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House of Commons Hansard
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Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill
21 July 2020
Volume 678

Consideration of Bill, as amended in the Public Bill Committee.

New Clause 1

Review of legislation: National Probation Service

“(1) Within 18 months of enactment, the Secretary of State must commission a review and publish a report on the impact of the provisions in the Act on the National Probation Service.

(2) A review under subsection (1) must consider—

(a) the probation support provided to offenders convicted for terrorist offences;

(b) the—

(i) type; and

(ii) number of specialist staff employed by the National Probation Service to work with terrorist offenders.

(c) the—

(i) training;

(ii) assessed skill level; and

(iii) assessed experience of specialist staff employed by the National Probation Service to work with terrorist offenders;

(d) the turnover of probation staff;

(e) the average length of service of probation staff;

(f) the non-staff resources provided to manage offenders convicted for terrorist offences; and

(g) the adequacy of the operating budget of the National Probation Service.

(3) A report under subsection (1) may make recommendations to improve the probation support to terrorist offenders.

(4) Where a report has made recommendations under subsection (3), the Secretary of State shall respond within 2 months.

(5) The Secretary of State must lay a copy of the report under subsection (1) before Parliament.

(6) A Minister of the Crown must, not later than 3 months after the report has been laid before Parliament, make a motion in the House of Commons in relation to the report.”—(Alex Cunningham.)

This new clause requires a review of the impact of the Act on the National Probation Service.

Brought up, and read the First time.

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I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

New clause 2—Review of deradicalisation programmes in prisons

“(1) Within three years of this Act being passed, the Secretary of State must publish and lay before Parliament a comprehensive review of the impact of the provisions of this Act on the effectiveness and availability of deradicalisation programmes in prisons.

(2) The review must include an assessment of—

(a) the effectiveness of existing programmes at reducing radicalisation and terrorist offending;

(b) how individuals are assessed for their suitability for a programme;

(c) the number of individuals assessed as requiring a place on a programme;

(d) the number of individuals assessed as not requiring a place on a programme;

(e) the average length of time individuals assessed as requiring a place on a programme have to wait to start a programme; and

(f) whether there is sufficient capacity and resource to meet demand for places on deradicalisation programmes in prisons.”

This new clause requires a review of the impact of the Act on deradicalisation programmes in prisons.

New clause 3—Financial Impact Assessment Report—

“(1) The Secretary of State must, within three years of this Act being passed, lay before Parliament a report on the financial impact of the provisions of this Act.

(2) That report must separately consider the financial impact of—

(a) extended sentences on the prison estate;

(b) extended licence periods;

(c) any increased staffing resources required for Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service;

(d) the extended offenders of particular concern regime; and

(e) adding polygraph testing to certain offenders’ licence conditions.

(3) The report may consider other financial matters.

(4) The report must compare the financial impact of the Act with the Impact Assessment for the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill published by the Ministry of Justice on 18 May 2020.

(5) A Minister of the Crown must, not later than 3 months after the report has been laid before Parliament, make an oral statement in the House of Commons on his plan to address the financial and non-financial issues identified in the report.”

This new clause requires a review of the financial impact of the Act.

New clause 4—Report on extended sentences for terrorist offenders: Scotland

“(1) The Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 is amended as follows.

(2) After section 210A(4) insert—

‘(4A) The report under section 210A(4), where it applies to a person convicted on indictment of a terrorism offence, must—

(a) take account of the offender’s age;

(b) consider whether options other than an extended sentence might be more effective at—

(i) reducing the risk of serious harm to members of the public, or

(ii) rehabilitating the offender.

(4B) The court must take account of any points made by the report in relation to the matters in subsection (4A).’

(3) The Secretary of State must at least once a year conduct and lay before Parliament a review of the effectiveness of the provisions of this section and their impact upon offenders.

(4) The report of the first review must be laid before Parliament within one year of this Act being passed.”

New clause 5—Report on extended custodial sentences for terrorist offenders: Northern Ireland

“(1) The Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 (S.I. 2008/1216 (N.I. 1)) (extended custodial sentences) is amended as follows.

(2) In Article 9, after paragraph (2), insert—

‘(2A) The pre-sentence report under paragraph (2), where it applies to a person convicted on indictment of a terrorism offence, must—

(a) take account of the offender’s age;

(b) consider whether options other than an extended custodial sentence might be more effective at—

(i) reducing the risk of serious harm to members of the public, or

(ii) rehabilitating the offender.

(2B) The court must take account of any points made by the report in relation to the matters in paragraph (2A).’

(3) The Secretary of State must at least once a year conduct and lay before Parliament a review of the effectiveness of the provisions of this section and their impact upon offenders.

(4) The report of the first review must be laid before Parliament within one year of this Act being passed.”

New clause 6—Review of effects on children and young offenders

“(1) The Secretary of State must, within one year of this Act being passed, lay before Parliament a review of the effects of the provisions of this Act on children and young offenders.

(2) That review must detail any differential effects on children and young offenders in—

(a) sentencing;

(b) release of terrorist offenders; and

(c) the prevention and investigation of terrorism.

(3) The review must consider the impact of imprisonment under this Act on the physical and mental health of children and young offenders.

(4) The review must consider the influences on children and young offenders who commit offences under this Act, including but not limited to—

(a) the internet;

(b) peer-pressure; and

(c) vulnerability.

(5) When conducting a review under this section, the Secretary of State must consult with Scottish Ministers.

(6) The review may make recommendations for further changes to legislation, policy and guidance.

(7) For the purposes of this section, young offenders include adults aged under 25.”

This new clause would require the Secretary of State to review the effects of these measures on children and young offenders. It would also require the Secretary of State to consult with Scottish ministers when conducting the review.

New clause 7—Review of legislation: Northern Ireland

“(1) On an annual basis from the day of this Act being passed, a report that reviews the application of the provisions of this Act in Northern Ireland must be published and laid before both Houses of Parliament by the Secretary of State.

(2) Annual reports under subsection (1) must be produced in consultation with the Northern Ireland Minister for Justice and the Northern Ireland Executive.”

This new clause ensures that all measures in the Bill as they pertain to Northern Ireland shall be reviewed annually with the Northern Ireland Minister for Justice and the Northern Ireland Executive, and a report shall be published and laid before both Houses of Parliament.

New clause 9—Review of polygraph testing on terrorist offenders

“(1) Before sections 32 to 35 come into force, the Secretary of State must, within 6 months of this Act being passed, conduct a pilot of the use of polygraph testing on terrorist offenders.

(2) The outcome of the pilot must be reported to Parliament within 12 months of this Act being passed.

(3) This report must include—

(a) data on the number of terrorist offenders who have been subject to polygraph testing during the pilot;

(b) an explanation of how the results of polygraph tests have been used during the pilot;

(c) an analysis of the effect polygraph testing has had on the licence conditions of terrorist offenders;

(d) data on the number of terrorist offenders who were recalled to prison on the basis of polygraph test results;

(e) a recommendation from the Secretary of State as to whether sections 32 to 35 should enter into force following the pilot; and

(f) evidence of independent research on the reliability and value of polygraph testing of terrorist offenders.”

This new clause requires the Secretary of State to conduct a pilot test of the use of polygraph testing on terrorist offenders and report the outcome to Parliament, in addition to setting out evidence for the reliability of polygraph tests based on independent research.

New clause 10—Review of sections 1 to 31

“(1) The Secretary of State must arrange for an independent review of the impact of sections 1 to 31 of this Act to be carried out in relation to the initial one-year period.

(2) The Secretary of State must, after consultation with the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, appoint a person with professional experience relating to the imprisonment for offences of terrorism to conduct the review.

(3) The review must be completed as soon as practicable after the end of the initial one-year period.

(4) As soon as practicable after a person has carried out the review in relation to a particular period, the person must—

(a) produce a report of the outcome of the review, and

(b) send a copy of the report to the Secretary of State.

(5) The Secretary of State must lay before each House of Parliament a copy of the report under subsection (4)(b) within one month of receiving the report.

(6) In this section, “initial one-year period” means the period of one year beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.”

This new clause would require an independent review of the impact of sections 1 to 31 of the Act to be conducted after one year.

Amendment 30, in clause 4, page 5, line 35, at end insert—

“(7) The pre-sentence report must—

(a) take account of the offender’s age;

(b) consider whether options other than a serious terrorism sentence might be more effective at—

(i) reducing the risk of serious harm to members of the public, or

(ii) rehabilitating the offender.

(8) The court must take account of any points made by the pre-sentence report in relation to the matters in subsection (7) and consider whether they constitute exceptional circumstances under subsection (2).”

Government amendment 6.

Amendment 31, in clause 6, page 9, leave out lines 21 to 25, and insert—

“(11) In forming an opinion for the purposes of subsections (1)(d) and (6), the court must consider a report by a relevant officer of a local authority about the offender and the offender’s circumstances.

(11A) Where the offender is under 21 years of age, the report must—

(a) take account of the offender’s age; and

(b) consider whether options other than a serious terrorism sentence might be more effective at—

(i) reducing the risk of serious harm to members of the public, or

(ii) rehabilitating the offender and the court must take these factors into account when forming its opinion under subsection (6).

(11B) In considering the report, the court must, if it thinks it necessary, hear the relevant officer.”

Amendment 32, in clause 7, page 10, line 15, at end insert—

“(2A) Where the offender is under the age of 21, in forming an opinion for the purposes of paragraph (2), the court must consider and take into account a pre-sentence report within the meaning of Article 4 which must—

(a) take account of the offender’s age; and

(b) consider whether options other than a serious terrorism sentence might be more effective at—

(i) reducing the risk of serious harm to members of the public, or

(ii) rehabilitating the offender.”

Government amendments 7 and 8.

Amendment 33, in clause 16, page 16, line 29, at end insert—

“(4) Section 255 of the Sentencing Code is amended as follows.

(5) After subsection (2) insert—

‘(3) The pre-sentence report must in the case of a serious terrorism offence under section 256(4)(b)(iii)—

(a) take account of the offender’s age;

(b) consider whether options other than an extension period of eight to ten years might be more effective at—

(i) reducing the risk of serious harm to members of the public, or

(ii) rehabilitating the offender.

(4) The court must take account of any points made by the pre-sentence report in relation to the matters in subsection (3).’

(6) The Secretary of State must at least once a year conduct and lay before Parliament a review of the effectiveness of the provisions of this section and their impact upon offenders.

(7) The report of the first review must be laid before Parliament within one year of this Act being passed.”

Amendment 34, in clause 17, page 17, line 4, at end insert—

“(4) Section 267 of the Sentencing Code is amended as follows.

(5) After subsection (2) insert—

‘(2A) The pre-sentence report must in the case of a serious terrorism offence under section 268(4)(b)(iii)—

(a) take account of the offender’s age;

(b) consider whether options other than an extension period of eight to ten years might be more effective at—

(i) reducing the risk of serious harm to members of the public, or

(ii) rehabilitating the offender.

(2B) The court must take account of any points made by the pre-sentence report in relation to the matters in subsection (2A).’

(6) The Secretary of State must at least once a year conduct and lay before Parliament a review of the effectiveness of the provisions of this section and their impact upon offenders.

(7) The report of the first review must be laid before Parliament within one year of this Act being passed.”

Government amendments 9 to 16.

Amendment 5, page 21, line 30, leave out clause 24.

Amendment 52, in clause 27, page 23, line 24, after “unless”, insert

“the terrorist prisoner was at least aged 18 at the time of the commission of the offence for which the prisoner is serving the sentence, and”.

This amendment provides that only certain adult terrorist prisoners are excluded from eligibility for early release in England and Wales.

Amendment 53, in clause 28, page 24, line 12, after “unless”, insert

“the terrorist prisoner was at least aged 18 at the time of the commission of the offence for which the prisoner is serving the sentence, and”.

This amendment provides that only certain adult terrorist prisoners are excluded from eligibility for early release in Scotland.

Amendment 1, in clause 30, page 26, line 16, leave out “whether before or”.

This amendment would remove the retrospective application of this provision.

Amendment 2, in clause 30, page 26, line 17, leave out from “(2)” to end of line 20.

This amendment would remove the retrospective application of this provision.

Amendment 54, in clause 30, page 27, line 14, after “terrorism sentence” insert

“and the terrorist prisoner was at least aged 18 at the time of the commission of the offence for which the prisoner is serving such a sentence”.

This amendment provides that only certain adult terrorist prisoners are excluded from eligibility for early release in Northern Ireland.

Amendment 55, page 28, line 17, leave out clause 32.

This amendment will remove from the Bill clause 32, which extends the current polygraph testing requirements to adult terrorist offenders released on licence in England and Wales.

Amendment 56, page 29, line 8, leave out clause 33.

This amendment will remove from the Bill clause 33, which extends the current polygraph testing requirements to adult terrorist offenders released on licence in Scotland.

Amendment 57, page 30, line 25, leave out clause 34.

This amendment will remove from the Bill clause 34, which extends the current polygraph testing requirements to adult terrorist offenders released on licence in Northern Ireland.

Amendment 58, page 33, line 7, leave out clause 35.

This amendment will remove from the Bill clause 35, which extends the current polygraph testing requirements to adult terrorist offenders released on licence.

Amendment 35, in clause 52, page 43, line 40, leave out “to” and insert “, 34 and”.

This amendment would remove section 33 from the list of provisions that are brought into force through regulations by the Secretary of State.

Amendment 3, in clause 52, page 43, line 40, leave out “to 35” and insert “, 33 and 35”.

This amendment would remove section 34 from the list of provisions that are brought into force through regulations by the Secretary of State.

Amendment 4, in clause 52, page 43, line 42, at end insert—

“(3A) Section 34 comes into force on such day as the Department for Justice of Northern Ireland may by regulations appoint.”

This amendment would mean section 34 could only be brought into force through regulations by the Northern Ireland Executive.

Amendment 36, in clause 52, page 43, line 42, at end insert—

“(3A) Section 33 comes into force on such day as Scottish Ministers may by regulations appoint.”

This would have the effect that provision in the Bill that relate to polygraph testing would only become operational if the Scottish Government asked for those provisions to be implemented.

Government amendments 20 to 29.

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In Committee, Members had a robust debate about many aspects of this Bill, which we support but believe can still be improved. I start with new clause 1 and the probation service.

We cannot begin to tackle terrorism without recognising the important role that the probation service plays in keeping people safe. New clause 1 requires the Secretary of State to commission a review and publish a report on the impact of the provisions in the Bill on the National Probation Service. It would have to consider the probation support provided to offenders convicted of terrorist offences, how probation support provided to offenders convicted for terrorist offences has varied since implementation of this Bill, the type and number of specialist staff employed by the National Probation Service to work with terrorist offenders, the turnover of probation staff, the average length of service of probation staff, and the non-staff resources provided to manage offenders convicted of terrorist offences.

For the probation service to be fully functioning and effective, it must have the resources it needs. The Minister said that the spending review last September laid out a significantly increased funding package for the Prison Service and probation service, which is supposedly flowing to the frontline, but the National Probation Service is in a far from satisfactory state, and we know about the disaster that ensued when large parts of it were privatised. Thankfully privatisation is no more, but we still have to get the service right.

The NPS has a workforce including 6,500 probation officers and a budget of more than £500 million. Earlier this year, Her Majesty’s inspectorate of probation painted a picture of a service in crisis, with hundreds of vacancies, overstretched officers and managers, and crumbling, overcrowded buildings, including hostels for recently released offenders. Inspectors rated all of its divisions as requiring improvement on staffing. None of the areas are fully staffed. There were high rates of staff sickness—an average of 11 days per person, 50% of which related to mental health difficulties. There are 650 job vacancies nationwide in the probation service—a full 10% of the establishment.

Although the probation service is not in the Minister’s portfolio, I am sure he will agree that that is not satisfactory. We can only hope that things are improving. In Committee, the Minister talked about the welcome resources being invested in the service and about the spending review coming this autumn. Can he confirm that he is satisfied that there are sufficient resources to achieve what he wants, or are Ministers bidding for more from the spending review? Perhaps more importantly, will he confirm that the necessary support will be put in place to bring the National Probation Service up to full strength, to tackle the issues raised in inspection reports, and to provide staff with the support they need for their mental and physical ill health, to help them back to work and while they are there, and put an end to the high sickness rate? All those things put pressure on the service and the ability of staff to cope with offenders day to day—in this context, with some of the most dangerous ones.

In Committee, I also asked about whether all probation officers will have counter-terrorism training, and the Minister addressed that in a letter to me. He said:

“Governors and front-line staff are being given the training, skills, and authority needed to challenge inappropriate views and take action against them…Staff are also trained how to recognise aspects of an offender’s behaviour which might indicate terrorist sympathies. Over 29,000 prison staff have been trained.”

We all welcome that.

The increased workloads for highly specialised and rare probation staff are a cause for concern. Research shows that more time spent with offenders is essential for proper assessment and rehabilitation, but that is not possible with such high case loads. The very long license cases, such as lifers and those with indeterminate sentences, are a special challenge for probation staff because they never really come off their case loads, and more new cases are constantly added. Specialist probation officers are thinly spread and consequently hold very high case loads of terror-related cases—over 120% of normal. That level is appallingly high, and the Government recognise that it needs to come down. Their recruitment of more specialists to manage counter-terrorism offenders is also to be welcomed. That said, the general issue with increasing the number of specialists in probation is that they can only be recruited from experienced staff, and with high sickness levels and a 10% vacancy rate, how can Ministers be confident that they can provide a quality service, not just for those convicted of terrorism or related offences but offenders in general?

There is a danger that huge amounts of experience are being lost and that lots of generalist roles will need to be backfilled with newly qualified staff before the more experienced staff can move on to specialist roles—and that in a service where a full third of all employees have less than three years’ experience in probation. I asked this in Committee, but I do not believe an answer was forthcoming, so can the Minister now tell me what modelling the Department has done on the expected net effect on the total probation caseload over the years and decades to come as a result of the changes in this Bill? Ad hoc measures are not good enough; there need to be properly considered measures and funding given to the probation service to make it an effective mechanism to tackle terrorism and do one of our country’s most difficult jobs.

I turn to the related issue of de-radicalisation programmes in prison, and new clause 2. When someone has committed a terror offence and has gone to prison, there is an expectation that this person will be kept away from mainstream society for the purposes of keeping the public safe, and an expectation that their time in prison will be used effectively. This means that all efforts will be made to ensure that the individual does not return to the same destructive path that they were on prior to being arrested. In order to achieve this, there needs to be a properly structured and expert-driven de-radicalisation programme available for all those who are identified as being in need of enrolling on such a programme.

For the purpose of informing Members who were not members of the Committee, I will reiterate a number of points I made during that time. Although the minimum sentencing for terror offences has been increased, there is a suggestion that we could simply be delaying inevitable further offences unless we take action to use the offender’s time in prison to de-radicalise them, and we can only do that if there is an effective de-radicalisation programme in place. While we heard in evidence that many good things are happening in our prisons around de-radicalisation, there were also concerns expressed about the adequacy of the programmes and their availability.

That does not just concern Committee members and witnesses. At last Tuesday’s Justice questions, the hon. Member for Newbury (Laura Farris) pressed the Minister, the hon. and learned Member for South East Cambridgeshire (Lucy Frazer), on how programmes could be improved. Helpfully, the Minister replied:

“Twenty-two trained imams are doing de-radicalisation programmes in our prisons, but those are not the only measures that we are introducing. We have increased our training for prison and probation officers to deal with terrorism and we are bringing in new national standards for managing terrorists on licence. We want more counter-terrorism specialist staff and we want more places in approved premises as a transition from prison to the community.”

When I challenged her on the inadequacy and quality of the provision, she said:

“we continually evaluate the programmes that we operate within our prisons.”—[Official Report, 14 July 2020; Vol. 678, c. 1361.]

If that is really the case, and if the Government are so confident that the programmes have been successful, what do they fear from commissioning a formal review of them and reporting to the House?

We really do need to know what is happening in prisons in relation to this. What programmes are being delivered? Who are they being delivered to? Who are they being delivered by? When are offenders undertaking the programme? How many de-radicalisation programmes is one offender in for a minimum sentence expected to cover? How is the success of these programmes measured? We need to understand the effectiveness of the programmes, where they work, where they do not, what can be improved, and what the Government are going to do to drive those improvements.

Neither the healthy identity intervention nor the desistance and disengagement programme courses, which form the main part of the programmes, have undergone any form of evaluation process to date. In Committee, the Minister said that most of the de-radicalisation work and programmes are done operationally inside the prison and probation service, and are not specified in legislation. He said that Ministers need the flexibility of being able to change guidance through statutory instruments, and I accept this. But we were never asking for the programme details to be placed in the Bill through this new clause—a new clause that would, I think, help to secure the public’s trust in our approach to tackling terrorism. This new clause is not about clearly outlining deradicalisation programmes in legislation; it is about reviewing how effective our deradicalisation programmes are, so it is only right that they are reviewed, with the results laid before Parliament.

That brings me on to the general financial impact of the Bill, new clause 3 and the resources it will need behind it for it to be successful and properly implemented. In Committee, the Minister told me that the impact assessment estimated an additional 50 people in prisons. Although I still believe that is an underestimation, bearing in mind the rise of far-right terrorism and other groups whose members will end up in the system, I will not rehearse those arguments yet again. I believe the cost of implementing this Bill is estimated to be about £16 million a year, but I do not think that honestly reflects the impact it will have on all service areas. Who knows, but providing the mental health support our prison and probation staff desperately need will be costly, and if we do not have that investment from elsewhere in the Department’s budget, we are not going to see the all-round service we all want delivered. So will the Minister confirm that he has covered the additional cost of creating space for new prisoners, the additional cost of having more than one specialist centre, the additional cost of having further specially trained prison officers and the cost for probation services of expanding the sentence for offenders of particular concern regime?

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My hon. Friend is making a detailed and comprehensive speech, examining many of these difficult issues, which we all face. I have reflected on what he has been saying, and I believe that the way to approach these difficult issues is by having an open mind and asking a series of questions, rather than coming at any of these things with pre-conceived ideas. I am grateful for his thought and his incisive questioning of the Government, in a spirit of cross-party co-operation.

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I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that. He rightly says that this is about having an open mind. I was trying to persuade the Minister and the Conservative Members in Committee that they should have an open mind on a number of issues, because we are facing real challenges on deradicalisation programmes, the resources within the probation service and the fact that young people are going to be treated exactly the same as adult prisoners in the system—I will be coming on to that later.

We also want to understand whether the resources are available for the use of polygraphs and to deal with the impact on youth offender teams. I have already talked about the impact of longer licensing on the National Probation Service. Such measures as are in this Bill always have ripple effects, so we ask the Secretary of State to lay before the House, within three years, a report on the real financial impact of all these things. There should never be an issue of resources when it comes to justice matters, and a review would not only identify where there are issues, but arm the Secretary of State with the evidence he needs to resist further cuts to his Department’s budget and instead win some additional resources.

We should ensure that prisons are properly staffed and that those staff are properly supported, be it for their personal security or to provide them with adequate services when they suffer mental illness as a result of their job—services that we know are currently totally inadequate. I asked about these measures in Committee, but we still need reassurances. This is about not just funding for prison places, but the wider financial impact on society, especially when offenders get released from prison and need help rebuilding their lives. That is a particular concern for those who are young and may leave prison with no support system. These provisions do not come cheap, and I hope we are going to get some clearer answers on meeting the costs of the different services that I have laid out.

Throughout Committee, I stressed the importance of recognising that young offenders are different from older, adult offenders and that their age ought to be taken into consideration when they are being sentenced, even for the most terrible of crimes. That is why we tabled amendment 30, parallel amendments for Scotland and Northern Ireland and the remaining new clauses in the name of the Leader of the Opposition, myself and others.

Amendment 30 would require a pre-sentence report to be carried out that would take into account the offender’s age and consider whether options other than a serious terrorism sentence might be more effective. We know there is a greater chance of young offenders rehabilitating and turning their lives around. I will spare the House the detail around age of maturity, which was discussed both in the evidence sessions and in debate, but I will say that young people are different, and that must be considered. We must be cautious when dealing with them to ensure that we do not inadvertently isolate them and increase their hostility to the Government, as well as to the police and probation services.

In Committee, the Minister talked about the number of 18 to 21-year-olds being involved in serious terror offences as being very low, suggesting that fewer than five were in prison at any one time. I hope very much that that is the case, though, as the Minister admitted, it is just an estimate. As I have said several times, I question the accuracy of that estimate. In a letter he sent me on 6 July, he said that only two under 18-year-olds and 10 18 to 20-year-olds were convicted of terrorism or a terrorism-related offence in 2019. I accept his point that not all those offenders would have been sentenced under the new legislation, had it been available—perhaps only a couple each year, but a couple each year would mean that over a number of years, far more than five would actually end up serving these longer determinate sentences. I will leave that argument there, since I am tying my tongue in knots, but I do not doubt that we will return to the subject again.

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May I ask why an actual age is not included in amendment 30? There is an allusion to an age, but not a specific age. Will he outline why that was not included in the amendment when it was drafted?

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Personally, I thought the amendment was clear. It lays down very specific issues in relation to young people. That is why we tried to detail in Committee that young people are different and need to be treated differently.

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If we are talking about the age at which a person is convicted of a crime and serves this type of sentence, it would have been clearer if an age was included in the amendment, whether that was 13, 15 or 18, just to further the case for why young offenders should be given a less severe sentence.

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The hon. Lady tempts me to start to rehearse all the arguments around the age of maturity. We know that children up to the age of 18 are treated differently under the law, much as the group between 18 and 20 are supposed to be treated differently. There is more and more evidence all the time. In particular, there have been some studies in Scotland—I am looking at the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West (Joanna Cherry) for the SNP—that are starting to talk in terms of, “Maybe we should be looking at 25 as the age of maturity.” That is all the more reason why we have to think carefully about how we treat young people in the justice system, because young people ought to be treated differently. They have a better chance of being rehabilitated, and it is important we give them that chance.

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I am slightly confused by the suggestion we should be extending to 25 years old when there are Members of Parliament who are under 25. Is he suggesting that somehow different rules should apply to them or that they are not yet at the age where they can appropriately represent their constituents?

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We are talking about issues of maturity here, not when somebody can be an elected a Member of Parliament. I think that Members can be elected at the age of 18 now. I do not see the point that the hon. Lady is making.

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Looking at the evidence that we heard during the Bill Committee, am I right in understanding that the greater possibility of rehabilitating young people is what is being looked at here? It is about where we define youth. Does it stop at 18, or 21, or—as we are now looking at in Scotland in our consultation—25, in terms of not maturity generally but the ability to rehabilitate?

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I am grateful to the hon. and learned Lady, who has explained that far better than I could ever hope to; I very much appreciate that. Perhaps there are some MPs who need rehabilitating as well, Madam Deputy Speaker, but that is another matter.

Is it right for a person, even if they are young, who has committed a serious offence to be put in prison for a particular period of time to protect the public, without their age being considered? We have to balance this properly. How long is long enough for punishment for a young person, and how long is too long to prevent the individual being effectively rehabilitated? Those who commit serious offences will be released from prison at some point. Surely the Minister agrees that we can lessen the time that an individual spends in prison with the aim of it being core to their rehabilitation; it is indeed preferable to a longer sentence, where hostility and deep-seated mistrust of the state simply develops and grows.

We know that this legislation cuts out the role of the Parole Board from any involvement with offenders sentenced under it. I think that it is lamentable that this also applies to young offenders, who, if involved with a specialist group of experts, could benefit tremendously from that. It is not straightforward when dealing with young people, and we should not pretend it is. We need to be smart, cautious and measured. Sadly, there are always some people, young or otherwise, who will never respond to a second chance, and the judges in their cases will act accordingly, but I want the judges to be better equipped than they are at present so that when they see there is a chance that a long fixed sentence for a young person is not appropriate and does not offer the best chance of rehabilitation, they have the flexibility to do something else.

As I said in my opening remarks, there is a need for specific requirements for Northern Ireland, but I will content myself with a few short remarks on new clause 7. My hon. Friend the Member for St Helens North (Conor McGinn) has been speaking in detail with the Northern Ireland Justice Minister, Naomi Long, and all the Northern Ireland parties about how we ensure that the measures in the Bill are compatible with the unique and well-established practices in terrorism-related sentencing and policing in Northern Ireland and, as we all know, are particularly sensitive to the political dynamics in Northern Ireland while ensuring that people in that part of the UK are kept safe and secure.

The mechanism proposed in new clause 7 would give some measure of assurance to the devolved institutions that their views are being heard by the Government. The Minister was reluctant to accept this amendment in Committee, but I hope that he will look at it much more closely.

Throughout the proceedings on this Bill, I have been very grateful to have formal and informal discussions with the Minister and to receive letters clarifying some of the issues raised in Committee. Last week, in response to my query about a technical amendment relating to section 61 of Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 and sentences served in young offender institutions, the Minister confirmed to me and the Bill Committee that there were no plans to change the way young adults were accommodated in the prison estate. That I very much welcome, and I would be bold enough to ask him to reiterate his guarantee that section 61 will not be enacted.

As I said at the outset, I have, throughout the Bill’s progress, talked about young people being different and the need for them to be dealt with appropriately, so I was very surprised to have it confirmed to me by the Minister that some 18, 19 and 20-year-olds were not only in the same prison as older offenders but on the same wing and sharing the same social spaces. I am assuming that this mixing does not apply to terrorist offenders, but even if it does not, that practice is totally unacceptable. I would welcome news of a plan to deal with that very real issue, which today is putting younger prisoners at considerable risk.

In conclusion, I reiterate our support for the Bill and hope that the Government will act to address the very real issues that colleagues and I have raised.

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Colleagues will be aware that there are a number of speakers who want to get in this afternoon. Sir Robert Neill has withdrawn, so I will go straight to Joanna Cherry, but after that, if colleagues speak for about five minutes, that will enable us to make some progress.

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I will start by apologising to you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for being slightly tardy in taking up my seat for this debate. No offence was meant. It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Stockton North (Alex Cunningham). As well as sharing our country of birth, we share many of the same views about the Bill.

I wish to speak to new clause 6 and amendments 35 and 36, which are tabled in my name and that of my hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian (Kenny MacAskill). I will also speak to amendments 52 to 60, which have been tabled by the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman). She chairs the Joint Committee on Human Rights, and the amendments reflect some concerns held by that Committee, on which I also sit, about our duty to consider the human rights aspects of any legislation that passes through the House.

The SNP has made it clear from the outset that we recognise it is the duty of any Government to keep our citizens safe and secure, and all who serve in Parliament have an obligation to assist in that endeavour. I and my colleagues in Edinburgh have assured the UK Government that we will attempt to be as constructive as possible, to ensure that the challenge of terrorism is met and that people across these islands are kept as safe is as reasonably possible. SNP Members are also mindful of our duty as parliamentarians to uphold the highest standards of human rights protections, and we have accordingly tabled a number of amendments to address the devolved aspects of the Bill, and raise some concerns about civil liberties.

Counter-terrorism is a reserved matter, but sentencing is not. The Scottish legal system, including policing, sentencing and parole, and the management of the Scottish prison service are devolved matters, and elements of the Bill that touch on those things will require a legislative consent motion. The Minister accepts that, and there are ongoing discussions with my colleague, Humza Yousaf, who is the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Justice. Until those discussions have been resolved to the satisfaction of the Scottish Government, SNP MPs cannot give the Bill their unqualified support, but we will continue to work constructively with the Government.

We are particularly pleased that the UK Government have addressed an issue that I and my hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian raised in Committee—namely, the interplay between the new sentencing regime proposed in the Bill and the existing sentence of an order for lifelong restriction in Scotland. That unique sentence is imposed not so much for the crime committed but because the offender poses an ongoing risk. It was designed to deal with high-risk violent and sexual offenders rather than terrorists, and its purpose is to ensure that those people are not released until they are rehabilitated, and that even then they are subject to a risk management plan for the rest of their natural life.

I welcome Government amendments 9 to 16, which have been tabled to address the interplay between the new sentence and the order for lifelong restriction. As I understand it, they will ensure that an order for lifelong restriction will remain available to the Scottish courts when they are considering sentencing someone for a serious terrorist offence, provided that if an OLR is imposed instead of a serious terrorism sentence, the person sentenced must serve at least 14 years. I am pleased that the Government have taken our concerns on board, and we hope that the outstanding discussions on the legislative consent motion will have the same fruitful outcome.

The most important aspect of those outstanding discussions relates to the use of polygraphs, which is what SNP amendments 35 and 36 address. The Bill proposes to introduce the use of polygraphs for the first time within the devolved Scottish criminal justice system.

Current Scottish legislation operates in such a way that there is a broad ability for the Parole Board and Scottish Ministers to set conditions of licence, which could include polygraph testing. There is no statutory barrier in Scotland to the introduction of polygraphs, such as exists, as I understand it, in other parts of the UK, so it is not necessary for the Bill to introduce measures to allow their use in Scotland. That could be achieved by the Parole Board and Scottish Ministers under existing statutory powers. The reason the Scottish Government have not introduced polygraphs is that they are unconvinced by the evidence regarding their efficacy. They are not used in Scotland at present for that reason, and operationally there is no infrastructure to support their use.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has also recognised that the use of polygraphs is controversial, and we have tabled amendments 55 to 60 in that respect. Polygraph testing could engage article 5, the prohibition against arbitrary detention. Recalls to prison while on licence are unlikely to fall foul of article 5 provided that they are not arbitrary, but we on the Joint Committee believe that using polygraph test results as evidence for recall ought to be given a high level of scrutiny, given the controversial nature of polygraph testing.

It is fair to say that although the Bill Committee heard some very interesting evidence about polygraphs, the evidence conflicted as to their efficacy and reliability. The Joint Committee’s concern is that the Government have not put forward a convincing case for the use of polygraph evidence in the way that is proposed in the Bill. We in the SNP would prefer the polygraph provisions to be removed from the Bill in so far as Scotland is concerned, and that is what amendment 56 would do.

Alternatively, we would like control of the implementation of the provisions to sit with the Scottish Ministers, which is what we seek to achieve by amendments 35 and 36. That would ensure that such a significant introduction to the devolved Scottish criminal justice system as the use of polygraphs is undertaken only if and when the Scottish Government, who have overall responsibility for the running of the devolved criminal justice system, have indicated that it is a development that they consider is appropriate in Scotland.

I will not press these amendments to a vote, because I know correspondence between the two Governments is ongoing in this respect and the Minister may have further proposals as to how détente, or a compromise, could be achieved.

I turn next to the SNP’s new clause 6, which comes back to the issue addressed by the hon. Member for Stockton North: the Bill’s impact on children and young persons. I will preface this by saying that I absolutely accept that the Bill deals with sentencing for only the most serious terrorist offences, and I accept that the numbers of children and young persons who are sentenced may be very small. Nevertheless, the evidence that the Bill Committee heard from Jonathan Hall, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, Peter Dawson, the director of the Prison Reform Trust, who has an extensive career as a prison governor, and the Law Society of Scotland suggested that it would be prudent to carry out a review of the effect of the provisions in the Bill on children and young offenders. That is what new clause 6 seeks.

I touched on the reasons for that in my earlier intervention. It is a concerning fact that increasing numbers of young people are caught up in terrorism, and we heard evidence to the Bill Committee that young offenders have often been manipulated by terrorist groups or other unscrupulous individuals, operating either in the real world or online. However, there is a much better opportunity for reform, rehabilitation and deradicalisation with a young person than with a middle-aged or older person.

When it comes to sentencing, traditionally it is recognised that people are not necessarily that different when they are one month over 18 from when they were one month under 18, so there is a strong argument that the age for a mandatory minimum sentence, meaning no prospect of early release and effectively putting to one side the possibility of reform and rehabilitation, should be raised to 21, rather than such a sentence being available for those in the 18 to 21 bracket.

As has been alluded to, the Scottish Sentencing Council is consulting on its third draft guideline, “Sentencing young people”, and looking at proposals for special sentencing sentences to apply to offenders up to the age of 25. My understanding is that that is because up to the age of 25 there is a better chance of getting to someone, changing their world view and rehabilitating and deradicalising them. There is a serious question over whether children who receive extended sentences for serious terrorist offences are so very different from children who receive extended sentences for other serious offences, and whether, therefore, the removal of the Parole Board’s role is justified.

We heard an important piece of evidence from the director of the Prison Reform Trust, who said that if we do not seek to rehabilitate young people, who are more prone to rehabilitation, public protection is undermined rather than enhanced. Every time we manage to rehabilitate or deradicalise someone, it makes the public a little bit safer.

In summary, there are two good, overarching reasons to have the review that is proposed in new clause 6: our responsibilities to children and young people in general, and, perhaps more importantly, our responsibility to the public and British citizens at large to do what we can to deradicalise convicted terrorists. We know that we are much more likely to be able to do that with children and young people. All that the new clause asks for is a review. If the numbers turn out to be small, as they are expected to be, the review will not be complex or time consuming.

Finally, I turn to amendments 52 and 53, which are in my name and that of the Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham. They mirror the concerns that I have just spoken about, and they are designed to disapply provisions of this Bill to terrorist prisoners who were under 18 at the time of the commission of the offence.

I will briefly address the underlying concerns. I remind Members that it is the responsibility of the Joint Committee on Human Rights to look at the human rights aspects of all legislation that comes before this House. Although we think that the removal of children’s eligibility for parole is not incompatible with the European convention on human rights per se, it does raise a serious question of policy. If a child terrorist offender serving an extended determinate sentence may be considered to have a high prospect of rehabilitation and reform as they mature, the denial of any prospect of release before the end of their custodial term may, as I have said, be counter- productive.

It is worth bearing in mind that the sentencing principles in England require that sentences for children should focus on rehabilitation where possible. The removal of eligibility for parole appears to undermine that important principle. It also appears to undermine article 37(b) of the UN convention on the rights of the child, which provides that the imprisonment of a child shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time. That sits uneasily with an irreducible, lengthy period of imprisonment for a child.

If anyone—perhaps understandably—rolls their eyes to heaven at the thought of caring about the human rights of someone who has committed a serious terrorist offence, I simply refer them to what I said earlier. It is in all our interests to try to get children and young people who commit serious terrorist offences rehabilitated and deradicalised. Even those who do not care about such people’s human rights should remember that deradicalizing young people will protect our constituents.

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It is a pleasure to follow the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West (Joanna Cherry), and it was a pleasure to serve alongside her on the Bill Committee for this important piece of legislation. I guess it is something of a truism that the first duty of a Government is to protect their citizens, but that is precisely what this Bill seeks to do. As luck would have it, the seventh sitting of the Bill Committee took place on 7/7. I felt that morning, on that inauspicious, infamous date, that it was critical to put the debate we were having on the Bill in some kind of context, so I told the story of my friend Louise. I would like to tell her story again in this debate and in this Chamber.

On that day 15 years ago, Louise was on a train from Liverpool Street to Aldgate. The night before she had been in Trafalgar Square, celebrating the fact that London had just won its bid to host the 2012 Olympics. It was a very busy commuter train, so she was standing when the train was rocked by an explosion in the next carriage. Louise’s carriage filled with smoke and the lights went out. The train screeched to an appalling halt. She says she could feel her heart beating so hard that she could virtually hear it and thought it was going to jump out of her body, but she fought to keep calm amid the screams, panic and chaos around her.

Some people managed to control their panic and began trying to help each other. They called up and down the train for doctors, nurses and anyone who could help. Some people had fallen and some had hit their heads—it was just chaos. Some people were trying to get out of the windows between the carriages or trying to prise the doors apart, but none of that would work. Someone cried out that there was a body on the track. They waited in the dark. Some emergency lights were flickering on and off, but it was mainly dark for over an hour until Louise remembers seeing the very top of a policeman’s helmet outside the train in the tunnel. That was a very reassuring sight. She felt from that moment that everything was going to be all right and that she, at least, was going to get out.

Eventually, those who were able to move out of the way made way for the injured to be carried out or to walk past them. They were bloodied, black and bewildered. Many of them were bandaged with commuters’ possessions, such as belts, scarves and ties. After what seemed like forever, Louise was able to get off the train, but she had to walk past the bombed carriage. She said it looked like it had been ripped apart like a can of Coke. She passed two bodies on the track, covered up roughly by a fluorescent transport worker’s jacket. She saw a man who was badly injured being tended to by paramedics. He was barely clothed; the bomb had ripped the clothes from him. He was propped up against the tunnel wall and his entire body was blackened by the bomb blast.

Louise said it was very surreal to come from that black hellish atmosphere into the light and quite overwhelming. There were helicopters above. There were blue lights and sirens. There was a triage unit on the pavement where people were being treated. It is quite surreal, in a way, that she was just told to give her details to the police and then she just walked off on her own into London to try to find her husband and a cup of tea. She had no idea that she was covered, and her faced was absolutely covered, in soot. The fear, the panic and the shock came later. The overriding feeling she was left with was, why did she get into that particular carriage? Why did she not get into the next one? Why did she survive when so many did not? She was determined not to change her way of life, so she was soon back on the Tube and back at work. I think that that personifies an attitude that says, “This is not going to change our life. We will carry on the way we were before. Terrorism will not stop us.”

As we deliberated the Bill on that day 15 years afterwards, Louise was at Aldgate station placing flowers as she does every year. Many of her fellow passengers have never been back on a Tube. Some are still suffering from anxiety and depression. Some suffered life-changing injuries and some will never see the light of day again. This House and many Members have their own personal experiences of the savagery of terrorism, and I know we all want to do all we can to prevent future attacks. How can we do that? Today, in a very direct way, we can do a lot. We can do just what the Bill seeks to do: strengthen sentencing, limit early release, give the security services the best tools available to manage, and disrupt suspected and convicted perpetrators.

We are hearing, and I am sure we will hear a lot more, about the rights, youth, vulnerability and potential for rehabilitation of terrorist suspects and offenders. Those valid issues, and the issues addressed in many of the new clauses and amendments, are amply dealt with in the Bill. There is no doubt in my mind that the best way that we can honour the victims, like Louise and many others, is to pass the Bill, intact, today.

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It is often customary to say that it is a pleasure to follow the previous speaker, but that would not seem appropriate given the contribution by the hon. Member for Hertford and Stortford (Julie Marson). It was incredibly poignant and powerful, though, and most appropriate given the Bill before us.

I was pleased to hear the contribution from the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West (Joanna Cherry)—I do not say that to cause her any discomfort—because we find common cause on the issue of polygraph testing. If I cast my mind back to my contribution on Second Reading, I recall that I spoke about the fact that there are distinct differences not only between our criminal justice systems throughout this United Kingdom but in the choices that we, as representatives, need to make about the appropriateness of embarking on an untested and unverifiable system that would ultimately be used to impose further restrictions on somebody’s liberty in a way that we cannot satisfy ourselves is at all appropriate.

I am pleased to find common cause among Members from different parties who have concerns about the creeping integration of the use of an unverified method of assessing offenders. We understand that it is restricted to licences and, now, to three or four discrete areas of offence, but just as the Scottish are being cautious, I believe that we in Northern Ireland will be cautious, too, about the introduction of such measures. To that end, I was pleased to hear chief commissioner Les Allamby from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission give evidence to the Bill Committee and highlight his concerns from a Northern Ireland perspective.

I recognise the thrust behind amendments 3 and 4, tabled in the name of the hon. Member for North Down (Stephen Farry); however, I wonder whether they are necessary. If I reflect on clause 34, I see that it is for the Department of Justice Northern Ireland to decide whether the use of polygraphs is necessary. That provision should give us enough comfort about the operational introduction of polygraph testing in Northern Ireland. We should be slow to water down or remove the fact that counter-terrorism and national security measures are reserved to this Parliament. I say that believing not that the devolved institution in Northern Ireland should not have a role, but that we should be cautious in seeking to attain power on national security and counter-terrorism grounds, recognising the divergent views in our Northern Ireland Executive, some of the competing arguments that would be made and that ultimately we may get less protection should cross-community consensus be required for the introduction of those powers. I am therefore not minded to support amendments 3 and 4.

A recurring theme throughout the passage of the Bill has been its retrospective application. The Minister will recall that I was concerned that Northern Ireland was not included in the retrospective application of the extension of serious terrorist offences, and that I was pleased whenever Northern Ireland was included and that the implications, perceived or otherwise, of article 7 applications on the retrospective nature of the offences were overcome. I say that because when we take such decisions—when we decide as a Parliament that we are going to extend the custodial period of someone’s sentence—we need to do it with our eyes wide open. That is not to ignore the fact that an argument could be made that article 7 is engaged, but we have to reflect thoughtfully on what the policy imperative is for doing so and whether it can be robustly defended if there is a challenge.

Through the consideration on the Floor of the House, in Committee and elsewhere, strong and compelling legal arguments have been made that differentiate between a penalty and the enforcement of the penalty. It is appropriate that we, as parliamentarians, say clearly on the record that we are not changing the penalty for anyone who is currently in prison and subject to a terrorist offence sentence. Their sentence remains the same. How that sentence is operated and enforced is different. Uttley v. United Kingdom, Hogben v. United Kingdom, Kafkaris v. Cyprus and Grava v. Italy all indicate the distinction between the extension of a penalty and the enforcement of it.

While there are particular issues in Northern Ireland that we should be alive to, and we must approach these issues with our eyes wide open and recognise that some will seek to manipulate them for propaganda purposes, we must not fail to be prepared to stand up robustly for the rule of law within our country and say, “No. You may not like it—you may not like the rational choice that we as democrats make within our legal system, but we will not cow to the threat of violence, agitation or propaganda that seek to subvert the norms and principles of democracy that we all enjoy.” On that basis, I cannot support amendments that seek to remove the retrospective application of the Bill.

I will conclude, Mr Deputy Speaker, because there was a suggestion of a notional time limit, and you have been gracious enough to sit calmly as I move towards a conclusion. I think there is some sensible merit in new clause 7, which has been approached and drafted by Her Majesty’s Opposition rationally. It recognises that there are issues in Northern Ireland and that it is important over a period—be it one, two or three years—to carry out an impact assessment of how the Bill has operated in Northern Ireland and whether it has made a significant positive or detrimental impact, and then to lay a report before the House in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Executive. It is a sensible, well-drafted and appropriate new clause. Even if it is not pressed to a vote, I hope that, in taking decisions such as this with eyes wide open, recognising that there could be concerns about the operational impact and the opportunity for people to manipulate the democratic and legitimate choices we make, the Government will review this legislation and consider whether the consequences were warranted and these choices were appropriate.

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It is a pleasure to follow such considered comments from the hon. Member for Belfast East (Gavin Robinson). I want to start, unsurprisingly, by commending the Government for bringing forward this vital legislation. I also want to pay my respects to all those who have lost loved ones and the survivors of terrorism, for whom this legislation is a form of justice—particularly those who lost loved ones in the attacks at Fishmongers’ Hall and in Streatham.

While the United Kingdom should be rightly proud of our record in combating radicalisation and terrorism, it is clear that more needs to be done, and that is what the Bill seeks to do. Many of us have rightly said that the first job of any Government is to keep their people safe. It is clear that that was at the top of Ministers’ minds when they drafted this. While I disagree with the Opposition on many points made today, I welcome the overall collaborative spirit that has emerged across the House. I note, for example, that many of the Opposition amendments—particularly the first five in the group—deal with questions about the effectiveness of the legislation. I am glad that the Opposition care so much that the Government’s priorities are implemented effectively.

I also welcome the Government’s considerations relating to lifelong restrictions for terrorist offences. Their work with Scottish MPs on that is a clear example of the Government working with Opposition parties to achieve the best results for all. For that reason, I welcome Government amendment 8. It is also right that the Government have tabled amendment 9, to ensure that a serious terrorism offence is convictable on an indictable offence. That is in line with ensuring that serious offences of any kind are included in the thrust of the Bill’s provisions. I also want to express relief that the Opposition have not sought to water down in any significant way the thrust of this legislation, because it is what the country wishes to see.

Prior to becoming an MP, my career was dedicated to our national security, specifically counter-terrorism, so I want to address some of the comments of witnesses. Jonathan Hall QC described the reforms as “pessimistic”. These reforms are not pessimistic; they are realistic. When people are radicalised, they are not half radicalised, or radicalised on a Monday, a Wednesday or a Friday; it is an enduring process that sticks in hearts and minds for a long time. Deradicalisation and rehabilitation are not quick, easy or straightforward. Indeed, I would challenge whether anyone can ever truly be deradicalised.

To be clear, that is the comment not of a politician who wishes solely to sound tough on crime, but of a politician who has sat in the same room as former terrorists who had been willing to blow up people in this room, and when I say that people cannot be rehabilitated, I am talking about the ones who claim to be. The psychological drivers that drew them to terrorism remain for life, so it is right that when we do this, we be very careful about the legislation we put in place.

Even with all the resources of government, which I have personally seen brought to bear, this process takes significant contact and monitoring—I would argue lifelong monitoring. The Government must have the time and the framework necessary to minimise the risk to our nation. This is not some scientific experiment conducted in an empty, tightly controlled space, but a highly individualised series of one-to-one interactions. When you engage with someone, you have to work with them on what makes them specifically vulnerable; there is no solution, there is no silver bullet, this is not straightforward. I do not accept the idea that any individual is ever truly deradicalised.

On that point, I take issue with the Opposition’s criticisms of the UK’s counter-radicalisation and rehabilitation work. I do not think they have the same understanding of exactly what the Government do to keep us safe. Whether in the middle east, in Europe, at home, or anywhere in the world—I have worked in many of those places—the UK is recognised as a global authority on anti-radicalisation work. We are a world leader on counter-terrorism, and the Bill will help to cement that further.

I want to talk specifically about young people and culpability, and the idea that under-18s or under-25s should be more stripped of their agency or personal responsibility for their actions. I would cite an example that has been in the media recently: that of Shamima Begum. I was working at the Foreign Office on counter-Daesh operations when she went to fight. She travelled after the beheadings of aid workers. She travelled knowing full well that a Jordanian pilot had been burnt to death. Many Members may not know that Daesh practised the burning of Jordanian soldiers seven times before they eventually put him in a box and burnt him to death.

This moves me because I had to watch that video. I spent years of my career watching brutalities carried out by people aged 16, 17, 18 and, undoubtedly, 20 to 25. I have held the hands of people who had been whipped by Daesh members who were 17 years old, and I have held the hands of British citizens whose loved ones were lost in Iraq and Syria and against whom known crimes had been committed by people aged 18 to 25, so I refuse to accept that those people cannot be held culpable. According to our law, criminal responsibility can be put back to 12. I made the rather blasé comment earlier about there being Members of Parliament who are under 25. Are people that age less culpable for the decisions they make?

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I hear what the hon. Member is saying, and clearly I respect her experience, but does she accept that we are not seeking to raise the age of criminal responsibility? We are simply suggesting that the age at which an extended determinate sentence can be imposed should be raised. There is no question of raising the age of criminal responsibility.

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I accept that point, but I fundamentally believe that public protection trumps rehabilitation, not least when evidence of rehabilitation is wishy-washy at best. Those individuals are just as culpable. I would never turn to a constituent whose son or daughter had been murdered by a 17-year-old somewhere in Rutland or Leicestershire and say that person was less guilty because they were 17. It is the same as with terrorism. It is the most heinous crime, and criminal responsibility changes for the most heinous of crimes.

I also cannot agree that 25-year extended licences are excessive or too costly. The Government must have the tools to be vigilant and aware of the threats from those who have been convicted of the worst offences. That is why I strongly recommend and welcome the provisions to allow extended sentences for offences with a terrorism connection, and it is entirely fitting that this be recognised in clauses 2 and 15, among others, which will enable a variety of offences, from kidnapping to weapons training, to be recognised as potentially having terrorist intent and offenders to receive either serious terrorism sentences or extended determinate sentences. Too often, in my experience, for those who go on a weapons training event—something delightful to talk about when they are playing some game like “Fortnite”—it is the start of a journey that leads to far worse.

I also want to touch on the role of the Parole Board, which I know was a matter of significant debate for the Committee. Terrorism radicalisation necessarily involves national security and long-term strategic debate. The Committee heard from witnesses that the Parole Board was not philosophically or organisationally best suited to dealing with terrorist offenders and that the Government should use a multi-agency approach when considering these risks. I fully agree, and I am glad that the Bill recognises that, too. We can do it and, as we are global leaders in this regard, our security staff are second to none.

This Bill is a huge step forward for the United Kingdom and will give the Government extra tools to tackle radicalisation, but most of all, it will bring terrorists to justice. There are few crimes as heinous as terrorism. It is when an individual declares that all of us, and any civilians in our country, are a valid target for their hatred. Terrorists are traitors, and it is right that this legislation ensures that we better protect our people and our country from them.

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I do want to give time for the second group of amendments that we are discussing on Report, so I am imposing a five-minute limit in order to get everyone in.

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It is a privilege to follow the hon. Member for Rutland and Melton (Alicia Kearns). I recognise her deep experience around these issues.

I primarily want to talk to amendments 1 to 5 in my name and in the names of others. At the outset, let me stress my support for the Bill overall, and for the aims of tackling terrorism and of keeping our people and our communities safe from that threat. All of us from Northern Ireland have been deeply touched by terrorism in a very particular way over the past 50 years, but given the references that have been made to 7/7 and its anniversary that has just passed, I would like to read into the record thoughts about my cousin, Ciaran Cassidy, who was brutally murdered at Russell Square. His remains laid unidentified for six days, which brings home the enormity of the issues with which we are dealing. I accept the need for tougher sentencing and recognise that that brings very significant benefits, but it is important that we acknowledge that there is a much wider picture here, which involves trying to address terrorism at source and to prevent people falling into terrorism and being influenced by others. It is important that we bear that wider context in mind.

My main concerns lie in the application of the Bill to Northern Ireland. I certainly see attractions in the overall uniform approach across the UK in avoiding a two-tier system, and, indeed, Northern Ireland does want equal protection in that respect from the broad principles and framework of this Bill. None the less, we do need to recognise that, when it comes to implementation of those principles, a one-size-fits-all approach does not always work, and that flexibility needs to be considered in certain circumstances.

My main focus is around clause 30 and the retrospective application of the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Act 2020 to certain terrorist offenders in Northern Ireland, primarily a small number of dissident republicans. I am happy to see a tougher sentencing regime going forward, but I am concerned that the retrospective application will, in practice, bring relatively little benefit and could be counterproductive in a number of ways.

To date, the Government have only really addressed this issue in terms of the argument around interfering with judicial discretion and the potential implications for article 7 of the European convention on human rights. We can beg to differ on that particular issue, and we will see what happens down the line. In particular, I want to stress the concern around the potential propaganda opportunities that could be given to dissident republican terrorists and their fellow travellers.

Some people may seek to twist what the Government are doing into an argument that this somehow shifts the goalposts and creates a context for political imprisonment. We have had a sad history in Northern Ireland, from internment to the hunger strikes and beyond, of terrorists and their allies using the situation in prisons and framed grievances for wider agitation in the community and recruitment purposes.

The terrorist threat in Northern Ireland remains severe. The Police Service of Northern Ireland and the security service are doing an excellent job in tackling that terrorism, but it is, ever, a difficult challenge that they face. There are, sadly, still ongoing incidents and bomb incidents, and people losing their lives. We need to be mindful of that.

The Minister will be aware that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has raised concerns about clause 30. He will also know that my party colleague, the Minister for Justice in Northern Ireland, has raised those concerns and had a number of conversations with him. Indeed, there is a considerable question mark over whether the necessary legislative consent motion will get through the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly.

It is important that there is ongoing discussion and dialogue beyond the passing of the Bill through the Commons later today, whenever it hits the other place for consideration. Let us not finish that dialogue today. I will press not press my amendments to a vote, but I urge the Government to listen to the very genuine concerns I raise from the Northern Ireland perspective.

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It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for North Down (Stephen Farry), who spoke with great insight. I want to touch on the purpose of sentencing, which is primarily: to punish the offender; to reduce crime by preventing an offender from committing more crime; to act as a deterrent to others from committing similar offences; to reform and rehabilitate by changing an offender’s behaviour to prevent future crime and reoffending; and to protect the public from an offender and from the risk of more crimes being committed. When it comes to terrorism and terrorist offences, we must shout from the rooftops that, as a united country and as a people, we will not tolerate terrorist criminality even if it is from young adults. This behaviour is morally wrong, and there is no place for it in our society.

We are all incredibly lucky to live in such a free and tolerant country. We have freedoms not always found in other countries, which we too often take for granted. We must get tough, with zero tolerance as a country on people who wish to do us harm and try to disrupt our way of life. Some of these terrorists can have a long-term goal, and we need to be sure that, when they are released, they no longer seek to do us harm. We must face reality that, for some terrorist offenders, the risk to do harm endures, and we cannot be certain whether rehabilitation is simulated or real.

Terrorism comes in many forms to create fear and anxiety, and to stifle debate. Some people forget that terrorism has an impact on our human rights by affecting our enjoyment of the right to life, liberty and physical safety. It impacts on individuals, our communities and our society by undermining our peace and security. It threatens our social and economic development. An individual’s security is a basic human right, and protection of individuals is a fundamental duty of Government. I therefore welcome the Bill and its creation of a new serious terrorism sentence for dangerous offenders whose acts are very likely to have caused or contributed to multiple deaths. The 14-year minimum jail term, with up to 25 years spent on licence, will act as a real deterrent and send a strong message that this country will not tolerate and will not be cowed by the ill will of terrorists.

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I have read and listened to past debates on this issue with great interest, and particularly those on parts of the Bill that bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the United Kingdom. I very much commend my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast East (Gavin Robinson) on his contribution and the hon. Member for North Down (Stephen Farry) on his constructive comments.

I understand the concerns of the Department of Justice on possible legal action that could be taken with regard to early release. Such concerns are well founded: we need only look at the publicly funded judicial reviews in Northern Ireland through the legal aid system that will not help a father get access to his child but will allow a terrorist to sue the state—a debate for another day. There is no doubt that certain firms in Northern Ireland will be watching the votes and events of today with great anticipation, rubbing their hands together at securing another free ride from the taxpayer. Yes, there will be a case, but do we shy away from that? We are the lawmakers in this House—the legislators—and it is incumbent on us all to ensure that the laws we pass will withstand scrutiny. We do not and must not shy away from doing the right thing because lawyers may become involved. Well done to the Government for underlining to the Department of Justice and our Justice Minister that there will be governmental support in relation to any legal challenge. I very much look forward to reminding them of that at the appropriate time.

May I commend the hon. Member for Hertford and Stortford (Julie Marson) for her personal account of her friend in relation to that? I do not think there is anybody in this House who does not understand what such an account means. Of course, as representatives from Northern Ireland, we have all lived through the troubles over a period of time. I was just thinking of some of them—La Mon, Abercorn, the Darkley gospel hall murders, Bloody Friday. Those are examples of how people have lived through the most violent times.

I support the Government in their call for minimum sentences. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast East, I do not believe that this takes away the judge’s power and discretion. I believe that it shapes the policy to say that, no matter the extenuating circumstances, there are occasions that deserve minimum sentences, and terrorism is one of them.

It was one of the greatest surprises to me in Northern Ireland that the Good Friday agreement allowed mass early release, with no thought to rehabilitation. That was never right, and we are facing the consequences of that now, as we see the work of too many former offenders who are not reformed offenders. Indeed, some of them are still involved in such activities. I can never understand how our wee nation was tricked into accepting this as a payment for peace. The fact is that, even today, the threat of what these violent offenders will do is still having repercussions. That is the problem when we negotiate with unrepentant terrorists: we will continue to negotiate with them and the threat of violence for ever and ever.

I understand this well, yet I do not believe that this can prevent right being done in this place. It is right and proper that any terrorist with any cause in any part of this United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland understands that terrorism is something that this House will stand against with its every ability. Whatever the mantra of the attacker and whatever rationale that person may have, we will not allow justice to be pared back just because of the threat of upset. The message is clear in this Bill and I support it.

I absolutely take on board the comments from the Prison Service. I believe it is essential that we have additional funding in place to give extra support to prison officers and to ensure that our prisons have appropriate staffing levels. I understand the need for new clause 2—I also refer to new clauses 5 and 7—on the deradicalisation programmes, because in my constituency paramilitary activity is probably at a height. Indeed, it is at a height, and that is probably the case in other constituencies as well. I think the hon. Member for North Down and I have very similar constituencies in relation to paramilitary activity.

In my office, we have seen at first hand the effects of paramilitaries at home getting young men hooked on drugs and with a massive debt that can be magically repaid if they carry out an action, They are told: “Sure, son, if you’re caught, you will hardly do any time for your first offence”. I know cases where that has happened, and I really do ache for those young people who are trapped, yet we cannot allow this exploitation to continue. I have great difficulty with this issue, and again I would highlight it to the Minister. I absolutely understand that zero tolerance means what it says—we will not tolerate this. There are hard decisions to make, and make them this House will.

Having lived with this heartache over the years and with the threat of terrorism for my entire life—some of my family members and friends have as well—I know that we must have firm but fair laws that send a message, and sentencing, with all its harshness and all its importance, is a very real and important way to reinforce that. That is why I wanted to talk about this today. I do hope, when the Minister replies, that he will reply with positivity. I know he will.

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I am sure that all Members of this House agree that there are few Bills as important to the safety and security of the British people as this one, and I commend the Government for bringing forward this Bill. We have seen from recent tragic terror events in Streatham, London Bridge, Manchester and even here in Westminster and, over the last few decades, from the IRA terrorists, how vital this Bill really is. I commend the Government for taking strong and decisive action, as promised. Let me be clear: terrorism and supporters of terrorism in all its forms are wrong and morally reprehensible, and we must do everything in our power to stamp out terrorism, stamp out its supporters and make the country safer for all.

I shall focus on amendments that pertain to sentencing and the release of terrorist offenders. As my hon. Friends are aware, the probation reforms that come into force in 2021 will bring all offender management under the National Probation Service. That marks a shift from the present situation in which only higher-risk offenders are dealt with by the NPS.

New clause 1 would require a review of

“the impact of the provisions in the Act on the National Probation Service.”

However, the Bill already strengthens the ability of the Government and the police, prison and probation services of the UK to monitor and manage the risk posed by terrorist offenders, and individuals of terrorist concern outside custody. The Bill will allow more effective intervention when that is required, and will enhance the effectiveness of the measures available to authorities as a result of a combination of probation reforms. The Bill renders new clause 1—

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I am interested that the hon. Gentleman has addressed the issue of the probation service, because I talked about the crisis that exists in that service. Is he satisfied that it is operating in the way it needs to be to cope with the current business it has to deal with, let alone the increased activity arising from this Bill?

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I thank the hon. Gentleman for that intervention. I am reassured that the Prison Service and the probation service are doing all they can to address this. Of course we want to put more into the probation service and to make sure that prisoners of all sorts are properly looked after, and I believe that this Government and this Bill have that at their very heart.

Furthermore, we must guard against a flurry of statutory reviews, which are costly, time-consuming and unnecessarily bureaucratic. As previously outlined by Ministers, there are already various routes of scrutiny of how the probation service and the Bill are functioning. Parliament has great power to question and to debate, and there is no lack of scrutiny in this regard. The Government have accepted that it is important to keep a close eye on these matters and to ensure a close, continued dialogue with all the Bill’s stakeholders.

New clause 2 would require a

“review of the impact of the…Act on…deradicalisation programmes in prisons.”

It is said that there is limited evidence of the impact of longer prison terms on reoffending, but in fact the evidence available to us indicates that prisoners in custody for longer periods do come to terms with their offending and are able later in their sentences to undertake constructive remedial activities. I believe that long sentences do work.

We also want to protect our young people and keep them safe from the evils of radicalisation. There is no dispute over that, but new clause 6 would mandate the Secretary of State to review

“the effects of the provisions of this Act on children and young offenders.”

It is worth remembering that the young people in question are very few in number. In 2019, only four of the 22 people convicted of terrorist offences were aged between 18 and 20, and not all of those four would even meet the criteria for the serious terrorist sentence. Therefore, we are talking about astonishingly small numbers for those aged between 18 and 20. Given those statistics, the Government position is that it may be the case that nobody of that age will be affected by the Act, and as such requiring a review by statute does not seem sensible or a good use of time.

These amendments address important concerns and certainly come from a good place. I thank those who have tabled the new clauses for throwing a spotlight on the National Probation Service, deradicalisation programmes and the radicalised children and young offenders. However, I believe the best mechanism to deal with these issues is the scrutiny provided by parliamentary debate. I agree that we must follow the aforementioned matters closely, and I firmly believe that we have all the tools needed to do that. In the context of this Bill, statutory reviews are not necessary or particularly effective. I greatly welcome this Bill, as laid down by the Government on behalf of the people of Rother Valley, and I greatly commend and approve of the Government’s dealing with terrorism and the robust way we are dealing with terrorists, both in this country and abroad. We must not let them come to our shores and if they are on our shores, we must stamp them out and stamp them out effectively. So I look forward to this Bill being passed.

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It is a pleasure to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Alexander Stafford), and I pay tribute to some of the heartfelt contributions, such as the ones from the hon. Member for North Down (Stephen Farry) and my hon. Friend the Member for Hertford and Stortford (Julie Marson). This is an incredibly emotive topic. Since I was elected, I have made the case on a number of occasions that sentences must do what they say on the tin and be transparent to the public. The untenable status quo, where criminals are consistently let out part-way through their sentences cannot hold, and it damages public faith in our criminal justice system that sentences are not honest. When it comes to terrorist offences, the stakes could not be higher. Both the Fishmongers’ Hall terrorist attack in November last year and the Streatham attacks in February were carried out by known terrorist offenders who had been released automatically at the halfway point of their sentences. This Bill will see dangerous terrorist offenders spend longer in prison, and that is an important step in the right direction.

We must avoid any attempts by Her Majesty’s Opposition this afternoon to make the Bill any less robust when it comes to offenders between the ages of 18 and 21. The Opposition have made the case that young adults are inherently different in terms of their maturity and that they should be treated differently, but it cannot be forgotten that we are still referring to adults who have committed the most serious terrorist offences. These adults, to all intents and purposes, have the same rights and responsibilities as every other adult in the country. Labour Members are attempting to diminish the actions of young adult terrorist offenders, but I have frequently heard them extol the maturity of people even younger than 18 when it suits them, particularly with regard to extending the right to vote to 16 and 17-year-olds. Rather than gerrymander the different stages of adulthood when it suits us, we must be prepared to be clear that at 18, adults should be able to fundamentally tell the difference between right and wrong, and should know that any action they take that is likely to result in the deaths of multiple people is completely inexcusable.

We must be similarly robust in the case of Shamima Begum, the young terrorist who left our country to join the murderous ISIS terror organisation, which is responsible for the deaths of thousands, including British citizens. Her actions were a betrayal of this country and everything it stands for. When she was standing in a Syrian refugee camp afterwards, she said that she did not regret joining ISIS. I share the anger of many of my constituents at the Court of Appeal’s recent decision to allow her to return to the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, this represents another decision from our courts that is completely detached from the public interest and what the majority of the law-abiding public consider to be appropriate for someone many believe has committed treason.

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Does my hon. Friend agree with me and the Government that this decision by the courts is reprehensible and we should do everything we can to fight it?

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I could not agree more. We need to be robust in fighting it. It is not just on this issue but on many others that there is this disconnect.

The Bill is an important step in our fight against the scourge of terrorism, which seeks to attack the foundations of our society and cause divisions between us. The mandatory 14-year prison sentences for the most serious terrorist offenders that the Bill includes will provide a strong deterrent against terrorism and send a clear message to those who want to spill blood on our streets out of hatred for our country that they will not be tolerated. I call on the Government to go even further over the coming months in looking at the out-of-touch decisions that are coming from our courts, as my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Alexander Stafford) rightly said, and to deal with the Shamima Begum case.

This is a very sensitive issue. I appreciate that terrorist offences have touched the lives of many right hon. and hon. Members. We need to be robust in confronting it. We cannot make excuses and apologies for the people who take these actions. Yes, it is important—I agree with the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West (Joanna Cherry)—that, for the public interest, people are able, under certain circumstances, to rehabilitate, but it is also important for the public interest for there to be a strong deterrent, and a message to deter future evil acts like some of those that we have discussed today.

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It is an honour to follow the passionate speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Tom Hunt).

I spoke in the debate back in February when the Government passed emergency legislation to ensure that terrorist offenders would no longer be released early and automatically. I am glad that we are now doing all that we can on this. We must continue to root out terrorism from our streets. I am pleased that the earliest point at which terrorist offenders will even be considered for release is after they have served two thirds of their sentence. Indeed, no terrorist offender will be released before the end of their full custodial term unless the Parole Board agrees.

This Bill will ensure that serious and dangerous terrorist offenders spend longer in custody, and it improves the ability to monitor and manage those of concern when they are released. It is only right that offenders still viewed as a threat to the public will be forced to spend the rest of their term in prison. Members of my party stood on a manifesto that promised to keep us safer, with investment in our police force and our Prison Service, and that included stronger measures to deal with terrorism.

It was thanks to the exemplary work of the Prison Service during the pandemic that I recently wrote to the governor at HMP Bure in my constituency, to voice my gratitude and appreciation for the fantastic work that the prison staff, healthcare staff and civilian staff there are doing, given the unprecedented challenges we face, during covid. We must do all we can to strengthen confidence in our criminal justice system and make society as safe as we can from cowardly acts of terrorism, which devastate lives and communities. That could be no better emphasised than by the heartfelt and moving speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Hertford and Stortford (Julie Marson). The Bill, along with the doubling of the number of counter-terrorism specialists and probation staff, will absolutely do that.

We already have a MAPPA—multi-agency public protection arrangements—review, a Prevent review an HM inspector’s report and three-year post legislation. It is unnecessary to have yet another layer of review. A serious terrorism sentence for the most serious and dangerous terrorist offenders is a welcome move. We are going to get tough on terrorism and ensure that those that set out to hurt innocent people will spend at least 14 years in prison and up to 25 years on licence. As my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Alexander Stafford) said, recent attacks show that the Bill is necessary; that sentencing needs toughening, but so does the investigation, the monitoring and the management of offenders.

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Does the hon. Gentleman feel that those who have carried out acts of terrorism in the past, and perhaps have not been held accountable for them until this time, should be subject to these new laws that are coming in, because there would be no early release for them, as has been the past history? Those who murdered the four Ulster Defence Regiment men at Ballydugan some 25 or 26 years ago, those who murdered my cousin, Kenneth Smyth—does he agree that it is time that anyone who has never been made accountable, is made accountable as well?

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I absolutely agree that we should make sure that those people who have committed absolutely heinous acts face the full prosecution of the criminal justice service.

I will finish by saying that giving the Secretary of State expanded powers to impose additional restrictions, such as imposing overnight curfews, and to gather more information on devices, such as electronic devices, would give us even more control measures and services to eliminate risk even further. This is about restricting, interrupting and stopping dreadful attacks, such as those that happened at Fishmongers’ Hall and Streatham. As the Justice Secretary has said, the Government are pursuing every option to tackle terrorism. It is with that in mind that I welcome the Bill. The largest overhaul of terrorist sentencing and monitoring in decades, it delivers what we need to keep our communities safer and come down hard on those that set out to ruin lives.

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It is a pleasure to follow the thoughtful intervention speech by my hon. Friend the Member for North Norfolk (Duncan Baker).

It was a privilege to serve on the Public Bill Committee. As someone who lived in London in the 1980s and ’90s, I remember all too well the impact of terrorism on this nation’s capital. A massive lorry bomb was left outside the London overground station at the bottom of my then street in Bethnal Green and the local policeman, whom I knew, discovered it. We must not forget the emotional toll on frontline officers of dealing with such terrorist incidents; he has to live with that for the rest of his life. There are other parts of the Union that have to live with it more frequently. We all need to work together as one nation to deal with these issues. There are many human stories, with which we sympathise.

Serving on a Committee examining the proposed legislation seeking to counter terrorism was an interesting challenge, but a privilege. I thank the Minister for how he steered the Committee through the issues covered in the legislation. In Committee, I found the interventions of my hon. Friends the Members for Hertford and Stortford (Julie Marson), for Aylesbury (Rob Butler) and for Sevenoaks (Laura Trott) very useful in dealing with the issues. It was also very interesting to hear what my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Edinburgh South West (Joanna Cherry), the hon. Member for Stockton North (Alex Cunningham) and my hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks (Laura Trott) had to say in Committee meetings, and the contributions of all those other Members who sit in this Chamber today.

Having considered all the evidence, done my research and read back over the years, it is my clear view that the overwhelming weight of the evidence heard by the Bill Committee sessions was that the provisions of this Bill will make the public safer and will greater enable us to defeat terrorism and contain former terrorists.

This law is proportionate in what it seeks to do in relation to the rights of prisoners. Of course, we need to keep our people safe. The Opposition’s request for further reviews and delays is not proportionate with what we need to do today.

Our democratic society has had to live in the shadow of terrorism for a long time. We saw that with the Manchester Arena attack, Fishmongers’ Hall, Streatham and Reading, and of course Members sitting here today will recall the attack on this Parliament in 2017. We must always remember the death of PC Keith Palmer.

Jonathan Hall QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, stated in March that the 2017 terrorist attacks were a sustained shift in the nature of the risk of Islamist terrorism. We need to respond to that shift to protect our people. We need to respond to everyday events to ensure that our people are safe.

During the Bill Committee evidence session, we heard from assistant chief constable Tim Jacques, the deputy senior national co-ordinator for counter-terrorism policing. He confirmed that he welcomed the provisions in the Bill, and said that, overall, it would make policing terrorism easier for the police. That is what we are here for—to make jobs easier but safe, to look at human rights proportionately and to preserve life. This legislation will undoubtedly also protect us from terrorism threats from fascist and national socialist extremists. There are times when we look at the rights of prisoners, and public protection must trump rehabilitation. Assistant chief constable Tim Jacques also said that.

We must also take a moment from time to time to bear in mind the cynical terrorist warning. In the acts of murder and mayhem that terrorists plan, they have to be lucky only once, whereas we, the democrats, have to be lucky all the time.

This legislation will assist the police and security services, and give them the tools they need. It will tighten up the law and go a long way towards addressing the threat. It seeks to protect the public from those convicted of terrorist offences, who will inevitably spend longer in custody. That time can be used, if possible, to rehabilitate, but we must not look with rose-tinted glasses at how we can change the world and terrorists. Sometimes they cannot be changed and have to be managed. The Bill will keep the most dangerous terrorists off the streets for longer.

I welcome the fact that the most serious terrorism offences will be subject to 14 years’ in prison and the extended licence of 25 years. That is an essential provision in the legislation. The Bill will deter involvement with terrorist movements at source by increasing the maximum sentences available. That, too, is an essential provision. I also welcome—

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Order. I am terribly sorry, but we have to move on now.

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Many hon. Members today have reminded the House that our first duty as Members of Parliament is public protection. The very moving contribution of my hon. Friend the Member for Hertford and Stortford (Julie Marson), and the story of her friend, Louise, who was caught up in the terrible terrorist atrocity of 7 July 2005, very powerfully reminds us of that. On that awful day, 52 members of the public were murdered and 784 were injured.

We have heard powerful testimony from other Members who have had personal, first-hand experience of terrorism, including the hon. Members for North Down (Stephen Farry) and for Strangford (Jim Shannon), whose family members suffered at the hands of terrorist murders. My hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Alicia Kearns) said that in her professional career prior to coming to this place, she had first-hand experience of the victims of terrorism. That testimony should remind us how important our duty is. By taking this Bill through Report stage, we are discharging that duty to our constituents.

It is worth pausing to say how constructive the discussion on this issue has been, on a cross-party basis, on the Floor of the House here today and previously at Second Reading and in Committee. It is an example of this House and our political system working at its best. Members from all sides of the House can be very proud of the way we have conducted the debate on this extremely important Bill.

Let me turn now to some of the comments raised by colleagues this afternoon, starting of course with my opposite number, the hon. Member for Stockton North (Alex Cunningham), who gave a characteristically detailed speech opening the proceedings. He started by commenting on new clause 1 on the probation service, which stands in his name and those of his hon. Friends.

Let me just take the opportunity to reassure him and other Members, once again, that probation service resources were significantly increased in the spending review last September. Moreover, earlier this year, counter-terrorism police resources were increased by £90 million and we are in the process of doubling counter-terrorist specialist probation officers, in addition to those very large numbers who have been given special training.

In addition, we are deepening multi-agency public protection arrangements. We are also establishing a counter-terrorism step-up programme, so I believe our work in the probation sphere is something all of us can take great confidence in.

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The Minister is right to mention the additional funds and so on that have been forthcoming, and we very much welcome them, but we have a probation service in crisis. Would he like to comment specifically on the fact that there is a high sickness rate and a 10% vacancy rate? How on earth can they do their job properly if we do not have sufficient of them?

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Numbers in the prison and probation service have been increasing over the past few years. As I said, a great deal of extra money was provided in September last year, and that will most certainly have a further positive impact.

I move on to new clause 2, which the hon. Gentleman also commented on, and the question of deradicalisation. We heard evidence in the Public Bill Committee on 30 June, which some Members will recall, from Professor Andrew Silke, Professor of Terrorism, Risk and Resilience at Cranfield University. He told us that, overall, he thinks that the UK’s approach to deradicalisation,

“is seen as one of the better available approaches…internationally”. ––[Official Report, Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Public Bill Committee, 30 June 2020; c. 84, Q175.]

That is, again, something we can take great confidence and pride in. Initiatives such as the healthy identity intervention programme, which Professor Silke expanded on at some length, are very effective. That is one of the reasons why reoffending rates for these terrible terrorist offences are only between 5% and 10%.

The shadow Minister asked about financial impact. I confirm, once again, that the cumulative impact on the total prison population will be less than 50 prison places, and the cumulative impact on the probation service will never be more than 50 places. To put that in context, there are about 80,000 people in prison and about a quarter of a million people on probation. On the financial impact, which the hon. Gentleman mentioned, the figure he had in mind may not have been quite accurate. The financial impact, according to the impact assessment, is a one-off cost of £4.2 million at the outset, followed by £900,000 a year thereafter, because these numbers, thankfully, are so small.

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The Minister and everyone in the House will be aware that there have been three attacks in the last eight months carried out by those who were in prison and came out. Does the Minister feel that the investment that the Government are giving here will help to address that issue and will reduce those things happening, which is what we all want to see?

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I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. I believe that the measures that we are taking in the Bill, the additional resources given to counter-terrorism policing and the changes we made back in February in the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Act 2020 will provide exactly the protection he is asking for against ruthless terrorists of the kind he is describing.

On the question of reviews, which new clauses 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7 speak to, as my hon. Friend the Member for North Norfolk (Duncan Baker) pointed out, we already have quite a large number of reviews under way. There is the MAPPA review, being conducted by Jonathan Hall QC. There is, of course, Her Majesty’s inspectorates of prisons and probation, which produce frequent reports themselves. There is the Prevent review, which we will debate in the second group of amendments and, of course, there is the standard three-year review after legislation. With great respect, I think we have a lot of reviews going on. The numbers involved with this legislation are small, and I feel that it will be more than adequately reviewed by the mechanisms I just laid out.

Young people have been mentioned by many Members, in connection with new clause 6 and other clauses. The Bill recognises that those under the age of 18 are different, and no new minimum sentence is applied to them. It is up to the judge to decide in each case, and according to individual circumstances, what is the appropriate sentence for someone under the age of 18. There is a great deal of judicial discretion, for all the reasons laid out by the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West (Joanna Cherry), and others.

I understand the arguments that have been advanced about the ability to reform and rehabilitate those over the age of 18, and possibly extending that into the early 20s, but the cohort of offenders that we are addressing this afternoon is, thankfully, very small—a handful of offenders between the ages of 18 and 21 who have committed offences of extraordinary seriousness. These are terrorist offences where a life sentence can be imposed, where a judge has made a finding of dangerousness based on the facts and a pre-sentence report, and where a risk of causing multiple deaths was present. Given that small but serious number of offenders, I think a 14-year mandatory minimum sentence is appropriate. Rarely, there is the ability for judges to find exceptional circumstances, but when offences are that serious, it is right to take that action and protect the public. There may be other debates to have another time about how quickly people mature and how we should account for that, but for that small and dangerous cohort it is neither the time nor the place to advance that argument.

On legislative consent motions, I thank the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West for her comments about Government amendments 9 to 16, and the changes made to orders for lifelong restriction. She properly raised that matter in Committee, and we fully acknowledged the points that she and her colleagues made, and are delighted to fix the issue this afternoon. On the application of polygraphs in Scotland, as she said, we are in discussion with the Scottish Government. We are edging ever closer to a point of blissful—I almost said “blissful union”—perhaps I should say “blissful unity” to avoid aggravating the question. We are edging towards a position of blissful agreement, and I hope we reach that in the near future.

Some Members questioned the use of polygraphs more generally. We took extremely compelling, and at times entertaining evidence from Professor Grubin, who is a worldwide expert in this area. Contrary to what one Member said, polygraphs are not untested, and 5,000 such tests have been used in connection with sex offenders in England and Wales. In between 60% and 70% of cases, the use of a polygraph elicits information that would not otherwise have come out. That is either because the offender volunteers it—they know a polygraph is going to be used and they volunteer information that they would not otherwise have provided—or because it prompts a negative reading and a follow-up investigation can occur.

I emphasise that nobody is recalled to prison as a result of a negative polygraph test, and nor are they deemed to have breached their licence conditions. It simply prompts further investigation, and while not always accurate, such tests have been found to be useful in prompting that disclosure or further investigation. In that context, I draw the House’s attention to one of the independent reviewer Jonathan Hall’s notes on this topic. On 4 June, paragraph 23, he stated:

“I therefore concluded that polygraph testing is likely to be a valuable additional means of gathering information relevant to terrorist risk for terrorist offenders on licence.”

Jonathan Hall thinks that polygraph tests are an effective and good idea.

On Northern Ireland, the hon. Members for Belfast East (Gavin Robinson), for Strangford and for North Down raised the question of applying the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Act 2020 provisions retrospectively to Northern Ireland. The UK Government believe that that is a lawful thing to do—that it does not infringe article 7 or any common law principles. We believe that terrorism measures are reserved and that we should treat the United Kingdom in those matters as one, but they do engage parts of the LCM mechanism, and we are therefore in detailed discussions with the Northern Ireland Justice Minister, Naomi Long. I had an hour-long conversation with her earlier this week and, again, we hope to make progress on that point in the coming week or so; I think she will come back to me in the very near future. I stress that these provisions affect terrorist prisoners on both sides of the divide in Northern Ireland equally. They do not seek to penalise or victimise any one side or the other; they apply equally, and I ask Members to keep that important point in mind.

Finally, Mr Deputy Speaker—always welcome words in a speech I give—my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Tom Hunt) mentioned the case of Shamima Begum. As he said in his powerful speech, ISIS, or Daesh, is a murderous organisation. It was well known that it committed mass murder and mass rape, victimised and tortured people, and persecuted people simply because, for example, they happened to be gay. It was a dangerous and ruthless organisation, and the Government will most certainly be energetically appealing the recent court decision. We believe that is the right thing to do and that it will keep our fellow citizens safe.

On that note, I will conclude. Public protection is our first duty. I believe that the Bill advances that case, and I am delighted that we have done so in such a spirit of cross-party unity. In the words of Jo Cox, whose shield stands on the wall of the Chamber, this House has shown today once again that there is more that unites us than divides us. When it comes to fighting terrorism, let that be more true than ever before.

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I am grateful to the Minister for his introductory remarks, particularly about how we can best work together as a Parliament, and I join him in paying tribute to the hon. Members across the House who shared personal experiences and testimonies—particularly the hon. Members for Hertford and Stortford (Julie Marson) and for Rutland and Melton (Alicia Kearns). If we had had to be convinced to support the Bill, perhaps those experiences—in particular the experience of the friend of the hon. Member for Hertford and Stortford—would have been sufficient to convince us.

The Minister’s ambition to have a sentencing regime in place for serious terrorism and terrorism-related offences has our support—no delay and no watering down—but he needs to ensure that the service is properly equipped and provides the services needed. I was therefore rather surprised—“stunned” is the word I wrote on my bit of paper—that the impact of introducing this new legislation will be less than £5 million for new prison places, an extended probation service and additional workers in the system. I cannot quite understand where that number comes from.

However, I am sure the Minister will be relieved to know that all I ask now is that he and his Home Office colleagues reflect on the challenges that we have made. I will withdraw new clause 1, but we will return to amendment 30 later. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the clause.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

New Clause 8

Lone terrorists: Review of strategy

“(1) The Secretary of State must commission a review and publish a report on the effectiveness of current strategies to deal with lone terrorists.

(2) A review under subsection (1) must be conducted by a person who meets the criteria for qualification for appointment to the Supreme Court, as set out in section 25 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.

(3) A review under subsection (1) must consider—

(a) counter-terrorism policy;

(b) sentencing policy as it applies to terrorist offenders;

(c) he interaction and effectiveness of public services with respect to incidents of lone terrorist attacks.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (3)(c), “public services” includes but is not limited to—

(a) probation;

(b) the prison system;

(c) mental health services;

(d) local authorities; and

(e) housing providers.

(5) The Secretary of State must lay a copy of the report before Parliament.

(6) A Minister of the Crown must, not later than 3 months after the report has been laid before Parliament, make a motion in the House of Commons in relation to the report.”—(Conor McGinn.)

This new clause ensures that the Government orders a judge-led review into the effectiveness of current strategies to deal with lone terrorists including, but not exclusively, current counterterrorism and sentencing policy.

Brought up, and read the First time.

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I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment 59, in clause 32, page 29, line 7, at end insert—

“(4) A Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measure may not be imposed on an individual, or renewed, solely on the basis of—

(a) any statement made by the person while participating in a polygraph examination;

(b) any physiological reaction of the person while participating in a polygraph examination; or

(c) any refusal to comply with a requirement to participate in a polygraph examination.”

This amendment will prohibit the use of information obtained from a polygraph test as a basis for imposing a TPIM notice on an individual in England and Wales.

Amendment 60, in clause 33, page 30, line 24, at end insert—

“(8) A Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measure may not be imposed on an individual, or renewed, solely on the basis of—

(a) any statement made by the person while participating in a polygraph examination;

(b) any physiological reaction of the person while participating in a polygraph examination; or

(c) any refusal to comply with a requirement to participate in a polygraph examination.”

This amendment will prohibit the use of information obtained from a polygraph test as a basis for imposing a TPIM notice on an individual in Scotland.

Amendment 61, in clause 34, page 33, line 6, at end insert—

“(4A) A Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measure may not be imposed on an individual, or renewed, solely on the basis of—

(a) any statement made by the person while participating in a polygraph examination;

(b) any physiological reaction of the person while participating in a polygraph examination; or

(c) any refusal to comply with a requirement to participate in a polygraph examination.”

This amendment will prohibit the use of information obtained from a polygraph test as a basis for imposing a TPIM notice on an individual in Northern Ireland.

Amendment 40, page 34, line 22, leave out clause 37.

This amendment removes the provision that lowers the standard of proof to reasonable grounds.

Amendment 37, in clause 37, page 34, line 25, leave out

““has reasonable grounds for suspecting”.”

and insert

“, on the basis of reasonable and probable grounds, believes.”.

This amendment would raise the standard of proof for imposing a TPIM under the proposals in the Bill.

Amendment 39, in clause 37, page 34, line 26, leave out “suspecting” and insert “believing”.

This amendment would create a higher bar for the standard of proof under these proposals.

Amendment 42, page 34, line 27, leave out clause 38.

Amendment 41, in clause 38, page 34, line 31, at end insert—

“(za) in subsection (3)(a), after “met” insert “and the court gives the Secretary of State permission”;

(zb) after subsection (3)(a), insert “(ab) In determining the extension, the court must apply the principles applicable on an application for judicial review.””

Amendment 46, in clause 38, page 34, line 31, at end insert—

“(za) For subsection (3)(a), substitute “may be extended under subsection (2) only if—

(i) the Secretary of State believes on the balance of probabilities that the individual is, or has been, involved in terrorism-related activity;

(ii) conditions C and D are met; and

(iii) the court gives the Secretary of State permission to extend the TPIM notice.”

This amendment will provide that any extension of a TPIM notice will require (i) a higher threshold to be met (“on the balance of probabilities”), (ii) the Secretary of State must reasonably consider that it is necessary, for purposes connected with protecting members of the public from a risk of terrorism, for terrorism prevention and investigation measures to be imposed on the individual (Condition C), and that it is necessary, for purposes connected with preventing or restricting the individual’s involvement in terrorism-related activity, for the specified terrorism prevention and investigation measures to be imposed on the individual (Condition D), and (iii) judicial approval.

Amendment 47, page 35, line 21, leave out clause 39.

This amendment will remove from the Bill clause 39, which allows the Secretary of State to vary the relocation measure in a TPIM notice, if it is necessary to do so for resource reasons.

Amendment 48, page 36, line 27, leave out clause 40.

This amendment will remove from the Bill clause 40, which widens the scope for imposing a curfew beyond overnight.

Amendment 49, page 36, line 32, leave out clause 41.

This amendment will remove from the Bill clause 41, which inserts a new polygraph measure which can be imposed on TPIM subjects to test if they are complying with their TPIM measures, if the Secretary of State considers it necessary to protect the public from a risk of terrorism.

Government amendment 17.

Amendment 50, page 38, line 3, leave out clause 42.

This amendment will remove from the Bill clause 42, which introduces a new drug testing measure which can be imposed on TPIM subjects, to test for Class A and B drugs.

Government amendments 18 and 19.

Amendment 38, in clause 47, page 40, line 17, leave out subsection (1) and insert—

“(1) In section 20(9) of the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 (support for persons vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism) for the words from “within the period” to the end substitute “by 1 July 2021”.”

This amendment would reinstate a statutory deadline for the independent review of the Prevent strategy, which will have to report by 1 July 2021.

Amendment 51, in clause 47, page 40, leave out lines 19 to 21 and insert—

“(a) in subsection (8), replace the words “6 months” with the words “2 years”;

(b) in subsection (9), replace the words “18 months” with the words “3 years”.”

Clause 47 omits the current statutory deadline for (a) making arrangements for an independent review of Prevent and (b) laying before both Houses the report and any recommendations of the review of Prevent. Instead of removing the statutory deadlines, this amendment provides for new deadlines: in respect of (a), 2 years beginning with the day on which the Counter Terrorism and Border Security Act was passed (12 February 2019) and in respect of (b), 3 years beginning with the day on which the Counter Terrorism and Border Security Act was passed.

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The overriding priority of this Labour Opposition is and always will be to keep the public and our communities safe. I want to concentrate on the three amendments that our Front Benchers have tabled on behalf of the official Opposition, conscious of the fact that we have little time and I wish to hear from colleagues on the Back Benches who did not have the opportunity to discuss these issues in Committee.

As we—including me, as shadow Security Minister—said on Second Reading and in Committee, the tragic events at Fishmongers’ Hall and Streatham showed that there was a clear need for legislation, and subsequent events in Reading have only affirmed that. We on the Opposition Benches are committed to being forceful and robust in the fight against terrorism, so we welcome the Bill and in principle support its introduction. We have also sought to thoughtfully scrutinise the Bill, both to gain assurances on concerns and to attempt to improve it and ensure it is up to that most important task of keeping people safe.

To delve into new clause 8, following the shocking and tragic incident in Reading on Saturday 20 June, my right hon. Friend the shadow Home Secretary called for a judge-led review of the Government’s strategy for tackling the dangerous and growing menace of lone attackers. Reading was the third time in seven months that such devastation had been witnessed on UK streets, with lone attackers responsible each time. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Reading East (Matt Rodda), who showed such leadership and thoughtfulness in the days after the appalling attack on his community.

We on the Opposition Benches have no doubts as to the immense skill, bravery and dedication of our police and security and intelligence services. New clause 8 is fundamentally about supporting them as they tackle extremism from root to branch, because they cannot fight the battle alone. We need to look at the range of services we all rely on, particularly when we want to identify, monitor and treat subjects who pose such a huge threat to wider society.

Our proposals would make provision to assess the systemic response needed for the emerging and disturbing phenomenon of lone terrorists. A judge-led review of the effectiveness of current strategies to deal with them could effectively do that. It would address counter-terrorism policy and sentencing policy as it applies to terrorist offenders and the interactions and effectiveness of public services with respect to incidents of lone terrorist attacks. It would also undertake an analysis of a wide range of key public services, including our probation system, the prison system, mental health services, housing providers and local authorities, each of which can intervene at critical points.

The review would build on prior research and expertise, such as the extensive work carried out by Lord Anderson, the previous Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. That work has already provided insights into how we might better connect the current systems. His review’s proposal for multi-agency centre pilots would involve the identification of newly closed high-risk subjects of interest, the sharing of data by the Security Service and counter-terror policing with other agencies, such as local authorities and Departments, and the enrichment of that data using the databases of multi-agency partners. The review also highlighted barriers to local partners’ involvement in managing subjects of interest, including the challenges of resourcing.

Our public services must have the tools they need to intervene and work together in the most effective and efficient manner possible, particularly as many of the services have interactions with individuals who give them real concern. We need to undertake an assessment of the systemic response needed to confront the dangerous and growing threat of lone attackers, with all the necessary security safeguards in place, and I thank the Minister and the Security Minister for discussions on that.

Jonathan Hall, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, is looking at the issue in a review of the multi-agency public protection arrangements, which was commissioned by the Home Secretary. My understanding is that the review is currently with the Home Office. Can the Minister say a little bit more about that and perhaps commit to publishing it before the Bill reaches the other place, which I think would provide some assurance?

Turning to amendment 38 on TPIMs, we fully agree that the mechanisms must be robust and agile to help the police, the Security Service and their operational partners to do the job of keeping the public safe. As reflected by the amendments that the official Opposition has tabled, as well as those of the Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman), and the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West (Joanna Cherry), it is fair to say that we feel the Bill’s proposed changes to TPIMs will have a profound impact on the regime, especially when taken together.

We want TPIMs to be as effective and efficient as possible, and when those on the frontline in policing and counter-terrorism say that the changes will be useful, we fully trust and support their assessment and will do all we can to assist them. We will also, however, seek assurances that proper safeguards are in place. We would all want and expect to see such safeguards on measures of such importance in a democracy such as ours. If the standard of proof is to be lowered while simultaneously making possible a potentially indefinite TPIM by removing the current limit, then scrutiny, oversight and safeguards will take on a new-found importance. 

We must remind ourselves that a TPIM notice can involve a wide range of measures: overnight residence requirements, relocation, police reporting, an electronic monitoring tag, exclusion from certain places, limits on association, limits on the use of financial services, and limits on the use of telephone and computers, as well as a ban on holding travel documents. Those are robust measures and, in my view, rightly so, but we must not forget that TPIMs are a restriction on rights for people who have not yet been convicted of any crime. It is not in the interests of anyone to allow such individuals to remain indefinitely on TPIMs, either for their own sake, for society’s, or, crucially, in terms of bringing them to justice.

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Does my hon. Friend accept that the concern about TPIMs is not just the breadth of measures available but their indefinite nature against people who have not actually been tried and charged?

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I do, and I pay tribute to my right hon. Friend for the work she has done on this issue and her commitment to it. I am sure the Minister will have heard what she says. It is something I raised in Committee and I did receive some assurances from the Minister, but I think we would wish to hear—not just in the light of what my right hon. Friend says, but of what the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation said when he made a similar point—what the Minister is doing to ensure those safeguards are in place.

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It is very important that we look at TPIMs to make sure they are usable, but does the hon. Gentleman agree it is very important that the Secretary of State’s hands are not tied by legislation, but is able to respond to any emergent terrorism attacks or activities that take place in a way that is effective? Surely that has to be prominent precedent to follow?

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The hon. Gentleman speaks with both great personal dignity and authority on these matters. I agree. We want the system to be agile and to be able to respond. The Bill places a very significant power on the Secretary of State. In seeking to ask the Government for assurances, we want to ensure the system itself is robust, because those protections allow authority and credibility in terms of being able to respond to the ongoing terrorist threat. The amendment we propose would ensure that there are reasonable and probable grounds for a TPIM to be issued. The higher bar would create safeguards without harming the robust nature or operational utility of TPIMs, which we want to be as impactful as they can possibly be to keep people safe.

We acknowledge that it was a Labour Government who, upon introducing control orders in 2005, imposed a standard of proof, as proposed in the Bill, to require only reasonable grounds for suspecting an individual had been involved in terrorism-related activity. That was then raised by the coalition Government in 2011 with the creation of the new TPIMs regime, and again by the Conservative Government in 2015. However, I cannot help but reflect on the words of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation to the Bill Committee, when he said:

“If it is right that the current standard of proof is usable and fair, and I think it is, in a word, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?”––[Official Report, Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Public Bill Committee, 25 June 2020; c. 7, Q6.]

I think the Minister has to respond to that challenge. We need assurances from the Minister today, and an operational, administrative and procedural perspective for making those changes.

We would also like clarity on an exit strategy, given the indefinite nature of what has been proposed. Our concern with an open-ended or enduring TPIM regime is that it could see difficult cases languish, with no realistic plan for a resolution of any kind. Indeed, under the proposals, as the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation confirmed to the Committee, we could conceivably see someone who has been convicted of a terrorism offence being free from constraints before someone who has been placed on an enduring TPIM. That kind of situation is intolerable and I hope the Minister will again respond to those concerns, alongside the arguments of many colleagues in the House in relation to TPIMs and polygraph testing, which, while useful as an additional information source in certain contexts, we know is controversial and untested in the counterterrorism sphere. I do not think it would be unreasonable to run a pilot scheme, as per new clause 9, so that before making such costly national changes we could see proper independent evidence of the polygraph’s reliability and utility in the specific context of terrorist offenders. We all want an effective and efficient TPIM regime to help to save lives and protect our country’s citizens from harm, and we want to work with the Government to get it right.

On amendment 38, we have said all along that there is sadly little in the Bill on the Prevent strategy or, indeed, on how we counter extremism, radicalisation and hatred. The Prevent strategy has been a key part of this country’s counter-terrorism strategy and has kept people safe. The senior counter-terrorism officer who gave evidence to the Committee, Assistant Chief Constable Tim Jacques, said:

“Prevent is a critically important part of our role; it is absolutely vital. It is controversial, and has been controversial, but we engage in it, we operate, and we protect the public through Prevent every day.”––[Official Report, Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Public Bill Committee, 25 June 2020; c. 25-26, Q66.]

Given the centrality of Prevent as a tool, the Bill has missed an opportunity not just for the Government but for those who are trying to deliver the policy in communities against the backdrop of what appears to be a lack of purpose and clarity on the programme itself. Frankly, they deserve better. The Government commissioned an independent review of Prevent that was legally bound to report on 12 August this year, but it is clear that they will now miss that deadline, resulting in a further lack of clarity and, I fear, a further loss of credibility. The Bill actively seeks to remove any mention of any deadline at all, which only exacerbates matters.

The independent review was announced last January— 19 months ago—following a long-running request by Labour and other Opposition parties and civic society groups, but it has since been repeatedly delayed and postponed. The comprehensive review was and is the right approach—we still believe that to be the case almost two years later—but by now that review should have finished its work and reported to Ministers. In fact, that should have happened two months ago, but Government complacency and—arguably—incompetency have led us to the stage where they now say that they intend the review to report only by next summer. If that is the case, why not put a date on the face of the Bill rather than leave it open-ended?

In Committee, the Minister said that the Government’s commitment to complete the review was “absolute”, but that they did not want to fall into the same trap twice in relation to a statutory deadline, should “something unforeseen” happen. All our amendment 38 would do is reinstate a statutory deadline for the independent review, with a new one in place for 1 July 2021—just under a year from now—which I think any reasonable person would accept as being more than generous to the Government, given the delay that we have already had.

We accept and welcome the Government’s broader commitment to the review but, as I stressed in Committee, the introduction of a new counter-terrorism Bill before the Prevent review that was in the previous one has started makes clear the sheer quantity of time that has been wasted. There is a lack of clarity and continuing speculation and debate around Prevent that threatens to undermine the entire effectiveness and credibility of both the programme and the Government’s wider strategy.

In conclusion—I am conscious that other colleagues wish to speak—I hope that the Minister will look closely at the amendments, which are designed to assist and clarify some of the measures in the Bill and to seek the introduction of some measures that we feel ought to be in the Bill. I reiterate that we on the Opposition Benches will be uncompromising when it comes to supporting measures to tackle terrorism and keep our country and its citizens safe. That is and will always be our priority.

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It is a pleasure to see the hon. Member for St Helens North (Conor McGinn) on the Opposition Front Bench. I have a lot of sympathy with what he said, and I hope the Minister will address the points he made, because we want to be constructive. We all support the overall thrust of the Bill, but my concern, as Chair of the Justice Committee, is that we do not do anything—albeit inadvertently and for good reasons—that undermines the checks and balances that are a normal part of the criminal process.

That is why the change in the burden of proof in relation to TPIMs needs more justification put behind it. Jonathan Hall QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, is highly regarded in this field, and the Minister has quoted him with approbation on a number of occasions. In this instance, he does not regard the case as being made out. If the Minister takes a different view, with respect, we need something more substantial as to why that is the case. There may be good reasons, but it cannot be done on a purely speculative basis. It cannot be on the basis that it may be useful to have this wider test. It might engage some people outside the jurisdiction in ways that we cannot currently in terms of gathering evidence and intelligence, but that case has to be made. Having voted on two occasions to increase the burden of proof to where it currently is, I would like to have a pretty clear sense that there is a compelling reason for reversing those decisions—and there may be, but I think the Minister owes it to us to set that out, and we need Mr Hall to set out why he comes to a different view. We may be persuadable, but it is important that the case is made and that the House understands that.

I accept that there is an overall three-year time limit on the working of the Bill, but I am concerned that, without a time limit, the TPIM will become the default mechanism and more like a control order. We surely all ought to recognise that, wherever possible—wherever proper, admissible evidence can be obtained and proceedings can be safely and securely brought—if people have done the vile things that we are talking about, which pose a real criminal threat to the security of this country and its people, the normal and proper course ought to be to prosecute through the normal due process. An alternative means of dealing with this should only be undertaken in the most exceptional circumstances. I can see that there may sometimes be such circumstances, but again, that case needs to be spelt out.

The third issue that I wish quickly to deal with is polygraphs. The Law Society takes the view that the suggestion of the use of polygraphs in some of these circumstances is more to persuade people psychologically —that is the phrase it uses in its briefing—against breaching the orders. That may be valuable in itself, but we ought to be wary of the limits of polygraphs’ usefulness. There are mixed views in academic, scientific and legal circles about the reliability of polygraphs. I do not have a fixed view about them, but I think we should approach their use with caution and proportionality.

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rose—

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I am always happy to give way to my hon. Friend and near neighbour.

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My hon. Friend and south London neighbour is kind for giving way. Let me reassure him on his point about the limits of polygraphs. We understand and accept that they have limits, which is why a negative polygraph result on its own can never result in a recall to prison or licence conditions being deemed to have been broken. All a negative polygraph result could do is prompt further investigation by other means, which I hope provides him with the reassurance he seeks.

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That is a very helpful reassurance for today’s purposes, and I am grateful for the spirit in which the Minister said that. It is an important point, and I am glad that he takes this on board. Sometimes, for the best of reasons, there can be a mission creep with these measures, which could lead to a broader spread of their use in the criminal justice system, and that would be a matter of concern. If he says that the use is very specific, I accept his word on that, but it is important that we continue to keep this under review and do not have unintended mission creep. As we all know, it is often easy to present perfectly benign and reasonable reasons for doing something that departs from the normal checks and balances, but it then becomes entrenched and permanent and spreads.

In that spirit, I take the Minister’s assurance, but he will understand why it is important that that issue is debated and that reassurances are given that the overall integrity of the justice system will not be affected by these changes. That has dealt quickly with the issues that I sought to raise. It was perhaps a record brevity, but I hope that brevity does not reduce the import of the issues raised.

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It is a real pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Sir Robert Neill), and I endorse his concerns about the provisions in relation to TPIMs. My hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian (Kenny MacAskill) and I have tabled amendments 39 to 41 in relation to the proposed changes to the TPIMs regime. I am also speaking in support of amendments 46 to 51 and 59 to 61, tabled by the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman), the Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, and signed by me. I will try to keep my comments brief, because I went into these issues in some detail on the Bill Committee and I want to allow others who were not on that Committee to speak.

First, I want to say something about the Prevent strategy review. I endorse what the hon. Member for St Helens North (Conor McGinn) said about that. It is important to remember that it was a recommendation by the Joint Committee on Human Rights, and a successful amendment to the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019, which imposed a requirement on the Government to initiate an independent review of Prevent. It has been delayed for reasons that we have heard a lot about, and I think the delay is most regrettable. Clause 47 of this Bill removes the time limit for conducting the review. We in the Joint Committee on Human Rights have concerns about that and we would like there to be a time limit, hence the amendments we have tabled. I am happy to associate myself with the date suggested by the official Opposition.

I note in passing that the delivery of the Prevent strategy in Scotland is devolved, and that although national security is a reserved matter, the Scottish Government’s delivery of the Prevent strategy reflects a rather different procedure. I will not take up too much time with that.

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Does the hon. and learned Lady agree that the delay of the review has caused quite a lot of concern in many communities who want better terrorist prevention legislation? Unfortunately, Prevent has demonised Muslim communities and put unfair duties on teachers and NHS workers. All those individuals want better terrorism prevention, but they will not get that if the review is delayed further.

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I endorse what the hon. Lady says. It is important to remember that black, Asian and minority ethnic communities—particularly the Muslim community —need the Prevent strategy as much as the rest of us, but they must not be demonised by it. That is why I referred to what has happened in Scotland. The Scottish Government, working closely with the Muslim community in Scotland, have managed to avoid that degree of resentment. This review is important for all communities in England and Wales, where unfortunately the same thing has not happened.

I turn to TPIMs. The Scottish National party and the Joint Committee on Human Rights are concerned that a case has not been made out for the changes that the Government wish to make. Others have referred to the views of the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, Jonathan Hall QC. In the detailed evidence that he gave to the Bill Committee, he described the combination of clauses 37 and 38 as

“a double whammy…not just reducing the standard of proof but allowing TPIMs to endure forever.”

I asked him about the possibility of safeguards, and he suggested the very safeguards that are set out in amendment 46, which is in my name and that of the Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham. Jonathan Hall said that

“if it were right that a TPIM should continue beyond two years, at least at that stage the authorities should be able to say, on the balance of probabilities, that the person really is a terrorist. That is an example of a safeguard.”

He went on to say:

“Turning to the question of enduring TPIMs, another safeguard could be to ensure that a judge would have to give permission—in other words, to treat going beyond the two years without any additional proof of new terrorism-related activity as requiring a higher threshold, or some sort of exceptionality or necessity test, as a further safeguard for the subject.”—[Official Report, Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Public Bill Committee, 25 June 2020; c. 15-16, Q33.]

I urge the Government to consider incorporating into the Bill safeguards similar to those suggested by the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation and set out in amendment 46.

As has been said, the problem with the change in the standard of proof is that no operational case has been made for it. I will not anticipate what the Minister will say later, and I may intervene on him if we have time. The independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, Jonathan Hall, who is appointed by the Government and charged with looking at these matters, has said that

“there is reason to doubt whether there exists an operational case for changing the TPIM regime at this point”.

I suggest that the Bill Committee heard nothing in evidence to challenge that. He said that he had had discussions with the Government but had not been able to identify a cogent business case. That is what is missing here. Although this affects only a small number of people at present—of course, it might affect more if the standard of proof is lowered—these are people who have not actually been convicted of any offence, so if the Government want to make such a significant change, it is really important that they bring forward a clear case for doing so.

According to the evidence heard by the Bill Committee, the current standard of proof does not seem to have been in any way an impediment to the security services. We have had no clear evidence that the current standard of proof is preventing the security services from seeking or obtaining a TPIM when they consider it necessary and appropriate to do so. My position is that until we have that sort of cogent business case, the Government have not made the case for reducing the standard of proof. I do not think we will get it today, but I suspect that it will be looked for in the other place, and it would be interesting to hear from the Minister later whether he will propose any sort of business case when the Bill goes to the other place.

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I am interested, as someone from a business background, to hear the hon. and learned Lady refer to business cases. We always have facts and figures that we can look back on historically. Is not the challenge for Government always to anticipate risk that has not happened? We are forever looking behind us, and the consequences are so great when those risks are missed, but this is actually the perfect opportunity for a Government to look forward and anticipate those risks. The risks might involve someone who has been active in Syria, for example, where we do not have that proof, where someone can perhaps take an opportunity for two years to bide their time, knowing that at the end of that period, they might be subject to a higher burden of proof, or just go off the radar.

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I hear what the hon. Lady says, but that is what the current TPIM regime is designed to do—to anticipate risk and to keep a close eye on people who have not committed an offence yet in a way that could mean that they are prosecuted, but who may be a risk to our safety. She gives, for example, the problem of people returning from Syria. That is clearly a significant problem, but it has existed for a number of years, and the Committee did not hear any evidence that the security services are unable to deal with the problem of people returning from Syria because of the current standard of proof. I use the words “business case” loosely; an “operational case” might be a better phrase. We need an operational case based on examples to justify why this change is needed.

All of us here care about having a TPIM regime in place that does the job. There is no suggestion that the current one is not doing the job and no clear operational case for it to be changed. We would be failing in our duty as Opposition parliamentarians if we did not test this in the way that we are, and I will leave it at that for now.

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I will speak briefly. As I did on Second Reading, I would like to associate a lot of my comments with those of my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Sir Robert Neill), who again outlined with clarity some of the main issues in the Bill that I think will be challenged in another place. I hope they are to a degree and that the tyres are kicked a little harder.

We need a little more clarity from the Government on why we are moving to this much lower standard of proof. However, I am particularly pleased that the Minister has given clarification on the issue of the polygraph test. On time restrictions, I totally understand what my hon. Friend was saying about sleeper agents. Over the last few months, we have seen people going to ground for perhaps several months, or even years, and then re-emerging, but I think that there has to at least be some oversight of that and of the use of TPIMs.

Finally, I support Government amendment 18 and amendment 50. I do not see why it would be unreasonable for drug testing to be part of the TPIM regime. I generally welcome the legislation, and I hope that the Minister will be able to respond to some of these points at the Dispatch Box.

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Order. We are going to have to introduce a time limit of five minutes to get in as many as we can. The Minister will come in just before 5.50 pm

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I rise to speak in support of the amendments. The stakes in any debate about terrorism and how to combat terrorism successfully are extremely high, because these are issues that involve the lives and liberties of all of us. Children as well as adults have lost their lives in some of these terrible incidents, particularly in the horrific Manchester Arena bombing. Police officers have been murdered. We were all shocked by the murder of a fellow MP, Jo Cox, and I was a Member of this House in the ’80s and ’90s at the height of the IRA’s mainland bombing campaign, so, please, there is no one on the Opposition side who does not take the threat of terrorism seriously. However, it is extremely appropriate that Parliament should not be nodding through counter-terror legislation but should be subjecting it to proper scrutiny, because that is in the interests of us all. At the heart of that scrutiny has to be: will this legislation help minimise terror attacks?

Governments of all parties, including my own, have tended to want to argue that measures that undermine civil liberties are the answer to terrorism, but sometimes such measures run the risk of being a recruiting sergeant for terrorism. It is in that light that I address my remarks to the Prevent programme. The Government previously committed to a review of Prevent. I can only ask: where is the review? My hon. Friend the Member for St Helens North (Conor McGinn), speaking from the Front Bench, described Prevent as controversial. It is not just controversial; it is a toxic brand, and I would argue it is increasingly counterproductive in the fight against terrorism that we all want to support. We should look at a replacement for the Prevent programme. It is not that good work has not been done in the name of Prevent—I visited some of those programmes in another role—but increasingly it is not doing the job it was established to do and, because its reputation is so toxic, it is not as effective as it could be in combating terrorism.

If we examine the terror incidents that have been inflicted on our communities in detail, we find that very few of the perpetrators have ever been in contact with a Prevent programme. At the same time, Prevent casts a hugely wide net over people, particularly in the Muslim community. In 2017-18, 7,300 people were referred to the Prevent programme, and the overwhelming majority of those were incorrect referrals. In fewer than one in five cases was there any discussion of these individuals at a Channel panel, and fewer than 400 people have received support from the Channel programme. No wonder, to many communities that find themselves targeted, it looks and feels like a trawling operation. I remember that in counter-terrorism debates with reference to the IRA’s mainland bombing campaign, it was former Army officers in this House—not people on my side of the Chamber—who argued against measures that could be a recruiting sergeant for terrorists.

As we know, when Ministers are challenged on Prevent, they respond as if any criticism of it is leading to an attempt to abolish our counter-terrorism efforts altogether. I want to nail that one. As Ministers know, Prevent is only one strand of the Contest strategy and we support the other three strands of pursue, protect and prepare. Serious consideration should be given to how all of those can be enhanced and made more effective. But, from all the evidence and all the people and communities I have spoken to, I conclude that Prevent is in danger of being counterproductive, alienating communities and ultimately making the fight against terrorism harder.

A more effective anti-radicalisation programme could and should be constituted. It would involve communities themselves. It would not be imposed on communities, but it would be working with communities, relying on people’s intelligence information, their sensitivities and their very real concerns, and the very real concerns of the overwhelming majority of people in this country who are opposed to terrorism in all its guises. Working with communities and relying on them, not demonising them and ostracising them, is the way forward.

In conclusion, all of us on both sides of the House have a great responsibility in fighting terrorism. The most important duty of any Government is to keep their citizens safe, and we on the Opposition Benches feel that very strongly, but the safety and security of our people in the fight against terrorism cannot be upheld by knee-jerk reactions, simplistic formulations or programmes that prove to be counterproductive. An impartial review of the Prevent programme is long overdue. The fear is that now there is too much political capital invested in the Prevent programme for it to change course, but the fight against terrorism is too serious to be taken lightly. If something is not working, we need to fix it. That is why the time is right to review Prevent and to start again with an entirely new programme with the same aims, but a programme that works with communities rather than demonising them.

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We did add some time—[Interruption.] No, it is fine. We added a bit of time because we have just redone the maths and the time limit is now six minutes.

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I wish to start by endorsing some of the comments made by the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Sir Robert Neill) about the use of polygraphs. The Minister will know that I have been in touch with him a number of times on this particular issue, and I accept his assurances that they will be used simply for behavioural science purposes and not for legal purposes.

I wish to speak to amendments 40 and 42. As others have said, there have been a number of tragic terrorist attacks this year and there is an urgent need to protect people from further terrorist violence, but we need measures that will keep the public safe, not give the Government free rein to restrict the rights of innocent people on a never-ending basis based on little more than a hunch. We must ensure that our security services have the tools and resources that they need to do their jobs, but we must also ensure that any new powers and legislation will be necessary, effective and proportionate to the threats that we face. That is not the case when it comes to clauses 37 and 38, as they would massively expand the Home Secretary’s powers to impose terrorism prevention and investigation measures, which can include curfews and electronic tagging. These changes would essentially mean a return to control orders, as Members from all parts of the House have pointed out, and they were heavily criticised for getting the balance wrong between national security and civil liberties and were then replaced by TPIMs by the coalition Government in 2011.

There is minimal evidence that putting power in the hands of a single Minister to impose curfews and tagging will do anything to keep people safe, but it will put the rights and freedoms of innocent people at risk. These changes are opposed by the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Amnesty and Liberty, and the Liberal Democrats are also opposing these two clauses today. We had tabled amendments to remove them from the Bill and to keep the existing safeguards in place, and we were pleased to transfer our names to other amendments that seek to do the same.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to demand an effective, evidence-based approach to combating terrorism. Let me end by pointing out that this is the eighth counter-terrorism Bill in 10 years. If more legislation was the answer, we might have stopped these kinds of attacks by now.

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As terrorism evolves, the modus operandi of terrorist groups starts to move. If more legislation has to be brought in at a later time, does the hon. Lady accept that we have to do that to evolve with the terrorist groups and how they operate, and it is about getting that fine balance right?

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Yes, of course I accept that there will be occasions when more legislation is needed, but, as the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West (Joanna Cherry) said, her Committee has taken evidence, and there is no compelling evidence as to why these two measures on the burden of evidence and the renewal of TPIM orders are needed.

There must be a much greater focus on effective measures that encourage de-radicalisation and rehabilitation, but instead we have in these two clauses the Government preparing for a power grab that could genuinely destroy innocent people’s lives, without presenting the public with a single shred of evidence that these measures will do anything to keep people safe or that the existing measures should be changed. That is why we will oppose them.

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I am grateful for the opportunity to speak in this important debate.

It is our duty to reflect, calmly and seriously, on what we need to do to give people real security. This includes having the courage and strength to stand up as a matter of conscience and speak out when we see things around us that are wrong. That is why I must rise to say that the approach laid out in this Bill is fundamentally wrong. Terrorism suspects who have not been convicted of any offence now face expanded and potentially never-ending measures to control their lives. In the words of Rachel Logan, Amnesty International’s UK legal expert,

“It was never right to drastically curtail people’s liberty on the basis of secret, untested evidence using control orders or TPIMs—and we seem to be diving headlong into that territory where the standard of proof is extremely flimsy and people’s liberties can be curtailed on an indefinite basis.”

Indeed, there are real problems with the protection of human rights in the UK. In many areas, particularly in the spheres of immigration control, national security, counter-terrorism, freedom of association and speech, and the treatment of persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, UK law has been the frequent subject of criticism from experts in the UN Human Rights Committee and from the Council of Europe.

For some time, many have raised concerns that our approach to counter-terrorism is perceived by some to have been modelled on Islamophobic stereotypes, policies and political structures. That is why it is utterly extraordinary that the Bill removes the existing statutory deadline for the completion of the independent review of the Prevent programme. As people will know, Prevent is widely criticised for fostering discrimination against people of Muslim faith or background. It was developed without a firm evidence base and is rooted in a vague and expansive definition of extremism. It includes overt targeting of Muslim children in schools and has meant that our Muslim young people, in particular, are increasingly being viewed through the lens of security. Many, including some in this Chamber, have expressed how they have been moved and inspired by the Black Lives Matter protesters all around the world. It is an absolute insult that rather than listening and learning as people were calling out the state regarding racism, Islamophobia and discrimination, this Bill will further entrench discrimination against Muslims.

As someone who has first-hand experience of the rise in Islamophobia over the past decade, I know that every single day people of Muslim backgrounds like me face discrimination and prejudice. It is not just about enduring offensive remarks and presumptions, bad as those are, but about living with a real and serious constant threat to our faith group. At the same time, far too often, the foreign policy of successive Governments has fuelled, not reduced, the threat to us all. Yet recently we learned that the UK is to resume sales of arms to Saudi Arabia despite concerns that they could be used against civilians in Yemen in violation of international humanitarian law. That is why my constituents in Poplar and Limehouse know better than most that we must never again embark on illegal wars, imperialism and destruction but instead adopt a progressive, outward-looking global view driven by social justice, solidarity and human rights. The so-called war on terror has manifestly failed, despite the human cost being so devastating.

As has been pointed out by many, the covid-19 global pandemic has profoundly demonstrated that compassion becomes the tie that connects us to one another. Now, more than ever, we must come together and resist those that seek to divide us through violence, intolerance and hate. We cannot let this threat of terrorism take away our hard-fought-for rights and freedoms. We should not let our fundamental values be undermined.  Our values are about caring for the whole of society and all our people, not walking by on the other side of the street when they need our help and support, and loving our communities enough to make this a place where nobody is homeless, hungry, held back or left behind. On the international stage, we must stand up for the values we share—justice, human rights and democracy—and work with others to keep people safe by ending conflict and tackling the climate emergency.

I am humbled and inspired by how people continue to organise to protect our communities, and I want to take this opportunity to recognise the enormous contribution that Muslims across Britain make to our country, our communities and our way of life, from which the values of respect and understanding derive. Those values resonate with everyone as we strive to build a better society for us all. In the end, it is only that hope that can lead us out of despair.

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I rise to speak about issues relating to amendments 37, 38, 40 and 46. I was seven years old on 11 September 2011, and that awful day passed a long shadow over my childhood. As a young Muslim, I saw the effects of the war on terror at home and abroad. At home, it meant rising Islamophobia, the steady erosion of civil rights, and the installation of cameras on streets near my childhood home. We were told that they were for traffic control, but we soon learned that that was not true. It was an area with a significant Muslim community, and we were being watched. As I got older, I became far too familiar with that. My community were seen not as citizens worthy of equality and respect, but as a threat viewed with hostility and suspicion.

At school and university, I encountered the effects of Prevent. It was said that it was targeting radicalisation, but when it resulted in Muslim university students being reported for reading terrorism-related textbooks as part of their degree, we knew that its effect was to target Muslims and erode the civil liberties of all. If we are worried about free speech on campuses, we need to look at the Prevent strategy.

In the past few years, terrorist atrocities have continued to rock communities across the world, from horrific antisemitic and white supremacist attacks, like that which hit the Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018 and the Christchurch mosque massacre in New Zealand last year, to the far-right extremist who assassinated a Member of this House in 2016 and the devastating attack that cruelly took 23 lives in Manchester in 2017. Everything must be done to combat such awful acts and keep our community safe. We must respect individual liberty and tackle the hate and fear that drives such horrific acts.

I have real concerns that the Bill falls short of those standards. First, it introduces control orders in all but name, which threaten all our civil liberties. Secondly, it removes the statutory deadline to review Prevent. Thirdly, it abandons any attempt to rehabilitate and reform, and instead keeps individuals trapped in a permanent web of surveillance and prisons.

On the first point, concerns and objections to changes to terrorism prevention and investigation measures have been raised by independent reviewers, including the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, and civil rights groups such as Liberty and Amnesty International. Liberty says that the change

“reintroduces Control Orders in all but name”.

Control orders have allowed people to be placed under indefinite house arrest, without ever having been convicted of a crime or even having known the evidence against them. The coalition Government rightly abolished them, but this Bill effectively brings them back. Liberty says that the changes pose

“a threat to fundamental pillars of our justice system.”

That should be a concern to us all, so I encourage Government Members to support amendments 37, 40, 46 and 47.

On the second point, the Bill removes the statutory deadline for an independent review of the Prevent programme. To say that the programme needs an independent review is a serious understatement. Again, human rights organisations have consistently raised concerns about it. In 2018, Amnesty International said that it was developed

“without a firm evidence base and rooted in a vague and expansive definition of ‘extremism’”.

Countless examples can be found of the programme’s discriminatory impact on Muslims. In addition to the ones I have already mentioned, I want to include that of an eight-year-old boy who was questioned by Prevent officials after his teacher mistook the writing on his T-shirt, as well as the labelling of countless Muslim individuals, charities and mosques as extreme by the Government. The flaws of the programme have reached such heights that the likes of Greenpeace, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Extinction Rebellion were put on Prevent documents alongside proscribed neo-Nazi terror groups. The case for a statutory review of Prevent is clear, so I again urge Conservative Members to support amendments such as amendments 38 and 51.

On the final point, this Bill omits any effort to improve rehabilitation, which is an absolutely key measure to keeping our communities safe and preventing future attacks. Endlessly locking people up and interning them in underfunded, overcrowded, privately-run prisons is no way to protect the public. Instead, it is simply a recipe for creating more problems down the line.

I cannot support the approach of this Bill. We need to tackle terrorism, and we need to do that through prevention, but also by tackling the fear and hate upon which it thrives by bringing communities together and by never letting us be divided on the grounds of race and religion.

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I thank the Members who have contributed to a very thought-provoking debate this afternoon. I would like to reply, if I may, to some of the points that have been raised. I will start with the first question raised by the shadow Minister, the hon. Member for St Helens North (Conor McGinn), about a lone actor review—new clause 8. I know he has had what I hope was a lengthy and fruitful conversation with the Minister for Security earlier today. He will of course be aware that the Prevent review we have been talking about touches on this, but the MAPPA review will also significantly engage with this topic.

I have been endeavouring to obtain a firm date for publication during the last few minutes. I am afraid the best I can do from this Dispatch Box at the moment is to say that it will be soon—as soon as practical. I hope it will be within the timeframe the hon. Gentleman was asking for, but I am afraid I cannot give him a precise date. However, it is imminent, and we will do it as soon as we possibly can. I believe the MAPPA review will cover many of the issues that the shadow Minister has been raising in relation to the lone actor threat that he and his colleagues have been discussing.

Let me turn to the substantive questions about TPIMs that arose both this afternoon and in Committee. Let me start with what the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West (Joanna Cherry) termed the business case or the operational case: why are we proposing to lower the burden of proof? The hon. Members for St Helens North and for St Albans (Daisy Cooper) and my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Sir Robert Neill) raised the same question.

The best answer I can give the House to that question—what is the business case for changing the burden of proof?—is the evidence given to the Bill Committee by Assistant Chief Constable Tim Jacques, one of the national counter-terrorism policing leads, who had been briefed by the security services prior to giving his evidence. In his evidence, which is available in Hansard, he gave us three reasons why a lower burden of proof—a reasonable suspicion—would be better and would protect the public. The first reason he gave is that, where an individual’s risk profile is rapidly increasing, there may not be time to establish the higher burden of proof before a threat or a risk materialises. Secondly, he said that where somebody is returning from abroad—for example, from Syria—it is very hard to establish an evidential base that, on the balance of probability, someone has been involved in terror-related activity because, by definition, getting evidence from somewhere like Syria it is very hard, if not impossible. The third reason he gave was where sensitive material needs to be relied on: disclosing that material to get to the balance of probability would potentially endanger sources—confidential sources—and it is clearly easier to get to the reasonable suspicion standard without disclosing the material. Those are the three reasons he gave. [Interruption.]

To pre-empt the intervention that I sense the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West is brewing, I accept that it is true historically—looking back—that there has not been an occasion on which the security services wanted to give a TPIM but could not do so because of the burden of proof. There is no such historical example, and I freely concede the point. I suspect that was the topic of the intervention. [Interruption.] Sort of. However, as my hon. Friend the Member for Hertford and Stortford (Julie Marson) said in an intervention, we have to deal in this House not just with what has happened in the past but with what might happen in the future.

We have been clearly advised by Assistant Chief Constable Jacques, and through him by the security services, that this measure is necessary to protect the public. When the assistant chief constable gave evidence on 25 June, I asked him explicitly whether the lower standard of proof would make the public safer. He answered, categorically, that yes it would.

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The Minister anticipates my objection, so perhaps I can refer him to what the assistant chief constable said in response to me during the evidence session on 25 June. I asked:

“So where there is a rapidly escalating situation or where there is a need to manage sensitive material, we already have available to us the option of a new variant TPIM without changing the standard of proof.”

and he replied:

“Well, a TPIM is a TPIM. We have the option of a TPIM to manage that case, yes, as it currently stands. MI5 has pointed out that there is no case thus far where the standard of proof has been a blocker.”––[Official Report, Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Public Bill Committee, 25 June 2020; c. 23, Q58.]

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As I said, I accept that. There have not been any historical cases where the standard of proof has been a blocker, but we have been categorically advised by the security services, speaking through Assistant Chief Constable Jacques, that it might occur, and that these proposals will make the public safer. He said that categorically, and I do not think that the House could, or should, disregard such clear advice. In relation to Jonathan Hall’s comments, I suspect that he may not have heard the evidence that I read out. He gave evidence to the Committee immediately before Assistant Chief Constable Jacques. His evidence was new to the House and to Parliament, and we did not have it on Second Reading. We do have it now, however, and we should have careful regard to it.

A number of Members raised questions about civil liberties, and not wishing to intrude on an individual’s freedom, and I will directly address those points. I will do so with reference to the original Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011. By lowering the burden of proof, we are changing only one of five limbs. The other four limbs remain exactly as they are, and one of those, laid out in section 3 of that Act, states that the Secretary of State must reasonably consider whether the TPIM is “necessary”—I use that word carefully—for purposes connected with protecting members of the public. Subsection (4), condition D, states that the Secretary of State must consider whether a TPIM is

“necessary, for purposes connected with preventing or restricting the individual's involvement in terrorism-related activity,”

That test of necessity goes far beyond the reasonable suspicion referred to in the first limb. The requirement for necessity is unchanged.

The hon. Member for St Albans said that this measure could be introduced on a Minister’s whim, and that a Minister could impose a TPIM with the sweep of a pen. I say to her gently, however, that that is not the case and there are judicial safeguards in the 2011 Act. For example, section 6 of that Act states that when a TPIM notice is given, the Secretary of State must go to the court and make an application, and the court has to verify or validate that the TPIM is reasonable, and certify that it is not “obviously flawed”. There is judicial certification.

Section 16 of the 2011 Act provides for a right to appeal. If the subject of a TPIM feels that they have been unfairly treated, or that the TPIM is unjustified, they can apply to the court in a process akin to a judicial review, and apply to have it overturned. There are judicial safeguards to protect individuals from unreasonable actions by the Government.

In the many years that TPIMs have been in operation since 2011, and in the six years when control orders were in place from 2005, the numbers used have been small. There were never more than about 15 to 20 control orders in force at any one time, and we heard evidence that as of today only six TPIMs are in force. That is a very small number, as they are used only in exceptional circumstances. When I asked Jonathan Hall whether he believed that any Government, including the previous Labour Government or the more recent Conservative Government, had ever abused the power provided by TPIMs or control orders, he answered that no, he was not aware of any such abuse. I would add that a former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, Lord Carlile, has expressed support for the measures in this Bill.

Let me turn to the issue of time and how extendable TPIMs are. They currently expire after two years. We propose to make them extendable in one-year increments, as were the old control orders passed by the then Labour Government and indeed supported by some Members in this House this afternoon. We heard evidence from Jonathan Hall that there was risk where a TPIM ended after two years, as there could be a gap. He knew of two real cases where that occurred, with a gap of one year in one case and a gap of 16 months in the other before a new TPIM could be obtained. That is because we have to get fresh evidence; we cannot rely on the old evidence and we have to wait for somebody to do something wrong again to give us the grounds to renew the TPIM. Max Hill, when he was independent reviewer of terrorism legislation in 2017, said that some terrorists were “biding time” waiting for the TPIM to simply time out.

In fairness to the last Labour Government, even though the previous control orders could be extended year by year, in practice most of them were not: 30 of them were for less than two years; eight were for between two and three years; four were for between three and four years; and only three extended for between four and five years. Again, the subject can apply for judicial review if they think the TPIM extension is unfair, so a judicial protection is in place.

I have two quick final points to make. In terms of prosecution, which my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst asked about, there is a duty under section 10 of the 2011 Act that requires the Secretary of State to seek prosecution where appropriate. On Prevent, let me say that the statutory obligation to carry out the Prevent review remains. There have been some delays, because the independent reviewer had to be replaced and then we had the coronavirus pandemic. Our commitment to do it remains in statute. Obviously, specifying a date caused a problem before, and we do not want to repeat that mistake. We hope and expect that this will be done by August of next year, but we feel that, given the experience of the recent past, putting that date in the Bill would simply be setting a bear trap. So I hope that I have laid out the case for resisting these amendments.

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In the brief time available, I wish, first, to thank the Minister for addressing some of the concerns we have raised, not just today on Report, but through a thorough examination of the Bill in Committee. Although Labour Members wholeheartedly support robust action to keep our country and our citizens safe, and to tackle terrorism and its causes, it is the duty of any responsible Opposition to examine fully the Government’s proposals. I feel that we have done that, with the assistance of Scottish National party and Liberal Democrat Members, those from other parties in the House, and colleagues on the Back Benches.

The Minister and the Government should listen carefully to the very personal testimony given by my hon. Friends the Members for Coventry South (Zarah Sultana) and for Poplar and Limehouse (Apsana Begum), and indeed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Hackney North and Stoke Newington (Ms Abbott). Although I might not have agreed with her on every crossed t or dotted i, or even on whole words or sentences on occasion, she does speak with the voice of years of experience in this House and a commitment to these issues. She also, like Members who spoke from these Benches, speaks authoritatively and with great passion on behalf of the constituencies and communities she represents. The Government should listen to them, which was why I made the points I did about the importance of not only getting this Prevent review right but getting on with it, to give the clarity and confidence needed, and to address some of the challenges and controversies associated with it.

I was hoping that we might receive a commitment from the Government to publish their MAPPA— multi-agency public protection arrangements—review before we got to consideration in the House of Lords, because it is important, given the removal of the statutory deadline for Prevent and given that the Opposition have proposed a review on lone actors, to have some timeframe on that. I appreciate and understand that the Minister has made valiant efforts to do that, but I regret that it has not been forthcoming to date. I hope that in considering the request for a review on lone actors, the Government understand that we do so in a constructive spirit.

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The Lord Chancellor has appeared, as if by magic, behind the Speaker’s Chair and has indicated to me by eloquent gesticulation that the MAPPA review will indeed be published before the consideration of the Bill in the other place.

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I thank the Lord Chancellor and the Minister for that commitment. The robust exchanges we have had have been in the context and spirit of working constructively on a Bill of huge importance, which is concerned with keeping our country and its citizens safe. Our proposals for that review are in keeping with that view. We await to see what the MAPPA review by the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation comes forward with. Colleagues in the other place will no doubt wish to scrutinise that. On that basis, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the clause.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 4

Serious terrorism sentence for adults aged under 21: England and Wales

Amendment proposed: 30, page 5, line 35, at end insert—

“(7) The pre-sentence report must —

(a) take account of the offender’s age;

(b) consider whether options other than a serious terrorism sentence might be more effective at—

(i) reducing the risk of serious harm to members of the public, or

(ii) rehabilitating the offender.

(8) The court must take account of any points made by the pre-sentence report in relation to the matters in subsection (7) and consider whether they constitute exceptional circumstances under subsection (2).”.—(Alex Cunningham.)

Question put, That the amendment be made.

Division 83

21 July 2020

The House divided:

Ayes: 189
Noes: 335

Question accordingly negatived.

View Details

The list of Members currently certified as eligible for a proxy vote, and of the Members nominated as their proxy, is published at the end of today’s debates.

Proceedings interrupted (Programme Order, 20 March).

The Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Standing Order No. 83E).

Clause 6

Serious terrorism sentence: Scotland

Amendment made: 6, page 8, line 12, at end insert—

“(ea) the court does not make an order for lifelong restriction,”.—(Robert Buckland.)

This amendment provides that a court may not impose a new serious terrorism sentence on an offender if it makes an order for lifelong restriction in respect of the offender.

Clause 9

Reduction in appropriate custodial term for guilty pleas: Scotland

Amendment made: 7, page 11, line 38, after “is” insert

“making an order for lifelong restriction to which section 205ZB applies in respect of an offender or”. —(Robert Buckland.)

This amendment enables a court making an order for lifelong restriction in a terrorism case to take into account a plea of guilty by the offender when specifying the punishment part and to reduce it so that it is no less than 80% of the term that would otherwise be required.

Clause 12

Minimum punishment part for serious terrorism offenders: Scotland

Amendment made: 8, page 13, line 11, at end insert “, or

(ii) makes an order for lifelong restriction in respect of the person.” —(Robert Buckland.)

This amendment requires the court to specify as the punishment part of an order for lifelong restriction a period of at least 14 years.

Clause 23

Terrorism sentence with fixed licence period: Scotland

Amendments made: 9, page 20, line 8, after “convicted” insert “on indictment”.

This amendment provides that the new terrorism sentence may be imposed only when an offender is convicted on indictment.

Amendment 10, page 20, line 11, at end insert—

“(ai) a sentence of imprisonment for life to which section 205ZB applies,

(bi) a sentence of imprisonment for life to which section 205ZB does not apply but which is imposed for a terrorism offence,

(ci) a sentence of detention for life to which section 205ZB applies,

(di) a sentence of detention for life to which section 205ZB does not apply but which is imposed for a terrorism offence,

(ei) an order for lifelong restriction to which section 205ZB applies,

(fi) an order for lifelong restriction to which section 205ZB does not apply but which is imposed for a terrorism offence,”.

This amendment and Amendments 11 and 12 set out by reference to a list of sentences (arranged in order of seriousness) the circumstances in which a court may impose the new terrorism sentence introduced by clause 23.

Amendment 11, page 20, leave out lines 16 to 19.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 10.

Amendment 12, page 20, leave out line 21.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 10.

Amendment 13, page 20, line 45, leave out

“under section 208, the court must impose a sentence”

and insert

“, the court must impose a sentence of detention in such place and on such conditions as may be directed under section 208”.

This amendment clarifies that, in the case of a child convicted on indictment, the place of detention will be determined under section 208 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, as will any conditions.

Amendment 14, page 21, leave out lines 5 to 13.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 9.

Amendment 15, page 21, line 15, leave out

“or, as the case may be, the order”.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 9.

Amendment 16, page 21, leave out lines 21 and 22. —(Robert Buckland.)

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 9.

Clause 41

TPIMS: polygraph measure

Amendment made: 17, page 38, line 2, at end insert—

“(2) In section 17 of that Act (jurisdiction in relation to decisions under the Act), in subsection (3), after paragraph (c) insert—

‘(ca) a decision by a polygraph operator to give an instruction by virtue of paragraph 10ZA(1)(c) of Schedule 1 (polygraph measure);’.” —(Robert Buckland.)

This provides that instructions from polygraph operators to subjects of TPIM notices, like decisions of the Secretary of State under the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011, are “TPIM decisions” and so cannot be questioned in legal proceedings other than in the high court (or, in Scotland, the Outer House of the Court of Session).

Clause 42

TPIMS: drug testing measure

Amendments made: 18, page 38, line 40, at end insert—

“(3A) Regulations under sub-paragraph (2) may make—

(a) different provision for different purposes or different areas;

(b) incidental, supplemental, consequential, saving or transitional provision.”

This ensures that regulations prescribing authorised persons and testing places for the purposes of the new drug testing measure in TPIM notices can make different provision for different purposes or areas (and ancillary provision).

Amendment 19, page 38, line 43, at end insert—

“(2) In section 17 of that Act (jurisdiction in relation to decisions under the Act), in subsection (3), after paragraph (ca) (inserted by section 41) insert—

‘(cb) a decision by an authorised person to give a direction by virtue of paragraph 10ZB(1)(b) of Schedule 1 (drug testing measure);’.” —(Robert Buckland.)

This provides that directions given by persons authorised to take samples for drug-testing purposes from subjects of TPIM notices, like decisions of the Secretary of State under the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011, are “TPIM decisions” and so cannot be questioned in legal proceedings other than in the high court (or, in Scotland, the Outer House of the Court of Session).

Clause 52

Commencement

Amendments made: 20, page 42, line 31, leave out sub-paragraph (iv) and insert—

“(iv) paragraphs 45 and 46;”.

This amendment corrects a drafting error and provides for the amendments made by paragraph 46 of Schedule 13 to come into force at the same time as clause 23 of the Bill (to which it relates).

Amendment 21, page 42, line 32, at end insert—

“(va) paragraph 48 other than sub-paragraph (5);”.

This amendment corrects a drafting error and provides for those amendments made by paragraph 48 of Schedule 13 that relate to clause 23 of the Bill to come into force at the same time as that clause.

Amendment 22, page 43, line 17, leave out “46, 47(4)(a) and 48” and insert “47(4)(a) and 48(5)”. —(Robert Buckland.)

This amendment is consequential on Amendments 20 and 21.

Schedule 13

Consequential and related amendments

Amendments made: 23, page 115, line 24, at end insert—

“Rehabilitation of Offenders (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 (S.I. 1978/1908 (N.I. 27))

33A In Article 6 of the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 (rehabilitation periods for particular sentences), in each of the following places, after ‘209’ insert ‘or 224B’—

(a) paragraph (1)(e);

(b) in paragraph (2), in Table B, in the first column, the fourth and fifth entries;

(c) paragraph (9)(c).”

This amendment provides for the service sentence introduced by paragraph 9 of Schedule 8 to have the same rehabilitation period in Northern Ireland as other forms of youth detention.

Amendment 24, page 123, line 45, at end insert—

“(4A) In section 2B(1) (punishment part for life prisoners: assessment under section 2A(1)(a) and (b)), at the beginning insert ‘Subject to section 205ZB(2) of the 1995 Act,’.”

This amendment provides that the court’s assessment under sections 2A and 2B of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993 of the appropriate length of the punishment part of a sentence for a life prisoner is subject to the overriding requirement in new section 205ZB(2) (see clause 12) that it should be at least 14 years.

Amendment 25, page 123, line 49, at end insert—

“(5A) In section 6(1) (application of Act to young offenders and to children detained without limit of time), for paragraph (a) substitute—

‘(a) to—

(i) persons on whom detention in a young offenders institution has been imposed under section 205ZA(6) of the 1995 Act,

(ii) persons on whom detention in a young offenders institution has been imposed under section 205ZC(4) of that Act, and

(iii) persons on whom detention in a young offenders institution (other than detention without limit of time or for life) has been imposed under section 207(2) of that Act,

as the Part applies to persons serving equivalent sentences of imprisonment;’.”

This amendment makes consequential amendments of section 6 of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993 to ensure that Part 1 of that Act applies in relation to persons sentenced to detention in a young offenders institution under the new terrorism sentences introduced by clauses 6 and 23.

Amendment 26, page 123, line 49, at end insert—

“(5B) In section 7 (children detained in solemn proceedings)—

(a) in subsection (5)(a)—

(i) for ‘and 20(2)’ substitute ‘, 20(2) and 26ZA’;

(ii) for ‘detained under section 208 of the 1995’ substitute ‘on whom detention has been imposed under section 205ZC(5) of the 1995 Act and children detained under section 208 of that’;

(iii) at the end (but before the final ‘and’) insert ‘(but subject to the modifications of section 26ZA in subsection (5A))’;

(b) after subsection (5) insert—

‘(5A) The modifications are that section 26ZA is to be read as if—

(a) subsection (9) were omitted, and

(b) subsection (10)(a) related to section 1A(1)(c) only.’;

(c) in subsection (8)—

(i) for ‘subsection (5)’ substitute ‘subsections (3) to (5) and (7)’;

(ii) after ‘applies’ insert ‘(but subject to the modifications of subsection (3) in subsection (9))’;

(d) after subsection (8) insert—

‘(9) The modifications are that subsection (3) applies in relation to a person to whom section 1AB applies as if—

(a) for the words “under subsection (1) or (2) above” there were substituted the words “under section 1AB”,

(b) for the words “entire period specified in the sentences elapses” there were substituted “sentence under section 205ZC(5) as originally imposed by the court would expire”, and

(c) for the words “period so elapses” there were substituted “sentence so expires”.’”

This amendment makes consequential amendments of section 7 of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993 in relation to children on whom the new terrorism sentence introduced by clause 23 is imposed.

Amendment 27, page 124, leave out lines 13 and 14.

This amendment is consequential on Amendment 9.

Amendment 28, page 124, line 41, at end insert—

“Sexual Offences Act 2003 (c. 42)

51A In section 131 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (application of notification requirements and orders to young offenders), in paragraph (h), before ‘208’ insert ‘205ZC(5) or’.”

This amendment provides that the new sentence introduced by clause 23 can attract sexual offender notification requirements when imposed on a child.

Amendment 29, page 125, line 7, at end insert—

“Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 (c. 28)

52A In section 45(2) of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 (Scottish sentences attracting notification requirements), in paragraph (a), at the end of subparagraph (iv) (but before the final ‘or’) insert—

‘(iva) detention under section 205ZC(5) of that Act,’.” —(Robert Buckland.)

This amendment provides that the new sentence introduced by clause 23 can attract terrorist offender notification requirements when imposed on a child.

Third Reading.

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I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

May I take this opportunity to thank hon. and right hon. Members from across the House for their careful scrutiny of the Bill thus far? I am very grateful to everyone who contributed to the debate on Second Reading, in Committee and today on Report. I would especially like to thank my hon. Friend the Member for Hertford and Stortford (Julie Marson), whose impassioned speech regarding her friend Louise, who was caught up in the horrors of the 7/7 bombings 15 years ago this month, reminded us of the importance of the work we are doing here. I am particularly grateful for the co-operative and constructive spirit in which these debates have taken place, and for the broad support received for the Bill so far. That, I think, is testament to the fact that Members recognise overall the intent and purpose of the legislation, which are to protect the public and to keep our country safe. Those are the first and foremost duties of any Government.

There have been some differing opinions on certain measures in the Bill. They have enriched the debate and deepened our understanding of not just the intention behind the measures, but current practice. We have heard questions about the changes we are making to terrorism prevention and investigation measure notices—or TPIMs, as we know them. Let me say to the House that prosecution, or deportation in the case of foreign nationals, will always be our preference for dealing with terrorists, but there will continue to be a small number of cases where, despite the best efforts of the police and security services, that will not be possible. In those circumstances, TPIMs remain a vital risk management tool. A lower standard of proof will allow for TPIMs to be considered for use in a wider variety of cases and will better protect the covert sources and methods that are vital to the investigation of terrorist threat.

The Home Secretary considers very carefully the intelligence held by our security services, as well as consulting the police on the case for prosecution, before deciding whether a TPIM is necessary and proportionate. The Government have no desire to keep individuals on a TPIM any longer than is necessary and proportionate to protect the public. Removing the two-year time limit for a TPIM ensures that where subjects pose an enduring risk, we will be better placed to restrict and prevent their involvement in terrorism-related activity for as long as is necessary.

Further safeguards will remain in place. The courts will be able to consider permission hearings on whether the decision to impose a TPIM was obviously flawed and prevent the Home Secretary from doing so where that is the case. Subjects will continue to have a right to appeal any decision to extend the TPIM or vary any of its measures. The quarterly TPIM review group meetings will continue to provide regular oversight of every TPIM, including reviewing its ongoing necessity, whether prosecution is a possibility, and, indeed, the exit strategy for the subject of the measure.

Some concerns have been expressed about the removal of the statutory deadline for completing the independent review of Prevent. I must emphasise that the commitment to completing that important review continues and will remain in statute. We want the review into our strategy for safeguarding those vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism to be completed as soon as possible, but we also wanted to run a full and open competition to appoint a new reviewer and to attract as broad a range of applicants as possible. Designing and running that process takes time, and I want to ensure that the new reviewer has an opportunity to decide how best to run the next phase of the review and has enough time to analyse the evidence, develop robust recommendations and, critically, can engage as openly, fully and widely as possible with communities, civil society and others. That will all take time if it is to be done properly, and we cannot fully predict whether events might have a further impact on the timings of that review, particularly in the context of the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, which, frankly, could present further practical challenges to how it could be conducted over the coming months. We should therefore avoid the risk of removing the reviewer’s ability to respond to and mitigate those events both foreseeable and unforeseeable.

For those reasons, while I fully understand the desire to put a new deadline in the Bill, there would, in my judgment, be a significant risk in doing so. It could have the unintended consequence of reducing the impact of this vital review, which I know Members across the House do not wish to do. We should not confuse our desire to give the reviewer the flexibility and time they will need with any question about a lack of commitment to it. I say again to the House that we want it to be completed along with a Government response as quickly as possible, and certainly no later than August of next year.

There has been much debate and discussion about the Bill’s provisions relating to polygraph testing, and I recall a lot of interest in the media when we announced the Bill and its details. I would like to be clear about what these measures seek to achieve and what they do not do. First, on their efficacy, the Committee heard compelling and detailed evidence from Professor Grubin, a leading expert in this field, who has attested to their reliability and their value. They are well established in this country already, having been used thousands of times on sex offenders, and they have been independently evaluated. Secondly, on their purpose, they are an additional risk management tool that can allow probation officers to test compliance with other licence conditions. They are not there to catch offenders out, and the results will most certainly not be used in criminal proceedings against the offender. We have already shown our intention to introduce polygraph testing elsewhere for use with domestic abusers, so we are not taking a novel approach for terrorist offenders. It is another way in which we can help to protect the public.

Finally on this issue, we recognise that they are currently used only in England and Wales, which is why the polygraph provisions relating to terrorist offenders on licence will not come into effect automatically. We will continue to work with Ministers in the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive to provide advice and support to put the necessary infrastructure in place before polygraph testing can be conducted there. I am grateful for the continued co-operation of those devolved Administrations. I recognise the complexity and sensitivities of legislating across three jurisdictions’ sentencing frameworks. Right hon. and hon. Members have indeed reminded us of the need to tread carefully, and we do so. I would like to give reassurance that the Government are committed to ensuring that the measures in the Bill can work effectively throughout our United Kingdom, but I do not apologise for the determination, because we have to ensure our citizens are safe from terrorist offending whether committed in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland

I will pause at this moment to thank all those members of the Bill team who have worked so hard to bring the Bill to this stage. Most notably, I am profoundly grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon South (Chris Philp) for his stewardship both on Report and in Committee. Indeed I thank all the team both in the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office—some of whom are in the Box today—for working collaboratively together. They have served Ministers and indeed the House diligently when it comes to the need to marshal all the clauses in a way that could withstand the most appropriate and thorough scrutiny. I am grateful to them, and I am happy to put it put that on the record here rather than via a point of order, which I think I did on a previous occasion when you were in the Chair, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am grateful for that, too.

The United Kingdom has one of the strongest counter-terrorism systems in the world, but we continue to face a terrorist threat in this country that is complex, and that is diverse and rapidly changing. The House has rightly noted the growing threat that we face from right- wing extremists. Since 2017 we have foiled 25 terrorist plots, including eight plots planned by right-wing extremists, but we are not complacent. We have already established a joint extremism unit to strengthen the partnership of work across the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office. Of course, there is much more to do, and there will regrettably always be unfinished business.

We are on track to recruit an additional 20,000 police officers to boost frontline capability. That is why we have increased the budget for counter-terrorism policing by £90 million this year, compared with last, taking the overall CT police funding to over £900 million, and we are developing an ambitious programme to strengthen joint working between our police and our security services, which will leave terrorists with no place to hide.

As I have said on many occasions and will continue to say, public protection is our first duty. The comprehensive package of measures introduced in the Bill, on top of the investment that we are making and the programme we are putting in place, demonstrates, I firmly believe, our deep and enduring commitment to that duty.

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This is an important Bill, which will have a significant impact on many aspects of the criminal justice system for many years to come. I wish to thank colleagues who contributed to the robust debates that we have had in Committee and on Report. In particular, I thank my colleague, my hon. Friend the Member for Stockton North (Alex Cunningham), who has made characteristically thoughtful contributions throughout the Bill’s passage. I thank also my colleague, my hon. Friend the Member for St Helens North (Conor McGinn), for his characteristic robust approach, and the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, the hon. Member for Torbay (Kevin Foster), who has been a pleasure to work with for the first time on the Front Bench. I also thank the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West (Joanna Cherry) for the joint working that we were able to do in opposition.

As I said on Second Reading, the Opposition fully accept that those who have committed serious terrorist offences should serve a sentence that fully represents the gravity of their actions. First and foremost, our approach has been an overarching commitment to keep the British public safe and to ensure that horrific terrorist attacks such as the ones at Fishmongers’ Hall and Streatham cannot be repeated. The Opposition also accept that when those who have committed the most serious terrorist offences are released, it is only right that, even if they are really sorry, they are subject to stringent licensing conditions that would allow their close supervision in the community.

We accept that the broad thrust of the Bill is necessary and proportionate. It would be a mistake to say, though, that the Bill is flawless, or that its provisions on their own can protect the public from the ever-present threat of radicalisation and serious terrorist atrocities. One of the greatest concerns that we have had, as an Opposition, since the emergence of the Bill is that the balance between the importance of punishment and the necessity to rehabilitate offenders has not been quite struck. At this stage, it is important to make one point perfectly clear: even offenders convicted of the most serious terrorist offences, those who are subject to extended sentences under the Bill, will at some point be released back into society. That is the reality that, wherever we sit in this House, we must accept. Although, as I have already pointed out, it is only right that the most serious terrorists serve extended sentences of up to 14 years, the Opposition also believe that we have a moral duty to ensure that offenders leave prison less dangerous and less willing to harm the fabric of our society than when they went in.

Failing to believe and invest in deradicalisation strategies not only fails society but actively puts members of society at increased risk. Although it is sadly true that most serious terrorist offenders will prove to be either unwilling or unable to reform, it is our duty to believe in hope over despair. It is simply not good enough to lock terrorists away for longer, put them out of our minds and hope for the best. As we have seen from the devastating attacks at Streatham and Fishmongers’ Hall, this approach does not work.

The Government cannot simply give up on rehabilitation, nor the ability of former offenders to reform, which is why it is so disappointing that so little in the Bill will do anything to strip terrorists of their hateful ideologies or to encourage them to rejoin society as reformed individuals. It is abundantly clear that we need a serious and comprehensive strategy on deradicalisation in prison, and the Opposition will hold the Government to account on that in the months and years to come.

That brings me to another issue that the Opposition have sought to recognise during the passage of the Bill: the importance of probation. We cannot begin to tackle terrorism without first recognising the important role played by the probation services. It is worth remembering that the role of probation is not just to monitor risk but to provide support to those who have been released from prison so that they are less likely to reoffend and can play an active role in society.

The provisions of this important Bill will mean that more people will serve longer behind bars, followed by hugely increased licence periods in the community. With that in mind, it is more important than ever for our probation services to be fully functioning and effective, yet we know that our probation services are already hopelessly overstretched and overworked.

In particular, Labour is concerned that the provisions of the Bill will place a huge burden on specialised probation officers, who are already very thin on the ground and hold very high terror-related caseloads. Research shows us that more time spent with offenders is essential to the carrying out of proper risk assessments, but that simply will not be possible with vastly increased workloads. The Government cannot simply increase the responsibilities placed on probation officers, increase their workload and consider the matter closed. It is vital that probation officers are given the resources that they need to do their job; the safety of the public depends on it. The Opposition will hold the Government to account if they fail to meet their obligations to the probation services.

Another concern that was stressed throughout Committee and on Report is the importance of recognising the difference between young offenders and adult offenders. Young offenders and adult offenders are inherently different: they think differently and make decisions in different ways but, most importantly, young offenders are much more capable of reform than older adults. As Jonathan Hall QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, rightly pointed out during his analysis of the Bill:

“The requirement of a minimum mandatory sentence for all adult offenders, however young,”

raises the question of

“an adult of 18 years and one month”

being

“any more mature than a child of 17 years and 11 months”.

The Opposition recognise that there are significant differences between adults over 21, those who are between 19 and 21, and those who are under 18. Members of each of those groups are at very different stages of their lives, and reviews, including my own, have recognised the need for different criminal justice approaches to different age groups. In order properly to reflect the difference between young offenders and adult offenders, the Opposition tabled an amendment that would require a pre-sentence report to be carried out that would take into consideration the age of the offender and whether options other than a serious terrorist offence might be more effective. It is a shame that the Government did not accept that amendment, but I hope that the Secretary of State will consider the Opposition’s concerns in the months and years ahead.

Let me finish where I started on Second Reading, first in paying tribute to a dear friend, James Adams, who was killed in the 7/7 bombings, but also in paying tribute to Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, who lost their lives in the attack on Fishmongers’ Hall. Both Jack and Saskia believed passionately that there can be a glimmer of light in even the darkest and most hardened of hearts. We on the Labour Benches share that optimism. Although it is only right that those who have committed the most heinous of crimes are subjected to extended sentences, we cannot give up hope of rehabilitation. If even the smallest chance of redemption exists, we owe it to the victims of Fishmongers’ Hall to try.

Throughout the passage of this Bill, the Opposition have sought to work constructively with the Government to ensure that the courts have the powers they need to meet the continual threat of terrorism and keep terrorists off the streets, and I assure the Secretary of State that I will continue to work constructively with him over the months and years ahead. This Bill goes some way to doing that, and therefore we will support it on Third Reading.

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This is a very important Bill. The Lord Chancellor and his ministerial team are to be congratulated on delivering it. It is the second major piece of legislation that the Lord Chancellor’s Department has delivered in very different fields, if we take into account the divorce reform Bill. It deals with the most profound matter. Many of my constituents commute daily to London—or they would, under normal circumstances—and the real threat and risk of terrorism there and in our great cities is a daily matter for them. Getting this right is vital for my constituents and for the country as a whole.

That requires a balance—a balance between security, and just and due process and the liberty of the individual. I do not doubt that it was the Lord Chancellor’s overriding intention to get that right. I believe he has succeeded. There are one or two areas, which I have referred to, where perhaps we will want to see how it works in practice, but we ought to give the Bill a fair wind.

I know that the Lord Chancellor will take on board the observations of the shadow Lord Chancellor and the Justice Committee about the importance of the work done by the probation service and the Prison Service in these areas and ensure that they are not only properly supported but resourced. In particular, we must ensure not only that offenders are, where necessary, properly contained in prison and then, where possible, rehabilitated afterwards, but that those who cannot be rehabilitated are not able to corrupt and suck into their web other, more vulnerable prisoners. Giving the Prison Service resource to do that is also an important part of protection. I support the Bill.

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I will not speak for long, because I have already spoken at length this afternoon about issues of concern to the Scottish National party and the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

I commend the Under-Secretary of State for Justice, the hon. Member for Croydon South (Chris Philp), on his hard work to pilot the Bill through its stages so far, and on having an open-door policy to my concerns and those of my hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian (Kenny MacAskill) about matters pertaining to sentencing in Scotland.

I also thank the hon. Members for Stockton North (Alex Cunningham) and for St Helens North (Conor McGinn); I enjoyed working with them on the Bill Committee, and it is always my pleasure to work with the hon. Member for Torfaen (Nick Thomas-Symonds) and the right hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr Lammy). We have a good working relationship, and I would like that to continue on other Bills as this Parliament goes on.

As I said earlier, terrorism is clearly reserved. The position of the Scottish National party is clear: we want to work hard with the UK Government to make sure that all communities in these islands are protected from the horrendous consequences of terrorism, but sentencing is devolved, and it is important that that is respected. I am grateful to Ministers for taking on board the concerns that I and my hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian raised about the order for lifelong restriction, and for bringing forward amendments to deal with those concerns. I am also grateful that there are ongoing discussions about the rather more difficult issue of polygraphs. In Scotland, we do not use them at present. My friend and colleague Humza Yousaf, the Justice Secretary, is in correspondence about that matter.

I add my own plea that we do not forget about the importance of rehabilitation and deradicalisation. There is not really anything about those things in the Bill. As I said earlier this afternoon, it is particularly important, when looking at children and younger offenders, that we devote thought and time to deradicalisation.

I have already made clear the Scottish National party’s concerns about the lack of a clear operational case for the changes being made in relation to TPIMs, and I suspect there will be more debate about that in the other place. That is not just the view of the SNP; the concern is shared by the Joint Committee on Human Rights and the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. I will leave it at that for now, but we will no doubt be revisiting matters if any amendments come back from the Lords.

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I rise only briefly to state my strong support for the Bill. I should declare that prior to my election, I was the magistrate member of the Sentencing Council and a non-executive director of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. Accordingly, I was honoured to be a member of the Public Bill Committee for this legislation.

As we have heard several times during the debates on the Bill, the overarching responsibility of any Government is to keep their citizens safe, and one of the five set out purposes of sentencing is to protect the public, and that is rightly the priority of the Bill. Terrorist attacks cause carnage, murdering indiscriminately and injuring wantonly. The Bill sends a very powerful message to those who seek to bring terror to the lives of innocent people. It demonstrates the contempt in which we hold those who seek to kill and maim to further their warped ideologies. A minimum sentence of 14 years to be spent entirely in custody is a clear signal that if someone commits a serious offence linked to terrorism, they can expect to spend a hefty proportion of their life locked up, and rightly so.

I, too, am a firm believer in rehabilitation, and the Prison Service has worked incredibly hard to devise and implement deradicalisation programmes, but I think most people would acknowledge that there is considerable scope for further improvement. Several times during the Committee’s evidence sessions, we were told that the reoffending rate of terrorists is low—perhaps just 3% —somehow implying that we therefore do not need such lengthy sentences as proposed in the Bill, but that surely misses the point. Even one terrorist reoffending is one too many, because even one terrorist attack can kill hundreds of people. In cases of terrorism, we cannot take risks.

The Bill also sends a strong message to the public that this Government are absolutely committed to protecting lives and minimising the chance of terrorist attacks taking place. The changes to TPIMs reflect the needs of the Security Service to have every tool to keep us safe. When Assistant Chief Constable Tim Jacques, the deputy senior national co-ordinator in the UK’s counter-terrorism policing, gave evidence to the Public Bill Committee, he stated:

“Protecting the public is our No. 1 priority and sometimes that means we have to intervene regardless of evidence, because the risks to the public are so great.”––[Official Report, Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Public Bill Committee, 25 June 2020; c. 26, Q69.]

Our priority must be to support our Security Service and police in the heroic work they do day in, day out, often at considerable danger to themselves in their constant quest to thwart would-be terrorists from wreaking their havoc. We owe it to them to give them what they need to keep us safe.

Finally, it is vitally important that the courts take immediate note if and when the Bill is passed. I hope that sentencing guidelines can be introduced quickly to reflect the clear will of all sides of Parliament to ensure that dangerous terrorist offenders spend more time in prison.

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On that point, my hon. Friend will be assured to know that the Sentencing Council is putting work in train in any event to revise the terrorism guidelines and this Bill, should it become law, will no doubt form part of its work.

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I am grateful to the Lord Chancellor for reassuring me of that. I know from having served on the Sentencing Council that its members will diligently proceed with their efforts. That work will surely reflect, as I was saying, the clear will of Parliament to ensure that dangerous terrorist offenders spend more time in prison, to give greater opportunity for rehabilitation, to reflect the seriousness of their crime and, most importantly, to protect the British people.

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May I say briefly that there are many MPs in this House who have been affected by terrorism? When I was talking to the hon. Member for Hertford and Stortford (Julie Marson) earlier, we were relating the stories of her friend and others. This Bill before us tonight cements and strengthens our position and offers us protection. We as MPs in Northern Ireland have felt the brunt of terrorism more than most. We know about it personally—I know about it. I often think of those whom I know who have given their lives. I think of my cousin Kenneth Smyth and his friend Daniel McCormick who were both murdered on 10 December 1971. I think of the four UDR men murdered at Ballydugan: young John Birch, Steven Smart—[Interruption.]

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Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

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indicated assent.

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I think it would be the right thing to do to allow our hon. Friend to compose himself for a moment as he remembers and shares with the House the horror of the effects of terrorism. We remain indebted to him and are always grateful to him for sharing his observations and we entirely understand how he must feel when he is reliving those moments.

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I thank the Secretary of State very much for intervening. I do recall John Birch, Steven Smart, Michael Adams and Lance Corporal Bradley. I often think of the families of those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and of those who were injured. We owe so much to those families. Every MP in this House has a responsibility to keep their constituents safe, as others have said, which we all adhere to and I thank them for that. Today, our Minister, the hon. Member for Croydon South (Chris Philp), who, I have to say, I am very impressed by—I mean that honestly—and also the Secretary of State have come in here and ensured that the protection of all the people of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been cemented in legislation, and I thank them for that. We welcome the Government’s commitment and we thank all in the Committee for their work and the Clerks for their administration to deliver the Bill. Madam Deputy Speaker, thank you.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.

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We now come to Lords amendments to the Business and Planning Bill. I am going slowly here to allow a natural changeover of personnel at a 2 metre distance. I am grateful to hon. Members for their co-operation.