I rise to speak to the new clauses and amendments that stand in my name, which have been tabled to give effect to recommendations made in the Joint Committee on Human Rights reports. I approach this issue with my eyes open; I am not wearing rose-tinted glasses. I remind the House that I was the first to raise concerns over the activities of extremists, from early 1998, when I was warning about Abu Hamza, Bakri Mohammed, Abu Qatada and many others. In those days, everybody thought that I was a bit of a nerd and nobody took any notice of me. I hope that today they will take notice of what I have to say, as they did after 9/11, but not before. As a consequence of what I did, I suffered hate mail, death threats and vitriolic personal attacks. In addition, five of my constituents—more than the number for any other constituency—were killed on
I voted for 90 days, because at that time I saw no other option. I have since changed my position, because the Government have not made their case for new powers, we have experience of the 28-day maximum, the safeguards are not adequate, alternatives are available and I do not believe that the proposals will make us safer. In fact, they risk alienation and division in our society.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights has reported on 11 separate occasions on counter-terrorism policy, and an array of our reports lie on the Table, tagged for today's debate. They all start from the same basic premise: that the state has a positive obligation in human rights law to protect us all from terrorism and violence; and that the state has a duty to prosecute and to make prosecution more effective and, as far as possible, to do so as part of ordinary criminal law. Each erosion of the normal process is, in itself, a result for the terrorist, who would undermine our freedoms and way of life. We run the risk of doing his work for him.
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