Clause 1 — Encouragement of terrorism

Part of Orders of the Day — Terrorism Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:00 pm on 9th November 2005.

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Photo of Hazel Blears Hazel Blears Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Security and Community Safety), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 8:00 pm, 9th November 2005

I want to press on.

Unfortunately, there are young and impressionable people in our society who can all too easily be manipulated by people preaching or advocating a message of hate. Such people can create the climate of hate in which terrorism can more easily flourish. That is what we are trying to tackle with the offence. I remind the House that the terms of the offence are clear. Simply condoning terrorism, or even glorifying it, will not be sufficient to constitute a criminal offence. The glorification must take place in such a way that the person making the statement must intend it or be reckless as to its effect. The statement must have an effect on the audience, who must be encouraged to emulate the behaviour. Because the offence includes all those components, it would address all the illustrations bandied around the House to express genuine or, in some cases, not so genuine concern.

The offence is complex. It has two limbs: what someone does and what the effect is. That combination should be sufficient to reassure people that we are trying to focus on the mischief of those who make statements to vulnerable young people that could draw them into extremism, without casting our net so wide that we catch people where it is inappropriate. I have genuinely tried to formulate the provisions so that they attack that mischief, which I hope everybody acknowledges is a real threat to us, but without drawing people in too widely.