Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:32 pm on 4th March 2010.

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Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Minister of State (Home Office) (Crime and Policing) 1:32 pm, 4th March 2010

Let me commence by answering Mr. Cash, who asked about recent television programmes and activities in Tower Hamlets. I cannot really comment on whether any consideration has been given to proscribing groups that are not on the proscribed list. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, there is a statutory test under the 2000 Act, which indicates whether or not an organisation should be proscribed. In response to the point made by my right hon. Friend Keith Vaz, we continue to keep under review not just organisations on the proscribed list, but organisations about which we have potential concerns, and which we may wish to bring forward at a future date to join the proscribed list. What I can say is that we keep all matters under review and we are active-not just in the borough of Tower Hamlets, but throughout east London and in many other parts of the UK-in helping to prevent terrorism through a range of activities and programmes to ensure that we do not allow radicalisation to occur.

That brings me to the initial point raised by Mr. Blunt, echoed somewhat by Tom Brake, which was about the evidence base. My right hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East also touched on this. The decision to proscribe an organisation is not one taken lightly. It entails the building of a case that meets the legal test under the 2000 Act, and which is examined by officials in the Home Office and other Government Departments. That case is assembled over many weeks and months as the evidence is brought forward and collated. Ultimately, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has to take a decision on that case.

To answer my right hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has seen evidence put to him, which we cannot discuss in detail here, indicating not only that suicide attacks, bombings and murders involving explosive devices might have been carried out by this organisation abroad, but general concerns about its operation. I say to my right hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East that British interests are sometimes affected by British interests abroad, and that solidarity with other organisations fighting terrorism abroad sometimes requires that we take particular steps. We have assessed the situation carefully and come to this conclusion, based on the evidence that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has examined.