Does the Foreign Secretary agree that the recent violence on the Israeli-Syrian border may well be a cynical strategy on the part of the Syrian regime to try

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to distract the eyes of the international community from the regime’s own brutality against, and murder of, its own people within its own borders?

Mr Hague: My answer to my hon. Friend is in line with my answer to the hon. Member for Walsall North (Mr Winnick). The area on the other side of the boundary fence is under the control of the Syrian Government, and people are able to draw their own conclusions from that.

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab): Can the Foreign Secretary credibly continue to say that Britain is not militarily involved in a war for regime change in Libya? While there are enormous concerns about violations of human rights by the Gaddafi regime and its forces, there are also reports of human rights violations by the forces opposing Gaddafi. Did the Foreign Secretary raise those with the transitional council during his visit? Is he at all concerned about the role that Saudi Arabia is playing across the region, and about its own human rights abuses? He did not mention Saudi Arabia once in his statement.

Mr Hague: Let me answer some of those questions. We did raise with the members of the national transitional council the need to uphold the very highest standards in their own behaviour and treatment of prisoners, for instance. The report to which the hon. Gentleman referred said that the council was upholding the Geneva conventions, unlike the Gaddafi regime.

Can we still credibly argue—to put the hon. Gentleman’s question another way—that military action is within the terms of the United Nations Security Council resolutions? Yes, we can. If we were not taking the action we are taking, there is no doubt that the regime forces would move back into the harassment, threatening and killing of the civilian population of Libya.

Rory Stewart (Penrith and The Border) (Con): Given that the Foreign Secretary has so eloquently pointed out that Libya is just one, and perhaps not the most important, part of the events happening in the middle east at present, will he please reassure the House that nothing we do in Libya alienates the support of the Arab world or the UN Security Council, on whom we depend, for solving the much bigger issues of a dozen countries over the next 20 years?

Mr Hague: That question is about the importance of maintaining the international coalition and staying within the terms of the UN Security Council resolutions. My hon. Friend will be aware that there are Arab nations involved in this military action as well, and many more are giving it logistic and financial support, or support in the form of overflight rights. We also expect more Arab nations than before to attend the contact group meeting in Abu Dhabi, so we are enlarging the coalition of support on Libya, including with many nations of the middle east. We are also communicating with the people of the middle east in every possible way, such as through satellite television channels, to explain what we are doing. Certainly if our visit to Benghazi was anything to go by, there is very strong support for what we are doing among ordinary people, representatives of civil society and the press.

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Sir Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Gorton) (Lab): In the light of the report in yesterday’s The New Yorker that Barack Obama used his recent visit to canvass western European Governments to vote against the recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations, will the right hon. Gentleman affirm that this Government will vote in favour of the recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations General Assembly in September, since no decision could be more calculated to force the Israelis to come to their senses?

Mr Hague: We have taken no decision about that, and it would be premature to do so. This situation may arise in September. At the European Foreign Affairs Council, my advice to all my colleagues of the other 26 European nations was that we should withhold our statements on that issue. The fact that we have done so, and that we will judge events over the coming months, may be one factor that encourages all parties to behave responsibly over those few months.

Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD): Across the middle east and north Africa, appalling stories are emerging of the torture and abuse of civilians during this unrest. Last week, an Egyptian general admitted that women protestors had been subjected to forced virginity tests, and in Misrata two Libyan soldiers told the BBC how they had been ordered to take part in the gang rape of young women. What can the UK and the international community do to ensure that the perpetrators of these abuses are brought to justice, and, in line with UN Security Council resolution 1325, how will women be properly engaged in the post-conflict reconstruction?

Mr Hague: We can do many things, which we are doing. They include the following: in the case of the situation in Libya, reference to the International Criminal Court; in the case of many other countries, encouraging their Governments and domestic legal systems to take these problems seriously, and to bring about reconciliation through facing up to what has happened over recent months; and in the cases of regimes that are not listening to that, we are of course trying to intensify the pressure in other ways, as I have described. Our entire programme of encouraging civil society, human rights and the development of political parties is also in line with the strong participation of women in these societies.

Mike Gapes (Ilford South) (Lab/Co-op): How can there be a comprehensive, inclusive national dialogue in Bahrain when secular Opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif is on trial, and moderate Wafaq MPs Matar Ibrahim Matar and Jawad Fairoz have been arrested and detained? Is it not time that they were released, so that they can take part in such a dialogue?

Mr Hague: Certainly I agree with the hon. Gentleman that a successful dialogue will have to be with senior representatives of the Opposition and in different circumstances, but that should not stop us trying to encourage that dialogue. The alternative policy to the one we are pursuing is to condemn all concerned and say there is no hope for dialogue. We have to encourage those on both sides of the divide in Bahrain who believe in dialogue to undertake it. Clearly, however, they are not starting from an advantageous position given all the things that have happened in recent months, including the things to which the hon. Gentleman refers.

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Richard Fuller (Bedford) (Con): The good work of our armed forces, the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Libya depends on the support of the United States. Does the Foreign Secretary have any comment to make on moves in the US Congress to review President Obama’s decision on his commitment to our efforts in Libya?

Mr Hague: This has been a long-running constitutional issue in the United States of America between various Presidents and Congress, and I probably have enough on without wading into American constitutional theory. We are assured by the US Administration that—[Interruption.] No, I really am not going to wade into that. We are assured by the US Administration that they are entirely satisfied with the powers they have to undertake the operations that they are undertaking and that those operations will continue.

Chris Bryant (Rhondda) (Lab): In a year’s time, the barbarous regimes in Bahrain and Syria will probably expect to send teams to the Olympics here in London, along with a load of officials, who will doubtless stay in some very polite London hotels. Will that really be right if the atrocities continue?

Mr Hague: It really is premature to consider that. I am not a regular fan of boycotts of the Olympic games, which are brought up every time there is an Olympic games for one reason or another. We should be very reluctant to advocate the boycotting

Mr MacShane: Mrs Thatcher supported the boycott in 1980.

Mr Hague: Well maybe we should learn from what happened 30 years ago. We should be reluctant about advocating boycotts, but the question is premature in any case.

Bob Blackman (Harrow East) (Con): The reported reopening of the border between Gaza and Egypt runs the risk of refuelling Hamas and Islamic Jihad. What steps is the Foreign Secretary taking to make sure that the Egyptian Government stop assisting Hamas and Islamic Jihad, so that pressure can be brought on all sides to return to the negotiating table?

Mr Hague: Clearly, we do not want the Egyptian Government to do anything that will increase the risk of violence in Gaza or emanating from Gaza, but I must say that I do not think that the reopening of crossings necessarily leads to that. The closure of borders in Gaza has tended to strengthen Hamas, creating a corrupt economy on which it has been able to thrive and increasing the sense of grievance on which it is based. So I do not think that Egypt’s announcement, in itself, represents a strengthening of Hamas, but of course we must be on the alert for anything that would lead to more weapons going into Gaza and to an increased risk of violence.

Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield) (Lab): Motor racing is a sport and an industry where Britain leads the world; the majority of Formula 1 teams are based here. Does that not give us a special responsibility to make it much clearer to the FIA that its decision to reinstate the Bahrain grand prix is wrong ethically and on safety

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grounds, that its decision is bad for the long-term reputation of Formula 1 and that it is absolutely clear that there is widespread opposition to the decision among teams and among Formula 1 drivers? We should be clearer in asking the FIA to think again.

Mr Hague: Clearly there is widespread opposition of the kind that the hon. Gentleman describes, and the FIA must take that into account as it considers the decision it has made. It must make its own decisions—we should be clear about that—but the widespread opposition that he refers to is clear.

Christopher Pincher (Tamworth) (Con): In his statement my right hon. Friend rightly said that the national transitional council represents the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people. So does he believe that the $53 billion-worth of frozen Libyan assets, including the $182 million-worth allegedly held by the Royal Bank of Scotland, will be released to the NTC for it to dispose of as it wishes?

Mr Hague: It is not possible to release those assets under the current UN resolutions—of course we have looked at this matter, but all the advice that we have been given is that it is not possible to do that. Other countries have received the same advice and, certainly, all other European countries are in the same position. It is very important that we stay within the UN resolutions and retain the moral authority of operating within international law, even though that is inconvenient in some respects and requires us to do some things differently from how we might wish. So that is a higher priority than finding a way around the UN resolutions. If it is possible to change them at any stage, we would be ready to do so.

Sammy Wilson (East Antrim) (DUP): Does the Foreign Secretary agree that events in Syria have the potential to be even more destabilising than events in Libya given the cynical attempt to stir up problems on the border with Israel? Will he therefore outline to us the additional sanctions on Syria that he is considering with the EU partners mentioned in the statement?

Mr Hague: The sanctions so far cover President Assad and 22 other individuals in terms of asset freezes and travel bans. Additional sanctions would involve the designation of further individuals involved in repression and violence in Syria and of commercial organisations, so the sanctions on Syria would be wider spread. I do not want to pretend to the hon. Gentleman that such sanctions will change the entire situation in Syria. They are a demonstration of our strong view rather than something that will transform the situation there. We must recognise our limited leverage in Syria, but we are exercising the leverage that we have.

Dan Byles (North Warwickshire) (Con): On the post-conflict phase, will the Foreign Secretary confirm that if the UK were to give long-term assistance to Libyan police and security forces, that assistance would be paid for by the Department for International Development and not the Ministry of Defence?

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Mr Hague: Yes. Such support predominantly comes from the Department for International Development or out of the reserve. The costs of the operations in Libya are being met from the reserve, as the Chancellor has said, so they are not an additional burden on the Ministry of Defence.

Heidi Alexander (Lewisham East) (Lab): What conditions, if any, have been placed on the Arab partnership fund to ensure women’s equal political participation and—dare I say it—representation in north Africa’s emerging democracies?

Mr Hague: This is one of the objectives of the fund and £40 million of it is there to encourage political reform. That is very much one of the objectives. As I have said several times before, the encouragement of civil society, human rights groups, NGOs, and training for liberal and secular political parties is designed to ensure, among other things, that women have a strong role in the politics and society of these countries. We will strongly champion that.

Robert Halfon (Harlow) (Con): Does my right hon. Friend agree that Israel has the right to defend its own borders, given that the consequences of not doing so would be enormous? Does he agree that Iran is likely to have had influence on recent events over the weekend and has he made an assessment of Iranian influence in Syria?

Mr Hague: Israel does have the right to defend its borders but it must do so in a sensible and proportionate way; I think we should stress that. I have no direct evidence of Iranian involvement in the events around the borders of Israel but I have seen a good deal of evidence of Iranian involvement in Syria in attempting to crush dissent, including in the provision of riot control equipment and of expertise in how to flood particular towns and cities with security forces for the purposes of repression. Iran has a strong role in trying to quell the views of the people of Syria and we should condemn it for doing so.

Mark Durkan (Foyle) (SDLP): Although I acknowledge the scope and energy of the Foreign Secretary’s personal engagement on these issues, he must accept that there is some concern that he chooses to use language that is so elliptical in relation to some clear-cut events in comparison with others. On the Syrian resolution that the Government are seeking, does any of the resistance voiced include any reference to the possibility that the existing resolution on Libya is being exceeded? If so, how does he refute that?

Mr Hague: I do not think that that is a major factor in this. As has been pointed out by hon. Members earlier, Russia, which was not an enthusiast for the Security Council resolution on Libya, has conceded at the G8 that Gaddafi has lost legitimacy and must go. When it comes to the resolution on Syria there are other factors at work. Syria has stronger relationships with various countries around the Arab world and with Russia than Libya has had in recent years. There are more powerful factors at work in making countries reluctant to condemn the Syrian Government, but if these events continue as they are, it must be acknowledged

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across capitals all over the world that the Syrian Government’s behaviour is unacceptable and we will make a renewed push at the United Nations on that basis.

Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham) (Con): The Foreign Secretary will know that the United States previously appointed Jerry Bremer as the Governor and administrator in Iraq to oversee the transition to democracy. Will the United Kingdom appoint someone to a similar position to oversee the transition to democracy in the post-Gaddafi regime?

Mr Hague: I doubt it because we are not intending to be an occupying power in Libya, where I hope that the situation when Gaddafi goes will be radically different from the situation in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. It will not be a situation in which armies have come from outside to remove the system and to try to construct something completely new; it will be about the success of people inside Libya who have fought for their freedom and are able to build a structure in accordance with their own culture and society. I am not anticipating there being anyone from Britain to oversee that.

Mr Dennis Skinner (Bolsover) (Lab): Would not a fair summary of the Foreign Secretary’s statement be that it suggests the halcyon days of the Arab spring are fast moving towards a harsh winter and that all that will remain is a big bill for the British people to pay?

Mr Hague: No; whatever happens with the Arab spring, we should welcome people’s aspirations for freedom and democracy anywhere in the world, including in the Arab world. It is bound to cause many crises and difficulties along the way, but if we did not handle these things in a sensible way, the cost to this country in terms of uncontrolled migration into Europe and new breeding grounds for terrorism would be enormous. I think that the hon. Gentleman’s view is a very blinkered one.

James Morris (Halesowen and Rowley Regis) (Con): Does the Foreign Secretary agree that given all that is going on in the middle east, it is more vital than ever that the international community should take any means necessary to prevent Iran from getting a viable nuclear weapon?

Mr Hague: The way I would put it is that it is important to intensify the peaceful and legitimate pressure on Iran to turn it away from its nuclear programme. As I set out in my statement, we have secured in the past two weeks the designation of more than 100 additional entities in Iran that are in various ways engaged or associated with the nuclear programme. We are looking to other countries to intensify the pressure and we discussed this a great deal with President Obama and Secretary Clinton on their visit here a couple of weeks ago. We will continue to intensify that policy. This is of prime concern to the security of the region and the world.

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): Given what the Foreign Secretary rightly says about the importance of consistency, I am astonished that he thinks it could be remotely acceptable for the grand prix to go ahead in

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Bahrain. What evidence does he have that the representations that he and the Prime Minister are making constantly, as he tells us, to the Bahraini Government are having any effect at all?

Mr Hague: We will see over time the effect that we have in Bahrain. It is important to have channels of communication to the ruling family and the ruling group as well as to the opposition forces in Bahrain, and Britain is one of the few countries that has both those channels, which our embassy in Manama has built up over the years. We should use those channels constructively because there is no solution in Bahrain other than one based on a successful dialogue between both sides. We have to continue to encourage that.

Mr Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith) (Lab): The Foreign Secretary has consistently condemned the use of live fire against unarmed protesters by murderous regimes such as Assad’s and Gaddafi’s, so why does he find it difficult today to condemn exactly the same thing by the Israeli regime? What protest is he making to the ambassador and to the Government of Israel and what sanctions will he consider if there is a repetition of these events, which go on week by week on all of Israel’s illegal borders?

Mr Hague: I have pointed out that the responsibility for the situation on the borders is not entirely on the Israeli side. I have made very clear our opposition to the use of lethal force and that the defence of borders and boundaries should be proportionate. Hon. Members should make no mistake about that. That is the message that we convey to the Israeli authorities. We should not be so short-sighted as to believe that in the case of Syria no one else is involved in trying to create those incidents and putting people in a position in which they are caught up in violent incidents.

Ian Paisley (North Antrim) (DUP): I thank the Foreign Secretary for his comprehensive statement. Will he be specific about the number of British nationals who have fled Yemen since the statement in March? Will he give us his estimate of the number of British nationals who remain in Yemen and, finally, why are there 80 British marines off the coast of Yemen and what do they intend to do? In the statement, he said that it was “extremely unlikely that the British Government will be able to evacuate any British nationals” left in Yemen.

Mr Hague: There is a good deal of evidence that many British nationals have left Yemen in recent months in response to our advice, although it is not always easy to track them all individually. Most British nationals who remain appear to be dual nationals, so they may not intend to leave under any circumstances—they are Yemeni as well as British. The number of people holding only British nationality is certainly down to a few hundred as far as we can see—fewer than 300 would be a fair estimate. There are British military assets in the region, but I am not going into the operational tasking of those assets. I restate that, whatever the assets we may have in the region, conducting a safe evacuation from a place where it would be difficult for people even to get to the airport if greater violence breaks out is not something on which people can rely.

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Ms Gisela Stuart (Birmingham, Edgbaston) (Lab): The Foreign Secretary suggested that one reason why we heard so little from the Arab League in recent weeks was the level of disagreement. Will he update the House on where agreement may be reached, as the support of the Arab League will be extremely important and vital to all of us?

Mr Hague: On Libya, the Arab League has been very clear and is very supportive of what we have done under the Security Council resolutions. I trust that it will be represented on the contact group in Abu Dhabi. This week, it is on Syria that Arab councils would be more divided, because the connections between some of their Governments and the Syrian authorities are much closer than they were in the case of Colonel Gaddafi. There is no doubt that Arab nations individually are, in many cases, playing a role in encouraging President Assad down a path of reform, although it may be too late for that. However, they are playing their role in doing so as individual nationals, rather than through the Arab League.

Naomi Long (Belfast East) (Alliance): With respect to the planned national dialogue in Bahrain, what representations will the Secretary of State make to the Bahraini authorities to ensure that that dialogue not only addresses the main sectarian tensions and political reform but wider issues of civil and religious liberty for other minority groupings in Bahrain?

Mr Hague: The hon. Lady makes an important point. For it to be a successful national dialogue, it will have to embrace all those concerns. In our next meetings with those authorities, I will certainly make the point that she has made in the House.

Mr Speaker: I am grateful to the Foreign Secretary and colleagues for their co-operation.

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Prevent Strategy

5.8 pm

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on the review of the Government’s strategy to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

Intelligence indicates that the UK faces a serious and sustained threat from terrorism. Osama bin Laden may be dead, but the threat from al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism is not. Indeed, the threat level from international terrorism remains at “Severe”, meaning an attack is highly likely. That threat comes both from foreign nationals and from terrorists born and bred in Britain.

To tackle that threat, as the Prime Minister made clear in his speech in Munich earlier this year, we must not only arrest and prosecute those who breach the law, but we must stop people being drawn into terrorist-related activity in the first place. That will require a new approach to integrating our divided communities, led by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and delivered by Ministers across the whole of Government. In counter-terrorism policy, it will require an effective strategy to tackle radicalisation in this country and overseas. That is why, last year, I launched a review of the existing counter-radicalisation strategy known as Prevent. That review found that the Prevent programme that we inherited from the previous Government was flawed. It confused Government policy to promote integration with Government policy to prevent terrorism. It failed to tackle the extremist ideology that not only undermines the cohesion of our society, but inspires would-be terrorists to seek to bring death and destruction to our towns and cities. In trying to reach out to those at risk of radicalisation, funding sometimes even reached the very extremist organisations that Prevent should have been confronting. We will not make the same mistakes.

Our new strategy is guided by a number of key principles. Prevent should remain an integral part of our counter-terrorism strategy, Contest, a full update of which we will publish later this summer. Its aim should be to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Prevent should address all forms of terrorism, including the extreme right wing. That is only right and proper and will also provide a more flexible basis to adapt to emerging threats in the future.

In a world of scarce resources, it is clear that Prevent work must be targeted against those forms of terrorism that pose the greatest risk to our national security. Currently, the greatest threat comes from al-Qaeda and those it inspires. The majority of Prevent resources and efforts will therefore be devoted to stopping people joining or supporting al-Qaeda, its affiliates or like-minded groups. But Prevent must also recognise and tackle the insidious impact of non-violent extremism, which can create an atmosphere conducive to terrorism and can popularise views that terrorists exploit.

Prevent depends on a successful integration strategy, but integration alone will not meet our counter-terrorism objectives, and our integration programme should go much wider than just security and counter-terrorism. This was a fundamental failing of the last Government’s approach. They failed to promote integration, and where

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they did promote it, they did so through the narrow prism of counter-terrorism. So we will do more than any Government before us to promote integration, including through teaching our history and values in our schools, through the national citizen service, and through other policies, but we will do so separately and differently from Prevent. The combined effect of this work and of the new Prevent strategy will be an unyielding fight against extremism, violent extremism and radicalisation.

It is critical that agencies, Departments and local authorities work to a common set of Prevent objectives to deliver the outcomes that we want. Public funding for Prevent must be rigorously prioritised and comprehensively audited. The previous Government were far too lax in spending in this area, as they were in so many others. Let me reiterate that under this Government, public money will not be provided to extremist organisations. If organisations do not support the values of democracy, human rights, equality before the law, participation in society—if they do not accept these fundamental and universal values—we will not work with them and we will not fund them.

Within this overall framework, the new Prevent strategy will have three objectives. First, Prevent will respond to the ideological challenge and the threat from those who promote it. As the Deputy Prime Minister said in his speech in Luton, we must be much more assertive about our values. Let me be clear: the ideology of extremism and terrorism is the problem; Islam emphatically is not. Tackling that ideology will mean working with mainstream individuals and organisations to make sure moderate voices are heard. It will mean robustly defending our institutions and our way of life. So where propagandists break the law in encouraging or approving terrorism, it will mean arrest and prosecution, and where people seek to enter this country from overseas to engage in activity in support of extremist or terrorist groups, we will exclude them. Since coming to power, I have already excluded 44 individuals from the UK either because of unacceptable behaviour or for national security reasons.

Secondly, Prevent will stop individuals being drawn into terrorism and will ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support. Radicalisation is a process, not a one-off event. During that process it is possible to intervene to stop vulnerable people gravitating towards terrorism. We will do this by building on the successful multi-agency “Channel” programme, which identifies and provides support for people at risk of radicalisation. I want to use this opportunity to make one thing clear—Prevent is not about spying on communities, as some have alleged. It is about acting on information from the police, the security and intelligence agencies, local authorities and community organisations to help those specifically at risk of turning towards terrorism. It is incumbent on everyone in this country to play their part in helping them do so.

Thirdly, we will work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation. It is right to acknowledge that progress has been made in this area, but that progress has been patchy and it must be improved. So we will work with education and health care providers, universities, faith groups, charities, prisons and the wider criminal justice system. We will also work to tackle the particular challenge of radicalisation on the internet, and to make better use ourselves of social media and other modern communications technologies.

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This review has been independently overseen by Lord Carlile of Berriew, and I pay tribute to him for his contribution. Lord Carlile has said that the new Prevent strategy has his full support. He said that

“it provides a template for challenging the extremist ideas and terrorist actions which seek to undermine the rule of law and fundamental British political values and institutions. Its tone is clear, and its policy compelling. It offers a positive message for mutual respect, tolerance and liberty.”

Prevent has not been without controversy. In the past, it received allegations that it was a cover for spying. Those allegations have been found to be false, but now we will make sure that this is seen and known to be the case. In the past, Prevent was muddled up with integration. It operated to confused and contradictory objectives—not any more. At times funding even found its way to the sorts of extremist organisations that themselves pose a threat to our society and to our security—not under this Government.

Let me be clear. We will not fund or work with organisations that do not subscribe to the core values of our society. Our new Prevent strategy will challenge the extremist ideology, it will help protect sectors and institutions from extremists, and it will stop the radicalisation of vulnerable people. Above all, it will tackle the threat from home-grown terrorism. I commend this statement to the House.

Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford) (Lab): We should take this opportunity to pay tribute to those who work so hard to protect our national security. Today we expected the Home Secretary to update the Prevent strategy, but she has done nothing of the sort. We support updating the Prevent strategy, but there is a massive gap between her rhetoric today and the reality of her policies. Where she should be building consensus around counter-terrorism, instead she has been political point-scoring. She has set out no actual proposals on how she would deliver in such an important area.

Most of the work on the development of Prevent was done after the 7/7 bombings and it was treading completely new ground. Urgent work was needed to disrupt the process of radicalisation, but there was no experience to draw on, and a range of different approaches was rightly tried. Much of that work was supported by the Opposition at the time. Some like “Channel” were very successful; some were not as effective. We were clear from the very beginning that it would need to be reviewed and evolve in the light of the evidence. The same is true now.

The Home Secretary, however, has claimed with great certainty that she will not make mistakes. If she believes that she now knows all the answers on how to tackle extremism and radicalisation, she is heading for a fall. In her desire to blame the previous Government for everything she is blinding herself and her Government to the fact that this is difficult work. Some of what she would like to do will work, but some will not, and it will need to be reviewed again, but that should be on the basis of evidence, not political positioning.

The Home Secretary has not even told us what her new mistake-free strategy involves. We agree that some groups should not be funded because of their extremist views, but the review says that it found no evidence to indicate widespread, systematic or deliberate funding of extremist groups, either by the Home Office or by local

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authorities or police forces. She has told us nothing about the new framework that will somehow prevent it happening inadvertently with local decisions in place. She has said that there will be a new focus on integration from the Department for Communities and Local Government, but what is it, what will it do and how will it be funded? She has already cut 40% from the Prevent funding for local councils this year alone and they have major cuts still to come.

The Home Secretary has claimed that there will be stronger work by universities and the NHS, but the Universities UK and the British Medical Association have already rejected her views. How workable are these plans if such critical stakeholders are hostile from the start? She has not set out different approaches for dealing with violent extremism, non-violent extremist and integration and seems to be confusing all three. Is it not the truth that there is a massive gap between her rhetoric and reality?

The Prime Minister has claimed that there will now be no more of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism, but what will the Government actually do and how will they deliver? Police counter-terrorism budgets are being cut in real terms, as are the Foreign Office’s counter-terrorism programmes, and later today the Home Secretary will introduce a Bill that will make it harder, not easier, to prevent terrorism attacks by watering down elements of control orders. Despite all the Prime Minister’s strong claims about getting tough on extremists, there is still no sign that he will meet his pre-election promise to ban the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

I know from previous experience of the Home Secretary’s statements that if I give her a long list of questions, she will not answer them, so let me leave her with just one: will she confirm that the Government will not meet their promise to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir and admit that sometimes it is not as easy in practice to deliver counter-terrorism and work to prevent extremism as it is to make grand political promises as she has done today?

Mrs May: I am rather disappointed in the tone that the right hon. Lady has taken in her response. On the one hand she said that she recognised that the Prevent strategy needed review, but on the other hand she has completely rejected the review that has taken place. She claims that no change is taking place, but clearly there is. On Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Government are concerned about that group’s actions and keep it under constant review. She asked me to confirm that that is a very difficult area in which to work, which I am happy to do. It is difficult to make the proper judgments in this area.

When we came into office we looked at the previous Government’s approach and found that they had not looked at the issue of extremism but focused instead on violent extremism. We believe that it is important to look at extremism, because people involved in it can be led on to violent extremism and terrorist acts. We believe that it is also important to look at extremism because it can create an atmosphere in which people can more easily be radicalised towards terrorism. That is a key change that we are bringing about. We are looking at all forms of terrorism and have made that clear in what we are doing.

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I have identified a number of areas where I think not enough has been done to look at radicalisation. The right hon. Lady said that Universities UK had rejected the review’s statements relating to universities, but I have to say to her and to Universities UK that I consider one of the problems to have been a degree of complacency in universities and their unwillingness to recognise the radicalisation that can take place on their campuses and do anything about it. We aim to work with universities to ensure that in future, with regard to their pastoral duty of care to students, they take radicalisation seriously and act accordingly.

There will be real differences in the approach we are taking. It has been a problem in the past that, because Prevent covered both integration and the counter-terrorism aspects of the strategy, it was perceived to be the securitisation of integration, so it is right that the Department for Communities and Local Government will take on the integration aspect of our policy and work on aspects of community cohesion.

Finally, I think that it is absolutely right that the Government should look very carefully at the groups that are being funded, analyse and evaluate them properly and carefully monitor how money is spent. The previous Government did not do that.

Mr David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden) (Con): I welcome wholeheartedly my right hon. Friend’s statement and comments, not least because a couple of weeks ago I received a letter from a Muslim inmate of one of our high-security prisons, in which he said:

‘Last week our prison service imam told us ‘not to believe western media’ in relation to the death of Usama bin Laden. The week prior to that the imam celebrated the escape of hundreds of Taliban prisoners from the Kabul jail.’

He went on to list equally inappropriate teachings by prison imams in a total of five prisons. The Home Secretary is right to draw attention to the previous Government’s complacency over the issue. Will she give an undertaking that this will be put right and that we will not be able to say those things next year?

Mrs May: I thank my right hon. Friend for bringing that letter to the attention of the House and, in doing so, raising a very important aspect of the work on which we wish to focus. There is a great deal more to be done in prisons, and a number of steps that we intend to take are set out in the Prevent strategy today. I should be very happy to receive a copy of that letter, if he feels able to share it with me, so that we can look at the specific allegations that have been made, but we intend to work more carefully with prisons, prison staff, the National Offender Management Service and those going into prisons to deal with individual prisoners in order to try to ensure that we do not see the sort of activity taking place that he has identified.

Mr David Blunkett (Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough) (Lab): Who could possibly disagree with the three objectives that the Home Secretary has set out? But she has not done herself or her Government justice by seeking to make party political points about those who had to deal—I did not have to—with the reality of post-7 July 2005. I have just one very simple question. How can she this afternoon talk about building on our institutions and on an understanding of our

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values and history while the Education Secretary is proposing to withdraw citizenship from the school curriculum?

Mrs May: In relation to my comments on the previous Government, we did a proper review of the Prevent strategy to identify those areas where change was necessary. We have done that, and I have brought to the House a number of areas where we believe the previous Government’s strategy was flawed and where it is necessary to make changes, which I have set out before the House today.

In relation to what is happening in education, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education is quite clear about the necessity of ensuring that values are indeed taught in our schools, but that that is done in a number of ways, including through the proper teaching of our history.

Dr Julian Lewis (New Forest East) (Con): During the cold war, Governments of Labour and Conservative persuasions differentiated between communists who were subversive and broke the law and communists who preached a totalitarian philosophy. Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is the job of the police and of the Security Service to deal with those Islamists or, as I prefer to call them, un-Islamic extremists who break the law, but that the job of Prevent must be to destroy the philosophical basis of the perversion of the religion that they seek to convey?

Mrs May: I certainly agree with my hon. Friend that we need to ensure that those who break the law are dealt with appropriately. We need to ensure also that we challenge the ideology—or, the perverse ideology—that people use to lure others down the road of radicalisation and into violent acts and into terrorism. In terms of the Prevent point of view and the very clear counter-terrorism aspect of the strategy that we have identified, that work will be done in a number of ways. In the Prevent strategy, we set out how we will deal with issues such as the internet and the use of the internet to radicalise people, but it will also be done through work with individuals who are identified as vulnerable.

Hazel Blears (Salford and Eccles) (Lab): I am very disappointed at the tone that the Home Secretary has adopted today. She has been extremely partisan in her comments. It is very easy to talk tough on these issues, but what practical support will she give to women and to young Muslims to develop the skills and confidence to tackle that pernicious ideology? In particular, what will she do about the £4.2 million that the research, information and communications unit in the Home Office spent last year? It is supposed to be developing a counter-narrative, but I for one have not seen one useful piece or product of research and information that RICU has produced. At the same time, the money for communities has been slashed, but we have a real responsibility to support people in our communities, so that they have the skills to tackle this pernicious, political ideology that is all too prevalent.

Mrs May: The right hon. Lady is correct to say that it is important to ensure that individuals are able to tackle this perverse ideology, and part of Prevent’s work with individuals will be precisely about that—about enabling people to understand the perversion of the ideology.

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In relation to dealing with the wider aspects of community participation and cohesion, however, including looking at the involvement in society more generally, as we would like, of women from particular communities who are often not able or encouraged to do so, the Department for Communities and Local Government is looking at that issue in the integration strategy that it is developing.

We refer to RICU, which was set up under the last Government, in the strategy. I fully accept the right hon. Lady’s point about communication, which is extremely important; that is why we are looking at the role that RICU plays in it.

Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) (LD): Does the Home Secretary agree that a clear divide must exist between the measures designed to tackle violent extremism and those designed to promote community cohesion, that funding must be denied to organisations that do not support our basic values in relation to respect for women and minorities, and that the most effective way to confront radical non-violent groups is to tackle their beliefs in open debate?

Mrs May: I certainly agree that we need to challenge the ideology. I also agree that the means by which we deal with violent extremism, or people who are vulnerable to radicalisation towards violent extremism, need to be separated from the wider task of community cohesion and working towards greater participation in society. In the past, people came to look with some concern at what was being done in the name of Prevent because it was trying to mix up those two aspects of work. It is important that we separate out the community cohesion work, which is overseen by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Mr George Howarth (Knowsley) (Lab): As somebody who has high regard for the Home Secretary, I, too, express regret that she has chosen to express some of her views in such party political terms. Surely it is right that we seek unity across the House on this issue.

Given that several thousand young Islamists in this country have been through training systems in Pakistan, can the Home Secretary give the House an assurance that that will be borne in mind in future and that the good work that has been carried out in Pakistan under Prevent and associated programmes will not be jettisoned, because it is important for the terrorist activities that take place in this country?

Mrs May: It is certainly the case that a strand of Prevent work takes place overseas and is overseen by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and it is important that that work is properly evaluated and evidence-based so that we ensure that the money is being spent where it can be seen to be properly working. We need to look very carefully at how the money is spent in that area of activity, but we also need to ensure that it continues to take place, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will be doing that. Separately from that, because the Department for International Development does not fund Prevent-related work, the work that DFID does in building up society has an impact in this area as well.

Patrick Mercer (Newark) (Con): The Home Secretary talked about the dangers from Islamist fundamentalism but did not, I am sure for good reason, mention the

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dangers from Irish republican terrorism. Could she account for the difficult nexus in terms of intelligence and prevention work on the mainland of the United Kingdom and how this policy will encompass it?

Mrs May: I thank my hon. Friend for raising Northern Ireland-related terrorism. The Prevent strategy that I have outlined specifically does not cover Northern Ireland-related terrorism because it is important that we work through the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and the Northern Ireland Assembly and Ministers there, in looking at these issues. There is a responsibility for this in Northern Ireland, and it would not be right for us to bring Northern Ireland-related terrorism under the Prevent strategy that I have announced. However, certain aspects of the Prevent strategy have some commonality with themes in relation to Northern Ireland-related terrorism, and I am sure that others will draw on that.

Ian Paisley (North Antrim) (DUP): I thank the Home Secretary for her statement and for clarifying that point, but will she elaborate on it? Will she confirm that where a dissident republican suspect is found to be operational, active and gathering intelligence here on the mainland, they will come under this policy and will be subject to its restrictions, and, importantly, that they will not be sin-binned back to Northern Ireland but will be restrained here, where they are trying to commit their crime?

Mrs May: I assure the hon. Gentleman that anybody who is identified as being involved in acts of terrorism or preparatory acts of terrorism that are suitable for prosecution under the law will be prosecuted under the law.

Nicola Blackwood (Oxford West and Abingdon) (Con): I welcome the Home Secretary’s statement. The strategy highlights the targeting of university campuses by extremists for the purposes of radicalising vulnerable students. I noted her concern that some universities are complacent about those risks. Will she give more detail on how the revised Prevent programme will better protect students while not overwhelming universities with excessive burdens?

Mrs May: I am happy to look at that issue. That work has started in a number of ways. The National Union of Students has done good work on the role that it can play to prevent radicalisation on campuses by considering issues such as who is speaking on campuses. We will continue to work with the NUS to develop its approach, including to other university societies. We will also work with university vice-chancellors and staff on this issue. It is certainly not our intention suddenly to overburden universities with red tape. However, we hope that universities are prepared to recognise the role that radicalisation on campuses can play and accept that they have a responsibility to look at what is happening on their campuses.

Mr Clive Betts (Sheffield South East) (Lab): In the last Parliament, the Communities and Local Government Committee did a report on the previous Government’s Prevent strategy. One criticism that was made to our inquiry, to which the Secretary of State has alluded, is that there was confusion between a strand of the policy that dealt with individuals who were felt to be at risk of

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becoming involved in terrorism and other policies that were more closely related to social cohesion measures. Is the Home Secretary saying that the first of those issues will be the responsibility of the Home Office and the second the responsibility of the Department for Communities and Local Government? Will there be any links between the two? If there are, how will the policy differ from that of the previous Government?

Mrs May: It is our intention that there will be different responsibilities for those matters. We will allow the Department for Communities and Local Government to identify how it wishes to operate its integration strategy. I believe that hon. Members will hear more from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the wider issues of community cohesion, participation in society and integration in due course. We will bring together a joint board to ensure that all activity takes place against the Government’s overall objectives in this area. I expect that that board will look at the interface between the Prevent strategy and the integration strategy of the Department for Communities and Local Government. We will not label the DCLG work as part of the Prevent strategy, and it will not be part of the counter-terrorism strategy run by the Home Office.

Lorraine Fullbrook (South Ribble) (Con): Will my right hon. Friend reassure my constituents in South Ribble that these reforms will ensure that the Prevent programme is properly focused and, above all, more effective than it has been?

Mrs May: I welcome my hon. Friend to the House following her recent illness. It is good to see her back in her seat. It is certainly our intention to monitor how money is spent on Prevent to ensure that it is spent effectively. In looking at the programmes that work, we will ensure that the decisions that are made are fully evidence-based.

Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP): In what new ways will the right hon. Lady promote integration? What core values and whose history will now be taught in schools?

Mrs May: The last time I looked, there was a different education system in Scotland, and I reassure the hon. Gentleman that I am not suggesting that I will touch it. However, I think that people across the United Kingdom share a belief in the values of democracy, human rights, equality and the rule of law, and those are the values that we are talking about.

Graham Evans (Weaver Vale) (Con): I welcome the teaching of British history in our schools. Will my right hon. Friend reassure the House that the police and security services are content with the new package of proposals?

Mrs May: I am very happy to give my hon. Friend that confirmation. We have of course been talking to the police and the intelligence agencies about the issue, and there will be particular interaction with the police because a significant part of the Prevent money is spent by them. I will write to chief constables and others today to set out the new strategy.

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Tristram Hunt (Stoke-on-Trent Central) (Lab): I am glad that the Home Secretary mentioned the extreme right wing. In Stoke-on-Trent, we have dealt with alleged terrorist conspiracies from both Islamic fundamentalists and far-right white fascists. I am also keen on her announcement of actions regarding the internet. Many young British Muslims are heading towards radicalisation via the teachings of Anwar al-Awlaki, gained over the internet. May I urge her to make the security services go on the front foot against some of the stuff that is coming over the internet?

Finally, may I urge the Home Secretary to proceed with caution on defining British values? The history of Britain also involves the denial of democracy, the denial of the rule of law and the denial of equal rights in many nations around the world, and for Home Secretaries to define what is and is not Britishness is treacherous territory.

Mr Speaker: I am very impressed that the hon. Gentleman is still breathing.

Mrs May: I of course recognise the experience in Stoke-on-Trent, particularly over the past year, in relation to both terrorist plots of an Islamic nature and the influence and actions of the English Defence League. I would hope that everybody in the House believes in the values to which I referred in my answer to the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart), namely democracy, the rule of law, equality and human rights. Those are the values that we wish to promote.

Mr Rob Wilson (Reading East) (Con): May I congratulate the Home Secretary on her statement, and say what a breath of fresh air it was to hear some of the things that she said? As she knows, much of the threat to the UK comes via Pakistan. Can she explain how the Government are working with counter-terror agencies to deal with that specific threat?

Mrs May: We work closely with the Government of Pakistan on counter-terrorism matters, and I should put on record in the House, as I believe I have on previous occasions, that in fact the Pakistani people have suffered significant losses to terrorist attacks. Several thousand people have died in Pakistan in recent years as a result of such attacks, and we should never forget what is happening to people living there. Of course, there are considerable links between this country and Pakistan, and as I said, we work closely with the Pakistani Government in examining counter-terrorism issues.

Kate Hoey (Vauxhall) (Lab): I very much welcome the better targeting of our resources, but will the Home Secretary ensure that projects and schemes that are doing extremely well in inner cities, such as some around the mosque in Lambeth, are protected or at least not arbitrarily thrown away just to save money?

Mrs May: One aspect of the new strategy that we are adopting is a much closer evaluation of the work that is done, so that we can identify precisely the projects that are working well and should continue to be supported. At the same time, we will also identify groups that we feel it is no longer right for the Government to fund.

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Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con): I thank the Home Secretary for coming to the House again to keep us informed. In Wellingborough prison, the imam is in charge of all the religious affairs. I am sure he is very good, but what checks are made in prisons to ensure that the imams there are not preaching extremism?

Mrs May: My hon. Friend’s question refers back, in a sense, to that asked by my right hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr Davis). In considering how we deal with prisons, we will do much more work to examine exactly what is happening there. We will work with prison governors and staff and with the National Offender Management Service to get better information about what is happening in prisons, which is a key aspect of the strategy. We recognise that more work needs to be done.

Naomi Long (Belfast East) (Alliance): I thank the Home Secretary for her statement. In disentangling the issues of trying to create more community cohesion and at the same time trying to deal with terrorism and radicalisation, how can we ensure that there is not a gap through which radicalised young people can emerge? How can we ensure that the policies co-exist and are complementary to each other, not in conflict?

Mrs May: As I indicated earlier, we will take steps to ensure that our policies are complementary across the Government. Importantly, I hope that the integration and community cohesion strategies will encourage people to be willing to identify those young people who they consider to be vulnerable to radicalisation, and who they feel need the support and action of the programmes that are available, to ensure that they do not go down the route to terrorism.

Mr David Burrowes (Enfield, Southgate) (Con): The Home Secretary spoke of the values of our country. It is important to recognise the Christian heritage of those values, so will she recognise the failure of the previous strategy, which diminished the positive contribution of faith-based organisations and distorted their relationships with the Government? I welcome the announcement of the £5 million of near neighbours funding to enable churches to be involved in reaching out to all communities. That is a positive and welcome step.

Mrs May: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making the point that it is important that the Government are willing to work with groups from all faiths, to ensure that we use the expertise and ability that faith groups have to reach out into their communities in a way that the Government cannot. As I said, it is important to do that across all faiths.

Mr Denis MacShane (Rotherham) (Lab): If I pointed out to the Home Secretary that before 1997, her Conservative predecessor, who was advised by the current Prime Minister, allowed into Britain no fewer than four times Sheikh Qaradawi, the theologian and ideologue of suicide bombing, she would just dismiss it as a political point. All Governments get some of their policies on such things wrong, and she should not have made such a partisan statement.

On a specific point, the University and College Lecturers Union has just repudiated—at its congress last weekend—the EU’s definition of anti-Semitism. That is a highly

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retrograde step, because that working definition is accepted around the world. The union has given a green light to all those who want to encourage anti-Semitic thinking. Will the Home Secretary and the Education Secretary look into that?

Mrs May: As the right hon. Gentleman may have seen, an Education Minister is sitting on the Treasury Bench. He will have heard that point and I am sure he will raise it with the Education Secretary.

Sajid Javid (Bromsgrove) (Con): May I warmly welcome the Home Secretary’s statement? Since the terrible bombings of July 2005, it is clear that in some cases self-appointed Islamist groups have used public funds to poison young Muslim minds. Will my right hon. Friend therefore make it absolutely clear that this Government will only work with and fund groups that accept the British way of life, our democracy and our values?

Mrs May: As I made clear in my statement, and as is made clear in the strategy, the Government will not work with or fund groups that hold extremist views.

James Morris (Halesowen and Rowley Regis) (Con): Does the Home Secretary agree that one key to this strategy is international co-operation with agencies in other countries, particularly in addressing the prevalence of propaganda on the internet? Sharing intelligence across agencies could well get to the source of that problem.

Mrs May: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for again raising the internet, which was mentioned in an earlier question. It is important that we look at the use of the internet, and we can do so in a number of ways. The police could take action in relation to some of the

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things that are put on the internet here, but one of the key things is to work internationally, particularly with the US. Many internet providers are based there rather than here, and are therefore outside UK jurisdiction. We are doing more to talk to the US, and indeed to those companies directly about their responsibilities.

Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham) (Con): As somebody with an Islamic background, I very much welcome the Secretary of State’s statement. She has announced an excellent and proper way forward to deal with that bizarre, distorted ideology and to promote community cohesion. What representations, if any, have been made to the Governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan on reforming the madrassahs—the religious schools—which have often been a breeding ground for extremism?

Mrs May: I am happy to say to my hon. Friend that that was one of the issues that I discussed with the Pakistan Interior Minister when I visited that country last October.

Bob Blackman (Harrow East) (Con): One problem with the Prevent scheme funding under the previous Administration was the lack of clarity on what the funding was for and which organisations would receive it, and ensuring appropriate outcomes. Will my right hon. Friend ensure not only that a broad range of organisations receive funds, but that those organisations are outcome-based, so that we can clearly evaluate the success or otherwise of the funding?

Mrs May: My hon. Friend makes an important point. It is not good enough for Governments simply to give money to organisations; we need to ensure that it is being effectively used for the purpose for which it was intended. That is why it is important that we establish much clearer evaluation and monitoring of the use of that money.

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Kinship Carers (Parental Responsibility Agreements)

Motion for leave to bring in a Bill (Standing Order No. 23 )

5.50 pm

Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) (Lab): I beg to move,

That leave be given to bring in a Bill to require the Secretary of State to make provision to extend the system of parental responsibility agreements to enable a kinship carer to obtain parental responsibility for a child they are raising without having to bring a case to court; and for connected purposes.

There are an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 children in the United Kingdom being raised by relatives or friends because their parents cannot look after them. Those children have often experienced tragedy or trauma due to the death or imprisonment of a parent, or to a parent’s alcohol or drug misuse or mental health problems. Sometimes, the parent has simply walked out on them. The Family Rights Group describes those carers and the children they care for as

“the forgotten families of family policy—overlooked by service providers and government”.

Most of those children are being raised by grandparents, but many are also being raised by older siblings, aunts and uncles, and even friends and neighbours or their parents’ ex-partners. Those carers step in when there is a crisis—an instinctive response to a vulnerable child needing to be taken under someone’s wing. It is a decision made without pausing to think about practical matters, such as what the legal arrangements will be or what sort of support might be needed. The children benefit hugely from remaining in family units. They feel loved, they maintain contact with family members and they have some much-needed stability in their lives.

The aim of the Bill is to extend the system of parental responsibility agreements, which currently applies to step-parents under section 4 of the Children Act 1989, to allow close relatives to obtain parental responsibility for a child they are raising, with the consent of the parents who have parental responsibility, without having to go to court. It would apply only to those who are defined as a relative under section 105 of the Act: grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles or aunts, whether by full blood, half blood, marriage or civil partnership. It would therefore not apply to friends or to wider family carers such as cousins, to ensure that the arrangements remain distinct from private fostering arrangements, which require regular local authority checks set up as a result of the Victoria Climbié inquiry.

The aim is to assist with those private, temporary arrangements, which are currently completely under the radar, and to enable kinship carers to be recognised by schools to authorise school trips; to register the child with a GP and to be entitled to make medical decisions on the child’s behalf; to apply for a passport; to assist with demonstrating that they are the primary carers with regard to accessing child benefit, child care vouchers, and so on; and to qualify to apply for parental leave and the right to request flexible working arrangements. To get parental responsibility, most kinship carers currently have to go to court to apply for special guardianship or a residence order. My proposal would minimise the huge disruption to family dynamics involved in bringing a case to court, enabling families to function during periods of crisis.

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I shall give the House a few examples. One grandmother told me that when her grandson needed injections at the doctors, they were turned away. With a parental responsibility agreement in place, she would have been in a position to sign for his injections there and then. Instead, they had the difficult job of trying to track down the mum and getting her consent. Grandparents who had raised their grandson from when he was a toddler told us that they would not go to court to apply for a residence or special guardianship order until the child was 10, because they feared that the court might not support their application and that they would lose him, possibly to adoption. They therefore did not have the legal authority to make key decisions—for example, to sign for him to go on school trips. Another woman has told me that she has looked after her six-year-old nephew for the past three and half years. She has been advised to go to court to apply for a legal order to get parental rights, as his birth mother is unlikely ever to be able to look after him again, but she cannot afford to pay the court costs. She is in full-time work, so she can get no help with those costs.

This week is European prisoners’ children week, which makes this a good time also to be talking about the particular difficulties faced by families with a parent in prison. Every year, 160,000 children experience the imprisonment of a parent. Family carers play an important role in helping prisoners and their children to stay in touch during a sentence, which has been shown to be critical in preventing reoffending. Children in those circumstances are also at higher risk of becoming offenders themselves, and kinship carers play a vital role in supporting those vulnerable and often traumatised children. The problem is that, in those circumstances, carers are often reluctant to seek the help that they need from children’s services. They are often scared of state involvement, and especially fearful of social workers removing the children from them or criticising their ability to parent the child, even if that fear is unwarranted, as it is in the vast majority of cases.

I would like to share with the House a couple of the many stories from carers at whom the Bill is particularly targeted. Angie has looked after her granddaughter for the past three years, since the child was just one year old. Her granddaughter’s father is in prison, and the child’s mother has just come through a home detox from heroin; she is now completely clean. Prior to Angie’s full-time involvement with her granddaughter, she looked after her most weekends and on some week nights. She says:

“I have strong views on parents and children remaining as a family unit and if my daughter had lost control of her daughter, this would have had the reverse effect on her drug recovery and the bond between mum and daughter would simply have vanished. The consequence of this would be long term for the child. I am delighted that my daughter has had regular supervised contact with her own daughter. It has meant a lot and I am sure that is why she was eventually able to detox from all drug use and see her own daughter as needing a real mum”.

Angie goes on to say:

“I think this Bill would have helped me enormously. I have considered special guardianship but the court process would be too much for my daughter who sees this as ‘taking her daughter right from under her’. People in drug abuse situations do not have the foresight to see things clearly and this Act would have been an enormous help to us if it had been in force three years ago”.

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I have also been contacted by a woman who, for obvious reasons, wishes to remain anonymous. Her sister has mental health problems and is an alcoholic. The children’s father did not want residence, so the grandparents went to court, gained a residence order and took on caring for the children, but the grandparents’ health declined, and the children’s aunt and her partner have unofficially taken on care of the children. They do not have the money to go back through the courts to change the residence order arrangement. Also, they want to ensure that the new living arrangements are what the children want—a decision that they are unable to make until they have given it a go for a sustained period of time. I shall quote from the aunt’s e-mail:

“My parents live 70 miles away, so sorting all the consent letters for school, activity clubs, etc., does become a pain. My nephew broke his leg recently and you can imagine the rigmarole when he had to undergo emergency medical treatment and neither my partner nor I were officially able to sign for treatment. My partner even had to lie about being official next of kin to the ward staff, in order to sleep overnight in hospital with him. We weren’t prepared to leave him alone, but if we’d been honest, that’s exactly what would have happened!”

My proposal does not involve any spending commitment. In fact, it goes a little way towards supporting the carers who save the state the estimated £12 billion that it would cost if the children involved were in independent foster care. I am pleased that the last Labour Government produced draft family and friends care statutory guidance for local authorities just before the general election. That guidance has now been finalised, and requires that local authorities must have a family and friends care

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policy in place by 30 September this year, addressing all children in family and friends care, not only those in the care system.

The Bill is backed by the Family Rights Group, the Fostering Network, the Grandparents’ Association, Grandparents Plus, the National Children’s Bureau, Action for Prisoners’ Families, the Who Cares? Trust, the Prison Advice and Care Trust, the Adolescent and Children’s Trust, and Mentor UK. I would particularly like to thank Cathy Ashley of the Family Rights Group for all her work on the Bill.

I would like to finish by thanking Paul, a young man who is bringing up his six younger siblings after his mother walked out, and who had to battle the system for a year and see his brothers and sisters taken into care and put into foster homes before the courts accepted that he was the best person to look after them. It was hearing Paul recently on “Woman’s Hour”, speaking so articulately and passionately about his experience, that inspired me to take up this issue. He is an excellent role model for his younger siblings, and I wish his family all the best for the future.

Question put and agreed to .


That Kerry McCarthy, Mr David Blunkett, Paul Goggins, Mrs Helen Grant, Kate Green, Andrew Gwynne, Mrs Sharon Hodgson, Alan Johnson, Mr David Lammy, Lisa Nandy, Priti Patel and Mr Jamie Reed present the Bill.

Kerry McCarthy accordingly presented the Bill.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 21 October, and to be printed (Bill 198).

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Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill

Second Reading

6 pm

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

There is no greater task for any Government than to protect their citizens, to uphold their values and to defend their way of life, but when we face such a significant threat from terrorism over so great a period it becomes even more important that the Government ensure that the protection of our citizens does not overshadow the freedoms of us all. That is why we reviewed counter-terrorism legislation and it is why we need this Bill. Let me be clear: I will do nothing that risks our national security or the safety of our citizens, but this Bill is necessary precisely because public safety is enhanced, not diminished, by appropriate and proportionate powers.

There is in this country a small number of people who pose a real threat to our citizens, but whom we cannot successfully prosecute or deport. Prosecution, conviction and prison will always be our priority because the right place for a terrorist is in a prison cell. Where successful prosecution or deportation is not possible, however, no responsible Government could allow dangerous individuals to go freely about their terrorist activities. Since becoming Home Secretary, I have made use of the control order powers available to me to stop terrorist activity and to place restrictions on such individuals on a number of occasions.

Mr William Cash (Stone) (Con): I think that my right hon. Friend may have anticipated that I would have something to say. She refers to terrorists and I am sure she realises that what she is talking about in this context is suspected terrorists. Does she recognise that it is the fault of the Government and Parliament if judges are given too much scope in human rights matters? Why produce a Bill here at Westminster that fails to provide for due process and a fair trial according to the basic principles of British justice? The coalition is simply giving in to Lib-Dem pressure for this Bill to comply with the Human Rights Act and the European convention; and it has not even provided for a derogation from article 5.

Mrs May: I did indeed expect that, as my hon. Friend was in the Chamber, he might wish to raise certain matters. I am aware of his private Member’s Bill on the same issue. I have to tell him that I was not entirely clear from what he said whether he was in favour of more human rights or against more human rights. I see him leaping to his feet.

Mr Cash: I am grateful to the Home Secretary for walking into that one. I am very much in favour of human rights, but I am in favour of human rights according to principles of British justice, not those devised through the European convention and applied through the Human Rights Act, which has led to so many contradictions and inconsistencies and has raised so much concern among the public at large.

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Mrs May: I hope my hon. Friend is grateful for the opportunity I gave him to clarify that particular point. I simply say in response to that and his comments about the judiciary that legislation is, of course, set by Parliament, but I believe that the relationship between politicians and the judiciary has changed as a result of the operation of the Human Rights Act. As a Government, we have set up a commission, which will report in due course, to look at the Human Rights Act and the possibility of introducing a Bill of Rights.

I said that I felt the Bill was necessary because public safety is enhanced, not diminished, by appropriate and proportionate powers. Protecting the British public will always be my top priority, but the current control orders regime is neither perfect nor entirely effective. I believe that the Bill will give us appropriate, proportionate and effective powers to deal with the risk posed by people we believe are involved in terrorist-related activity whom we can neither prosecute nor deport.

Our approach is clear, consistent and coherent. We will repeal the control order regime and replace it with a more focused and targeted regime of terrorism prevention and investigation measures. We will then support the new measures with increased covert investigative resources. So this Bill starts by repealing the Act that provides the power to impose control orders on individuals: the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005.

The Bill sets out the essential elements of the TPIM—terrorism prevention and investigation measures—regime that will replace control orders. It enables the Secretary of State to impose specified terrorism prevention and investigation measures on an individual by means of a TPIM notice. Unlike under the control order regime, the detail of the measures that will be able to be imposed will be specified in legislation and so will be specifically approved by the House. It is only right that it is Parliament, and not the Executive, that decides what types of measures may be imposed.

The Bill establishes 12 types of measures that could be imposed as part of a TPIM notice. It also provides clear limits on the restrictions that may be imposed under each measure. These measures include: an overnight residence measure; a travel measure, mainly to prevent travel outside the United Kingdom; an exclusion measure to prevent individuals entering specified areas or places; a financial services measure; an electronic communication device measure; an association measure; a reporting measure and a monitoring measure.

The overnight residence measure is not the same as the control order curfew requirement. Under control orders, curfews could last up to 16 hours and apply at any point in the day. Our intention is not to force individuals to remain in their homes during the day, when they might normally go out to work or study, but to ensure they are in their homes overnight, as most people normally would be. This will reduce the scope for involvement in terrorism-related activity and reduce the risk of absconding.

The travel measure will allow the banning of overseas travel without permission. It will also allow the individual to be required to surrender their passport or travel documents. This measure is, I believe, absolutely vital to stop travel for terrorist training, for example.

Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford) (Lab): The Home Secretary has said that the overnight residence requirements are different from curfews and

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that she does not want to prevent people from going out in the evening. Why, then, did she apply for a control order that included a curfew between 5 pm in the evening and 9 am in the morning—a total curfew of 16 hours?

Mrs May: We are currently operating—and have been since the Government came to power—the control order regime that was put in place by the Prevention of Terrorism Act. That is the basis on which I am currently operating. The new regime that will be put in place—of terrorism prevention and investigation measures—is a package that includes not just the measures in the Bill, but, as the right hon. Lady knows, the extra resources for the security services and the police.

Yvette Cooper: But will the Home Secretary confirm that she has the power to specify how many hours a curfew should be for and that she has chosen to specify a curfew for 16 hours rather than for fewer hours?

Mrs May: I will not comment on a particular case, which the right hon. Lady appears to be trying to get me to do. What I will say is that under the current control order regime it is possible to specify the length of a curfew. As she will know, the length of curfew has been challenged—and challenged successfully—in the courts. What we are doing with TPIMs is taking a different approach to the issue. The TPIMs in the Bill are intended to ensure that we allow prevention of terrorism activity for national security requirements, while also ensuring that individuals can take part in what is regarded as normal activity, such as work or study.

Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP): Will not the Home Secretary simply accept that these TPIMs are nothing other than a repackaging and rebranding of the old, discredited control orders regime? Has she had a chance to look at the sheet produced by Liberty, which goes through measure by measure, showing how similar they are? Is it not the case that she is no better than Lord Reid when it comes to control orders?

Mrs May: We are introducing a new regime. We did what we undertook to do as a coalition Government when we came to power. Both parties were committed to reviewing the control order regime. We did that, and what we have decided is that the right balance between civil liberties and national security is reflected in the Bill. It will enable us to take action to prevent terrorist activity by that small number of people who, as I have said, we are unable to prosecute or deport, while at the same time re-striking the balance between national security and civil liberties. The financial services measures would allow individuals to be limited to one bank account, for which they would have to provide statements. Transfer of money and goods overseas without prior permission could also be prohibited. Under the association measure, a list of prohibited associates would be supplied to the individual in advance, with the possibility that notice would be required of meetings with other individuals. The reporting measure would require individuals to report to a particular police station at a particular time, and the monitoring measure would require them to

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co-operate with arrangements to monitor their movements, communications and other activities. That might include a requirement to wear an electronic tag.

The Bill places clear limits on each of the restrictions that can be imposed. For example, it clearly provides no power for individuals to be relocated to another part of the country without their consent. The exclusion measure will allow only tightly defined exclusion from particular places such as named buildings and streets or defined locations. It will not allow exclusion from wide geographical areas. Exclusion will also be allowed from certain types of locations such as airports, ports or international railway stations. The need for such an exclusion should be obvious. As for restrictions involving electronic communication devices, the Bill makes it clear that the individual concerned must be allowed to own and use at least one fixed-line telephone, a computer and fixed-line internet connection and a mobile telephone. All that must of course be subject to specific conditions, such as the provision of passwords and phone numbers.

The Bill also sets out the conditions that must be satisfied before the Secretary of State may impose a TPIMs notice. A key change from the control order regime is that the Secretary of State must now reasonably believe, rather than reasonably suspect, that an individual is or has been involved in terrorism-related activity. The Secretary of State must also reasonably consider that it is necessary to impose particular measures on an individual to protect the public and to restrict the individual’s involvement in terrorism-related activity. That means that the package of measures will vary from case to case, which is only right given that all cases will be different.

We are aware that TPIMs are a short-term tool to protect the public rather than a long-term solution. A person will be subject to a TPIMs notice for no more than two years in response to specific terrorist-related activity. The initial notice will be imposed for one year, and can be extended once if that is necessary to protect the public. If an individual engages in new terrorism-related activity, of course a new notice and new measures can be imposed with a further two-year time limit. A new notice could be imposed immediately if terrorism-related activity had occurred during the life of the TPIM, and a new TPIMs notice could be imposed after the original one had expired. That is an essential safeguard for our national security, ensuring that appropriate disruptive action can be taken if an individual re-engages in terrorism-related activity.

As with the current regime, the courts will have to give permission for a TPIMs notice to be imposed. Only in the most exceptional and urgent cases will court permission not have been obtained before the imposition of a notice. If the court gives permission, a full review of the decision must begin automatically. There will be no requirement for the lodging of an appeal. The full review will be heard by a High Court judge. If the judge does not consider that the relevant conditions have been met, in relation to the notice as a whole or in relation to specific measures within it, the judge may quash the whole notice or specific measures as appropriate. Individuals will know enough of the case against them to enable them to instruct their own lawyer and the special advocate who will have access to all material, including sensitive material.

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Naomi Long (Belfast East) (Alliance): The power to use control orders has always extended to Northern Ireland, but has never been used. What discussions has the Home Secretary had about the availability of special advocates in Northern Ireland? There are very few at present, and the imposition of TPIMs could present a problem.

Mrs May: One of the issues that we are examining is the more general issue of special advocates and the information available to them, but I take the hon. Lady’s point. As she says, the current regime is not being used in Northern Ireland, but we will be very aware of the issue of special advocates and their availability there. The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (James Brokenshire)—who is responsible for crime and security matters—is involved in wider Government work in relation to the availability of sensitive information in cases relating to terrorist activity.

In practice, individuals subject to terrorism prevention and investigation measures will know the key elements of the case against them, even if it is not possible for them to see all the underlying intelligence. Once a TPIMs notice has been imposed, there will be a further right of appeal against subsequent decisions—for example, decisions to extend or vary the terms of the notice. The package in the Bill will assure individuals subject to TPIMs notices of a significant and appropriate level of judicial oversight of their cases. As well as providing for rigorous consideration by the courts, the Bill contains a formal statutory requirement for the Secretary of State to keep under review whether a TPIMs notice, and all its restrictions, remains necessary to protect the public from a risk of terrorism. That will remove any doubt about whether such notices are assessed to ensure that they remain necessary at all times.

The Bill provides a number of further safeguards. The Secretary of State will be required to make a quarterly report to Parliament on the exercise of the powers in the Bill. That mirrors the current practice in relation to control orders, and will ensure appropriate visibility, and public accountability, of the TPIMs regime. The Secretary of State must also appoint an independent person to review the operation of the enacted legislation. That, too, mirrors the current control order regime.

As the House will know, David Anderson QC recently took on the role of independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, which was previously undertaken so effectively and for so many years by Lord Carlile of Berriew. As independent reviewer, David Anderson would undertake the statutory reviews of the TPIMs legislation, just as he currently reviews control order powers.

The final part of the Bill relates to enforcement. It provides for a criminal offence of breaching measures specified in a TPIM notice without reasonable excuse. The maximum penalty will be five years’ imprisonment. The Bill also contains detailed provisions relating to powers of search and entry, which build on the existing powers relating to control orders. There will be an explicit power for the police to undertake a search for compliance purposes—for example, to check that the individual has no prohibited communications devices—but they will be required to obtain a warrant first.

The final part of our approach is to combine the new preventive measures with significantly increased resources for the police and the Security Service, over and above

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those agreed in the spending review, to help with investigation and prosecution. For security reasons I cannot give the House a full breakdown of the funds provided for specific security activities, but I can reassure Members that this is new money that has not been taken from any existing counter-terrorism programmes. These additional investigative capabilities and resources will help the police and MI5 to gather evidence with a view, as always, to prosecution. The commitment to prosecution is also reflected in clause 10, which requires prior consultation with the police on whether evidence is available that could realistically be used for prosecution in relation to a terrorist offence. It also requires the police to keep the individual's conduct under review while a TPIMs notice is in force, and to report to the Home Secretary on that review.

I have discussed the new arrangements in detail with Jonathan Evans, the director general of the Security Service. He has told me that he considers that the changes provide an acceptable balance between the needs of security and those of civil liberties, and that the overall package mitigates risk.

The Bill is a vital part of the Government's new, more effective and more proportionate approach to counter-terrorism. This afternoon I announced to the House a new and more effective strategy for countering radicalisation; the Bill is, perhaps, as important as that new strategy in restoring trust in Britain's approach to counter-terrorism. The repeal of control orders, their replacement with TPIMs, and extra resources for covert surveillance and investigation constitute the right approach. It is an approach that is necessary and proportionate, that will do a great deal to protect the public from the risk of terrorism, and that deserves support from all parties. I commend the Bill to the House.

6.18 pm

Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford) (Lab): The Home Secretary barely had time to draw breath between statement and debate, but that transition exposes again the gap between the Government’s rhetoric and reality in regard to counter-terrorism. On a day on which the Home Secretary has launched her review of the strategy to prevent terrorism, with tough talk about clamping down, she is simultaneously watering down measures proven to prevent terrorist activity.

The fact is that, for the most part, the Bill is a confusion and a con. It does not do what it says on the tin, and it does not fulfil the grand promises made by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. In 27 clauses, it takes us in a circle and—almost—back to where we started. However, in a few areas it does make changes, and some of them are worrying.

Dr Julian Huppert (Cambridge) (LD): Will the right hon. Lady confirm that Labour party policy favours a more authoritarian version of this Bill?

Yvette Cooper: If the hon. Gentleman persists with such simplistic soundbites, he will misunderstand the nature of the terrorist threat to Britain, and also the nature of the Bill that he is supporting, because this Bill represents a complete reversal of the promises he and his party made during the election, and does not abolish the control orders regime but simply renames it with a few minor amendments.

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We on the Opposition Benches do not have access to the latest security assessments from the experts. We believe it is important to support the Government on counter-terrorism issues where we can, but in order to do so we will need more reassurances from the Home Secretary, and also some changes. The first duty of any Government is the protection of the people and the safeguarding of national security, yet the Home Secretary’s changes currently make it harder for the police and security services to limit the actions of a small number of dangerous people. We therefore need more reassurances on that.

Ideally, we would not have control orders because, ideally, we would not need them, but the Labour Government introduced them because we recognised that we needed to deal with a very small number of difficult cases, where prosecution was not possible for a range of reasons and where the public still needed to be protected from terrorist activity. In opposition, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives condemned control orders, but now they are in government they have changed their minds. Indeed, the Home Secretary has introduced six new control orders since she came to office, and renewed eight more, but rather than admit that, she is desperate to maintain the fiction that control orders need to be replaced by something fundamentally different and that this Bill does the trick.

Most of the Bill is a fudge, drawn up to meet promises made to the Deputy Prime Minister that control orders would be abolished. Clause 1 does exactly that, but clauses 2 to 27 just reinstate most of the elements of control orders. The Bill does not therefore meet the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto promise to scrap orders that use evidence in closed sessions of court, nor does it meet the Conservative pledge of

“eliminating the control order regime.”—[Official Report, House of Lords, 3 March 2010; Vol. 717, c. 1530.]

It certainly does not meet the grand claims of the Deputy Prime Minister in January, when The Sunday Times was briefed that he had

“won his Cabinet fight to scrap control orders”,

that suspects will no longer have to wear electronic tags or have a home curfew, and that they

“will also be allowed to travel wherever they want in Britain”.

As all Members now know, the Bill allows for tags, home curfews and restrictions on travel around Britain. Where control orders use closed proceedings and special advocates, so too do TPIMs. Where control orders are instigated by the Home Secretary with the permission of the High Court, so too are TPIMs. Where control orders are used when prosecution is not possible, so too are TPIMs. Where control orders can restrict people’s movements, communication, association, travel and bank accounts, so too can TPIMs.

Let me read out some extracts from the Government’s own explanatory notes to the Bill. Clause 1 abolishes control orders, and clauses 2 to 4 introduce TPIMs. On clauses 6 to 9 and schedule 2, the notes say:

“This replicates the position in relation to control orders”.

On clause 10, they say:

“The clause maintains all the existing requirements contained in the 2005 Act.”

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On clauses 12 to 15 and schedule 3, they say:

“The clauses make provision—equivalent to that in the 2005 Act in relation to control orders”.

On clauses 16 to 18 and schedule 4, they say:

“This provides similar rights of appeal to those that exist in relation to control orders.”

They say that clauses 19 to 20

“place requirements—equivalent to those contained in the 2005 Act in relation to control orders”.

On clause 21, they say that

“this effectively recreates the main offence of the 2005 Act of contravening an obligation imposed under a control order”—

and they then add, in brackets—

“(including the same maximum penalty)”.

This Bill is one big set of square brackets which reads: insert control orders here.

Pete Wishart: The right hon. Lady is absolutely right: there is almost no difference between TPIMs and the former control order regime. What is the Labour party’s position on this? Would she amend control orders to make them more in line with her party’s new view on civil liberties? Indeed, what is the Labour party’s view on civil liberties? Were control orders a step too far? Will she now come on our side and start to take on the anti-civil libertarian state that Labour created?

Yvette Cooper: As I said earlier, control orders are not ideal, and ideally we would not need them, but we do. We need to continue with control orders and this kind of protection.

I will set out my view of the Bill’s measures and where we think greater scrutiny is needed, and highlight the reduction in safeguards and checks and balances that the Home Secretary is introducing, because the point is not simply that she is weakening the powers of the police and security forces in certain areas, but that she is weakening the checks and balances, and in particular the parliamentary checks and balances, on the system that is in place. Those parliamentary checks and balances are extremely important for safeguarding our civil liberties, as well as for protecting national security.

Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) (LD): I rise in search of some clarity on where the right hon. Lady stands. She seems to be saying on the one hand that TPIMs are simply recreating what existed under control orders, but on the other hand that what the Government are doing is making the situation much more dangerous, but it cannot be both.

Yvette Cooper: I suggest that the hon. Gentleman listens more closely to what I am saying. The overall approach of the Government’s Bill, which he should read, is to reinstate most of the elements of control orders. I agree however—and I have said this clearly—that the Home Secretary is changing control orders in a series of ways, and I will address them shortly as they are significant. Some of them are justified, but others create risks, and changes will need to be made.

Overall, the Government should admit what they are doing. This is a cut-and-paste job. In place of control orders, all we have is “son of control orders”. It is irresponsible to maintain this pretence. That is not being straight with Parliament or the public on an issue

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of grave importance: how we safeguard our national security and our civil liberties. Debates on matters such as these should be open, transparent and considered, not fudged, fraudulent and confused. This is an area where Governments need to maintain the trust and confidence of the public, but we do not achieve that by playing these kinds of political games.

This is also a very strange use of parliamentary time. There are some limited and specific differences between control orders and “son of control orders” that I am not concerned about, but, frankly, the Home Secretary could have achieved them with about four clauses amending the 2005 Act which could have been debated as part of the Protection of Freedoms Bill. She could have covered the issues of relocation, the length of the curfew and access to phones through amendments to an existing Act. She did not need an entirely new piece of legislation to abolish control orders and then reintroduce them under another name.

Why are we not doing that? Why do we have an entire additional Bill with 27 more clauses, all redrafted, doing the same thing? Why are we here today? The answer is because the Home Secretary has lost yet another battle with her Cabinet colleagues on her policy areas, so she is forced to go through this charade of entirely new legislation; and because, once again, the Government are putting politics before good policy.

As I have made clear, some of the changes to the control orders are limited. We can support some of them, but some are very troubling. The first change is to move the burden of proof from “reasonable suspicion” to “reasonable belief”. We understand that the view of the experts is that none of the control orders that have been upheld would have failed that higher standard, and that this will not make a significant difference to the serious cases they worry about. We believe it is right to follow the evidence, and we are happy to support this change on that basis.

The second change is to alter the wording in respect of the hours. That is a bit of a joke. In place of curfews, we have a reference to overnight residence requirements, but what is the difference? The online “Oxford English Dictionary” definition of a curfew is

“a regulation requiring people to remain indoors during specified hours, typically at night.”

It is, therefore, a requirement to stay in one’s residence overnight, or, as one might say, an overnight residence requirement. The Deputy Prime Minister made great play of the fact that people would be restricted for fewer hours under TPIMs than under control orders, but that is not what the Bill actually says. In fact, there is no specified limit on the number of hours someone has to stay at home. All the Bill says is “overnight”.

Let us turn again to the OED for illumination about what that should ordinarily mean. Overnight means

“for the duration of a night”,

and night means

“the period from sunset to sunrise.”

So does the Home Secretary intend TPIMs to apply for the hours of darkness? Does she want them to be longer in winter than in summer, and longer in the north than in the south? Does she want them potentially to be used to prevent evening activities and meetings, or only to require people to sleep in their own beds? If she does not think TPIMs should be used to prevent evening

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meetings or people going out after dark when surveillance is much more difficult, is she confident that this will not increase the risks to the public, or make it harder for the security services and police to do their jobs?

I asked the Home Secretary this during her speech, but how does this fit with her own decisions? A number of the 14 orders she has made or renewed since she took office include curfews, several of more than 12 hours. A recent one runs from 5 pm to 9 am—it is summer, so does that count as “overnight”? She can refuse to answer all these questions, but if she does not answer them, the courts will. Her definition just invites legal challenge or judicial review and, for the sake of the Government’s legal bill alone, she should tighten it up.

Thirdly, the Home Secretary has replaced an inexhaustive list of restrictions with an exhaustive list to choose from. We will ask in Committee whether or not any case, historical or current, would have been affected by this change. Fourthly, she and the Deputy Prime Minister have said that the new Bill would prevent relocation. This matter does raise some significant concerns. Preventing people from entering an entire area, or requiring them to live somewhere else, is, in general, deeply undesirable. However, many experts have concluded that in certain limited circumstances it is extremely important and can be justified. Indeed, police officers have told me that relocation can, in some exceptional circumstances, be the most effective way to disrupt terrorist activity and break someone out of a network of dangerous contacts and associations.

The Home Secretary must think that too, because in February she imposed a control order on a suspect that banned them from entering London and less than one month ago her lawyers defended those restrictions in the High Court. I have gone through the Court papers for this case, which, like so many, is extremely serious. The individual on the order, who is known as CD, was suspected of planning forthcoming attacks using firearms in London. The Court was told that he was attending regular meetings with associates in this city to plan an attack and had previously travelled to Syria for what was alleged to be extremist training. The assessment of the security services and the Home Secretary was that it was necessary to relocate CD outside Greater London to prevent him from having these meetings and co-ordinating an attack—that is what they argued in Court just last month. The High Court judge concluded that the relocation obligation is

“a necessary and proportionate measure to protect the public from the risk of what is an immediate and real risk of a terrorist-related attack.”

All this happened just last month, so the House needs to consider why we are seeking to introduce a change to control orders that would remove a function that the Home Secretary believed, and the High Court agreed, was needed for national security only one month ago?

Fifthly, the Home Secretary is restricting individual TPIMs to two years. Control orders could be renewed repeatedly, and she has not explained what will happen to the two people currently on control orders for more than two years once this Bill comes into force. Will they transfer to TPIMs or will the Home Secretary have to apply to the courts all over again? Sixthly, she is permitting access to phones and computers. She has assured the House that that will be monitored, but we will seek assurances from the monitoring agencies as to whether

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sufficient safeguards are in place and whether they have the resources to manage the continued monitoring that will be involved.

A wider question is being raised because these changes—the potentially reduced hours for curfews; a potentially narrower list of restrictions; more association with others who may be causing trouble; and the greater use of phone and internet—all require greater surveillance and resources to fill the gap. The Home Secretary has refused to confirm a figure, but the figure of £20 million has been routinely used in the newspapers and, presumably, has been briefed from her Department. Yet the overall police budget is being cut by £2 billion, the police counter-terrorism budget is still being cut in real terms and experienced counter-terrorism officers are being laid off through the A19 process.

I am concerned that the Home Secretary knows that there are troubling gaps in her plans. She has said that

“in exceptional circumstances, faced with a very serious terrorist threat that we cannot manage by any other means, additional measures may be necessary…So we will publish, but not introduce, legislation allowing more stringent measures, including curfews and further restrictions on communications, association and movement…We will invite the Opposition to discuss this draft legislation with us on Privy Council terms.”—[Official Report, 26 January 2011; Vol. 522, c. 309.]

What “additional measures” are these, given that control orders are pretty far-reaching? Does this mean that she knows already that there is a potential gap in security as a result of the new TPIMs? The Home Secretary has said she would consult the Opposition about these plans, but she has not yet done so. If new emergency legislation is needed to fill the gaps her own Bill creates, Parliament needs to know about this before we get to the evidence and Committee stage; otherwise we will be debating the Bill under false pretences, legislating only to legislate again.

This Bill is a con, recreating most of control orders while pretending not to do so, and it is risky, as some elements and changes water down the protection for national security, but there is a third problem: the Bill also reduces, rather than increases, parliamentary checks and balances on the Home Secretary. As I have said, the right approach to take to ensure that we protect civil liberties and national security together is to support strong powers for the police and security services to act in difficult circumstances, and to make sure that there are strong checks and balances to prevent abuse.

The current checks and balances on control orders are both judicial and parliamentary: the High Court has to approve every control order but Parliament has to give its approval every year for the control order regime to remain in place. Democratically elected MPs have to decide every year whether the terrorism threat remains sufficiently severe, whether anyone has come up with a better alternative and whether to allow the Home Secretary to continue to use these exceptional powers. That is an important parliamentary check on the exercise of Executive power which should continue to be unusual, yet she is removing it in this Bill. The power of the Home Secretary to impose TPIMs under this Bill is not a temporary one—it is permanent. TPIMs do not have to be renewed annually, as control orders do, and the TPIMs regime does not have to be renewed

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annually, as the control order regime does. This is therefore a serious downgrading of parliamentary oversight of a regime which is always supposed to be exceptional. She will know that serious concerns have been raised about this by Liberty, Justice and others, who say that far from representing a positive innovation, the TPIMs regime is, in one crucial respect, more offensive than the system it is designed to replace.

The Home Secretary is now in the astonishing situation of pleasing no one. She has a Bill that fudges the issue and does not fundamentally change the control order regime in the way that she and others promised its critics. However, it does water down some measures, worrying those who monitor national security, and it waters down the checks and balances that allow Parliament to prevent abuse, and that should worry this House.

The Opposition have very serious reservations about this Bill. Where possible, we want to support the Government on counter-terrorism. That is made more difficult when neither we nor the Intelligence and Security Committee have access to more detail about the risks in individual cases that would allow us to be reassured that the Home Secretary’s judgments are right. We believe that it would have been better not to introduce this Bill at all. We believe that it is, in the main, unnecessary, that it includes elements that take risks and that it reduces accountability to Parliament. Now that the Government have introduced it, we believe that it needs a serious rethink in Committee. We will not vote against Second Reading tonight, but we will expect greater transparency on these measures, more answers to the questions we have posed and significant changes to be made to the Bill to reassure us about our concerns. Counter-terrorism is too important for us to take risks for the sake of political expediency. The Home Secretary should forget deals done to save face for the Deputy Prime Minister—it is beyond saving—and she should ignore the demands for short-term headlines from the Prime Minister, as in the longer term she has to carry the can.

6.39 pm

Kris Hopkins (Keighley) (Con): I want to concentrate on the impact of terrorism and anti-terrorism law on the relationship between the Muslim community and the non-Muslim community and between the Muslim community and the state. The Bill needs to be understood in the context of the Prevent agenda that was mentioned earlier, the relationship between the Muslim community and the police, the work of the security forces and international events, interventions and identity. There must be a question about what incited young British Muslim men to blow themselves up in British streets.

Perhaps it is right that we should look right at the root of some of those issues and ask whether people feel that they are British, whether we make them feel British and what it is to be British. In July 2001, I watched out of the windows of Bradford city hall as hundreds of mainly young British Muslim men ran through the streets of Bradford while mounted police and young, brave police officers fought to try to protect the city. More than 300 police officers were injured, £20 million-worth of damage was done to the city and its reputation was severely damaged. That action was undertaken by mindless idiots. It was not about race—it was not a race riot—but about thuggery.

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It was interesting—these events were appreciated and understood by the community—that a few days later the local newspaper published the mugshots of some of the participants and the parents and family members brought those young men down to the police station and started the process of convicting them. That was a harmonious event among all the destruction and upheaval that was running through the community.

Later that year, in September, a meeting of the council’s executive, of which I was a part at the time, was stopped and adjourned while we watched the second plane go into the twin towers. Those shocking events made the city reel. Our city was already uneasy with itself and braced itself for further fallout. The tension and suspicion were evident in the pub and the street and when one talked to friends; racists had a field day. What the terrorists wanted had happened and people were frightened. After the Iraq invasion, seen by many in the district as illegal, the dividing line with the Muslim community appeared even greater, so the community, led by the council and other agencies, set about mending bridges. Indeed, bridges were often created for the first time. For five years, there were school exchanges, people were brought together and cross-community sports were promoted. Areas were created where people could talk openly, speak honestly and speak their mind about issues, challenging each other. We were not naive about where we got to in that process, but it was important in building relationships.

The day after it was announced that London had won the Olympic games, four men, one originally from Bradford, blew themselves up and murdered many innocent people. That evening, all the main agencies met at the university, which then and since has played a huge role in promoting cohesion in the district. They were brought together to talk, to try and reassure each other and to ensure that we resolved that individual psychopaths would not damage our city further. Our resolve to work together was stronger than that.

In the days that followed, time and time again Muslim people came up to me and told me of their disgust at what had happened. Let me exemplify the feeling of fear. A couple of days after 7/7, an elderly friend of my mother’s was crying as she got off the bus. A young Muslim man—completely innocent—was carrying a rucksack on the bus and she feared that she would die as a consequence. A whole set of tensions, fears, contradictions and events ran through the community as a consequence of those terrorist activities.

We need strong anti-terror laws, but they need to be owned by all the community. Many innocent citizens feel that the existing laws are somebody else’s and we need to ensure that we do not make the same mistakes. As I outlined in my introduction, communities respond, adapt, learn and survive in the face of terrible events and today the Muslim community in my town is not listening to this debate—those people are getting on with their lives, like the rest of the community.

When I talk to people from the Muslim community, I hear that they feel battered. It is always the wider Muslim community—I know that is a generic term to use—that feels pursued. Good people who have no hatred in their hearts are looked on with suspicion by others and have been subjected to some of the knee-jerk reactions. I agree that it was difficult to start the Prevent agenda with a blank piece of paper and although I was

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extremely critical of it, I take it in good faith that it had to be started somewhere. The idea behind national indicator 35, which planned to map a specific community, had a huge impact and was seen as a hugely derogatory gesture.

I have seen reports in the paper that doctors will be asked to report if they spot somebody who is acting suspiciously. My chief executive was brought to London and was told that the binmen had to look out for bombs and devices. Good-minded, good individuals, if they spot a bomb, a device or something suspicious, do not need the Government to ask them to pick the phone up and tell somebody. They do it because they are good citizens of this country.

In conclusion, any anti-terror law must protect its citizens from ideological psychopaths who threaten to destroy society and the values that define it. One fundamental problem, as the Prime Minister has pointed out, is that there are differences in certain values to do with such issues as equality, human rights and corruption. The Government have the difficulty of achieving a balance between ensuring safety and not alienating communities from one another. The aim of a coherent society cannot be achieved to the detriment of one part of that society.

People can seek to integrate, respect each other and even to develop shared ownership of important laws such as the one we are talking about today without compromising their principles. I want the Muslim community to feel safe, to be successful and to play a full part in British society and this Bill must be made law to help and to enable and not to hamper that aim.

6.48 pm

Paul Goggins (Wythenshawe and Sale East) (Lab): It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Keighley (Kris Hopkins), who, early in his speech, mentioned the 9/11 attacks. In three months, we will mark 10 years since those horrific attacks took place in America. At that time, I undertook the role that is now undertaken by the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mr Timpson); I was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the then Home Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough (Mr Blunkett). Over the following nine years, in that role and as a Minister in the Home Office and then the Northern Ireland Office, I worked closely with successive Home Secretaries and other Ministers who were seeking to deal with the deadly threat that was emerging from international terrorism. There was no book on the bookshelf entitled, “Rules of Engagement with al-Qaeda”, but I saw every one of those Ministers make every effort to defend the people of this country against new forms of international terrorism, including the dreadful prospect referred to by the hon. Member for Keighley of the so-called home-grown terrorists who are prepared to blow themselves up as well as their victims.

The debate that has gone on since 9/11 has created great tensions in the Chamber and outside it as we have tried to balance and rebalance the equation between individual liberty and collective security. The previous Government received much criticism for the measures they brought forward but I believe that, without exception, the Ministers who introduced those measures did so with total integrity. The current Home Secretary also displays that integrity and she has my full support in taking the difficult decisions that she has to take about specific individuals.

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Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab): In my right hon. Friend’s years in the Home Office, in which he must have been involved in many discussions about anti-terrorism legislation, how much consideration was given to the implementation of the criminal law in open court rather than the creation of a series of special courts, special measures and all the suspicion that surrounds them?

Paul Goggins: Considerable consideration was always given to those issues. As the Home Secretary said earlier, prosecutions should always be brought where possible. Those who engage in terrorist activity should feel the full force of the law and where possible—where the evidence is there—they should be convicted and go to prison for a very long time. The problem is that sometimes the evidence and information that the Home Secretary and other Ministers have is not enough to secure a prosecution because much of it is protected or secret information that could not, of itself, sustain a successful prosecution. That is the territory we are dealing with, but I assure my hon. Friend that that consideration was always at the foremost of Minister’s minds at that time.

Mr David Winnick (Walsall North) (Lab): I have the highest respect for the work that my right hon. Friend undertook during his time at the Home Office. I have tried to get a parliamentary answer to my question, but I did not get anywhere. I understand that no one who has been subject to a control order has later been charged with a terrorist offence. That seems rather odd and, if I may say so, rather disturbing.

Paul Goggins: My hon. Friend has well-known views on this issue and has expressed them frequently in the Chamber from both the Government and Opposition sides over the years. He forms his own conclusions but my conclusions about such individuals is that they are a small group of people for whom it is necessary to have some form of control outside the normal judicial process because of the risks that they pose. My hon. Friend has put forward his point of view on this before and he has strong views—I respect that.

Naomi Long: The right hon. Gentleman’s experience in Northern Ireland will also colour his view on these issues. One of the experiences that we had is that the use of unusual measures can often act as a rallying point for radicalising other young people, rallying them behind the cause, because people are seen as being persecuted rather than being tried under the law. Does he agree that such experiences show that these measures should be seen as unusual and that, for this reason, their ratification each year in Parliament is an important part of reinforcing that?

Paul Goggins: The hon. Lady speaks with great authority on this issue and I agree with every word she says. These powers—whether the control order powers that have been in place up to now or the new powers that the Home Secretary is bringing forward—should be used absolutely exceptionally and we should always bear in mind the risk that the hon. Lady mentions that their use can become a rallying point and can assist in the radicalisation of people whom we are trying desperately to keep in the mainstream of society. That should always be kept in mind. These powers should not be used generally; they are very specific powers to be used in very specific circumstances.

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Let me deal with the circumstances in which the powers should be used. We are talking about a small group of individuals who are suspected of involvement in terrorist activities and who are either foreign nationals who cannot be deported because of a ruling of the European Court of Human Rights or they are individuals who cannot be prosecuted successfully because, as I said earlier, the compelling information about them is secret intelligence that could not alone sustain a successful prosecution. Over the past six years, control orders have been the best—some have used the expression “least worst”—set of powers to deal with that group of people.

As I have said before, we should always seek to gain consensus in the House on the important issue of counter-terrorism. The formation of the new Government last year gave us all an opportunity to reflect on the previous decade and see whether changes were required that would bring greater consensus and get an even better balance between individual liberty and collective security. I have changed my mind about pre-charge detention, having previously voted for 28 days and, indeed, for 42 days. I agree that the normal maximum should now be 14 days, provided that in exceptional circumstances it can be extended to 28 days. I am currently serving on the Joint Committee that is considering the emergency legislation that the Government have brought forward on this, and I have changed my mind on this issue.

Mr Winnick: Did I persuade you?

Paul Goggins: My hon. Friend is always very persuasive—one way or the other.

One area of policy on which I remain absolutely clear is the need to be able to control the activities of that small group of people who pose a serious threat and who cannot be deported or imprisoned, and I am pleased that the Government appear to have come to the same conclusion. We should seek consensus. There is much in the Bill that I can readily support. Conditions A to E, which are set out in clause 3, are welcome. They confirm the need for these TPIM notices to be focused on protection and prevention and they provide that the terrorism-related activity must be new activity. However, it is important that when a first application for a notice is made, that new activity can well predate the application.

A general time limit of two years is not unreasonable given the provisos that further notices can be made if there is new activity and that where a further notice is made, the older activity can be taken into account in addition to the new activity of which the Home Secretary has become aware. However, I caution her and her ministerial colleague against making that a general rule which can never be excepted. As I said about the maximum pre-charge detention period of 14 days, there might be exceptional circumstances. I hope that the Minister will be prepared, in Committee, to see whether some amendments can be framed to allow extensions beyond two years in specific and exceptional circumstances.

On making the powers permanent, I heard what my right hon. Friend the Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) said about that reducing parliamentary oversight, but we could also see it as a positive development if Parliament can reach a consensus and settled view. Given the constant arguing and bickering on this issue year after year when we should be seeking

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consensus in the face of the terrible threats that terrorists bring, there is some merit in Parliament’s reaching a settled view. There is a balance to be struck.

I agree strongly with condition A, that the Secretary of State must have a reasonable belief

“that the individual is…involved in terrorism-related activity”.

That is a higher threshold than the reasonable suspicion threshold that has previously operated for control orders, but in reaching my conclusion I have referred to the opinion of Lord Carlile in his most recent report that the higher threshold of reasonable belief was, in practice, always achieved anyway for each control order that was taken out under the existing system. It is a standard that was already being met, and I see no problem in including that formally in legislation.

It is right, given that we have six years’ experience of operating control orders, to set out in more precise form the measures that can be imposed as part of the new TPIM notices. Schedule 1 includes a list of measures, including accommodation, travel, communications, association and so on. I urge the Minister to see whether there ought not to be a catch-all power, because there may be a condition that is not caught by schedule 1. It might be sensible to leave an opening so that the Home Secretary can impose such a condition if circumstances allow. It is not a power that I would expect to be used frequently, but if we do not have that power, and unusual circumstances occur, there is nothing we can do about it. Perhaps that is something that could be considered.

I have four serious difficulties with the Bill and in relation to other pertinent issues. The first was mentioned by my right hon. Friend—the overnight residence measure. She was right to point out that in schedule 1, which says that the Secretary of State may impose a requirement

“applicable overnight…for the individual to remain at a specified residence”,

there is no definition of “overnight”. It may be possible to go into that in Committee to see whether it is possible to include something a little clearer.

The really important issue is the specified residence itself. My right hon. Friend made a powerful argument in relation to that. Paragraph 1(3) says that the specified residence must be

“premises that are the individual’s own residence, or…other premises…that are situated in an appropriate locality or an agreed locality.”

An appropriate locality is one in which the individual has a pre-existing connection. In the case of CD, which my right hon. Friend mentioned, it would not be possible under the new legislation for the Home Secretary to impose the conditions that she rightly imposed on the control order governing that individual. If it is possible, I would welcome an explanation on that from the Minister in his winding-up speech.

Let us reflect on who CD is: a leading figure in a close group of Islamist extremists based in north London. That conspiracy of individuals was planning attacks and seeking to acquire weapons. He was a real threat, and the Home Secretary was quite right to take action, and to insist that he live in the west midlands. It is not just me who says so, as Mr Justice Simon supports her view. My right hon. Friend made it perfectly clear when reading from paragraph 53 of Mr Justice Simon’s judgment that the relocation obligation is a necessary and proportionate measure to protect the public from an

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immediate and real risk of a terrorism-related attack. The Bill as drafted would not allow the Home Secretary to force that individual to live outside London in the west midlands, and the people of London and elsewhere would be at much greater risk if she could not do so.

My second concern relates to electronic communication, which is dealt with in paragraph 7. Sub-paragraph (1) sounds quite tough, as the Secretary of State may impose

“restrictions on the individual’s possession or use of electronic communication devices”.

However, under sub-paragraph (3), each suspect may have