Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2019 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:30 pm on 28th February 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale Labour 12:30 pm, 28th February 2019

My Lords, one does not often hear these words from the Opposition Benches, but I congratulate the Government, particularly the Home Secretary, on doing the right thing about Hezbollah.

There is no division of Hezbollah. Nasrallah has explicitly said time and again, “We do not have a military wing and a political wing”. He must get quite frustrated with the British Government for not understanding that, but he keeps repeating it. It is true; Hezbollah is one. Due to my professional past, I am the last person to criticise the Foreign Office but I feel that it is to blame for our Government not taking the correct, logical and obvious position of proscribing the whole of Hezbollah. I can see that an ambassador in Lebanon might find it difficult if the Government with whom he is trying to co-operate include terrorists.

We seem to have paid a very high price in not proscribing Hezbollah for so many years out of diplomatic convenience. There is no doubt about it: you can have perfectly normal relations with the Lebanese Government without the problem of Hezbollah being in the Government and being proscribed. The heavy price referred to by the noble Baroness, Lady Deech, included Hezbollah flags flying on the streets of London time and again in 2017 and 2018 during demonstrations. They flew under the excuse that they were for the political, not the proscribed, wing. That is unacceptable on our part.

Hezbollah is not just anti-Israel. It is deeply anti-Semitic and makes no pretence about that. The noble Baroness, Lady Deech, quoted Nasrallah as saying that it is very useful if all the Jews gather in Israel because then Hezbollah does not have to go round the world looking for Jews to kill. His deputy has also said that God imprinted blasphemy on the Jews’ hearts. That is an extreme anti-Semitic point, even for some of the anti-Semites we know about in Britain. We must accept that it is an unacceptable, nasty, anti-Semitic, dangerous terrorist organisation that threatens all our democracies, not just those in the Middle East. It is high time that it was proscribed and I congratulate the Government on doing so.