Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:00 pm on 4th March 2010.

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Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 1:00 pm, 4th March 2010

I am grateful for that clarification, but perhaps when he replies the Minister will describe as far as he can the processes that lead to a decision, as that may throw further light on the background to that reassurance.

Will the Minister confirm that al-Shabaab is the only name of the organisation that the Government wish to proscribe, or can we expect further proscription orders to cover other names for al-Shabaab? He will be aware that al-Shabaab was proscribed in the United States in February 2008 on the grounds that its leadership was working alongside al-Qaeda, and based on the intelligence that individuals from al-Shabaab had trained with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Other countries, including Norway and Sweden, also banned al-Shabaab in 2008, and Australia banned it last year. I would be grateful if he could explain what was contained in the statement issued by al-Shabaab on 2 February 2010 that prompted the Government to bring in this order because that appears to have been the cue for today's instrument.

Will the Minister explain what the Government's position on al-Shabaab was before 2 February and why it differed from that of a number of our allies? Could the Government have acted sooner? Al-Shabaab's campaign has been ongoing since the beginning of 2007, prompting the moves to proscribe it in other countries. Is there not a case for better co-ordination between countries on proscribed organisations, and have Her Majesty's Government received representations on the proscription of al-Shabaab from any other countries?

The explanatory memorandum refers to an explicit threat from al-Shabaab to attack targets in Kenya. Can the Minister tell us any more about the nature of this threat, and is there a specific threat to British interests in Kenya? Are the Government receiving the necessary co-operation from the Kenyan authorities to tackle the potential threat in Kenya?