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I certainly hear the point that the hon. Gentleman is making. As I have already stressed, our preference is always to bring prosecutions and to bring people before the criminal law. I must also highlight my previous comment on the compliance with the ECHR of the provisions before us. These measures are always used only as a last resort.
We are currently preparing legislation to introduce the replacement system. I am anxious that the passage of that legislation should follow due process, and that it should be subject to the intense scrutiny that I know Members of this House and the other place will rightly bring to bear on it. Hon. Members will understand that these are complex issues, and I am sure that they will
share my desire to ensure that we get the new provisions right. While the process is under way, it would not be responsible for us to leave a gap in public protection between the repeal of control orders and the introduction of the replacement regime. Our intention is that there should be a safe and managed transition to the new system. This means that, until the new system is introduced, we need to retain the full range of control order powers. The alternative would be to allow individuals who pose a threat to the public to go freely about their terrorism-related activities for the remainder of the year.
This is the last occasion on which the House will be asked to renew these powers. The Government will shortly bring forward a more targeted and focused regime to protect the public. Before the transition to that new regime is complete, the risk to the public would be grave indeed were control order powers not renewed. I therefore ask the House to approve the renewal of those powers for the transitional period.
— from debate entitled “Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism”
The three speeches/headings immediately before
- 1 earlier: Jeremy Corbyn
Is the Minister aware that the objection that many of us have to the principle of control orders is that they are effectively a form of Executive control and not subject to judicial review in the normal way? What we need is criminal law to deal with criminals, rather than Executive fiat to deal with people about whom the Security Service might or might not have suspicions.
- 2 earlier: James Brokenshire
I am aware that my hon. Friend has introduced a Bill, although it would not strictly apply in the context of this debate on control orders and the new proposals that we are seeking to introduce, given that his Bill applies to provisions allowing for detention. That means that it would not affect these measures, because they do not allow for detention. I note that he has sought to introduce his Bill, but I do not think it is directly relevant to this debate.
- 3 earlier: William Cash
I should like my hon. Friend to take note of the observation made by a former Home Secretary, Charles Clarke:
“The principal responsibility of the judiciary is to justice and to the liberty of the citizen properly carried through, but not to the security of the nation.”
Is my hon. Friend also aware of my Prevention of Terrorism Bill, which I introduced today? The object of the Bill is simply to disapply the Human Rights Act 1998 in respect of these matters in order to ensure that we maintain habeas corpus, due process and fair trial, even in the case of alleged suspects.
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