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Counter-terrorism - Home Affairs Committee Contents


Formal Minutes


Wednesday 30 April 2014

Members present:

Rt Hon Keith Vaz, in the Chair
Nicola Blackwood

James Clappison

Mr Michael Ellis

Paul Flynn

Lorraine Fullbrook

Dr Julian Huppert

Mark Reckless

Mr David Winnick

Draft Report (Counter-terrorism), proposed by the Chair, brought up and read.

Ordered, That the draft Report be read a second time, paragraph by paragraph.

Paragraphs 1 to 95 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 96 read, as follows:

The withdrawal of passports is a vital tool in preventing UK citizens from travelling to foreign conflicts. We understand the need to use the prerogative power to withdraw or withhold a citizen's passport. Given that the estimates of foreign fighters are in the low hundreds, we are surprised that it has only been used 14 times since April 2013 and recommend that, in all appropriate circumstances where there is evidence, the power is utilised as an exceptional preventative and temporary measure. However, we note that its use is not subject to any scrutiny external to the executive. We recommend that the Home Secretary report quarterly on its use to the House as is currently done with TPIMs and allow the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation to review the exercise of the Royal Prerogative as part of his annual review.

Amendment proposed, in line 8, to leave out from 'TPIMS' to the end of the paragraph.—(Lorraine Fullbrook.)

Question put, that the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.
Ayes, 3Noes, 5
Mr James ClappisonNicola Blackwood
Michael EllisPaul Flynn
Lorraine FullbrookDr Julian Huppert
Mark Reckless
David Winnick

Question accordingly negatived.

Paragraph agreed to.

Paragraphs 97 to 140 agreed to.

Paragraph 141 read, as follows:

The National Crime Agency was established as a national mechanism as part of the changing landscape of policing. Like all new organisations, it is still seeking to establish a strong identity and its own remit. For instance, we remain concerned that the NCA does not have full operational capacity in Northern Ireland. The Metropolitan Police have a wide remit which has many complexities and the current difficulties faced by the organisation lead us to believe that the responsibility for counter-terrorism ought to be moved to the NCA in order to allow the Met to focus on the basics of policing London. The work to transfer the command ought to begin immediately with a view to a full transfer of responsibility for counter-terrorism operations taking place, for example within five years after the NCA became operational, in 2018. When this takes place, it should finally complete the jigsaw of the new landscape of policing.

Amendment proposed, in line 4, to leave out from 'Ireland' to the end of the paragraph and add:

'It may be that in due course, the National Crime Agency should take over overall responsibility for counter-terrorism; however, we believe it would be wise to first see how this newly formed organisation carries out its responsibilities. Moreover, we endorse the remarks by David Anderson that a pretty good operational relationship exists between the police and intelligence. In addition, we also note the remarks of Sir David Omand over the existing arrangements.'.—(Mr David Winnick.)

Question put, that the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.
Ayes, 2Noes, 5
Paul FlynnNicola Blackwood
David WinnickMichael Ellis
Lorraine Fullbrook
Dr Julian Huppert
Mark Reckless

Question accordingly negatived.

Paragraph agreed to.

Paragraphs 142 to 157 agreed to.

Paragraph 158 read, as follows:

Furthermore we recommend that the Commons membership of the Intelligence and Security Committee should be elected like other select committees and that the Chair, who should always be a member of the Commons, ought to be subject to election of the whole House, as is the case for Select Committees. We further recommend that the Chair should always be a member of the largest opposition party.

Amendment proposed, to leave out from the beginning of the paragraph to 'We' in line 4.—(Lorraine Fullbrook.)

Question put, that the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.
Ayes, 1Noes, 7
Lorraine FullbrookNicola Blackwood
James Clappison
Michael Ellis
Paul Flynn
Dr Julian Huppert
Mark Reckless
David Winnick

Question accordingly negatived.

Another amendment proposed, in line 4, to leave out 'We further recommend that the Chair should always be a member of the largest opposition party'.—(Lorraine Fullbrook.)

Question put, that the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.
Ayes, 4Noes, 4
Nicola BlackwoodPaul Flynn
James ClappisonDr Julian Huppert
Michael EllisMark Reckless
Lorraine FullbrookDavid Winnick

Whereupon the Chair declared himself with the Noes.

Question accordingly negatived.

Another amendment proposed, in line 5, after 'party' to insert ', and not a former Minister with responsibility for any of the agencies'.—(Dr Julian Huppert.)

Question put, that the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.
Ayes, 4Noes, 4
Paul FlynnNicola Blackwood
Dr Julian HuppertJames Clappison
Mark RecklessMichael Ellis
Mr David WinnickLorraine Fullbrook

Whereupon the Chair declared himself with the Noes.

Question accordingly negatived.

Paragraph agreed to.

Paragraphs 159 to 168 agreed to.

Paragraph 169 read.

Amendment proposed, at the end, to add:

'While there has been much controversy over the leaked Snowden material in the Guardian and elsewhere, it is undeniable that the revelations of such widespread surveillance, including for that matter the hacking of mobile phones of very senior members of governments, including the German Chancellor, has understandably opened a wide and international public debate, not least in the United States, on whether such extensive surveillance, and on such a scale, should take place. If anything, media outlets, including the Guardian, that have responsibly reported on aspects of the material should be congratulated. We note that the paper received the Pulitzer Prize this year for its reporting on these issues.'.—(Mr David Winnick.)

Question put, that the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.
Ayes, 3

Paul Flynn

Noes, 4

Nicola Blackwood

Dr Julian Huppert

David Winnick

James Clappison

Michael Ellis

Lorraine Fullbrook

Paragraph agreed to.

Paragraphs 170 to 177 agreed to.

Annexes agreed to.

Resolved, That the Report be the Seventeenth Report of the Committee to the House.

Ordered, That the Chair make the Report to the House.

Ordered, That embargoed copies of the Report be made available, in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order No. 134.

[Adjourned till Tuesday 6 May at 2.30 pm


 
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Prepared 9 May 2014