Amendment 12

Part of Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill - Report – in the House of Lords at 3:00 pm on 3rd March 2021.

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Photo of Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede Shadow Spokesperson (Justice) 3:00 pm, 3rd March 2021

My Lords, I have one amendment in this group, Amendment 25, and my noble and learned friend Lord Falconer of Thoroton put his name to Amendment 24. I was very pleased that the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb, said that she had read our amendments and that they seemed sensible; I think that is a good start. The general point made on this whole group is that there is an appetite for reviewing different aspects of this legislation, and the amendments referred to go into particular aspects of that.

I want to make a slightly more general point. It is important that the general case for this sort of legislation is made regularly. I have had the opportunity in recent days of talking to young people who are becoming more politically active and engaged. They are very interested in terrorism legislation as a whole, particularly in how Parliament seeks to review it, change it and make it more effective. Particularly in our House, we have a duty to make sure that those arguments are remade and heard by the general public.

The specific amendment that I have put my name to concerns looking at particular impacts on prison capacity, the National Probation Service and offenders convicted of terrorist offences, as well as levels of bad behaviour in prisons—a point that I made on an earlier group. Also within my amendment are financial matters, because there is a very significant financial impact of the review of extended sentences and licence periods.

My final point relates to polygraph testing. I take the point the Government make that there is a very small cohort of terrorist offenders on which to base a statistical approach to the effectiveness of polygraph testing. I accept the point that they made in their recent letter that the comparison with the Domestic Abuse Bill is not appropriate because there are of course so many more domestic abuse offenders. Nevertheless, having said that, and having accepted the Government’s point, it may well be that polygraph testing can be calibrated and used and can have an impact on the way in which these types of offenders are treated. I would be interested to hear from the Minister about the way that the Government see polygraph testing being introduced to part of the process of reviewing this group of offenders. I will not be pressing my amendment to a vote.