|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Lord Elton: The noble Baroness has given a full and satisfactory answer to Amendment No. 136, which I shall not move when we get to it. However, I am left a little concerned about the mistaken belief existing in the mind of the operativethat is the man or woman in the field; as I understand it that is what the Minister saidbecause the man or woman in the field will know where the thing is that they are doing the thing to, because they will be there doing it, will they not?
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I have made clear that the whole point of this provision and the way it works is to allow those who are following an operation, if they have a warrant which was supposed to be exercised outside the jurisdiction and they discover that the person, contrary to reasonable belief, is no longer outside the jurisdiction, but comes back to within the jurisdiction, they will be able to continue that operation. What the amendments would do is to strip that flexibility out.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: It depends on whether the person who has the warrant knows the location of the property. In the case of trafficking, for example, the person may not immediately know the location or the details of that location. That is why the flexibility is necessary. Would it be helpful if I wrote in clear terms to the noble Lord in relation to this issue, so that I will perhaps be able to satisfy him more easily on paper?
The noble Lord said: When I spoke to Amendment No. 96, which was grouped with this amendment, I said that I would come back to it if I was not satisfied
20 Dec 2005 : Column 1651
with what the Minister told me in the interim. What the noble Baroness told me in respect of this amendment was,
"Your amendment 96 (and the similar ones grouped with it) queried why the definitions of terrorism in the Bill refer to the Terrorism Act 2000 as a whole rather than specifically to Section 1 of that Act where the definition is contained",
"This Bill provides that the term terrorism has the same meaning in the Bill as is provided for throughout the Terrorism Act 2000, not just in the definition of Section 1. That Section solely provides the interpretation of terrorism that allows the other provisions in that Act to be understood and the term terrorism in that Act needs to be understood in the separate contexts provided for. We are simply extending that."
If the noble Baroness could tell me succinctly how I could discover the meaning of terrorism at different points in this Bill, as related to different points in the Act, and why it cannot have a single definition, as would have been better I would have thought, first time around anyway, I would be most grateful. I would not want her to take too long about it, and nor would anybody else, I fear.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The noble Lord will have to put up with this noble Lord on this one. As ever, I applaud the desire of the noble Lord, Lord Elton, for clarity and comprehension, for which he has a long track record. I was recently reminded of a very long track record. The noble Lord taught a friend of mine, who said to me recently, "the good thing that you can understand about Lord Elton is that clarity is his middle name". That was a nice compliment for him to make.
We do not think that there is any ambiguity in the parts of the Bill that the noble Lord's amendments seek to alter. They all relate to the definition of terrorism and in each case relate back to the Terrorism Act 2000. All the references concerned are clear on this point and there are helpful pointers to explain which sections of the Act the reader should look at. There should not be any confusion.
I am afraid that making these changes would result in a provision that would not be as apt as the provision in the Bill. The term "terrorism" is defined for the purposes of the whole of the Terrorism Act 2000 not just Section 1 of that Act, as would be the implication of these amendments. Section 1 may contain the definition of terrorism, as the words in brackets helpfully explain, but that definition applies to the whole of the 2000 Act, as it will to the whole of Part 1 of this Act. This is a subtle distinction but an important one.
I should draw to your Lordships' attention the fact that several of the terms used in the definition of terrorism in Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000 are themselves defined later in that Act, in Section 121. For example, the terms "action", "firearm", "explosive" and "property", all of which feature in Section 1 of the 2000 Act, are all defined in Section 121 of that Act. Section 121 is not the only place in
20 Dec 2005 : Column 1652
which relevant definitions appear. The definition of "proscribed organisation", for example, is to be found in Section 3(1) of the 2000 Act.
For those reasons, I think the current drafting is correct. It is technically accurate in that it refers to the definition used in the 2000 Act, not the definition used in a particular section of it, and it provides a helpful pointer towards Section 1 of the 2000 Act as the place where readers may find the body of the definition. As I have indicated, I am sure that these amendments are very well intentioned but I hope that in the light of what I have said the noble Lord will appreciate why it would be appropriate to withdraw them.
I shall read the Minister's explanation with care. My desire is simply to make it easier, not just for common people such as myself, but for lawyers, to get at the meaning. If a whole hour had to be set aside to decide what "terrorism" means in this part of the Bill it would be a great pity. However, that is by way of a lament. I thank the noble Lord for his answer and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Lord said: Clause 33 amends Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000, to which both Clauses 16(9) and 32(4)(a) and (b) direct the reader. Again, it is simply politeness and conciliation to the reader of the Bill to signal that at this point and to make it easier to understand the statute. I beg to move.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: I am grateful to the noble Lord for his continued consistency. These amendments are unnecessary. They provide that the references in the Bill to the definition of terrorism contained in the Terrorism Act 2000 should make explicit and refer to the fact that the Bill makes a minor modification to that definition.
However, that is automatic. Under the Interpretation Act 1978, references to an enactment are to the enactment as amended. It is for that reason that the additional words are otiose. Other references in Bills to other enactments do not identify the earlier amendments made to them.
Lord Elton: I have heard what the noble Lord intends. I am merely suggesting a form of drafting that was common long after 1978 when the Interpretation Act was passed. I have made an offer; it has been rejected. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|