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 Richard Burden Richard Burden Labour, Birmingham, Northfield 1:24 pm, 26th October 2005

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend. Is it not true that the Bill's definition of terrorism goes rather further than he is suggesting? Paragraph 19 of the explanatory notes states:

"The Bill also makes use of the term acts . . . of terrorism. Act and action are both defined in section 121 of the TACT", which is the Terrorism Act 2000. It continues:

"Section 1(5) makes it clear that . . . an act is also for the purposes of terrorism if it is taken for the benefit of a proscribed organisation. Clause 20(2) of the Bill makes it clear that acts (or act) of terrorism as used in the Bill includes an act taken for the purposes of terrorism and so includes an act taken for the benefit of a proscribed organisation."

There is no doubt that Hamas is a terrorist organisation and that it is already proscribed under existing legislation. Let us consider the question of its having a major internal debate about whether to get involved in the political process in the west bank. If a Member of this House tried to use their influence with Hamas—through intermediaries or directly—to persuade it to get involved in that political process, that would probably be to the benefit of that organisation. Would it be criminal to do so?