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Terrorism Legislation

Volume 472: debated on Monday 25 February 2008

9. What plans she has to review legislation concerning the offence of possessing articles for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism. (188121)

All counter-terrorism legislation, including the offence of possession for terrorist purposes under section 57 of the Terrorism Act 2000, is subject to regular review. In the light of the Court of Appeal judgment on 13 February in the case of Zafar and others, we have considered whether any change to the legislation is needed. We have concluded that no change is required.

In the light of that court case and the ever-growing number of young men from Lancashire being radicalised into extreme forms of Islam, does the Minister recognise that the 2000 Act has not stemmed the flow of such material? Will he consider introducing an offence of possessing propaganda for the purpose of recruitment or radicalisation, to go further than the current Act?

Those points are perfectly reasonable, but as I have said, we have reviewed the 2000 Act, not least in the light of what is available in the Terrorism Act 2006. We think that most of the areas are covered at the moment. The hon. Gentleman will know that the Director of Public Prosecutions has said that the specific judgment on section 57 was

“specific to the facts of the case”

and was therefore unlikely significantly to affect existing convictions or forthcoming prosecutions. He subsequently wrote a letter to The Times, published on Saturday 16 February, in which he stated:

“We do not expect any significant read across, either to existing convictions or to forthcoming trials, which do not share the specific facts of this case. Far from ‘terror law’ being ‘in tatters’,”—

as some would have it—

“the Terrorism Act 2006 appears to deal with any perceived difficulty on these facts.”