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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, it is only right that I should declare to the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, that for many years I was brought up to admire her, and I still do.

Baroness Williams of Crosby: My Lords, but not, I hope, to glorify me.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, that is absolutely true, because others have done it before me. The amendments in this group fall into two categories. One category of view, expressed and expanded with
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such great depth and elegance by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd, is that the Government's amendments are useless, pointless, confusing and make no difference. I adopt the short form, adopted by the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart; I think those words were his way of describing it. A number of noble Lords who have spoken join him in that view. My noble and learned friend Lord Morris of Aberavon, although he said so rather more elegantly, thinks that those words are correct. Others, particularly the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, who said so with his normal telegraphic style, agree with the substance but not the form. He agrees with the purport behind the drafting and the need to look at this issue, but does not believe that we have drafted the glorification provision in a felicitous way.

I was happy that, just by chance, the noble Lord, Lord Carlile of Berriew, was in his place when the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd, made his remarks in support of this amendment. I think it is very important that we remember the clear advice he gave, accurately read out and to be found in paragraph 23 of his report, where he stated very clearly his view that the proposal the Government are minded to advance is correct because of the real and present danger of radically minded young people being persuaded towards terrorism by apparently authoritative tracts, wrapped in a religious or quasi-religious context.

It is very important that we bear that sound advice in mind when looking at this provision and whether its utility is actually made out. I absolutely understand the concerns of both my noble friend Lady Kennedy and the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, when they say, together with the right reverend Prelate, that others look to how we present these issues in the UK and may seek to emulate what we do here. That position has prevailed for a number of years. I can reassure my noble friend Lady Kennedy and the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, that we are conscious of our responsibility to play our part as members of the international community.

Therefore, we bring forward these provisions with a proper understanding that the constraints imposed by the Human Rights Act and other legislation should bite on this. We bear those in mind, but we come back to the idea of proportionality, of balancing—something that we have been struggling with throughout this Bill. We, of course, come down on different sides. Her Majesty's loyal Opposition say that it is right in principle to address this issue, but wrong in the form taken; others say no.

It is very important that when we consider this issue we look at what the Bill in fact provides, as opposed to what some may think it provides, and look at it in context. If one looks at, for instance, the promotion of 4 July and American independence, it is true to say that the king who was then on the throne has now sadly departed and things have moved on. We have to look at context. Amendments that seek to remove the various references to glorification in Clauses 1, 2 and 3 and the consequential provisions in Clause 20 are of the same effect as the ones tabled in Committee. The Government's position remains the same and is clear.
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The Government do not believe that it is acceptable that people should be allowed to make statements glorifying terrorism and in so doing make it more likely that their audience will themselves commit acts of terrorism. The reasons why we do not think it is right are the same as those set out in the report of the noble Lord, Lord Carlile of Berriew, as our reviewer.

I also think it is right for me to be clear about what the Government are proposing in Clause 1. It will be a criminal offence to glorify terrorist acts in such a way that others could reasonably take it as a direction for them to emulate those acts. Simply showing understanding for why a person commits a terrorist act will not be sufficient to constitute a criminal offence. Simply condoning terrorism will not be sufficient to constitute a criminal offence. Even simply glorifying terrorism will not be sufficient to constitute a criminal offence. It is only when a statement is made that glorifies a terrorist act, to the clear extent that others will reasonably infer that the act is being glorified in order for those persons to emulate that act in existing circumstances, that it will constitute a criminal offence. One has to emphasise the "existing circumstances".

There are a number of elements here. First, the act in question has to be a terrorist act or a convention offence. We do not think that some of the suggestions made at an earlier stage in the debate—Robin Hood, for example—would be a present circumstance that would constitute a terrorist act. Secondly, a statement would need to be made to members of the public. We are not talking about thought crime or private conversations in this regard. Thirdly, the act has to have been glorified. There has been some discussion about what the word means, but it means simply what the Oxford English Dictionary says it means. To glorify is to describe or represent as admirable, especially unjustifiably or undeservedly. We believe that this is clear enough.

Fourthly, the act would need to be glorified in such a way that members of the public could reasonably be expected to infer that the glorified conduct should be emulated by them. This is crucial. The audience to the statement must be able to infer reasonably that they are being asked to emulate a terrorist act. Therefore, we are not talking about the celebrations for Bastille Day or 4 July, as it would not be reasonable for the audience to infer that the participants in, for example, Bastille Day celebrations, were urging them to commit terrorist acts. The likely effect on the audience has to come into play.

Fifthly, the public would need to be encouraged to commit that act in existing circumstances. Therefore, the glorification of the American Revolution, for example, is hardly going to be reasonably inferred as encouragement to others to terrorist acts against the British Empire or King George III who, as we all know, is now sadly deceased. The political disagreement in that instance is not, we think, a live issue. Finally, we need to be clear that this offence can be committed only either where someone intends to
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encourage others to commit a terrorist act, or where they are reckless as to whether or not such a statement is likely to be so understood.

Those provisions are, I respectfully suggest, relatively easy to understand and apply. I therefore hope that noble Lords will reflect that this does what the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, wants; he says that he agrees in principle. I thank him for that and for the clarity with which he represents his party in this regard, but I say to him that the draftsman has expressed what we need in a way that complies not only with that intent, but with the commitment the Government gave to the people of this country in relation to it.

The amendments rightly point out that there are references to glorification elsewhere. I hope that I have dealt with that. Clause 2(6) makes it clear that in answering questions about how a statement is likely to be understood and what the public can reasonably infer, the court must have regard to the contents of the statement or the publication as a whole and the circumstances of its publication. The test is not quantitative but qualitative: it is whether the surrounding material and context of the statement indicate that the whole statement does not have the effect that a mere extract which may be objectionable would have. That provision is replicated in Clause 1(4).

We believe that, for the reasons I have given, the concerns that were expressed by noble Lords are met by the way in which the provisions have been drafted. Although the noble Lord, Lord Peyton, would like the whole of this subsection removed, in order to protect appropriately the citizens of our country, I regret that even his own party is likely to disappoint him in that regard. I invite noble Lords to say that they are content with the explanation that I have given and are reassured sufficiently to enable us to allow this part of the Bill to remain unamended.

Lord Lloyd of Berwick: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for her reply, which was as careful as always. I am also grateful to those who have spoken in support of the amendment. I want to make it quite clear that my objection is not just to the drafting of subsection (3). My objection is this: we are creating, by subsection (3), a brand new criminal offence which should not be on the statute book. For that reason, I wish to test the opinion of the House.

5.42 pm

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 8) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 270; Not-Contents, 144.

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