Orders of the Day — Terrorism Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:57 pm on 26th October 2005.

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Photo of Elfyn Llwyd Elfyn Llwyd Shadow PC Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Justice) 4:57 pm, 26th October 2005

That is right. And how can one challenge whether the process is happening within a reasonable time scale, given that a person is being detained? All those points need to be considered.

The provision may have come about because of the press release by the Association of Chief Police Officers within a week of the awful occurrence in July. As has frequently been said, if we rush into legislation, we often, if not always, get it wrong. If we rush into this legislation, we will get it wrong big-style. It may act as a recruiting sergeant for terrorism and will certainly alienate large sections of our society—the very people we need on our side in such times. It is extremely dangerous, and we need to reflect far more on what we are doing. In the round, most of it would be covered by existing legislation in any event and is therefore, to use the famous parliamentary word, otiose. We need the current law to be properly enforced.

I have made my point clear. I do not believe that there is a case for extending the 14-day period. Under section 47(3) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, a person can be bailed during the investigation to come back to the police station. He or she can be tagged or put under curfew, and surveillance can take place. Reporting restrictions may be followed. All that is preferable to holding somebody in what might be termed administrative detention, with all the problems that we saw in Northern Ireland when that occurred over there.

We do not need this insidious part of the Bill. We do not need to alienate sections of our community. When all is said and done, we are trying to ensure freedom of speech, the rule of law and democracy, all of which are under attack in this Bill. We must all help to identify a more proportionate solution.