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Security Measures

Volume 461: debated on Wednesday 6 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made on each of the 12 points outlined by the Prime Minister as security measures on 5 August 2005; and if he will make a statement. (134312)

The progress that has been made on each of the 12 points is set out as follows.

Progress on Prime Minister’s 12 point plan



1. Introduce new grounds for deportation and exclusion.

Since the introduction of the new grounds of Unacceptable Behaviour for deportation and exclusion, 52 individuals have been excluded from the UK and 1 deported. A further 62 exclusion and 5 deportation cases are under consideration.

2. To create an offence of condoning or glorifying terrorism.

The Terrorism Act 2006 includes the new offence of encouraging terrorism, including glorifying terrorism, which is now in force.

3. To refuse asylum in this country automatically to anyone who has participated in terrorism.

Section 54 in the IAN Act allows us to deny asylum to terrorists while respecting our obligations under the Refugee Treaty. Section 55 in the Act allows the Secretary of State to certify that an appellant is not entitled to the protection of the Refugee Convention.

4. To consult on extending the powers to strip citizenship, applying them to British citizens engaged in extremism and making the procedures more effective.

A provision included in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 lowers the bar for removal of citizenship by replacing one of the existing criteria with a new power to deprive where such action is held by the Home Secretary to be “conducive to the public good”. The power came into force on16 June 2006. One person has been deprived under this new power. Several other cases are being actively pursued having been identified as priority cases by Security Service and the Special Cases Oversight Board.

5. To consult on setting a maximum time limit for all future extradition cases involving terrorism.

Rashid Ramda extradited. A working group chaired by the Home Office with membership from CPS, HMCS, SOCA and other stakeholders is meeting bi-monthly to monitor developments in cases and remove obstacles to progress.

6. To examine a new court procedure to allow a pre-trial process.

We are currently examining ways of allowing more sensitive material in court. The maximum period of pre-charge detention has been extended to 28 days in the Terrorism Act 2006

7. To extend the use of control orders for those who are British nationals and cannot be deported.

There are 17 orders currently in force, 8 of which are in respect of British citizens. Control orders continue to be an essential tool to address the threat posed by suspected terrorists who cannot currently be prosecuted or, in respect of foreign nationals, who cannot be removed from the UK.

8. To expand the court capacity to deal with control orders.

Work continues to review the capacity of the courts, specialist tribunals and the judiciary to deal with existing and anticipated caseload relating to terrorism.

9. To proscribe Hizb-ut Tahrir and the successor organisation of Al Mujahiroun.

The Terrorism Act 2006 widens the criteria for proscription. Two of the successor organisations to Al Mujahiroun were proscribed in July 2006.

10. To review the acquisition of British Citizenship to make sure that it is adequate and to establish with the Muslim community a commission to advise on better integration.

We have extended the requirement to be of good character to virtually all applicants for British citizenship. The relevant provision, section 58 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, was commenced on 4 December 2006. We are also looking at extending the checks carried out to establish good character.

The Commission on Integration and Cohesion was launched on 24 August 2006. It will report in mid-June 2007.

11. To consult on a new power to order closure of a place of worship which is used as a centre for fermenting extremism and to consult with Muslim leaders in respect of those clerics who are not British Citizens to draw up a list of those not suitable to preach and who will be excluded from our country in the future.

The public consultation on taking powers to close a place of worship resulted in a decision not to legislate at this stage. This decision was announced to Parliament on 15 December 2005.

The Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) was launched on 27 June 2006. We work closely with MINAB to ensure that they meet the challenge of their role as the national body with responsibility for mosques and imams.

MINAB has committed itself to making early progress in five core areas: the accreditation of imams; the development of leadership skills for imams and mosque officials; progress in the inclusion of young people and women; improvement in the governance of mosques; and supporting mosques to contribute to community cohesion and to combating extremism.

12. To bring forward the proposed measures on the security of our borders with a series of countries specifically designated for biometric visas over the next year

By end 2007, all visa applicants (100 nationalities) will be required to provide biometric data (10 fingerscan and digital photograph) wherever in the world they apply for a UK visa. The equipment and process changes to enable this will be deployed overseas between autumn 2006 and the end of 2007. We are currently collecting biometric data from all visa applicants in 67 countries and checking the data against records held on the Border and Immigration Agency’s Immigration Fingerprint Service database. The intention is that in due course all fingerscans will be checked against the Border and Immigration Agency’s Immigration and Asylum Fingerprint Service database held in the UK, and the police national database, prior to reaching a decision on the visa application.