Wednesday 21st April 2021

(3 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Chris Philp Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Chris Philp)
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I beg to move,

That the draft Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2021, which was laid before this House on 19 April, be approved.

This Government are committed to taking all necessary steps to protect the people of this country. Tackling terrorism in all its guises is a key element of that mission. The threat level in the UK, which is set by the independent joint terrorism analysis centre, remains at substantial. That means that a terrorist attack in our country is likely.

Bob Stewart Portrait Bob Stewart (Beckenham) (Con)
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Can the Minister give the figures for how many terrorist attacks have been thwarted by our security services? I realise that he may not be able to do so.

Chris Philp Portrait Chris Philp
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I can confirm to my right hon. Friend that our security services and our counter-terrorism police work tirelessly to foil terror plots. In fact, in the past four years since 2017, 28 such terror plots have been successfully thwarted. I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our security services, our counter-terrorism police and all those who work in the law enforcement and intelligence community for the work they do, often at risk to themselves, to keep us, our constituents and our fellow citizens safe on a daily basis.

The constantly evolving nature of terrorism means that we continuously have to consider whether new action is necessary to ensure that our response is adapted to the threat picture. The danger posed by terrorist organisations varies from one group to another. There are those that recruit, radicalise, promote and encourage terrorism, as well as those that prepare and commit terrible acts of violence against innocent members of the public. We have a duty to tackle all those groups. While we can never entirely eliminate the threat from terrorism, we can minimise the danger that it poses and keep the public safe.

In that spirit, 76 international terrorist organisations are currently proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000. Thanks to the dedication, courage and skill of our counter-terrorism police and our security and intelligence services, most of those groups have never carried out a successful attack on UK soil. Proscription is a powerful tool for degrading terrorist organisations, and I will explain the impact that it can have shortly. The group that we now propose to add to the list of terrorist organisations, by amending schedule 2 of the Terrorism Act 2000, is the Atomwaffen Division, or AWD, and its alias, the National Socialist Order, or NSO. The AWD is a predominantly US-based white supremacist group that was active under that guise between 2015 and 2020. The NSO is the alias of the AWD, and it has claimed to be the AWD’s successor group. It remains active to this day. The group’s actions, which seek to divide communities, stir up hatred and incite terrorism, are entirely contrary to the interests of our nation.

Under section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2000, the Home Secretary has the power to proscribe an organisation if she believes that it is currently concerned in terrorism. If the statutory test is met, the Home Secretary may then exercise her discretion to proscribe that organisation. The Home Secretary considers a number of factors in considering whether to exercise that discretion, including the nature and scale of the organisation’s activities and the need to support other members of the international community in tackling terrorism.

The effect of proscription is to outlaw a listed organisation and ensure that it is unable to operate in the United Kingdom. It is a criminal offence for a person to belong to, support or arrange a meeting in support of a proscribed organisation. It is a criminal offence to wear clothing or carry articles in public that arouse reasonable suspicion that an individual is a member of that organisation. The penalties for proscription offences can be up to 10 years in prison or an unlimited fine, and the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill, which I believe is due to receive Royal Assent next week, includes provisions to increase the penalty for certain proscription offences to 14 years.

Proscription is designed to crack down on a group’s ability to operate, through various means including enabling prosecution, supporting the takedown of online material, underpinning immigration-related disruptions—for example, excluding members of the group from United Kingdom—and making it possible to seize cash. Given the wide-ranging impact of this power, the Home Secretary exercises it only after thoroughly reviewing the available evidence on any organisation, whether that is open-source material, intelligence material or advice that reflects consultation across Government, the intelligence agencies, law enforcement and international partners. Decisions are taken with great care and consideration, and it is appropriate that such orders must be approved by both Houses of Parliament.

Having carefully considered the evidence, the Home Secretary believes that the AWD, including through the activities of its alias, the NSO, is concerned in terrorism and that the discretionary factors weigh in favour of proscription. Although I am unable to comment on specific intelligence, I can provide the House with a summary of the group’s activities. It celebrates a collection of noxious essays that advocate the use of violence to bring about a fascist, white ethno-state by initiating the collapse of modern society via an ideology known as accelerationism. AWD’s online propaganda has encouraged and promoted terrorist acts, and this content remains influential among accelerationist terrorist groups.

We know that AWD has inspired, at least in part, several loosely affiliated franchise groups abroad, including Feuerkrieg Division, which was proscribed in July last year. In March 2020, AWD claimed that it had disbanded, following pressure from US law enforcement agencies, but in July 2020, NSO announced itself online as AWD’s successor, adhering to the same abhorrent ideology. We therefore believe that NSO should be covered as an alias organisation of AWD. Our strategy to combat terrorism looks at the full spectrum of activity. It is absolutely right that this includes confronting square on the threats from groups who call for violence and mass murder and who unlawfully glorify horrific terrorist acts so that they are prevented from continuing to stir up hatred and incite or carry out terrorism.

When groups without a physical presence in the UK are proscribed, particularly when looking at groups such as AWD, which have an established online presence, it is important to consider the impact that proscription has. By proscribing supremacist, accelerationist terrorist groups such as these, we underline our commitment to ensuring that the UK is a hostile environment for individuals involved in terrorist activity. Our objective is to ensure that there are no safe spaces for any of these terrorist groups or their ideologies, in which they are able to promote or share their extreme views. We are committed to preventing that from happening, so in proscribing AWD and NSO, we send a clear signal that dissemination of the group’s online propaganda is unacceptable.

The Home Office continues to work closely with law enforcement, our international partners and tech companies, including through the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, to collaboratively tackle the spread of terrorism content online. We know that the proscription of groups helps tech companies to better tackle terrorist materials on their platforms. We believe that there is a strong case for the Government to proscribe AWD and to list NSO as an alias. It will build on the robust action that the Government have already been taking by proscribing National Action and its aliases, Sonnenkrieg Division and Feuerkrieg Division.

Our message is clear: we will always take every possible action to counter the threat from those who hate the values we cherish. The safety and security of the public is our No. 1 priority and I therefore commend this order to the House.

Bambos Charalambous Portrait Bambos Charalambous (Enfield, Southgate) (Lab)
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This Labour Opposition have made it clear repeatedly that our first, overriding priority is, and always will be, to protect the British public and keep our communities safe. This includes from those who cynically and dangerously attack our values, customs and way of life through the provocation and perpetration of horrendous acts of terror. It is right that this foul group be outlawed as a terrorist organisation, so we welcome and support this proscription motion, which sends a strong message that racism, fascism and the glorification of terrorism simply will not be tolerated in our society or on our streets. We also welcome the clarity and direction that this measure will provide to counter-terrorism policing and the intelligence and security services, as well as their operational partners in respect of this organisation and its members.

As has been touched on, Atomwaffen Division, or AWD, is a white supremacist group, predominantly US-based, and it was active between the years 2015 and 2020. Disturbingly, AWD believes in an ideology that has come to be known as accelerationism. This group follows a collection of writings that advocate violence to bring about a white ethno-state by instigating the collapse of society through a race war. It is reported that AWD’s techniques include the harassment of public figures, such as politicians, journalists and others, and organising terror plots.

AWD’s vile propaganda in the online sphere has promoted and sparked terrorist activity. The content very likely remains influential among accelerationist terrorist groups. It is said that AWD inspired affiliated franchise groups abroad including Feuerkrieg Division—the last terrorist group to be proscribed. In March 2020, AWD claimed it had disbanded. The National Socialist Order announced itself as AWD’s successor in July 2020, following the same aims and ideology. It is believed that AWD is almost certainly operating under the NSO alias. Shockingly, under the guise of the NSO, the group has dedicated itself to bringing about white power government by “any means necessary”; this is seen to be an open endorsement of violence.

We know that the threat from far-right extremism and terrorism here in the UK and abroad is rising. Home Office figures show that the number of far-right prisoners in custody for terrorism-related offences has grown steadily for the last seven years. In the year ending December 2020, there were 42 persons holding far-right ideologies in custody for terror offences—the highest number on record, and accounting for a fifth of those in custody for terrorism-related offences. To put that into perspective, only five years previously in the year ending 2015, there were five persons with far-right ideologies in custody for terrorism-related offences, accounting for just 3% of those in custody for terror offences.

The latest Home Office figures for Prevent and Channel show that 43% of the 697 Channel cases in the year ending March 2019 were initially referred due to concerns about right-wing radicalisation—the most common reason by more than 90 cases. Some 22% of Prevent referrals more widely were referred due to right-wing radicalisation concerns.

It is profoundly concerning that AWD seems to have been operational since 2015 and to have expanded in March 2020, yet it is only now that decisive action is being taken. We raised similar concerns on the adequacy of timing back in July 2020, during the proscription of the white supremacist group Feuerkrieg Division. Why on earth has is taken so long for the Government to recognise this threat and finally proscribe this group? It is already way past its peak and action has already been taken against it in the USA. The slowness of the UK’s response begs the question: is the proscription process really fit for purpose? We have previously raised the need for action to be taken against organisations such as the Nazi occultist group, Order of Nine Angles, which has influenced Atomwaffen Division and still seems able to operate freely in the UK.

Counter-terrorism police leaders have long warned about the growing threat from far-right terrorism both here in the UK and abroad. I ask the Minister whether counter-terrorism policing has been granted all the funding and additional resources it has requested to tackle the operations of Atomwaffen Division and National Socialist Order, and shut down their existing networks. Can he tell me whether enforcement orders are being tracked and enforced?

We need to know what steps the Government are taking to ensure that proscription measures have the maximum possible impact, including preventing the group’s illicit operation in new formats in both the online and offline arenas. Proscription should be at the start of the enforcement process, not the end. Will the Minister tell me whether a ban has been imposed on the association of Atomwaffen Division to prevent the group from setting up as a new organisation again?

Today demonstrates yet more conclusive evidence of the Home Secretary’s lack of a robust, coherent strategy to deal with the growing menace of far-right terrorism. Labour has long warned the Government about this, but where is the action? How can the Home Secretary seriously claim that she is doing everything in her reach to address the threat without such a strategy, and how many times do the Opposition have to raise this matter? I trust that the Minister will recognise the gravity and urgency of these questions in the context of today’s motion and in terms of protecting the public, and I hope he can provide suitably adequate assurances to the House.

I wish to put on record our thanks to HOPE not hate for its hard work and dedication in monitoring the activities of far-right extremist organisations.

Our priority is to keep the public and our communities safe. Today’s proscription order is welcome in relation to that most important of goals, but we are seeing an emerging pattern from this Government—one of dither and delay on these vital decisions, with action happening far too late. Ministers must prove that they have a robust enough strategy to address this worrying rise in far-right extremism and terrorism, and tackle this appalling threat.

Stuart C McDonald Portrait Stuart C. McDonald (Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East) (SNP) [V]
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I too thank the Minister for setting out the reasons behind the tabling of this order. Of course, we fully support the proscription of Atomwaffen Division and its National Socialist Order alias. There is little more I can add to what has already been said about why that is the right thing to do. AWD is a neo-Nazi white supremacist group which rails against Jews, LGBT people and other minorities. It promotes and celebrates violence and terrorism. It has made efforts, as I understand it, to recruit from the US military. The proscription of this horrendous organisation is therefore absolutely appropriate. That is particularly so against a backdrop of right-wing extremism that is a growing problem in the US, at home and elsewhere, an extremism that is increasingly vicious and increasingly attracted to violence.

There are four issues I want to raise with the Minister as constructively as possible. The first, echoing what the shadow Minister the hon. Member for Enfield, Southgate (Bambos Charalambous) said, is about timing—why now? The explanatory memorandum sets out that AWD has inspired, at least in part, several loosely affiliated franchise groups abroad, including Feuerkrieg Division which was proscribed here in July 2020—the Minister repeated that himself. Similarly, it is just over a year since we debated in support of the proscription of Sonnenkrieg Division—SKD. Some describe SKD as the UK arm of Atomwaffen Division. We know that in December 2018 three members of SDK were arrested for threatening to kill Prince Harry and that the leaders had been in direct contact with senior AWD members. All that prompts the question why did we not proscribe AWD at those earlier points in time when we knew of those associations? The explanatory memorandum itself suggests that AWD has already passed the peak of its powers. Why could this not have happened earlier? As the shadow Minister said, timing is an issue that has been raised before and similar complaints are regularly made at debates of this type. Last year, when SKD and System Resistance Network were proscribed, that happened only after the hon. Member for Cardiff South and Penarth (Stephen Doughty) in particular had for many months been calling for such action in the Home Affairs Committee and in the Chamber. I think we will hear from him shortly. If we are to maximise the disruptive potential of the orders, is there not more potential to act speedily?

On a related note, again echoing what the shadow Minister said, we know there have been calls from HOPE not hate and others for the Order of Nine Angles to also be proscribed, adding that it has been a key influence on AWD and several other Nazi terror groups, and implicated in planned terror attacks in the USA. Is there not a danger that the Government are repeating their slow step-by-step approach and thereby again limiting the ability of these orders to cause disruption?

Secondly, I want to ask the Minister about what international discussions there have been with allies about this specific group and the more general approach to proscription. It was noticeable that when reporting on the recent Australian decision to proscribe SKD, The Sydney Morning Herald quoted an Australian security intelligence organisation official in saying that other extremist groups had been suggested for prohibition by the UK. However, it was decided that they did not meet the legal definition and that the UK’s definition for proscribing a terrorist organisation was broader than Australia’s. I appreciate that the Minister will be limited about what he can say with regard to those discussions, but does that not highlight the need for better co-ordinated international action to tackle the specific and unique threat posed by far-right terror groups? We know—I think I have already mentioned this—that the international connections among white supremacist groups are complicated, but there are, apparently, all sorts of close relationships, with members drawing inspiration from each other.

Thirdly, what recent assessment has the Minister made of how effective proscription is proving to be and will continue to be? I think he used the word “powerful” to describe it as a powerful tool. We know it does lead to disruption and the arrest of members, but equally the fact that we are continually adding aliases, while I appreciate that that is absolutely and appropriate, raises the question of whether we are really causing anything more than inconvenience to these actors. I just ask simply: what can be done to maximise the potential impact of the orders?

Fourthly and finally, can we look again at precisely how we scrutinise these orders? I appreciate there are good reasons why the Government do not want to give significant advanced notice to the groups they are planning to proscribe, hence this instrument was laid only two days ago, and nor, of course, can the Government publish the information that the proscription review group has about these organisations, but that does tend to mean, as former independent terrorism legislation reviewer David Anderson said, that these debates can be perfunctory. These are significant powers. While this is a clearcut case, others will not be so clearcut. So how can we strengthen the scrutiny process? Is there possibly a role for the Intelligence and Security Committee in scrutinising these decisions? What more can we do to improve oversight?

In conclusion, in due course we should perhaps have a broader debate on the use and operation of these powers, but for today we of course fully support the proscription of this horrendous organisation and pay tribute to all who work hard to tackle and contain such groups, and to keep us safe.

Stephanie Peacock Portrait Stephanie Peacock (Barnsley East) (Lab)
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I welcome the banning of the AWD. It is a dangerous Nazi group and any Government action against such groups is welcome. Far-right terrorism is on the rise and is currently the fastest-growing terror threat in the country. Although I of course welcome proscription, the banning of an organisation must be the start of the enforcement process, not the end.

As parliamentary chair of HOPE not hate, an anti-fascist campaign group, I have spoken previously in the Chamber about the threat of the far right, particularly with regard to the Order of Nine Angles. HOPE not hate has consistently provided a clear case for the proscription of the O9A. It is not a new organisation—it has been active since the 1970s—and its members make use of largely unmonitored, encrypted social media platforms to incite hatred and inspire people to commit acts of terror.

Over the past 24 months alone, eight Nazis who have been linked to the O9A have been convicted for terror offences in the UK, with the majority of them in their teens. Strong evidence suggests that children as young as 13 are being groomed by the group. It is believed that the O9A’s core membership is around 2,300 people, with a further 2,000 sympathisers worldwide. This is no fringe group; it is a very serious organisation and is quickly becoming one of the most extreme far-right terror groups in the UK.

In July last year, a US soldier was charged with giving the O9A classified information on his unit’s deployment, with the intent of the group attacking the unit. A second soldier has posted pictures of himself brandishing O9A literature, alongside the caption “Hidden in plain sight”. Such groups make use of encrypted social media platforms and dark online spaces, so it is extremely difficult to track their movement and activity.

It is more than a year since I co-ordinated a letter from a cross-party group of MPs calling for the O9A to be banned, and I also met the Minister for Security, the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (James Brokenshire). I am therefore disappointed that, despite vocal pressure and constructive discussion from me and other colleagues, and compelling evidence from HOPE not hate, the Government have missed an opportunity and are still unwilling to act and proscribe the group. Will the Minister tell the House why that is?

It is becoming clear that the Government need to conduct a review of the proscription process. Ministers have previously told me that they cannot give a running commentary on the workings in this policy area, but will they answer the following question themselves? Does the proscription review process have sufficient resources to ensure that it is able to move briskly enough? Are Ministers seriously satisfied that it has taken this long to ban the AWD? Given that the far right poses the fastest-growing terror threat, are Minister satisfied that intelligence gathering is sufficiently strong to proactively consider groups that engage in activities close to the threshold for proscription? Are Ministers happy with the level of enforcement against proscribed organisations and their members?

In the past, proscription was the culmination of the process against a group, whereas it should merely be the start. I again urge the Government to review the process in full and seriously to consider the proscription of other groups—such as the Order of Nine Angles—that have a clear and consistent record of spreading hate and conspiring to commit acts of terror.

Charlotte Nichols Portrait Charlotte Nichols (Warrington North) (Lab)
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I am sure that all of us in this House are united in opposing violent, fascist and anti-democratic terrorist activity. We will all agree on proscribing the Atomwaffen Division, which calls for white supremacy and race war, but it is clear that the measure before us was not introduced soon enough and does not go far enough.

Fascist political activity online now has global reach, and Nazis in one country inspire and encourage those elsewhere, while seeking to twist political debate to their race-obsessed ideologies, particularly on social media. Sites such as Parler, 8chan and BitChute are a hotbed of extremist content, and more mainstream social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook and Reddit, both host such content and point users towards the more niche parts of the internet where terrorist activity is glorified and copycat activity encouraged.

Governments must take this issue more seriously and be more adept at responding to the threats posed by these groups. The Atomwaffen Division formed in 2015 and claims to have disbanded back in March 2020, to be replaced by its successor, the National Socialist Order. Will the Minister set out what will be done to speed up future proscriptions?

This is a missed opportunity. I commend HOPE not hate as the leading and tireless campaigners against fascism in this country. HOPE not hate was instrumental in intervening in a murder plot against one of my hon. Friends. The organisation is clear that this was a chance also to ban the Order of Nine Angles, a Nazi occult group that promotes terrorism, murder, sexual violence and child abuse. HOPE not hate recommended that it be proscribed in March 2020—over a year ago—yet there has still been no action to ban it and to give the police the specific instruction to disband it. Over the past two years, eight Nazis linked to the Order of Nine Angles have been convicted of terror offences in the UK. Between 2015 and 2020, the number of people holding far-right ideologies in custody in the UK for terror offences increased fivefold. These are dangerous, vile networks, and the Government should be taking a proactive lead to quash them.

Our political debate is vulnerable to these extremist groups pushing their racist poison, which can then seep through into the mainstream, as when a Warrington Conservative council candidate tweeted at me, as a Jewish woman, to

“Keep the Aryan race going”

about the Prime Minister’s baby. For the safety of all of us, the Government should be faster and tougher in banning these Nazi groups, particularly with the danger of vulnerable children and young people being recruited online and given the delays in bringing forward robust online harms legislation to protect them from such a threat.

I commend the Community Security Trust for its work in monitoring threats from far-right organisations, such as those under discussion today, to the Jewish community, including Jewish MPs like myself. It has been an incredible support since I was first elected, and I do not think I could have made it through this year without it. The Jewish community should not need to have guards outside our schools and places of worship, but we know from events in the UK, US and Europe that, as long as these Nazi organisations are free to recruit others, we still need those guards.

More robust action against far-right organisations that we know pose a threat—not only to public figures, but to the wider community and to the very fabric of multiculturalism in Britain—will ensure that the police and other organisations that tackle violent extremism in the UK are better equipped to deal with that threat. I hope that the Home Secretary will bring forward measures on the so-called Order of Nine Angles and other Nazi organisations not covered by existing proscriptions.

Jim Shannon Portrait Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP)
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It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Warrington North (Charlotte Nichols). I wholeheartedly endorse her comments, because I also believe that fascism is a threat to everyone in this great United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as indeed are others.

I thank the Minister for his speech and for the hard work he has done up until now and will do in the future, and also our Government for all they do to protect us. I also wish to put on record my sincere thanks to the police, MI5 and others that ensure we can continue to have such democratic opportunities in this society. Everyone who makes that happen and helps that happen deserves our sincere thanks.

Coming as I do from Northern Ireland, I am very aware of the attack in Dungiven on the policewoman and her child as they went to get into a car. I wish to put on record my condemnation of the attack—that deed was targeted in Dungiven in Londonderry—and I think every one of us today realises just how important it is to record our condemnation.

As someone who has lived in Northern Ireland all my life—through some 30-odd years of a terrorism campaign and having served in the Ulster Defence Regiment in that role—I am very aware that many good friends have given their lives in uniform, in the Army and the police, over the years. I always want to put that on record, and I thank them personally in this House today. We have been able to sleep in our beds because of their efforts.

In Northern Ireland, we have seen the devastating impact of the use of abuse for political activism, turning it into political terrorism, and I am always mindful, as my mum would have said, of nipping that problem in the bud. I hope that the Minister is sincerely and honestly trying to nip it in the bud.

Following the murders carried out in the US, the Minister has laid out the impact in his speech to the House, indicating that youths arrested for terror offences have such links. Outlawing the group called Atomwaffen Division carries my full support and that of my party, the Democratic Unionist party. I understand that the group has been linked to National Action and, as the Minister said, it is also known as the National Socialist Order. It does and could create a potential threat for every one of us in this House and our constituents outside it. Will the Minister confirm that this action will also address the offshoots—any youth programmes and so on affiliated with the group?

What steps can be taken to help those young people who have been radicalised? Radicalisation in our society is a scourge, whatever side it comes from. Whether it comes from the left or the right, it destroys lives and young people. We must take action to address that ill. Will this order apply to Northern Ireland? There is some indication that National Action has been trying to organise there, and I have concerns about that. There is also evidence that AWD has been trying to gain access to and increase its influence in parts of Northern Ireland.

I congratulate the Minister and the Government on this positive concrete action that will extend to all groups that threaten the stability of the Government and society. Groups that attack people purely because of their ethnicity or religious background must be taken out of society. The Government have responded to this issue in a positive way, and I think all hon. Members will welcome what they have done, and look forward to such positive action in other cases as they arise.

Chris Philp Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Chris Philp)
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I thank Members from across the House for the constructive tone they have taken in contributing to this debate. I will pick up on one or two of the points raised before concluding and making way for the Government’s newest Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Leo Docherty), who I see is preparing to make his well-deserved debut on the Front Bench.

The shadow Minister asked about the speed at which this process unfolds, and various other Members, including the hon. Member for Barnsley East (Stephanie Peacock), asked about other groups that might be under consideration. Given how significant these powers are, and given that someone who is a member of a proscribed organisation or conducts activities in association with it is liable for a prison sentence of up to 10 years—soon to be increased to 14 years—it is right that such matters are considered in a thoughtful and careful way, and not in haste. I assure the shadow Minister, and other Members, that where organisations are suspected of being involved in terrorist activities of this nature, the Government, the Home Office and the intelligence community will move as quickly as they can. I will certainly pass on the remarks I have heard from various Members this afternoon to my colleague the Minister for Security, to ensure that those points are raised.

The shadow Minister asked about resources for counter-terrorism policing, and I am pleased to remind the House that last year there was a £90 million—10%—increase in the resources made available for that, increasing expenditure to £900 million a year. Counter-terrorism policing is categorically getting the funding it needs to keep us safe.

Jim Shannon Portrait Jim Shannon
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Can the Minister confirm that some of those moneys are being allocated to Northern Ireland where terrorism is a real threat?

Chris Philp Portrait Chris Philp
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I confirm to the hon. Gentleman that Northern Ireland gets its fair share of counter-terrorism police funding. As we know, that issue has been so serious and so acute over many years.

The shadow Minister asked about ensuring we take action against groups that appear in new formats, or groups that discard their old name and organisation but start up as the same organisation in substance, but in a different guise. That is why the concept of aliases is so important. Indeed, we are using that concept today as we formally recognise NSO as effectively an alias of AWD. That is the mechanism by which we ensure that groups cannot just cast off one identity and assume another.

The hon. Member for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East (Stuart C. McDonald) asked about international discussions. I obviously will not comment on the detail of those, because they touch on security and intelligence issues, but I can confirm that we are in very frequent and close discussion with international partners—particularly Five Eyes countries, but much more widely than that as well—to make sure that we are co-operating and exchanging information on these terrorist groups, to protect our citizens and other citizens from the serious threat that they pose.

The hon. Member asked about follow-up. I agree that proscription is just the beginning, not the end, of the process. The intelligence community and counter-terrorism police continue to monitor and follow up on these organisations. It is for that reason that, since 2001, 49 convictions have been secured in connection with proscription offences—an organisation has been proscribed, and a conviction has later been secured in connection with that.

The hon. Member also asked how these decisions can be scrutinised. There is an appeal process. If an organisation is the subject of a proscription order, it is able at any time—immediately or later—to exercise the right of appeal to a body called the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission, which is judicial. An organisation can put its case to the judges there. Evidence can be heard in secret, if necessary, and that appellate body can either overturn the Home Secretary’s decision or refer a matter back to the Home Secretary. So there is an independent body to which appeals can be made.

Finally, the hon. Member for Warrington North (Charlotte Nichols) asked about the damage that can be done by hateful ideologies being spread online. The Government published their response to the White Paper on online harms last December and have confirmed their intention this calendar year to bring forward new measures to combat online harms, which will include precisely the dangers that she referred to.

In conclusion, as we have clearly established during the debate, AWD and its alias organisation, NSO, are dangerous organisations. They promote and advocate terrorism. They pose a threat to citizens in not just this country but many countries around the world, including the United States. As such, I urge colleagues across the House to support the order.

Question put and agreed to.


That the draft Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2021, which was laid before this House on 19 April, be approved.

Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill (Programme) (No. 2)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 83A(7)),

That the following provisions shall apply to the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill for the purpose of supplementing the Order of 23 September 2020 (Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill (Programme)):

Consideration of Lords Amendments

(1) Proceedings on consideration of Lords Amendments shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion three hours after their commencement.

Subsequent stages

(2) Any further Message from the Lords may be considered forthwith without any Question being put.

(3) The proceedings on any further Message from the Lords shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement.—(David Rutley.)

Question agreed to.