Part of Orders of the Day — Terrorism Bill – in the House of Commons at 1:41 am on 15th March 2000.

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Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Labour, Hayes and Harlington 1:41 am, 15th March 2000

I apologise to my hon. Friends and comrades for detaining them. Many of us had an almost personal relationship with the predecessor legislation to the Bill.

In the early 1980s, Errol and Theresa Smalley approached me because they were concerned about their nephew—Paul Hill—who was one of the first people picked up under the prevention of terrorism Acts, and subsequently framed. I visited him in prison over the years—with my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Mr. Corbyn). I even attended his wedding in Long Lartin. It took more than half a decade to secure his release.

Throughout the 1980s, many members of the Irish community in this country campaigned for the eradication of the PTA—as did many members of the Labour party. Indeed, at one time, it was the policy of our party to repeal the Act. The PTA was used to harass the Irish community; it was ineffective and a source of injustice.

The Bill makes that legislation permanent. We have rejected the possibility of a parliamentary review; tonight, we rejected the potential for a quinquennial review. The Bill extends the scope of that legislation; it widens the definition to include many people who could never be defined as terrorist. It sets the scene for further miscarriages of justice. I cannot support the Bill and will vote against it.