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Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 14:


The noble Lord said: This is a drafting amendment to make clear that the Lord Chancellor's rules, referred to at paragraph 9(7)(a) of Schedule 1 are made by statutory instrument. The rules in question are made under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and relate to the National Security Certificate Tribunal established under that Act. The Terrorism Bill brings within the remit of that tribunal appeals against national security certificates issued in appeals to the High Court against a refusal by the Secretary of State to grant a certificate to a person wishing to provide private security services in Northern Ireland. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 1, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 3 [Proscription]:

Lord Cope of Berkeley moved Amendment No. 15:


    Page 2, line 16, leave out paragraph (c).

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The noble Lord said: This amendment arises from a recommendation of the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation, to whose recommendations this House always pays close attention.

In paragraph 15 of the committee's 12th report, which was its main report on this Bill among other matters, the committee draws attention to this matter and says that the House may wish to seek justification from the Minister for this "unusual" power. It is to seek further justification that I tabled this amendment.

On the face of it, it is a wide power to permit the Secretary of State to amend Schedule 2 "in some other way". That is expressed extremely widely. It is an Henry VIII power; that is, a power of secondary legislation to amend primary legislation, subject to the affirmative procedure. That is perfectly correct, and the Select Committee thought it correct also. Nevertheless, I feel that we should seek further justification for the use of this power. I beg to move.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Cope, for flushing us out on this matter and I shall happily give an explanation.

Clause 3 provides the Secretary of State's power to proscribe and deproscribe organisations. As such, it is fundamental to the operation of Part II of the Bill. Amendment No. 15 cannot be accepted because the power which it would delete is necessary to the proper working of the proscription regime.

Proscribing and deproscribing organisations is normally done by adding organisations to or taking them away from Schedule 2. However, it is also necessary for the Secretary of State to be able to amend the schedule in some other way. The reason is that he may need to add, remove or amend a note such as is referred to in subsection (2) of Clause 3.

The use of notes in Schedule 2 is a drafting innovation, but is intended to achieve the same effect as the current legislation. In the Northern Ireland (Emergency Powers) Act 1996, the corresponding schedule includes an entry for,


    "the organisation using the name 'The Orange Volunteers' and being the organisation in whose name a statement described as a press release was published on 14th October 1998".

While the intention of that entry is clear enough, we felt that there was a risk of confusion and even some contradiction between it and the general principle now in Clause 3(1)(b); that is, if an organisation is proscribed, so are all other organisations operating under the same name. The approach taken by the Bill is therefore to explain the particular case of the Orange Volunteers by means of a note to Schedule 2 and, in Clause 3(2), to disapply the general principle in this particular case.

That is why it is important that the Secretary of State can not only add to and subtract from the schedule, but can also amend it in other ways. We do not expect that there will be much need to use the power in Clause 3(3)(c) since, as I have just said, it has its origin in what is very much a one-off case.

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Nevertheless, since the precedent has now been set, we see the Clause 3(3)(c) power as an essential part of the package. I hope therefore that the noble Lord will agree to withdraw his amendment on this point.

Lord Goodhart: As a member of the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee, we rather suspected that that might be the answer to why this provision was included in the Bill. The purposes for which it is proposed seem to be acceptable and it is not likely that the committee need have any further concern with this matter. But I am glad that that has been placed on the record.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: In view of the explanation given by the Minister and the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Glentoran moved Amendment No. 16:


    Page 2, line 19, at end insert--


("(4A) The Secretary of State may exercise his power under subsection (3)(b) in respect of an organisation only if he believes that it is not currently concerned in terrorism.").

The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 17, which is a covering drafting amendment should Amendment No. 16 be accepted. This is quite a simple amendment, but the world of terrorism is complex and will become far more complicated. All sorts of political issues will come into the equation and it seems to us that the terms of this amendment cover the situation; that is to say, that the Secretary of State may remove an organisation from the proscribed list under such conditions.

If we do not have a condition that is clear cut and easily recognisable against that power, it would, perhaps, leave the matter a little open--a little naked--bearing in mind things that have happened in Northern Ireland at different times when negotiating with terrorists. Moreover, as we discussed earlier, this Bill can cover terrorism elsewhere in the world to some extent. Indeed, we could be dealing with international terrorist groups. Before an organisation is taken off the proscribed list, it seems to us that the Secretary of State and the government of the day should take some considerable trouble to ensure that, both nationally and internationally, the said organisation is well and truly out, if I may put it that way, of the terrorist game. I beg to move.

Lord Avebury: This is, perhaps, a convenient opportunity for me to raise a point that worries me a little; namely, that in the Explanatory Notes we are told that the Government are considering which organisations involved in international terrorism might be added to the schedule. However, as far as I know, the Government have given no indication as to which organisations they have in mind. For example, will they include all the organisations that are listed in the US State Department's Patterns of Global Terrorism, the 1999 edition of which was published last

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month? Alternatively, if we do not take a ready-made list like the one to which I just referred, can the Minister give any indication of what principles will be applied?

Many organisations operate in the United Kingdom which some people may say are front organisations for terrorists. Perhaps I may give the Committee one example. Many people have complained about the activities of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which operates under a pseudonym. Indeed, the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka has frequently complained about this organisation. He says that the British Government tolerate the activities of the LTTE in the UK and that they allow it to maintain offices, raise funds, and so on. Can the Minister say whether the LTTE is one of the organisations that the Government are considering banning? It is named in the US State Department's Patterns of Global Terrorism, so we are not breaking any great secrets if we discuss the matter openly on the Floor of the Committee.

The Government cannot simply take the power to proscribe any organisation that comes into their mind; they must have some idea of what constitutes an organisation engaged in international terrorism and of what action they are likely to take against it if it has offices within the United Kingdom. We are talking about very extensive powers, and I believe that most Members of the Committee would agree that they are justifiable. But, before we leave this clause, I should be grateful if the Minister could give further information about how such powers will be used.

Lord Monson: This is not only a worthwhile amendment but also a very necessary one. Surely it would be quite wrong for any government to cave in to organisations currently concerned in terrorism. Of course, the drafting of the amendment may not be 100 per cent perfect; I do not know. Nevertheless, I hope that the Government will at least accept the principle behind the amendment. It will be rather alarming if they do not.

7.45 p.m.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: These amendments are very similar in effect to those moved in another place by Mr David Lidington on 20th January, so this debate has, so to speak, already taken place. As I understand it, the amendments seek to place a similar restriction on the circumstances in which the proscribed organisation appeals commission could recommend de-proscription.

I take most seriously the points made by all Members of the Committee on this issue. Clearly, we must think very carefully about such matters. We rejected the amendment moved by Mr Lidington, which would have provided that the Secretary of State "may exercise his power under subsection (3)(b) in respect of an organisation only if he believes that it has ceased to be concerned in terrorism." I shall give the reasons.

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Under the Bill, proscription will be available for the first time for organisations concerned in international terrorism. I am reluctant to be drawn into listing and relying upon a US list relating to terrorism. We are carefully considering such matters. I am, of course, grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, for drawing our attention to the 1999 US State Department listing, but, as I said, we wish to consider these matters most carefully.

It has to be said that it would be excessive to proscribe every organisation in the world that is concerned with terrorism. However, I can give the noble Lord some idea of the factors that will be taken into account, which are fairly obvious. First, we would have to consider carefully the nature and scale of the group's activities; secondly, we would have to look at the specific threat that it posed to the United Kingdom and our citizens abroad, which is clearly a very important consideration, as well as the extent of its presence in this country. Indeed, the noble Lord drew our attention to one group which may, or may not, fall into that category. Thirdly, we would also have to consider our responsibility to support other members of the international community in the global fight against terrorism. That has to be very important.

I am sure that those with long experience of such matters, like the noble Lords, Lord Glentoran and Lord Cope of Berkeley, will recognise the role that we have to play within the wider international community in this respect. In that context, it is conceivable--and I stress only "conceivable"--that an organisation might cease to be a candidate for proscription in the UK without actually ceasing to be concerned in terrorism. It is conceivable, but we must leave it at that point.

The amendments tabled by the noble Lords, Lord Glentoran and Lord Cope, and others differ from those put forward by Mr Lidington in that their amendments require the Secretary of State to believe that the organisation is not currently concerned in terrorism. Therefore, under these amendments, the Secretary of State could de-proscribe an organisation which might not have entirely ceased to be concerned in terrorism--but only so long as he believed that the organisation was,


    "not currently concerned in terrorism".

The arguments that we advanced in another place still apply to this version of the amendment. The Government believe that the hands of the Secretary of State should not be tied. As I stressed earlier, that is particularly important given our commitments in the field of tackling international terrorism where it is conceivable that, on balance, the Secretary of State might wish to de-proscribe an organisation which is concerned in terrorism.

As we have said, the Secretary of State will take his responsibilities very seriously. But it is right to ensure that the Secretary of State can weigh up all the relevant factors without being constrained in the manner contemplated by these amendments. With that

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explanation and the reassurance that we shall pay very close attention to these matters, I trust that the noble Lord will agree to withdraw his amendment.


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