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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:00 pm on 29th October 2018.

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Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords 9:00 pm, 29th October 2018

My Lords, it is probably best if I write to the noble Baroness in response to her specific questions. The broad answer is that we have thought of the practicalities. As regards informing people who are already in the designated area that it has been designated and that they therefore have 28 days to leave, there would be FCO travel advice that would almost certainly have pre-existed the designation. The regulations would be given significant publicity, including as part of the requested debate of the designation regulations. There would be a notice on the government website and we would consider other methods of publicity depending on the area being designated.

On the question of the noble Lord, Lord Stunell, about innocent people who have already been caught up in events and the situation within a designated area, the reasonable excuse defence would kick in. As we said in our earlier debates, where it is perfectly obvious that someone is in a designated area for an innocent reason, it is almost unthinkable that the authorities would spend time trying to make a case against them. Their reasonable excuse would be advanced and the circumstances of the case, if they are innocent, would be obvious from the outset. As I have said, we have had the reasonable excuse defence in place for 18 years and, as far as I am aware, there have been no instances of innocent people being arrested or convicted.

That is as far as I can go at the moment, although I am conscious that I have not completely covered the issues raised. However, I will write and copy my letter to all noble Lords who have taken part in this debate.