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As the hon. Gentleman well knows, this is an important, sensitive and difficult issue right across the country. It cannot necessarily be dealt with on a
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devolved basis because it affects the whole United Kingdom. It is important, as the Government have repeatedly made clear, that we balance an appropriately sympathetic and understanding position in relation to those who are genuinely seeking asylum, as against those who are simply coming here as economic migrants. I am sure that if I came to his constituency, his constituents would take exactly that view.
Paul Flynn (Newport, West) (Lab): The vote on the smoking ban is really a vote on whether we have a partial or total banwhether we vote for saving thousands of lives and avoiding thousands of cases of cancer, or stick to the holy writ of the manifesto. I remind the Leader of the House that not all Labour Members stood on the same manifesto, because there were different manifestos in Scotland and Wales. May we have a debate on manifestos?
Mr. Hoon: I am sure that my hon. Friend has not done this directly to me in the past, but I anticipate that he will have told Labour Front Benchers that they must stick to the manifesto. The Labour party has had great debates on those sorts of questions, but the House is not the place to debate them. I am sure that they will be debated elsewhere.
Tony Baldry (Banbury) (Con): Last year, as a one-off, the Government pumped £1 billion into local government finance because, understandably, they did not want council tax bills to go through the roof before the general election. That will not happen again this year, so it is not surprising that the Local Government Association expects council tax bills to go up by £100.
Later this month or early in December, we shall have the annual ritual of the local government finance settlement. As the settlement is always drafted in Schleswig-Holstein-style obscurity, it is almost impossible for Members to ask questions at the time. Will the Leader of the House undertake to provide a debate on this year's settlement in Government time before the House rises for the Christmas recess, so that we can all come and tell him that he is wrong about the council tax increases that will be necessary in the coming year because of the Government's failure to give financial support to local government?
Mr. Hoon: I recall the hon. Gentleman's giving the then Opposition lectures on the need to balance budgets and spend money wisely and effectively. Such observations should apply equally to local government. We must all exercise our responsibilities for financial management in a sensible way.
I regard the LGA's bid as part of its negotiating tactic. We see it every year, and it is not surprising that it has appeared this year. No doubt it is the first sign of winter, or something. These matters will be resolved, and they will be resolved in the usual way.
Mike Penning (Hemel Hempstead) (Con): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday we witnessed a fantastic demonstration of democracy in Parliament when we were lobbied by the Trade Justice Movement in a wonderfully organised way. Sadly, however, a postcode lottery determined who was completely soaked in the rain outside, because people travelled here from different parts of the country. My constituents, who had travelled no further than 50 miles or so, spent four hours outside and were soaked to the skin. Meanwhile, Westminster Hall was nowhere near full. I wonder whether you, Mr. Speaker, could look into how we organise delegations to Parliament in the 21st century, so that we can treat our constituents in a much better fashion.
Mr. Speaker: I will look into the point that the hon. Gentleman has raised, but my understanding is that as many members of the public were admitted to the precincts as could safely be accommodatedand the organisers of the lobby were well aware in advance that they were bringing more people to Westminster than could be admitted to the building. The organisers of such lobbies have to take some responsibility for the consequences of their arrangements.
Mr. John Hayes (South Holland and The Deepings) (Con): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As you will know, the expenses of all Members have been published in the past few weeks, causing great excitement to all and sundry. You will also know that the costs of the office of the Leader of the Opposition, which are paid in Short money, are in the public domain. I am told by the House of Commons Library, however, that no equivalent information about the Prime Minister's office is available. I understand that questions have been tabled about the issue, but to no avail. Can you advise me, Mr. Speaker, on how I might be able to establish the costs of the Prime Minister's private office, in an entirely proper way, so that we can compare them with our own costs and with those of the Leader of the Opposition?
Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin) (Con): Further to the point of order raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning), Mr. Speaker. May I draw your attention to a conversation that took place in Westminster Hall yesterday? I had to attend a meeting of the Environmental Audit Committee, which, as you know, is doing fine work on climate change renewables and nuclear power. I was told that a green slip could not be taken to Portcullis House, and that I could be given one only if I was in the main building. Is not Portcullis House still part of the parliamentary estate?
Mr. Dominic Grieve (Beaconsfield) (Con): As the Minister will know, an amendment to clause 21 was tabled but not selected. It dealt with the question of what constitutes unlawful glorification, which seems to depend on what glorification turns out to mean in the rest of the Bill. We believe that there are good grounds for proscribing an organisation that glorifies terrorist acts, because that is different from criminalising such an organisation, but I should like to understand better the nature of unlawful glorification and its relation to the meaning of glorification in clause 1. I hope that the Minister will be able to enlighten us.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Paul Goggins): The hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) referred to an amendment that had not been selected, but we have an opportunity to discuss the clause. I think he agrees with the Government that proscription is an important weapon in the fight against terrorism. He mentioned the word "glorification": there was some discussion about that yesterday, and the Committee settled its opinion.
Proscription is an important weapon in the fight against terrorism, but more would be required than for an individual member of an organisation to make glorifying statements. The organisation itself would have to be aligned with those opinions. It should also be stressed that glorification of terrorism applies only when an audience can reasonably be expected to infer that what is being glorified is conduct that should be emulated in existing circumstances. Glorification of terrorism in itself is not sufficient ground for proscription.
Mr. William Cash (Stone) (Con):
When deciding whether particular organisations should be proscribed, might we not encounter a difficulty? A mosque, for instance, consists of a body of peoplethe jurists on the one hand and the imam on the otherwho may say certain things. I do not pretend to know the answer to the problem, but, as I tried to explain yesterday, we could find ourselves on extremely dangerous territory because of aspects of the universalism of the religion in question, and the interaction between religion and politicswhich, in the context of the Koran, are inseparable.
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