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Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, I begin by pointing to the irony of the situation. We have just passed an amendment that will allow someone, because he is an academic, to export the blueprint instructions on how to make cluster bombs, electric shock batons, or indeed, military equipment to Zimbabwe and many other countries with an appalling human rights record. That is within our control to stop.

We are now moving on seamlessly to try stop something that has real practical difficulties in foreign countries.

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, what is the Bill on anti-terrorism about if it is not about inciting terrorism by the very acts that the Minister has described?

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, this has nothing to do with acts of terrorism. I was talking about blueprints on cluster bombs and other activities. That is exactly what the Export Control Bill will control. If that is not clear to everyone, I do not know why we are spending such a long time debating the Bill. We have just made a large hole in the Bill by saying that if someone is an academic, he can export blueprint instructions on how to make cluster bombs, electric shock batons—they have nothing to do with acts of terrorism—and any military equipment.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, the Minister is not explaining the position. That is not what the amendment does. The noble Lord is also shaking his head. My amendment may not be perfect, but we took

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legal advice, too, and it certainly was not intended to do any of the things suggested. It was intended to protect academic freedom.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, if I am wrong I stand corrected, but that is the clear advice that we were given.

Lord Razzall: My Lords, I thought that I was proposing an amendment regarding arms brokering. We have now heard the Minister addressing his remarks to the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, on a subject that has nothing whatever to do with my amendment. I did not add my name to the previous amendment, so the Minister might do me the courtesy of responding to my amendment rather than entering into badinage with the noble Baroness.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, I was merely pointing out that there is a curious context in which the amendment is being debated. I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Razzall, voted for the previous amendment, but I merely point out that it suggests curious behaviour. There was a vote for one amendment to allow what I described and now we are proceeding to try to tighten up the Bill.

I shall now turn to the noble Lord's amendment.

Lord Razzall: My Lords, the Minister's behaviour is equally curious. That commitment was in the Labour party's manifesto, so why is it not being honoured now? If that is how debates are conducted in this House, it is not the place I thought it was.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, I am happy to discuss the noble Lord's amendment and deal with that issue. I wanted to put the debate in context so that people would be clear where we stood. Inevitably in such debates, attention is focused on those aspects of the proposed legislation that your Lordships want to change. That is, of course, right, but I remind the House of the great step forward that the Bill represents with regard to the control of the arms trade, as it is relevant to the debate on the amendments.

The Bill will enable the Government to introduce national controls on trafficking and brokering for the first time. The powers in Clause 4 are extensive and will allow us to introduce controls extraterritorially. We shall be using those powers to introduce controls that apply extraterritorially on trafficking and brokering of torture equipment, long-range missiles and arms to embargoed destinations. If the controls on embargoed destinations were in place today they would apply to trafficking and brokering in arms to 16 countries as well as to Al'Qaeda and Taliban terrorists. Controls on torture equipment, long-range missiles and trafficking to embargoed destinations reflect the proposals set out in our 1998 White Paper. In a significant addition, in response to the White Paper consultations, we decided to go still further and introduce controls on the trafficking and brokering from the UK of all weapons and other military equipment to any destination.

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The amendment proposed by the noble Lords, Lord Razzall and Lord Redesdale, would, as we have heard, provide that any trade controls introduced by the UK Government must apply extraterritorially. Before I discuss the substantive issue of the scope of the extraterritorial controls to be introduced under the Bill, I point out that the Bill gives the Government the power to apply any trade controls extraterritorially. In that sense, it meets all our commitments as a political party.

At the same time, because we put in clear regulations the Bill focuses on the areas in which we believe we can take practical action. The terrorist action is covered by the anti-terrorism legislation, which has another set of criteria here. Perhaps I can also say to my noble friend Lord Brennan that, while the United States has legislation on extraterritoriality, it is not true to say that they find it easy to control the situation; in fact they find it extremely difficult and it leads to many problems.

The general approach of the Bill is to give the Government the powers we need for a comprehensive export control regime that is flexible enough to allow us to respond to changing circumstances, such as new international commitments, while of course setting limits, as the Bill does in Clause 5 and the schedule. We believe that is right in principle. For that reason alone we cannot support amendments that would prescribe the scope of detailed controls.

I turn to the question of the scope of the new controls that we announced we would introduce under the Bill. One of our principal arguments against extraterritorial jurisdiction for the proposed controls on all military equipment to any destination is that that would risk criminalising the involvement of UK nationals settled overseas in the legitimate export of defence equipment from their countries of residence. The amendments would mean that any controls introduced on trade in all military equipment to any destination would apply extraterritorially.

It has been suggested that it would be entirely reasonable to expect a UK citizen abroad to be aware of the seriousness of the offence of deliberately attempting to evade controls on arms brokering, carrying as it would a sentence of up to 10 years' imprisonment. But trade in military equipment carried out in accordance with the laws of the exporting country may well be perfectly legitimate. Typically, over 97 per cent of licences for exports of items on the UK's military list are granted because the export would be consistent with our announced consolidated criteria.

Similarly, the majority of trade in military equipment is likely to constitute legitimate trade. Whereas it is reasonable to expect a UK citizen abroad to suspect that he may be contravening the laws of his country if he supplies arms to an embargoed destination or supplies torture equipment or long-range missiles, it is not necessarily reasonable to expect a UK citizen abroad to know that an export of military

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equipment from his country of residence to a non-embargoed destination, carried out according to the laws of the exporting country, required a licence from the UK Government.

We believe that the right way to deal with the concerns raised is to encourage international co-operation. The Government will continue—this answers the point of my noble friend Lord Brennan—to press for international embargoes to be imposed on countries in regions of conflict. That is the best way to stop the supply of arms to those regions.

We supported the recently adopted European Union statement of principles on controlling arms brokering and we take every opportunity to encourage the growing international consensus on the need for controls in that area. For example, both the UN Firearms Protocol adopted in May last year and the conclusions of the UN conference on "Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all its Aspects" in July recognised the need to enhance international co-operation in preventing, combating and eradicating illicit brokering.

Therefore I do not accept the principle that the action we are taking in any way undermines our foreign policy. It fits into that policy because it is a practical set of actions on which we can deliver in the future. The real difficulties are the practical ones over and above those of costs. So for the reasons I set out it would be wrong to take the prescriptive approach of these amendments.

Lord Judd: My Lords, before my noble friend sits down, perhaps I can put this to him. He put to the noble Lord, Lord Razzall, that there was a paradox between taking the position which the Liberal Democrats took on academic freedom, and then taking the stance that they are taking on brokering. Perhaps I can in all friendship say to my noble friend that there is a paradox between taking the line which he and I took together on academic freedom and the need to infringe academic freedom—a significant thing to do in Britain—and then refusing to do anything about these reprehensible characters who carry on their trade overseas and evade control.

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, I do not believe there is a paradox. There is a comparison to be made. The great difference is that one is easily within our control in the UK. We can control it and the situation is very clear. But these amendments involve trying to control something in far distant places where we could criminalise perfectly innocent people going about their jobs. I do not find that a paradox, though a parallel can be drawn between the two situations. I trust the noble Lord, Lord Razzall, will withdraw his amendment.

7.15 p.m.

Lord Razzall: My Lords, I listened carefully to the Minister's response, particularly the last part. I share the concerns of the noble Lord, Lord Judd, that the Minister did not answer the fundamental question of how the sorts of activities that were described by all

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sides of the House as being of significant concern will be dealt with by the Bill. He appears to suggest that the only way to do it is by international co-operation. I will make a prediction: if that is the way Her Majesty's Government propose to do it, we shall be here in 30 years still debating the issue. It will always be easy to find rogue states that are not imposing embargoes on arms distribution under which unscrupulous UK citizens who wish to broker arms can do so without penalty. So international co-operation, I fear, will not be the answer.

I am also unpersuaded by the Minster's argument that it would be unfair for the UK citizen. The image of the poor UK citizen who is sitting somewhere in the world in one of the other countries and is not aware that Her Majesty's Government have controls over this activity does not persuade me, particularly when we look at the other offences we expect UK citizens to be aware of. However, I shall read the Minister's response in Hansard carefully and come back to this matter at Third Reading, after discussion with colleagues. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 14 not moved.]

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