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   'he intends to incite or induce any other person to commit or prepare to commit an act of terrorism or a Convention offence; and

(c)   he thereby causes a danger that one or more such offences may be committed.'.

No. 1, in page 1, line 9, leave out from 'believes' to end of line 10.

No. 2, in page 1, line 10, leave out

'has reasonable grounds for believing'

and insert

'is reckless to the consequence'.

No. 3, in page 1, line 12, leave out 'are likely to' and insert 'would'.

No. 63, in page 1, line 12, leave out 'are likely to' and insert 'will'.

No. 37, in page 1, line 12, leave out 'a direct or indirect' and insert 'an'.

No. 21, in page 1, line 13, leave out 'encouragement or other inducement' and insert 'incitement'.

No. 22, in page 1, line 14, at end insert

'and intends that his statement shall have that effect'.

No. 4, in page 1, line 15, leave out subsection (2).

2 Nov 2005 : Column 833

No. 99, in page 1, line 16, leave out 'encouraging' and insert 'inciting'.

No. 95, in page 2, line 5, at end insert


(c)   thereby causes a danger that one or more acts of terrorism or Convention offences may be committed.'.

No. 85, in page 2, line 6, leave out subsection (3).

No. 6, in page 2, line 6, leave out from second 'the' to 'must' in line 8 and insert

'question of what constitutes recklessness as regards the consequential effect of a statement on members of the public'.

No. 7, in page 2, line 12, leave out 'subsections (1) and (2)' and insert 'subsection (1)'.

No. 54, in clause 2, page 3, line 5, leave out 'a view' and insert 'intent'.

No. 23, in clause 2, page 3, line 6, at end insert

'and intends at the time that his conduct shall incite acts of terrorism by some or all of the persons to whom matter contained in paragraphs (a) to (f) of subsection (1) is or is likely to be available in consequence of that conduct.'.

No. 20, in clause 2, page 3, line 12, at end insert—

'where the conduct was intended to be a direct or indirect encouragement or inducement to the commission, preparation or instigation of an act or acts of terrorism or if in all the circumstances it should have been apparent to the accused that it was likely to be so.'.

No. 24, in clause 2, page 3, line 14, leave out

'direct or indirect encouragement or other inducement'

and insert 'incitement'.

No. 78, in clause 2, page 3, line 16, leave out

'likely to be understood as such'

and insert 'intended to be'.

No. 25, in clause 2, page 3, line 16, leave out 'encouragement or other inducement' and insert 'incitement'.

No. 26, in clause 2, page 3, line 19, leave out subsection (4).

No. 96, in clause 2, page 3, line 26, at end insert—

'(c)   thereby causes a danger that one or more acts of terrorism or Convention offences may be committed.'.

No. 51, in clause 3, page 6, line 12, leave out subsection (8).

No. 52, in clause 20, page 17, leave out lines 38 and 39.

New clause 2—Protection for Media—

'Nothing in Part 1 of this Act will be an offence if it is demonstrated by an accused person that his conduct was in the course of reporting of news through a news medium.'.

Mr. Grieve: Our consideration begins with clause 1, which provides the offence of the encouragement of   terrorism. Specifically, it seeks to widen the scope of incitement by moving from direct incitement to commit a criminal offence to indirect incitement. Conservative Members believe that a change in the law can properly take place to allow indirect incitement to become a criminal offence, and that proposition may attract universal support.

The issue that we must consider this afternoon is how the Government have chosen to draft clause 1. There are two areas of concern: first, the intent that is required for
2 Nov 2005 : Column 834
an offence to be committed; and secondly, whether the glorification of terrorism should form a separate and discrete part of an incitement charge.

I find clause 1 almost impossible to read and understand. I do not know where the Government found their draftsman, but if ever there were an unintelligible document, it is clause 1, which is extremely convoluted. It moves from an offence based on a person's knowledge or belief to an offence based on "reasonable grounds for believing". The offence is committed if

The Minister must clarify what the Government are trying to achieve—the explanatory notes are no help whatever. Do the Government want the offence to be committed by specific intent, which is common ground, and can it be committed by recklessness? By my reading of clause 1, it can also be committed negligently. If my reading of the provision is incorrect, I should be grateful if the Minister would indicate as much at the earliest possible opportunity. My reading of the provision is that it is much wider than an ordinary recklessness test, because it combines the fact of a person's committing the offence only on the basis of having "reasonable grounds for believing" with the fact that members of the   public need merely be "likely" to understand that   incitement was the intended consequence. That combination, which I could describe as the double whammy of clause 1, goes much further than I would consider suitable and proper.

12.45 pm

John Bercow (Buckingham) (Con): Part of the problem in this breathtakingly badly drafted clause is that the Government do not specify to which members of the public it refers; it is a catch-all. Is not it readily imaginable that people who might take offence are people who are obviously uninitiated, peculiarly excitable, or in some other way lacking a level head? That is a very low threshold on which to bring about the instigation of criminal proceedings.

Mr. Grieve: My hon. Friend makes a good point. The clause is indeed unclear as regards members of the   public. We must bear it in mind that the Government are saying that the individual who is making his comment of encouragement of terrorism should be mindful of every possible range of public opinion. I do not necessarily disagree with that, but it then reverses the onus back to saying that we have to be jolly careful not to criminalise what may merely be a negligent statement. Heaven knows we have enough examples of Ministers standing up in this House and accidentally saying things that they subsequently have cause to regret.

Mr. Tim Boswell (Daventry) (Con): As a relatively new reader of the details of the Bill, it seems to me that   the distinction is between intent and effect. My hon. Friend may wish to consider a situation in which one person has a highly malicious intent to incite people and to celebrate terrorism but whose style of doing so is
2 Nov 2005 : Column 835
so objectionable to the ordinary person that it is counterproductive because it revolts them, as against another person who makes ill-judged comments about the political situation in the middle east that might be construed as encouraging people to have recourse to terrorism. Which of those two, if either, is covered by the Bill, and is it principled to draw a distinction between them?

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