Orders of the Day — Terrorism Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:38 pm on 26th October 2005.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis Shadow Secretary of State (Home Office) 2:38 pm, 26th October 2005

Yes, Cameron; I think they are relatives.—[Interruption.] I cannot believe that the Home Secretary is seeking to interfere in the leadership contest by that route, anyway.

Is it right that Miss Cameron should be held for several hours at a police station for the grave offence of walking on a cycle path?

Such examples highlight why we must look at new proposals with scepticism until the case is proven. Let us apply that test particularly to those that are the most controversial. The proposed new crime of glorification, which I have been asked about, is one. Today's proposal is better than that originally anticipated when the Prime Minister announced the clause back in August. As the Home Secretary said, he wrote to the Liberal Democrat spokesman and me. I objected to various aspects of it, as did others, and he has changed it. The revised version has brought together the incitement and glorification clauses of the existing Bill, but the term "glorification" still remains too broad, and I am not convinced that it is necessary or desirable. As I said to my hon. Friend Mr. Binley, we clearly have to address a definition of foreign terrorism if we are going to pursue this.

The proposed law does not require that an individual intends to encourage terrorism in order to commit a crime. It rests on the requirement that someone's comments could "reasonably be expected" to incite terrorism. That is a test of negligence, not criminality. Of course, it also fails the Cherie test. The Prime Minister's wife famously talked sympathetically about the motives of suicide bombers, as Mr. Marshall-Andrews reminded us. Unless the Prime Minister is seriously suggesting that his wife should be locked up, the clause needs to be thought through again. If it cannot be improved in that and the other aspects that have been mentioned today, it must be removed.