Orders of the Day — Terrorism Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:48 pm on 26th October 2005.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Douglas Hogg Douglas Hogg Conservative, Sleaford and North Hykeham 3:48 pm, 26th October 2005

Indeed, and he would be protected only by the rather doubtful intervention of the Government's in-house lawyer, namely the Attorney-General. And I would not commend that to him as a very safe bet.

These are but examples among scores of cases that could be cited. All those struggles involved terrorism, and they were all successful. Most of the people who write about them glorify them, and it is quite likely that the people who read the articles and the history will be inspired to emulate them because they were successful.

What about present and future struggles that involve the use of force? As the hon. Member for Manchester, Central asked earlier, what are people to do in states that have no democracy and where tyranny and oppression prevail? Are we to say that acts of violence are in no circumstances to be countenanced? Such acts of violence will often include actions that are undoubtedly acts of terrorism within the definition in the Terrorism Act 2000. Do we really want people to be made criminals if they urge an armed insurrection against the military regime in Burma? Are we really prepared to say that people who say that Mugabe's regime should be displaced by force are committing a criminal offence? Is that really what we are bringing this society to?

Let us consider the occupied territories. The Liberal Democrats will know that one of their number, now Baroness Tonge, expressed sympathy for the suicide bombers there. I believe that the Prime Minister's wife has done the same thing. They were but a step or two away from falling within the scope of clause 1. Do we really want to say that such people are criminals who are to be brought before the law and sent to prison? I find that an extraordinary proposition.

It is true that there are safeguards in the Bill. We are told that the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions—or, in the case of an overseas terrorist, that of the Attorney-General—will be required for a prosecution.