Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:36 pm on 4th March 2010.

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Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Minister of State (Home Office) (Crime and Policing) 12:36 pm, 4th March 2010

The LTTE has been a proscribed organisation since the Terrorism Act 2000 came into force because, since the 1970s, the group had carried out numerous terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka as part of its campaign to secure a Tamil homeland. Although support for the LTTE is unlawful, the Tamil community has the right to support that aim, and to discuss and make their views known on the matter. We have a long and proud tradition of freedom of speech and assembly, and it is important that those who support the Tamil case can express their views in Parliament square. Clear action can be taken under proscription legislation if individuals support organisations that are proscribed, but I have no problems with individuals demonstrating in Parliament square, provided that they are not demonstrating support for an organisation that is proscribed under these rules.

Ultimately, it is for the police to consider whether to take action on these matters. We provide a framework and the police make the operational decisions and determine whether charges should be brought under the relevant legislation for this and other proscribed organisations.