Examination of witnesses (Questions 138
WEDNESDAY 14 NOVEMBER 2001
MP, MR ROBERT
138. Minister, welcome. It seems like only yesterday
that you were sitting on this side of the table. Can you introduce
the two officials with you, please.
(Beverley Hughes) I have with me Bob
Whalley from the Home Office, who will assist me with any aspect
on terrorism and terrorism protection, and Iain Walsh, from the
Immigration and Nationality Directorate. I have some other people
behind me if I need them.
139. As you are probably aware, it is not our
intention to trawl through every detail of this Bill, much of
which is uncontroversial, but to home in, in the limited time
we have, on the three or four obvious issues that are likely to
be more controversial. Can I start by asking you how much of this
is emergency legislation and how much could have waited?
(Beverley Hughes) The whole of the Bill is a response
to the events of September 11th and the result of a consequent
audit right across governmentin a very measured way; we
have not rushed into thisas to how far our existing legislation
was sufficient to deal with events of that kind, whether or not
we needed to have a wholesale revision of our legislation, or
whether we could plug gaps. A wholesale revision was not necessary,
but what we did need to bring forward was a set of proportionate
and targeted measures designed specifically to deal with gaps
in our current legislation that we felt the public would reasonably
expect us to fill. In that sense, I think the whole of the Bill
has a direct or clear link to some of the new threats that arise
from the events of September 11th.