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Commons Amendment

Volume 432: debated on Wednesday 30 June 1982

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2 Clause 3, page 2, line 18, at end insert—

"(1A) In Schedule 1 to the Suppression of Terrorism Act 1978 (offences not to be regarded as of a political character) after paragraph 11 there shall be inserted the following paragraph—

" Taking of hostages

11A. An offence under the Taking of Hostages Act 1982.".".

My Lords, I beg to move that the House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 2. This is really a drafting amendment.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said amendment.—( Lord Belstead.)

My Lords, as the amendment indicates, the offence of hostage taking is added to the list of offences in Schedule 1 to the Suppression of Terrorism Act 1978, a measure which gives effect to the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. I think it is appropriate thus to extend it by this amendment, which I welcome. In view of the fact that the passing of this measure and the amendment to the Suppression of Terrorism Act are most urgent, I wonder whether the noble Lord can indicate at this final stage the chances of getting ratification by the number of countries required to bring the convention into effect? I understand the number required is 22. It is urgent, not only for the defence of British citizens in this country but also for the defence of our own citizens and indeed others in other countries. If the noble Lord could indicate that, I think it would be reassuring to your Lordships' House.

My Lords, if I may reply to the noble Lord on that point, the United Nations convention, as Lord Bishopston said, will not enter into force until 22 states have either ratified or acceded to it. We shall certainly continue to encourage other countries to take this course. My latest information is that at the moment the total who have so far signed, including the United Kingdom, is 18 countries.

On Question, Motion agreed to.