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Mr. Hogg: Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Straw: I will not. I am dealing with the second matter raised by the right hon. and learned Member for North-East Fife. He raised the fact that it states in the last sentence of the note on page 14:

However, the list that I read out of the factors that I take into account, which build on the criteria in section 3 of the Act, included the specific threat that the organisation poses to British nationals overseas. As the right hon. and learned Gentleman will be aware, the previous paragraph on page 14 refers to the fact that in June 2000 N17 murdered Brigadier Stephen Saunders, the British defence attache in Athens. The group has also carried out numerous small-scale attacks in Greece on the interests of EU and NATO members, including a rocket attack on HMS Ark Royal while it was docked at Piraeus in 1994.

Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North): Is my right hon. Friend aware of the possibility that mistakes could have occurred in the list? Only today, we were lobbied by one or two organisations. Does he agree that the list undoubtedly includes some of the most notorious terrorist groups? I see no reason at all why they should not be on the list. If we did not introduce such measures, it would be difficult for us to lecture other countries about terrorism--we would be allowing the United Kingdom to be a base for terrorist action.

Mr. Straw: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for those comments. He has constantly supported the Act and has always understood that the defence of freedom requires us also to be vigilant against terrorism. I do not believe that mistakes have been made--in the end, that is, of course, a matter of judgment. Certainly, no organisation was included in the list by error or inadvertence, given the care taken by my officials and--may I say--by me. However, if an organisation feels that it has been unfairly included in the list, there is every opportunity to make representations about that--as I shall explain in more detail.

Mr. Jim Marshall (Leicester, South): I agree with the right hon. and learned Member for North-East Fife (Mr. Campbell); it is unfortunate that we cannot debate each organisation on the list. By not doing so, we cannot differentiate between those mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) and other organisations. I remind my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary that there is grave disquiet in the Sikh community about the inclusion of the International Sikh Youth Federation. That organisation is active in my constituency and I have been involved with it.

I have two questions. First, if an organisation applies to my right hon. Friend to be de-proscribed, will all the information available to him also be available to the organisation, so that it can make a point-by-point refutation? Secondly, will my right hon. Friend tell the House how much pressure has been put on him and the Government by the Government of India to include organisations in the prevention of terrorism list?

Mr. Straw: I shall deal with my hon. Friend's second point first. It is well known and a matter of public record

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that, over the years, a large number of Governments--including the Government of India--have made representation to the British Government concerning the need for such powers. As to whether that resulted in pressure being brought to bear on me to exercise my discretion unfairly, the answer is no.

I applied myself to the evidence before me. That leads to my hon. Friend's first question. He asks whether the information on which I based my judgments--which are before the House--could be made available to organisations that make representations. The answer is no--for a very good reason. A great deal of such information cannot be placed in the public domain because it is sensitive intelligence. It may be sensible for me to explain how the process will operate both for representations for de-proscription and for appeals to the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission.

Any organisation seeking de-proscription can, at any time while it is subject to inclusion on the list, make representation to me, as Secretary of State. The representations do not have to be made by individuals who have a direct association with the organisation, but can be made on behalf of the organisation. That is an important protection.

Representations can be made to me. We have provided a basic summary, as fairly as we can, of the facts taken into account in making the initial decision--I accept that the summary only goes into brief detail. I shall consider such representations carefully. I shall of course take into account representations made in the House today, as well as any others that are made by right hon. and hon. Members. I shall then come to a decision on de-proscription. If I decide to de-proscribe, that is the end of the matter. The organisation is de-proscribed by order. The matter is not burdensome for any individual; it is subject only to the negative resolution procedure. That is straightforward. If, however, I decide to maintain the proscription, the organisation has a right of appeal to the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission.

Mr. Hogg: Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Straw: If the right hon. and learned Gentleman will allow me,I shall continue to explain how that organisation--

Mr. Hogg: After that, will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Straw: It depends whether I have time to give way to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, given that I have already given way to him. I am normally very indulgent of his wishes, but others also want to get in.

The Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission is a new independent judicial tribunal to consider these appeals. The commission will consider any refusals to de-proscribe in the light of judicial review principles. The substantive basis for appeals is different from that in a parallel organisation called the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, but procedurally it has been modelled on that latter commission. That latter commission, which operates in a very similar way,

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although the basis for appeal is different, has clearly demonstrated its independence from Government in the cases that it has had to consider.

Mr. Wilshire: Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Straw: No. If I may, I shall explain this point to the House and then give way to the hon. Gentleman.

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission exists to deal with decisions by the Home Secretary of the day to exclude individuals from this country on national security grounds, where those individuals have a right to remain in this country. After a decision is made to exclude, the individual makes an appeal. Because the decision has been made on the basis of intelligence that cannot be disclosed, the individual concerned cannot see that intelligence, but all the information must be disclosed to the independent appeal commission and a special advocate is appointed to the appeal commission, to scrutinise in very close detail--

Mr. Hogg: Not on the merits.

Mr. Straw: I am sorry, but as far as the Special Immigration Appeals Commission is concerned, it is on the merits. I have already drawn the distinction in terms--

Mr. Hogg: But not on this commission.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Lord): Order. The right hon. and learned Gentleman must not intervene from a sedentary position.

Mr. Hogg rose--

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr. Hogg: I am rising to--

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr. Hogg: I am rising to apologise, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but of course I would not have had to intervene from a sedentary position if the Home Secretary had given way.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The occupant of the Chair does not appreciate that kind of intervention, even when it is addressed as an apology.

Mr. Straw: Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) knows very well that I do my best to give way to as many hon. Members as possible, but I have to give way to other people before I give way to him two or three times. I have already dealt with his point.

Mr. Wilshire rose--

Mr. Jeremy Corbyn (Islington, North) rose--

Mr. Straw: I want to finish the point, and then I shall give way to the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire) and my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn); I promise.

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A special advocate appears on behalf of the individual before the SIAC or the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission to scrutinise all the evidence before those special commissions, and to cross-examine the witnesses who go before it. The SIAC has worked entirely independently of Government, and in at least three cases decisions that I have made to exclude people on national security grounds have been overturned, including two cases in respect of two individuals who, although they were accepted as Sikh terrorists, were not deported because the commission was not satisfied about their safety were they to be returned to India, and therefore decided not to accept my decision that they should be deported.

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