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Simon Hughes (Southwark, North and Bermondsey): Of course a reviewparticularly one conducted by those with authorityis welcome. The constitutional issue that divides us is this: it should be for Parliament, rather than seven or more people appointed by the Secretary of Statehowever important they may beto decide whether legislation such as this should continue. This is a fundamental change in the principle that Parliament, and only Parliament, can apply the necessary wisdom and make the appropriate decision on whether emergency legislation that has not been considered properly should remain on the statute book indefinitely.
Mr. Blunkett: We will return those concerns to the House specifically, but we will also bring the report on the Bill to the House, thereby offering it an opportunity not simply to debate clauses relating to extension of the Terrorism Act 2000 and part 4we have already made a commitment to consider that annually and to conclude it after five years, if it has not already been concluded by a vote in the Housebut to debate the whole of the working of the Bill. That is a unique opportunity. It has never been offered before by Government, and I think it helps us in these circumstances.
Jeremy Corbyn (Islington, North): Will my right hon. Friend give way?
Mr. Blunkett: I will in a moment.
I think that that helps us; given that people have been prepared to give and take, listen, respond and make sensible suggestions, we have now reached consensus on the vast majority of clauses. For unique reasons, we appear to have had consensus on bribery and corruption across the House. One measure was demonstrably put in at the last moment on the insistence of a Front-Bench spokesman for the Opposition party. On that alone appears to rest the full consent of the Liberal Democrats. It is a very strange world we live in, but there we are. Given that it is such a strange world, I give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Jeremy Corbyn).
Jeremy Corbyn: The Home Secretary said that the Privy Council committee will have a chance to examine all the workings of the proposed legislation and then issue a report. Will he confirm that in its examination of all the workings of the Bill, the committee will have access to the information under which anyone is imprisoned as a supposed international terrorist, and will be able to examine what it believes to be the justice of those cases before it issues its report on the general workings of the Bill?
Mr. Blunkett: The reason why it is a Privy Council-established committee is to give it access to the security and intelligence services. Of course it will not have access to the detailed cases of the individuals who have gone through the Special Immigration Appeals Commission and the evidence that has been heard in private. [Hon. Members: "Why not?"] I am not even going
On part 11, we had a suggestion from those who have been extremely busy on the Liberal Democrat Benches that we should separate out, because it is about not access but retention, those parts of data that someone could second-guess as being relevant to terrorists as opposed to organised criminals and others. They have considered it necessary to press that.
Should I resist the House of Lords on that matter, the Bill is in danger of falling. We have some quaint rules as between the two Houses. If something is resisted twice, the whole Bill fallsnot the clause, but the whole Bill. It is a learning curve even for those of us who did politics as a degree. No doubt the Leader of the House will get around to looking at modernising the way in which we operate. [Interruption.] That was not a threat; it was a little quip. I am so keen to get the Bill through before Christmas that I would not dare threaten anyone, not even on my own Back Benches.
The amendment, in relation to part 11 therefore suggests that we should try to separate out those parts of data. As I tried to explain on a number of occasions, including last night, it is not possible to do that, but paradoxically, because it is not possible to do it, it is not reasonable to suggest that we should not do it. I am therefore prepared to accept the amendments that have been tabled. In order to be able to implement what they want, we will have to retain the data, so that it can be accessed to test out whether the intelligence services are right in believing that it is relevant in tackling terrorists. That is how stupid the Liberal Democrats are.
Mr. Richard Allan (Sheffield, Hallam): I hesitate to intervene on that introduction, but I congratulate the Home Secretary on accepting the amendment. It is important not in terms of the practical implications, which are as he spelled out, but in terms of the message it gives to one of the UK's important industrial sectors, from which he will require full co-operation if we are to implement anything in the Billor indeed in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
Mr. Blunkett: We have been fortunate in that the industry has given its co-operation voluntarily for the past three and a half months. I remember in my statement on 15 October thanking the industry and congratulating it on doing so. We established the concept of a code of practice with a sunset clause in recognition of the fact that the best wanted to get on board the rest, as per the famous Winston Churchill phrase of 1909, to ensure that those who were prepared to co-operate were not undercut by those who were not. However, we have agreement, so let us move to part 10, on police powers.
We have another little paradox on part 10. It transpired that the Liberal Democrats had managed to contrive a situation in which their amendments reduced the powers already available to the police and the jurisdiction of the British Transport and MOD police. I pointed that out last night, and the Liberal Democrats went back to the House
The issue is serious because, should the House of Lords resist that request and send the issue back to the Commons, and if we were unprepared to put up with that nonsense, the Bill would fall. We have a clear message for the House of Lords: to ask it to accept that we have gone as far as we can in relation to those powers and to agree with this House.
I come to part 5. Coming from Sheffield, I am familiar with the old nursery rhyme about the grand old Duke of York. So I have marched myself up to the top of the hill and I am about to march myself down again. Before anyone can quip about giving way gracefully or otherwise, I shall ask the House to give way to the House of Lords, which has voted twice to remove the incitement to religious hatred from the Bill. [Hon. Members: "Hear, hear!"] There we have it.
There will be consequences. Every decision that we takebe it this House, the House of Lords or people in their individual liveshas consequences. Some people's attitude is, "We really agree with this proposal and we think that in the long term it would be a good thing to do, but this is not the time or the Bill and we did not agree with every word so we will reject it." [Interruption.] Those people will need to reflect in a year's time on where the new Bill is, not least those Liberal Democrats who are heckling me. After all, they have suggested that we should re-examine every aspect of this Bill, to the point where no time or space would be available to table a separate small Bill on incitement to religious hatred.
That is the consequence of the enthusiasm demonstrated by hon. Memberson the Opposition Benches and on my own side as wellat the fact that the provision has been removed from the Bill. We all understand that the House should concern itself with construction, constructive change, improvement and building on proposals. What I have never understood is the great joy and cheer at the destructiveness of removal. I want to explain what I mean
Mr. Paul Goodman (Wycombe): You just messed it up.
Mr. Blunkett: I do not think that I have messed it up. I think that the votes in the House of Lords have messed up this provision.
Many hon. Members were not in the Chamber when there was sensible and rational disagreement on these clauses. Genuine concerns were expressed, which were heard and responded to. Discussions took place behind the scenes, and the Attorney-General did his best to ensure that we found a way forward.
I have no disagreement with that. People genuinely felt that there could be improvements and safeguards. That is fine. What I was referring to was the tremendous cheer that getting rid of the provision altogether aroused. There was no quiet pleasure at having won[Interruption.]