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Clause 29

Part of Counter-Terrorism Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 8th May 2008.

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Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Shadow Minister (Olympics and London), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Olympics and London) 3:15 pm, 8th May 2008

I thank the Minister, for clarifying the purpose of the Government’s amendment, and the hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield, for speaking to the grouped amendments. The first amendment in the string was our amendment, which I am pleased that the Conservatives put their name to, as did the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy. I thank the hon. and learned Gentleman for opening the debate and for being able to set out, perhaps slightly more convincingly than I might have been able to do, the strengths and merits of our amendments Nos. 27 and 28.

Clearly, we are talking about the need for greater safeguards, because the terrorist component of an offence is making that offence so much more aggravated. Hence the need for a jury and hence, possibly, the need for a criminal standard of proof. Again, I follow the lead of the hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield in saying that these are probing amendments, so that we can hear what the Government have to say about this matter, given that we are talking about perhaps much more substantial and lengthy sentences, and so a need for greater safeguards, as well as a jury or a criminal standard of proof.

We would not seek to press the amendments but wish to listen to what the Minister has to say in response, before perhaps formulating further views later on.