Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill - Report (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:30 pm on 17th December 2018.

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Photo of Lord Carlile of Berriew Lord Carlile of Berriew Crossbench 5:30 pm, 17th December 2018

My Lords, I do not disagree with much of what has been said by my noble friend Lord Anderson. However, I have some concerns about a proliferation of independent reviewers. My suggestion to the Government is that, if there is to be an independent review of Prevent, it should be done by the new Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation who I understand is about to be appointed. After all, Prevent is part of the four-strand counterterrorism policy; it seems logical that the independent reviewer should be able to consider all strands of that policy. My only reservation would be if there were serious national security implications of any such review. That said, all independent reviewers have had to be “subtle and nuanced”, to adopt a phrase from my noble friend, about national security issues. This has been taken into account in the production of all reviews.

Of course I accept that Prevent is not a perfect policy. All policies can be improved, particularly in counterterrorism. If it would give greater confidence to the public, or rather—as I suspect the public are not too worried about this—if it would give greater confidence to those who spend a lot of time in the Palace of Westminster and the couple of square miles around it, then I see no disadvantage in an independent review being carried out by somebody already vetted and expert on counterterrorism policy as a whole.