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I also welcome the tentative moves towards improved co-ordination within government. This has long been necessary. However, will the noble Baroness go further and take up the comprehensive proposals for a national
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On Yemen, too, we are at last seeing concrete action. Will the noble Baroness assure the House that it does not include deployment of troops or military advisers? As well as Yemen, the Statement picked out Somalia and the Sahel. Will the noble Baroness tell the House which Sahel nations she sees as particular threats, and what action is being taken there?
Ever since we had regime change in London and Washington and the phrase "war on terror" was banned, there has been an occasional whiff of doubt beyond these shores about our resolve to confront and crush terrorism. No one who thinks for a moment of the courage and sacrifice of our forces in Afghanistan could doubt our national resolve. We will never forget our gratitude to them. However, this will be a long and sometimes dark road. The Government must give convincing leadership on the threat that we face at home. I assure the noble Baroness that, so long as that resolve endures and sacrifices are needed, the Government will have our support-and I am sure that another party in government will receive no less support from her.
Lord McNally: My Lords, I can probably shorten my intervention by not following the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, in saying which ideas we thought of first or which we would do better. However, I will follow on from his final comment. It is very important in this area that we show as much cross-party resolve as possible in facing these threats. We support the central theme of the Statement that the first priority is the protection and security of the British people.
There are some points on which I should like clarification. Are the Government still pondering the question of intercept evidence in this area or do they now believe that it is not possible within our legal system? Profiling is a very delicate area because, to put it bluntly, the kind of people whom we are looking for will come up in certain profiles, which will then arouse questions of racialism or of picking out particular nationalities. It is very difficult to know how to square that circle in terms of effective profiling. On the question of body scanners, again, will we run into trouble with certain individuals claiming that it is against religious or cultural taboos to allow themselves to be submitted to such scanners? Also, how much confidence do the Government now have in control orders in these areas?
Following on from the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, I think that there is now enough evidence, real and circumstantial, to raise concerns about radicalisation in our universities and other institutions of further education. How much consultation is now taking place with the university authorities so that intellectual freedom, which is important in our universities, is matched with the reality of such radicalisation? Are we in contact with the university authorities and are they being co-operative?
The Statement referred to 2001, so there have been about nine years of various developments in these policies, yet we are still talking about greater sharing of information. Even more worrying, the Cabinet Secretary now has to look at intelligence co-ordination between our three intelligence agencies. I should have thought that, if evidence arose of non-co-operation on information between our intelligence agencies, that should be a sackable offence, if not a prosecutable one. There should be no hoarding of information by the agencies if they are to be effective.
It is welcome that we are making support available to Yemen but, again, we must learn some of the lessons of history. This is an extremely complex society and in the past both we and the United States have gone into such societies, created problems and alienated local communities. It is important that we are very well informed about whom we are supporting and with what objectives.
Finally, during Questions we heard the extraordinary statement that the FCO is cutting activity in counterterrorism and radicalisation. If we have a Statement from the Prime Minister about how we are making much more effort in these areas and then a statement from the Foreign Office Minister saying that Treasury-imposed cuts are cutting activity in the very areas that the Prime Minister's Statement is about, is that not evidence that there is a hole in the bucket?
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, I am grateful to both noble Lords for their general welcome for the Statement that I repeated. They are both right that these issues are of such extreme importance to our country that it is vital that we work on a cross-party basis for the security of our nation and people. Of course I completely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, that we have to maintain the balance between rights of the individual and the need to protect society as a whole. That is what this Statement is about and what we as a Government have been doing over the past 12 years.
On the radicalisation of Muslim youth, the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, contended that we have somehow been dithering about the proscription of certain organisations. We were not dithering about the proscription of an organisation a couple of weeks ago. We have to ensure all the time that the proper criteria are met. The proper criteria were met at that time and we proscribed the organisation. The organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir does not meet the criteria for proscription so it has not yet been proscribed. Should it do so, it will be proscribed.
Both noble Lords spoke of the importance of university and FE campuses. There is no evidence that universities are hotbeds of radicalisation and, as the noble Lord said, it is very important that the values of openness, intellectual scrutiny, freedom of debate and tolerance promoted in higher education are allowed to flourish. That is a good way of challenging extremism. However, we know and recognise that a small minority of people who support violent extremism have sought to influence and recruit young people through targeting universities. We are therefore working with universities, and have been doing so for some time, but there is much more to
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The noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, referred to the importance of people who want to live in this country speaking English-man, woman and child. That is precisely why spoken English is now an important part of our citizenship process.
I turn to airline security measures. The first body scanners will be in service at Heathrow within a few weeks. Because Heathrow is our major hub airport, it is important that we work on it first. Privacy concerns were raised, which we understand. That is why it is vital that staff are properly trained and managed. The Department for Transport is drawing up a code of practice to ensure that privacy and legal concerns are taken into account. We are also working with our European counterparts on these issues.
In relation to passenger profiling, we are working with BAA, which has started to train airport security staff in behaviour analysis techniques to help them to spot passengers acting unusually and to target them for additional search. That is not really profiling but training people to spot how people behave. It looks a promising way forward, but it is not yet a proven technique for counterterrorism operations.
The noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, rightly pointed out that there is a terrorism threat from incoming planes. More than 5,000 flights a week come into our country, which makes it vital for us to work with other countries. That is what we do, by sending people from the Department for Transport to work with officials on the ground. Furthermore, our e-Borders programme is very effective. By the end of this year, it aims to cover 95 per cent of passenger and crew movements into and out of the UK. That is already making a profound difference. To date, e-Borders has checked 142 million passengers and led to around 5,000 arrests. That is a splendid move forward and I am pleased that the noble Lord is in agreement with the extension of the watch lists and the no-fly lists.
It is wrong to say that nations are a threat, but al-Qaeda in the Maghreb is present across the region of the southern Sahel and it does not respect borders. Sadly, it is present throughout the region, as I said.
The noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, spoke of the policy introduced at the beginning of this week by the noble Baroness, Lady Neville-Jones. Many of the initiatives proposed by the Official Opposition are built on ideas that are already in place. Noble Lords speak of the need for a national security council, but we already have NCIS. Yes, it is a Cabinet committee and not a council-council, committee, whatever-but it is a very effective way of bringing together all the people involved in security. We have a national security strategy and the National Security Secretariat, so we are already acting on many of the issues raised by the noble Baroness earlier in the week.
The noble Lord, Lord McNally, spoke of the need for co-operation between agencies and expressed concern and amazement that the Cabinet Secretary was now involved in that. We are confident that there is already excellent operational co-operation between our intelligence
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On control orders, we were disappointed by the judgment handed down earlier in the week and will be appealing in the strongest possible terms. The noble Lord, Lord McNally, raised the issue of intercept evidence, but as noble Lords will already know the committee of the privy counsellors agreed that the Chilcot test had not been met and is looking at other ways forward.
The noble Lord, understandably and rightly, spoke of the seeming disparity between the Statement and the Answer to a Question posed earlier today about counterterrorism expenditure in Pakistan. No budget can be exempt from scrutiny. Our counterterrorism work in Pakistan is of the utmost importance and includes building the capacity of Pakistani counterterrorism capabilities and giving wider support to the Government of Pakistan's counterterrorism efforts. This work is always under review. Some projects have not met the required threshold following the FCO's reduced budget because of exchange rate charges. However, I can assure noble Lords that we will continue to work in that area.
Finally, this Government, like all Governments, will continue to take no chances when it comes to the protection of the UK. I know that all of us in this Chamber agree that that is the right way forward.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, perhaps I may press my noble friend a little further on that last point, which was also the final point that the noble Lord, Lord McNally, raised, because it goes to the heart of the issue. The Statement is unequivocal on what the Prime Minister says is the first and most important duty of the Government-the protection and security of the British people. That is an unequivocal statement. I and, I am sure, many others in the House heard my noble friend Lady Kinnock in terms, I fear, of some concern answering the Question earlier this afternoon from the noble Lord, Lord Wallace of Saltaire. She said quite clearly that the counterterrorism budget had been cut-not that specific bits had been taken out and other bits put in, but that the counterterrorism budget itself in the Foreign Office as it pertains to Pakistan had been cut. The noble Lord, Lord Hannay, made the point that perhaps there should therefore be more support from the Treasury to make up the shortfall of £100 million as a result of the changes in the exchange rate. Will my noble friend take this point back, because, frankly, the Statement and what my noble friend Lady Kinnock said do not add up to a coherent point of view? Some of us think that there should be ring-fencing of the counterterrorism budget. We can ring-fence other budgets. Surely the budget that affects the protection and security of the British people should be the first to be ring-fenced, not an afterthought.
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, I well understand the concern expressed by my noble friend and other noble Lords and I confess to my surprise
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Lord Carlile of Berriew: My Lords, in broadly welcoming the important Statement that has been made today, in relation to the use of the e-Borders system to check against the enhanced watch list, may I ask the noble Baroness to assure the House that it will be possible to use the e-Borders system effectively where passengers book their tickets less than 24 hours before travel? Will the Government also take steps to ensure that it is no longer possible to purchase travel tickets to and from this country with cash shortly before travel? Finally, will the noble Baroness assure the House that the reference in the Statement to major airports covers every air and sea port to and from which what one might call scheduled travel is possible?
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, at the moment the limit is 24 hours. I will come back to the noble Lord on whether that can be extended. It takes some time to exchange information, but I will come back to him. It seems a sensible way forward not to be able to purchase tickets with cash. Again, I will have to come back to the noble Lord.
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The noble Lord opposite rightly says that some people only have cash and not credit cards. These things have to be looked at in a balanced way, but that has to be considered. On the ports and airports that will be covered, our target for the end of next year is 95 per cent of all movements into and out of the UK. The additional 5 per cent represents a very small number of non-commercial flights and some maritime routes; the vast majority will be covered.
Baroness Manningham-Buller: Can the Leader of the House confirm that since 9/11 the principle guiding the exchange of intelligence has been the need to share, not the need to know? I am surprised by the implication in the Statement that that is not happening at a very advanced level. I am two-and-a-half years out of date, but the exchange of intelligence between the various intelligence agencies, the police in the UK and the British Government was at a level I had never seen before and was extremely detailed. Nothing was horded or hidden from the people in the UK machinery who needed to have that information.
However, I shall add one caveat. Not all that information can be shared with everybody in the world. We are dealing with other countries that have different legal standards, different human rights standards and different abilities to protect that information and its source. Therefore, while it will always be the case that we will wish to communicate to other nations information
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Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: I completely agree with everything that the noble Baroness said. I reassure her that nothing has changed since she held her position. The principle is still the need to share, not the need to know, and it is happening at a very advanced level.
Lord Marlesford: My Lords, does the noble Baroness agree that at a time when, as the Prime Minister constantly reminds us, we are asking our military personnel to lay down their lives so that terrorism is kept off the streets of Britain, it would be inexcusable if any weapon at home against terrorism were not to be fully used? Does she further agree that profiling is a most important weapon against terrorism and that it has many different aspects and techniques? The answer must be to make the fullest use of it, but not to talk about it.
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Now there is a conundrum, my Lords. It depends on how one defines profiling. The sort of thing that I was talking about earlier-looking at how people behave-might be called profiling by some people. It is one of a number of techniques. As the noble Lord said, especially at a time when we are asking people to lay down their lives for us, but at any time when we are under threat, any Government have to look at all the tools available to them, if I may put it like that, and use whatever is necessary to secure the safety of the people of this country.
Lord Hylton: Can the noble Baroness give us fuller information about the basis on which the no-fly list will be compiled? Will it include people with convictions and, possibly, people who are merely under suspicion? Will there be an appeal procedure against listing? I say that because mistakes, which will almost certainly occur, could be very unfair and onerous. The more information the noble Baroness can give us on this, the better.
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon:My Lords, there are two issues here. First, having a no-fly list is a new proposal. It is urgent, but work is ongoing on the issues that the noble Lord mentioned. Secondly, it would not be appropriate to bring some of this information into the wider field because some of these things have to be kept within security circles for security reasons. I am sure the noble Lord understands that.
Baroness Falkner of Margravine: My Lords, the noble Baroness's response that it is not appropriate is rather alarming. Will members of the public who are denied access to planes know the basis on which they have been denied access? With regard to the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, will they be able to have their names removed from the list should it be proved that there had been a mistake? In the US,
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Finally, will the noble Baroness tell us about Hizb ut-Tahrir not meeting the criteria for proscription? What are the criteria for the proscription of certain organisations? Will she lay a paper in the Library to that effect?
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, the noble Baroness should not be alarmed by what I said earlier. These issues are still being worked on. If it is possible to provide information at a later date, we will of course do so. I note the points that have been made about appeal and so on. I cannot give any further information on the criteria for proscription.
Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: My Lords, 20 years ago in Northern Ireland, 45 per cent of those who were charged with terrorist offences had created no prior terrorist traces. Does the Leader of the House feel able to say what comparable statistic applies today for the United Kingdom as a whole?
Baroness Tonge: My Lords, will the Minister answer really quite a simple question? What rays are to be used in the body scanners? If they are X-rays, which I think they probably are, is there not the danger of irradiation and a health hazard to frequent travellers?
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, that is a very important question. We have looked at these issues to ensure that whatever rays are used could not be harmful to either adults or children. I do not know exactly what rays are to be used; I will come back to the noble Baroness. I am assured that they are not harmful, whatever rays are used.
Earl Attlee: My Lords, the Leader of the House mentioned several states that could be harbouring terrorists. We have successfully denied Afghanistan and Pakistan to al-Qaeda, so where will it operate from next? Which failed state will it colonise? What will we do about it, and how will we avoid the perils outlined by the noble Lord, Lord McNally?
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, as is clear from the Statement, in addition to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the countries about which we have concerns at the moment are Yemen and Somalia. Apart from working with those countries' authorities on capacity-building, counterterrorism and so on, we are, as the Statement says, working with them to develop them and to help them socially and economically so that the people who are living in grinding poverty are not attracted by radicalism and al-Qaeda; they are not looking to other ways to get out of their poverty. We are trying to deal with these things at the grass roots before they become a problem.
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