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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:45 pm on 28th February 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Judd Lord Judd Labour 12:45 pm, 28th February 2019

My Lords, I want to put on record my deep appreciation to my noble friend Lord Rosser for the speech that he made at the beginning of this debate. It was penetrating and analytical, and it is absolutely essential to the cause to which we all subscribe that he gets a full and explicit reply from the Government. I have been a Defence Minister and a Foreign Office Minister, and I totally understand that when we operate in this kind of context there are things that have to be confidential. But that makes it doubly important to be as explicit and transparent as we can possibly be in the support of the case that we pursue. If there have been, in a short period of time, the changes that have been described in this debate, it is absolutely, inescapably obvious that we have to give a very good account for why this has happened.

One good thing about this debate is that it has aired the issues a little more widely. It would be totally naive to imagine that the issue of anti-Semitism is simply about Jewish people. I personally believe that the total unacceptability of anti-Semitism is because it is about people. But not to understand that it has sinister—I use that word quite deliberately—implications would be very naive. It is obviously about other political objectives as well. To refuse to face that fact will not help at all.

The one crucial point that I want to make is this. I know that I have made it before, but I will go on making it until my dying day. We are ultimately in a battle for hearts and minds. It is in the sphere of hearts and minds that we will build lasting security, not by administrative arrangements or containment operations. It is by winning people’s conviction, understanding and appreciation of why the values about which we like to talk in this House are so indispensable to the future of humanity. That is the issue: hearts and minds.

That is why, when we are introducing anti-terrorism legislation, it is terribly important that all the time right in the forefront of the minds of those charged with the responsibility of coming to a conclusion are the words and thoughts: what are our values? What will be the down cost of this? What will play into the hands of extremists, as they exploit genuine anxieties and doubts amongst young people but not only young people? That is the issue that must not be ignored. What is the counterproductivity of what is being proposed?

It is a very difficult balance and a very difficult decision, but I urge that we always keep that concern about counterproductivity very much in mind in our deliberations.