24 Feb 2016 : Column 7WS

Written Statements

Wednesday 24 February 2016


UK’s Counter-terrorist Asset Freezing Regime

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Harriett Baldwin): Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (TAFA 2010), the Treasury is required to report to Parliament, quarterly, on its operation of the UK’s asset freezing regime mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 1373.

This is the 17th report under the Act and it covers the period from 1 October 2015 to 31 December 20151. This report also covers the UK implementation of the UN Al-Qaida asset freezing regime and the operation of the EU asset freezing regime in the UK under EU regulation (EC) 2580/2001 which implements UNSCR 1373 against external terrorist threats to the EU. Under the UN Al-Qaida asset freezing regime, the UN has responsibility for designations and the Treasury has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under the Al-Qaida (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2011. Under EU regulation 2580/2001, the EU has responsibility for designations and the Treasury has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under part 1 of TAFA 2010.

Annexes A and B to this statement provide a breakdown, by name, of all those designated by the UK and the EU in pursuance of UN Security Council resolution 1373. The two individuals subject to designations, which have been notified on a restricted and confidential basis, under sections 3 and 10 of TAFA 2010 are denoted by A and B.

The following table sets out the key asset-freezing activity in the UK during the quarter ending 31 December 2015:

 TAFA 2010EU Reg (EC) 2580/2001Al-Qaida regime UNSCR1989

Assets frozen (as at 30/12/2015)




Number of accounts frozen in UK (at 31/12/2015)




New accounts frozen (during Q4 2015)




Accounts unfrozen (during Q4 2015)




Total number of designations (including restricted designations at 31/12/2015)




(i) New designations (during Q4 2015, including confidential designations)




(ii) Number of designations that were confidential (during Q4 2015)




24 Feb 2016 : Column 8WS

(iii) Delistings (during Q4 2015)




(iv) Individuals in custody in UK (at 31/12/2015)




(v) Individuals in UK, not in custody (at 31/12/2015)




(vi) Individuals overseas (at 31/12/2015)




(vii) Groups




Individuals by nationality

(i) UK Nationals4

(ii) Non UK Nationals





Renewal of designation (during Q4 2015)




General Licences

(i) Issued in Q4

(ii) Amended

(iii) Revoked

(i) 0

(ii) 0

(iii) 0

Specific Licences


(i) Issued in Q4

(ii) Amended

(iii) Expired

(iv) Revoked/Redundant

(v) Refused
















Legal Proceedings

Moazzem BEGG, who was previously designated under TAFA 2010, lodged an appeal on 3 November 2014, challenging the Treasury’s decision to revoke rather than quash his designation. These proceedings were ongoing during the reporting period.

One individual, C, designated under TAFA 2010 lodged an appeal against their designation on 21 May 2015. These proceedings were ongoing during the reporting period. They lodged their witness statement on 11 September 2015. Additional evidence was filed on 9 November and the special advocate filed a series of questions for HMT in December. HMT responded to these points of disclosure on 15 January.

There were no criminal proceedings in respect of breaches of asset freezes made under TAFA 2010, during the reporting period.

Annex A—Designated persons under TAFA 2010 by name5



2. Imad Khalil AL-ALAMI

3. Abdelkarim Hussein AL-NASSER

4. Ibrahim Salih AL-YACOUB

5. Manssor ARBABSIAR

6. Usama HAMDAN

7. Nur Idiris HASSAN NUR

8. Nabeel HUSSAIN

9. Hasan IZZ-AL-DIN

10. Mohammed KHALED

11. Parviz KHAN

12. Musa Abu MARZOUK

24 Feb 2016 : Column 9WS

13. Khalid MISHAAL

14. Khalid Shaikh MOHAMMED

15. Abdul Reza SHAHLAI

16. Ali Gholam SHAKURI


18. A (restricted designation)


1. Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)

2. Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN)

3. Fuerzas armadas revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC)

4. Hizballah Military Wing, including external security organisation

5. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—General Command (PFLP-GC)

6. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—(PFLP)

7. Sendero Luminoso (SL)

Annex B: Persons designated by the EU under Council Regulation (EC)2580/20016



2. Abdelkarim Hussein AL-NASSER*

3. Ibrahim Salih AL YACOUB*

4. Manssor ARBABSIAR*

5. Mohammed BOUYERI

6. Hasan IZZ-AL-DIN*

7. Khalid Shaikh MOHAMMED*

8. Abdul Reza SHAHLAI*

9. Ali Gholam SHAKURI*

10. Qasem SOLEIMANI*

Groups and Entities

1. Abu Nidal Organisation (ANO)

2. Al-Aqsa E.V.

3. Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade

4. Babbar Khalsa

5. Communist Party of the Philippines, including New People’s Army (NPA), Philippines

6. Devrimci Halk Kurtulu Partisi-Cephesi—DHKP/C (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army/Front/Party)

7. Ejército de Liberación Nacional (National Liberation Army)*

8. Fuerzas armadas revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC)*

9. Gama’a al-lslamiyya (a.k.a. Al-Gama’a al-lslamiyya) (Islamic Group—IG)

10. Hamas, including Hamas-Izz al-Din al-Qassem

11. Hizballah Military Wing, including external security organisation

12. Hizbul Mujahideen (HM)

13. Hofstadgroep

14. International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF)

15. Islami Büyük Dogu Akincilar Cephesi (IBDA-C) (Great Islamic Eastern Warriors Front)

16. Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF)

17. Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) (a.k.a. KONGRA-GEL)

18. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

19. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)

20. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—General Command (PFLP-GC)*

21. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—(PFLP)*

22. Sendero Luminoso (SL) (Shining Path)*

23. Teyrbazen Azadiya Kurdistan (TAK)

24 Feb 2016 : Column 10WS

1 These figures are correct as at 30 September 2015.

2 This does not duplicate funds frozen under TAFA.

3 This figure reflects the most up-to-date account balances available and includes approximately $64,000 of funds frozen in the UK. This has been converted using exchange rates as of 31/12/2015. Additionally the figures reflect an updating of balances of accounts for certain individuals during the quarter, depleted through licensed activity.

4 Based on information held by the Treasury, some of these individuals hold dual nationality.

5 For full listing details please refer to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/current-list-of-designated-persons-terrorism-and-terrorist-financing

6 For full listing details please refer to www.gov.uk

* EU listing rests on UK designation under TAFA 2010


Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture and Fisheries Council

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (George Eustice): I represented the UK at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 15 February in Brussels.

The chair of the Council, the Netherlands Minister for Agriculture, presented the work programme for the duration of the Dutch presidency. It focused on the key areas of food security, the future of the common agriculture policy, plant breeders’ rights and patent rights, antimicrobial resistance, market situations, and sustainable fisheries.

Commissioner Vella introduced the first agenda item on the Commission’s proposal to amend rules for the control and management of EU fishing vessels operating outside of EU waters. All member states, including the UK, supported the general aims of the proposals. However, we and a number of others had concerns about increased administrative burdens and coherence of EU rules with relevant regional fisheries management organisations. Concerns were also raised about the overlap of member state and Commission responsibility for issuing authorisations, on the grounds of subsidiarity. The presidency noted it hopes to agree a Council general approach in May or June 2016.

The second agenda item was on establishing an animal welfare platform—a paper which was put forward by Germany, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. The Council broadly supported this, which would allow experts to further exchange best practice and harmonise data and animal welfare across all member states. France stressed the need to include animal welfare standards in future international trade negotiations.

Before lunch, a brief overview was given by the presidency on the antimicrobial resistance conference which took place in Amsterdam on 9 and 10 February. The UK, Denmark and Slovenia supported making this issue a priority.

After lunch, Commissioner Hogan updated the Council on EU trade and ongoing negotiations. He highlighted that EU exports were 6% higher than the previous year and that he was continuing to support sectors by increasing

24 Feb 2016 : Column 11WS

export promotions funding, diversifying and increasing EU trade partners and capitalising on opportunities in emerging economies. The Commissioner set out his ambitions to diversify and increase EU trade with a number of countries including China, Japan and the USA and he updated the Council on his recent visits to Colombia and Mexico. He also highlighted the recent success at the World Trade Organisation conference in Nairobi.

I supported the Commissioner in calling for ambitious trade and pushed further consideration of animal welfare in free trade agreements. This was echoed by a number of other member states.

Lastly, Commissioner Hogan summarised the conference on agricultural research held in Brussels on 26-28 January 2016. Many member states intervened welcoming the development and direction of the strategy.

The following were AOB items on the agenda:

Poland tabled a non-paper detailing their concerns on the extension of the restricted area for african swine fever, and called for additional support to the Ukraine to manage the spread of the disease. This was supported by nine other member states.

Poland and Spain led the discussion on agricultural markets highlighting the challenges in the pigmeat, dairy, fruit and vegetable sectors. This led in to a closed ministerial lunch discussion.


Home Department

Justice and Home Affairs Pre-Council Statement

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): A meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council will be held on 25 February, which I will attend on behalf of the UK.

The Council will begin with a discussion of the proposed draft regulation regarding the reinforcement of checks against relevant databases at external borders, including a policy debate and agreement to a general approach. Where systematic checks against databases would cause a disproportionate delay at the border, there is an option in the proposal to instead make checks on a targeted basis at land and sea borders only. Some member states would like air borders to be included in this option. While the UK does not participate in the border control elements of Schengen, we have a strong interest in improving the security of the EU’s external border, and I will stress the need for the measure to cover systematic checks at airports and push for Schengen and non-Schengen states to be able to exchange immigration information.

This will be followed by a debate on the proposed draft regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. Given the UK’s position in relation to Schengen, we will not participate in this measure, but I will again stress the need to improve the management of the external border.

Finally, there will be a substantive discussion on migration, where EU member states will evaluate the current situation as regards the implementation of measures taken by the EU to address the migration crisis. The discussion

24 Feb 2016 : Column 12WS

will also consider what future action the EU should take. This discussion is likely to be informed by the Commission communication on the state of play on the implementation of the European agenda on migration—published 10 February. I will intervene to reinforce key messages on securing the external EU border, effective implementation of “hotspots” in Greece and Italy, and minimising pull factors: if the EU is to avoid a repeat of last year, we must take decisive action now.


Electoral Commission Committee

Electoral Registers

Mr Gary Streeter (Representing the Speakers Committee on the Electoral Commission): The Electoral Commission has today published a report on its analysis of the December 2015 electoral registers in Great Britain and its assessment of the individual electoral registration (IER) activities carried out by electoral registration officers (EROs) during the annual canvass.

EROs were required by law to publish their revised register by 1 December 2015 except in cases where there was a by-election in their area during the period of the canvass (1 July to 1 December 2015), in which case the publication of the register could have been postponed until up to 1 February 2016.

The size of the parliamentary electorate in Great Britain on 1 December 2015 was 43,478,635. This represents a decrease of approximately 1% since December 2014/March 2015, and of 3% since February/March 2014, when the last revised registers compiled under the old system were published.

It is important to note that the 1 December publication date represents a snapshot of the registers at that time, and that 1.3 million applications to register have been made since this date following significant registration activity across the UK in advance of the elections in May 2016. The Electoral Commission will also run a national public awareness campaign, supported by a range of partners.

In June 2015, the Commission reported that 1.9 million entries on the May 2015 electoral registers had been retained from the previous household registers. Following a significant amount of work by EROs and their staff since then, including a comprehensive household canvass, the number removed from the registers at the end of the transition period was reduced to approximately 770,000, though the Commission notes that this does not include data from the London borough of Hackney as they were unable to provide an accurate figure. This represented 1.7% of the electorate overall, although this varies considerably by local authority. The Commission’s report analyses this in more detail.

It is not possible to estimate the total number of eligible electors, still resident at the same address, who were removed from the registers. However, it is likely that some of the entries that were removed related to electors who were eligible to remain registered to vote. Although there was no legal requirement for EROs to write to those removed from the revised register, the Commission’s guidance to EROs has previously

24 Feb 2016 : Column 13WS

recommended that EROs do so, given the important elections taking place across Great Britain in May 2016. The Commission notes that a small number of EROs may have left unconfirmed electors on their registers when published on 1 December and that these are being looked into further by the Commission and the Cabinet Office.

The Commission reports that there remains an issue with the number of registered attainers in particular. There were 276,185 attainers on the December 2015 parliamentary registers, which represents a fall of 40% in the number of registered attainers since February/March 2014. This decline would indicate that the requirement for attainers to register individually under IER, rather than be registered by a parent or guardian, is having a negative impact on the number registered.

The Commission sets out a number of options for reversing this decline in the report.

The Commission’s view is that considerable challenges remain that will continue to have a significant impact on the accuracy and completeness of electoral registers in the future. The report published today outlines the most significant of these and highlights the opportunities the Commission thinks can be taken to ensure they are appropriately addressed in the future. These include measures to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of EROs’ activities and to modernise the registration process in support of the vision recently set out by the Government.

The Commission notes that it has encountered several issues in obtaining accurate register data and key headline statistics from Cabinet Office and electoral management software (EMS) suppliers.

The Commission specifically identified errors in the headline electorate figures for 1 December 2015 that were reported to Cabinet Office by customers of two of the software suppliers. As a result, when quoting national electorate figures, the Commission has used the electorate statistics collected by the national statistical agencies as part of their official electoral statistics collection.

For the other data presented in this report the Commission has used the data supplied to Cabinet Office and confirmed the figures with the relevant EROs.

24 Feb 2016 : Column 14WS

The Commission is confident that the national-level aggregated data provide an accurate picture of the overall state of the December 2015 registers in Great Britain.

However, given the late receipt of much of the data requested, the remaining problems with some data and concerns raised by some EROs, there are significant limitations on the analysis of specific data and at a local authority level in general.

The transition to IER is now complete, but being able to collect accurate and useful registration data from EROs will be an ongoing requirement for the Commission, and it is also important for each individual ERO to be able to call on this data to assess their own activities. The Commission intends to continue working closely with Cabinet Office and the EMS suppliers in the future in order to help improve the data produced by their systems.

Overall, the transition to IER in Great Britain has been managed well by EROs. Assessments against performance standard 2, which requires that EROs deliver their strategies and use available data to monitor progress and make amendments to their plans where necessary to ensure they remain appropriate, have been impacted by the late receipt of data and, therefore, the process has not yet concluded. However, the Commission has reached an assessment that one ERO, for the London borough of Hackney, did not meet performance standard 2. The final set of performance assessments will be made available in the summer.

At the same time, the Commission will release its final report on the transition to IER when it publishes a full accuracy and completeness of the December 2015 registers. The findings from the study will be assessed against comparable data on the last revised registers compiled under household registration in February/March 2014, when the Commission estimated the Great Britain registers to be 87% accurate and 85% complete.

Copies of the Commission’s report have been placed in the Library and it is also available on the Commission’s website: www.electoralcommission.org.uk.