That the quorum of the committee shall be two;
That the committee have power to appoint specialist advisers;
That the committee have power to adjourn from place to place;
That the committee have leave to report from time to time;
That the reports of the committee shall be printed, regardless of any adjournment of the House;
That the evidence taken by the committee in the last Session of Parliament be referred to the committee;
That the evidence taken by the committee shall, if the committee so wish, be published.
Moved, That a Select Committee be appointed to consider information and communications services, including the Library and the Parliamentary Archives, within financial limits approved by the House Committee;
That, as proposed by the Committee of Selection, the following Members be appointed to the committee:
L Brooke of Alverthorpe
B CoussinsE ErrollB Gibson of Market RasenB GreenfieldL Jones of CheltenhamL KalmsL MethuenB Miller of HendonB ProsserL PuttnamL Renton of Mount Harry (Chairman
)L Taylor of Warwick;
That the committee have leave to report from time to time.
Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments
Moved, In accordance with Standing Order 74 and the resolution of the House of 16 December 1997, that, as proposed by the Committee of Selection, the following Members be appointed to join with a committee of the Commons as the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments:
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L Campbell of Alloway
L DykesL Gould of BrookwoodB Jones of WhitchurchL KimballC MarL Walpole.(The Chairman of Committees
On Question, Motions agreed to.
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): My Lords, with the leave of the House, I will now repeat a Statement made in another place by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister.
Mr Speaker, in advance of the National Security Strategy, which will be published in the next few weeks, and following the statement by the head of MI5 about the potential threat from UK-based terrorists, I want to update the House, as I promised in July, on the measures we are taking at home, following the incidents on 29 June and 30 June, both to root out terrorism and to strengthen the resilience of communities to resist extremist influence, measures that to succeed will require not just military and security resources but more policing and intelligence and an enhanced effort to win hearts and minds. Let me first of all thank the police, the security services and the Armed Forces for their vigilance, their service and their courage in facing up to the terrorist threat. The terrorist attacks in June revolved around an attempted bomb attack on a London venue where hundreds congregated and a vehicle bomb attack on Glasgow airport. The conclusions today of the review by the noble Lord, Lord West, on the protection of strategic infrastructure, stations, ports and airports and of other crowded places identifies a need to step up physical protection against possible vehicle bomb attacks. This will include, where judged necessary, improved security at railway stationsfocusing first on those of our 250 busiest stations most at riskairport terminals, ports and over 100 sensitive installations. The report proposes the installation of robust physical barriers as protection against vehicle bomb attacks, the nomination of vehicle exclusion zones to keep all but authorised vehicles at a safe distance and making buildings blast-resistant. While no major failures in our protective security have been identified, companies that are responsible for crowded places will now be given detailed and updated advice on how they can improve their resilience against attack, both by better physical protection and greater vigilance in identifying suspicious behaviour. New guidance will be sent to thousands of theatres, restaurants, cinemas, hotels, sporting venues and commercial centres, and all hospitals, schools and places of
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worship. This will include advice on training staff on how to be more vigilant.Up to 160 counterterrorism advisers will train civilian staff to identify suspect activity and to ensure that premises have secure emergency exits, CCTV footage used to best effect and regular searches and evacuation drills. From now on, local authorities will be required, as part of their performance framework, to assess the measures that they have taken to protect against terrorism.We will now work with architects and designers to encourage them to design-in protective security measures into new buildings, including safe areas, traffic control measures and the use of blast resistant materials. For this advice, I am grateful for the recommendations of the honourable Member for Newark, whom I thank for his work. Following further work we will report back soon on what more we need to do to strengthen security to protect against the use of hazardous substances for terrorist purposes. Just as we are constantly vigilant to the ways in which we can tighten our security, so too we must ensure that the travelling public are able to go about their business in the normal way. In the most sensitive locations, for example, some large rail stations, while doing everything to avoid inconvenience to passengers, we are planning additional screening of baggage and passenger searches.But in the last few months at key airports there has already been additional investment in new screening capacity. We have been able to review the one-bag-per-passenger rule. The Transport Secretary is announcing today that as soon as we are confident that airports are able to handle the additional baggage safely, these restrictions on hand baggage will be progressively lifted. Starting with several airports in the new year, we will work with airport operators to ensure that all UK airports are in a position to allow passengers to fly with more than one item of hand luggage.The security budget, which is £2.5 billion this year, will rise to £3.5 billion in 2011. Because of the terrorist threat, the size of the security service, which was under 2,000 in 2001 and is 3,300 now, will rise beyond 4,000twice the size of 2001.I can report also that we have now constituted dedicated regional counterterrorism units with, in total, more than 2,000 police and support staff. These are responsible for overseeing investigations into those who recruit terrorists and promote hate. From the Home Office budget, from now until 2011, an additional £240 million pounds will finance counterterrorism policing. It will be focused as much on preventing the next generation of terrorists as pursuing current targets. This will include additional funding for further training of over 3,500 neighbourhood police teams to deal with radicalisation in their local communities.The scale of our international effort is such that around £400 million over the next three years will be invested through the Foreign Office, the Department for International Development and
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the British Council to tackle radicalism and to promote understanding overseas. The Government will report back on action overseas with other countries to counter extremism when we launch the full national security strategy.I can confirm that £70 million is being invested in community projects dedicated to countering violent extremism. So in total we are investing nearly three times as much in security now compared with six years ago.In line with the measured way we responded to the terrorist incidents in June, we will only seek new powers that are essential to the fight against terrorism. In the forthcoming Counter-Terrorism Bill, to be introduced shortly, there will be stronger sentences for terrorist-related offences, and where terrorists have served sentences, new powers for the police to continue to monitor their activities. Asset freezing is an important tool in the fight against terrorists buying weapons or using money for terrorist purposes. Sophisticated evidence-gathering of financial transactions can both deny terrorists finance and locate the sources of terrorist plots. Current legislation makes it difficult for us to take preventive action, so the Bill is intended to give new powers to ensure that we can use all the available information to pursue those who finance terrorist attacks. In addition to measures to process terrorist cases more efficiently and reduce the time between arrest and trial, including 14 new specially protected courtrooms, a single senior judge has been nominated to manage all terrorism cases. There will also be a single senior lead prosecutor in the Crown Prosecution Service who will be responsible for cases relating to inciting violent extremism.To ensure that we protect our borders and detect possible terrorist suspects, from January of next year members of the new UK Border Agency will have the power to detain people not just on suspicion of immigration offences or for Customs crimes, but for other criminal activities, including terrorism. Powers are also being given to airline liaison officers to cancel visas where justified. In line with the Statement I made in July, there will be a single primary checkpoint for both passport control and customs, and the UK Border Agency, which will have 25,000 staff, will now apply controls at the point of entry and exit on people and goods into and out of the United Kingdom, as well as working throughout the world. The new agency will enable us to transfer intelligence from UK operations overseas to those making visa decisions and to check biometrics taken from visa applicants against criminal and counterterrorism records. Further details of the new border agency, which has been welcomed by the Association of Chief Police Officers, are published in the Cabinet Office report issued today. This will go hand in hand with what is increasingly necessary. There will be biometric visas for all applicants from March of next year, biometric ID cards for foreign nationals introduced from the end of 2008, and a strengthening
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of the e-borders programme, with the contract to incorporate all passenger information awarded today.Having agreed repatriation arrangements for foreign terrorist suspects with Jordan, Lebanon and Algeria, work is under way with a number of additional countries with a view to signing new agreements for deportation. In addition to the nine foreign nationals recently deported under immigration powers on the grounds of national security, a further 24 foreign nationals are currently subject to deportation proceedings on national security grounds. Four thousand foreign prisoners are likely to be deported this year.All faith communities in the UK make a huge contribution to all spheres of our national life. They are integral to our success as a society. As we found when listening to all communities in June and after, the vast majority of people of all faiths and backgrounds condemn terrorism and the actions of terrorists. But the objectives of al-Qaeda and related groups are to manipulate political and humanitarian issues in order to gain support for their agenda of murder and violence, and to deliberately maim and kill fellow human beings, including innocent women and children, irrespective of their religion. We must not allow anyone to use terrorist activity as a means to divide us or isolate those belonging to a particular faith or community. To deal with the challenges posed by the terrorist threat, we have to do more, working with communities throughout the country, first, to challenge extremist propaganda and support alternative voices; secondly, to disrupt the promoters of violent extremism by strengthening our institutions and supporting individuals who may be being targeted; thirdly, to increase the capacity of communities to resist and reject violent extremism; and, fourthly, to address issues of concern exploited by ideologues and where, by emphasising our shared values across communities, we can both celebrate and act upon what unites us.This will be achieved not by one single programme or initiative and it will not be achieved overnight. This is a generational challenge which requires sustained work over the long term, by a range of actions in schools, colleges, universities, faith groups and youth clubs, by engaging young people through the media, culture, sport and the arts, and by acting against extremist influences operating on the internet and in institutions including prisons, universities and some places of worship. As part of intensifying measures to isolate extremism, a new unit bringing together police, security intelligence and research will identify, analyse and assess not just the inner circle of extremist groups but those at risk of falling under their influence, and share their advice and insights. Building on initial roadshows of mainstream Islamic scholarship around the country, which have already attracted over 70,000 young people, and an internet site which has reached far more, we will sponsor at home and abroad, including for the first time in Pakistan, a series of national and local
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events to counter extremist propaganda. The next stage will draw upon the work commissioned by the Economic and Social Research Council, Kings College and the Royal Society for Arts on how best to deal with radicalisation at home and abroad. One central issue is how to balance extremist views supporting terrorism which appear on the internet and in the media. The Home Secretary is inviting the largest global technology and internet companies to work together to ensure that our best technical expertise is galvanised to counter online incitement to hatred. I also welcome the decision by the Royal Television Society and the Society of Editors to hold a conference and regional debates on how to ensure accurate and balanced reporting of issues related to terrorism in the media. To ensure charities are not exploited by extremists, a new unit in the Charity Commission will strengthen governance and accountability of charities. A specialist unit in the Prison Service will be tasked with stopping extremists using prison networks to plot future activities. Because young people in the criminal justice system are especially vulnerable to extremist influence, we are making further funding available through the Youth Justice Board, the National Offender Management Service and the many voluntary agencies that work with young people, to support young people who may be targeted for recruitment by extremist groups.Following evidence that some of those involved in promoting violent extremism have made use of outdoor activity sports centres and facilities, we are working with Sport England to provide guidance for the sector to ensure that these facilities are not abused. Backed up by a new website to share best practice, a new board of experts will advise local councils, authorities and communities on tackling radicalisation and those promoting hate. We have had mosques in the UK for more than 100 years, serving local communities well. These communities tell me that mosques have a much wider role beyond their core spiritual purpose in providing services, educating young people and building cohesion, and the majority already work hard to reject violent extremism. As the newly constituted Mosques and Imams National Advisory Body recognises, however, the governance of mosques could be strengthened to help serve communities better and challenge those who feed hate. Our consultations with Muslim communities emphasise the importance of the training of imams, including English language requirements, and the Secretary for Communities will be announcing an independent review to examine with communities how to build the capacity of Islamic seminaries, learning from other faith communities as well as experience overseas. In addition to updated advice for universities on how to deal with extremism on campus, the Secretary for Skills and the Higher Education Minister will later this month invite universities to lead a debate on how we maintain academic
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freedom while ensuring that extremists can never stifle debate or impose their views. We will now also consult on how we can support further education colleges. The Secretary of State for Culture is working with the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council to agree a common approach to deal with inflammatory and extremist material that some now seek to distribute through public libraries, while protecting freedom of speech.We know that young people of school age can be exposed to extremist messages. The Secretary of State for Children will be convening a new forum of head teachers to advise on what more we can do together to protect young people and build bridges across communities. To ensure that young people have the opportunity to learn about diversity and faith in modern Britain, we will work in partnership with religious education teachers to promote the national framework for teaching religious education in schools, including making sure that children learn about all faiths. An advisory group will work with local communities to support the citizenship education classes run by mosque schools in Bradford and elsewhere.I can announce that one essential part of this will be to twin schools of different faiths with our new £2 million school linking programme, supported by the Schools Linking Network. I am also announcing today a youth panel to advise the Government from different parts of the country, which will enable young people to debate and discuss issues of concernas does the work of the Youth Parliament, which has been running debates about the impact of terrorism on young people. We are sponsoring and encouraging a series of national and local mentoring programmes for young peoplea Business in the Community Muslim mentoring programme linking 100 young people with professional mentors and role models, and local youth leadership schemes in Blackburn, Waltham Forest, Leeds and in partnership with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club in Haringey.After discussions with Muslim women, a new advisory group has been set up by the Secretary for Communities. This will advise on the access of women to mosques and their management committees. It is by seeking to build on shared interests and shared values that we will isolate extremists and foster understanding across faiths. Following the recent remarkable letter by 138 Muslim scholars from a diversity of traditions within Islam that paid tribute to the common roots of Islam, Christianity and Judaism and called for deeper dialogue, we stand ready to support in Britain new facilities for multifaith scholarship, research and dialogue. A Green Paper will be published to encourage interfaith groups to come together in all constituencies in the country. I am also inviting the Higher Education Funding Council to investigate the idea of setting up in Britain a European centre of excellence for Islamic studies.
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We will have joint work with the French and German Governments on building an appreciation of Islamic and Muslim heritage across Britain and Europe. The Arts Council England, the Tate Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Library will all be taking forward projects for greater understanding. Just as the British Council is connecting young people across the world through school twinning and volunteering exchanges, I am announcing that we will finance a rising number of young people from all communities to volunteer overseas. The intercept review will report in January. We believe a consensus now exists on post-charge questioning, and the Home Secretary is beginning a new round of consultations with parties and communities on detailed proposals on pre-charge detention where we believe we can establish an all-party consensus. Mr Speaker, there is no greater priority than the safety and security of our people and building the strongest possible relationships across all faiths and communities. I believe it possible, with the actions we are proposing, to build a stronger consensus that will both root out terrorist extremism and build more vibrant and cohesive communities. I commend this Statement to the House.
My Lords, that concludes the Statement.
Lord Strathclyde: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for repeating what I can see is a long Statement. I can partly understand why it is so long, but if it is an example of the terseness of the Prime Minister, it must be hard to get a word in at meetings with him.
I have a question at the outset, to which I hope the noble Baroness will be able to reply; after all, she is sitting next to the noble Lord whom it concerns. What happened to the noble Lord, Lord West, this morning? Shortly after eight oclock he said on the radio:
An hour later he said:
My feeling is, yes, we need more than 28 days.
What on earth happened between those two statements? I cannot believe that an old sea dog like the noble Lord was fazed by an early rise. Did he go from one studio to another via Damascus?
The House will know that there is a desperately serious side to this. When we talk of detention without trial, when we talk of overthrowing habeas corpus, or of holding people without telling them why, we are playing with the deepest and most fundamental matters. I regret to say that we are doing so in a society where an innocent young man can be gunned down on suspicion on the London Tube. We do not play politics on this, and we never should play politics with our freedoms. However, the real suspicion, reinforced this morning, is that, when it comes to the issue of 28 days, it is politics that is sadly uppermost in the Prime Ministers mind.
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We can and must be a safe society, and we support a whole range of the proposals in this Statement. But we must also be a free society. Without freedom, life is not worth living, and, this week of all weeks, we recall how many people died for that freedom. We should not barter it away to play to any focus group. Let us hope that it is the sensible talk of consensus about intercept evidence, about post-charge questioning, that now prevails, and not the lets fit-up the Tories and Lib Dems mentality of those election-hungry young Turks around the Prime Minister.
We sincerely thank the noble Lord, Lord West, for his work and for his careful report. We look forward to studying those parts of it that we are allowed to see. We back the national security approach, the idea of a national security strategy and the creation of a national security committee. Those were all proposed and adopted in our recent policy review.
On the broader issues of security in the Statement today, we have three particular areas of concern. We have long argued for effective securing of our borders. Will the noble Baroness say whether these proposals include the police and so create a proper border police force? On intercept, where we have supported the campaign of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, and on our idea of post-charge questioning, can the noble Baroness say whether the review will be complete in time for those provisions to go into the much awaited and anticipated Counter-Terrorism Bill?
We welcome proposals on security at railway stations, airports, sports stadia and shopping centres, but will the noble Baroness assure the House that disruption to the legitimate travelling public will be minimised? Too often lately, we have seen heavy-handed measures and absurd super-projects like ID cards aimed at the innocent, while there has been a corresponding lack of focus on high-risk areas and elements.
The noble Baroness described new controls from the Charity Commission. We can understand them, but can the noble Baroness say how she will prevent them ending in more unnecessary burdens on every charity? We hear of more action on asset-freezing and seizure. That is good as far as it goes, but can the noble Baroness assure us that it will go hand in hand with easing some of the absurd rules on money laundering that make life impossible for any child wanting to put a few quid into a bank account?
We welcome provisions for spending more on security, focusing on foreign nationals and tackling extremist preachers and imams. Those provisions, too, are good, as far as they go, but let us hope that they will be followed through. Recently, the Irish Government refused entry to Ibrahim Moussawi, head of the viciously anti-semitic TV station, Al-Manar. Will the British Government stop Moussawi when he tries to enter the UK to speak at a conference in December?