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New Clause 5

Part of Counter-Terrorism Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 15th May 2008.

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Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Minister of State (Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing), Home Office 2:30 pm, 15th May 2008

I want to thank two Conservative members who approached me on this matter some time ago, asking whether this might be an appropriate occasion to explore it. I am grateful to them, particularly—without  being invidious and naming names—to the hon. Member for Lancaster and Wyrewho spoke to me some time ago, and fair play to him. The only problem was timing—not his, but timing more generally.

The hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield quite fairly pointed out that we have just had a recent judgment from the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission with regard to the People’s Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran, on which we are appealing. As a result of both the Court of Appeal judgment, which we now have, and the original POAC judgment, we may seek to make some changes to the law on proscription in the Bill on Report. New clause 11, rather than new clause 5—as the hon. and learned Gentleman rightly said—might be worthy of consideration. I agree with him that even if the wrong organisation is captured, were this to be part of such an amendment on Report, the process would be that organisation’s opportunity to renounce as fully as possible. [Interruption.] I know that we lost the appeal, I have worked that out. I was referring to reviewing the Court of Appeal judgment as well as POAC’s original judgment. I am painfully aware that we have lost. We are at an appropriate stage to review both elements of those documents and the entire architecture of the proscription legislation, and as part of that review process, I undertake to take the import of new clause 11 away and, if appropriate, to come back on Report with a conclusion to our deliberations on what is a very serious new clause. Again I am grateful that it has been tabled, but I should like it to be un-tabled.