Orders of the Day — Terrorism Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:24 pm on 26th October 2005.

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Photo of Charles Clarke Charles Clarke Home Secretary 1:24 pm, 26th October 2005

I judge all Members principally by their acts, and the key act is voting. I judge them on how they vote on crucial questions. I am very ready to accept that the hon. Gentleman is displaying integrity when he says he seeks consensus. That is a generous assessment, but I am ready to make it. Ultimately, however, the choice is simple: do we believe that the Bill should have its Second Reading or not? If we say no, we are saying that there will be no counter-terrorism legislation.—[Interruption.] That is what is meant by a vote in the House of Commons. If an hon. Member decides that he does not agree with a particular measure, a particular clause or a particular set of clauses, he will either table an amendment or vote against the clause or clauses during the substantial consideration of the Bill in Committee and on Report. I might disagree with that, but I would respect it.

The hon. Member for Winchester made clear in our discussions during the summer that he had real difficulty with one or two points, not only on his own account but on that of his party. He is entitled to adopt that position: it is a reasonable position for a political leader to adopt. What he is not entitled to do—and this is why I make my point as sharply as I do—is say, "We oppose any legislation on counter-terrorism."