Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 8:13 pm on 26th February 2019.

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Photo of Louise Ellman Louise Ellman Labour/Co-operative, Liverpool, Riverside 8:13 pm, 26th February 2019

I congratulate the Home Secretary on bringing this much-needed measure before the House tonight. I am extremely concerned that my hon. Friend Nick Thomas-Symonds was unable to give proper, full support to the banning of this terrorist organisation, Hezbollah, in its entirety. Hezbollah is not our friend, and today was a good opportunity to say so.

Terrorism affects our whole society. Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation acting throughout the world. We have heard examples of it causing death and destruction, with the death of 85 people in a community centre in Argentina, and hundreds of thousands of people, including children, killed or facing starvation in Syria because of its activities. I would like to concentrate on the activities of Hezbollah here in this country and ask Members to think about what happens every single year on the streets of London on al-Quds day—the day designated by the late Ayatollah Khomeini to call for the destruction of Israel.

The Hezbollah terrorist flag is flown on the streets of London, because of our current legislation. If the flag, with its upturned rifle, has a sticker on it saying, “We are supporting the political wing of Hezbollah,” it is able to be flown without challenge. I went to see the Metropolitan police last year after that happened, and they followed up with a letter to me, which said:

“As Parliament has chosen not to proscribe the whole of Hizballah, being a member or supporter of the wider non-proscribed organisation is lawful, and those supporters can rightfully protest”.

I was told clearly that if the whole organisation was proscribed, those flags could not be flown. Is the Home Secretary sure that this order does not contain any loopholes that will allow that terrorist flag to be flown on the streets of London? It would be appalling if it could be.

I very much welcome the step that the Home Secretary is taking, and I hope that it will have the full support of all Members. Terrorism is abhorrent. Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation. To suggest that it has two separate wings is a fallacy. It is wrong for Hezbollah to operate, kill and maim people and propagate terrorism throughout the world, and that includes what happens here in this country.