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8 Feb 2010 : Column 648

That is what the Treasury do not like-the fact that existing legislation contains the safeguards that Parliament felt appropriate. The Treasury therefore chooses not to use that-

Madam Deputy Speaker (Sylvia Heal): Order. Could I remind the hon. Gentleman that we are talking about the allocation of time? I am sure that there will be an opportunity for him to develop those arguments later.

Mr. Heath: But, Madam Deputy Speaker, my point is precisely about the allocation of time, because it is precisely about the justification for the fast-track procedure that is stated quite clearly in the explanatory memorandum. The case for the fast-track procedure is that no other legislation is in place, yet Lord Hope in the Supreme Court makes it abundantly clear that other legislation is in place. He says:

He goes on to say:

That is a powerful judgment that fatally undermines the Government's case that no other legislation will enable them to safeguard the national interest. They simply choose not to use what is already in place.

Lembit Öpik: Is my hon. Friend effectively saying that, when faced with the inconvenience of checks and balances on human rights, this Government prefer to declare an emergency, have a debate and try to sweep them away-in rather the same way that they had three goes at banning Brian Haw, who still happens to live in Parliament square?

Mr. Heath: My hon. Friend is absolutely right; he has got it in one. That is why the allocation of time motion is before us today. There is one abhorrent point in it, incidentally. Given the difficulties inherent in such legislation, and the Supreme Court's judgment, I find it extraordinary that, if another place makes suggestions to us about how the legislation might be improved, all those amendments will be dealt with in one hour by this House. These matters strike at the fundamental liberties of citizens: by Executive decision, their assets can be frozen on the basis of suspicion. This House would not be doing its job properly if it were to accept that.

At the end of the day, the legislation is before us because the Government have been found to be acting ultra vires and failing to secure proper parliamentary approval. Other Commonwealth jurisdictions have had no problem in that respect: the Australian and New Zealand Governments had no problem in going back to their Parliaments and asking for their approval properly. However, the arrogance of this Government and, in particular, the Treasury means that they do not understand what Parliament is for, and they do not understand the proper scrutiny of Bills. That is why the motion is before us today, and I invite my right hon. and hon. colleagues to vote against it.

4.44 pm

Mr. Douglas Hogg (Sleaford and North Hykeham) (Con): I, too, rise to express my considerable anxiety at what we are doing.

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First, I accept that we will have to enact the Bill today. Leaving aside the fact that the Government have a majority, the truth is that the Bill has to go through because we are where we are, but the Government's conduct in this matter is wholly lamentable, and within the rules of order I wish to spell out why. First, the timetable provides for very brief discussion. All stages of this Bill have to be finished by 10 o'clock tonight. The hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Heath) made a good point about the Lords amendments as they are provided for in the timetable motion. Given that the Bill was published at the end of last week, those in the other place will have a little more time to reflect on what has happened, and I have no doubt that they will come forward with amendments. However, this House will be given only one hour to consider those amendments. That is wholly lamentable.

Lembit Öpik: Does it strike the right hon. and learned Gentleman as ironic that the Government want to rush this through in such a way that they could build in further failings in the legislation, which could be prevented if we had proper scrutiny? Once again, they are legislating in haste and allowing themselves the risk of repenting at leisure.

Mr. Hogg: Yes, I agree with that. Nor is it necessary, because the provisions of the Bill-I will not expand on those at the moment, Madam Deputy Speaker-enable previous Acts to be validated and declared legal, so we could take a more leisurely approach in the knowledge that if the banks refused to transfer money, they would be protected by the language of the statute that we will pass in due course.

The truth is that this House has had almost negligible time for consideration. The Bill was published on 5 February. It puts into primary legislation the language of the statutory instrument that attracted such serious criticism in the Supreme Court. Lord Hope said, in terms, that it was an affront to democracy-that it struck at the heart of democracy-and this House is being asked to echo those provisions by the end of today's business. That is a scandal. It is no surprise, either, that Lord Hope should have been so concerned, because the freezing provisions in the 2006 order are very wide in their impact. Furthermore, the designation procedures whereby individuals are designated as persons caught by the provisions are not subject to any proper review. Anybody who supposes that judicial review is a proper remedy in this class of case is making a very serious mistake. Speaking of mistakes, the penalty for infringing the offences in the legislation that we will pass in three hours or so is seven years' imprisonment, which is a very serious tariff.

One of the problems inherent in the timetable motion is the fact that right hon. and hon. Members have not had a chance to consider amendments. The Bill was published on 5 February-last Friday-and today is Monday. Sensible people do not set about drafting amendments until they have had an opportunity to consult. There can have been no consultations; it is therefore not surprising that there are so few amendments. What is more, none of the amendments deals with the central issue-whether there should be a proper judicial review or appeal process as to the scope of freezing
8 Feb 2010 : Column 650
orders or as to designation. That is not because such amendments are not required or justified in law-clearly, the Supreme Court was looking for precisely that class of amendment-but rather because this thing has been so rushed that right hon. and hon. Members have not had an opportunity to formulate them. That shows how dangerous this timetable motion is.

The Minister said, "Well, of course, until the last moment we were confident of winning in another place." That is a lamentable approach to the matter. First, the issues were very grave and required primary legislation. Secondly, as I said in my intervention on the Minister-if she would be good enough to listen-Lord Newton of Braintree, who has had huge ministerial and other experience in this place and elsewhere, headed a committee that said, in terms, that legislation of this class should be primary legislation. That view was repeated in 2004 by the Joint Committee on Human Rights. Let nobody say that the Government have been caught by surprise. They have known for a long time.

Furthermore, the litigation that gave rise to the Supreme Court judgment began in 2008, entered the Court of Appeal in October 2008 and reached the Supreme Court in October 2009. There was ample time to introduce primary legislation, or at least draft proposals, that could be consulted on among those with an interest in the matter. That was all the more necessary and important because the principal legislation involved is secondary legislation that never went through the parliamentary process. The measures had no Committee stage, Second Reading or Report, yet they will enable the Treasury on "reasonable suspicion" to designate a person, leaving them unable to deal with their financial affairs.

That is lamentable. The timetable motion will pass, I know, and the Bill will pass into the other place. In view of the timetable motion, I suspect that it will be largely unchanged when it returns. True, it has a sunset clause, but that expires at the end of this year, so for nearly 12 months, potentially unjust legislation will be on the statute book. That is the fault of this Government-arrogant, uncaring, undemocratic and smug. Happily, the general election is coming soon.

4.51 pm

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: I have listened with interest to hon. Members' contributions on the motion. The main thrust of the arguments can be made on Second Reading and during debate on the clauses; I just want to put a couple of points on the record.

Our terrorist freezing Orders in Council were made in good faith. The Court of Appeal agreed with the Government on the matter in October 2008. I point out that one of the Supreme Court judges, Lord Brown, in the minority, considered that the United Nations Act 1946 gave the Treasury wide enough powers to draft the Al-Qaida and Taliban (United Nations Measures) Order 2006 as it did.

I emphasise that the Bill will establish a temporary measure. We have published a longer Bill intended to undergo proper scrutiny; I am sure that one of the arguments that we will have this evening involves how much time people consider is enough for proper scrutiny.

I hesitate to contradict the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Heath), who speaks for the Liberal Democrats, but the powers under the Anti-terrorism,
8 Feb 2010 : Column 651
Crime and Security Act 2001 are not comparable. They can be used only against threats emanating from outside the UK, not domestic threats such as UK-based terrorists. With that, I hope that I can persuade him not to oppose the motion, which I commend to the House.

Question put.

The House proceeded to a Division.

Madam Deputy Speaker: I ask the Serjeant at Arms to investigate the delay in the Aye Lobby.

The House having divided: Ayes 376, Noes 56.
Division No. 72]
[4.53 pm


Afriyie, Adam
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Allen, Mr. Graham
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Anderson, Mr. David
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Austin, John
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Bain, Mr. William
Baird, Vera
Balls, rh Ed
Barker, Gregory
Barlow, Ms Celia
Baron, Mr. John
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Sir Stuart
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benn, rh Hilary
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Beresford, Sir Paul
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Binley, Mr. Brian
Blackman, Liz
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Bone, Mr. Peter
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browning, Angela
Bryant, Chris
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, rh Andy
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burt, Alistair
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byrne, rh Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Clark, Greg
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, rh Yvette
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cousins, Jim
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Crausby, Mr. David
Creagh, Mary
Cruddas, Jon
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Curry, rh Mr. David
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs. Claire
David, Mr. Wayne
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Davis, rh David
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Dodds, Mr. Nigel
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Duddridge, James
Duncan, Alan
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Eagle, Angela

Eagle, Maria
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Fabricant, Michael
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Field, Mr. Mark
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, rh Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Mr. Roger
Gardiner, Barry
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Goodman, Helen
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Gove, Michael
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Greenway, Mr. John
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Griffith, Nia
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harper, Mr. Mark
Havard, Mr. Dai
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Healey, rh John
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Henderson, Mr. Doug
Hendry, Charles
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Herbert, Nick
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Howell, John
Howells, rh Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Glenda
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kidney, Mr. David
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lammy, rh Mr. David
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Loughton, Tim
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Luff, Peter
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Maclean, rh David
MacShane, rh Mr. Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Maples, Mr. John
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McDonagh, Siobhain
McFadden, rh Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGuire, rh Mrs. Anne
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
Merron, Gillian

Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, rh David
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Austin
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, rh Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Neill, Robert
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Olner, Mr. Bill
Osborne, Mr. George
Owen, Albert
Pearson, Ian
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Prosser, Gwyn
Purnell, rh James
Randall, Mr. John
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reid, rh John
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, John
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Rosindell, Andrew
Roy, Lindsay
Ruddock, Joan
Ryan, rh Joan
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Scott, Mr. Lee
Seabeck, Alison
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simmonds, Mark
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, rh Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, Chloe
Smith, Geraldine
Smith, rh Jacqui
Snelgrove, Anne
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Mr. Richard
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tami, Mark
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Timpson, Mr. Edward
Todd, Mr. Mark
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Ussher, Kitty
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Vaz, rh Keith
Walker, Mr. Charles

Waltho, Lynda
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, rh Malcolm
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Wilson, Phil
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Wood, Mike
Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Jeremy
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Frank Roy and
Mrs. Sharon Hodgson

Alexander, Danny
Baker, Norman
Brake, Tom
Breed, Mr. Colin
Brooke, Annette
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Bruce, rh Malcolm
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Lorely
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies
Davey, Mr. Edward
Farron, Tim
Foster, Mr. Don
George, Andrew
Gidley, Sandra
Goldsworthy, Julia
Hancock, Mr. Mike
Harris, Dr. Evan
Harvey, Nick
Heath, Mr. David
Hemming, John
Holmes, Paul
Horwood, Martin
Howarth, David
Hughes, Simon
Huhne, Chris
Hunter, Mark
Kramer, Susan
Lamb, Norman
Laws, Mr. David
Leech, Mr. John
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
McDonnell, John
Mulholland, Greg
Oaten, Mr. Mark
Öpik, Lembit
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Price, Adam
Pugh, Dr. John
Reid, Mr. Alan
Rennie, Willie
Rowen, Paul
Russell, Bob
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Spink, Bob
Stunell, Andrew
Swinson, Jo
Webb, Steve
Williams, Hywel
Williams, Mark
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wyatt, Derek
Tellers for the Noes:

Sir Robert Smith and
Dan Rogerson
Question accordingly agreed to.
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8 Feb 2010 : Column 655

Terrorist Asset-Freezing (Temporary Provisions) Bill

Second Reading

5.9 pm

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Liam Byrne): I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

The whole House would wish that today's provisions were not required, yet we are realists, and we know that the real world demands action of the kind proposed in the Bill. Terrorism continues to pose a threat to the United Kingdom. Indeed, the Home Secretary recently apprised the House of the fact that the terrorist threat is now judged as severe-in other words, highly likely at any time.

As hon. Members know, terrorist organisations, including al-Qaeda, have executed or planned a succession of attacks with the aim of causing mass casualties. Many of our constituents have been affected or caught up or murdered. Yet the economics of that threat are frighteningly simple. The cost of a terrorist attack is low, yet its impact is devastating. The attacks on London on 7 July 2005, for example, cost the perpetrators just £8,000, yet the price paid by the British people was immeasurably greater.

For that reason, we seek to fight back with every appropriate weapon, which must include control of finance, assets and cash. Without resources, terror networks are unable to plan, organise or execute attacks, for which reason the United Nations requires that all states:

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