Clause 5

Part of Counter-Terrorism Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:15 pm on 29 April 2008.

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Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Minister of State (Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing), Home Office 12:15, 29 April 2008

I take the amendment in the spirit that it is offered. It is deficient for a reason that I will come to later. Even though we are talking about a mere 48  hours, these are important matters. I have some sympathy with the idea that it should be in the Bill that an officer from inspector upwards must clear in his or her own mind that the criteria and safeguards implicit in clauses 1, 3 and 4 have been adhered to. However, I cannot accept the amendment because I see no reason why the provisions of clause 2 on obstruction should form part of that assessment. The issue of obstruction is entirely separate, for reasons that we have discussed.

That it should be in the Bill that an officer at the rank of inspector or above should make it clear whether the provisions of clause 1, the implications for legal privilege in clause 3 and the requirements for the record of removal in clause 4 have all been followed in an appropriate fashion as part of his determination of whether there should be an extension is a fair and reasonable point. I will look at that and come back to it on Report.

I am sure that the notion that the inspector should consider in full whether there has been a crime of obstruction in that process was an inadvertent drafting error, but for that reason I cannot accept the text of the amendment. I am happy to take away its spirit and see if we can put the safeguards implied in clauses 1, 3 and 4 in the Bill as part of those criteria. That is entirely reasonable. With that assurance, I ask the hon. Gentleman to withdraw the amendment.