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1.(1) Proceedings on the Criminal Justice (Terrorism and Conspiracy) Bill shall be taken and concluded at today's sitting; and for this purpose--
(a) as soon as the proceedings on this Motion are concluded, the order for Second Reading of the Bill shall be read;
(b) notices of amendments, new Clauses and new Schedules to be moved in Committee may be accepted by the Clerks at the Table before the Bill has been read a second time;
(c) when the Bill is read a second time it shall stand committed to a Committee of the whole House, and the House will immediately resolve itself into a Committee on the Bill;
(d) proceedings in Committee on clauses 1 to 4 shall be brought to a conclusion, if not previously concluded, three hours after the conclusion of proceedings on Second Reading;
(e) remaining proceedings on the Bill shall be brought to a conclusion, if not previously concluded, six hours after the conclusion of proceedings on Second Reading;
(f) at the conclusion of proceedings on the Bill at today's sitting the Speaker shall adjourn the House without putting any Question.
(2) For the purpose of concluding proceedings in accordance with sub-paragraphs 1(d) and (e), the Chair shall forthwith put the following Questions (but no others)--
(a) any Question already proposed from the Chair;
(b) any Question necessary to bring to a decision a Question so proposed;
(c) the Question on any amendment moved or Motion made by a Minister of the Crown;
(d) any Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded.
(3) On a Motion made for a new Clause or a new Schedule, the Chair shall put only the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill.
(4) If two or more Questions would fall to be put under sub-paragraph (2)(d) on successive provisions of the Bill, the Chair shall instead put a single Question in relation to those provisions.
(5) Standing Order No. 82 (Business Committee) shall not apply to proceedings on the Bill.
2. At the sitting tomorrow--
(a) any message received from the Lords relating to the Criminal Justice (Terrorism and Conspiracy) Bill shall be considered forthwith;

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(b) proceedings on any message shall be brought to a conclusion, if not previously concluded, one hour after commencement;
(c) the Speaker shall not adjourn the House until she has notified the Royal Assent to any Act agreed upon by both Houses; and
(d) the Speaker shall then adjourn the House without putting any Question.
3. Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply to proceedings on the Bill at the sittings today and tomorrow.

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Criminal Justice (Terrorism and Conspiracy) Bill

Order for Second Reading read.

5.8 pm

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Jack Straw): I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Madam Speaker: I have selected the amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Hull, North (Mr. McNamara). Copies of the amendment have been available in the Vote Office for some time and are still there for hon. Members who have not yet seen the amendment.

Mr. Straw: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made it clear in his statement that we face a new situation in Northern Ireland. The peace process is moving forward with the overwhelming support of both communities in the north and of the people of the Republic, but small splinter groups have shown themselves ready to resort to appalling and indiscriminate destruction, as they did in Omagh, in a desperate effort to throw that process off course. We cannot and we must not let such groups succeed.

The devastating bombings of the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and, more recently, of the restaurant in Cape Town are further reminders, if any were needed, of the wider threat. We have to send the clearest message to international terrorist groups that we in the United Kingdom will not allow this country to be used as a base for plotting and supporting terrorist operations abroad. Britain already has wide-ranging powers to combat terrorism, but it is essential that they are kept under constant review and that we remain ready to move quickly to remedy practical deficiencies that come to light.

In opposition, we actively supported the previous Government in their rapid steps in April 1996 to extend police powers to stop and search in response to the Provisional IRA's resumed bombing campaign. As my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House spelled out a few moments ago, at that time the then Home Secretary, the right hon. and learned Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Howard), made a statement of his intention on 1 April and presented a draft Bill. With our co-operation, a guillotine motion was introduced and the debate, which finished at 1.21 am, dealt with all stages of that Bill.

Although I entirely accept that in a perfect world it is unsatisfactory to have to deal with legislation quickly and that we should never go down that road unless we have to, it is a matter of record that a Labour Government did exactly that, when in November 1974, they presentedthe original prevention of terrorism legislation. The Conservatives supported them at that time and, with Labour support, the previous Government introduced a more modest measure in April 1996.

Mr. A. J. Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed): I understand the Home Secretary's argument about terrorism. Does he recognise that the conspiracy part of the Bill is not confined to terrorism? For example, it could apply to an

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environmental pressure group that was organising a peaceful protest in Germany against the dispatch of some toxic material to Britain. Therefore, the urgency that he seeks to apply, even if it were applied to terrorism outside Northern Ireland, cannot be applied to the non-terrorist implications of the Bill.

Mr. Straw: I shall come to that. The right hon. Gentleman has had much more notice of this matter than usual because of co-operation, which may turn out to be one way. The Liberal Democrats can tear up with gay abandon the agreements to which they sign up. We live and learn. The right hon. Gentleman is wholly wrong. It is impossible to conceive of a circumstance in which what he describes as a plan to disrupt a peaceful protest in Germany would be an offence here. The right hon. Gentleman spoke on the 1996 legislation and is well enough versed in these matters to know that the Bill contains the fundamental principle of dual criminality. We never lay a charge of conspiracy to commit an offence abroad if that offence is also an offence here.

If it were an offence here to do what the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) describes, people could be charged with it because we have signed Council of Europe conventions that allow prosecutions for a wide range of offences where there is evidence of conspiracy here to commit those offences in other countries. That applies not just to EU countries, but to other Council of Europe countries, which, as the right hon. Gentleman knows include some in eastern Europe. I shall explain in more detail when I come to the relevant part of the Bill why the change is important. We have lost 28 lives in the north of Ireland--but I do not seek to make this a competition, because any person's death from terrorism diminishes us. However, 10 times more lives were lost in outrages in Dar es Salaam and Kenya, and we would have been blind and deaf if we had not recognised the need to act in respect of those as well as in respect of terrorism in the north of Ireland.

Mr. Nigel Waterson (Eastbourne): Does the Home Secretary accept that clauses 5 and 7 are substantially lifted from my private Member's Bill of some 18 months ago which his party failed to support in the Division Lobby? What is the difference between the situation 18 months ago and that of today? Sadly, many people were killed in terrorist outrages more than 18 months ago and many have been killed in such outrages since.

Mr. Dale Campbell-Savours (Workington): On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Would you advise the Home Secretary to take such interventions when he comes to clause 5? If that does not happen, the House will be distracted and delayed in dealing with the Bill.

Madam Speaker: That is a sensible suggestion, but it is hardly a point of order. However, I am sure that the Home Secretary and the House have noted it.

Mr. Straw: Up to a point, I accept my hon. Friend's intervention, but he will know from his years in the House that I seek to accept interventions because that is vital to the process of debate, especially when the House is asked at short notice to deal with such a Bill.

We ensured that the Bill that was presented by the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Waterson) received an unopposed Second Reading. Although we moved

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amendments in Committee, as I recall we did not vote against the Bill at any stage. We had reservations about its width in the context of incitement, which is not included in clauses 5, 6 and 7 of the Bill that we are debating. As a safeguard to deal with the legitimate anxieties about how such a power might be misused, any prosecution will be subject to the explicit and prior approval of the Attorney-General. Clauses 5, 6 and 7 take account of that.

The private Member's Bill that was presented by the hon. Member for Eastbourne did not succeed because"I spy strangers" was called and the Conservative Whips were so incompetent that they could not get 40 Conservative Members to secure a quorum. I had not intended to mention that embarrassment in terms of the previous Administration's mismanagement. I hope that there is all-party support for the present measure. If the hon. Gentleman's Bill had been important, the previous Government would have made it a Government measure.


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