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Eligibility for release on licence of terrorist prisoners: England and Wales

Part of Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 12th February 2020.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Conservative, South Holland and The Deepings 5:15 pm, 12th February 2020

I note that my right hon. Friend was preoccupied with urgent meetings when I spoke earlier, but if he reads the Hansard report of my earlier contribution, he will see that I am on exactly the same page as him, not for the first time. He is absolutely right that parole has historically always been considered on the basis of an assessment of both risk and worthiness. “Good behaviour” is the term that was once routinely used in respect of parole. When people have proved, through how they behave in prison, that they no longer pose a risk to the public and that they deserve to be released early, they should be. The problem with the current arrangement is the automatic nature of early release, and I resist that per se, not just in respect of terrorist prisoners but more widely. The public would be outraged if they knew just how many people have been released early, including terrorists. Enough is enough; now the time to put an end to that. This is the beginning of it, and I happily support this legislation.