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Mr. Blunkett: I am very grateful to my hon. Friend. In fact, on Monday, I read the Second Reading speech that he made in connection with the 1997 Act. It was very instructive and is why I know so much about SIAC. I appeal to the House: it is perfectly justifiable for hon. Members to want to do the right thing for the right reasons, but to want to do the right thing and then find out that one has done the wrong thing is neither justifiable nor wise.

Fiona Mactaggart (Slough): My concern is less with the appeal mechanism than with those who might be caught by the provisions in the Bill. Specifically, clause 21(2)(b) adds to those

any person who

This afternoon, the International Sikh Youth Federation was involved in a lobby of Parliament. Members of that organisation are or have been terrorists, and the group has been proscribed as a terrorist organisation. However, I assure my right hon. Friend that it also has members who are not terrorists. I am worried that we are planning to use the very serious measures contained in the Bill against people who are merely members of a group, and who are not suspected of being actively concerned in the commission of terrorism.

Mr. Blunkett: I shall try to answer that question as delicately as I can, as that group, which was proscribed back in February, is appealing against the decision. I have a crucial role in the appeal, so my hon. Friend will forgive me for being circumspect. However, it must be understood that people who become members of groups that are banned in this country are subject to the law of the land. Obviously, people are free to join other organisations and democratically to make the point they wish to make. However, when the Prime Minister of India asks, as he did last week, whether we are serious about the organisations that are committing terrorists acts in terms of following up members of banned groups, the answer has to be yes.

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Fiona Mactaggart: I quite understand that. I am concerned about the Bill's incarceration provisions and whether it is considered appropriate to hold in detention people who are simply members of some of these organisations.

Mr. Blunkett: Let me make this clear. In our democracy, people are free to be members of, or belong to, an international organisation, but not an international terrorist

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group. They are not free to belong to a group that has been proscribed. There would have been no point in Parliament passing the legislation or in my predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, having proscribed 21 groups if we were not going to implement it.

Ms Abbott: Further to the intervention of my hon. Friend the Member for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart), one of the proscribed organisations is the PKK, a Kurdish nationalist organisation. In Stoke Newington, hundreds of people call themselves members of the PKK and go on marches. My local superintendent of police says that he cannot pick up hundreds of such people. Yet those people, who have joined what they perceive to be a legitimate nationalist group and have no intention of bombing or murdering anyone, will be at risk of incarceration if the Bill goes through unamended.

Mr. Blunkett: This is a red herring; we will not pick up everyone who has been on a march or in a room with a particular group. We are talking about people who have connections with and are believed to be involved with such groups. I am clarifying the position about links precisely to avoid red herrings.

Several hon. Members rose

Mr. Blunkett: I will give way in a moment. I do not want us to get involved tonight in trying to determine who poses a risk to our national security or is engaging in international terrorism. The evidence must be adduced by the security and intelligence services and presented so that it convinces the Home Secretary of the day that a certificate should be issued. When a certificate is issued, the individual has a right to go to SIAC and to appeal. I have spelt that out—the judgment will depend not on whether people turn up to a PKK rally in Stoke Newington but on whether they pose a risk.

Simon Hughes: The House is wrestling with the fact that although the Home Secretary says that the powers would be used only as a last resort—which I accept—that is not what the Bill provides. The second issue relates directly to the right hon. Gentleman's answer to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Mr. Fisher). People could be certificated by the Home Secretary and detained because they had links with a person who was a member of or belonged to an international terrorist group, yet those links are not defined anywhere in the Bill. Someone who has represented them could be caught. All sorts of people might be caught. Surely the Home Secretary accepts that legislation cannot be drawn this widely. It is dangerous.

Several hon. Members rose

The Second Deputy Chairman: Order. The Secretary of State cannot possibly give way to interventions when he has not started dealing with the previous intervention.

Mr. Blunkett: I will give way to one of my hon. Friends in just a second when I have answered the question. Taking into account the criteria that are laid down, I have accepted that "link" was not tight enough to ensure clarity about the nature of the connection with the group. That is precisely what I was responding to in saying that the members of the Joint Committee on

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Human Rights have a point. Therefore, during the Bill's passage through the two Houses, we will bring back a tighter definition that will satisfy the hon. Gentleman's concerns.

Mr. George Howarth: Will my right hon. Friend confirm that, as I suspect, each case will be dealt with on its own terms, on the basis of the evidence and information that is available? Given that some of that information will be very sensitive, it is probably not appropriate to spell out too clearly the circumstances in which he will make those judgments.

Mr. Blunkett: That is true. However, let me stress—to avoid another red herring—that judgments will be made within the terms that we are laying down, the process that SIAC has to follow and the evidential base that has to be provided. Now that that has been challenged through the courts and is established as accepted, we can move forward in a sensible but sensitive way.

That comes back to my earlier point about choice. We have the choice to do nothing or to take draconian action and give the Home Secretary powers to certificate and to remove people from the country whatever the circumstances. We can also choose to take the middle route, whereby we cannot use temporary detention when extraditing people or removing them to a third safe country.

Dr. Nick Palmer (Broxtowe): Does the Home Secretary agree that a number of the points raised recently are partially covered by the fact that my right hon. Friend will issue a certificate only if he suspects that someone is an international terrorist under the terms that we have defined and believes that person's presence in the United Kingdom to be a risk to national security? It would not sufficient for someone to be a member of the PKK, for instance. He would have to be a member of the PKK whom my right hon. Friend believed was a risk to national security.

Will my right hon. Friend take the opportunity to confirm that if a person is incarcerated under clause 23 and voluntarily chooses to leave, he will be free to do so.

Mr. Blunkett: Yes, that is entirely correct. That is why talk of internment is inappropriate; that is not what we are proposing.

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington, North): I am grateful to the Home Secretary for giving way. He said a few moments ago that the law must be upheld and obeyed when he defended his right to proscribe a number of organisations, including the PKK. Does he accept, therefore, that the police will have the powers of sweep and of arrest, even if those people are subsequently released, as many were, under the prevention of terrorism legislation. If the Bill is designed to catch international terrorists individually, why is it not drafted to do so? Why is it drafted to catch people who are merely members of organisations that the Home Secretary, on advice from many sources, including the United States, believes to be international terrorist groups?

Mr. Blunkett: I have just dealt substantively with that point. My hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Dr. Palmer) made the point that it is not a question of a

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single definition. I am slightly exasperated because I have said this, as have other hon. Friends, over and over again. It is a question not of a simple definition but of whether a person belongs to an organisation, as provided in the Bill. It is clear that with the exception of refining the term "links" we are specific about what is required, and SIAC would make a judgment on whether a case had been satisfactorily made when deciding whether a certificate was valid. The idea that those of us who carry that responsibility or those who sit on the appeals commission would agree to the detention of someone who did not seriously pose that risk is breathtaking and flies in the face of the process that has been undertaken in the past four and a half years, since SIAC was established, and our commitment to protecting civil and human rights. That is why we have agreed to a sunset clause and an annual review, as well as to a review by the reviewer, which lock in—as the Chancellor of the Exchequer would say, and probably will say next Tuesday—the protections that people seek to achieve.

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