Clause 7

Part of Terrorist Asset-Freezing Etc. Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:30 am on 23 November 2010.

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Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Treasury) 11:30, 23 November 2010

The clause states that where Treasury makes an interim designation, it must

“give written notice…and…take steps to publicise the designation”.

It must also decide whether the conditions that we have discussed are met, and then subsection (4) provides that

“If one or more of those conditions is met, the Treasury must inform only such persons as they consider appropriate.”

Does the Treasury make any formal record at some point of which persons are notified? Is there any subsequent  information? For example, could the Freedom of Information Act 2000 be used? Is there any subsequent publication of which individuals were informed by the Treasury?

It would be helpful if, at some point before the Bill completes its passage, the Minister gave some thought to the question at what stage, if ever, the public or a wider audience are told about who is subject the conditions in clause 7 and other provisions. I ask that because, at some point, somebody might make a freedom of information request or journalist might be interested in who has been told about the interim designation. The clause is unclear on how, where and at what stage that information becomes public in the wider sense, if ever.

I would welcome clarification from the Minister, particularly on the arrangements on cessation of an order. In general terms, when the order has ceased or is revoked, what information is put into the public domain? What information could be accessed or requested to be put into the public domain? Several parties—not least the designated person, journalists and/or others—may be interested. Clarity on those questions would be of great help. I hope that I have given the Minister sufficient time to gather a response.