Clause 1 — Seizure of passports etc from persons suspected of involvement in terrorism

Internet Communications (Regulation) – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 6th January 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 3:30 pm, 6th January 2015

I beg to move amendment 9, page 1, line 8, at end insert—

‘(2) This section shall be repealed on 31 December 2016 unless both Houses of Parliament have passed a resolution that it should continue in force until a future date.

(3) The date specified in a resolution of both Houses of Parliament under subsection (2) may be modified by subsequent resolutions of both Houses of Parliament.’.

This amendment would require a vote in Parliament to renew the power to temporarily seize passports

.

I hope that our discussions on this amendment will be shorter than those on the previous group, because it is fairly straightforward. It would put in place a closure date of 31 December 2016 on the power to seize passports, unless both Houses of Parliament passed resolutions that it should continue in force until a future date. As Members will be aware, the Bill sets out the power to seize travel documents from individuals who are thought—this is intelligence-led—to be travelling outside the United Kingdom for purposes relating to terrorism. Those measures have the broad support of my right hon. Friend Yvette Cooper and myself; we did not oppose them on Second Reading or in Committee. However, if passed today in their current form, the measures would be in place in perpetuity, pending any amendment or removal by a future Government.

The point I wish to bring to the House’s attention is that the new powers being introduced today, as I think the Minister accepts, were subject to limited consultation prior to publication of the Bill. They give a range of potential powers, under schedule 1, for immigration officers, customs officials, qualified officers and senior police officers to ensure that passports are decommissioned for a period of 14 or 30 days. They allow the Government, under schedule 1, to bring forward a code of practice, which we have not yet seen and which is not yet in place.

There are powers set out in paragraph 14 of schedule 1 that allow the Secretary of State to make whatever arrangements he or she thinks appropriate in relation to the person during the relevant period or on the relevant period coming to an end. There are powers in place that, as we discussed in Committee, could lead to a range of mistakes and challenges and a serious deprivation of liberty. Again, although we support the broad thrust of those powers, the simple question before the House today is this: should the powers be in place in perpetuity, or should we have a sunset clause?

If the amendment were accepted, the sunset clause would allow for the powers to fall in December 2016. That would mean that the Government could introduce new legislation with amendments, taking into account the experience of those two years of operation. It could equally mean that in the run-up to December 2016 the Minister or Secretary of State, whoever that was, could hold a formal review, as we would expect, and introduce an order extending the life of the powers for a further period. It would require only a one-and-a-half-hour debate in the House of Commons under the affirmative resolution procedure. It is normal practice and has been done on a range of matters. Until recently, the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, for example, always contained a sunset clause and was renewed annually. It is a reasonable thing to do.

I propose that because the powers are new and extensive and have not yet been subject to wide consultation. We accept that the threat is current and severe, leading individuals to travel abroad, as we discussed on the previous group of amendments, but we do not know what it will be like in two years’ time.

Photo of David Heath David Heath Liberal Democrat, Somerton and Frome

I am curious to know why the right hon. Gentleman’s amendment applies only to clause 1, unless I have misread it.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

As ever, we are picking arguments and discussion on a range of issues. We could table an amendment applying to the Bill as a whole, but the power relating to passports is new. We are revisiting amendments that we tabled previously to try to strengthen the Bill. We are testing the Minister’s view on a sunset clause in relation to passports. I am happy to consider a sunset clause on other aspects of the Bill.

Photo of David Heath David Heath Liberal Democrat, Somerton and Frome

It is curious, though, to table an amendment that deals with the one thing that, in another form, is already on the statute book. Passports can be seized from persons suspected, for example, of football hooliganism to prevent them from travelling. Perhaps this is purely a probing amendment, in which case that is perfectly fair at this stage in the Bill, but if it is to be a substantive amendment, it seems illogical, if I may say so, for it to apply only to clause 1.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman’s contribution. Logicality is a matter of judgment. We have chosen on this occasion to table an amendment introducing a sunset clause, as we did in Committee. We voted on it in Committee and we have chosen to revisit the issue because we think it is worth revisiting, particularly because, as we shall discuss in a later group of amendments, there is no appeal mechanism in place—[Interruption.] The Minister says there is. Our view is that there is not, but we will discuss that on the next group of amendments.

We believe that there should be a sunset provision in place. The Minister has the opportunity again to discuss that, having previously rejected the principle. Were Mr Heath on the Opposition Benches and were I on the Government Benches, I suspect that he would be arguing for such a proposal, though perhaps not just on clause 1. We will be happy to consider extending it in due course, if that is what the Minister wants. For today, we believe that a sunset clause should be in place. It is a fairly straightforward issue and should not detain the House for long. I commend the amendment to the House.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration)

We discussed this matter in Committee, and I do not intend to detain the House for a great deal of time given the succinct way in which Mr Hanson highlighted his case.

This is an important power that we judge to be necessary given the increasing number of people travelling to engage in terrorism-related activity overseas and returning to the UK with enhanced terrorist-related capabilities. We need an additional power to disrupt individuals’ ability to travel at short notice. In certain circumstances, the Home Secretary already has the right under the royal prerogative to withdraw someone’s passport—a much more significant power. This measure provides a much more short-term—30-day—power to enable further investigations to be undertaken. We believe that it is a proportionate and prudent response to the threat that we face.

Clause 1 and schedule 1 would allow the police to disrupt travel at short notice when there is a reasonable suspicion that someone is travelling for terrorism-related purposes. The power contains a number of robust requirements that will ensure that it is used appropriately and judiciously. In the context of the right hon. Gentleman’s concerns, it is important to note that it is subject to a code of practice. I do not know whether his concerns are based on a perceived uncertainty and lack of consideration, and that is what is preying on his mind, but the code of practice has been published and is in the House Library. It is open for consultation until 30 January. In it—if he has not seen it already, I am happy to send it to him, given that it has been available since 18 December —he may see the level of detail that he may be concerned is lacking. It is open for consultation until 30 January and, as I said, available in the House Library.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 4:00 pm, 6th January 2015

The Minister issued a consultation document on 18 December, which was either the last day or the second-to-last day the House was sitting, and expected Members to know that at the time. He did not have the courtesy to inform me, although we had a debate on these matters. He needs to reflect on that fact. A consultation over Christmas? Perhaps he could do it in a better way.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration)

The right hon. Gentleman was very clear to us about the need for consultation documents to be produced prior to Report stage, and that is precisely what we have done on this and on other matters. Equally, he should reflect on the fact that the Government have not, as has happened previously, waited until Royal Assent before publishing a number of these codes. We have absolutely adhered to the requests that were made in Committee by publishing consultation documents and drafts to enable a proper consideration of the relevant provisions. If that is preying on his mind in seeking to advance his request for a sunset clause, then I draw his attention to the fact that the code of practice has been published and the detail he may think is lacking is in fact available.

The power is subject to scrutiny through an initial review by a senior police officer and a further review by a senior police officer of at least chief superintendent level within 72 hours, with notification to the chief constable, and then, as we will debate in the next group of amendments, the ability, if the police wish to retain travel documents beyond 14 days, for a court review. Clear safeguards have been placed in the Bill. This will give the police, or Border Force officers directed by the police, an important power to seize travel documents, including passports and travel tickets, at a port to disrupt immediate travel based on “reasonable suspicion” that an individual is travelling for terrorism-related activity. The passport is not cancelled. The document can be held for up to 14 days, or up to 30 days if the retention period is extended by a court. As I said, we will discuss the detail of that in the next group of amendments. It would be a criminal offence for a person to refuse to hand over their travel documents when the power had been exercised. Crucially, the power gives the authorities time to investigate the individual involved and provides an opportunity to take alternative, more permanent disruptive action if appropriate. I welcome the fact that the right hon. Gentleman indicated, as he did previously in Committee, the broad support of Opposition Front Benchers for this measure, recognising the utility of the power set out in the Bill. The safeguards we have established should ensure that the power will be used in a fair, reasonable and lawful manner.

Introducing a sunset clause may send an inadvertent message to would-be jihadist travellers of our lack of intent to deal with the threat they pose. I know that that is not the right hon. Gentleman’s intention, but it could have that impact if they believe that the powers would end in two years’ time. Indeed, the proposal would inject an element of uncertainty into a measure that has been clearly framed and drafted, that is limited in scope and time, and that has clear oversight of police scrutiny measures and the court-related process set out in the Bill. The House has scrutinised the measures over several days of debate, both in Committee and, indeed, in the House this afternoon, and it is our judgment that those are not the usual circumstances in which a sunset provision would be contemplated.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

Does the Minister think that a sunset clause in prevention of terrorism legislation gave succour and comfort to those people for whom it was intended, such as terrorists in Northern Ireland? I do not think it did and I resent the suggestion that we are trying to give succour to terrorism.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration)

If the right hon. Gentleman was listening, he would know that I was clear that I do not believe that to be his intention. I said that it may be an inadvertent consequence. Often, it has become customary for sunset clauses to be inserted when legislation is passed by both Houses over a small number of days. That is not the context of this afternoon’s debate. We have had many hours of debate and discussion on the provisions, so it is our judgment that those circumstances do not apply.

Terrorism-related travel is a serious and ongoing issue and I think we will see an enduring threat of terrorism from Syria and Iraq for the foreseeable future. That is the reality of the challenge we face. The proposal is to inject a two-year sunset clause, but I think we will face continuing challenges during that time and law enforcement agencies need to have a range of tools at their disposal to deal with the threat in a necessary and proportionate way.

We cannot be confident that conflicts that attract these individuals will have been resolved in two years’ time. It would not be right to plan on that basis. That is why the Bill Committee overwhelmingly rejected a similar amendment when it was pressed to a vote. I encourage the right hon. Gentleman to withdraw the amendment. I appreciate that he is seeking to probe to ensure that the Bill’s provisions are scrutinised and challenged appropriately. I entirely respect that. Clearly, it would be open for a new Government to repeal the provisions if they saw fit and judged that appropriate changes were required if there was a subsequent review of counter-terrorism legislation. That would be the right time to do it, so I hope the right hon. Gentleman will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

I have heard what the Minister has said, but the Opposition still wish to examine the issue in detail and it would be useful for the other place to know that we believe that consideration should be given to a sunset clause. Perhaps it could also take on board the concerns of Mr Heath. I therefore wish to push the amendment to a vote.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The House divided:

Ayes 228, Noes 311.

Division number 124 Internet Communications (Regulation) — Clause 1 — Seizure of passports etc from persons suspected of involvement in terrorism

Aye: 228 MPs

No: 310 MPs

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Nos: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Question accordingly negatived.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

I beg to move amendment 10, page 30, line 14, schedule 1, at end insert—

“(c) the individual subject whose travel document has been removed may appeal against this decision in the courts over the evidence on which conditions in paragraph 2(1)(a) and (b) of this Schedule were met,

(b) the Secretary of State must by regulations make provisions about—

(i) the relevant court;

(ii) a time limit by which an appeal must have been heard;

(c) the power to make regulations under this section—

(i) is exercisable by statutory instrument;

(ii) includes power to make transitional, transitory or saving provision;

(d) a statutory instrument containing regulations under this section is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.”

This amendment would create the right for an appeal in court following a temporary seizure of a passport, and requires the Secretary of State to set out in regulations a relevant court and time limit by which an appeal must have been heard.

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means), First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means

With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment 11, page 30, line 14, at end insert—

“(c) the individual subject whose travel document has been removed may appeal against this decision in the courts over the evidence on which conditions in paragraph 2(1)(a) and (b) of this Schedule were met,

(b) the appeal must have been heard within seven days of an application,

(c) the Secretary of State must by regulation make provisions about the relevant court,

(d) the power to make regulations under this section—

(i) is exercisable by statutory instrument;

(ii) includes power to make transitional, transitory or saving provision;

(e) a statutory instrument containing regulations under this section is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.”

This amendment would create the right for an appeal in court following a temporary seizure of a passport and require the appeal to have been heard within seven days.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

The power to seize a passport is set out in clause 1 and schedule 1. For the sake of clarity, I reiterate that we support the general principle of seizure, provided there is sufficient evidence to warrant such action being taken by the officials listed in schedule 1. The question today, which we discussed in Committee, relates to proportionality and to the opportunity for individuals to make representations to officials on the reasons why the temporary seizure has been made. The decision to seize a passport is taken on evidence and on intelligence.

In Committee, we discussed—I hope we can revisit the discussion speedily today—the range of intelligence that could be linked to third party intelligence on the movement of an individual, or to intelligence secured by the agencies. There are a whole range of reasons for such intelligence to be gathered, but that does not necessarily mean that it is correct. There may be a range of reasons for mistakes or for concerns about intelligence. As we discussed in Committee, people may have legitimate reasons—weddings, business, tourism and so on—to travel abroad to areas with difficult challenges. I accept that it would be the exception and that if the Government or a qualifying officer seized a passport, it would be based on strong intelligence, but the purpose of the amendments is to provide a couple of options to put in place stronger oversight and appeal mechanisms for individuals who feel aggrieved. Amendment 10 would ensure a

“right for an appeal in court following a temporary seizure of a passport, and requires the Secretary of State to set out in regulations a relevant court and time limit by which an appeal must have been heard.”

Amendment 11 would do pretty much the same by creating

“the right for an appeal in court following a temporary seizure of a passport and require the appeal to have been heard within seven days.”

It is not only the Opposition who are concerned. In an article on 3 September, Mr Grieve wrote in support:

“Allowing police to confiscate passports at the UK border to prevent an aspiring young jihadi from leaving for Syria via Istanbul may be justifiable on good intelligence and a sensible extension of the home secretary’s powers. But unless there is some rapid means of review there must be the likelihood that mistakes will occur as the use of this administrative power increases and perfectly innocent young people will find their travel plans wrecked. We would be wise to insist on oversight, rapid review processes and compensation where justified.”

Photo of Bob Stewart Bob Stewart Conservative, Beckenham

If someone is going abroad with a British passport, either on business or for humanitarian reasons—to support a charity, for example—would it not be sensible, prior to departing the country, to drop a line to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, saying, “I’m going there for this reason”? That might help and be a good guide when people come back that they were not out to do mischief.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

I suspect that that would be a recipe for chaos in the Foreign Office and for difficult decisions having to be made across the board. If everybody who travelled to one of the countries or to a third party country first—such as Istanbul on the way to Syria—it could mean thousands of letters a day pouring into the Foreign Office saying, “I’m going to a particular country.”.

We need secure, targeted, intelligence-led activity to seize passports. That is what I expect and what I am reassured the Government will do. The purpose of our amendments is simply to provide that if someone feels aggrieved, mechanisms are in place for them to challenge the decision in court, should they so wish. There are such mechanisms in place now—for example, allowing people to challenge TPIMs—but mostly people do not challenge them, because they know their grounds are valid and that the Government have made the right decision. It is important, however, that we put mechanisms in place to cover those bases.

Photo of David Heath David Heath Liberal Democrat, Somerton and Frome

I am not seeking to undermine the right hon. Gentleman’s cases and I am interested in what he is saying, but will he accept that the drafting of amendment 10 simply does not work? Were it placed where he wants it placed, schedule 1 would read:

“If an application for authorisation is granted…the Secretary of State must make regulations”.

It does not work. It is grossly defective in drafting terms. Whatever he does, I hope he does not press the amendment to a Division, although he may, of course, make sound arguments for why something similar should be in the Bill, which I hope can be addressed at a later stage.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

The standard excuses are, first, speed and, secondly, the fact that we do not have a Home Office behind us. However, it is the principle of the amendments that I wish to discuss. I might disappoint the hon. Gentleman, because I will consider dividing the House, depending on the outcome of our discussions with the Minister. I am also working through a heavy cold, so I am sure this will be a marvellous day to consider the amendments, given his sympathetic eye for our dilemmas.

This is important. I still think we need a mechanism allowing an individual whose passport has been seized to appeal, if they so wish. I expect, as I have said, that the Minister’s grounds would be solid and that this particular power would not be undertaken lightly, but the appeal remains important.

Amendment 11, whether correctly drafted or not, provides for a period of seven days for the appeal mechanism to be heard, and I believe this provides reasonable grounds. This power will not be used often and not without the grounds being specified by the Government, but I still think it right and proper that individuals who feel aggrieved—people who are losing their liberty and who might, as the right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield said here and elsewhere, lose business, lose a holiday or a wedding or resources—should have the right of appeal available to them. I commend the amendments and look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration) 4:30 pm, 6th January 2015

I recognise that Mr Hanson advances a number of themes that we touched on in Committee. Equally, I recognise his ability to challenge and scrutinise the level of oversight provided in respect of this particular power. I respect that and the fact that the Opposition have given their broad support and recognition of the need for this provision, but the Government believe that the power strikes the right balance in the drafting between our freedoms and our right to safety and security.

A rigorous authorisation process is in place, which establishes a number of safeguards to ensure that the power will be used in a fair, reasonable and lawful manner. Under paragraph 4 of schedule 1, senior police officer authorisation must be obtained to retain the seized documents. The senior officer, who must be at least the rank of superintendent, must determine whether the test for exercise of the power is met in order to authorise. If not granted, the documents must be returned as soon as possible.

In addition, within 72 hours of the document seizure, a senior police officer of at least the rank of chief superintendent and of a rank not lower than that of the authorising officer in the case must review whether the decision to authorise the retention of the travel documents was flawed and communicate his findings to the relevant chief constable. The chief constable must consider those findings and take appropriate action.

Unless a court agrees to extend the retention period, the police may retain the travel documents only for a maximum of 14 days from the day after the documents were seized. If the police need to retain the documents beyond this period, they must apply to a court for an extension of time. This is provided for in paragraphs 8 to 12 of the schedule. The court will grant the extension only if satisfied that those involved in considering whether further disruption action should be taken in relation to the person had been acting diligently and expeditiously. The court can choose for how long to extend the retention period based on the circumstances of the case up to a maximum of 30 days from the day after the passport was seized.

Paragraph 13 provides that if the power is used two or more times against the same individual in a six-month period, the police would be allowed to hold the documents a third time for any five days before they need to apply to a court for an extension of time. The court is required to refuse to extend the duration of the travel documents’ retention unless exceptional circumstances apply.

Amendments 10 and 11 provide for a process for an individual to appeal to the courts against the decision to remove his or her travel documents at the port. Let me reiterate my earlier reassurance to right hon. and hon. Members that the current level of oversight of the exercise of this power is proportionate to the level of interference, and stringent safeguards already in place should ensure that the power will be used in a fair, reasonable and lawful manner. The advantage of the power is that it can be used immediately and to a threshold of reasonable suspicion. At the point of seizure, the individual will be informed that his or her travel documents were seized because there were reasonable grounds to suspect that he or she was intending to travel overseas for the purposes of involvement in terrorism-related activity outside the UK. The police are not detaining the individual or removing their passport privileges permanently.

To safeguard the use of the power, however, the legislation places a statutory duty on the police to return the travel documents as soon as possible if their investigations reveal that there are no reasonable grounds to suspect that the individual was seeking to travel outside the UK in connection with terrorism-related activity. The Bill already provides for a specific court procedure whereby the court may only grant an extension of the period for which the police can retain the travel documents if it is satisfied that investigations are being conducted diligently and expeditiously. If it is not, the documents must be returned.

After 14 days, the investigation should have progressed to the extent that a court can meaningfully consider whether the investigation is being conducted diligently and expeditiously, and the evidence that is heard should be tailored to the case that is being considered. As well as providing for a court hearing, the Bill allows an individual to seek, at any time, a judicial review of the initial passport seizure in the High Court, where closed material procedures will be available to allow full consideration of any sensitive material that led to the passport seizure. I do not believe that the amendment adds a significant extra safeguard in relation to the use of this power.

The amendments provide for a court to hear an appeal against the police officer’s original decision to form a reasonable suspicion that a person was travelling outside the United Kingdom for terrorism-related reasons. Amendment 10 provides for regulations to set

“a time limit by which the appeal must have been heard”,

while amendment 11 provides that the appeal must have been heard within seven days.

In view of the nature of the appeal, the amended provision would need to provide for closed material procedures with the appointment of special advocates. As the House will know, closed material procedures are resource-intensive and potentially time-consuming. Preparation for such a procedure—which amendment 11 requires to take place in under seven days—would divert resources at what is likely to be a significant time for the investigation, and I think that such a short period for a closed material procedure would pose serious problems of practicability. The new power would therefore be unlikely to be used as intended, to disrupt immediate travel on the basis of “reasonable suspicion” of terrorism-related activity.

Photo of David Heath David Heath Liberal Democrat, Somerton and Frome

Is there any process allowing the senior officer reviewing the initial decision by the constable or other lower-ranking officer to receive representations from the person from whom the travel documents are removed, or from a representative of that person?

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration)

The review process does not provide for that, but the consultation on the code of practice that governs the arrangements is open until 30 January, so there will be an opportunity for further representations to be made on the details of how the power would be used in the context of the code. That includes the details of the initial, immediate review by the senior officer and the 72-hour review by a further senior officer, followed by the submission of a report to the chief constable.

Photo of Bob Stewart Bob Stewart Conservative, Beckenham

My children have three passports: French, Swiss and British. Is there any provision enabling someone whose British passport is taken away to be prevented from using another passport? I am sorry; that may be a silly question, and we may not be able to provide for such a power.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration)

The Bill is, of course, a wider subject than the amendment, but my hon. Friend may wish to consult paragraph 1(7) of schedule 1, which defines a passport as

“a United Kingdom passport… a passport issued by or on behalf of the authorities of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom”,

or

“a document that can be used (in some or all circumstances) instead of a passport.”

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Conservative, Beaconsfield

I think that Mr Heath made a good point. If a policeman forms a “reasonable suspicion”, subsequent evidence or information may cause him to change his view. It seems to me that at each stage of the review process it should be possible to take on board what the individual concerned has said, because that might change the view of the police and deal with the matter administratively at a much earlier stage.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration)

Clearly, the police officer must hold the reasonable belief at that time, as I think my right hon. and learned Friend has accepted. Paragraph 2 of schedule 1 states that the paragraph applies where

“a constable has reasonable grounds to suspect that the person—

(a) is there with the intention of leaving” the UK

“for the purpose of involvement in terrorism-related activity…or

(b) has arrived…with the intention of leaving” again, for such purposes. Therefore, there is a requirement for that to be assessed. As I say, those issues can be considered as part of the consultation on the code of practice. I note the specific points that my right hon. and hon. Friends have made in that regard.

I turn back to the specific amendments. Given that the appeal is against why the police officer formed a reasonable suspicion about the individual’s travel intentions and exercised the power under the provision, the hearing would not take into account what the investigation had subsequently found about the individual’s intentions and whether that information strengthened the original decision or damaged it. That could result in a finding that the original decision was flawed and, regardless of the fact that the investigation has subsequently found evidence to strengthen the decision, the appeal is upheld and presumably the travel documents are returned. That is a risk that the Government are not prepared to take. Again, the right hon. Member for Delyn may wish to reflect further on that issue, taking into account some of the more detailed drafting issues that he has been alerted to in the debate.

Given the points that I have raised, notwithstanding the right hon. Gentleman’s initial indications, I hope that he will feel able, in the context of the safeguards in the Bill and the code of practice, to withdraw his amendment.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

The Minister has tried to reassure the House that the clause and schedule provide sufficient safeguards. I still worry about the safeguards that are in place for those people who are aggrieved and feel they have a case that they wish to draw to the attention of the authorities.

Under amendments 10 and 11, an individual may have their appeal heard in court within seven days of an application. In most cases where the passport is seized, that right would not be exercised by the individual because I suspect that the Government would have taken sufficient steps to ensure that there were good grounds to seize the passport in the first place. However, I still think it is right and proper that individuals have the right to make representations effectively. Even if there are amendments that we can look at in due course, it is worth while the House sending a signal to the other place that this is an issue of principle for us and that we wish the issue to be revisited by the Government or by the other place in due course.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

The House divided:

Ayes 227, Noes 307.

Division number 125 Internet Communications (Regulation) — Clause 1 — Seizure of passports etc from persons suspected of involvement in terrorism

Aye: 227 MPs

No: 307 MPs

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Nos: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Question accordingly negatived.