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 Lord Carlile of Berriew Lord Carlile of Berriew Liberal Democrat 3:30 pm, 29th October 2018

My Lords, with great respect to the noble Baroness, I think that we have just heard a gross exaggeration not only about the effect of this clause but also its intention. Judgments as to whether organisations should be proscribed are of course expressions of an opinion by a Minister. They are not perfect judgments, and to that extent I support Amendment 5 tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and others. The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation—I think that there are two former independent reviewers in the Chamber today—might well suggest in reports that a proscribed organisation should be deproscribed on the basis, for example, that it is better to deal with the organisation openly in debate than by proscription. I recall during my now somewhat historic time as the independent reviewer that there were strong debates about whether certain organisations should be proscribed or not.

With that reservation, it seems that this clause would achieve the following. First, it recognises that even in this relatively gun-free country, if someone expresses support in a certain way for a proscribed organisation, it may put some of our fellow citizens in mortal danger of their lives. There are plenty of examples of that having happened, and indeed there are examples of the person who has already been mentioned, Mr Choudary, himself a former lawyer, of having possibly achieved exactly that. It does not criminalise the expression of support, rather it forbids and criminalises the expression of support on certain terms as set out in proposed new Section 1A(b), and that is the test of recklessness. Recklessness requires awareness of the risk that is being taken by the speaker. I can see absolutely no reason to allow people to take a risk of which they are aware that potentially will put other people in mortal danger.