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Ms Diane Abbott (Hackney, North and Stoke Newington): I think that the entire House accepts that the vote on the Good Friday agreement transformed the debate on Northern Ireland, but that vote still does not make it right that people can be interned on the word of a senior police officer. The change in the political debate does not make the civil liberty infringements in the Bill right.

Mr. Soley: With respect, if my hon. Friend had been here for most of the debate, she would not have made that intervention. That point has been addressed a number of times. It is not as she thinks it is. Perhaps she needs to read the debate and she will understand why.

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There is another important issue. Since 1981, the core of the Labour party's policy to achieve change in Northern Ireland has been that the British and Irish Governments should act together. To be fair, such action was first taken by Lord Prior. He was the first to begin to achieve a coherent policy between Britain and Ireland. We knew that to ask the Unionists or the republicans to come out of their trenches was almost impossible unless the two Governments held the ring, as it were, and led the way forward. Since Lord Prior developed that policy, which was continued by the previous Prime Minister and has been magnificently carried forward by my right hon. Friend the present Secretary of State, the situation has been transformed. It is the core of what we are trying to do. If the Irish Government judge that action is needed to deal with the threat of a repeat of what happened at Omagh--it is important to remember that two other large bombs planted in city centres by the Real IRA could easily have gone off and killed as many people as were killed at Omagh--we have to take that seriously. We have to listen and act in concert with the Irish Government when possible, not just to rubber-stamp what they do, but to recognise that they have for many years borne the brunt of the problem, even though we have not always given them credit for having done so. The desire for common consent between Britain and Ireland should drive us together.

My final point relates to the second part of the Bill. As I have said a couple of times, its provisions cause more anxiety than those relating to Northern Ireland. The main reason for that is the Nelson Mandela question. I was satisfied some time ago by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary's assurance that we could not have acted against Nelson Mandela if such a provision had been in force, because my right hon. Friend has removed any reference to incitement. People can campaign or argue--they can even praise the bombing in Kenya and Tanzania, as a couple of representatives of a particular Islamic group did on television recently. No action would follow from that. Given some of the other things that those people said, one could argue that action should be taken against them under the Race Relations Act 1976, but that is another matter. The point is that they could not be prosecuted in this country for what they said about the bombing. Campaigning, speaking, raising money or distributing leaflets would not be an offence. That is important.

The Home Secretary is aware of my anxieties. The person who says, "Murder Saddam Hussein," would probably by signed up by MI6 and offered the facilities to carry it out. I joke, but only slightly. In the case of some dictators, such as Adolf Hitler, we know--

Mr. Corbyn rose--

Mr. Soley: I am reluctant to give way again, but I shall do so once more.

Mr. Corbyn: Like the rest of us, my hon. Friend has read the Bill. Is he aware of the references in clauses 5, 6 and 7 to decisions under law made in other countries--countries outside the Council of Europe over which we have no control? Such countries may brand people as

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terrorists on the basis of no evidence. Such people could subsequently face prosecution in this country for legitimately pursuing democratic ends in their country.

Mr. Soley: My hon. Friend is wrong. Two things are needed: there needs to be an offence in the country concerned; and that act needs to be an offence here. If it is not an offence here, there can be no prosecution. [Hon. Members: "Conspiring."] The Minister who sums up the debate will no doubt make the point, but let me answer. Conspiring to kill someone here is an offence. It would also inevitably be an offence in another country. The difficulty comes when we are dealing not with an obviously dictatorial regime, such as those of Saddam Hussein or Adolf Hitler, but with a more shadowy, in-between case, such as Saudi Arabia, where we are unhappy about civil liberties. Nobody will be returned to such a country.

The issue is whether a person should be prosecuted in a country with a poor human rights record. The Home Secretary's answer is that the Attorney- General would have to make the political decision on whether to do so. I should like an additional safeguard requiring the Attorney-General to take account of the human rights situation in that country. That would also give a power of judicial review in the event of an Attorney-General feeling that he or she must act against an individual in cases where many would argue that, although the act involved was a criminal offence both here and in the other country, it was one that, in the circumstances of that country, could be understood. That is the difficult area that we are trying to root out.

We are not simply concerned about not sending people back, because that would not be done under the Bill in any case. The legislation would not apply in cases where an action was an offence in a dictatorial country, but not here; the action has to be an offence here as well.

Mrs. Fyfe : I should like my hon. Friend to consider a case with which everyone here must be familiar, even though it goes back to the second world war. We live in a democracy, so it is, of course, an offence to blow up bridges in this country for political ends. However, during the second world war, when brave citizens of France blew up bridges in the effort to defeat the Germans, we not only supported them, but funded them. Would not such action fall foul of the Bill?

Mr. Soley: With respect, I have already answered that question. Let me give a more up-to-date and perhaps better example than the one that my hon. Friend raises to demonstrate why that would not work. The example is one of someone being prosecuted in this country for taking action in the areas of Palestine occupied by Israel. The reason why it would not be possible to do that is that, in the United Nations' view, the area is occupied; in other words, it is the second world war situation that my hon. Friend describes brought up to date.

My final point, and it is a crucial one, which it will not be possible to address today, is that we are developing a global approach to deal with terrorism. It is profoundly difficult to get that approach right, because terrorism challenges both democracies and autocracies. The name of the game is to try to find a way of dealing with

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terrorism that is directed at countries that are capable of change in a democratically legitimate way. A matter that we must consider in the longer term, and one of the things for which I commend the Government, is their signing up to the International Criminal Court, which probably offers the long-term solution to dealing with terrorism.

If we can deal with the problem on an international basis and, in the not-too-distant future, arrive atan international approach to terrorism--perhaps a convention, containing the safeguards of free trials, a proper legal system and democratic procedure--we shall have achieved something positive. The danger is that, because we have all been brought up in a world that is polarised and stuck in the past, we are trying to legislate on the basis of those past experiences. The world has changed dramatically and will continue to do so. We should look for an international structure if we are to tackle the problem in the right way in future.

9.17 pm

Mr. Michael Mates (East Hampshire): I have experienced a unique sense of deja vu as I have sat listening to the debate, because it was from this very seat 24 years ago that I made my maiden speech during proceedings on the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Bill, which was introduced in 1974 by the noble Lord Jenkins as a result of the Birmingham and Guildford bombs. It was difficult to take the legislation through very quickly--although not as difficult as today, because the House was actually sitting at that time--but it was right then and it is right now. I fully agree with those hon. Members who have said that it is necessary that we take the measures contained in the Bill.

I am sorry to say that I do not go along with the civil liberty arguments that have been made, because the greatest civil liberty of all is the liberty to live one's life in peace, unaffected by terrorism and terrorist bombs. I do not propose to go into the many contributions from Labour Members, save to answer one question posed by the hon. Member for Hull, North (Mr. McNamara). He asked: what is the difference between a good terrorist and a bad terrorist? There is a perfectly simple answer: there is no such thing as a good terrorist. All terrorism is to be deplored, and all conceivable measures must be taken in a democracy to prevent it from occurring.

Mr. Benn: The Central Intelligence Agency funded Osama bin Laden to engage in terrorist activity in Afghanistan against the Russian army. I was totally opposed to the Russian intervention. Was that terrorism to be denounced; if so, why did the Americans finance it and build the headquarters for it that they bombed a few days ago?

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