Clause 54

Part of Terrorist Asset-Freezing Etc. Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:45 pm on 23 November 2010.

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Photo of Mark Hoban Mark Hoban The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 12:45, 23 November 2010

Let me comment broadly on clause 54, which provides for an Order in Council to be made to extend any of the provisions of part 1 of the Bill to the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or any other British overseas territory. Anyone in doubt about what a British overseas territory is may consult paragraph 12 of the explanatory note, which has an extensive list of those territories.

The clause also provides that certain provisions of the Terrorist Asset-Freezing (Temporary Provisions) Act 2010 shall remain in force until 31 March 2011 in Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man and the various overseas territories. That has the effect of extending, beyond the date specified in the 2010 Act, the validity of the Orders in Council that provide for asset-freezing powers in those jurisdictions. The extension is intended to provide enough time either for the Bill to be extended to those jurisdictions, or for those jurisdictions to enact their own terrorist asset-freezing measures, without there being a gap during which no such measures are in place. We have two choices: we either use Orders in Council to extend the Bill to the overseas territories, or they can use their own legislative mechanisms to introduce the measures under their own regime. Whatever happens, the measures will apply in those jurisdictions.

The right hon. Member for Croydon North talked about monitoring. He will probably be bombarded with letters from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, given his comments. Certainly, from my discussions with Ministers from those territories, I know that they take their obligations under international law very seriously, and there is a lot of pressure on those territories to comply with the highest standards of law. The previous Government introduced the Foot review on the compliance of financial services across Crown dependencies and British overseas territories. It made some helpful comments, and has commented on the high state of compliance that there already is in a number of locations. We will make sure that the legislation is extended to the territories and that there are appropriate mechanisms in place to ensure monitoring of compliance with that legislation.

The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right: it is important that the same standards apply in those places as do here, and we should ensure that those standards stick. I am grateful for this opportunity to provide confirmation of the seriousness with which we view the measure, and to explain how it should be extended to other territories.