Amendment 40BB relates to a domestic service provider. Again, the issue here is straightforward. The amendment probes paragraph 2 of Schedule 3 relating to paedophile manuals. This paragraph applies the rules on paedophile manuals to service providers elsewhere in the European Economic Area,

“as well as to a person, of any description”.

The amendment probes what is meant by,

“a person, of any description”.

Is this too wide to offer sufficient clarity to those who may be caught by this offence?

Amendment 40BC relates simply to a drafting point. Again, the forensic ability of my noble friend Lady Hamwee has picked up this point. The current drafting of paragraph 5(3)(c) of Schedule 3 requires that a service provider promptly removes information on a paedophile manual. Sub-paragraph (4) then states that this applies only in certain circumstances. Why not simply have sub-paragraph (4) state what will happen in the event it applies rather than referring back to sub-paragraph (3)(c)? I am sorry about all this confusion. Legal people may have a better ability to interpret this. I am sure my noble friend the Minister will forgive me for raising this very important point. I beg to move.

5.30 pm

Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con): I begin by wishing my noble friend Lady Hamwee a speedy recovery. It seems a little odd not to have her here when she has been omnipresent in our debates on the Bill.

Before I speak to the amendments, it may assist the Committee if I provide some background to Clause 63. The clause creates a new offence of the possession of paedophile manuals—that is, any item that contains advice or guidance about abusing children sexually. The Government have been made aware of a potential gap in the law which allows the possession of written material that contains practical advice on how to commit a sexual offence against a child. Such material is commonly referred to by investigators as “paedophile manuals”.

The material that we are targeting is deeply disturbing and has clearly been designed to facilitate sexual offending against children. Possession of some of that material, where illustrated with indecent images, is likely already

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to be a criminal offence under the law that deals with such images. However, the possession of purely written material would not fall under the current criminal law.

We are therefore creating a new offence to target possession of that potentially dangerous material. The offence will carry a maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment. We have also included defences to the possession of that material that mirror those already available to individuals charged with similar possession offences; for example, the possession of indecent photographs of children under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 or extreme pornographic material under the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. The defences include a legitimate reason for being in possession of material. That will cover those who can demonstrate that their legitimate business means that they have a reason for possessing this material. Such groups may include law enforcement agencies, the Internet Watch Foundation and others. It will also cover those people working for software companies who may come into contact with such material during the course of developing filter systems, for example.

Amendment 40BZF would replace the legitimate reason defence with a narrower one which will offer protection only to those who are preventing or detecting crime. We believe that there is no need to narrow the defence in that way. As I explained, the legitimate reason defence already covers those in detection and law enforcement, but it also provides protection to others with a genuine reason for possession of this material. Our legitimate reason defence mirrors a long-established defence in this sensitive area of the law: one that is well known to the police, prosecutors and the courts and that has worked well. We can therefore find no reason to narrow the protection that that defence will provide. Any defences need to be tailored to the circumstances of a particular offence. The offences in Clauses 41 and 63 are clearly very different. We are satisfied that the narrower defence in Clause 41 is appropriate given the nature of the participation offence.

My noble friend has indicated that Amendments 40BB and 40BC are probing amendments to test aspects of the drafting of Schedule 3. That schedule ensures that the provisions which make illegal the possession of paedophile manuals are consistent with the UK’s obligations under the e-commerce directive, adopted in 2000. The provisions in Schedule 3 are nothing new and mirror those already in place for other similar offences—for example, the possession of prohibited images of children offence in Section 62 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and the related provisions in Schedule 13 to that Act.

Amendment 40BB would amend paragraph 2 of the schedule. The first half of paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 3 states that the possession offence applies to a domestic service provider who is in possession of a prohibited item in an EEA state other than the United Kingdom. The words in brackets in the second half of that sub-paragraph reiterate that the offence also applies to,

“a person, of any description”,

who possesses such material in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. The qualifying words “of any description” are designed to make clear that, in those circumstances, the offence applies to all persons: that

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is, not just domestic service providers. The words are not intended to imply, as was, I think, my noble friend’s concern, that the person can be a legal or corporate person, as well as a natural person. As my noble friend will be aware, by virtue of the Interpretation Act 1978, the word “person” is taken to have that meaning in legislation anyway.

Amendment 40BC is intended to clarify the application of paragraph 5(4) of the schedule. Paragraph 5 provides an exception from liability for a service provider who possesses the prohibited material while storing the information in certain circumstances. Sub-paragraphs (2) and (3) set out the two conditions that must be satisfied for the exclusion to apply. Sub-paragraph (3)(c) provides that where the service provider has actual knowledge of certain facts, it will be excluded from criminal liability only if, in addition, it promptly removes the prohibited material or disables access to it. Sub-paragraph (4) sets out the facts that give rise to that additional obligation.

The effect of the amendment would be to remove the availability of the exception in paragraph 5 altogether, where the service provider obtains actual knowledge of the facts set out in sub-paragraph (4). The Government’s intention, as required by the e-commerce directive, is that a service provider should not be criminally liable in those circumstances as long as the information is promptly removed or access to it is disabled.

I recognise that these issues are not straightforward and that my noble friend Lord Dholakia will wish to study my response in Hansard. If, having done so, he or my noble friend Lady Hamwee requires further explanation, I will be happy to provide it. However, for now, I trust that he will be content to withdraw the amendment that he moved on behalf of my noble friend Lady Hamwee.

Lord Dholakia: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for the explanation that she has offered. I will certainly make sure that my noble friend Lady Hamwee receives a copy of Hansard. Whether she is cheered by it, we will soon find out at the Report stage. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 40BZF withdrawn.

Clause 63 agreed.

Amendment 40BA

Moved by Baroness Meacher

40BA: After Clause 63, insert the following new Clause—

“Offence of encouraging or assisting the promotion of the practice of female genital mutilation

(1) The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 is amended as follows.

(2) After section 2 (offence of assisting a girl to mutilate her own genitalia), insert—

“2A Offence of encouraging or assisting the promotion of the practice of female genital mutilation

A person is guilty of an offence if he encourages or assists in the promotion of the practice of female genital mutilation.”

(3) In section 5 (penalties for offences)—

(a) after “under” insert “sections 2 and 3 of”,

(b) at the end insert—

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“(2) A person guilty of an offence under section 2A is liable—

(a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years or a fine (or both),

(b) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or both).””

Baroness Meacher: The amendment is intended to ensure that anyone encouraging or assisting in the promotion of the practice of female genital mutilation will face an investigation and, if found guilty, a conviction. We propose that the penalty for those offences should be severe: a maximum prison sentence of up to seven years for a conviction on indictment.

Local councils have a role in tackling the issue as a result of their duties to safeguard children and they are well placed to work with the relevant communities in their area where FGM is practised in order to reduce the number of women and girls at risk of that mutilation. It is appalling to contemplate that 20,000 girls and women in this country are currently at risk of being subjected to FGM. Professionals and third-sector experts believe that the practice will be eradicated only through a change in custom and culture in the communities where it happens. We will not do it through individual charges.

We can be encouraged that there are many members of communities with a history of practising FGM who are now willing to make the case against it. However, we also know that there are community and faith leaders who promote and encourage the practice of FGM. This amendment would make it absolutely clear that authorities can, and indeed must, step in to prevent the community and faith leaders perpetuating this practice. The approach of these faith leaders is likely to be through generating pressure on families who might otherwise turn away from FGM for their daughters.

Currently, anyone inciting the carrying out of FGM can be prosecuted for incitement, regardless of whether the underlying substantive offence is committed or attempted, under Sections 44 to 46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007. I understand that the CPS believes that there is no need to create a new offence on the basis that legislation already exists to criminalise incitement. However, the purpose of this amendment is to clarify the law to make it clear that even indirect promotion of FGM by community and religious leaders could be dealt with under the law. It is not difficult to imagine how religious leaders might stop short of incitement but nevertheless through general persuasion and comments as leaders of these communities might indeed lead families to be fearful if they do not comply with the religious standards of their history.

It is relevant to note that the Local Government Association strongly believes that there is a case for this amendment and for bringing the offence of promoting or encouraging FGM into the 2003 Act so that it sits alongside the offence of practising FGM itself. This would help law enforcement officers and legal practitioners with no prior experience of FGM to locate the offence. It is no good if some offence is there if the key people are not aware of it. We know that the Modern Slavery Bill has the similar aim of consolidating and clarifying the relevant legislation. I think it is a very good example to follow.

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I hope very much that the Government will agree that this is such an important and yet difficult area of law that our amendment is justified. I beg to move.

Baroness Butler-Sloss: My Lords, I had intended to put my name to this amendment, but I am afraid I was rather busy last week and did not in fact remember to do so. I strongly support the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher.

Perhaps noble Lords will permit me to tell a short story. Yesterday evening I was one of eight judges for the “Speak Out” competition for 15 year-olds across the whole of London and Essex. We had 15 brilliant 15 year-olds, and each had to speak between one and three minutes on the subject of their choice. One girl of 15 stood up and talked about female genital mutilation. It was an absolutely brilliant speech. Unfortunately, she did not win, but it was absolutely breathtaking that a 15 year-old could be telling us what we should be doing about it. She was utterly shocked that we were not effective in stopping this happening—this absolutely abhorrent crime, which is hitting so many young girls nowadays in this country because they are being taken to other countries, or even it is being done here.

Anything—absolutely anything—that can encourage the public who are part of this system, or who know about this system, to be reminded that it is a crime should be taken forward. Anyone who might be involved in this in any way, perhaps as a member of a family where one member may be considering taking the girl to Sudan or to South Sudan or wherever else it may be, should now say, “Just be very careful, as this is something that is not acceptable in this country, either for those living here or those coming in or out”.

I do hope that the Minister will see that this has all sorts of values. That is to say that it has the value of actually dealing with the offence of encouraging or assisting the promotion of this abhorrent practice and, secondly, it would send out a powerful message that those who are around those who do it are possibly in danger of criminal offences themselves. I really hope the Government will pick this one up.

5.45 pm

Lord Berkeley of Knighton (CB): My Lords, the Minister will know that I have spoken on this subject several times in the House and asked Questions on it.

Female genital mutilation is one of the most shocking things that is happening in our society. I would very much like to endorse the words of my noble friends and anything that brings home to the general public the seriousness of this offence. At this very moment, in our country young girls are having their genitals mutilated. It is the most appalling thought. Anything that can be done to strengthen the law; anything that can make people realise how very seriously the Government take this issue, which I know they do; anything that can be done should be done.

Baroness Bakewell (Lab): My Lords, I would like to add my support for this amendment and perhaps add a story of my own. This is not a new issue. As long ago as the 1990s, I made a television programme exposing

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the practice of female genital mutilation, which went out in prime time on BBC television’s first channel, BBC1. It was quite explicit and voiced the alarm of Somali women themselves, who explained to me that the perpetuation of this practice resided with the grandmothers in their community who felt that what was good enough for them should be imposed on their children. It was the mothers who remembered their own experience who were eager to have that change for their children. It has not yet happened. Getting this accepted is a disgraceful slow process.

The explanation lies in the fact that, in the 1990s, we were very aware of multiculturalism and the need to respect other cultures. It beggars belief now, but at the time we felt that, if that was their culture and their tradition, then so be it; we felt that we were not in a position to feel superior. We have come a long way, but we have not come far enough. It is time to press forward with this and not to go on talking about it.

Baroness Howarth of Breckland: I briefly add my voice to this. Again, if I had not had quite such a troubled week, I might have added my name to this amendment.

A couple of years ago I went, on behalf of the Lord Speaker, to a conference about this. In my lifetime, I have seen a great deal in terms of abuse, but seeing a film of this actually happening shook me to my core. We did not just hear the screams, but we actually saw the action that was happening to this young woman. When we talk about female genital mutilation, it gets a little sanitised at times. It is utterly appalling pain. Some young women in foreign countries die because of the follow-up, and certainly we know young women in this country are traumatised. I, too, hope that the Government will take this away.

Lord Rosser: My Lords, the purpose of our Amendment 40CA in this group is to provide anonymity for victims of female genital mutilation by providing for any offences under Sections 1 to 4 of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 to come within the terms of Section 2 of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992, which for example provides anonymity for rape victims and victims of various other sexual offences to encourage more to come forward.

We recognise that protecting young girls and women from FGM requires action beyond legislation to tackle the social norms in which it operates, and implement a preventative approach. However, if progress is to be made in addressing and preventing what has already been described in this debate as the abhorrent practice of female genital mutilation, then cases will have to be successfully prosecuted through the courts. That means people who are victims of this practice being willing to come forward and give evidence. As we know, this is not some small, minority offence. It has been estimated that more than 20,000 girls under 15 are at high risk of female genital mutilation in England and Wales each year, with the risk being highest for primary school girls.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, who will surely know better than anyone the difficulties in persuading victims to come forward and give evidence in court,

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has called for victims to be given the right to anonymity to make it easier to bring charges against alleged perpetrators. She was quoted as saying recently:

“It is a very difficult injury to talk about. It is an abuse of their body and it is not a part of the body that people want to talk about in public”.

The Home Affairs Select Committee has also identified that a key difficulty in securing prosecutions is the ability to gather sufficient evidence and has said that,

“if victims had the protection of press and broadcast anonymity, this might encourage more to come forward. … we recommend the Government bring forward proposals to extend the right to anonymity under the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992 to include victims of FGM”.

Our view is similar. Anonymity is granted to victims of rape, among other offences, because of the sensitivity and stigma attached to such an offence, and the sensitivity and stigma that surround female genital mutilation must be at least as intense. Victims should be protected in the way called for in our amendment. If anonymity would encourage more victims to come forward, it must surely be overwhelmingly in the public interest to go down this road, particularly taking into account the lack of prosecutions to date. Where cases of female genital mutilation go to court, victims should also be entitled to the same support and special measures to which other vulnerable victims are entitled. I sincerely hope that the Minister will be able to give a positive response.

Earl Attlee (Con): My Lords, I am grateful for the expert way in which the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, introduced his amendment. I have no greater arguments than the ones he adduced. I strongly support him and urge the Minister to consider his suggestion very carefully. I have one final thought: what would the view of noble Lords be if we were talking not about FGM but MGM?

Baroness Walmsley: My Lords, it would not be in order for me to say anything about the amendment moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, as I was not in my place when it was moved. I support the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, in his attempt to get anonymity for the victims of FGM, and I hope the Government will consider it. Indeed, I think there may be a case for going a little further than that, because it could be that there are women within communities who know what is happening who might be more encouraged to come forward and say so if it were guaranteed that they would have anonymity. It is something that needs looking at.

Baroness Meacher: The noble Lord, Lord Rosser, introduced his amendment extremely effectively and has said all that needs to be said, but I would hate the Minister to think that there was no support for it. Therefore, I simply say that we need these charges to be investigated and pursued, and if victims are not given anonymity, it seems an impossible task. I hope that the Minister will be able to support the amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, as well as my amendment.

Baroness Butler-Sloss: I also support the amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Rosser. I meant to say so earlier, but forgot.

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Baroness Williams of Trafford: My Lords, I commend noble Lords who spoke to the amendments in this group, which show how seriously this House takes the practice of female genital mutilation. These amendments seek, in their different ways, to further our common objective of ending the abhorrent practice of female genital mutilation.

In moving Amendment 40BA, the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, is, as she explained, seeking to give effect to a recommendation made by the Local Government Association. The association recommended that a specific offence of “inciting and condoning” the practice of female genital mutilation would make it easier to bring cases against those who advocate it, whether they reside in or are visiting the UK. As I hope Clause 64 demonstrates, the Government are open to identifying ways in which the law might be strengthened to help put an end to female genital mutilation and better to protect victims. We are already considering recommendations made by the Director of Public Prosecutions, one of which we will debate shortly, and we are looking carefully at the recent recommendations made by the Home Affairs Select Committee, to which the noble Lord referred. In this instance, however, I hope to persuade the noble Baroness that her proposed amendment is unnecessary as the behaviour that it seeks to criminalise is already covered and can more effectively be punished by existing provisions of the law.

The common-law offence of inciting the commission of another offence was abolished by Section 59 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 with effect from 1 October 2008, and replaced by the provisions in Part 2 of that Act, which I will refer to as the 2007 Act. They are as follows: intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence; encouraging or assisting an offence believing it will be committed; and encouraging or assisting offences believing one or more will be committed. To be convicted of encouraging or assisting an offence, it is not necessary for the anticipated principle offence to take place. In addition to these legislative provisions, if an FGM offence is actually carried out then anyone who aided, abetted, counselled or procured the offence would be liable as an accessory.

We believe that the existing law is sufficient to cover those who encourage or assist the practice of female genital mutilation and those who take part in an offence in a secondary way, whatever their reason for doing so. The offences in Part 2 of the 2007 Act also have extraterritorial application: they can cover those who encourage or assist, wholly or partly from this country, offences of female genital mutilation that they know or believe will be committed abroad.

Baroness Meacher: I am sorry to interrupt the Minister but I wonder whether I have understood this correctly. My understanding is that the current law talks about aiding a particular offence of FGM. What we are concerned about is the general promotion by community leaders and faith leaders of this practice. I am not sure whether this is the case, but my feeling is that perhaps the current law does not fully and effectively cover that point.

Baroness Williams of Trafford: I think I will get on to that further on. As the noble Baroness said, we need to go beyond the law and think about other aspects of

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how we stop this happening in our communities. I hope I will answer her question, but if I do not I am sure she will stand up again.

This possibly comes on to it: a person convicted of encouraging, assisting, aiding or abetting an offence is liable to any penalty for which he would be liable on conviction of the principle offence. So a person convicted of encouraging, assisting, aiding or abetting an offence of female genital mutilation would be liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for up to 14 years. Amendment 40BA, which provides a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment for encouraging or assisting the promotion of the practice of female genital mutilation, would therefore have the effect of reducing by half the maximum penalty currently available for such behaviour.

The noble Baroness is, of course, right that the long-term and systematic eradication of FGM in the UK will require practising communities to abandon the practice themselves. While the criminal law can play a part in this, the recent Home Affairs Select Committee report quite properly also pointed to the need for more effective engagement with communities to persuade them to abandon the practice. To this end, the Government are spending £100,000 on the FGM community engagement initiative. Charities were invited to bid for up to £10,000 to carry out community work to raise awareness of FGM among women who have already been affected by FGM and young girls at risk, as well as men. We are now funding 12 organisations to deliver community engagement activity, and we will continue to work with civil society organisations to examine how we can support and facilitate their engagement with communities in the UK. It is noteworthy that in its report the Home Affairs Select Committee made no recommendation in favour of a new offence of promoting or encouraging FGM.

I now turn to Amendment 40CA. As the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, has explained, this amendment would extend to the victims of FGM the same anonymity that already applies to the alleged victims of many sexual offences.

6 pm

Baroness Meacher: Well, the Minister did say that I could stand up again if she did not answer my point. I was listening very carefully to her words, and they still related to a specific offence of FGM, whereas this amendment is about its general promotion—for example, in a faith leader’s sermon—which is a different thing. I only ask the Minister if she could take this back and consider it. I have said enough, and I do not want to interfere with her answer to noble Lords.

Baroness Williams of Trafford: I shall certainly go back and think about what the noble Baroness has said. There is no provision in law for condoning something, and that is what she is suggesting. Perhaps I could clarify it with her further. I apologise if I have not quite answered her question.

Can we now move on to Amendment 40CA from the noble Lord, Lord Rosser? He talked about the same anonymity being applied to victims of FGM

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that already applies to victims of other sexual offences. This follows a recommendation by the Director of Public Prosecutions. FGM is an offence of a particularly personal and sensitive nature, and the DPP believes that it is important that its victims should know that their identity will be protected if a prosecution takes place. The DPP has argued: that this protection needs to be guaranteed, rather than discretionary; that it should apply from the outset, when an allegation is first made, rather than from the point of charge; and that it should last indefinitely. The director believes that such anonymity would go far to encourage the further reporting of this offence.

These are powerful arguments, and we are considering them carefully. In doing so, we will also take account of the fact that, in its recent report on FGM, the Home Affairs Select Committee endorsed the DPP’s proposal. There are some questions that we need to resolve, but I assure your Lordships that the Government see the force of the argument, and I am confident that they shall shortly be in a position to announce their conclusions.

Going back to the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, I have just been given an additional note. I will read it out: “Where the general encouragement of FGM related to a specific act, constituting an offence would depend on the circumstances of the case, but we believe such conduct could be covered”. If that still does not answer her question I am happy to write to her. But on the basis of everything I have said, and in the knowledge that we can and should return to this issue on Report, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, and the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, will be content at this stage not to press their amendments.

Baroness Meacher: I thank the Minister for her careful response. I hope that the Minister will agree with me that she has not really answered the point. I am grateful, therefore, that she will take this back, and hope that we can perhaps have discussions with Ministers and officials to sort it out. On that basis I withdraw my amendment.

Amendment 40BA withdrawn.

Schedule 3: Paedophile manuals: providers of information society services

Amendments 40BB and 40BC not moved.

Schedule 3 agreed.

Clause 64 agreed.

Amendments 40C and 40CA not moved.

Amendment 40CB

Moved by Baroness Butler-Sloss

40CB: After Clause 64, insert the following new Clause—

“Offence of abduction of child by other person

In the Child Abduction Act 1984, in section 2(1) (offence of abduction of child by other person), for “sixteen” substitute “eighteen”.”

Baroness Butler-Sloss: My Lords, we move to a different subject, that of child abduction. There are two separate amendments. The first one, Amendment 40CB,

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deals with an anomaly—that there are two separate Acts, which deal differently with children or young people. If the child is in care, and the care order goes beyond the age of 16, under Section 49 of the Children Act 1989 the offence of abduction runs to the age of 18. But under the Child Abduction Act 1984, which incorporates the Hague convention of 1980, the age goes to 16. There is therefore an anomaly. The point of the amendment is simply to have parity, and the parity should go up rather than go down.

The second amendment, Amendment 40CC, will take a little longer to explain. It deals with what is called a “child abduction warning order”. This was once called a “harbouring order”. It has been a very useful, but inadequate, tool of the police. In particular, where they have seen a teenager being groomed, they have gone to the man concerned, and they have explained to him that he must obey an order not to have anything to do with the girl. However, if he breaks that order, they have absolutely no powers at all. Consequently the police are very anxious that their useful order to try and interrupt a grooming process for young girls, in particular, should in fact have a statutory backing. The next stage is an arrest under either Section 49 of the Children Act 1989 or Section 2 of the Child Abduction Act 1984.

However, there is a gap between the police telling someone, “Lay off this girl, you’re grooming her and you mustn’t do it”, and the point at which the girl has either been detained or taken, when it is quite simply too late. What is therefore needed is the police power—which they use—but put on to a basis that they can then enforce. If the man concerned does not desist from his grooming of the girl, he can then be dealt with under a statutory order. One of the problems about the words in the two Acts of “detained” or “taken” is that quite often it is a psychological or emotional relationship between the girl, who is often much younger, and the man, which is not capable of being treated as coming within either of the two relevant sections. Therefore the warning order could do a lot of good, and it would be useful. I hope the Government will take this away and look at it. It is definitely what the police want, it would give a real bit of power to them and it would fill a serious gap in the possibility of young people being abducted, particularly by older men. I beg to move.

Baroness Walmsley: My Lords, I support both these amendments. I recently sat as a member of a Back-Bench inquiry into the legislation used to tackle sexual exploitation, which was supported very ably by Barnardo’s. We took oral evidence from a number of police forces. There was unanimous support for putting these child abduction notices on a statutory footing, which formed part of our recommendations. At present they form no more than an administrative procedure for the police—useful, I am told, for collecting evidence for the future, scaring perpetrators and letting them know that the police are watching them but, in and of themselves, pretty toothless.

Of course, there is existing legislation for child abduction offences. Sometimes, perpetrators who breach warning notices are prosecuted under this other legislation. But the current legislation is often not useful for cases

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of grooming, because it requires that the adult has taken or detained the child, implying physical control or restraint. We know that psychological and emotional manipulation are the main tools used by perpetrators to control and groom vulnerable children. The Crown Prosecution Service is therefore not always able to take prosecutions forward, due to the child seeming willingly to remain with the offender, when the offender makes no act physically to detain the child. Creating an offence of breaching a notice would address this issue and allow the police to intervene earlier, rather than having to wait for a more serious offence to occur when, of course, what we want is for them to be able to intervene early.

While the police find child abduction warning notices a valuable tool, their lack of a statutory basis leads to an unfortunate consequence. Police told the inquiry about occasions when they issued notices as a deterrent but were then unable to act once they were breached. If they are to have any power in these situations, all concerned need to know that the police will and can act when their instructions are clearly ignored. Instead, the current situation erodes victims’ confidence in the ability of the police to protect them— and they have told us that. Of course, perpetrators’ fear of consequences will diminish when they see police unable to act. So we need to put this on a statutory basis.

In relation to bringing the age into parity between children in and out of care, the point was made by the children who spoke to us that children’s vulnerability is not determined by their membership of a particular group or their legal status. There are many profoundly vulnerable children who are not in the care system and who need the protection of the law. We heard from some of those girls and boys. Indeed, there are many more victims of sexual exploitation who are not in care and have not been in care than there are within it. During the course of the inquiry, we met some children who have been through some appalling things who had never been in care. While it is too late for them, we need to make sure that other profoundly vulnerable young people who happen to be living with their parents have the same protection as those under the state’s care.

The Government have shown real engagement with the inquiry’s findings so far, and I am delighted that they have adopted one of the inquiry’s recommendations by tabling an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill on the topic of grooming. It is clear that these amendments on abduction would be another strong step towards giving the police the tools that they need to prevent some truly vile behaviour.

Baroness Howarth of Breckland: My Lords, I was recently approached by a very senior ex-policeman with whom I had worked in the past, who was trying to help a number of children’s homes and hostels in the north of England. He found that there were men who came to the hostel and took older girls out, and the hostel was totally unable to do anything about it. They could simply go and fetch the girls back, but the girls were so emotionally engaged, as the noble and learned Baroness and the noble Baroness said, that they went out again. What the hostel desperately

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needed was the capacity to take stronger action against the men, and I believe that that is what would happen were we to accept the essence of these amendments.

6.15 pm

Lord Rosser: My Lords, we are associated with these amendments and support them. I do not intend to go through the points already so eloquently made by the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss, and the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, except simply to repeat that the current system of non-statutory notices does not encourage confidence in the system from victims and their families in the ability of the police to protect them when the provisions are breached. The notice leads to no action being taken unless the thresholds of an abduction threat have been met, which is not always the case. As has been said, the threshold means that the adult must have taken or detained the child.

Creating an offence of breach of a proposed child abduction warning order is likely to strengthen victims’ confidence in seeking help and protection, since it will lead to action being taken against the perpetrator if they breach the order. Once again, I hope that the Minister will be able to give a positive response.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Again, this has been an interesting debate, and I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in it. Child exploitation is an abhorrent crime and we are determined to tackle it in whatever form it takes. The findings of a recent parliamentary inquiry, of which noble Lords will be aware, chaired by Sarah Champion MP and supported by Barnardo’s, have been very helpful in contributing to the ongoing work being done by the Government to tackle child sexual exploitation. The recommendations of that inquiry will be crucial in helping to inform our policy and improve our understanding of this form of offending and, indeed, what more we should be doing about it. Specifically, the inquiry received significant evidence relating to child abduction warning notices and, as a result, this issue featured prominently in their report and is now the subject of these two amendments.

It might help if I updated noble Lords on government thinking in this area as at present. This Government have already taken clear action to tackle child sexual exploitation. As the Committee will recall, as part of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, we are introducing a number of new police powers. First, we are providing for more effective civil prevention orders, namely the new sexual harm prevention order and the sexual risk order. Secondly, new powers will allow the police to require hotels and similar establishments to provide information about guests whom they believe may be involved in sexual exploitation. Thirdly, we are bringing in strengthened powers for police to close premises associated with child sexual exploitation, a provision championed by the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, who cannot be in her place today but for whose support on this matter I am very grateful.

With regard to child abduction warning notices, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, for articulating the case for putting these notices on a

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statutory footing. The Government note that proposals to strengthen the impact of these orders have the support of the police, legal experts, representatives of local agencies, young people who have been affected by sexual exploitation, children’s charities and others. As part of the work of the National Group on Sexual Violence against Children and Vulnerable People, my ministerial colleagues have given assurances that the Home Office would look at the effectiveness of the existing child abduction warning notices and, in liaison with police colleagues, examine how best this tool can be used in future. In doing so, we will consider carefully the operational benefits of putting these notices on a statutory footing and how such a statutory scheme might operate. We are currently consulting carefully with policing colleagues to seek their views on the potential use of a statutory notice and whether, in their view, further changes are required to better protect children.

Amendment 40CC is an important contribution to this debate. The existing non-statutory child abduction warning notices are issued by the police. That is entirely appropriate where breach of a notice is not, of itself, a criminal offence. But it would be an unusual step for the police themselves to impose what amounts to a restraint order or injunction, breach of which is a criminal offence. If we made it statutory, we would have to consider that. Compare, for example, restraint orders under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 which are granted by the courts. Other civil preventive orders, such as serious crime prevention orders and gang injunctions which are dealt with elsewhere in this Bill, are also subject to judicial oversight. We would need to see how that played in with the current arrangements of non-statutory warning notices.

Other issues that we need to consider are the test for the grant of an order, the prohibitions or restrictions that may be attached to an order and the penalty for breach. I note, too, that the amendment requires a child to have been found two or more times in the company of the person to be made the subject of an order. Elsewhere, the inquiry proposed amending the grooming offence in Section 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to remove the requirement for a second contact with the child. The Government have now tabled an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill to that end, as my noble friend Lady Walmsley said. We need to consider whether the approach taken in child abduction warning notices should mirror that in the amended grooming offence.

Amendment 40CB seeks to raise the age threshold from 16 to 18 years for the child abduction offence in Section 2 of the Child Abduction Act 1984, bringing it into line with the summary offence in Section 49 of the Children Act 1989 of abducting a child in care. Children in care are particularly vulnerable and that is why the Children Act 1989 makes it an offence to take any child who is in care, including a 16 or 17 year-old, away from the person responsible for them without lawful authority or reasonable excuse. However, while we recognise the arguments made for consistency, there are contrary arguments and difficult issues raised. Young people aged 16 and 17 can live independently of their parents and, in many respects, are able to make their own decisions about how they live their

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life, including their sexual relationships. It is in recognition of this that the Child Abduction Act 1984 applies only where the child is under 16 and the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction ceases to operate when the child reaches the age of 16 years.

However, we are committed to examining the case for placing child abduction warning notices on a statutory footing. The noble Lord, Lord Rosser, has made a reasoned case for doing so and it deserves serious consideration. All speakers tended to favour the idea that statutory footing for the child abduction warning notices should be considered. While Report stage is some three months off, I cannot say to noble Lords that we will have completed our review by that point. I can undertake to update the House on progress and, of course, noble Lords are free to bring back the amendment, or a variation of it, at the next stage. I hope that I will be able to update noble Lords on how the Government have progressed arguments. Clearly, the debate we have had today will be helpful.

I cannot say the same in connection with Amendment 40CB. That amendment would have significant wider implications and for the reasons I have given I am not persuaded of the case for that particular change. However, given what I have said, I hope that the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss, in proposing the amendment at the beginning of this debate, will feel free to withdraw the amendments tabled in her name and that I will have the opportunity when we return to this subject of updating noble Lords accordingly.

Baroness Butler-Sloss: My Lords, first, I thank everyone who has spoken in this short debate. It has been extremely helpful. Perhaps I might ask the Minister whether he thinks my contribution on warning notices was as helpful as that of the noble Lord, Lord Rosser—because it was actually my amendment. Not to worry, but I could not resist saying that.

Secondly, on the warning notice, I am well aware that it would be extremely unlikely that the police would have the power to issue a criminal notice of that sort—although in other circumstances, of course, they issue cautions, which have a very significant effect without ever going through a court. However, if an offender does not accept a police notice and continues to groom, I could see the advantages of a very speedy application to the magistrates’ court. That seems to me to be the answer to that particular problem. The magistrates could then issue the appropriate order, which the offender would have to comply with. That might be the right way round—I did not go in to all that.

As for the age of 18, having spent many years on the Hague Convention, I am well aware that on international abductions the age of 16 applies right across the world. Nearly 200 countries have signed up to that, including of course ourselves. However, this is abduction of a rather different sort, within the United Kingdom. It is just as dangerous and just as worrying as international abduction. We only have to look at the press reports of the cases in Rotherham and Rochdale, without going into Luton or Oxford or other places where there was grooming of girls, to know that a considerable number of those girls were not in care.

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Some of the girls and some of the parents were seeking help; and some of the girls probably were over 16. Therefore the vulnerability of the young is not limited to those within the care system.

I can see very well that it would be quite wrong to change the 1984 Act to include international abduction. However, I ask the Minister to reflect on whether that would not meet some of the really shocking issues that have occurred across not only the north of England but the Midlands and, relatively, the south of England. The vulnerable children there may need help beyond the age of 16. It is not beyond the wit of parliamentary draftsmen to put in an amendment to the 1984 Act dealing with grooming in England and Wales that may lead to abduction and not going across the international child abduction arrangements, which of course we follow in exactly the same way as every other country. Having made those points, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 40CB withdrawn.

Amendment 40CC not moved.

Clause 65: Preparation or training abroad for terrorism

Debate on whether Clause 65 should stand part of the Bill.

6.30 pm

Lord Rosser: My Lords, Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 makes it an offence to engage in any conduct in preparation for giving effect to an intention to commit or assist another to commit one or more acts of terrorism. It also makes it an offence under Section 6 to provide or receive training for terrorism. The Act also provides for extraterritorial jurisdiction so that an offence may be tried in this country in respect of acts committed abroad. However, this is limited or non-existent in respect of the Section 5 and Section 6 offences to which I have referred.

Clause 65 would provide for extraterritorial jurisdiction for the Section 5 offence and extend the existing extraterritorial jurisdiction for the Section 6 offence. Such extraterritorial jurisdiction is considered appropriate for Section 5 and Section 6 offences because the places where training or preparation for terrorism are taking place are increasingly likely to be located abroad and will enable prosecutions in this country of people preparing or training more generally for terrorism who have, in the current circumstances, travelled from the UK to fight in Syria, where various groups are involved in the conflict.

We do not oppose this clause being in the Bill but have some points to raise about what the impact of the provision is expected to be—hence this debate on whether the clause should stand part of the Bill. I appreciate that the Minister may not be in a position to be too specific in his response, but can he give some examples of the kind of prosecutions which it will be possible to pursue under Clause 65 which it has not been possible until now to pursue under the existing legislation, and which would have been pursued had

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Clause 65 been effective? If prosecutions have already taken place for the offence of preparing for terrorist activities, what does Clause 65 add in reality to the legislative armoury? Has there been consultation with the Director of Public Prosecutions on the need for Clause 65? If a loophole in the current legislation has been identified which constitutes a potential threat to our security, does the Director of Public Prosecutions believe that the provisions of Clause 65 constitute the best way of addressing that loophole?

As I understand it, prosecutions under Clause 65 would need to be in open court and any evidence brought would have to be evidence acceptable in open court and disclosable in open court. If I am right in saying that, presumably intercept evidence and the evidence of informers, for example, will not be usable. In respect of people coming back from Syria, how is it envisaged that it will in practical terms be possible to gather evidence for a prosecution which relates to what the individual has done in Syria that can be pursued in open court? If the evidence to pursue a prosecution under Clause 65 cannot be used in open court, will a terrorism prevention and investigation measures order be sought, which would enable, for example, intercept evidence and the evidence of informers to be used, albeit it would be to obtain the appropriate order rather than to seek a conviction? Or are the Government claiming that Clause 65 will remove the need for TPIMs in a situation where no one on a TPIM has ever been prosecuted and when, in his last report, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation said that TPIMs continued to be needed?

I hope that the Minister will be able to address these points in his reply. Bearing in mind that Clause 65 relates to an extension of extraterritorial jurisdiction to enable offences to be tried in this country in respect of acts committed abroad under Sections 5 and 6 of the Terrorism Act 2006, it is not clear what the actual impact of Clause 65 will be as much of the evidence that becomes available is, if I have understood the situation correctly, unlikely to be able to be presented in open court and could be used only in seeking a TPIM order.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, for affording the Committee an opportunity to debate this issue. I am sure that the noble Lord and, for that matter, the Committee as a whole will be in no doubt about the significant threat posed by foreign fighters, particularly in relation to Syria, and the importance the Government place on protecting the public from those who may seek to harm the UK or UK interests.

The nature of the threat from terrorism has evolved since the passing of the Terrorism Act 2006. Many of the threats we face today have significant overseas connections and the places where UK-linked individuals, and those seeking to harm UK interests, may now be training, or otherwise preparing for terrorism, are increasingly likely to be located abroad. Syria, in particular, has become the number one destination for jihadists in the world today, posing a threat to the region and beyond. However, the issue of individuals from the UK seeking to engage in combat and conflicts abroad

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is not new, nor is it specific to Syria. As my noble friend Lady Warsi, who is sitting next to me preparing to respond to the debate following this Committee stage, will be aware, the recent events in Iraq further demonstrate the fluidity of movement of foreign fighters and we are concerned that groups such as the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant—or ISIL, as it is known—are now able to operate in the large areas of ungoverned space that have been created by the conflict. ISIL’s advances in Iraq in particular demonstrate the serious threat that that group poses to both countries, so it is right that we respond to this threat.

In support of wider government efforts to ensure that the full range of operational responses under the Contest strategy are being applied to counter this threat, Clause 65 amends Section 17 of the Terrorism Act 2006. This extends fully the jurisdiction of the UK courts over the offence of preparation of terrorist acts under Section 5 and the offence of training for terrorism under Section 6 of that Act so that preparation and training that take place abroad can be prosecuted. This measure will enable prosecution, on their return to the UK, of individuals who have travelled overseas to prepare or train for terrorism as though their actions had taken place in this country. Any prosecution under this measure will require the express consent of the Attorney-General, in addition to satisfying the Crown Prosecution Service that there is sufficient evidence and that prosecution is in the public interest. Our priority is to dissuade people from travelling to participate in conflicts abroad in the first place, but it is vital that our legislation is as robust as it can be against those who may seek to harm the UK in particular, and leaves no doubt in the minds of individuals engaging in preparatory acts of terrorism, or training for terrorism overseas, of the action we are prepared to take to protect the public.

The noble Lord asked whether it would enable us to prosecute cases which were not prosecutable at present. Recent cases show that these offences can be operationally useful. Mashudur Choudhury was recently convicted under Section 5 of preparing for terrorism in the UK. If, for example, he had undertaken these preparations outside the UK, he could not have been prosecuted. This measure seeks to address this anomaly.

How will this measure have an impact on foreign fighters? We assess that by extending UK territorial jurisdiction for this offence and bringing evidence of activities overseas within its scope, we will potentially strengthen the evidential case that can be made and enhance the prospects of a successful prosecution in some cases. In cases where there is only evidence of activity abroad, it will enable a prosecution to be brought where it is not currently possible.

The noble Lord asked whether we had consulted the Director of Public Prosecutions. We have worked closely with law enforcement partners, including the Crown Prosecution Service, in developing this measure. They fully support it and have suggested that this will be operationally useful. As for the question about gathering evidence and how law enforcement agencies will obtain the evidence required for a prosecution, particularly as it involves evidence gathering abroad, law enforcement agencies are accustomed to working

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with the relevant authorities in other countries for the purpose of gathering evidence for prosecutions. We fully expect that this established arrangement will continue to be employed for future prosecutions.

We recognise that any evidence gathering which involves other countries is inherently more challenging than if it were confined to the UK, but this does not mean that prosecution is impossible. That is the purpose of introducing these measures in Clause 65. These changes will ensure that UK linked individuals and those who seek to harm UK interests and travel overseas to prepare or train for terrorism can be prosecuted as if their actions had taken place in the UK and that they are not beyond the reach of the law. It is essential that our law enforcement partners are equipped with the right powers to counter the threat posed by foreign fighters who travel overseas to undertake terrorist activities and may go on to carry out terrorist attacks.

I hope that with those explanations the noble Lord will be prepared to accept that Clause 65 should form part of the Bill.

Clause 65 agreed.

Clause 66 agreed.

Clause 67: Minor and consequential amendments

Amendment 40D

Moved by Baroness Williams of Trafford

40D: Clause 67, page 49, line 30, leave out “or revoke” and insert “, revoke or otherwise modify”

Baroness Williams of Trafford: My Lords, Amendment 40D to Clause 67 responds to a recommendation by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee in its report on the Bill. The committee has pointed out that any regulations made under Clause 67(2) amending, repealing or revoking any provision of primary legislation would be subject to the affirmative procedure, but that the negative procedure would apply to any regulations otherwise modifying primary legislation. The Government accept the committee’s argument that a non-textual modification of primary legislation is capable of making changes which are no less significant than textual amendments and that, accordingly, the affirmative procedure should also apply in such cases. Amendment 40D therefore amends Clause 67(5) to this end. I am grateful to the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee for highlighting this issue. Amendments 42A and 44 make a technical adjustment to the commencement power in Clause 70. I beg to move.

Amendment 40D agreed.

Clause 67, as amended, agreed.

Schedule 4: Minor and consequential amendments

Amendment 41

Moved by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

41: Schedule 4, page 74, line 41, at end insert—

“25A In section 99 of that Act (postponement), after paragraph (c) of subsection (11) insert—

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“(d) made a restitution order;

(e) ordered the accused under section 253F(2) of the Procedure Act to pay a victim surcharge.”

25B (1) Section 100 of that Act (effect of postponement) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (3)—

(a) at the end of paragraph (b) omit “or”;

(b) after paragraph (c) insert—

“(d) make a restitution order, or

(e) order the accused under section 253F(2) of the Procedure Act to pay a victim surcharge.”

(3) In subsection (4)—

(a) at the end of paragraph (b) omit “or”;

(b) after paragraph (c) insert—

“(d) making a restitution order, or

(e) ordering the accused under section 253F(2) of the Procedure Act to pay a victim surcharge.”

25C (1) Section 104 of that Act (no order made: reconsideration of case) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (7), after paragraph (d) insert—

“(e) any restitution order which has been made against the accused in respect of the offence (or any of the offences) concerned;

“(f) any order under section 253F(2) of the Procedure Act requiring the accused to pay a victim surcharge in respect of the offence (or any of the offences) concerned.”

(3) After subsection (8) insert—

“(8A) If a restitution order or an order under section 253F(2) of the Procedure Act has been made against the accused in respect of the offence or offences concerned, section 97A(2) and (4) does not apply.”

25D (1) Section 105 of that Act (no order made: reconsideration of benefit) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (10), after paragraph (d) insert—

“(e) any restitution order which has been made against the accused in respect of the offence (or any of the offences) concerned;

“(f) any order under section 253F(2) of the Procedure Act requiring the accused to pay a victim surcharge in respect of the offence (or any of the offences) concerned.”

(3) After subsection (11) insert—

“(11A) If a restitution order or an order under section 253F(2) of the Procedure Act has been made against the accused in respect of the offence or offences concerned, section 97A(2) and (4) does not apply.”

25E (1) Section 106 of that Act (order made: reconsideration of benefit) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (8), after paragraph (c) insert—

“(d) any restitution order which has been made against the accused in respect of the offence (or any of the offences) concerned;

“(e) any order under section 253F(2) of the Procedure Act requiring the accused to pay a victim surcharge in respect of the offence (or any of the offences) concerned.”

(3) In subsection (9)—

(a) for “the court must not” substitute “the court—

(a) must not”;

(b) at the end insert—

“(b) must not have regard to an order falling within subsection (8)(d) or (e) if a court has made a direction under section 97A(2) or (4).”

25F In section 118 of that Act (application of provisions about fine enforcement), in subsection (2) omit paragraph (k).

25G In section 131 of that Act (sums received by clerk of court)—

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(a) in subsection (6), after “97(6)” insert “or 97A(4)”;

(b) after that subsection insert—

“(6A) If a direction was made under section 97A(2) or (4) for an amount payable under a restitution order or a victim surcharge under section 253F(2) of the Procedure Act to be paid out of sums recovered under the confiscation order, the clerk of court must next apply the sums in payment of that amount.”

25H In section 153 of that Act (satisfaction of confiscation orders), in subsection (1) omit paragraph (b).”

Amendment 41 agreed.

Schedule 4, as amended, agreed.

Clause 68 agreed.

Clause 69: Extent

Amendment 42

Moved by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

42: Clause 69, page 51, line 14, leave out “15 and 16” and insert “(Restitution order and victim surcharge) to (Conditions for exercise of search and seizure powers)”

Amendment 42 agreed.

Clause 69, as amended, agreed.

Clause 70: Commencement

Amendments 42A to 44

Moved by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

42A: Clause 70, page 51, line 26, at end insert “made by statutory instrument”

43: Clause 70, page 51, line 29, leave out “15 and 16” and insert “(Restitution order and victim surcharge) to (Conditions for exercise of search and seizure powers)”

44: Clause 70, page 52, leave out line 17

Amendments 42A to 44 agreed.

Clause 70, as amended, agreed.

Clause 71 agreed.

House resumed.

Bill reported with amendments.


Question for Short Debate

6.45 pm

Asked by Lord Northbrook

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of a successful conclusion to current negotiations on the future of Cyprus on the people of Cyprus and on regional stability.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): My Lords, this now being last business, it may stretch to 90 minutes rather than 60. The timings for the opening and closing speakers will remain the same, but those in between may luxuriate in up to eight minutes, if they wish.

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Lord Northbrook (Con): My Lords, I am very pleased to debate the impact of resolving the Cyprus issue on the Floor of the House, which to me shows its increasing importance as a key issue in the eastern Mediterranean. Some speakers may well feel that I am putting the cart before the horse by discussing the impact of a settlement before one has been achieved. When I tabled this QSD, prospects looked rather brighter than they do at present, but I am an eternal optimist. By focusing on the impact from an international as well as a Cypriot viewpoint, I hope to add an extra dimension to the argument, and encourage the two sides to look at these broader issues, rather than narrow tribal rivalries.

The island has been divided for 40 years. In those 40 years talks on reunification have been an enduring feature of political life, without any success. The Annan plan of 2004 was the last and most comprehensive proposal for a settlement. It was overwhelmingly accepted by the Turkish Cypriots and comprehensively rejected by the Greek Cypriots. The reasons for rejection have been carefully analysed in the aftermath. Essentially, the Greek Cypriot political elite and people saw no benefit to them in the proposals, so they voted against.

We are now in the middle of a renewed negotiation. Many see this as the best hope for reunification. Where the negotiations seem to be different this time from the Annan plan, is that they are by Cypriots, for Cypriots—although as I will discuss later, they seem to have the same fault of failing to involve the wider Cypriot public. It is clear that both sides must see the benefit to them of any proposal for reunification—or, as the Turkish Cypriot chief negotiator Dr Kudret Ozersay puts it, they at least see the real harm to their interests that rejection would bring.

So what are these benefits? First, I suggest they are for the people of Cyprus themselves to be able to be one country again and extend their influence in the Mediterranean and on the world stage. Next, they are economic. Meltdown in the Greek Cypriot banking sector would surely have been less severe if Turkish financial know-how had been available to regulate it. UK companies could expand their links with the whole island. Cyprus, as a member of the Commonwealth, could look to the rich Commonwealth countries for investment. Elsewhere, the reunified island would be able to expand its trading links with the EU and Turkey.

Regional stability would be improved. Turkey is a member of NATO but not the EU. Greek Cyprus is not a member of NATO. A reunified island would see Cyprus join NATO, and thus counteract the influence of Russia, which has not only bailed out the Greek Cypriot banks but is now able to use the airbase near Paphos and Limassol for its naval vessels. It is also signing agreements with Israel.

This could partly explain the visit to Cyprus this year by the Vice-President of the USA, Joe Biden—the first such visit for 50 years. The USA is concerned about increasing Russian influence in the eastern Mediterranean. Another reason for his visit was surely the interest in an alternative source of energy supply for the West. The Aphrodite field off the south-east of Cyprus is a useful gas find, but unless it is combined with the neighbouring Leviathan and Tamar Israeli fields it will not produce sufficient gas to justify an

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LNG plant on the island. If such an arrangement can be agreed, the gas could be piped to Turkey, thus bypassing Russian sources of supply and giving Cyprus much cheaper energy on the way.

The whole exercise would be possible only with a reunified island, and the benefits will not be felt for several years. Can I ask the Minister whether the UK Government support the equal distribution of the natural resources found around the island between the two communities? Do they support the constructive proposal previously made by the Turkish Cypriot side in 2011-12 which includes the establishment of an ad hoc committee to deal with issues regarding natural resources?

Another natural resource that the whole of Cyprus could benefit from after a successful peace process would be water. An ambitious plan is in train to link Turkey with the TRNC, which would help eliminate chronic water shortages. This water supply could then be extended to the south, and thus the whole of Cyprus would benefit. The supply of water to the south could be the quid pro quo for the south agreeing to allow gas to be transported through to the north and thus on to Turkey.

The next area to benefit would be tourism. The stark reality of the current situation was demonstrated to me during my visit to the TRNC last July. Seeing Varosha, which was a prime tourist resort before partition, completely shut off was extraordinary and of benefit to no one. The inconvenience of having to fly to Turkey first if you want to visit the north must put off a lot of visitors.

In the remaining part of my comments, I wish to address the latest attempt to get a solution. In February 2014, the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities issued a joint declaration. On the surface this looked promising, with the Greek Cypriot President Anastasiades being a “yes” voter in the 2004 referendum. Clause 1 of the declaration states that the current situation is unacceptable and its prolongation will have negative consequences for the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Clause 2 states that,

“the leaders will aim to reach a settlement as soon as possible and hold … simultaneous referenda thereafter”.

However, progress since then has been very slow as the leaders have met only five times since February, and I cannot see what real progress has been achieved. What do the UK Government intend to do to encourage the Greek Cypriot side to accept the previously reached convergences so that the negotiations can move forward at a more reasonable pace? What is being done to speed up the process of appointing a new UN special adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus, which may also bring a new sense of urgency to the talks?

One of the key factors over the years in preventing a settlement has been the failure of the traditional top-down approach of the talks. According to a paper from Alexandros Lordos, research director for Cyprus 2015, one of the key arguments for the failure is that the Cypriot public are not involved in the peace process. Lordos states that there had been an opportunity to add public opinion analysis to the Annan negotiating process. Specifically, Professor Colin Irwin from Ireland was asked in 1998 if he could assist with such a

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programme. In that year he made a presentation of his Northern Ireland work to the Greek-Turkish forum in Istanbul and explained how it was used to build a consensus around the Belfast agreement. The forum subsequently decided that it would like to undertake a similar programme of research in Cyprus. Although the Greek Cypriot negotiators wanted to go ahead with a poll, the Turkish Cypriot Government did not. In the end, no polls were undertaken and without the benefits of an effective programme of public diplomacy both the negotiations and the subsequent referendum failed.

Lordos analyses how a public diplomacy approach would work in practice. First, the UN would step right back and be responsible for providing facilitation rather than drafting services, while groups of Cypriots would be responsible for drafting the peace plan. Secondly, the process would be overseen, supervised and guided by leaders of the two communities—but without being limited, as at present, to the leaders of the two communities. Thirdly, groups of experts would play a role, including civic society. However, an equally important part would be played by groups of society representatives —women, trade unions, commerce boards and refugees, for instance—who would add a human face and human perspective to the process.

Fourthly, the negotiating teams would have at their disposal reliable public opinion information on a regular basis. This would provide feedback on the public acceptability of the various alternative solutions that the negotiators would be considering. Fifthly, external actors such as Greece and Turkey would not have direct access to the drafting process, while other non-invasive and respectful ways should be found for their constructive input to be considered.

Lordos also suggests that the Cyprus problem can be divided into segments or sub-problems, and that, if each of these sub-problems can be solved to the satisfaction of both communities, the final settlement plan, derived by putting together the solutions to the sub-problems, will also be satisfactory to both communities. The areas he believes should be six: security, property, residence rights, settlers, power sharing and legal status.

In conclusion, I commend the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for being very active, especially in inviting the Turkish Cypriot leader and his negotiator to London—the first time that Turkish Cypriots have been invited to London. None of this, sadly, means that negotiations will be easy or successful to achieve the hoped-for impact that I outlined earlier, and the Lordos proposals have great appeal to me if current talks fail.

6.56 pm

Lord Harrison (Lab): My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Northbrook, not only on securing this important debate but on so expertly introducing it. I look forward to other expert speakers, most notably the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, with all his expertise. I, too, am encouraged—in fact I have written, “Hope springs eternal”—by the fact that Anastasiades and Dr Eroglu are now in conversation. I look forward to hearing from the Minister on any reports she has had.

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As we near the 10th anniversary of the Annan plan vote, I declare—because I am a passionate pro-European—my sorrow that the European Union made such a major blunder in allowing in the island of Cyprus without ensuring that both north and south were reconciled. I, too, remember visiting in 1968 Varosha, when it was then a thriving tourist town, and the friendship I received then—as I received the friendship of British troops over on the other side of the island at Troodos. I have been three times to Northern Cyprus, funded by the TRNC, and, as the chair of the EU Committee’s Economic and Financial Affairs Sub-Committee of your Lordships’ House, I recently went to the Greek side under the Cypriot presidency. I must recall that this was a huge missed opportunity. The presidency of the European Union is a great honour given to member states, and there should have been more work and collusion with both sides of the island. A further missed opportunity was the European elections, and I regret that that was the case.

The United Kingdom holds a special role with respect to the Cyprus situation, about which I should like to hear more from the Minister. I represented the House in Athens recently at a COSAC meeting. Our Turkish colleagues were there and invited to comment, along with the 28 other member states. Why is provision not made for our Turkish Cypriot community from the north of the island?

Can the Minister inform us of the latest situation concerning universities? There has been a recent example of a British university in, I think, east London that has failed to work with a university in Nicosia. However, those of us who have been to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have not only celebrated the high level of expertise that the six universities have there, but recognised them to be part of its export industry, as they have so many students from far and wide. What opportunities can we develop in the United Kingdom to advance this process? Would the Minister also respond to the disgraceful state of affairs of the exclusion of Turkish Northern Cyprus, by the Council of Europe, from the Bologna process and the Erasmus programme, each of which encourage the swapping of students to benefit Europe as a whole? It is rank discrimination; why is it still the case?

The noble Lord, Lord Northbrook, mentioned the difficulty of direct flights. Tourism is an important industry in both the south and the north. Is there no resolution, which I know the former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw made every effort to try to solve, to the absurdity of having to send people to Turkey before they go on to the delights of Northern Cyprus and take the opportunities that are there? Tourism is a key industry; we should help to improve it.

Can I also ask the Minister what is being done to provide better access to the single market? On my most recent visit to the TRNC, in talks with the Board of Trade and the business community, it was made plain to us that access to the single market was made that much more difficult because everything had to be funnelled through Turkey, adding to transportation costs and so on. Could the Minister also detail the financial help that the United Kingdom gives—and gave at the time of the EU crisis? Would she also detail

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the European Union and the Commission’s work in trying to help and prepare the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus for what we hope will be true accession to the European Union in due course? If she does not have the details to hand, I would be very happy to be written to.

Given the economic crisis, can the Minister give us some analysis of the state of Cypriot banks? As she will know, they will shortly come under the stress test of the European Central Bank and the acid quality test done by the ECB and the European Banking Authority. Can she hazard a guess as to whether any of the banks that sustained such difficulty will continue to be a worry, as they were when the crisis was at its height?

We have heard mention of oil and gas. Perhaps the Minister will elaborate on that, but my intelligence is that those reserves are perhaps less than was thought to be the case. Can she clarify that?

Regarding the United Kingdom, what are we going to do with the British bases? Will they form part of any settlement? Secondly, given the very strong communities in north London, what can be done in our own country to encourage better understanding of the problems on both sides?

I pay tribute to the noble Baroness, Lady Hussein-Ece, who will speak shortly. Her ideas, which I hope will be pursued by the Government, concern building up civil society from the bottom upwards.

The noble Lord, Lord Northbrook, also pointed to the concern about water and the environment. These are important issues that should be shared by both communities. The United Kingdom should get stuck in to ensure that we promote opportunities to find a fair settlement for all concerned on the island of Cyprus.

7.05 pm

Lord Sharkey (LD): My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Harrison. Like him, I congratulate my noble friend Lord Northbrook on securing the debate and on his wide-ranging opening speech. It was so wide-ranging that I will not take advantage of the extra time available. I declare an interest as chair of the All-Party Group for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

As both previous speakers have said, negotiations for reunification have been going on for more than 40 years. For many of those years nothing much seemed to happen. When it did happen, as with the Annan plan, it did not work. The latest round of negotiations is probably the best chance—perhaps the last chance—of any kind of success. The hydrocarbon discoveries, the financial crash of 2007-08 and the dramatic increase in unrest in the eastern Mediterranean are all new factors pointing towards the desirability of a settlement. However, as usual, there are conflicting views about the progress being made in the negotiations.

In particular, many commentators point out the need for a UN special representative to replace Alexander Downer. I understand that the former UN Under-Secretary-General Lynn Pascoe is the person favoured by Ban Ki-moon. Mr Pascoe was previously US ambassador to Malaysia and to Indonesia; he was the US special negotiator for Nagorno-Karabakh and

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served five years in the UN Department of Political Affairs, where he was actively involved in the Cyprus problem. Yet I understand that his appointment is meeting resistance from the Greek Cypriots. Can the Minister bring us up to date on this issue when she replies?

It seems the case that heavyweight input is needed pretty quickly. The Turkish Cypriot negotiator, Dr Kudret Özersay, submitted a five-step roadmap for future negotiations to the leaders meeting of 7 July. This meeting was supposed to make progress on confidence-building measures, but it did not. At a negotiators meeting two days later, it was agreed to try again at a meeting taking place tomorrow and again at the next leaders’ meeting, which takes place this coming Friday. It is possible to be pessimistic about all this, but I think it is better read as grounds for cautious—perhaps very cautious—optimism. For example, it seems clear that both sides understand the need for urgent progress. It would help if Mr Pascoe, or some other UN nominee, could take a role in all of this as soon as possible.

The need for urgent settlement arises from several factors. At the moment there is a window of political stability on the island, which will last only until the end of the next round of major elections, which are not very far away. There is also the growing complexity surrounding hydrocarbon exploitation. Amos Hochstein, of the US State Department, said last week that these newly discovered energy resources have changed the rules of the game in the region. That is undoubtedly the case. For example, the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation is now in talks to buy 30% to 40% of the Aphrodite gas field in Cyprus’s block 12.

A further factor driving the need for an urgent solution is, of course, the increasingly chaotic, unstable and violent situation in the eastern Mediterranean as a whole. The benefits of a successful reunion have already been rehearsed to some extent by previous speakers and outside the Chamber. Reunification brings the prospect of very significant economic growth. The UN estimates an additional three percentage points to GDP as a result of reunification. There are then the proceeds of the offshore hydrocarbons, which are likely to be significant if reunification takes place, and are quite likely to be zero if it does not. Then there is inward investment, or the prospect of inward investment. The north of the island has been deprived of capital for 40 years, and it is still cut off from the international banking system. Development of the north and reconnection of the north to the world outside will bring increased prosperity to all parts of the island.

Finally, there is the question of stability, which is a necessary precondition for investment—naturally—but is also a vital requirement in such an unstable region. Stability is in the direct interest not only of the Cypriot peoples but of NATO, the region and the West. I know that Her Majesty’s Government have been very active in support of negotiations for reunification, and I congratulate the FCO on that. The UK has a moral and a legal obligation to help, and I am very glad that it is helping. However, our help will be needed for many years after reunification and I shall be very glad to hear the noble Baroness commit to that when she speaks.

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7.11 pm

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass (Ind UU): My Lords, I am grateful, of course, to the noble Lord, Lord Northbrook, and to others who have spoken constructively about the problems facing Cyprus. I am also reminded that when I spoke in a previous debate on Iran when the noble Baroness, Lady Warsi, was responding—I think it was in February—she flattered me with the words:

“I am grateful to all noble Lords who have contributed with such authority to today’s debate, especially … the robust alternative critique presented by the noble Lord, Lord Maginnis”. —[Official Report, 27/2/14; col. 1070.]

With that expectation, if I may, I shall present a somewhat different objective view of the Cyprus situation. In doing so, I will be critical of the role that for more than 50 years the United Kingdom has played in terms of assisting in a solution. It is important to know what really happened in Cyprus. It is time to stop rewriting history. There is an obvious gap, not just in this Government’s knowledge but in the previous Government’s knowledge. How many know that EOKA-B sought to expunge every Turkish Cypriot from the island between Christmas 1963 and 1974? I hope that the Minister will be able to tell us explicitly the significance of the Akritas and Ifestos plans—the blueprint for ethnic cleansing even before we used that term.

Let me outline when the invasion of Cyprus began. It was not 20 July when the Turkish military, in order to protect Turkish Cypriots, intervened in the island. The noble Lord, Lord Northbrook, with some force, picked 15 July, since it was on that date exactly 40 years ago when the Cyprus National Guard and EOKA-B, led by the Greek junta, launched a coup and overthrew the democratically elected President, Archbishop Makarios, with the goal of Enosis—annexing Cyprus into Greece. Although the Turkish Cypriots are blamed for the events of 1974, I remind the House that Rauf Denktas, my late dear friend the Turkish Cypriot leader, said:

“Our duty in this situation, which we believe is a matter between Greek Cypriots, is to protect our international security, to take defensive measures and not to interfere in any way in inter-Greek Cypriot events”.

Four days later on 19 July, while addressing the UN Security Council, Archbishop Makarios accused Greece of having invaded Cyprus:

“The coup of the Greek junta is an invasion, and from its consequences the whole people of Cyprus suffers, both Greeks and Turks”.

Nothing has changed over the years regarding that common suffering. Is it not time for our Government to nail the big fat Greek Cypriot lie once and for all on this 40th anniversary of the Greek invasion and coup to overthrow President Makarios? I could go through many instances of the difficulties that all the people of Cyprus suffered during that period.

We hear about all the people who were killed when Turkey, as a guarantor power did what we, as a guarantor power, should have done—intervened to try to stop wholesale slaughter. We hear about that, but have many of us heard that, in the five days between 15 July when the Greeks invaded and when the Turkish military intervened, more than 3,000 Greek Cypriot supporters of Makarios and the communist party AKEL were killed in an orgy of Greek-on-Greek bloodletting?

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At the same time Sampson gave the notorious Akritas plan full rein to exterminate Turkish Cypriots “once and for all”.

Having posed that question, I want to move to our behaviour in Cyprus in terms of our 371 soldiers who died during the emergency, and the 58 policemen—British, Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot—who all died in the service of the Crown. Why is it that 50 years on, in 2009, when a few of us sought to erect a memorial to our troops, we did not have any support from government? In those days we did not bring our bodies home, so we sought to erect a monument in Wayne’s Keep, where most of our soldiers are buried. That was refused by the Greek Cypriots. I was part of a small group of half a dozen who managed to raise more than £200,000 and we erected a monument to those 371 soldiers. This year we are extending that monument to include the 58 policemen.

Despite all the sweet words that we may talk in this House and in the other place about regard for our troops, we do not have the guts to stand up to the Greek Cypriots and say, “We will honour our dead. We have respect for our dead”. How can we, with so little self-respect, ever hope to play a positive role in bringing some sort of settlement? I put my cards on the table. I do not think that it is reintegration; I think it is federation. How can we play our role in that when we, over the period of 50 years, have failed our own people? How can we support the Turkish Cypriot minority? How can we conciliate between it and the Greek Cypriot majority? I do not believe we have given ourselves the status to do so, and I hope that the noble Baroness will be able to reassure me this evening.

7.20 pm

Lord Balfe (Con): My Lords, I add my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Northbrook, for securing this very valuable debate. I make my own declaration of interest, as a member of the All-Party Group for the TRNC and as a fairly regular visitor to the TRNC over the past 30 years. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Maginnis, for his speech, which makes mine seem not quite as controversial as I thought it might be, having heard the earlier contributions.

The first contact I had with the TRNC was with Rauf Denktas, who has already been mentioned—someone who, it behoves us to remember, began his life in the service of the British Crown and who, for all his life, looked to the British Crown to behave a little better than I think it ever really did. The fact of the matter is that the Annan plan, which has often been mentioned, was rejected to an extent because of the European Union. Once the European Union had given way to what was effectively the blackmail of the Greek Government, who said they would sink enlargement if Cyprus was not allowed in, anything that the EU said about only allowing in a united island became null. At that point, the leaders of the Greek community knew that it was very safe to vote no, and of course they immediately went out to encourage the vote against the Annan plan.

I was in Cyprus at the time of the referendum and it was very easy, and I am afraid rather sad, to see what was going on. For the Turkish side of the island, there

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was a positive gain; for the Greek side, there was no loss. There was nothing to be lost from rejecting the plan. I remember comparing it at the time to an Irish referendum: it is always safe to vote no, because you might get something more. Incidentally, I mean an Irish EU referendum—and a Republic of Ireland EU referendum, just to qualify that. I see the noble Lord, Lord Kilclooney, looking at me quizzically there.

The EU then became damaged goods. I am afraid that, when you look at the possibility of a settlement in Cyprus, the EU is not seen as an honest broker by the Turkish side of the island, probably with extremely good reason. The United States, until recently, has been a very disinterested player on the scene. I welcome the visit of the US Vice-President, because unless the US gets itself involved, there will not be a settlement. The reality of a settlement is an objective called money, which we often overlook. Unless there is a substantial input of aid from the EU and the US to sort out the problems, particularly of property compensation and the land issues, there will not be a settlement. The refugees, I believe, can be dealt with by saying, “This is the Turkish side of the island, and whoever lives there is who they choose”, but there is a need to sort out the other issues, particularly the European Court of Human Rights judgments—many of them are, frankly, completely perverse but, none the less, they stand there and they have to be unravelled as part of this settlement.

My belief is that we need to ramp up the pressure on Cyprus. One thing the Cypriot Government have known is that the TRNC goes unrecognised. There is no reason why it should not be recognised. If there is going to be no real attempt to build a settlement, then these people in this half of the island have a right to international recognition and what goes with it. There is no reason at all why, if intransigence follows intransigence, we should not say that, in the interests of a level playing field, we will recognise the rights of both sides. There is no reason why we should not say: if the Turkish Cypriots are part of the EU, as Greek Cyprus would say, where are the Turkish representatives in the European Parliament? Where are the nominees from the Turkish community for posts within the EU? Where is the consultation with the Turkish community on engagement with the EU? We have more to do with the Welsh Parliament than the Greek Cypriot Administration do in consulting the Turks, who, they say, are part of the EU.

We need to look at something much more positive from the United Kingdom than a selection of warm words which can easily be forgotten. We have been putting warm words forward for year after year for 40 years. I echo what the noble Lord, Lord Maginnis, said: when the Turkish troops went to Cyprus in 1974, they went to rescue the Turkish community. They were not an invading force; they were a protecting force. Any solution to the problem has to recognise the fact that the Turkish community feels deeply insecure. If the Greek part of the island is happy to say that they have only benevolent intentions, then I put it to them that it is quite reasonable to negotiate a Turkish base in north Cyprus with a time-limited guarantee—say, of 20 years.

I recall a Turkish general saying to me that they could do without the Turkish base there because they would be able to get troops across from Turkey into

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northern Cyprus while the EU Council of Foreign Ministers was still arguing about which city to meet in. Admittedly, that was a rather cynical view, but one has to realise that Cyprus is much closer to Turkey than to Greece. One also has to realise that it has a long Turkish tradition. It is not a Greek island; anyone who has been round it, who has seen the mosques and the Turkish settlement, will realise that those are as much a legitimate part of a Turkish island as of a Greek island.

I hope that we move forward. I recall for the Minister’s edification the words that she used in the previous debate:

“it is difficult to see how we could realise the full potential of energy from the eastern Mediterranean without a Cyprus settlement”.—[

Official Report

, 17/6/14; col. GC 76.]

In closing, I would say that the need for energy has now come right up the agenda. I hope that we will be able to use our diplomatic weight, but also use a bit of oomph and power, to get a settlement moving this time. Thank you.

7.28 pm

Baroness Hussein-Ece (LD): My Lords, I congratulate my noble friend Lord Northbrook on securing this debate and on his very thoughtful and thorough introduction. In fact, he said some of the things I might have wanted to say.

As has been said, today is the 15 July, the 40th anniversary of the coup instigated by the Greek junta, when Nicos Sampson deposed the elected President, Archbishop Makarios. This date is etched on the memory of Cypriots and Cypriot history. All of us who are connected to Cyprus and are old enough remember with horror the events of that period. We feel the repercussions to this day, as the UN is currently engaged in yet another attempt at a peace deal in the long history of negotiations.

Of course, as the noble Lord, Lord Maginnis, reminded us quite forcefully, the problems did not start in 1974. Although many Cypriots want a peace deal and to be able to live their lives with dignity, hope, security and equality—for all communities—there are still terrific challenges and obstacles to overcome, the greatest being apathy and the lack of belief that it will ever happen.

There have been some encouraging signs, as we have heard from other noble Lords. I was in Cyprus the day after the United States Vice-President Joe Biden visited just a few months ago. His visit served a purpose in raising the profile of the situation in Cyprus to the international community, and led many to believe that there was about to be a breakthrough. However, things have gone rather quiet again recently. Perhaps my noble friend will bring us up to date on whether Her Majesty’s Government are hopeful that we will hear any positive news in the coming weeks and months. As my noble friend Lord Northbrook asked earlier, what has happened to the appointment of the UN special adviser? Surely this indicates a lack of will to appoint somebody in this very important role.

We need to learn lessons from the failure of the Annan plan, 10 years on. Both communities felt excluded from the peace plan that was put before them in a

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referendum. If there is to be a referendum—I hope there will be—can we ensure that this time the communities and civil society are much more engaged, rather than shut out as when the two leaders were shut in a room and came to an agreement without consulting civil society?

I was in Cyprus when the European elections took place in May and I was extremely concerned that thousands of Turkish Cypriots who had registered to vote and had crossed to the south were prevented from exercising their right to vote. For the first time, steps were taken to allow Turkish Cypriots living in the north of the island to cross the Green Line and vote at special election centres. However, just 3% of Turkish Cypriots voted. Many felt as a result that Turkish Cypriot participation in the EU elections was at best tokenism, as it transpired that there was little intention to share the electoral list in advance with Turkish Cypriot candidates who went across and stood for the European Parliament. The TRNC leadership took the position that Turkish Cypriots should boycott the elections—which I and many others did not feel was helpful at the time—but in the end they were able to say that they had been proved right, which hardly helps to build confidence.

Confidence-building, mainly by the UK and the EU, has long been neglected. But I was encouraged, as others have been, that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office recently invited the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot chief negotiators to meet Ministers here. But more needs to be done. The north is in urgent need of investment to improve its infrastructure. It really is a poor relation, stranded outside the EU. We need to reassure people there that the United Kingdom, as a guarantor country, has their interests at heart.

One area that I believe has been much neglected, which the noble Lord, Lord Harrison, mentioned—I thank him for his very kind and generous words—is education. The north has an extremely buoyant, growing and successful university sector, with nine excellent universities, such as the Near East University, which has 22,000 students; almost 25% of those are international students from the Middle East, Africa and around the world. The standards in those universities are excellent. Students who have moved on to other countries, including the United Kingdom—to study for PhDs, for example—confirm that they have encountered few problems in their transition. The universities have become the leading sector of the north Cyprus economy. I ask my noble friend, as did the noble Lord, Lord Harrison, whether Her Majesty’s Government will consider actively working to build consensus and relationships between universities across the island and in the UK, and support the efforts of those universities to allow recognition of the work they are doing rather than leaving them in limbo? This would be a welcome and bold confidence-building measure. Surely education crosses all divides.

I was recently privileged to become the patron of a new and exciting initiative on Cyprus, the first ever Golden Island International Film Festival, which is hoping to bring the film industry and production to the island, to benefit all on the island—to encourage people to invest there economically and culturally and to bring recognition of what Cyprus has to offer. Those are the sorts of initiatives that civil society is

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working hard on despite 40 years of embargoes. There is so much going on on the ground below the level that politicians usually give much attention to. But this demonstrates just how much there is a will among the people of Cyprus and the large Cypriot diaspora in this country to keep things moving there to make the best of a very bad situation.

As I said earlier, there are no magic solutions and I am not going to repeat and rehearse the arguments that we have already heard. On the anniversary there was, as ever, a big demonstration in Trafalgar Square by Greek Cypriots in the UK asking for the withdrawal of Turkish troops. There have been other moves for Varosha outside Famagusta to be handed over as a confidence-building measure. All these issues must be dealt with in a comprehensive peace settlement. We also hear how many Turkish settlers have arrived on the island over the years. But with the lack of any comprehensive peace deal, in reality the north of Cyprus is more and more reliant on Turkey. There are no magic solutions for a peace deal that no one has yet though of. All the options have been discussed and debated for decades. What is really needed is the will to achieve a lasting peace for all Cypriots.

7.36 pm

Lord Hannay of Chiswick (CB): My Lords, being the final Back-Bench speaker in a debate, it is always a little tempting to refer to those who have preceded you. I will try to resist that temptation other than to say to my noble friend Lord Maginnis, whose views I do not entirely share, that as I listened to him launch into his narrative, I closed my eyes and I thought I was back in Rauf Denktas’s office, the former district commissioner’s office in Nicosia, where if you could hear anything above the budgerigars that used to tweet around that office, he would give you that narrative. The only two differences are that his version lasted for 40 minutes—

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass: Mine could, too.

Lord Hannay of Chiswick: —and that he never laid any claim to objectivity.

It is normally sensible not to speak in debates on Cyprus when there is nothing new to say and it is certainly wise not to count the chickens of a Cyprus settlement before they are hatched. After all, no one has yet lost money betting against a Cyprus settlement. Neither of those considerations seems to apply to this debate, initiated in such a welcome and timely manner by the noble Lord, Lord Northbrook. What leads me to this relatively positive view is the emergence of a number of new factors, many of which have been mentioned already, affecting what is after all one of the longest lasting and most debilitating international disputes.

The first of those factors is the presence as leader of the Greek Cypriot community and President of Cyprus of Nicos Anastasiades, a man with a proven track record of supporting the compromises needed to achieve a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, and someone who campaigned in favour of acceptance of the Annan plan, even when such support was likely to be damaging

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to his own political prospects. Since becoming President and despite the distractions of the economic crisis, which nearly overwhelmed Cyprus last year, he has worked steadily to get the settlement negotiations back on track.

Secondly, there is a fundamental shift in the underlying economic arguments in favour of a settlement. In the period from 1996 to 2003, when I was involved in the settlement process, those economic arguments were either ignored or traduced. The Greek Cypriot economy was riding high in the run-up to EU accession. The Turkish Cypriot economy lagged far behind and was stagnant. It was argued, mendaciously, that a settlement would load a huge, fat fiscal burden on to the Greek Cypriot economy. That gap has now narrowed, and the potential advantages for the recovery of the Greek Cypriot economy of a settlement and of free access to the massive Turkish market are more evident and can no longer be discounted.

Thirdly, the discovery of substantial gas deposits in the waters around Cyprus has introduced a new and positive element to the equation. No doubt, I suspect, those energy resources could be developed and commercialised in an autarchic manner by the Greek Cypriots. That remains to be proven, but I think it is unwise to assume that it could not be done. There can surely be little doubt, however, that the benefits to the peoples of Cyprus will be far greater if that development and commercialisation could take place in the framework of a reunited island and with the willing co-operation of Turkey.

Fourthly, there is almost certainly going to be the emergence of Mr Erdogan as the next president of Turkey. That looks more and more like a matter of when and not if. Mr Erdogan did much in the period from 2002 to 2004 to reverse the traditional Turkish policy of supporting Rauf Denktas in blocking a settlement in Cyprus. If he comes to office with a clear, democratic mandate next month, it will surely be fitting and would be advantageous to Turkey—a Turkey which has argued that it needs to have zero problems with its neighbours—if he could use that mandate in support of a negotiated settlement to the Cyprus problem.

Do these four new factors mean that all is set fair for a Cyprus settlement? Of course not. This is, after all, the Cyprus problem, which has defied all attempts at a settlement for 50 years, and where the stars favouring a settlement never seem to be in conjunction. There is, however, enough here, I would suggest, to justify a renewed major effort by the parties in Cyprus, supported by the international community, to reach a settlement. It would be good to hear from the Minister what contribution Britain, which has so many close links with Cyprus and with both its communities, intends to make in support of a search for a negotiated solution.

I will conclude with a few remarks about public opinion and the involvement of Cypriots in a settlement. I have great admiration for Alexandros Lordos, whom the noble Lord, Lord Northbrook, mentioned. He has worked tirelessly to try to erode the barriers between the two communities, and the work he does in testing opinion is extremely valuable. The real obstacle, however, is that the leaders of both sides in Cyprus are not preparing and will not for the moment prepare their

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communities for a settlement which needs to be based on compromise. That was what went on in 2003 and 2004. On the Greek Cypriot side in particular, there had been no preparation of public opinion at all. Public opinion had been fed for the past 35 years on an unadulterated diet of Greek Cypriot maximalist claims. Not surprisingly, it proved impossible to turn them round on a sixpence when the Annan plan was produced. It will be the same again if the leaders cannot bring themselves to prepare their communities for the sort of compromises that will need to be made. I do hope that that process can get under way. Perhaps the noble Baroness could talk a little bit about that too.

7.44 pm

Lord Wood of Anfield (Lab): My Lords, I too thank the noble Lord, Lord Northbrook, for this debate. For 40 years we have seen moments of opportunity come and go but very little progress towards a settlement in Cyprus. Now, as many speakers have said, we have a moment of opportunity that we have not had since the Annan plan of 2004—the noble Baroness, Lady Hussein-Ece, referred to that—and possibly a moment we have not had since 1974.

The people of Cyprus deserve a settlement to bring stability, peace, settlement of long-standing grievances and issues, and the possibility of prosperity. The failure to achieve a settlement in Cyprus, however, also undermines the search for security in a crucial region that is a hinge between Europe and the Middle East. Instability in Cyprus continues to affect the function of the European Union and the ability of the European Union to co-operate effectively with NATO.

For our part, as many speakers have said, the UK has a special responsibility to be a supportive force for resolution because of our colonial past, because of our pivotal roles in the European Union and NATO, and because we are a guarantor power. This year it seems we have a moment for very cautious optimism but, as always, we need optimism grounded in realism.

I will make a few remarks about the principles of our party’s approach to achieving a settlement in Cyprus, to assess the progress in the process that began with the February declaration and to look at the wider issues that any successful process needs to address.

I will start by setting out our party’s approach. We are committed to a just and lasting settlement for the whole of Cyprus. That settlement has to be based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation. We strongly believe that, to use the formulation of the noble Lord, Lord Northbrook, a settlement has to be negotiated by Cypriots, for Cypriots and under the auspices of the UN. Only then will it be acceptable and provide for a just and sustainable solution.

While we do not support recognition for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Turkish Cypriots have interests, aspirations and a burning desire for peace that are as valid as those of Greek Cypriots. Cyprus’s population is about 800,000, of whom 80% are Greek Cypriots and about 11% Turkish Cypriots, but, despite this numerical asymmetry, any just settlement must be based on the principle of equality of treatment of the two communities.

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While peace has to be negotiated by Cypriots themselves, we believe that the UK has a privileged role. We are the main export market for Cyprus, and Cyprus punches above its weight as a destination for UK exports. As the noble Lord, Lord Maginnis, has reminded us, our historical role has been, to put it mildly, a chequered one. Britain took administrative control of Cyprus after the Congress of Berlin in 1878—a Disraeli special—and declared Cyprus a British colony in 1915. Under the terms of the 1960 treaty, we remain one of three guarantor powers.

Of course we have another role, as about 3% of the island of Cyprus is comprised of UK sovereign bases. In government, we proposed that about half the land in bases in Cyprus would be made available to a united island once a resolution was found. Will the Minister tell us the coalition Government’s position on that proposition now that negotiations have begun again?

Recent developments have given us some cause for hope, particularly the joint declaration process that started in February. The declaration signed by representatives of both communities marked the most significant breakthrough that we have had for at least 10 years. There are encouraging signs in the declaration of principles that can form the basis of a lasting settlement. The declaration confirms the unacceptability of the status quo. It commits to the integrity and identity of both Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities. It affirms respect for democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedom. It states that,

“any settlement will be based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality”,

to form a single, sovereign Cyprus inside the European Union. It envisages a federal constitution,

“composed of two constituent states of equal status”,

legitimised by separate and simultaneous referenda.

These are all encouraging shared commitments. It is further encouragement that, although progress has been slow, there have been further meetings, most recently at the beginning of last week. The meeting seems to have made some limited progress—I am being more optimistic than my noble friend—on mutual confidence-building, and ended with a five-step road map being submitted to the Greek Cypriots by the Turkish Cypriot leadership and an agreement to meet again later this month.

I want to ask the Minister about reports that the Turkish Cypriot side has suggested a meeting with the guarantor powers, including the UK, at some point this year after discussions have begun on the highly vexed issue of territory on the island. Are the Government involved in discussions on participating in such a summit? What is the Government’s response to the Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu’s proposal that the referenda take place before the year’s end?

The progress in negotiations is welcome to all of us, but we know that agreement has proved elusive in the past for good reasons. There are significant areas of disagreement and difficulty—issues that have sabotaged previous plans for the past 40 years.

First, there is the bundle of issues around territory, property and displaced persons. The legacy of both the violence of the early 1960s and the Turkish military

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intervention in 1974 is a complex set of issues around the need for land swaps, restitution of property, the status of areas such as Morphou and Famagusta, and church property on the island. It is estimated that around 200,000 Greek Cypriots were forced to leave their land in Northern Cyprus after 1974, and the issue of repatriation of new Turkish settlers on the island was a key factor in the unravelling of the Perez de Cuellar plan in the mid-1980s. These issues are the most sensitive of all and demand more than any other—

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass: I apologise for interrupting, but I did not pick up what the noble Lord said. Did he say that Greek Cypriots had to abandon their territory and did he fail to mention the fact that Turkish Cypriots—for example, on the site of the present airport in the south—had to abandon theirs? Did he overlook that point?

Lord Wood of Anfield: No, absolutely not. The noble Lord is absolutely right: Cypriots of both communities have had to leave land. Working out a final agreement on settlement and property restitution affects both communities. These issues demand more than any other a spirit of pragmatism, compromise and trust between the representatives of the two communities.

Secondly, there are the issues around the Cypriot economy and trade with the European Union and the neighbourhood. On the Greek side of the island, Cyprus has seriously suffered from the fallout of the financial crash and a bailout—or rather a bail-in, to be more accurate—of Cypriot banks which imposed a levy on depositors, in banks that were supposedly covered by a deposit insurance scheme. It was a move which in my view the EU would not have countenanced for the larger members of the EU but which was seen as okay for smaller ones.

Meanwhile, Turkish Cyprus continues to have no direct trade relations with the European Union. Ten years ago, the EU proposed giving more than €260 million to the Turkish Cypriots for infrastructure spending and to open up trade with them, but, sadly, very little progress has been made on this front in the past decade. I would like the Minister’s view on whether there is any prospect with the advent of a new Commission and a newly elected European Parliament for any limited progress in the next few months in that area.

Lastly, there is the question of constitutional arrangements. Prior to 1974, Cyprus had a constitution that one expert called,

“unique in its tortuous complexity”.

Of course, any constitutional arrangement that provides rights of self-government for two communities, as well as rules for decision-making at the federal level, is bound to be complex, but so-called consociational arrangements for countries with a history of conflict between two or more communities can take root and endure. I appreciate that these solutions take time, but can the Minister tell us whether any thinking is going on in the Government about offering assistance in the form of constitutional expertise to the communities?

There is a line in the February declaration that reads that,

“nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.

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It is a simple maxim, but a crucial one. If 2014 is, as the communities’ leaders seem to want it to be, the year in which a successful negotiation is concluded, they have to provide a credible and legitimate way through on all these issues and not just on some.

It is said of Aphrodite, who was born in Cyprus, that because of her beauty, other gods feared their rivalry over her would interrupt the peace among them. Surely it is time for us all to combine our efforts to ensure that peace and stability in Cyprus are interrupted no longer.

7.54 pm

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lord Northbrook for calling this debate and for having it in the main Chamber. I thank other noble Lords for their valuable and eloquent contributions. I know that several noble Lords maintain close contacts with a range of Cypriot and Turkish interlocutors, and I commend their continued support for efforts to unify Cyprus. The interventions today have shown the full extent of the UK’s strategic interest in a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus. The Cypriots would be the main beneficiaries of a solution, for which they have waited too long, but, as noble Lords have pointed out, it is also right to be aware of the advantages for the wider region. I welcome the recognition given by many noble Lords to the intense efforts of this Government in support of the current round of talks. We will continue to support the UN and the leaders of both communities in these negotiations.

As part of our diplomatic efforts, my right honourable friend the Minister for Europe invited the two chief negotiators to London in June. They both showed determination and seriousness to negotiate a solution. It is not unusual at this stage of any peace talks for there to be disagreements on the process and on the substance. The two communities—and, just as importantly, Turkey—are showing the right level of ambition to reach a settlement. No one should underestimate the scale of the potential challenges ahead, but there has been no better time in recent years to achieve a lasting solution.

I am aware that today is the 40th anniversary of the coup. The difficult events of the summer of 1974 continue to cast a long shadow over Cyprus. This is a moment also to remember all those Cypriots who have been victims of violence since independence. At the time, British military intervention was seen as contradicting the long-standing UK policy of pursuing a peaceful settlement of the dispute by means of negotiations between the parties under the aegis of the UN. This Government’s focus is on supporting the reunification of Cyprus. If noble Lords want to examine the UK’s policy at the time, I refer them to the report of the House of Commons Select Committee on Cyprus which was published in 1976. In response to my noble friend Lord Balfe, I can confirm that the Government’s position has not changed and we do not recognise the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

I understand that members of each community and noble Lords in this House tend to interpret past events in different ways, and indeed the exact population

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percentages are contested even today. I note the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Maginnis. I hope that he takes my comment about a previous speech of his being a “robust alternative critique” in a positive manner. I of course pay tribute to those British personnel who lost their lives during that emergency period, and the noble Lord, Lord Maginnis, referred to that. Given the long history of the negotiations, there is much valuable previous work to draw on, and we are encouraging both sides to establish areas of agreement on the unresolved core issues as soon as possible.

A number of noble Lords, including my noble friend Lord Northbrook, asked about the UN special adviser. We have discussed this matter with the UN and with the parties and of course support an early appointment. The previous special adviser, Alexander Downer, who was referred to in this debate, has made great efforts during the past six years to help the parties reach a solution. A new special adviser could help the parties achieve what they say they want, but the process, as a number of noble Lords have said, must be led by the Cypriots, who will need full ownership of any solution. I hope that my noble friend Lord Sharkey will understand if I am not drawn on names at this stage.

The noble Lord, Lord Harrison, and my noble friend Lady Hussein-Ece spoke about the current state of play. Noble Lords will be aware that talks resumed on 11 February. The leaders have since then met five times and we welcome their commitment to reach a solution. Both sides now have a much better sense of each other’s positions and concerns, and they have begun seeking the common ground in a number of areas. We hope to see further progress from September, when we expect a new UN special adviser to be in place. We would also consider what further political support the Security Council could give to the process, including during the United Nations General Assembly week.

Leaders in both communities also need to prepare the public for a settlement. My noble friend Lady Hussein-Ece spoke about the civil society being engaged. I fully agree with her recommendations. As negotiations make progress, greater civil society involvement is highly desirable. This Government have given practical support to increasing civil society participation in the process. Just yesterday, business leaders from both sides reached an agreement on mobile phone roaming across the whole of Cyprus. As the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, said, a better understanding of the benefits of a solution can only help ordinary Cypriots to make an informed decision in the referenda to come. I pay tribute to the work of the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, who for many years has given huge service and commitment to this cause.

Her Majesty’s Government have also co-funded, with the United Nations, an initiative to promote the involvement of civic and business leaders in the talks. We also maintain good relations with a wide spectrum of Cypriot society and with the diaspora in London. Faith groups, too, have given their backing to the current talks and our High Commissioner in Cyprus attended the landmark Good Friday church service in Famagusta. In May, my right honourable friend the Minister for Europe and the Archbishop of Cyprus met in London and agreed the importance of interfaith

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dialogue in support of the talks. For the first time since 1963, Muslim prayers were recently held in a historic mosque in Nicosia.

In response to the noble Lord, Lord Wood, I can confirm that the UK has maintained the offer to cede nearly half the sovereign base area territories in the event of a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus.

The noble Lord, Lord Hannay, and others have rightly spoken of the economic benefits of a settlement. A united Cyprus would benefit from a larger and more efficient economy and an improved investment climate.

Lord Kilclooney (CB): When the Minister says we are prepared to cede our sovereign territories to Cyprus, to which part of Cyprus does she mean? To the Greek Cypriot part if there is a settlement, to the Turkish Cypriot part if there is a settlement, or to both parts?

Baroness Warsi: We hope that the settlement will ensure that there is a united Cyprus.

A united Cyprus would benefit from a larger and more efficient economy, an improved investment climate and improved trading relations with Turkey and the wider Middle East. A solution would also allow Cyprus fully to exploit its natural resources. I welcome the increased attention being paid to the economic dimension. More than a year after the bailout agreement, the Cypriot economy is doing better than expected, but there are challenges ahead. We are providing technical assistance in the area of public sector reform to support Cyprus’s efforts to implement the troika memorandum, which sets out the framework for troika support to the Cypriot economy. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Harrison, will see that as part of the UK’s support for public sector reform.

The noble Lord, Lord Harrison, also raised the issue of direct flights. This would, of course, help. The UK Court of Appeal has confirmed that direct flights from the UK to the northern part of Cyprus would breach our obligations under international law. The court found that it was for the Republic of Cyprus to determine which airports are open to international traffic, and as a result no airlines are licensed to operate flights from the UK direct to the north of Cyprus. The UK supports the European Commission’s proposal for a direct trade regulation to enhance the Turkish Cypriot community’s access to EU markets. Disagreements over the legal basis mean that this has not yet been agreed. A comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem would mean that such measures would not be required, since the whole island would enjoy the benefits of EU membership.

The noble Lord, Lord Harrison, asked about UK support at the time of the financial crisis. For a settlement to work, the Turkish Cypriot constituent state will need to be ready to function as part of a united Cyprus within the EU. Since 2004, the UK and the EU have funded a range of projects, including during the period of the financial crisis, supporting modernisation of the public administration, which we think is necessary in order to be ready for a settlement. Now that talks have resumed and are making progress, it may be time to look again at what more the EU could do so that a settlement is viable.

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My noble friend Lord Balfe spoke about Turkish Cypriot isolation. The UK remains committed to supporting the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community and bringing Turkish Cypriots closer to Europe. They are, after all, EU citizens. The status quo is, of course, difficult for all Cypriots, and the Turkish Cypriots in particular feel the effects of Cyprus’s division.

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass: I interrupt only briefly. Is there not a contradiction in what the Minister has just said? The Turkish Cypriots are members of the European Community, but we do not recognise them and we will not recognise them. To put it simply, we do not give any place to self-determination.

Baroness Warsi: Of course, it is because there is a dispute that we are in the state that we are. It may not be the answer that the noble Lord wishes to hear, but unfortunately, that is the current state of play.

The noble Lord, Lord Wood, asked about an international conference. The UK stands ready to participate in such a conference once the parties have reached a greater level of convergence on the core issues of the settlement process. He also asked about the constitutional reform process. Again, we stand ready to respond to a request from either of the parties for technical advice on constitutional issues or to do anything to support the settlement process.

A number of noble Lords, including my noble friends Lord Northbrook, Lord Balfe and Lady Hussein-Ece asked about Cyprus’s exploitation of its natural resources. We accept the Republic of Cyprus’s sovereign right to exploit its natural resources and it remains our position that such resources should be exploited for the benefit of all the communities in Cyprus. Estimates of the scale of the natural resources vary, though the potential is clearly significant. We are aware of the Turkish Cypriot proposals on hydrocarbons and it is for the leaders of the two communities to work together on any proposals to share the revenue from Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone. We would welcome any agreement which the two communities can reach on this.

The noble Lord, Lord Harrison, asked about universities, including the Bologna process in higher

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education. We would support further measures to address Turkish Cypriot isolation. The British Council already helps Turkish Cypriot students access educational opportunities across Europe. However, once again the status of the north, as the noble Lord, Lord Maginnis, has just mentioned, poses constraints on what we and the EU institutions can do.

Reunification is not only about economics. A settlement would make a substantial contribution to the security and prosperity of the region, unlock Turkey’s EU accession process and enable full co-operation between the EU and NATO. That is all the more important given the new challenges that a number of noble Lords referred to in the European neighbourhood, as we have seen in Ukraine. Turkey is Europe’s emerging power and Cyprus is the EU’s easternmost member. Both share a sometimes difficult region. A unified Cyprus could well become a role model of intercommunity harmony—one of peace and prosperity founded on deepening relationships with its neighbours.

We of course followed closely the Turkish Cypriots’ recent experience of the European parliamentary elections in Cyprus—something that my noble friend Lady Hussein-Ece referred to. My officials in Nicosia have spoken to Turkish Cypriot politicians, Republic of Cyprus officials and the European Commission. We do not believe that the difficulties encountered on the day were due to deliberate obstruction by the Republic of Cyprus authorities, but that does not, of course, lessen the frustration and sense of discrimination felt by many Turkish Cypriots who believe that they were eligible for the first time to vote in these elections.

In conclusion, this debate has underlined the warmth of the ties between the UK and Cyprus, and that this Government firmly believe that a solution that meets the fundamental concerns of both communities is available. The benefits of a solution, whether political, economic, social or in terms of security, are clear. The parties have stated their willingness to reach a deal, and Cypriots of both communities want to live and prosper together in peace. This Government will continue to encourage them in that noble and achievable ambition. Once again, I am grateful to the noble Lord for giving us the opportunity to discuss these important issues.

House adjourned at 8.08 pm.