Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill - Committee (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:30 pm on 29th October 2018.

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Photo of Baroness D'Souza Baroness D'Souza Non-affiliated 3:30 pm, 29th October 2018

My Lords. Clause 1 makes a neat distinction between free speech and incitement. New subsection (1A)(a) states:

“expresses an opinion or belief that is supportive of a proscribed organisation”.

That surely is free speech, depending on the context in which it occurs. New paragraph (b), which states,

“in doing so is reckless as to whether a person to whom the expression is directed will be encouraged to support a proscribed organisation”,

is incitement and infringes Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, the first paragraph does not because free speech must be maintained and protected, depending on the context. This of course goes back to the old adage that falsely crying “fire” in a crowded theatre is incitement, whereas to shout “fire”, falsely or otherwise, on a crowded corner is clearly not incitement because people are not in danger of violent disruption. It is important that that distinction is made in the Bill.