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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 5:30 pm on 12th February 2020.

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Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Minister of State (London) 5:30 pm, 12th February 2020

I thank my right hon. Friend for his question. In relation to the second part of it, terrorist-related offences do form part of this Bill. Part 2 of proposed new schedule 19ZA to the Criminal Justice Act 2003, which is found in schedule 1 to this Bill, covers terrorist-related offences under the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 and lists the various direct offences, including manslaughter, culpable homicide and kidnapping, that are terrorist-related offences. Such offences are, therefore, in the scope of this Bill, and we will carefully consider the implications for the counter-terrorism Bill that we will bring forward in due course.

Turning to the level of the severity of offending, as I said to my hon. Friend Alex Chalk, we will review all types of offending, so the whole spectrum will be in scope. As for how we define that “most serious” cohort, the Government are currently thinking quite carefully about the definition. I do not want to give my right hon. Friend Sir John Hayes a definition today, because that will be a matter for the counter-terrorism Bill, but we are thinking about question extremely carefully, and the House will be able to debate it fully in due course.

The shadow Minister, Nick Thomas-Symonds, asked about a review of the effectiveness of the deradicalisation agenda. I agree that the review is critical, and several Members raised it on Second Reading. We are setting up a new counter-terrorism programmes and interventions centre within the prisons and probation service that will look specifically at the de-radicalisation problem. We intend to publish further research and reports in the usual way, and I expect full scrutiny from Members. As my right hon. Friend the Member for South Holland and The Deepings said in his speech, we will fully embrace scrutiny of that description, and I would be surprised—my hon. Friend Sir Robert Neill is not in his place—if the Justice Committee did not look at this area in due course. I accept the point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for South Holland and The Deepings that proper and deep scrutiny of this area is needed, because the de-radicalisation question is so important.