in their name but over which they have effective control, for example because it is held in the name of their child or a relative for whom they have a power of attorney.

I thank the noble Lord for this amendment, which may have considerable merit in ensuring that the notification requirements cover all accounts which a terrorist offender might be able to use for terrorist purposes. The amendment requires more detailed consideration but, for now, I hope the noble Lord will not press it pending that consideration, and on the assurance that I will let him know the outcome of that consideration ahead of Report.

Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill Debate

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Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill

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Lord Paddick Portrait Lord Paddick - Hansard

My Lords, I support all the amendments in this group. Amendment 7, in the name of my noble friend Lady Hamwee, to which I have added my name, removes the publication of images from this section and the new offence of publishing an image.

The existing offence under Section 13 of the Terrorism Act 2000 already outlaws the wearing of an item of clothing and the wearing, carrying or displaying of an article,

“in such a way or in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion that he is a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation”.

As I understand it, the Government want this new offence to cover photographs taken in a private place. As Liberty has pointed out in its briefing, this increases the risk that in so doing law enforcement may,

“mistake reference for endorsement, irony for sincerity, and childish misdirection for genuine threat”.

I gave the example at Second Reading of an innocent Facebook post of a selfie in a friend’s bedroom, with the subject not realising that there was an ISIS flag on the wall behind them.

Both the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation and the Joint Committee on Human Rights have expressed their unease with the new offence, which, like Clause 1, risks disproportionate interference with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. There is a general point here that covers both Clause 1 and Clause 2. I accept what the Minister has said—that these offences are designed to address a gap in the ability of the authorities to prosecute some people—but this runs the risk of creating a chasm into which innocent people are going to fall. Regrettably, we have seen time and again—I speak as a former police officer with more than 30 years’ experience—legislation that is too loosely drawn being abused by the police to arrest and detain people who should not be arrested or detained.

Amendment 8, in the name of my noble friend Lady Hamwee and the noble Baroness, Lady Lawrence of Clarendon, to which I have added my name, seeks to exclude those circumstances identified by the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation and the Joint Committee on Human Rights of,

“historical research, academic research or family photographs”,

and any publication that,

“was not intended to support or further the activities of a proscribed organisation”.

I appreciate that I have not heard from the Labour Front Bench in support of Amendment 9, in the names of the noble Lords, Lord Rosser and Lord Kennedy of Southwark—that has a similar intention to Amendment 8 but specifically includes journalism.

Taken together with the requirement that the publication was not intended to support, encourage support for or further the activities of a proscribed organisation, my concerns about universally exempting journalism, as in Amendment 6, do not apply to this amendment and therefore I support it.

This extension of the law risks criminalising those who have no intention of carrying out acts of terrorism or encouraging others to do so. As such, I agree with my noble friends Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames and Lord Thomas of Gresford that Clause 2 should not stand part of the Bill.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Lab Co-op) - Hansard

My Lords, the amendments in this group seek to provide clarity on the issues in question before the Committee on this clause. They seek to put into the Bill the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, which has looked at the Bill in detail. The committee has set out the position clearly. This clause is intended to criminalise the online publication of an image depicting clothing or other articles which arouse reasonable suspicion that a person is a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation. The committee has taken the view that the arousal of reasonable suspicion of support for a proscribed organisation is a low threshold under which to make an offence. I agree very much with the committee in that respect, as I do with the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee—it may be too low a threshold.

The noble Baroness and the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, have put forward Amendments 7 and 8 in this group, as the Joint Committee suggested. Amendment 9, as proposed by myself and my noble friend Lord Rosser, is similar in effect to Amendment 8 but, as we heard from the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, we also make reference to journalism and academic research. All the amendments in this group are reasonable and proportionate. The new offence of publication of an image would be retained but through them we have created a proper defence of reasonable excuse in the Bill, which is important. The noble Lord, Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames, has opposed Clause 2 standing part of the Bill. That gives the Minister the opportunity to justify this afternoon what is proposed in the clause.

The noble Lord, Lord Carlile, made an extremely important point in respect of images in Northern Ireland. Like the noble Lord, I have travelled extensively in the Province, where you can now visit areas with murals all over the place. Some of them can still look quite aggressive but they are also very much part of the tourist trail in certain parts of Belfast. We need to look at this issue and be careful about whether what we do here has unintended consequences. If the Minister does not accept the amendments before the Committee, can she set out how we can be satisfied that there is adequate protection in place within the clause as drafted?

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford - Hansard

My Lords, under Clause 2 it will be an offence to publish an image of an item of clothing or other article associated with a proscribed organisation,

“in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion that the person is a member or supporter of”,

the organisation, as noble Lords have pointed out. This provision updates for the digital age the existing offence at Section 13 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which criminalises the display in a public place of such an item in such circumstances. That existing offence applies only partially in cases where a person publishes an image online. While it would be likely to catch a person who publishes an image of, for example, a Daesh flag displayed on the streets, it could be argued not to apply to publication of an image of the same flag displayed within a private home, even if both images are made available to the general public by publishing them online in the exact same way.

The purpose of Clause 2 is to put beyond doubt the application of Section 13 to any case where a person publishes an image of something which it would be unlawful to display in person. It does this by inserting a new offence into Section 13 as its new subsection (1A). This is important to ensure that the law applies properly to contemporary online activity. In the 18 years since the Section 13 offence was enacted, we have of course seen an exponential growth in the importance of the internet in day-to-day life, and sadly its role in radicalisation and the spreading of terrorist propaganda is no different. This includes publishing images of flags and logos associated with proscribed terrorist organisations. We therefore need to update our legislation to reflect these developments and to ensure that all public spaces, including those online, are properly covered by laws which prohibit the publication of such material. Amendment 7 would simply remove this provision in its entirety, rather than seeking to amend or improve it, leaving the gap I have just described and leaving our terrorism legislation out of date and incomplete.

Amendments 8 and 9 would add a reasonable excuse defence to the new Subsection (1A) offence I have outlined. Both specify certain examples of reasonable excuse. Amendment 6 includes instances where publication of the image was not intended to be in support of a proscribed organisation, whereas Amendment 7 makes this category an absolute exemption.

Noble Lords have indicated that their intention is to ensure that the offence does not catch those with a legitimate reason to publish images of items associated with proscribed terrorist organisations, in particular in the context of historical or academic research or family photographs, or who otherwise publish such images without nefarious intent. I am very happy to support both the sentiment and the intention behind these amendments. The Government have no desire to criminalise people for simply going about their legitimate professional activities or their normal family life, but these amendments are not needed to secure that outcome. In fact, the same outcome is already secured by Clause 2.

To explain why that is so, it is important to note that the mere publication of an image associated with a proscribed organisation is not enough on its own to constitute an offence under the existing Section 13 offence or the new offence that will be added to it by Clause 2. The offence will be made out only if the image is published in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion that the individual is a member or supporter of the proscribed organisation. This provides a clear and effective safeguard. For example, in a case where a journalist features an image of a Daesh flag in a news report on the activities of the group or an academic publishes such an image in a book or research paper, it would be clear from the circumstances that they are not a member or supporter of Daesh. Similarly, where a person publishes, say, an old family photo of an ancestor standing next to an IRA flag, the offence would not bite unless all the circumstances of the publication suggest that that person is a member or supporter of the IRA.

On the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, about the sensitivity of symbolism, pictures et cetera and Northern Ireland, if he will indulge me, I will move on to the specific Northern Ireland point on the next amendment.

This approach provides no less certainty to such individuals that they will not be caught by the new offence than would the proposed reasonable excuse defence, and it offers the advantage that the same formulation—

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Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames - Hansard

I invite the Minister to consider that with her department, particularly in view of her concession that she does not wish to criminalise anyone who would be excused by the two amendments we have been discussing. The difficulty is that the drafting of the clause at the moment introduces an objective test of reasonable suspicion in the viewer of the image without any regard to the purpose in the mind of the person publishing the image. The offence is one of publication. The suspicion does not have to be in the mind of the publisher; the suspicion is in the mind of the observer. That is the difficulty that the Minister’s position does not grapple with.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark - Hansard

Before the Minister responds, perhaps I could clarify that point. She is saying that in the example of the photograph with a Daesh flag in the background but where the person does not realise what the flag is, the publication of that picture would not in itself be an offence because you would take into account things such as the message that accompanied the Facebook post—for example, a message saying, “I’m here with my friend and having a drink”—so all those things would be considered together. I think that is what the Minister is saying.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford - Hansard

As the noble Lord has just explained, it is about the whole context in which this happens. In any case, it will of course be the police and the Crown Prosecution Service that will determine those normal tests for prosecution, and of course ultimately the courts.

The noble Lord, Lord Marks, made the point about the viewer and the publisher. I had hoped that my words would explain that but they do not. I will take back what he says, and I am sure he will challenge me on it on Report. However, I hope the approach provides no less certainty to such individuals that they will not be caught by the new offence than would the proposed reasonable excuse defence, and it offers the advantage that the same formulation has been in force since 2000 in relation to the existing Section 13 offence, which would already be likely to cover many of the circumstances where the item depicted in the image is situated in a public place. As I have said, it is when the item is not located in a public place that the gap begins.

After 18 years that formulation is well understood by the police and the courts. Proof of its effectiveness lies in the simple fact that during that period we have not seen prosecutions of any journalists or academics who have published reports or books containing such images. That should give us some comfort. Nor have we seen any complaints that such people have been inhibited or discouraged from pursuing their legitimate professional activities by the existence of the Section 13 offence. I have sympathy for the objective behind the amendment but I hope that, for the reasons given, noble Lords will agree that it is not necessary. I hope that having heard the arguments for the Section 12(1A) offence and my assurances about the scope of the offence and the effectiveness of its existing safeguards, the noble Baroness will be content to withdraw the amendment.

Break in Debate

14: Clause 3, page 2, line 37, leave out from “which” to end of line 41 and insert—

“(a) at the time of the person’s action or possession, the person did not know, and had no reason to believe, that the document or record in question contained, or was likely to contain, information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism,(b) the material in question was collected, recorded, possessed, viewed or otherwise accessed for the purposes of journalism,(c) the material in question was collected, recorded, possessed, viewed or otherwise accessed for the purposes of academic research”

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark - Hansard

My Lords, my Amendment 14 is supported by my noble friend Lord Rosser. Clause 3 seeks to create an offence of viewing material online that is likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing acts of terrorism. That is something we on these Benches can support. Our amendment seeks to build in protections that strengthen the intention of the clause. We seek to make clear in the Bill that no offence is committed if the person had no idea, did not know, or had no reason to believe that the material would be useful to someone committing or preparing for acts of terrorism, and that it could be viewed or collected for journalistic or academic research purposes. My noble friend Lord Davies of Stamford, who is not in his place, raised the important issue about journalism in a previous group of amendments. There is a point to be explored here about what defines a journalist. I am sure we will come back to that point in other debates. Do bloggers count as journalists? I actually think not, but again these are important issues which I am sure will be looked at elsewhere.

Amendments 15 and 16, which are largely the same, seek to put into the Bill the recommendations of the JCHR on page 8 of its report. My amendment would require the Secretary of State to issue guidance so that it is clear what is reasonable; we are talking here about what is and is not reasonable. It seems very sensible that the Secretary of State should issue guidance on that. When the Government respond to this group of amendments, and if they are not minded to accept what we have put forward, it would be useful for them to set out what protections are in place that would cause the amendment not to be approved.

Baroness Hamwee Portrait Baroness Hamwee - Hansard

My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, has said, Amendments 15 and 16 are the same. What constitutes a reasonable excuse will obviously be a matter for the jury. I accept that one cannot identify reasonable excuses in the abstract without knowing exactly in what circumstances a person undertook a particular action, but citizens should know when it is likely that they will be committing a crime. I think that that is accepted in the ECHR memorandum on this clause, where the Government say:

“There should be some degree of latitude for a person legitimately to explore political, religious or ideological matters, and the criminal law should acknowledge that, without the person actively seeking it, this may lead him to online material that crosses the line into that which is likely to be useful to a terrorist”.

Having some guidance would give a framework for the citizen to assess the matter.

At this stage, I shall not oppose Clause 3 standing part of the Bill—the intention to do so appears in a separate group—because we have covered more ground than I had anticipated. However, I will say now that it occurred to me that there might be a point of comparison between Clause 3 and legislation on child sexual exploitation. The Criminal Justice Act 1988 creates an offence of a person having an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child in his possession, and possession includes a physical and a mental element. I understand that the CPS guidance states that a person who views an image on a device which is then automatically cached on to the device’s memory would not be in possession of that image unless it could be proved that he or she knew of it. At first blush at any rate, it looks as though Clause 3 goes further than that provision, which requires possession, control or custody of images as opposed to viewing them.

Coming back to Amendment 15, I hope that the Government can give serious consideration to some way of assisting members of the public on this whole matter. Guidance will not override the provisions of the legislation but it can be what it is intended to be—that is, helpful.

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Baroness Hamwee Portrait Baroness Hamwee - Hansard

That is an interesting response and I will have to think about it. I share the concern of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, not to involve the Executive where it should not tread. There could be parliamentary scrutiny. We have become possibly too reliant on codes of this and that to flesh out what lies underneath legislation—it is not something I much like, and I have obviously been sucked into it. So we could have parliamentary scrutiny if we had a statutory instrument, but we could also list in the Bill the sorts of examples we have talked about, in the way that the amendment from the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, seeks to do in Clause 4. I think that that is a particularly good way of going about it.

I do not suppose the Minister can answer this, but his reference to the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation prompts me to ask about progress in appointing the new reviewer. He is indicating that he cannot answer, and I did not expect him to, but it is a point that was worth making at some stage in this debate.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark - Hansard

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords for their contributions to this debate and the noble Earl, Lord Howe, for outlining the position of the Government on this group of amendments. I appreciate his detailed response, which is beneficial to the Committee.

I will reflect on all the responses and comments—particularly the wise comments from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge. Those comments could be interesting for guidance on other legislation before the House on which the Government take a contrary view. However, we shall discuss that in a few weeks’ time. At this stage I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 14 withdrawn.

Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill Debate

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Lord Anderson of Ipswich Portrait Lord Anderson of Ipswich - Hansard

My Lords, the amendments in this group are in the nature of a tightening up. New Section 58C(4) introduced in Clause 4 provides for designations to be kept under review but no time limit is placed on that process. It is unsatisfactory to put no time limit on this in circumstances where designation constitutes a significant and unprecedented legal impediment to freedom of travel and where there might be political factors which, in the absence of a strict statutory requirement, could militate against the removal of designations.

There are precedents for timed reviews in matters of this kind—for example, in the sanctions field and in the former practice of reviewing the basis for the proscription of terrorist organisations on an annual basis. It is precisely because that practice lacked statutory backing that it most unfortunately fell into disuse after 2014—a point to which I propose to return in the context of Amendment 59. I beg to move.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Lab Co-op) - Hansard

My Lords, Amendment 26, in the names of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, would put on the face of the Bill that at least once in every year there must be a review of a designation. This would be far more preferable than simply having the rather less clear and less direct wording currently in the Bill, to “keep under review”. As the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, said, these are very much tightening-up amendments.

Amendment 27 would, again, put on the face of the Bill a much clearer process for reviewing a designation, determining whether it still satisfies the condition for designation in the first place. The amendment would also make provision for changes or revocation to take place and would require each decision to be published and a record to be laid before Parliament. Again, I think that this is a much better way to address these issues. It would provide more clarity and leave less room for confusion than could be the case at present.

Amendment 28, in my name and that of my noble friend Lord Rosser, seeks to require the Government to address whether the regulations are still relevant and appropriate through the regulations automatically lapsing three years after coming into force. Amendment 29, again in my name and that of my noble friend Lord Rosser, would place a duty on the Government to bring these regulations to the attention of the Intelligence and Security Committee and for it to lay before Parliament its report on whether or not they should be approved.

Lord Paddick Portrait Lord Paddick (LD) - Hansard

My Lords, I support Amendments 26 and 27 in the names of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge. The rigour that these amendments bring is similar to that in the amendments that the noble Lord will attempt to introduce when we get to proscribed organisations. It seems something that he feels, from his experience as a former reviewer of terrorism legislation, is very much lacking.

Amendment 29 appears to be perhaps a way of getting round the problem of there being intelligence that cannot be put into the public domain around decisions made in connection with this clause, in that the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament has the necessary clearance to review that evidence. Perhaps the noble Earl could comment on that.

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Lord Paddick Portrait Lord Paddick - Hansard

I am grateful to the noble Lord, but the fact is that at the moment, if you are crossing the UK border, you can have your mobile device or computer seized and examined even without any reasonable suspicion. Extending that to those who are now engaged in hostile activity would seem to make this issue potentially worse.

I understand that the Bill is a response to the Prime Minister promising to harden the country’s defences against all forms of hostile state activity following the attempted assassination of the Skripals, but can the Minister confirm whether that was an act of terrorism covered by the existing Schedule 7?

As I have said, we on these Benches will support any reasonable and proportionate response that makes this country of ours safer. However, we believe that large parts of the Bill are unreasonable, disproportionate and could potentially make us less safe, although we look forward to being convinced otherwise.

Finally, I completely agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Warsi, on the Government’s disengagement with Muslim organisations. Individual members of those communities may have said things that they now regret, but as a result the Government refuse to engage at all with those communities. At the end of the day, a former head of police counterterrorism said that the police and security services alone will not combat terrorism, but organisations working closely with communities will defeat terrorism. If communities are to work with us to defeat terrorism, we need to engage with them.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Lab Co-op) - Hansard

My Lords, the first duty of a Government is to keep their citizens safe and have legislation on the statute book that gives powers to the appropriate authorities to keep people safe. I will always support the work of the Government in this regard. That is not to say that I will not question and probe them and seek to amend legislation when we believe that they are not striking the right balance. That is the point of our being here: to make legislation better and more effective; to fully understand the Government’s intentions; and to avoid as far as possible the problems caused by unintended consequences —a point made earlier by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Newcastle.

The noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, speaks with great knowledge and experience of these matters and the House will benefit enormously from his contributions. I hope the Minister will answer the points he made.

It would not be right to respond to a debate on counterterrorism and border security without putting on record our thanks to and gratitude for the members of the security services and the police who have done so much to keep us safe, as well as those of the other emergency services, such as the fire brigade and the ambulance service, who are there when they are needed. They save people’s lives, as do NHS staff—not only doctors and nurses but the other healthcare professionals and ancillary staff who work together to deliver the services we all rely on, particularly in times of emergency.

We have seen terrorism on our streets too many times, most recently on Westminster Bridge and at Carriage Gates, at Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Borough Market, and at Parsons Green. There were also the terrible events in Salisbury—the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, then the poisoning of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley on 30 June, leading to the death of Dawn Sturgess on 8 July. I express my sympathy to all victims of these terrorist incidents and their families. This is very real and we are lucky that many more plots and plans have been prevented, as the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Trafford, mentioned in opening the debate. The noble Lord, Lord King of Bridgwater, set out in his contribution the number of offences and convictions and the potential terrorist operations that have been prevented. We thank all those heroes for their bravery and professionalism; they were there when we needed them to keep us safe.

The noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, was right to remind us of the names of parliamentary colleagues who lost their lives and were murdered by terrorists. I would add the name of Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen, who was murdered by a terrorist with links to the far right in her constituency on 16 June 2016. The terrorist shouted “Britain First” as he stabbed her to death outside the library in Birstall, where she was due to hold a surgery.

Lord Tebbit Portrait Lord Tebbit - Hansard

The noble Lord referred to the murder of our parliamentary colleague Jo Cox by a far-right terrorist. He was not a far-right terrorist. He was an unbalanced man who was obsessed with the Nazis, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party—a left-wing party.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark Portrait Lord Kennedy of Southwark - Hansard

We will have to disagree on that point.

As I said, I support the Bill and will always seek to make a contribution in your Lordships’ House that supports the work of those who seek to protect us and to provide constructive opposition to improve legislation before us, as does my noble friend Lord Rosser.

Before we get to the Bill itself, I join other noble Lords in congratulating both noble Lords who made their excellent maiden contributions today. They bring considerable experience from the House of Commons where they served for many years with distinction. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Garnier, served as the Solicitor-General in the first part of the coalition Government. I lived and worked in the east Midlands for many years and, although I am a Londoner, I have much affection for my time there and in Leicestershire. I know the noble and learned Lord’s former constituency very well.

The noble Lord, Lord Tyrie, was the formidable chair of the Treasury Select Committee for the last seven years of his time in the House of Commons, having succeeded my noble friend Lord McFall to that position. In a previous life some years ago I appeared before a House of Commons committee. It was a scary experience. I am very pleased that the noble Lord was not a member of that committee; I would have been very worried about his forensic questioning. I am now worried about some forensic interventions in future debates, but I know that we all look forward to both noble Lords’ contributions in this House, which they will make many times.

We can support the Bill in general and will seek to make improvements during its passage through this House, building on issues raised in the other place and in today’ debate. The Bill is in two parts, with the first making changes to the law following reviews by the Government of their counterterrorism strategy and of counterterrorism legislation in force, while Part 2 seeks to provide new powers in respect of the detention and questioning of people at ports and border controls suspected of being involved in hostile acts on behalf of and in the interests of another state outside the United Kingdom.

As my noble friend Lord Rosser pointed out, a number of amendments to the Bill were tabled fairly late in the day in the Commons and were added with little scrutiny. Those amendments in particular will require detailed examination by the House. There are Members on all Benches, many of whom have spoken today, who are expert in providing scrutiny and challenge. In particular, I refer to the amendments made to the Bill in the other place covering entering and remaining in a designated area, the publication of images, obtaining or viewing material over the internet, increases in maximum sentences and extended sentences for terrorism offences.

My noble friend Lord Rosser outlined concerns about proportionality, particularly arising from amendments introduced in the House of Commons. The noble Lord, Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames, drew out some contradictions in the Bill that will need to be examined further. The noble Lord, Lord Janvrin, made a very important point about people being radicalised in prison. I hope that the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Trafford, will address that in her reply. That is not to say that we do not agree with the proposals but they need proper scrutiny, which they have not received so far.

Legitimate concerns have been raised by Bond, the UK network for organisations working in international development, humanitarian aid and peacebuilding. Can the noble Baroness tell us what the protections for aid workers in high-risk jurisdictions are? She may not think that these proposals pose any risk to them, but that view is not shared by everyone: we need to address the legitimate concerns raised by NGOs in this regard.

It would also be useful if the noble Baroness addressed the protection afforded by “reasonable excuse”. Is she really satisfied that it provides protection to mitigate the impact on individuals? The wider point was made about banks and other financial institutions taking derisking measures such as stopping bank payments and closing the bank accounts of NGOs. Journalists and foreign correspondents of UK news organisations can sometimes find themselves in very difficult and dangerous places. What they find and report on is vital, shining a light on those individuals, organisations and Governments, including dictatorships, who work in the dark, who abuse, oppress, terrorise and murder people, and who do not want their activities to be widely reported on. These activities can be against their own citizens or citizens of another country.

I made the point earlier about unintended consequences of legislation. We must be very mindful of that during the passage of the Bill, which I hope the whole House can see could have far-reaching effects on both international aid and journalism if not handled properly. I very much support the protection of press freedom and journalistic sources, as I support the victims of press abuse and their right to proper redress. Again, it will be important to clarify the intention of some of the clauses so that legitimate investigative journalism and reporting is not caught up and criminalised. It may be that, through regulation and guidance, protections will be sufficiently strong, but this is an important area for our deliberations.

The noble Baroness, Lady Warsi, made a powerful speech which the Government would be wise to listen to carefully. Getting the balance right on this legislation will be crucial. I was very sorry to hear about the abuse the noble Baroness has received on social media, which I condemn. The internet and social media is a wonderful thing and can enrich our lives, but the darker side and the abuse must be stopped. The Government really have to address that issue separately from the Bill.

Of course, we fully understand that the Government have to deal with the issue of foreign fighters returning from abroad, but any suggestion of updating and using the concept of treason, a law dating from 1351 and not used since 1945, is misplaced. There are other, more appropriate means of addressing these issues. I also think that we undermine, not uphold, the rule of law by removing the right to private legal advice. My honourable friend in the other place, Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, reminded us that the Appeal Court upheld this principle recently in the case of the Serious Fraud Office v Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation. Lawyers are subject to professional standards and it is right that they are. Illegal activities should be dealt with appropriately, but we should not lose the principle of being able to seek advice from a lawyer in private. Proposals in the Bill seek to change that, and the reasons given are that the person in question may want to contact someone in order to alert them that they have been stopped at a border crossing, or that a lawyer would not adhere to proper professional standards and would pass information on or would leak information inadvertently. There is a better solution, which is to establish a panel of lawyers, subject to proper rules and regulations, who would be able to give legal advice. The advice would remain private, retaining an important legal principle but also safeguarding against a person misusing the right to seek advice from a lawyer in private.

My noble friend Lord Rosser referred to the European arrest warrant and the important role it plays in bringing suspects quickly into the criminal justice system. We need a deal to secure the European arrest warrant and it will be a disaster if this cannot be assured. Criminals will be the only beneficiaries. It is worth noting that the Government sought a European arrest warrant against the suspects in the Skripal incident.

I fully endorse the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate: there must not be even one hour’s gap in the work of sharing information with other European partners, as to allow this will benefit only the terrorist who is seeking to harm our country, citizens and residents.

The noble Baroness, Lady Manningham-Buller, made an important point about getting the balance right and the importance of co-operation with our partners. I accept the point she made about the pace and scale of operations and the need to plug a number of gaps in our legislation to address certain issues.

My noble friend Lord Rosser spoke about the Prevent programme and I fully endorse his comments.

In conclusion, this is an important Bill covering many serious issues for this House to consider over the coming period. I look forward to working with others to improve what is before the House today and to send a much better Bill back to the other place for its agreement. With that in mind, I hope the Government will continue to work in the consensual manner they have demonstrated to date.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con) - Hansard

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in this very serious debate. We should never forget the nature of the issues we are discussing. Contributions throughout the debate have reminded us just what we are dealing with. I echo the tributes paid to not just the police but the emergency services, who dealt so bravely with the terrorist threats we faced last year, and to my noble friend Lord Tebbit, who spoke not only as a victim of terrorism but for the victims who can no longer speak.

It was particularly pleasing to hear the two maiden speeches. When my noble and learned friend Lord Garnier told the House that he had made his maiden speech in the middle of the night, I did not know whether he had actually engineered that because I arranged for my maiden speech to be in the Moses Room so that not many people would hear it. He brings to this House many years of experience practising at the Bar and of course was Solicitor-General for two years. Drawing on his experiences, he has given us some valuable insights into the provisions in the Bill, particularly those relating to the changes to the criminal law and sentencing. We also heard from the noble Lord, Lord Tyrie. I am glad he is not “Lord Tyrie of Tyrie, Tyrie”, because that might be a bit of a mouthful. But I know he will hold the Government to account in this House with the same vigour that he showed during his 20 distinguished years in the House of Commons, including seven years at the chair of the Treasury Select Committee. I note that one of the accolades he earned in that time was,

“The most powerful backbencher in the House of Commons”,

so it was with some trepidation that I listened to his speech, but I was very interested in some of the things he said and I look forward to further discussions with him.

The many other contributors to the debate demonstrated yet again the considerable experience that the Members of your Lordships’ House bring to bear when scrutinising legislation such as this. I am sure that, given the length and breadth of the debate, noble Lords will appreciate that I cannot possibly answer every single question but, in addition to responding to the debate, I will endeavour to write a fulsome letter, which I will place in the Library. We have had the benefit of insights from a former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, a former director-general of the Security Service, two former Metropolitan Police Commissioners, a former Chief Inspector of Prisons, and current members of the Intelligence and Security Committee and the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy. We are so lucky to have such expertise, while other noble Lords bring to this debate their highly relevant experiences as members of the legal profession or academia.

As this Bill has already been through the House of Commons, where it was given a Third Reading by an overwhelming majority of 376 votes to 10, noble Lords have quite properly approached this debate from the perspective of our role as a revising Chamber. We have heard a range of views, as I have said. It was most important that the noble Baroness, Lady Manningham-Buller, my noble friends Lord King and Lord Tebbit, and the noble Lords, Lord Blair and Lord Hogan-Howe, reminded us how very real the threat of terrorism is. I welcome the broad measure of support for the Bill from the Opposition Front Bench and from many who spoke from the Cross Benches, while accepting that they, like other noble Lords, will want to scrutinise the detail of the Government’s proposals. I think we are in for an interesting Committee stage. I sense from the Liberal Democrats that they might be more sceptical in nature but, even in that, there were expressions of support from noble Lords there. I am sure that they will approach Committee in the same constructive manner that we have heard in the Second Reading speeches.

It is evident that noble Lords will want to probe some of the changes to terrorism offences, the increase in maximum penalties—that was clear—and aspects of the new hostile-state activity ports powers in Schedule 3. I welcome the opportunity to explain these provisions in more detail and respond to some other points that have been raised in the debate.

Regarding Clause 1, “Expressions of support for a proscribed organisation”, and the concept that these provisions might be an attack on the freedom of speech, noble Lords are absolutely right to raise that issue. The noble Lords, Lord Marks, Lord Thomas and Lord Ahmed, and the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, expressed concern that the extension of the offence of inviting support for a proscribed organisation would undermine that freedom of speech. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Newcastle also spoke about this issue. It is of course right that we uphold the right to freedom of expression, something which we value so highly in this country and is part of our core values. People are free to express any view they wish, even ones which the wider public might find distasteful, as long as they do so within the law and do not harm others. However, we are clear that any groups or individuals that cause harm to our society and promote hatred and division will not be tolerated. This measure is aimed at those who are reckless—“reckless” being quite a well-established word in law—as to whether statements that they make will encourage others to support a proscribed terrorist organisation. That type of activity is very serious. It can have a strong influence on individuals who are vulnerable to radicalisation, as some noble Lords pointed out, and can create a real risk of harm to the public. As such, it is vital that we are able to target those who seek to exploit others and lure them into terrorism, so that they can no longer skirt the fringes of legality—something that noble Lords have talked about extensively today.

Moving to Clause 4, the noble Lords, Lord Rosser and Lord Anderson, my noble friend Lord McInnes and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, raised the designated area offence that it provides for and sought reassurance that it would not apply to those with legitimate reason to travel to a designated area. I can absolutely confirm that the offence as drafted includes a reasonable excuse defence, which will be available to individuals who travel to a designated area solely for a legitimate purpose—such as, as noble Lords have said, to deliver humanitarian aid or journalism, or indeed to attend a family funeral. The police, the CPS and the courts are familiar with this approach, and it works well in other contexts where an offence has a reasonable excuse defence. In practice, such cases are unlikely to come to court as they would not get beyond the police investigation or scrutiny by the CPS, which would be unlikely to conclude that there was a reasonable prospect of securing a conviction. We do not consider it necessary or helpful to take a different approach for this offence. Whether a particular excuse is reasonable will be highly dependent on the facts and circumstances of the individual case and cannot be prescribed in advance in the abstract.

The noble Lords, Lord Janvrin and Lord Hogan-Howe, asked whether the police have the resources to implement the provisions in the Bill. It is of course important that we ensure that counterterrorism policing has the resources needed to deal with the threat we face. That is why the counterterrorism policing budget has gone up by £50 million of entirely new money in 2018-19 to at least £757 million. This follows the £28 million of new money the Government provided in 2017-18 to forces across the country for CT policing to meet costs relating to recent terror attacks. I totally get the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Hogan-Howe, about the pipeline of people required to fulfil those roles.

The noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and the noble Lords, Lord Ramsbotham and Lord Anderson, talked about the definition of hostile state activity and questioned whether the definition in Schedule 3 is sufficiently precise. For the purposes of this power, hostile activity has been defined as the “commission, preparation or instigation” of an act that threatens the national security or economic well-being of the UK or is a serious crime,

“carried out for, or on behalf of, a State other the United Kingdom, or … otherwise in the interests of a State other than the United Kingdom”.

That may seem broad, but I am afraid that the threat posed to the UK from hostile state activity is wide-ranging and includes espionage, sabotage, coercion, assassination and subversion. Consequently, the definition of hostile activity must necessarily be broad to encompass the range of threats this country faces from nefarious states.

The noble Lord, Lord Bew, talked about Schedule 3 and the creation of a hard border. He pointed to concerns that have been raised in some quarters about how the provisions of Schedule 3 will operate on the Northern Ireland border. As the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, indicated, the issue was raised on Report in the Commons and the Minister for Security has written to Tony Lloyd on this question. I will make sure that noble Lords receive a copy of that letter rather than me repeating it this evening.

My noble friend Lord Faulks and the noble Lords, Lord Thomas of Gresford, Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate and Lord Kennedy, raised detainees’ right to consult their lawyer in private in the context of Schedule 3. In exceptional circumstances there may be a need for a more senior police officer to restrict that right by requiring that the consultation take place in the sight and hearing of an officer who has no connection to the detainee’s case, for instance, where there are reasonable grounds to believe that private consultation will result in interference with evidence, gathering of information, injury to another person, alerting others that they are suspected of an indictable offence or hindering the recovery of property obtained by an indictable offence. The aim of the restriction is to disrupt and deter a detainee who seeks to use their right to a solicitor to trigger activity that would lead to those consequences. It could be achieved by the detainee using their solicitor to pass on instructions to a third party by, for example, intimidating the solicitor or using a coded message of which the solicitor is unaware. However, the shadow Security Minister has put forward an alternative proposal for dealing with this issue, and we can explore it further in Committee.

There were a lot of contributions on Prevent, expressing support or aversion to it, or suggesting review of it. In particular the noble Lords, Lord Stunell, Lord Rosser and Lord Ramsbotham, and my noble friend Lady Warsi, called for an independent review. Prevent is fundamentally about safeguarding and supporting vulnerable individuals to stop them supporting terrorism or becoming terrorists, regardless of whether that is in support of Islamist, far-right or any other form of terrorism. That point was extremely well made by my noble friends Lady Barran and Lord McInnes. When considered from this perspective, Prevent is working and we do not accept the need for an independent review. It has made a significant impact on stopping people being drawn into terrorism. Indeed, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, said recently:

“There have been hundreds of people who have been turned away from violent extremism by their engagement with Channel and other aspects of Prevent, and that is all positive”.

It is clear that those who work to keep us safe from the terrorist threat back Prevent.

The noble Lords, Lord Janvrin, Lord Kennedy and Lord Rosser, and in particular my noble friend Lord Bethell talked about online harms and ensuring that tech companies are responsible for rapidly taking down terrorist content that is posted online. That point about rapid takedown is very well made. The then Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced in May that at the next possible opportunity the Government will bring forward online safety legislation that will capture online terrorist content. We need a comprehensive online safety strategy, not one that tackles specific harms in a piecemeal fashion. That is why the Home Office is working closely with DCMS to publish a White Paper later this Session that will set out proposals for new online safety laws to ensure that the UK is the safest place in the world to be online.

A number of noble Lords, including the noble Lords, Lord Rosser, Lord Kennedy, Lord Marks, Lord Blair and Lord Ramsbotham, and my noble friends Lord King and Lord Kirkhope talked about co-operation on counterterrorism after Brexit. That is a crucial point and I think that the whole House is in agreement on it. It is something that the Government are absolutely focused on working towards. The government White Paper provides an ambitious and comprehensive vision for our future security relationship with the EU and reinforces the Prime Minister’s message that the UK remains unconditionally committed to maintaining Europe’s security, both now and after our withdrawal from the EU.

Some interesting points were made about updating the treason laws to reflect what is happening, particularly in foreign states, by my noble friends Lord King, Lord Faulks and Lord Marlesford. We have a comprehensive range of terrorism offences and other powers that the Bill will update for the digital age. That will provide the police and intelligence services with the powers that they need to protect the public from terrorism. We do not consider it necessary to create new treason offences for this purpose, but I know exactly where my noble friends are coming from. The Prime Minister announced on 14 March that the Government will consider the need for new counterespionage powers, including legislation to harden our defences against hostile state activity. Where relevant, treason offences may be considered as part of that work.

A number of noble Lords talked about combating radicalisation in prisons, which is a very good point. I must first point out that those convicted of terrorism offences have already themselves been radicalised, but it is important that we do not exacerbate the problem, as noble Lords said, while defenders are serving their sentences. A joint HM Prisons and Probationary Service and Home Office extremism unit was created in April 2017 to lead the response to extremism and terrorism in prisons and probation. We make every effort to ensure that terrorist offenders are given the best possible chance to rehabilitate while in prison and on probation, and all offenders of extremist or terrorist concern are managed actively as part of a comprehensive counterterrorism case management system.

In conclusion, all sides of the House recognise the real threats that we face, whether from terrorism or the hostile acts of foreign powers. As those threats evolve over time, so must our response. We must ensure that our law enforcement and security agencies have the powers and capabilities that they need to disrupt the activities of those who would do the people of this country harm. The safety and security of those who live in this country must always be our paramount concern, but I recognise that the laws that we create to help ensure such security are a matter of legitimate debate and should rightly be subject to proper scrutiny. In that spirit, I look forward to our further deliberations on the Bill, but it is the Government’s firm belief that its provisions are a necessary and proportionate response to the ongoing threats that we face. On that basis, I have no hesitation in commending the Bill to the House.