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Prevention of Terrorism Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 10th March 2005.

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Photo of Robert Marshall-Andrews Robert Marshall-Andrews Labour, Medway 6:30 pm, 10th March 2005

We have another half an hour, and I will not speak for very long, because other Members may wish to speak, including Chris Ruane—I am sure that he has a serious and interesting contribution to make.

My point concerns review by the judiciary of derogating and non-derogating clauses. I take the view that the House was seriously misled yesterday and when we debated the matter before. This is a central issue. The Government make a distinction between derogating and non-derogating issues; I do not accept that distinction, but the Government make it. In respect of derogating issues—house arrest—the Government provide that the court will have full powers to look at the facts and to come to its own conclusions. So far, so good. I would reluctantly accept that, if it were the case for all the orders.

Non-derogating orders are not mere chaff in the system. They will involve people's right to work, to associate and to move, and their being tagged and electronically monitored. They are as close to the pass laws in South Africa as it is possible to get, and they are a serious matter. The question that the House must ask is whether there will be proper judicial review of those proceedings. The House has been told on several occasions that there will be, because the court will be allowed to consider the orders, but it may do so only on the basis of judicial review. The basis of judicial review does not allow a court to reopen the case and look at the facts on which the order was made. It is worth repeating that point time and again. Assurances to the House, whether from Front or Back Benchers, and from people who should know better, are simply wrong. The House must take that on board.