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Mr. Marshall-Andrews: I want to speak to the amendments that stand in my name and the names of others. I can deal with them compendiously. They relate to the question of specific intent. They do not descend to deal with recklessness, which in my view would be wrong in a criminal statute of this kind. They would both remove the words "encouragement or other inducement" and replace them with the old and well-known rubric in the criminal lawnamely, "incitement"and remove the odious provision relating to glorification.
If I may, I shall being by speaking to my first amendment. When we pass a criminal statute, it is always as well to look at the acts that will be criminalised by that statutenot the acts that the Government intend to be criminalised by the statute, because the courts do not look at the Government's intention. Indeed, they are proscribed from doing so. We should consider a small litany of the statements that will, without a shadow of doubt, be caught by clause 1. The firstit might be recognised by manyfell from the lips of an important person not so long ago, who said, "In view of the illegal occupation of Palestinian land I can well understand how decent Palestinians become terrorists." That statement was made by Cherie Booth, Queen's Counsel and the wife of the Prime Minister. When she made it, I agreed with the sentiments she expressed and leapt to her defence, because she was criticised throughout the press, and indeed in the House, for making it.
Indeed, I went on the radio and, in a trenchant debate with the right hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald (Miss Widdecombe), pointed out that it is possible in this world to hate the sin and love the sinner. I can say in passing that that is the only occasion that I can remember when I have ever been on the media and supported somebody who inhabits No. 10 Downing street. But I did my best to do so. This morning, on the "Today" programme, the Home
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Secretary said, in his inimitable way, "This will not be caught by the Act." Well, I would like to debate that with the Home Secretaryhe is not here, of courseand with the Minister so as to find a single part of the clause that offers any comfort to anyone delivering that public statement.
Such people must consider, reasonably, that there will be someone out there, listening to them, who, having heard them express that, will be encouraged to commit an act of terrorism. "Encouragement" is, of course, the word involved here. One takes a harmless analogy: I can imagine people saying, "There is legislation that the Government try to pass that is so awful that it can be understood that even loyal and decent Back-Bench Labour MPs oppose it." I have sympathy with that. It undoubtedly encourages me, on occasion, and I have a number of letters not markedly different from that in my postbag in respect of the Bill. That statement is undoubtedly caught, and there is no defence. There is no proviso in the Bill that would enable Cherie Booth, QC, if the director chose to prosecute her, to defend herself.
Mr. Hogg: Taking the proviso of the director, while that prevents a prosecution from being started, it does not make the initial statement lawful, with the consequence that fear of prosecution stands as the real curtailment on freedom of speech.
Mr. Marshall-Andrews: The right hon. and learned Gentleman has, as always, anticipated a great deal of what I am going to say. In fact, I hardly need say it. However, in due course I shall come to correspondence that I have had with the British Library on precisely that point.
A public statementone we have touched on alreadythat "The campaign to destroy government property by the ANC fighting against the Apartheid Regime is an example of justifiable violence against oppressive and tyrannical government," has all the necessary elements of this offence. In so far as one can even begin to interpret "glorify", it certainly glorifies what the ANC did, and contained within it there is also the statement that others should emulate it if they find themselves in that particular position. It would lend to them encouragement.
I can rememberI wish to plead guilty to this nowduring the ANC struggle in South Africa meeting ANC members who came to this country who were going back to South Africa to continue that campaign. I make no bones about it: I offered them not only encouragement, but succour, victuals and my humble hospitality. I did so with a clear conscience, and I always will. Under the provisions of the Bill, I could be arrested tomorrow.
I have much sympathy with what the hon. and learned Gentleman is saying. Can he clarify for the benefit of us lay people that any such act of condoning or supporting terrorism would not have to be specific to any particular act that that person might commit, or that another person might commit, but that it would be a kind of fishing expedition for the future? Unless we all signed up today to say that we would never under any circumstances condone any use of violence or
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acts of terrorismalthough I hasten to say that none is anticipated on my part or that of most contributors to the debatethat would by itself constitute or run the risk of constituting some endorsement or glorification of terrorism for the future.
Another example would be that of a proposer of a university debateI think that I have also done this myselfspeaking to the motion, "This House would become a suicide bomber," and delivering, one hopes, a particularly cogent speech, not believing it for one minute or intending that it should happen, but knowing that there is a student audience out there that includes near-radicalised or semi-radicalised people who might listen to the words and be encouraged to commit terrorist acts as a result. That would be caught under the Act, without a shadow of a doubt. One would have to rely on the Director of Public Prosecutions to exercise his imprimatur to avoid it.
Jon Trickett (Hemsworth) (Lab): My hon. and learned Friend might be coming on to deal with great works of literature. I am thinking, for example, of Sartre's magnificent trilogy that tries to work out existential philosophy through a description of 1930s history. In that, he delivers a paean to the revolutionary fighting spirit of those in Barcelona fighting tyranny. He ends the book with a great nihilistic act of self-destruction, in which the hero takes a machine gun and mows down Germans in front of him from a church tower, and is eventually killed himself. Has he considered the implications for such great works of literature, which seem to incite violent acts in precisely the terms of the clause that he describes?
Mr. Marshall-Andrews: I have done so, and I am grateful to my hon. Friend. Undoubtedly, the dissemination of those works would be caught under the Act, and I am pleased that he chose that particular great author because of the existential nature of what we are debating.
Mr. William Cash (Stone) (Con): Does the hon. and learned Gentleman accept that the glorification of the Catholic martyrs, which is intimately connected with their persecution during the 16th century, and the beatification and enhancement to sainthood of people such as Edmund Campion, would also fall into that category, specifically because they were convicted of treason?
Any newspaper that puts a Hamas propaganda leaflet on its front page, either to debate it or attack it, will also almost certainly be guilty under the Act. Yesterday, I received the careful letters that the British Library has
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sent to the Home Secretary expressing fear and apprehension that by sending works of art and historical or modern works to other libraries or those who demand them it will fall foul of clause 2. When I spoke on the phone to the author of that letter, I could offer him no comfort whatever that he would not be prosecuted under the provisions of the Act.
Mr. Llwyd: When the hon. and learned Gentleman began, he said that the old-fashioned offence of incitement would cover what it is necessary to cover in this field. He might have heard me mention earlier that 700 new criminal offences have been introduced by this Government. That surely must stop. I agree in every way with what he is saying. He is a learned man who knows how these things work. The provision is an absolute nonsense. In responding, can he tell me what view he has on the enforceability of such law extraterrestrially?
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