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House of Commons

Monday 16 November 2015

The House met at half-past Two o’clock


[Mr Speaker in the Chair]

Oral Answers to Questions

Home Department

The Secretary of State was asked—

Child Sexual Exploitation

1. Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods (City of Durham) (Lab): What steps her Department is taking to protect 16 and 17 year olds who are victims of child sexual exploitation. [902147]

6. Caroline Nokes (Romsey and Southampton North) (Con): What steps her Department is taking to protect 16 and 17 year olds who are victims of child sexual exploitation. [902152]

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): Before I answer the question, may I say that later this afternoon I shall of course make a statement on the Paris terrorist attacks? I am sure that the thoughts of the whole House are with the people of France, particularly with the victims—and their friends and families—of those terrible and horrific attacks.

Tackling child sexual exploitation is a top priority for this Government. We have already prioritised child sexual abuse as a national threat in the strategic policing requirement, and made significant progress since the “Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation” report in March 2015.

Dr Blackman-Woods: I am sure that all of us in this House want to concur with the sentiments expressed by the Home Secretary and send our condolences and very best wishes to the families and friends of all of those who were killed or injured in the dreadful terrorist attacks on Friday night.

I hear what the Home Secretary says about sexual exploitation, but, according to the Children’s Society, more than three quarters of reported sexual crimes against 16 and 17 year olds result in no police action against the perpetrator. How does the Home Secretary feel that her proposed cuts to policing will impact on those figures?

Mrs May: We should all welcome the fact that more people, including young people and children, now feel able to come forward and report when abuse or exploitation has taken place, but, as the hon. Lady will be aware, the

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question of how the reports are then dealt with is not to do with police numbers. We saw that in the Rotherham report. Sadly, reports came through that police and others had been aware of the child exploitation that was taking place, yet appropriate action was not taken. Following the “Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation” report in March this year, there will be a requirement that all police officers are trained in raising their response to child sexual exploitation. We have also revised the guidance, so that we provide clear information about how to identify child abuse and neglect and what action to take.

Caroline Nokes: May I also associate myself with the comments made earlier by my right hon. Friend?

The recent report “Old Enough to Know Better?” by the Children’s Society has recommended that, when the victim of a sexual offence is 16 or 17 years old, it should be considered an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes. Does my right hon. Friend agree that that would send a very strong message to perpetrators and build on the work already done by this Government to protect the victims of sexual exploitation?

Mrs May: I agree that we always need to send very clear messages to the perpetrators about how seriously we take this crime and the intent to deal with it. The courts will always consider a case more seriously when the victim is a child, and that includes 16 or 17 year olds. The Sentencing Council’s definitive guidance on sexual offences came into effect in April last year, and it provides for the courts to sentence more severely individuals in cases where victims are particularly vulnerable, as will often be the case with sexual exploitation involving 16 or 17 year olds.

22. [902169] Fiona Mactaggart (Slough) (Lab): The Secretary of State will be aware that a really quite frightening proportion of the 16 and 17-year-old girls who are victims of sexual exploitation have been in the care of the local state. What action is she taking to prevent the grooming of such vulnerable young women into sexual exploitation?

Mrs May: Sadly, the right hon. Lady is absolutely right to say that a shocking number of those who find themselves being exploited and subjected to child sexual abuse will have been in the care of the state. That is an appalling record for the state, and it has gone on for many years. It is one reason why the Justice Goddard inquiry will look at how institutions have, or have not, undertaken their duty of care. As part of the work that we did following the Rotherham report, we are working with my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Secretary of State for Education to see exactly what approach should be taken at local authority level with those in care and others who report abuse to the local authority.

Mr David Nuttall (Bury North) (Con): Does my right hon. Friend agree that, if 16 and 17 year olds are given the vote, it increases the likelihood that they will be regarded and treated as adults and that they will therefore become the victims of sexual exploitation?

Mrs May: I would not link the voting age with child sexual exploitation. In the Home Office, we have included 16 and 17-year-olds in our consideration of a number

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of areas, including this issue and domestic violence. We recognise the vulnerability of those who are 16 and 17, who are sometimes treated as and considered as adults but are equally as vulnerable as younger people and need the protection and care we should be giving them when we deal with these difficult issues.

Passport Applications

2. Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West) (LD): What assessment she has made of the adequacy of complaint procedures in respect of rejected passport applications. [902148]

The Minister for Immigration (James Brokenshire): Her Majesty’s Passport Office takes complaints seriously and has a robust process to examine customer concerns. Ultimately, complaints can be referred to the independent Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman for adjudication.

Greg Mulholland: I thank the Minister for that answer. May I bring to his attention the case of Muhammad Ifran Ayub, who is seriously ill awaiting a heart transplant and has been trying for two years to get a visa for his two-year-old son, who is currently in Pakistan away from both parents? There have been a series of failures in dealing with this case. Will the Minister meet me and the family to discuss it?

James Brokenshire: I will always consider representations made by right hon. and hon. Members. It is difficult for me to comment in detail on the Floor of the House on the individual circumstances of the case, but HM Passport Office has to examine documentation very carefully and, sadly, fraud and other criminality can at times be involved. It needs to consider cases dispassionately and, when there are compelling circumstances, reflect them in the decisions it takes. I will look at the facts that the hon. Gentleman has raised.

Hate Crime

3. Stuart Andrew (Pudsey) (Con): What assessment she has made of the performance of the police in tackling hate crime. [902149]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Karen Bradley): The police continue to make significant progress on tackling hate crime. The recording of hate crime has improved and the True Vision website was launched in 2011. Guidance for officers was published in 2014 and there is improved training on the handling of hate crime cases and support for victims.

Stuart Andrew: I am grateful for that answer and associate myself with the comments made by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. Given the horrific attacks in Paris at the weekend, many Muslim communities are concerned about the potential increase in anti-Muslim hate crime in this country. Can my hon. Friend reassure those communities in my constituency and across the country that the Government are committed to tackling such hatred in all its forms?

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Karen Bradley: My hon. Friend makes a very important point. It is absolutely clear that there is no excuse for hatred—no religious excuse and no other excuse. Hatred will not be accepted by this Government. We work closely with community organisations such as Tell MAMA to ensure that we are aware of community work to stop hate crime and to ensure that we increase reporting of it. We have also announced that Muslim hate crime will be recorded separately by the police to ensure that we have a full assessment of its levels.

Keith Vaz (Leicester East) (Lab): Further to the comments of the hon. Member for Pudsey (Stuart Andrew), these terrible events in Paris mean that it is very important that police officers engage fully with local communities. The Government were right to suspend the operation of the police funding formula, which deals with frontline policing. Although the counter-terrorism budget has been protected, dealing with such offences means that we need bobbies on the beat. Will the Minister speak to the Home Secretary and see whether we can present an argument to the Chancellor to protect front-line policing so that the police can deal with such issues, which impact on local communities?

Karen Bradley: I am not sure that I need to speak directly to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, as she heard what the right hon. Gentleman said. It is important to point out that the proportion of police on the frontline has gone up and it is incredibly important that we work with communities to ensure that we root out these crimes.

Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con): Is my hon. Friend aware that ISIL has sought to justify its attack on the Bataclan theatre by saying that it was an attack on promiscuous youth and the perversion of French homosexuals? Does she agree that that is the worst of all hate crimes and would be condemned by all decent people?

Karen Bradley: My hon. Friend sums it up perfectly and I do not think that there is anything I can add.

Stephen Twigg (Liverpool, West Derby) (Lab/Co-op): Merseyside police have done fantastic work over the past decade or so in tackling hate crime. Does the Minister understand that there is real concern that the likely impact of spending cuts in the spending review could make it a lot harder for Merseyside police to maintain that brilliant work?

Karen Bradley: I commend the work of Merseyside police, and police across the country. Hate crime has been coming down, and there has been increased reporting of it, which means that more victims are prepared to come forward. That is due to the excellent work of the police and the criminal justice system, and we should all congratulate them on that.

Alan Brown (Kilmarnock and Loudoun) (SNP): Building on earlier comments, and noting that prevention is better than cure, may I ask the Government what extra measures they are taking to prevent hate crime, rather than tackle it once it has occurred? Also, I offer a reminder: Ministers should always be temperate in their language.

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Karen Bradley: The hon. Gentleman will, I am sure, be aware of the launch of the counter-extremism strategy. We have also committed to a new, cross-Government hate crime action plan to make sure that we tackle this crime at source, and prevent it.

Lyn Brown (West Ham) (Lab): But it is about resources. The Merseyside police and crime commissioner has said that proposed cuts

“will affect the teams which fight serious and organised crime, investigate rape and sexual violence and tackle hate crime.”

The chief constable of that service asks if he should take resources out of teams dealing with child abuse, gun crime, hate crime, or online fraud. What is the Minister’s answer?

Karen Bradley: The hon. Lady, who was a member of a Government who saw increases in crime, should congratulate this Government on reductions in crime, and on the fact that hate crime is going down. That is down to the excellent work of our police, and we should commend them for that.

Syrian Refugees

4. Jeff Smith (Manchester, Withington) (Lab): What progress her Department has made on the resettlement of Syrian refugees. [902150]

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister set out on 19 October, our intention is to welcome 1,000 Syrian refugees before Christmas. The Government are working closely with others to put in place the plans and structures to deliver this. Details of numbers will be published in the regular quarterly immigration statistics.

Jeff Smith: My city of Manchester is very willing to take its fair and equitable share of refugees, but has not had a fair share of local government funding cuts in recent years. In the light of that, will the Home Secretary commit to funding the resettlement scheme fully, and extend local authority funding to support refugees beyond one year to a minimum of three years?

Mrs May: The costs for the first year of resettlement will be met in full; that is possible under the official development assistance budget. The Treasury is looking at what funding will be made available for subsequent years.

Sir Roger Gale (North Thanet) (Con): On behalf of my constituents, may I associate myself with my right hon. Friend’s remarks concerning events in Paris at the weekend? Our sympathies are with those who suffered. We want to see the Prime Minister’s objectives met. The events of the weekend have verified that he is right to seek refugees who have UN approval, but, given those events, will the Home Secretary go further and make sure that the credentials of every refugee coming to this country are double-checked?

Mrs May: My hon. Friend raises an important issue. We want to ensure that we can put into action our undertaking to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees over this Parliament. As he implies, we take them directly from

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camps, so that we are able to take the most vulnerable, but we also ensure that there are proper security checks. In fact, at the moment, there are two levels of security checks: the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees undertakes security checks that involve biometrics, the checking of documents and interviews; and further checks, including further biometrics, are undertaken by the Home Office once people have been referred to it for resettlement in the UK.

Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford) (Lab): The Home Secretary will know that many of the Syrian refugees whom Britain expects to help over the coming months are fleeing exactly the same terrible ISIS brutality that we saw on the streets of Paris this weekend. Does she agree with me that, as we stand in solidarity with Paris, it is important that we both strengthen our security against such barbarism and continue to give sanctuary to those fleeing it, so that we ensure that the terrorists cannot win?

Mrs May: The right hon. Lady is absolutely right: many of those refugees will be fleeing ISIS. Of course, some will be fleeing the actions of the Syrian Government. It is important that we provide sanctuary to those who have been displaced by conflict in Syria, partly by resettling a number of refugees here in the United Kingdom. As the right hon. Lady will know, we are also the second biggest bilateral donor to the region of funds to support refugees; a very important contribution of £1.1 billion is made by the UK taxpayer.

21. [902168] John Howell (Henley) (Con): What steps the Government is taking to tackle people smugglers in the Mediterranean. Prior to resettlement, a mechanism needs to be established through which refugees can claim asylum. What is the impact of this on the overall progress towards resettlement?

Mrs May: Refugees who are resettled under the scheme for resettling Syrian refugees are provided with five years of humanitarian protection. Of course, there are also individuals who will come here and claim asylum and who will be dealt with under the normal asylum processes, but those who are resettled under the Syrian vulnerable persons resettlement scheme are given five years’ humanitarian protection here in the UK.

Gavin Robinson (Belfast East) (DUP): On behalf of representatives from Northern Ireland, may I associate myself with the comments of the Home Secretary and commend her for the stance she took during the weekend? Had someone suggested a week ago that the refugee crisis was being abused by terrorists, they could have been set aside as a heartless xenophobe. I fear that the public will not be as resistant to that message as they would have been a week ago. How do we ensure that the compassion of this country is kept to the fore, while recognising that there will always be a few who abuse our good will?

Mrs May: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his remarks. The British people showed huge compassion and there was an outpouring of offers of help for those who would be resettled from Syria. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Refugees is looking at how we can ensure that those offers of help can be turned

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into practical assistance. That generosity of spirit will, I am sure, continue. There has been quite a lot of speculation in the press about the potential abuse of the route for refugees to come into Europe. It is important not to make judgments until the full facts are known.

Mrs Anne Main (St Albans) (Con): Many local authorities, including my own, wish to resettle some of the Syrian refugees who may come into the country. If the refugees are dispersed around the country, some families will inevitably lose contact with loved ones and will wish to get in touch. Will a database be available to them as a means of communication?

Mrs May: Obviously, records of where the Syrian refugees are resettled will be maintained. If I understand my hon. Friend’s question, it was about Syrian refugees who may wish to access information about others who may have come to the country. As she will have noticed, the Minister is here and will have heard that, and he will consider the point she has made.

Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West) (SNP): On behalf of the Scottish National party, may I associate myself with the comments of the Home Secretary in relation to the terrible events in Paris on Friday night? With the first 100 Syrian refugees due to arrive in Scotland for resettlement this week, does the Home Secretary agree that it is imperative to make it clear to the public that these refugees are fleeing the same evil forces as were behind the attacks in Paris? Will she work with the Scottish Government and local authorities throughout the country to make sure that communities are supported to understand that and to make the vulnerable refugees feel as welcome as possible?

Mrs May: I thank the hon. and learned Lady for her remarks. It is one of the reasons why I was very clear yesterday when I did a television interview and set out the security arrangements that we have in place in relation to refugees, so that people can set aside concerns and understand that there are proper security arrangements. These individuals have been fleeing evil of various sorts, including the very evil that led to the attacks in Paris on Friday, and we wish them to be welcomed and to be able to reach sanctuary here and get the assistance that they need for their particular concerns, medical or otherwise. So it is right that the whole House should send out a message that we welcome and open our arms to those who have fled for their lives from the terrible evil of what is taking place in Syria.

Dr Sarah Wollaston (Totnes) (Con): Like colleagues across the House, I have received many generous offers of support from my constituents for refugees fleeing unimaginable violence in Syria. Will the Home Secretary join me in thanking Dartington Hall in my constituency, which is offering not only to house refugees, but to provide them with valuable support? Will she assure me that everything is being done to make sure that such clear and credible offers of support are generously followed up?

Mrs May: I am happy to join my hon. Friend in welcoming the offer that has been made by Dartington Hall in respect not just of accommodation, but of support for refugees. That has been mirrored by organisations around the country. It is right that the Under-Secretary

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of State for Refugees has been working with charities, faith groups and other organisations to make sure not only that all the offers of help are listed and looked at, but that we can turn them into practical help for Syrian refugees, depending on what support is appropriate in the circumstances of the refugees that come to any particular region, such as my hon. Friend’s constituency.

Joanna Cherry rose—

Mr Speaker: The hon. and learned Lady is welcome to have a second bite of the cherry, on the assumption that the bite is small.

Joanna Cherry: I am very grateful, Mr Speaker. We are all aware that the Syrian refugees who are coming to the United Kingdom are particularly vulnerable individuals. They will need time and privacy to settle and integrate into the communities that they go to. Will the Home Secretary tell us what work the Home Office is doing to support local communities to give the refugees the time and privacy to integrate?

Mrs May: I am happy to tell the hon. and learned Lady that a considerable amount of work is being done by the Home Office, primarily with the local authorities that are receiving the Syrian refugees, to discuss the sort of support that is available to them. That links in to the last question I answered from my hon. Friend the Member for Totnes (Dr Wollaston): it will often be possible for charities and other organisations to provide support and help for refugees in settling into life in whichever part of the United Kingdom they come to.

Keir Starmer (Holborn and St Pancras) (Lab): May I, too, join the Home Secretary in the comments she made at the beginning of Question Time? In the light of the terrible events in Paris this weekend, which we in this House are united in condemning, it is vital that the first refugees to arrive in the UK from Syria are properly supported and welcomed. As the Prime Minister has said, those who will be brought here are among the most vulnerable men, women and children in the refugee camps. What steps have been taken to ensure that adequate resources are allocated to provide not only the necessary accommodation, but the care and support that will be needed? What messages are planned to ensure that they are welcomed when they arrive here?

Mrs May: The considerable amount of work that the Under-Secretary of State for Refugees has been doing with teams from the Home Office, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for International Development is about ensuring that those refugees who are referred to the UK and accepted for resettlement here are given the right package of support. It is not simply a case of allocation; there is careful consideration of what is available in any particular local authority in terms of accommodation or to meet the medical needs that individuals have. A considerable amount of work goes into ensuring that people are given the right support when they come to whichever area they come to. It is also important to recognise that individuals and families should be given a degree of privacy. They are making a huge move in coming to the UK, so it is right to give them not just the right support, but the time and space to settle into the UK.

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Violent Crime

7. Angela Crawley (Lanark and Hamilton East) (SNP): What steps she plans to take to reduce the level of violent crime. [902153]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Karen Bradley): According to the crime survey for England and Wales, violent crime is 27% lower than in June 2010. We are taking effective action, including our ongoing action to tackle gang and youth violence, and our work to end violence against women and girls.

Angela Crawley: The Minister will be aware that the violence reduction unit in Scotland has taken an innovative approach to tackling violence by working with dentists, hairdressers, vets and others to identify domestic abuse. It has also successfully carried out work among gangs on promoting positive alternatives. What lessons can her Department learn from the success of Scotland’s violence reduction unit in its first 10 years of existence to reduce the level of crime?

Karen Bradley: We of course look at what is happening across the whole United Kingdom and work with the devolved authorities and others to ensure that we are using the very best practice.

Ms Karen Buck (Westminster North) (Lab): The weekend before last, three young men were murdered in three separate incidents in north-west London alone, demonstrating that gang and serious youth violence remains a genuinely serious problem on the streets of London, as it is elsewhere. Next spring, the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime funding for the gangs project is due to end. Will the Minister speak with the Mayor of London to ensure that that necessary funding to tackle the threat of gangs continues after next May?

Karen Bradley: It is clearly important that we tackle gang violence and look at the exploitation within gang culture, which sees very vulnerable young people exploited and forced into gangs. I will of course be working with all to ensure that there is appropriate support for combating that.

Sarah Champion (Rotherham) (Lab): The British crime survey shows an 87% rise in the reporting of rapes between October 2012 and March 2015. Sexual violence investigations need specialist expertise and supervision to ensure that cases are handled correctly and prosecutions are brought. What assurances can the Minister give that the proposed police cuts will not impact on the training and supervision of officers working on sexual violence cases?

Karen Bradley: The hon. Lady, who has significant experience and expertise in this area, will know that the increased recording of violence against women and girls is good news, because it means that more victims are prepared to come forward. I am very impressed by the work that I have seen police forces doing across the country to ensure that victims come forward and receive the right specialist and multi-agency support that they need.

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Investigatory Powers: Police/Security Services

8. Christopher Pincher (Tamworth) (Con): What steps the Government are taking to ensure that investigatory powers used by the police and the security services are defined in a legal framework. [902154]

10. Huw Merriman (Bexhill and Battle) (Con): What steps she has taken to ensure that the powers proposed for the police in the draft Investigatory Powers Bill are transparent and subject to oversight. [902156]

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): The Government have been clear about the need to provide law enforcement and security and intelligence agencies with the powers they need to protect the public in a clear and transparent legal framework. The draft Investigatory Powers Bill was published on 4 November and will be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee of both Houses.

Christopher Pincher: I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that answer, particularly in the light of the terrible events in Paris, which continue to unfold. Can she confirm that the new investigatory powers commissioner will have greater resource and technical expertise than is currently available in the rather fragmented arrangements?

Mrs May: My hon. Friend makes an important point. I can confirm that the new investigatory powers commissioner will have the necessary resources, and they will have increased resources, including technical expertise, within their remit to ensure that they have that support and advice. Indeed, their budget will be such that it will also be possible for them to buy further technical expertise, should they need it.

Huw Merriman: Some constituents have asked me to write to the Home Secretary and state that intercept warrants should be granted by a judge, rather than by the Home Secretary. Does she agree with me that, on the contrary, the accountability for and the scrutiny of her decisions in this place are more transparent than a judicial judgment?

Mrs May: My hon. Friend makes an important point. What we have proposed in the draft Bill is a double lock, so there will be the necessary accountability—because the decision is made by the Secretary of State—on whether the use of these intrusive powers under warrant is necessary or proportionate, and then there will be consideration by a judicial authority. We will therefore get that independent consideration by the judicial authority and the accountability of a Secretary of State signing the warrant.

Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) (LD): The dreadful events in Paris make it even more important that the draft Investigatory Powers Bill is subject to full and proper scrutiny by the Joint Committee to ensure that it provides both maximum security for our citizens and the toughest protection of our civil liberties. Can the Home Secretary confirm that it will get that full and proper scrutiny and that it will not be fast-tracked?

Mrs May: As the right hon. Gentleman will be aware, we consider all counter-terrorism legislation carefully and review the necessary timetables, but this is a significant Bill and I think that it is important that it receives

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proper scrutiny. As he has said, we have put in place important safeguards and enhanced oversight for the Bill, and greater transparency in the powers that the security and intelligence agencies and the police and law enforcement agencies have available to them. It is right that it gets proper scrutiny.

Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central) (Lab): A combination of technological evolution and a lack of transparency meant that we ended up in a position where the British people had no idea of the way in which legitimate investigatory powers were being used. Given the ongoing fast evolution of technology applications, what steps is the Home Secretary taking to make sure that we do not end up in that position again? There is no reference to future applications in the Investigatory Powers Bill.

Mrs May: One of the aims of the Bill is to be more transparent so that people can clearly see the powers that are available to the authorities. There is a balance to be struck by drawing the Bill up in such a way that we do not have to keep returning to new legislation as technology advances, and, on the other hand, not drawing it so widely that we do not have the necessary transparency and there is not foreseeability in terms of the use of powers. I think we have that balance right, but of course the scrutiny process will look at it.

Dr Julian Lewis (New Forest East) (Con): GCHQ and our other security agencies have, unfortunately, all too much to do without delving into the personal communications of innocent citizens, but will the Home Secretary reassure the House that any abuse that occurred of such intrusive powers would, under the new legislation, constitute a criminal offence?

Mrs May: Yes, I am happy to give my right hon. Friend the reassurance that he requires in relation to including within the Bill offences that would apply were abuse to take place in the use of the powers. He is absolutely right in saying that of course the security and intelligence agencies do not have the time, the effort or indeed the intention or desire to look into the communications of everybody in this country; they are focusing very clearly on those who are suspected of wanting to do us harm.

Andy Burnham (Leigh) (Lab): As we have heard, the whole House is united in sending its sympathy and solidarity to the people of France following the terrible events on Friday. These callous attacks confirm the ability of ISIL to hit at the heart of Europe and place an obligation on us all to redouble our efforts to protect the safety of our country and that of our neighbours. We welcome the Government’s response to the weekend’s events and reaffirm today our commitment to work constructively with them, including on modernising legislation with regard to the powers of the police and security services. But of course, alongside the powers, we need the people to put them into practice. Will the Home Secretary say more about the funding announced today by the Prime Minister to recruit 1,900 extra officers for the security services and whether that funding is additional to the counter-terrorism budget?

Mrs May: First, I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his remarks about the attacks that took place in Paris. It has been clear from statements made by a number of

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Members of this House that there is a very clear message from this House of our utter condemnation of the brutality of those attacks.

In relation to the announcement, I was going to refer to that in the statement that I will be making later on. It is right that earlier this year the Chancellor made it absolutely clear that he was looking at the whole question of the funding that was available for security, particularly that for counter-terrorism. As the right hon. Gentleman will know, the funding for the security and intelligence agencies is a matter that is dealt with separately from other Departments’ funding, and it has been, and will be, possible to provide the funding for these extra 1,900 officers.

Andy Burnham: I thank the Home Secretary for what she has said and appreciate that she will say more shortly. Let me also say that the united message coming from this House today is that ISIL will not prevail in this attack on our values. We welcome the action that the Government are taking in respect of the security services, but I am sure she will agree that the threat we face cannot be tackled by counter-terrorism operations alone—it also depends on the capability of the police to respond to an emergency and, as Sir Ian Blair said this morning, on effective neighbourhood policing to provide early intelligence. She will be aware of concerns within the police about the forthcoming spending review. In the light of the events in Paris, are the Government looking again at the requirements of the police and revisiting their assumptions on the police budget going forward?

Mrs May: As the right hon. Gentleman would expect, and as I have made clear over the past couple of days, following the events that took place in Mumbai in 2008 we enhanced and broadened the capabilities of the police to deal with the sort of marauding firearms attack that we saw there. We are looking at the attacks that took place in Paris on Friday to see whether there are any further lessons that need to be learned. It is absolutely right that we review the preparations that we have in place to see whether any changes are needed in relation to the capabilities of the police, or indeed the training of the police. The right hon. Gentleman and some of his colleagues tend to think simply in terms of questions of money and numbers, but very often it is about training and preparation for the sorts of attacks that might take place.

Several hon. Members rose

Mr Speaker: Order. As Members know, it is my usual practice to run exchanges on important ministerial statements very fully, and therefore I simply signal to those who have not been able to catch my eye at this time, on account of constraints of time, that if they are here at 3.30 there will be a very full opportunity to explore these matters at that point.

Frontline Policing

9. Ruth Smeeth (Stoke-on-Trent North) (Lab): What recent discussions her Department has had with police and crime commissioners on the future of frontline policing. [902155]

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The Minister for Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice (Mike Penning): I made a statement to this House last Monday, and since then, as Members can imagine, I have had lots of good working relationships with police and crime commissioners. Frontline policing is a matter for frontline police, chief constables and their PCCs; it is not a matter for Ministers to interfere with.

Ruth Smeeth: I thank the Minister for that answer, but the issue of frontline policing relates to the budget awarded to each police and crime commissioner. Staffordshire has already lost 447 warranted police officers since 2010 and we are looking at losing a further 300 under the current funding settlement. Given the importance of policing to the Prevent agenda—it provides a vital resource for Prevent—can you assure me that you will work with police and crime commissioners to review the budget?

Mike Penning: I am not sure that Mr Speaker is going to be reviewing the budget, but I certainly will be looking very carefully at it. The number of frontline police officers in the hon. Lady’s constituency is up in percentage terms compared with what was there before, and crime is massively down. No one knows what the budget will be, because I have not announced it yet.

20 [902167]. David Rutley (Macclesfield) (Con): Technology is increasingly playing an important role in tackling crime. Given the encouraging results from body-worn video cameras, what steps is my right hon. Friend taking, and what plans does he have, to work with police and crime commissioners to enable more frontline police officers to benefit from this technological advance?

Mike Penning: A lot of new technology is coming into force, along with different crimes—we have a completely different crime pattern these days from what we have inherited over the years. Body-worn video cameras in particular are transforming frontline policing. They are a wonderful asset. If police and crime commissioners and their chief constables are not looking at them now, I fully expect most of them to do so in the very near future.

John Woodcock (Barrow and Furness) (Lab/Co-op): I am confused. If the Minister’s decision to suspend the imposition of unprecedented cuts on Cumbria’s police force because he wants them to be £5 million greater is not interfering with frontline policing, I am not sure what is. Will he at least reassure my worried constituents and those across the county that he will not go ahead with the £31 million of cuts, which he somehow managed to forget to announce when he said the figure would be £26 million?

Mike Penning: I stood at this Dispatch Box last week and announced that we would stick with the existing funding formula for 2016-17. I did not forget anything—I announced it and was questioned very fully. Crime has fallen in Cumbria, which the whole House will welcome.

Kevin Foster (Torbay) (Con): What particular discussions does the Minister plan to have with the police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall about the future funding formula for policing, given that the majority of demand on police time now comes from non-crime activities and the current formula is based purely on crime?

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Mike Penning: The police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall found a mistake we had not noticed in the funding matrix and I fully apologised for that in the House last week. I will work very closely with the PCC for Devon and Cornwall, not only on the new policing formula, but on the nature of crime, which is changing around this country on a daily basis.

Jack Dromey (Birmingham, Erdington) (Lab): I strongly agree with the statement made by the Home Secretary earlier in solidarity with the French people, the victims of barbarism—a barbarism that will never be allowed to triumph.

Neighbourhood policing is the bedrock of policing yet, despite promises to the contrary, 12,000 police have gone from the frontline in the past five years. From Cornwall to Cumbria, police and crime commissioners of all parties are expressing concern. Does the police Minister agree with the Conservative PCC for Thames Valley, where the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister live? He says that the cuts have “gone too far”, run the risk of reversing a generation of progress on crime and will endanger investment such as that for combating child sexual exploitation. Is he right?

Mike Penning: What the police and crime commissioner of Thames Valley should be congratulated on is cutting crime by 31% in the past five years, with a very difficult spending round. As we develop the new funding formula, I am sure there will be lots of conversations across the House about how the process should be taken forward. There will be winners and losers, but at present it is suspended. I congratulate Thames Valley on the work it has been doing.


11. Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak) (Lab): What assessment she has made of the ability of each police force to tackle cybercrime. [902157]

The Minister for Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice (Mike Penning): Cybercrime is a threat that the Government take very seriously. In the last Parliament, the Government committed £860 million to the national cyber-security programme, and we will continue to invest in that programme.

Steve McCabe: It is estimated that cybercrime is costing the UK at least £34 billion annually. If we add computer crime to October’s headline crime figures, we see that they more than double to over 14 million offences. Yet the City of London police, one of the lead forces, argue that less effort should be put into solving crimes against victims whom they judge not to have taken sufficient precautions. Does the Minister share my concern that this amounts to a charter for criminals?

Mike Penning: No, I do not. I think that our personal security is a very important thing. We also have responsibilities as citizens to make sure that our computers in particular have the right software so that it is more difficult—not to stop it completely, but to make it more difficult—for cybercrime to take place. We are taking cybercrime very seriously, which is why we have put it in the crime statistics for the very first time.

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Chloe Smith (Norwich North) (Con): Norwich airport in my constituency suffered a minor cyber-attack on its website last week. First, will the Minister join me in encouraging businesses to check their defences? Secondly, will he redouble his efforts to ensure that we are safe from cyber-terrorism in the light of the callous attacks, about which we are all agreed?

Mike Penning: My hon. Friend makes a very important point. As I said, we have a responsibility personally, but so do companies. We are working very closely with the banks in particular, but all companies have a responsibility to protect the data they hold, particularly individuals’ personal data.

Syrian Refugees

12. Tommy Sheppard (Edinburgh East) (SNP): What timetable she has set for resettlement of Syrian refugees; and whether she plans to increase the number of such refugees that the UK will accept. [902158]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Refugees (Richard Harrington): The Government have committed to resettling 20,000 Syrian refugees in the lifetime of this Parliament. The Prime Minister has said that we want to see 1,000 brought to the UK by Christmas. We have no plans to increase this number. It is now important that we focus on bringing these vulnerable people to the UK.

Tommy Sheppard: In refusing to assist refugees already in Europe, the Secretary of State has given great support to the creation of hotspots to fast-track registration. May I bring to the Government’s attention the recent report from International Rescue? The report says that

“the way hotspots are currently being rolled out is causing chaos, increasing tensions and violence, and leaving more people without basic shelter.”

In the light of that, will the Government stay on the sidelines in respect of helping refugees in Europe?

Richard Harrington: The hon. Gentleman will be fully aware that our taking 20,000 refugees on the grounds of vulnerability is only a part of our efforts for refugees. The Government are spending more than £1.1 billion on helping refugees in the countries adjacent to Syria. I think he will agree that our record is second to none in that respect.

Paul Scully (Sutton and Cheam) (Con): I congratulate the Minister on tackling the problem at the Syrian end of the continent. Does my hon. Friend agree that one of the best ways in which the Government can tackle people smugglers and their awful business model is by breaking the link between getting on a boat or lorry in one part of the world and getting settlement in Europe?

Richard Harrington: My hon. Friend makes a very good point; I could not have put it better myself.

Topical Questions

T1. [902197] Jeff Smith (Manchester, Withington) (Lab): If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities.

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The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): The whole House has expressed its shock at the appalling attacks in Paris on Friday night, and earlier today people from around the world took part in a minute’s silence to remember the victims. As I said earlier, I will give the full details of the Government’s response to the attacks in a further statement this afternoon. While the terrorists tried to instil fear, the people of Paris have shown that they will not be cowed into submission. The same is true here in the UK as we stand shoulder to shoulder with the French.

The business of the Home Office, of keeping people in the UK safe from all threats, continues. Today the British Government are being represented at the WePROTECT summit in Abu Dhabi by the Minister for Internet Safety and Security. WePROTECT was launched by the Prime Minister a year ago as a global alliance to combat online child sexual exploitation—a terrible crime that respects no borders. The event builds on the commitments made a year ago, extending the reach of the WePROTECT initiative, with more countries from Latin America, Africa and Asia joining us to combat that threat. While we build such global alliances to tackle international threats, it is also important to remember the tireless work of the police and security services to keep us safe at home.

I am sure that the whole House will wish to join me in paying tribute to the police constable who was seriously injured responding to a call-out in east London last night. Our thoughts go out to him and his family.

Jeff Smith: May I endorse those comments?

The Home Secretary referred earlier to the double lock process in the Investigatory Powers Bill, but the wording of the Bill appears not to deliver that safeguard. Will judges review the process undertaken by the Home Secretary, in the same way as applies in a judicial review, or the evidence itself?

Mrs May: The hon. Gentleman raises a point that has been made by the shadow Home Secretary. I suggest that he reads the article in The Times a few days ago, written by Lord Pannick.

T2. [902198] Helen Whately (Faversham and Mid Kent) (Con): More than 1,000 unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors have arrived in Kent this year, putting immense pressure on local services. Kent welcomes the Government’s commitment to increased funding, but foster homes are full so we need to find homes for those young people around the country. What steps are the Department taking to create a dispersal system for unaccompanied asylum seekers?

The Minister for Immigration (James Brokenshire): I commend Kent County Council on the work it has done in dealing with the pressures of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. We continue to work with Kent, the Department for Education and the Local Government Association to ensure a more equitable dispersal of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, and we hope to come to the House shortly with further details on such schemes.

T6. [902202] Margaret Ferrier (Rutherglen and Hamilton West) (SNP): Despite the fact that we have the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, the Data Retention

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and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 and the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, the Government are pushing through yet another Investigatory Powers Bill. Will the Home Secretary let us know whether commercial virtual private network providers will be classed as telecommunications operators under the Bill?

Mrs May: I have to say to the hon. Lady that she needs to have a conversation with her Front-Bench spokesman on those matters, because I seem to recall that she welcomed the fact that we were pulling the various powers together in one Bill.

T3. [902199] Peter Heaton-Jones (North Devon) (Con): On behalf of my constituents, may I express our gratitude for the work of the security and intelligence services in protecting us from the sort of evil attacks that we have seen in Paris this weekend? Will the Minister for Security join me in publicly thanking those authorities whose work is usually done out of the public eye but is so important to our everyday lives?

The Minister for Security (Mr John Hayes): My hon. Friend does the House a great service in drawing attention to that work. It is true that much of the work of our security services is, by its nature, secret and therefore they are not often enough given the sort of praise he has given them today. In what they do, they stand between us and chaos, and their work—alongside that of the police—is vital to our communal wellbeing and our personal safety.

T7. [902203] Nic Dakin (Scunthorpe) (Lab): In its inadequate judgment, Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary found that Humberside police are not prepared to face their future financial challenges. Can the Home Secretary guarantee that there will be no more cuts in Humberside police’s funding that would further jeopardise their ability to deliver safety and security for my constituents?

The Minister for Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice (Mike Penning): I cannot stand at the Dispatch Box and make any guarantees, as the funding formula beyond 2016-17 has yet to be debated and the Chancellor has not made his autumn statement. I praise the work of Humberside police. They have developed some really interesting innovations and collaborative work, but obviously more needs to be done nationally as well.

T4. [902200] James Cleverly (Braintree) (Con): A marauding terrorist firearms attack of the type we saw in Paris is a scenario the security services, police forces and others have trained and exercised for over a number of years. Will the Security Minister update the House on what lessons we might be able to learn from the terrible incidents in Paris to further protect the people of Great Britain?

Mr Hayes: There is always more to be learned from such events. The threat we face is dynamic, not static. France is one of our closest allies and we are working closely with it. The UK has a comprehensive approach to preparing for such tragic incidents, as demonstrated by the firearms exercise Strong Tower. As soon as the attacks happened, the police and agencies took steps to maintain the security of the UK. Prepared, fearless and certain: that is how we stand.

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Mr Speaker: How fortunate that the Minister of State has contributed! I should have been greatly saddened, and the House not inconsiderably impoverished, if a Home Office questions had passed without an intervention from the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr Douglas Carswell (Clacton) (UKIP): Is the Home Secretary confident, given the limited budget, that the security services have the resources they need to keep us safe?

Mr Hayes: It is critically important that they have the resources, but they also need the right powers. That is precisely why we are bringing together those powers—they have been mentioned several times during this question session—in a clear, transparent and comprehensive way. This is a balance between giving those who are missioned to keep us safe what they need to do the job, and having the right checks and balances in place to maintain the role of this House in holding Ministers to account for the exercise of those functions.

T5. [902201] Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire) (Con): One of the more irritating crimes is antisocial behaviour. Will the Government send a very positive message to the police community support officers who do so much to deal with this problem?

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Karen Bradley): It is incredibly important that the police tackle antisocial behaviour. It makes a difference to so many of our constituents and is an issue that comes up in our postbags.

Mr George Howarth (Knowsley) (Lab): Does the Home Secretary accept the word of the police and crime commissioner for Merseyside, Jane Kennedy, when she says that proposed budget cuts will affect the ability of the police to deal with serious and organised crime, sexual crimes and hate crimes? Does she not think that the police and crime commissioner is in a better position to know this than she is? If not, why did she create the position in the first place?

Mike Penning: We created police and crime commissioners because they are locally accountable, which is exactly what happened in the May elections. PCCs were opposed by the Labour party. There are excellent police and crime commissioners out there, but at the end of the day the Government have to decide police funding. We have not come to a conclusion yet. The House will have to wait.

T8. [902204] Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con): Following a recent stabbing in Basildon, there is increased concern about the devastating effect of knife crime. Will my right hon. Friend tell the House what more she can do to deter young people from carrying knives? Will she give her support to organisations such as Only Cowards Carry, which works with schools and other local organisations to highlight this issue?

Mrs May: My hon. Friend raises an important issue. Overall, knife crime has fallen since 2010, but I am aware that there have been particular instances, including in my hon. Friend’s constituency, that give rise to concern.

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We are working hard to deter young people from carrying knives and taking such steps as introducing a new minimum custodial sentence for repeat knife possession. I am aware of the group Only Cowards Carry and I absolutely commend its work. It is very important that it brings to the attention of young people the dangers of carrying knives and what can happen when knives are used in attacks. Sometimes being very graphic can get a message across to young people. It is difficult, but it is an important message.

Rob Marris (Wolverhampton South West) (Lab): About a fortnight ago, with the competence for which it is renowned, G4S placed dozens of asylum seekers in two unsuitable hotels in my constituency, with no prior liaison with the council. Will the Minister assure me that in future, not only in Wolverhampton but around the country, there will be liaison by agencies such as G4S before asylum seekers are placed?

James Brokenshire: I will certainly look into the facts the hon. Gentleman has brought to the House’s attention. Sadly, when there are pressures, asylum seekers sometimes have to be placed in temporary accommodation, such as hotels, but we are absolutely clear that it should be for the shortest time possible, and liaison with local authorities is clearly an important part of that.

T10. [902206] Luke Hall (Thornbury and Yate) (Con): Following the pause in developing a new funding formula, will my right hon. Friend assure me that the Department will work with PCCs and chief constables to find a formula that works for my constituents in Avon and Somerset?

Mike Penning: It is important that chief constables and PCCs buy into the new formula, which they asked for when they said the existing formula, which had been around for a very long time, was opaque and complicated. So of course we will work with chief constables and PCCs from around the country. They welcomed that in respect of the initial funding formula, and I am sure they will do the same now.

Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) (Lab): With the massive cuts to police forces, my local police force, Humberside, is now judged to be inadequate by Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary and has the lowest level of officers since 1979. On that basis, my constituents would like to know this: how is it that the Home Office can fund 42 press officers but not police officers on the beat?

Mike Penning: I answered that question, up to the last part, earlier on. Humberside has done really well over the last five years—the level of crime is falling massively—but we will all have to wait for the autumn statement, although I have acknowledged that the existing formula will be used through to 2016-17, which was welcomed in the House last Monday when we paused the process.

Kelly Tolhurst (Rochester and Strood) (Con): According to statistics released over the summer, many areas of Rochester and Strood, in common with many urban

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areas, continue to see incidents of serious crime, which is a major concern to my constituents. Will my right hon. Friend assure them that police forces such as Kent will still be able to field effective front-line services under revised funding formulas?

Mike Penning: Kent has been at the front line of innovation, in particular through the piloting of things such as body-worn cameras. It is doing remarkably well, but we must ensure a fair and transparent funding formula that everyone can understand. That way we can move forward.

Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth) (Lab/Co-op): In his statement the other week, the police Minister kindly agreed to reconsider police funding for Cardiff, given how other capital cities across the UK are funded. Given the tragic events in Paris and the particular challenges faced by cities hosting major sporting and cultural events, will he meet me to discuss how to ensure the resources are there for cities such as Cardiff?

Mike Penning: I remember last Monday very well. I promised I would consider carefully how Cardiff was funded, and we will do so as part of the funding formula as we go beyond the 2016-17 formula.

Tom Pursglove (Corby) (Con): Large sums of money have been spent on PCC by-elections since their introduction in 2012. Have any discussions taken place about changing the law to require deputies to be elected alongside commissioners and remove the need for a by-election, and to divert that money to front-line policing?

Mrs May: Obviously, the legislation on PCCs caters for situations where a PCC is removed from office or resigns close to an election. These individuals are elected to be directly accountable, and it is right that when there is a vacancy, a by-election is held.

Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central) (SNP): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to Yemen and says that anyone in Yemen should leave immediately. Why, then, does the Home Office think it appropriate to deport my constituent there?

James Brokenshire: We keep our country guidance up to date, and it is reviewed in the light of circumstances, but, ultimately, decisions on whether people should be removed to particular countries are determined by the courts.

Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk and Malton) (Con): It is now quite clear that the hundreds of thousands of migrants who have entered Europe over the last few months have not undergone basic security checks. Is now the right time for the EU to reconsider the principles of free movement of people and labour?

James Brokenshire: It is clear that significant lessons need to be applied and examined. We are clear, from our perspective, about the checks we put in place at our borders, and in the light of the weekend’s events, Border Force has strengthened its activities at the channel ports, which is the right thing to do.

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Paris Terrorist Attacks

3.34 pm

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement about the terrorist attacks in Paris, our response and the threat we face from terrorism in the United Kingdom.

The full details of last Friday’s horrific attack in Paris are still emerging, but at least 129 innocent people, including at least one British national, have been killed, with more than 352 injured and 99 of those declared critical. As the names of those brutally murdered become known and we learn more about the appalling events of that night, our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost loved ones, suffered injuries or are affected by these horrific events. These were co-ordinated attacks, designed to inflict the maximum number of casualties on people who were simply enjoying their daily lives—our way of life. Those killed and injured include people from many countries across Europe and other countries around the world.

The international investigation into the attacks is ongoing, but we know that Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has claimed responsibility. This is not the first time ISIL has struck in Europe. We have seen attacks either inspired or directed by the group in France, Belgium and Denmark, as well as attacks in Lebanon, Turkey and Kuwait, and the ongoing devastating violence in Syria and Iraq. And in June, 30 British nationals along with others were killed by a gunman at a tourist resort in Tunisia. It also looks increasingly likely that the Russian Metrojet plane that crashed two weeks ago in Egypt was brought down by a bomb. The scale of this latest attack and the degree of co-ordination and planning leave us with little doubt that the threat is evolving.

In the UK, the threat level, set by the independent Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, remains at “severe”, meaning that an attack is highly likely and could occur without warning. In the past months, a number of serious plots have been disrupted here in the UK. Over 750 people are thought to have travelled to Syria and Iraq, and approximately half of those have returned.

Our law enforcement and security and intelligence agencies are working constantly day and night to keep the people of this country safe and secure, and the Government are taking all necessary steps to make sure they have the powers, the capabilities and resources they need. As soon as the attacks took place, we took steps to maintain the security of the UK. The police have increased their presence on some streets and at some locations, and they will be intensifying their approach at events in big cities. Officers are working closely with London’s communities and businesses to provide advice and reassurance.

Border Force has intensified checks on people, goods and vehicles entering the UK from the near continent and elsewhere. Additionally, in order to help the French authorities secure their own border, Border Force and the police have been undertaking additional and targeted security checks against passengers and vehicles travelling to France via both maritime and rail ports and a number of airports across the country.

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Yesterday I chaired a meeting of Cobra to review the situation and our response. As I said in a statement afterwards, UK police and security services are working extremely closely with their French and Belgian counterparts to identify all those involved and pursue anyone who may have been involved in the preparation of these barbaric attacks. Members will be aware that a number of arrests have been made in Belgium and France in the last 24 hours.

As I informed the House following the events in Paris in January, we have long had detailed plans for dealing with these kind of attacks in the UK. Since the attacks in Mumbai in 2008, we have improved our police firearms response, building the capability of our police and the speed of our military response. The emergency services have also improved their preparedness for dealing specifically with marauding gun attacks. Specialist joint police, ambulance and fire teams are now in place at important locations across England, with equivalents in Scotland and Wales. This summer, the police and the emergency services tested this response as part of a major counter-terrorism exercise. As I have told the House previously, the police can call on appropriate military assistance when required across the country.

Nevertheless, in the light of events in France, it is right that we should review our response to firearms attacks, and we are doing so urgently to ensure that any lessons are learned. The UK has some of the toughest firearms laws in the world. The sort of weaponry used in the attacks in Paris in January, and those that appear to have been used last Friday, are not readily available in the UK. We must therefore focus on tackling firearms entering and moving throughout the EU, and ensuring that we have the right capabilities at the UK border to detect firearms being smuggled in.

This Friday I will attend an extraordinary meeting of the European Justice and Home Affairs Council, where I will press the need for greater information-sharing, passenger name records, and action on firearms. In the United Kingdom we have seen tough legislation work, so we want to see action taken to make a difference to the availability of firearms in Europe, particularly assault rifles.

It is imperative that Europe pulls together to defeat this threat. France is one of our oldest allies, and we work very closely with it on matters of national security and counter-terrorism. Yesterday I spoke to my counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve, the French Minister of the Interior, to offer our deepest condolences to France, and to make it clear that the United Kingdom stands ready to provide any additional support and assistance. I am very grateful to Minister Cazeneuve and to the French for maintaining a police presence at Calais during a very difficult time. I have also spoken to the Belgian Interior Minister, Jan Jambon, to offer our assistance. Today, as the House will know, the Prime Minister is at the G20 in Turkey, where he is discussing the crisis in Syria urgently with other Heads of State. He will make a statement to the House tomorrow.

Since 2010, the Government have undertaken significant work to strengthen our response to the threat that we face from terrorism. In 2014, we passed legislation to ensure that law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies could continue to access the information that they needed. Although that legislation will not expire until the end of 2016, last week we published a draft Investigatory Powers Bill. The Bill will improve the

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oversight and safeguards of the police and agencies’ use of investigatory powers, while also ensuring that they have the tools that they need to keep us safe. Following any terrorist attack, we always consider the legal powers that we have to keep our country secure, but it is important that this landmark legislation undergoes proper parliamentary scrutiny.

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 includes measures to deal specifically with the problem of foreign fighters, and to prevent radicalisation. It includes a power to seize, temporarily, the passports of people suspected of travelling to engage in terrorism overseas, extends our ability to refuse airlines authority to carry people who pose a risk to the UK, and introduces a statutory Prevent duty for a wide range of public bodies. Through our existing Prevent and intervention programmes, we identify people at risk and work to help them to turn their lives around. Our Channel process, in particular, engages vulnerable people in conversations to prevent them from being drawn further into extremism or violent acts.

The police and the security and intelligence agencies do an incredible job to keep the people of this country safe. Their work often goes unseen and unrecognised, but we owe them an enormous debt of gratitude. We have protected the counter-terrorism policing budget since 2010, and earlier this year, in his Budget speech, my right hon Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed that counter-terrorism spending across Government would be protected over the course of the spending review. Today we have announced that we will go further. Through the strategic defence and security review, we will make new funding available to the security and intelligence agencies to provide for an additional 1,900 officers—an increase of 15%—at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, in order to respond better to the threat that we face from international terrorism, cyber-attacks, and other global risks.

We will also boost aviation security. The Prime Minister has ordered a rapid review of security at a number of airports around the world, and aviation specialists will conduct assessments over the next two months at locations in the middle east and north Africa in particular. That follows additional measures that the UK and the United States have introduced at a number of potentially vulnerable airports over the past year. Those steps will be reviewed to establish whether they go far enough. Tomorrow, at the National Security Council, we will discuss the Government‘s policy on aviation security. and we will present a proposal to more than double Government spending on aviation security over the current Parliament.

The events in Paris have shocked and appalled people around the world. In France, people have queued up to donate blood, lit candles, and laid flowers. In Britain, Australia, America, Mexico, Canada, Brazil and many other countries, iconic landmarks and buildings have been lit in the colours of the French tricolour. People of all faiths have condemned the violence, and British Muslims —indeed, Muslims worldwide—have said very clearly that these events are abhorrent. The attacks have nothing to do with Islam, which is followed peacefully by millions of people throughout the world. The terrorists seek to divide us and destroy our way of life, but theirs is an empty, perverted and murderous ideology. They represent

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no one, and they will fail. France grieves, but she does not grieve alone. People of all faiths, all nationalities, and all backgrounds around the world are with her, and together we will defeat them.

Several hon. Members rose

Mr Speaker: Order. Before I call the shadow Home Secretary, the House will wish to know that on behalf of the House of Commons I will be conveying our heartfelt sympathies to my colleague Claude Bartolone, the President of the Assemblée Nationale. Our thoughts today are with our colleagues in Paris.

3.44 pm

Andy Burnham (Leigh) (Lab): Thank you, Mr Speaker. May I strongly welcome the Home Secretary’s statement and many of the steps she has just announced? As we have come to expect, she has acted quickly and with clarity, and she will have our support in taking the action needed to protect the public here and across Europe.

Our thoughts today are primarily with the friends, the families and the loved ones of those killed or injured in Paris. These horrific attacks on innocent people—as the Home Secretary said, many were young people, enjoying a night out—were an attack not just on France but on the way of life we all share, on our freedoms, our multicultural societies and our shared values. Those responsible want to intimidate us; we will not let them succeed. We stand in solidarity with the people of Paris and all the citizens of France.

The Home Secretary was right to praise the British intelligence and security services who work so tirelessly to keep us safe. Much of what they do goes unseen and unreported, but, as we know, they have foiled many attacks here in recent times. They deserve our support and our gratitude.

Two things are apparent from recent events. First, ISIL has now demonstrated that it has the capacity to hit mainland Europe and cause widespread casualties. Secondly, this is evidence of an escalation of intent, as alongside the Paris attacks we have seen the downing of the Russian airliner and the bombings in Beirut, and victims of both of those atrocities should be in our thoughts at this time. This requires the international community to formulate an urgent and effective response.

Let me start with the circumstances of the attack. What this atrocity reveals is how an attack on one member state can be planned and co-ordinated in another, and by individuals who may not be known to the domestic security services of the state where the attack took place. What arrangements are already in place for co-operation between security services across Europe? Can those arrangements be strengthened in the light of what has happened, and is there greater assistance that can be provided across Europe between security services?

Let me turn to border security. The Schengen agreement is of course primarily a matter for the countries who are participants in it, but it does impact on our own border security. While any changes remain a matter for the participants, do the Government have a view on the way Schengen is operating, and are they making representations to those member states? Can the Home Secretary say more about what she thinks the impact of the Schengen agreement is on UK borders?

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Concerns have been raised in recent days about people travelling across Europe in cars in the light of these attacks, and that becomes particularly relevant in respect of the measures at the Channel tunnel. The Home Secretary said security there will be strengthened. Can she assure the House that lorries and cars coming through the Channel tunnel will be subject to the same security checks as passengers travelling through airports and using Eurostar? Is she confident that proper arrangements are in place at all regional airports? We welcome what she said about improving airport security, but are regional airports in a strong enough position to deal with the challenges they face?

Let me turn to refugee policy. It is of course essential to remember that many of the people fleeing are fleeing the horrors of ISIL themselves. It is possible of course that one of the attackers in Paris came through the refugee route, and the idea cannot be dismissed that this might have been an attempt to undermine public confidence in Europe in welcoming genuine refugees to our country. The fact that Europe is prepared to welcome people is a wonderful validation of our values, and we must not be deflected from that, but the policy raises certain issues. First, will the Home Secretary tell us what can be done to strengthen the processing and documentation of refugees as they arrive in Europe, so that an up-to-date database can be maintained? Secondly, would it be helpful if that information were to be shared quickly across the security services of Europe, so that individuals who might pose a risk can be identified?

In regard to the high-profile events that are coming up, particularly the football match between England and France this week, can the right hon. Lady reassure the public that the necessary security measures will be in place to ensure that those events can take place safely? She mentioned the Muslim community, and she was absolutely right to say that ISIL’s evil ideology is not a true reflection of Islam; indeed, it is a perversion of it. However, the Muslim community in this country will be feeling an extra sense of nervousness right now. What more can she say to reassure law-abiding members of the Muslim community that they will have our full support in dealing with this threat?

Finally, let me turn to the powers and the funding of the intelligence and security services and the police. Given the Prime Minister’s comments earlier today, does the Home Secretary anticipate a need for the Investigatory Powers Bill to be expedited? We welcome her announcement of money for counter-terrorism, but I urge her not to view counter-terrorism in isolation from the general policing budget. She will know that the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said last week that cuts above 10% to the police budget would hamper his ability to fight terrorism on the streets of London. Today, Ian Blair has said that the loss of police community support officers from our streets would be a “disaster”.

Responding to questions earlier, the Home Secretary said that it was not about the numbers of police but about the quality of the policing. Of course it is about the quality, but it is also about coverage on the ground. The Government have been talking about a 25% cut to the police budget. Can the right hon. Lady assure the House today that she and the Chancellor will revisit those assumptions about the police budget in the light of what has happened, to ensure that the police have the funding they need to do the job?

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This is the single biggest challenge of our generation. We need to avoid a knee-jerk reaction, but we must not shy away from taking decisive action. We must act with resolve, with strength and with judgment, and we must build consensus, because the stronger we are together, the sooner we will defeat this threat. ISIL’s aim is to divide our communities, to divide us politically and to divide us from our European partners, with whom we share common values. The message must go out today that we will not let ISIL prevail. Let us say clearly that it will not succeed and that we will stand as one in our communities and as a country, united with our European partners.

Mrs May: I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his support for the steps that the Government have taken so far, and for the clear message, which goes out from the whole House, that we condemn the attacks that took place in Paris and that the terrorists will not win. We will defeat them. I also thank him for his support for the security and intelligence agencies. As I said earlier, they are unseen and unrecognised, but they do an important job for us day after day.

The right hon. Gentleman was right to say that although we are currently focusing on the attacks in Paris, a number of terrorist attacks have been conducted in the name of ISIL around the world, and our thoughts are with all the victims. He mentioned the Muslim community in the UK, and we should never forget that the largest number of people killed by terrorists around the world are themselves Muslims. Islam is a peaceful religion that is practised peacefully by millions of people around the world, and many of them have already risen up in communities here in the UK, in France and elsewhere to say that these attacks were not perpetrated in their name. We look forward to working further with people in the Muslim communities around the United Kingdom to help those mainstream voices to be heard.

As the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire Moorlands (Karen Bradley), said in Home Office questions, we have asked the police to identify anti-Muslim hate crime separately so that we can see the nature and extent of it. It has been increasing in recent years, as has the number of anti-Semitic incidents.

There is already a considerable amount of co-operation between intelligence services and police across the European Union. We will be looking at what further can be done. I have offered extra assistance, in the wake of the attacks, to both my French and Belgian counterparts, but I expect that we will consider the question of co-operation and sharing of intelligence at the Justice and Home Affairs Council.

Of course what happens in Schengen is predominantly a matter for those countries that are in Schengen; we are not in Schengen, nor will we be. None the less, we have been working with countries that are in Schengen to strengthen our external borders, and to look at ensuring that the necessary processing and documenting of people coming in as migrants take place at those external borders. That is important, because, as we know, many coming through are not refugees, but illegal economic migrants, and it is doubly important to ensure that people can be returned when they have no right to be in Europe.

We are working on the hotspots at the external borders, and have also provided some capability from the UK to help debrief migrants coming through on those routes

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so that we can get a better understanding of the criminal gangs that are operating and what is happening at the borders.

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned the England-France football match. It is important that the match goes ahead; it is a sign and a symbol of the two countries coming together in a friendly activity. I have spoken to the police and they will ensure that appropriate security measures are in place for that match. Those are operational decisions for the police to take.

On the question of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill, it is right that, at all times, we review the timing of our legislation. That is a significant Bill and it is right that it should be given proper scrutiny in Parliament. On the issue of national security and policing, let me say this: very often people think of national security in terms of just the security and intelligence agencies, but there is also counter-terrorism policing, and policing more generally. Other areas of work include border security, which also comes under the Home Office and which is an important part of our national security. We will look at all of those issues in the round.

Dr Liam Fox (North Somerset) (Con): Events in Paris have exposed the truth about ISIS and its fellow jihadists, which is that they hate us not because of what we do, but because of what we are. They hate our history, our identity and our values. Does my right hon. Friend agree that those who say that we will be left alone if we leave them alone are peddling a dangerous and deadly deception?

Mrs May: My right hon. Friend makes a very important point. It is quite clear from those who attacked in Paris and those who have attacked elsewhere that their poisonous ideology is against the way in which the west conducts its life—the sort of lives that we lead and the sort of structures that we have in the west and elsewhere in other parts of the world. He is absolutely right that it is not the case that if we take no action, they will take no action against us. It is clear that they have evil intent and, sadly, as we saw on Friday, they have put that evil intent into practice.

Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West) (SNP): I welcome the tone of the Home Secretary’s statement and thank her for advance notice of it. I also wish to associate myself and my party with the comments of others about the gratitude that we all feel to those who keep us safe, whether it be the police or the intelligence services. I also wish to add the condolences of Members on these Benches to those of the rest of the House.

I reiterate the comments that Scotland’s First Minister made at the weekend. Our thoughts, prayers and solidarity are with the people of Paris and France after this “unspeakably awful” and deeply shocking event. It is only right that we should review matters in the light of such events, and we should be in a position to give people the assurances that they require about their safety. However, it is important that we do not turn on each other. I welcome what the Home Secretary has already said about the Muslim community, who are a highly valued and integral part of Scottish and United Kingdom society. Will the Home Secretary assure me that she will stand alongside the Scottish Government in preventing these events from destroying or affecting that feeling of unity?

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I also applaud the fact that the Home Secretary seems determined not to make a knee-jerk or ill-considered response to these atrocities and is approaching matters in her usual measured fashion. This morning, we heard the Prime Minister hint at the possibility of speeding up the passage of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill following this atrocity. I hear what the Home Secretary has said about that already, but will she confirm that there will be no curtailment of the necessary time already allocated for pre-legislative scrutiny of the Bill, and will she stand by her previous assurances to this House that adequate parliamentary time will be allocated for its passage?

As regards refugees fleeing the barbaric war in Syria, will the Home Secretary confirm that the Home Office already has in place robust and thorough screening processes and that she will remain resolved to protect and give refuge to these people? Finally and briefly, she mentioned increased security at a number of airports. Will she confirm that all airports with external flights are subject to such measures?

Mrs May: I thank the hon. and learned Lady for joining the condemnation of the attacks that took place last Friday, as she did earlier. She is right to say that we should stand united across the United Kingdom in condemnation of those attacks and that we should be united one community with another. None of us wants to see any sort of backlash against any part of the community in the United Kingdom as a result of the attacks. It is important that we give the reassurance that we are one nation, the United Kingdom, standing together against the terrible barbarity of these terrorists.

On the subject of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill, as I said in my statement, as we consider terrorism legislation, we review at every stage what is necessary as well as the timing. The Bill is significant and it is right that it should be given proper parliamentary scrutiny.

There are processes in place for the screening of refugees, and the process is twofold. The UNHCR, which refers refugees to the Home Office for resettlement here in the UK, undertakes screening that includes taking biometrics, interviews and looking at documentation. A further level of screening is undertaken by the Home Office that involves further biometrics and looking at security checks for the individuals concerned.

Crispin Blunt (Reigate) (Con): This threat and its underlying ideology will have to be combated for many years, but the task will be much more difficult if the ideology continues to have territory under its control from which to project attacks on us and other countries. As the Prime Minister made clear this morning, defeating ISIL in Syria requires a transition out of the Syrian civil war. Does my right hon. Friend welcome the fact that during the talks in Vienna over the past three weeks the international community has seemed finally to be getting its collective act together?

Mrs May: My hon. Friend is right that we need a solution and resolution to the conflict in Syria. The transition to which he referred is important and I am pleased that talks are progressing in Vienna. I am sure that everybody in the House wants those talks to be successful and wants an end to the conflict and barbarity in Syria and being carried out by ISIL elsewhere.

Keith Vaz (Leicester East) (Lab): I welcome the Home Secretary’s statement and the unity of those on the Front Benches. We are the most multicultural country

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in the world and we should be proud of that, which is why engagement with communities is so important. The question of airport security concerns not just our airports. British citizens travel to north Africa and other holiday destinations, so if there is a request from those countries to supply equipment to help them, will we be willing to do that? As for the sharing of information, which country is preventing the use of passenger name recognition and how can we convince them to change their minds? When will we be ready to join the I-Checkit Interpol system?

Mrs May: The right hon. Gentleman is obviously right that security at airports around the world from which British citizens travel is important to us. On a number of occasions, we have done exactly what he has said and either offered equipment or made equipment available to other airports around the world to help them increase their level of security. As I said in my statement, an exercise is being undertaken to look at the security arrangements at a number of airports, particularly in the middle east and north Africa. It is absolutely right that we do that to ensure that we have confidence in the level of security being provided for those travelling through those airports.

Dr Julian Lewis (New Forest East) (Con): No coherent military strategy against Daesh/ISIL in Syria can be formulated unless and until the Government face up to the unpleasant fact that they will have to co-ordinate their efforts with those of Russia. Would a useful first step be co-operation between the Russian security services and ours in this field, despite our reservations and concern about Russia’s behaviour in other parts of Europe?

Mrs May: Of course, talks have been taking place in the G20 with a number of international leaders about Syria, what action needs to be taken about it, and its future governance. Obviously, I look forward to the outcome of those talks. It is important to ensure that every effort is made to bring about a resolution to the conflict in Syria, not only because of the impact that that could have on ISIL, but because of the many millions of Syrians who have been displaced from their homes as a result of the conflict.

Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford) (Lab): I welcome the Home Secretary’s statement of solidarity with the people of Paris in the face of such terrible losses and this barbaric assault on all our values. I welcome the increase in resources and staffing for the intelligence and security agencies, which do so much work to keep us safe. I urge her to apply the same approach to core policing work, particularly around neighbourhood policing. She will know that the work that those teams do on prevention and local intelligence, which helped stop the killer of Mohammed Saleem, is immensely important. That is because this is a battle for hearts and minds, as I am sure she knows.

Mrs May: As the right hon. Lady says, this is indeed a battle for hearts and minds. As she will be aware, we have launched a counter-extremism strategy. We wish to work in partnership with mainstream voices in communities across the country to ensure that we promote the values that we share, and that we challenge the ideology that

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seeks to divide us. It is important that that work is undertaken in a variety of ways. A concern that people in many communities have had about some of the Prevent work is that it has been too much in the security space, and not enough about the integration and cohesion of communities. It is absolutely right that our counter-extremism work is done in partnership with people in communities, so that we work together to promote cohesive communities and mainstream voices.

Sir William Cash (Stone) (Con): Will my right hon. Friend explain why the Government have, for four months, blocked debate on the Floor of the House on the European agenda on immigration and refugee smuggling and relocation—a debate that has been demanded by the European Scrutiny Committee? Will she meet me and other MPs to review the Government’s rejection on 6 January of my amendments to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, which would have prevented UK jihadists from returning to the UK? Could we also discuss the disproportionate legal protections conferred through human rights legislation, including the charter of fundamental rights, which can and do endanger human life, and override the Supreme Court and our Parliament? The European Union, far from enhancing national security, often undermines it.

Mrs May: I understand that it should be possible, in the not-too-distant future, to debate on the Floor of the House the matters that my hon. Friend raised. Of course, in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, we took in hand a number of powers relating to those who would travel to Syria, or are returning from it. That has increased the powers available to the police, and to security and intelligence agencies.

Several hon. Members rose

Mr Speaker: Order. Accommodating all interested colleagues will require great brevity, in which exercise we can, as so often, be led by Gisela Stuart.

Ms Gisela Stuart (Birmingham, Edgbaston) (Lab): Further to the answer given to my right hon. Friend the Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper), the Home Secretary knows better than most people in this place that successful counter-terrorism depends on information gathered through neighbourhood policing. If she cuts that extremely important link, her increase in intelligence officers will not bring about the result that she desires.

Mrs May: Of course, counter-terrorism work depends on the gathering of intelligence. That intelligence is gathered in a variety of ways. As the hon. Lady will be aware, and as we indicated in Home Office oral questions earlier, the percentage of police officers who are now involved in front-line policing has gone up over the past five years.

Will Quince (Colchester) (Con): Will my right hon. Friend join me in paying tribute to Nick Alexander from Colchester, who was tragically killed in the Bataclan? Will she assure this House that she will do all she can to work with the French authorities to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice?

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Mrs May: I join my hon. Friend in sending our condolences to the family and friends of his constituent, Nick Alexander, who was brutally murdered in the attacks that took place in Paris on Friday night—somebody just going about his business, a business that was about providing enjoyment and fun to other people, particularly to young people; yet he was mown down. I can give my hon. Friend an absolute assurance that we are giving every assistance that we can to the French authorities and others in Europe to ensure that we bring to justice those who were any part of the preparation of that attack.

Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) (LD): For 10 years I lived near Paris and spent many evenings in the area that was desecrated on Friday night. To our French friends I state: le Royaume-Uni est en deuil avec la France and les Français et nous allons combattre le terrorisme ensemble. I am sure the Secretary of State will join me in stressing that Europe’s response to the actions of a small group of fanatical murderous terrorists must not be to pull up the drawbridge on the hundreds of thousands of genuine Syrian refugees who are fleeing terror similar to that which was inflicted on Paris on Friday.

Mrs May: The right hon. Gentleman is right. In a number of questions this afternoon, I have responded in relation to the United Kingdom’s plans to bring in a number of Syrian refugees. It is right that we continue doing that. As I have indicated, we have security-check arrangements, but there are many people who have been displaced from their homes as a result of the barbarity that has taken place in Syria and who need protection and assistance, and we stand ready to play our part, as indicated, in providing that.

Sir Gerald Howarth (Aldershot) (Con): I, too, welcome the meeting that took place earlier today between the Prime Minister and President Putin as a constructive contribution towards the resolution of the civil war in Syria which, as my hon. Friend the Member for Reigate (Crispin Blunt), the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said, is at the heart of this crisis. Does my right hon. Friend agree that the events in Paris illustrate to us the need to provide our security and intelligence services with all necessary powers in order to keep us and our people safe from these depraved Islamic fundamentalists?

Mrs May: I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend, and I think the majority of the public agree with him too that our security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies should have the powers necessary to keep us safe and secure.

Mr George Howarth (Knowsley) (Lab): It will not have escaped the Home Secretary’s attention that at least one of the perpetrators of these appalling attacks had previously been on the periphery of an inquiry that the French security services had been carrying out. I welcome the fact that she will be attending the meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on Friday. When she raises the issue of sharing information, will she also talk about sharing information about such cases? If we cannot spot them early enough, we will not spot them before the crime is committed.

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Mrs May: The right hon. Gentleman makes an important point. In looking at these issues, as far as possible we wish to be able to identify people before they get to the point of conducting an attack. That ties in not only with counter-terrorism but with criminality, which is one of the reasons why we are looking for an improvement in the exchange of information about criminality among the countries in the European Union.

Mr Dominic Grieve (Beaconsfield) (Con): As I have many French relatives living in Paris, I associate myself wholly with the Home Secretary’s remarks about this outrageous act. May I raise two points with her? First, she rightly made the point that in avoiding such acts in this country, we are blessed by the fact that automatic weapons and in some cases more sophisticated explosives are harder to obtain in this country. It therefore becomes particularly important that we should have adequate screening at our borders to prevent their importation. We know that we have very good intelligence, but that in itself cannot be a substitute for it. What priority will she be able to give to that point? Secondly, on her comments about Islamophobia, its existence is very widespread at present in this country and this House would be wise not to underestimate its impact on law-abiding Muslims. That is a task for all of us.

Mrs May: My right hon. and learned Friend is absolutely right on the latter point. One reason why it is important to ask the police to record anti-Muslim hate crime separately is so that we can get a much better understanding of its extent. The Tell MAMA statistics suggest that it has been increasing in recent years. It is therefore important that we all play our part in addressing the problem and recognising the impact it has on Muslim communities.

My right hon. and learned Friend asked about firearms. I have been pressing for some time for greater action within the European Union on the movement of firearms. I expect that it will be further discussed this week. The National Crime Agency has undertaken a number of operations, together with the Border Force, to consider how it is possible for firearms to enter the United Kingdom across the borders and what further action can be taken to prevent that.

Gavin Robinson (Belfast East) (DUP): I was alarmed to hear that last week French security services were informed that a man had been detained in Bavaria with automatic weapons in his car and Paris inputted in his sat-nav system. I welcome the Home Secretary’s commitment to provide additional resources for our security services. Will she confirm that it is new money and that 1,900 new officers will be appointed? Will she also confirm that if such relevant information had been given to our security services about a planned attack on the United Kingdom, the outcome might have been different?

Mrs May: I am not able to comment on the case the hon. Gentleman outlines because I do not know all the facts. There have been reports in the media, but it would not be appropriate for me to comment. I confirm that these will be extra posts and that it will be additional money.

Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con): As chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on France and on behalf of all those in this place who love France, may I

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express our solidarity with our French colleagues in their national Parliament? Just as in the two world wars, we stand shoulder to shoulder with them. May I speak directly to them and say, “A nos collègues à l’Assemblée nationale, maintenant et pour toujours, vous avez nos prières et notre solidarité. Vive la République. Vive la France.”?

Mrs May: I can only respond to my hon. Friend by saying, “Nous sommes solidaires avec vous. Nous sommes tous ensembles.”

Anne McLaughlin (Glasgow North East) (SNP): May I add my voice to those who have condemned the barbaric attacks on France, the Lebanon and those who were flying from Egypt to Russia? One of my many concerns is that, as has been said, there has been and will be a rise in Islamophobia. I welcome the Home Secretary’s acknowledgement that Muslims across the world are standing up and saying, “Not in my name.” In the light of that, I encourage everyone in this House to stop using the name of Islam when talking about these terrorists. It appears in the names that the terrorists have given themselves: ISIS, ISIL and Islamic State. I encourage everyone to use the term Daesh. It is a derogatory term, but they deserve it. That might break the link in people’s minds between Islam and terrorism.

Mrs May: I have considerable sympathy with the point the hon. Lady makes. I often use the term Daesh. As it happens, I have not done so this afternoon. She is absolutely right that this group is not Islamic and is not a state. We should not give the impression that either of those is the case.

Mr Owen Paterson (North Shropshire) (Con): I thank the Secretary of State for her statement, which will be widely welcomed in France for her offer of support and co-operation, and for her insistence that normal life should go on, with particular reference to the football international. She will know that there are numerous attempts to attack the British public. We should be deeply grateful to the security services here.

Will she reflect on the proposals in the draft Investigatory Powers Bill to involve the judiciary in the executive decision of issuing warrants? That decision should be in the hands of Secretaries of State, who bear a heavy responsibility and are responsible to this House. The judiciary should, by all means, be involved after the event, perhaps days or a week later, but will she consider the idea that it must be a responsible, democratically elected Secretary of State who makes such difficult decisions, and that speed is vital?

Mrs May: My right hon. Friend is right that there are cases in which speed is absolutely essential, which is why the draft Bill provides for emergency or urgent situations when timeliness is required. In those circumstances it will be possible for the Secretary of State to sign a warrant that will come into effect immediately before the judicial authority has considered it. He asks me to look again at the double lock that we have put in place. I agree that it is important to have public accountability for a decision taken by the Secretary of State, but I also know that people are concerned to ensure that there is a second element of judicial authority. Indeed, some people want there to be only judicial authority, but I do not think that would be right. I think that the way we are going, with the accountability of the Secretary of State and the independence of the judiciary, is right.

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Hywel Williams (Arfon) (PC): Plaid Cymru condemns these murderous and depraved attacks, and we send our condolences to the bereaved and the injured. I thank the Home Secretary for her statement and for early sight of it. Organising such attacks and outrages takes considerable planning and resources. Can she assure the House that the Government are doing all they can to help in international efforts to stop the supply of arms matériel and expertise to the terrorists at source?

Mrs May: We are looking across the board at every measure and every step that can be taken in relation to these matters. This attack was different from those that have previously been carried out in the name of ISIL, because it clearly required considerable preparation and planning. The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right that it is important to try to stem the availability of weaponry at source, which is one reason why we have been looking, and will continue to look, at the whole question of the movement of firearms across Europe, particularly heavier weaponry such as assault rifles.

Nusrat Ghani (Wealden) (Con): I would like to add my condolences, and those of my constituents, to those already expressed following Friday’s horrific attacks in Paris. The Prime Minister suggested this morning that the Government would be looking at the timetable for the draft Investigatory Powers Bill. Events in Paris and Brussels have highlighted the importance of making sure that our intelligence and security services have all the resources they need, within a legal framework, to monitor those who show signs of radicalisation and to prevent cowardly acts of terrorism from happening here at home. Therefore, can my right hon. Friend offer any further information on the Prime Minister’s comments this morning? I also support her comment that Daesh are neither Islamic, nor a state; they are nothing more than a death cult.

Mrs May: I commend my hon. Friend for those comments. With regard to the timing, as I have indicated, we will obviously always look to ensure that we have in place the legislation that enables our security and intelligence agencies to have the powers they need. The draft Investigatory Powers Bill is a significant measure that we expect to stand the test of time. We do not want future Governments to have to change investigatory powers legislation constantly, so it is important that we get it right. It is therefore important that the Bill receives proper scrutiny and that it has support across the House, given the nature of it.

Mr Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley) (Lab): These mad young people of Daesh who carried out the attacks in Paris must obviously have been brain washed somewhere along the line by someone—a mad mullah or whoever. First, what is the Home Secretary doing to try to stop them getting to young people, because they do not always come from Syria? Secondly, who finances Daesh? If they are getting oil, who are they selling it to?

Mrs May: The hon. Gentleman makes an important point about counter-radicalisation. That is why we have in place the Prevent programme and, within it, the Channel programme; Channel deals specifically with individuals and works to move them away from a path of radicalisation, while Prevent works more generally within communities. The Counter-Terrorism and Security

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Act 2015 introduced the Prevent duty for the public sector, so greater training is now being given to help people identify potential radicalisation and to be able to take action against it. Beyond that, of course, we have launched our counter-extremism strategy, because it is important that we challenge the extremist ideology that lies behind radicalisation, and that is what our strategy aims to do.

Mr Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con): Does my right hon. Friend accept that many of the successes against drugs and arms smugglers have resulted from the work of the Border Force maritime aerial surveillance capability and its team based at Hurn airport in my constituency? Will she therefore reverse the decision to terminate that contract with effect from 6 January 2016, at a saving of £4 million, and in so doing heed the warning of Baroness Neville-Jones that we will otherwise be left with a significant gap in our maritime surveillance capability?

Mrs May: What is important is that we have the capabilities that we need, and I can reassure my hon. Friend that we will be ensuring that we do indeed have the capabilities that we need.

Mr Douglas Carswell (Clacton) (UKIP): I ask this in a genuine spirit of inquiry, and it is a sensitive area, but would the Home Secretary ever consider withdrawing citizenship from some who sought to promote and act on the basis of an ideology that was so repulsive that it threatened their fellow citizens?

Mrs May: Of course I do have it in my power to remove citizenship from individuals, and I have acted in that way on a number of occasions. While this is subject to some limitations in relation to ensuring that people are not made stateless, we did enhance our ability to remove citizenship in the Immigration Act 2014.

Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con): Does the Home Secretary agree that Daesh targets in Syria should be bombed by the RAF, and is it now time for the House to be consulted again on this matter?

Mrs May: The Prime Minister has made it absolutely clear that he will come back to the House on this matter only when there is a consensus. Obviously everybody in this House will be considering their position on this particular matter.

Fiona Mactaggart (Slough) (Lab): In her welcome statement, the Home Secretary stressed the importance of our counter-extremism strategy in building a sense of shared values that counter what she called the “perverted and murderous” values of these terrorists. Will she meet her colleagues in the Department for Education, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Department for Communities and Local Government to discuss what more those Departments can do to build that shared sense of values?

Mrs May: The extremism taskforce chaired by the Prime Minister includes the very Departments that the hon. Lady mentions, and others, as well as the Home Office. If she looks at the counter-extremism strategy, she will see that it includes references to action that can

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be taken by the Department for Education. Indeed, it has already moved in relation to this work on promoting the values that we share as part of living in this pluralistic society.

Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con): My right hon. Friend has mentioned the 129 murdered and the hundreds still in hospital, but in addition there are people like a friend of mine, who on Friday night was in a bistro just yards from the café that was attacked. He and two English friends—he is English too—escaped and ran down the road, only to find themselves getting very close to another area, the Bataclan, which was under attack. He has now returned home, and I can tell my right hon. Friend and the House that he is totally traumatised. Will she work across Government to ensure that people like him and others who have returned to the UK who have been hurt in this way will receive assistance from the Department of Health and other organisations?

Mrs May: Yes, I can give my hon. Friend that reassurance. Indeed, the Foreign Office has ensured that such support is available for those who have returned who were caught up in this—not just those who were physically injured but those who have been traumatised as a result of the experience. I suggest that my hon. Friend contact the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), who is on the Treasury Bench, who will be able to enlighten him on what is available.

Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) (SNP): This afternoon I have received the sad news, courtesy of the Press and Journal, a newspaper in Scotland, that a young man from Fort William, Hamish MacDonald, known as Callum MacDonald, is in an induced coma in Paris having been caught up in the events in the Bataclan. What support can we give to the family in this situation—not just the young man involved but his extended family—and what solidarity can we show to those in France who have been caught up in this as well?

Mrs May: I am sorry to hear of the sad case of the hon. Gentleman’s constituent. Our thoughts are with him and his family and friends. Obviously, we hope that he will make a recovery.

Consular support is available to families who wish to support members of their family who are in hospital in France. On a wider point, we have also been looking at what assistance the Department of Health and its experience can give to France, particularly with regard to those who have been traumatised by the event. Work is ongoing on those sorts of exchanges. As I have said, consular assistance is also available from the British embassy in Paris, and the Foreign Office has sent a team to Paris to help with that work.

Dr Andrew Murrison (South West Wiltshire) (Con): Following the 2003 Casablanca bombings, Morocco set up the Mohammed VI Institute in Rabat to train foreign overseas imams and preachers, including women preachers, in the moderate Sunni-Sufi tradition that characterises that country. Last month, an agreement was reached with France in that respect. What can we learn from that experience? Would it be of benefit to the UK? Will the Home Secretary commend Morocco for its initiative?

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Mrs May: My hon. Friend raises an important example and I absolutely commend Morocco for the initiative it took. The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East, who has responsibility for north Africa and the middle east, visited that facility recently and we are encouraging other countries in the middle east to take a similar approach to that taken by Morocco.

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central) (Lab): May I join the Home Secretary in thanking our security services, police and armed forces for the important work they do in keeping us safe? The Home Secretary rightly spoke about taking all necessary steps to prevent attacks on the UK. I would be grateful if she said something about what work is taking place to audit our existing security capabilities, to ensure that we have what we need in the right place and at the right level of preparedness and that it is properly resourced. Will she also confirm that she is examining our resilience not just in London, but in towns and cities across the UK?

Mrs May: I can certainly assure the hon. Gentleman that we look at resilience not just in London but across the United Kingdom. As I indicated earlier, we had enhanced our capability to deal with these sorts of marauding gun attacks in particular—not just the police capability, but the ability of the emergency services to work together to save lives in high-risk situations—but that is being reviewed as a result of the Paris attacks, to see whether there are any lessons we need to learn from them. We are, of course, looking at other aspects of our security arrangements, to ensure that they are appropriate for the threat we now face.

Mrs Maria Miller (Basingstoke) (Con): We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of France, and our thoughts at this time have to be with the families and friends of all the victims. When it comes to the security of our borders, we are all only as strong as our weakest link. The French reintroduced border controls at the weekend. To what extent can the Home Secretary and, indeed, the Government initiate a discussion to look at reintroducing border controls throughout the rest of the European Union?

Mrs May: The internal borders within the Schengen area are a matter for those countries that are members of Schengen, but we have, of course, been discussing with other EU countries the whole question of the external borders of Europe and how we can enhance security at them. We will continue those discussions.

Barry Gardiner (Brent North) (Lab): I welcome the Home Secretary’s statement. She is aware that my constituency of Brent North has the highest number of refugees and asylum seekers from the middle east in the country. In the light of the clear advice of both current and former Metropolitan Police Commissioners on the importance of neighbourhood safety teams and local policing, will she meet the current commissioner and look at the needs of constituencies such as mine, to ensure that those local neighbourhood safety teams are kept in place and enhanced in order to ensure that the strategy is followed?

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Mrs May: I assure the hon. Gentleman that I regularly meet the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to discuss a number of issues relating, obviously, to the policing of London, but also to any wider responsibilities he has.

Henry Smith (Crawley) (Con): I very much welcome my right hon. Friend’s statement, particularly with regard to the doubling of resources for airport security during this Parliament. She will know that, over the weekend, Gatwick airport had to be closed after someone with a firearm—likely to be a French national—was foiled. Will she join me in paying tribute to Sussex police and all who work in security at Gatwick airport for their vigilance?

Mrs May: I am aware that an incident took place at Gatwick airport, which was dealt with very professionally by the police. I certainly commend the work of the Sussex police at Gatwick airport, but also for their wider work to keep people within the county safe.

Mr Khalid Mahmood (Birmingham, Perry Barr) (Lab): I wish to add my condolences, and to affirm that these people are not of my faith and should not be regarded as such.

I pay tribute to our police and security services for the continued excellent work that they do to keep us safe. I acknowledge the new funding that has been announced and the Home Secretary’s comments on Islamophobia, but will she look at the Border Force staffing that is needed? It is not only the key airports that need to be looked at; all of our ports and airports need to be looked at, and the more resources we have to deal with them, the better.

Mrs May: May I first welcome the statement that the hon. Gentleman made? It is important that he has made that statement in this House, and that message should go out across the whole country.

We do look at staffing across not just airports, but sea ports and—obviously, in relation to St Pancras—railway stations as well. We are constantly looking at the appropriate staffing and at the measures in place to maintain security, which we of course review on an ongoing basis.

Zac Goldsmith (Richmond Park) (Con): I strongly welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement of increased funding for our intelligence services, which do a magnificent job, and also of the protection of our counter-terror funding. In the light of the appalling events in Paris and the heightened risk in London, may I echo the calls for sufficient funding to ensure comprehensive neighbourhood policing in London, which is a crucial tool in tackling home-grown terror?

Mrs May: Obviously, the funding that will be made available to individual police forces and the policing budget in general will be made known after the spending review and the allocation, which will be made a few weeks later. I assure my hon. Friend that in looking at all these matters, we of course look at the capabilities required by our police. In looking at counter-terrorism work, we look across the board at the capabilities that are required to ensure that we can maintain our national security.

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Mike Gapes (Ilford South) (Lab/Co-op): May I inform the Home Secretary that, over the weekend, there were great celebrations in Iraqi Kurdistan at the recapture of Mount Sinjar by the peshmerga in co-operation with the PYD—the Democratic Union party—in Syria and with the assistance of UK forces in the air, as well as other partners and allies? That has broken the connection between Mosul and Raqqa. Will the Home Secretary speak to her colleagues in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and other Departments to assess whether it is time that we in this country did more both to assist the Kurdish peshmerga and to see how we can destroy the Daesh caliphate cult in its headquarters in Raqqa?

Mrs May: The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right that we of course need to defeat Daesh. We are doing that in a whole variety of ways, but dealing with it where it is primarily based is of course part of that. He is right to refer to the recapture of the important landmark of Sinjar, which was an important battle and an important success. I am sure that he has noticed that there is a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister on the Front Bench, who will have heard his remarks.

Mr Ranil Jayawardena (North East Hampshire) (Con): Does my right hon. Friend agree that those who seek to defend our liberties—enjoyed by Christians or Muslims, those of faith or of none—by depriving the security services of the powers we need are actually putting those liberties at risk and should consider their position?

Mrs May: My hon. Friend makes a very important point. Sometimes people talk about security and liberty as if it was a zero-sum game. Actually, you can enjoy your liberty only if you have security.

Emily Thornberry (Islington South and Finsbury) (Lab): I spent this morning with one of my constituents who spent Friday night just yards from the Bataclan. Despite the trauma he had been through, he wanted to speak to me about his concerns about the Syrian community, especially in the light of the passport that was found. His view was that those who run away from Islamic State in Syria do so because—like us—they do not share its values. It is important that we continue to make it clear that Europe—and Britain—welcome refugees.

Mrs May: Indeed and, as the hon. Lady knows, we are committed to welcoming 1,000 Syrian refugees before Christmas and 20,000 over the course of this Parliament. She is right: those fleeing Syria are fleeing from the barbarism of ISIL and, in many cases, from attacks on the Syrian people by their own Government. That is why it is so important that we ensure that we find a political resolution to what is happening in Syria, so that those many hundreds of thousands—millions—who have had to flee can go back to their homes where they want to be.

Helen Whately (Faversham and Mid Kent) (Con): My right hon. Friend referred to the French Government’s maintenance of police in Calais at this difficult time, and I support her expression of gratitude to them. As she knows, some 5,000 people living outside Calais are desperate to get to the UK—and they are living in desperate conditions. The Government rightly invested in better security this summer, which has been effective,

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but still some people get through the border every night. What further steps will she take to make sure that the border at Calais is secure and also that conditions in the camp are not inhumane, but reflect our values, especially of compassion?

Mrs May: As regards conditions in the camp, I believe that some EU funding has been made available to the French Government for facilities in the camps and the UK Government have committed funding to the French Government to work with them, especially to identify victims of trafficking who may be in the camps.

On the security front, we have stepped up the screening that is taking place in Calais and other ports, of freight, cars and passengers. As my hon. Friend rightly says, we have increased the security fencing there, and the French Government have increased the police presence at Calais and Coquelles.

Patrick Grady (Glasgow North) (SNP): The Home Secretary will be aware that on Saturday Glasgow, like many other cities, was the scene of a spontaneous vigil for peace and tolerance in solidarity with Paris. The city is also preparing to welcome refugees under the Government’s resettlement scheme. Does she agree that the promotion of peace and tolerance is the best way to counteract terrorism, and living up to our pledge to welcome refugees is one of the best ways to demonstrate that tolerance?

Mrs May: It is right that we should all do all we can to encourage peace and tolerance, and especially to ensure tolerance within communities in the United Kingdom, as several hon. Members have mentioned. Our welcoming of refugees, giving protection and a home to those who have been displaced by the conflict in Syria, is a good example.

Robert Neill (Bromley and Chislehurst) (Con): I am grateful to the Home Secretary for mentioning the consular work done in Paris. Will she explicitly pay tribute to the work of Sir Peter Ricketts and his team who have been working around the clock since the events? As someone who was on parliamentary business in Paris only last Monday, I invite her to take the opportunity to recognise that now is not the time to weaken the work done by our consular services across the globe.

Mrs May: My hon. Friend is right. I first met Sir Peter Ricketts when he was the national security adviser, so he is well aware of the issues of national security and counter-terrorism work. He has done an outstanding job as our ambassador in France. I worked closely with him in the summer on the issue in Calais, and he and his staff have worked tirelessly over the weekend to ensure that consular support was available to those British families who were caught up in the terrible attacks, and that every assistance was given to the French authorities in the work that they were doing.