Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill - Committee (3rd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 12th November 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Manningham-Buller Baroness Manningham-Buller Crossbench 6:45 pm, 12th November 2018

I, too, support the amendment. As the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, said, the criteria for proscription are clear. They are concerned with terrorism commission, promotion, participation and engagement. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, said, much hangs on proscription because of the offences that follow from it, so it is critical that we get it right.

I was not entirely surprised to hear from the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, that the Home Office had agreed that up to 14 international organisations were wrongly proscribed, not including those in Ireland. From my past experience, I remember pressure from the Foreign Office, in particular, to consider as terrorists groups who were just serious irritations to the conduct of foreign policy. Because I have not kept in touch with these things, I did not imagine that that was still a problem, but it clearly is.

It seems to me that the amendment is pretty easy and patient for the Home Office to follow. It is more than just good housekeeping. If we make decisions in the context of the Bill on the basis of wrong information on who is proscribed, the whole system is drawn into disrepute and natural justice is offended. Looking back through the papers, at one stage the Home Office defended itself by saying that there should be a cautious approach to deproscription. That is indefensible if it itself admits that a number of the organisations proscribed should not be.