Clause 1 — Power to make control orders

Part of Orders of the Day — Prevention of Terrorism Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:39 pm on 28 February 2005.

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Photo of Mr Win Griffiths Mr Win Griffiths Labour, Bridgend 4:39, 28 February 2005

I rise with some trepidation to support the amendment, the 47 others in the group and new clause 1, which all relate to decisions made by a court through the judicial process rather than by the Secretary of State as the person in the Executive arm of Government responsible for such matters. I am keeping in mind both the letter that has been distributed to us, as it is bound to have some bearing on the debate, and the fact that when we discussed these issues during the passage of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, I voted for procedures that have since been declared illegal. I feel, therefore, that I need to explain—although not at length—why I have come to a different opinion.

In the appalling aftermath of the terrible twin towers incident in New York, there seemed a pressing and urgent need to do something significant to cope with what seemed an immediate danger. Some people may say that because nothing has happened in the United Kingdom over the past few years I am getting complacent, but that is not the case. I am moving the amendments in the context of the fact that it appears that our intelligence services are doing a good job in maintaining their monitoring of the potential terrorist threat. I wish them well and applaud all that they are doing in that regard. Obviously I do not want any form of terrorist activity in the UK to come to a terrible successful conclusion. However, I am also aware that the terrorist threat is no longer a one-off, but will be a significant experience for perhaps months or years. While the middle east remains a festering sore on the human political and social condition, there is a danger that the threat of terrorism will continue. In other words, it could be around for a long time. So issues relating to putting suspected terrorists under some form of house arrest imprisonment or other non-derogating actions to control the potential terrorist threat—