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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I shall say straight away what considerable pleasure the noble Lord's last sentence has given me, if no other Member of this House. I hope that I can be as telegraphic as he has been in dealing with some of the points raised. The noble Lord accurately understood the Government's points and expounded on them with great clarity and precision. I can but say that I agree with him. Those points are right, but the qualifications that he made afterwards were, I regret, fundamentally flawed.
I shall take up one of them. The noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, said that glorification was supposed to be a stand-alone matter in the manifesto. Noble Lords will know that we have said that glorification is a species of indirect encouragement and is therefore illustrative. Therefore, the manifesto holds true. We have had that debate on a number of occasions therefore perhaps I need say no more.
I reassure the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, that we hope that we have made clear that glorification is an example of indirect encouragement and is included in the Bill to guide the courts, as has been the case in previous legislation. Therefore, I agree with my noble friend Lady Ramsay of Cartvale that the need to include it for illustrative purposes is clear and that the ordinary man in the streetwe old-fashioned lawyers used to say, "the man on the Clapham omnibus"would understand it with the greatest of ease.
I say to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chelmsford that there are of course always difficulties. He was right to talk about the difficulties of language, but, on this occasion, that difficulty is not so great that the courts of our country could not deal with it. Quite often, whether it can be inferred that direct or indirect
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encouragement has taken place will be a question of fact. It will be a question of fact also whether, on the basis of the facts disclosed to the court at the time, acts of terrorism were thereby glorified. That, therefore, makes precision and rigidity of definition difficult, because it would fail to address the mischief that this is intended to cure. I know that that is not the intent of the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, and am therefore happy to assist him and the House in identifying why the flaws of that drafting would not meet the mischief that we have collectively identified as needing to be addressed.
I reassure the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, who asked about the guidance to be given to the police, that we take this matter seriously and are clear that the police must not use these powers lightly and disproportionately. We have every confidence that they will exercise due discretion in the operation of all new powers the Bill confers upon them; a Home Office circular will be issued to coincide with its commencement.
I say to the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, that one of the absolute joys of this House is the breadth and oddity of alliances that, from time to time, take place as people go through the Lobbies. There are many Pauline conversions as a Bill goes through, and I am satisfied that the noble Lord's conversion will be such that he can rest easy on his Bench, and not take the exercise that would otherwise be forthcoming.
We have thoroughly explored this issue. I hear what the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, says, but I also listen carefully to what my noble friend Lady Blood says about the possible impact of these sorts of statements, and the reassurance they can give to communities that we are on their side and not that of the terrorists. We are clearly saying that these things are wrong and should not be tolerated. That has some little importance, too. We would be remiss to forget that there are circumstances where some feel that clear encouragement has been given for people to commit acts of terror. It is incumbent on all of us to do what little we can to ensure that we do not compound that.
I therefore hope that the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, having taken the temperature of this debate and this House, will be satisfied that he has more than discharged his dutya heavy burden that often rests on his shouldersand will not trouble the House to express itself with the clarity it has often had to in the past. We can now let this Bill go safely on its way.
Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, before the Minister sits downI am sorry to interruptsome
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Members have lessened their opposition because there is going to be a comprehensive Bill in a year's time. In the light of our discussion, will there be consultation with all the political partiesand, in this House, the Cross Benchesbefore a new Bill is published? I hope she thinks that that would be sensible.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, I hope that I am paraphrasing my right honourable friend the Home Secretary correctly, but he has already indicated that he is open to further discussions on this matter. Noble Lords will know that we do business in this House by trying to talk to each other, sometimes quite trenchantly, before matters come back. I am sure the normal practice will prevail.
The new Bill, which my right honourable friend has mentioned and I have confirmed will be forthcoming to this House, gives us an opportunity to look again at a number of issues, not least the definition of "terrorism". The Government have already indicated our belief that the current definition is sound, but are more than happy to await the outcome of the deliberations of the noble Lord, Lord Carlile of Berriew, to see whether he gives further advice for us to look at. We will have that opportunity.
If, by the time we have had experience of the Bill, there are difficulties in relation to glorification, as I have indicatedand it was confirmed by my right honourable friend in the other placewe shall have the opportunity to look at that again, too. I know that that is one of the matters that have given noble Lords opposite the confidence to say that they can take their ease at the moment. I absolutely understand that if and when the matter comes back, we shall doubtless have another enjoyable, vigorous, lengthy debate.
Lord Goodhart: My Lords, we have had a debate that, although somewhat shorter than on previous occasions, was still undoubtedly full. I took the opposite view from the noble Baroness's in that I welcomed everything in the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, except the final sentence.
Let me make it clear at the start that we are not trying to kick this Bill into touch and force the Government to rely on the Parliament Act. All we are doing today is asking the House of Commons to consider the new amendments tabled in my name. I have to say that I remain concerned about the inclusion of the word "glorification" in the Bill, and the noble Baroness has not done anything to reduce my fears on the matter. She said that the references to glorification were merely an illustration, but went on to say that they were needed as guidanceno doubt, guidance to the courts. That carries the implication that the addition of the word "glorification" will mean that people who would not have been convicted merely on the basis of indirect encouragement of terrorism will be convicted under this Bill. That leaves me at least as worried as I was in the beginning.
The concern is not to any great extent that people who should not be convicted will be convicted. My concern is that there will be an inhibition of legitimate expression and debate. That concerns us very
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seriously. In view of what the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, said, and the expressions from the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, and the right reverend Prelate, I cannot say that we are expecting to win a vote this time. Indeed, I did not expect to win a vote on the previous occasion. I am even less confident this time.
Nevertheless, I believe that we need to put on record our opposition to the inclusion of the word "glorification", which we believe will cause significant trouble over the next few years. I therefore wish to test the opinion of the House on this matter.
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