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Mr. Edward Garnier (Harborough) (Con): I confess that, despite my surname, I know rather less about the French language than the right hon. Gentleman and my hon. Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve). However, I know a little about the law of publication. We are addressing the publicationthe making known to third partiesof statements that the right hon. Gentleman wants to outlaw. However, as we are on the subject of glorification, and given the muddle that we seem to be getting into, what is the difference between intentional glorification in the sense for which the Home Secretary is arguing and intentional incitement, which is already included in criminal law?
Mr. Clarke: The indirect aspect is important. I know that the hon. and learned Gentleman, whose legal qualifications and understanding of the matter I respect, does not agree, but we believe that in the overall context of the Bill it is important to outlaw the glorification of terrorism where there is intent, as we have discussed. The Opposition think that it is not important to talk about glorificationthey think that we should talk about indirect encouragement instead. We do not agree.
Mr. Robert Marshall-Andrews (Medway) (Lab): Will the Home Secretary deal with two related matters and thus greatly assist me and, I am sure, other Members? If, as he rightly said, glorification is simply an example of offences covered by clause 1, and if it is a particularly obvious example, why is it necessary to include it in the Bill? While we are on the subject, why cannot someone incite by holding a placard?
Mr. Clarke: I know that I should not expect the support of my hon. and learned Friend in the Lobby, whatever I say. However, glorification is important in the Government's view because of the clear understanding by the public, the courts and juries both of the word itself and of what is happening. The Opposition do not agree, but we think that it is very important. In addition, our amendments deal directly with placards and such matters. The Lords amendment, however, excludes them.
Sir Patrick Cormack : On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. If the Home Secretary is experiencing difficulties because of what he considers omissions in the Lords amendment, can you help him by accepting a manuscript amendment if he submits one?
You could not have made the position clearer, Mr. Speaker. That exchange was extremely helpful, because the hon. Member for Beaconsfield
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admitted that the Lords amendment was deficient. [Interruption.] I am sorry, I do not wish to be controversial or misleading, so I shall rephrase my remarks. The hon. Gentleman acknowledged in his contribution that it would be better if the Lords amendment were amended in certain respects, as Hansard will show. The hon. Member for South Staffordshire (Sir Patrick Cormack) asked if that could be done by a manuscript amendment, which you have made clear, Mr. Speaker, could not be accepted at this stage. That leads me to concludein my own words, not those of the hon. Member for Beaconsfieldthat the Lords amendment is deficient.
Mr. Grieve: I have often participated in Committee, where it is possible to hold lengthy debate on minute areas of textual drafting. I am always prepared to acknowledge that text can be improved or changed. Sometimes that does not make any difference, but sometimes it does, and the difference can provide reassurance. That is why I told the Home Secretary that if that is an obstacle for the Governmentit appeared to cause the Prime Minister enormous anxiety at Prime Minister's Question Timeit is readily curable. If he would like to provide the House with an assurance that the Government would accept the Bill with a cure for that one word, I am sure that we can resolve the debate very quickly. That is as consensual an approach as it is possible to take. I wish that the Home Secretary would take it in good part and respond sensibly, rather than engage in more polemic.
Mr. Clarke: I do not think that I have engaged in polemic. It is always entertaining to see qualified lawyersI certainly am not onecounting the angels dancing on the head of a pin in these debates, but I do not accept that I have engaged in polemic. Indeed, quite the opposite.
I have given the first of three reasons why the Lords amendments should be rejected. Secondly, it is perfectly clear that people who seek to recruit terrorists do so not just by directly encouraging terrorism or by provoking people to commit violent acts but by glorifying terrorism and terrorists. They may emphasise that terrorists are heroes whose actions should be copied; that terrorists go straight to paradise when they die; that terrorists undertake glorious acts that deserve to be emulated; or that terrorists are simply better humans than those of us who are not terrorists. The single word that best captures that is "glorification". It is the word that, we all recognise, covers such forms of indirect encouragement. It does not, as I have explained, cover all forms of indirect encouragement, but it does cover those forms. It is that clarity of meaning that makes the word "glorification" so important. Not only do our electorate know what it means, and not only was it defined with total clarity for the courts, but those who seek to recruit terrorists know what it means. If the legislation outlaws the glorification of terrorism, preachers and proselytisers for terrorism and the organisations with which they work will know that if they glorify terrorism they may fall within the parameters of the offence. If it is not included, they know that they can glorify with impunity. The
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alternative expression "indirect encouragement" does not send a strong or clear message. The only message that it sends is that glorification is acceptable.
Mr. Cash : Can the Home Secretary provide one instance in which the word "glorification" has been defined in the courts as he suggested? There is no such description in any court judgment. As for his general assertion that the proposal will provide clarity, I acknowledge that the Lords amendments may well contain minor defects. None the less, the Home Secretary must surely admit that the Government's proposals are vague and uncertain, and have been condemned by the Joint Committee on Human Rights.
Mr. Mike Hancock (Portsmouth, South) (LD): The Home Secretary used a strange word just before the previous intervention, when he said that people may be found guilty of glorification. How can the word "may" be expressed so that people clearly understand that they could glorify something and they might not be committing an offence? What is the distinction?
Mr. Clarke: First, the offence depends on the context within which glorification takes place. That was the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield. Secondly, it will be for the court in any given circumstance to judge whether any offence has been committed. That is not a judgment that I can make.
Mr. Clarke: I am certainly prepared to acknowledge that the words from the Oxford dictionary are a reasonable way of looking at the word "glorification", but my argument is that "glorification" is a simple and clearly understood word that is very powerful in its own right.
Mr. David Gauke (South-West Hertfordshire) (Con): The Home Secretary spoke of sending a clear signal, as did the Prime Minister earlier. Putting aside the concerns that the law is more about indicating what the Government are thinking than about dealing with a real gap in our criminal law, does it not come ill from the Government to talk about sending clear signals, when the immediate response to the disgraceful protests outside the Danish embassy was not to condemn the protesters but to condemn the newspapers that published the cartoons?
That point is utterly ridiculous and completely wrong. I draw the hon. Gentleman's attention to the statement that I made following the urgent question from my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick). On the Monday after
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those events, I came to the House as early as I could to make clear the Government position and I dealt with that explicitly.
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