Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2020

Thursday 16th July 2020

(2 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Home Office

Motion to Approve

Moved by

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford - Hansard

That the draft Order laid before the House on 13 July be approved.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con) - Hansard

My Lords, the threat level in the UK, which is set by the independent Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, remains at “substantial”. This means that a terrorist attack in our country is highly likely and could occur without warning. The threat we face from Islamist terrorism remains significant but, as Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service and national lead for counterterrorism policing, Neil Basu, has said, right-wing terrorism is the fastest-growing terror threat in the UK.

We can never entirely eliminate the threat from terrorism, but we are determined to do all we can to minimise the danger it poses and keep the public safe. The nature of terrorism is constantly evolving. There are organisations which recruit, radicalise, and promote and encourage terrorism, as well as those which commit terrible acts of violence against innocent people. Proscription is an important part of the Government’s strategy to disrupt the full range of terrorist activities.

The group we now propose to add to the list of terrorist organisations, amending Schedule 2 to the Terrorism Act 2000, is Feuerkrieg Division, or FKD. This is the 25th order under Section 3(3)(a) of that Act.

This Government are committed to tackling terrorism, regardless of what motivates it. FKD is a white supremacist group, the views and ideology of which stand in direct contrast to the core values of Britain. Its actions, which seek to divide communities and stir up hatred, are entirely contrary to the interests of our nation.

Proscribing this group will prevent its membership growing and work to stop the spread of propaganda that allows a culture of hatred and division to thrive. It will also help to prevent FKD from radicalising people who may be vulnerable to extreme ideologies and at risk of emulating the terrorist acts which they glorify.

Under Section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2000, the Home Secretary has the power to proscribe an organisation if she believes 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 takes into account a number of factors when considering whether to exercise this discretion, including the nature and scale of an 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 UK. It is a criminal offence for a person to belong to, support, or arrange a meeting in support of, a proscribed organisation or wear clothing or carry articles in public which arouse reasonable suspicion that an individual is a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation. Proscription acts to halt fundraising and recruitment and makes it possible to seize cash associated with the organisation.

Given its wide-ranging impact, the Home Secretary exercises her power to proscribe only after thoroughly reviewing the available evidence on an organisation. This includes open-source material, intelligence material and advice that reflects consultation across government, including with the intelligence and law enforcement agencies. The cross-government Proscription Review Group supports the Home Secretary in her decision-making process. The Home Secretary’s decision to proscribe is taken only after great care and consideration of a particular case and it is appropriate that it must be approved by both Houses.

Having carefully considered all the evidence, the Home Secretary believes that FKD is currently concerned in terrorism and that the discretionary factors weigh in favour of proscription. I cannot comment on specific intelligence, but I can provide the House with a summary of the group’s activities.

This order proscribes FKD, a white supremacist group founded in late 2018 which has an international footprint, with members across North America and Europe. The group celebrates the concepts promoted in a collection of essays which advocate the use of violence and mass murder in pursuit of an apocalyptic race war. While the bulk of its activity is online, members have engaged in distributing violent, racist and anti-Semitic propaganda. In mid-2019 the group reportedly called for the deaths of a European Parliament politician and YouTube’s chief executive officer.

FKD members have been arrested on terrorism charges in the UK and overseas. In 2019, US authorities charged several individuals with a variety of offences, including weapons charges, plotting to bomb a synagogue and attack members of the LGBTQ community, plotting to bomb a major news network, and distributing information related to explosives and weapons of mass destruction.

In September 2019, UK police apprehended a 16 year-old on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism. As a result, the group distributed among its members a list of police buildings and an image of the chief constable of West Midlands Police with a gun to his head and the words “Race Traitor” across his eyes, urging members to carry out attacks in retaliation for the arrest of one of its followers. In October 2019, a 21 year-old appeared in court in London charged with terror offences related to his purported support for FKD. He allegedly encouraged the mass murder of members of the Jewish and LGBTQ communities. FKD members have condoned and glorified acts of terrorism, including the Charleston church shooting, the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, the Oklahoma City bombing and the Christchurch shooting.

Our strategy to combat terrorism looks at the full spectrum of activity. This includes ensuring that groups which call for violence and mass murder and which unlawfully glorify horrific terrorist acts are prevented from continuing to stir up hatred and encourage violence. In addition, the Government’s counter-extremism strategy challenges extremism in all its forms. Alongside this, and our Prevent work, we will continue to monitor whether extremist groups have crossed into terrorism.

It is right that we add FKD to the list of proscribed organisations in Schedule 2 to the Terrorism Act 2000. Subject to the agreement of this House and the other place, the order will come into force on Friday 17 July.

Lord Wood of Anfield Portrait Lord Wood of Anfield (Lab) [V] - Hansard

My Lords, I thank the Minister for setting out the facts of the case with regard to FKD. I of course support its inclusion on the proscribed terrorist organisations list. I have a couple of brief questions about the system by which terrorist organisations get proscribed.

First, with reference to previous cases, particularly Kurdish terrorist organisations, can the Minister explain what material difference it makes to redesignate an organisation on the proscribed list as a separate terrorist organisation rather than an affiliate of another large organisation? That has been the subject of previous orders and I am sure will be the subject of future ones.

Secondly, does the Minister agree that there is a need for a better, more internationally co-ordinated system for the designation of proscribed terrorist organisations? I declare an interest as chair of the United Nations Association UK. There is currently no UN system for designating terrorist organisations, just a collection of organisations with approved sanctions passed by individual resolution. Each country has its own list, which may or may not overlap with those of other countries. Should the UK not argue for a multinational regime capable of providing a comprehensive and authoritative list of proscribed organisations that would be at least expected to be binding across countries?

Baroness Ludford Portrait Baroness Ludford (LD) [V] - Hansard

My Lords, the case for adding the Feuerkrieg Division to the list of organisations proscribed under the Terrorism Act seems strong. Its very name, Fire War, is calculated to convey violence and hate, and I trust the Home Secretary to be acting on sound intelligence about the activities of this group. The current Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Jonathan Hall QC, has called it

“a violent extreme white supremacist group”.

If this SI passes, it will join National Action and the Sonnenkrieg Division as banned far-right groups. It is encouraging that the system is getting to grips with this strand of terrorism as well as with others.

However, I want to say something about the unsatisfactory state of affairs regarding the list itself, expressed forcefully by successive independent reviewers such as the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, and by the current one. In his 2015 report, the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, called the continued proscription of 14 groups which no longer met the statutory test

“an affront to the rule of law.”

During the passage of the last counterterrorism Bill he sought unsuccessfully to get a review scheme, with support from my party.

Mr Hall’s first report, relating to 2018, was published in March this year. In it he noted that proscription has powerful effects on persons and groups beyond the proscribed body itself. This is particularly true for agencies and charities working overseas. But unlike for financial sanctions or designated area orders, proscription is neither time-limited nor subject to periodic review. He concluded that

“there is little excuse for not keeping the list of proscribed organisations up to date.”

He noted that in its sole decision to date, on the PMOI case in 2007, the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission stated—albeit obiter—that it was the duty of the Secretary of State to hold periodic reviews. Mr Hall went on:

“The judges observed that … it was ‘incumbent’ on the Secretary of State to ‘consider at regular intervals’ whether the power to deproscribe should be exercised”,

because

“it cannot have been Parliament’s intention that an organisation for which there were no longer any grounds for believing is currently concerned in terrorism should remain on the list ‘for any longer than is absolutely necessary’.”

The court was told at that time that the Home Secretary did carry out approximately annual reviews, but this practice ended in 2014. Mr Hall’s recommendation, perhaps to get round the Government’s objection, however flimsy, that they would have to divert resources to regular review exercises, was that proscription orders should automatically lapse after three years, unless extended. When will the Government agree to that sensible reform?

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Portrait Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Con) [V] - Hansard

My Lords, I thank my noble friend the Minister for setting out the position with such clarity. It is chilling that right-wing groups—a white supremacist group in this case—are the fastest-growing terrorism threat to our country, as Neil Basu of the Metropolitan Police has rightly said. There are obviously echoes of this in the Prevent programme; I know the Minister is familiar with the fact that the far right-wing threat is growing. We very much value the work of the police and our security services for the incredible work they do.

The threat of terrorism is of course evolving, and I appreciate the need to be nimble and stay ahead of the curve. My point, perhaps in contrast to that of the noble Baroness, Lady Ludford, is more about groups that should be added to the list rather than deproscribed, although I will say something briefly on that too.

I appreciate that my noble friend will not want to comment on groups that pose particular threats and which may be added to the list but I seek reassurance—I know that this was also raised in the Commons—about groups that are well known and which have been highlighted, for example, by HOPE not hate, which does valuable work in this regard; I know that my noble friend is familiar with the work it does as she has worked with it. Will she confirm that we will, where necessary, have a laser-like scrutiny of these groups and act swiftly where there is a clear and present danger, as I believe there is from some of those groups?

On deproscription, which the noble Baroness, Lady Ludford, raised, the Explanatory Memorandum to this order it makes it clear at paragraph 14 that if a proscribed organisation or any person affected by the proscription raises the issue and applies to the Secretary of State,

“the prescription of the organisation will be reviewed.”

That should not be done too readily. I appreciate that that is a reasonable mechanism but I seek reassurance from my noble friend that we are not too swift to deproscribe organisations where there remains a clear and present danger from them. However, I accept that if there is no such danger, there seems little reason for continuing proscription.

Lord Hussain Portrait Lord Hussain (LD) [V] - Hansard

My Lords, the United Kingdom has suffered immensely and continues to be under threat from terrorism, and we have a responsibility to legislate and amend existing legislation whenever demanded to protect our people from the menace of terrorism.

The FKD is a dangerous, far-right organisation which is to be added to the list of banned terrorist groups, and I very much welcome this move. It seems that it has been extremely active online and has encouraged violent action against sections of the community, including Jewish and LGBTQ people, and welcomed the Christchurch killings. The rise of far-right terrorist organisations is a threat to peaceful people around the world, and there is evidence that they groom and poison the minds of young people to their violent and hateful cause. We must be constantly vigilant towards organised groups such as this which advocate hate and violence. The rise of the far right has become a big threat to our democracy, although the perception is that it is always the Islamist groups.

I support this amendment but add how proud we are of our freedom of expression and democratic values that we enjoy under British law. This freedom has also allowed many people from different parts of the world to escape oppression and persecution in their own countries and take refuge in the United Kingdom. From here, many of them continue to fight their battle for rights in their country of origin. I am sure that many of your Lordships have come across some such cases during your political life—I certainly have. Through their campaigns they highlight the plight of people like them in their own countries and expose their Governments. That is often seen as an insult and embarrassment for their native Governments, and as a result, from time to time we may find some of those individuals or organisations being outlawed by the Governments of their native countries. In some cases, those Governments may go even further by using diplomatic channels to ask the British Government to follow suit and ban those organisations and/or extradite individuals involved. I hope that the Minister will be able to assure the House that under no circumstances will the British Government entertain such a request from any country, no matter how strong the links Britain may have with it, unless the individual or organisation concerned has broken the law of this country.

Lord Bowness Portrait Lord Bowness (Con) [V] - Hansard

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for her presentation and explanation of this measure. However, I question why we are considering it in July 2020 when, according to the policy background in the Explanatory Memorandum, this organisation has been on the radar here and elsewhere since late 2018, arrests were made in the UK and the US, and its alleged leader, a 13 year-old boy, was tracked down in Estonia at the beginning of the year. Furthermore, the organisation has apparently been dissolved, so will we need a fresh order if it reappears under another name? Do we know who the members might be who have become active in other organisations?

Also, reference is made in paragraph 3(1) of the Explanatory Memorandum to three organisations, but I assume we are dealing only with this one organisation. I fear that we are a bit behind the curve with our timing: according to reports, the group was established in the Baltic region, probably in Estonia, and the Estonian security service intervened in January 2020, seven months ago. Did we get information about this directly from Estonia or through EU agencies?

A much wider question arises. If we are to react expeditiously when such a group emerges, what arrangements will we have in place with the European Union post 31 December? I again remind my noble friend that the political declaration signed by the Prime Minister spoke of

“an ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership”,

the security element of which would include

“law enforcement, judicial co-operation in criminal matters, security and defence”.

Future arrangements should allow for

“timely exchanges of intelligence and sensitive information between Union bodies and the United Kingdom”.

I put it to my noble friend that that includes information about organisations such as this. With great respect, I hope that she will not repeat the usual answer I receive to Written Questions or from the Dispatch Box—that it will depend on the outcome of the negotiations—and that she will let us know what progress we have made and what the consequences will be if we have no agreement on 31 December.

I understand that we are planning to advertise the problems that individuals and businesses are likely to face post December of this year. Does that not signal that there is not much confidence about the outcome of the negotiation and an acceptance of no deal? I ask my noble friend: is the desire to be free of arrangements so great that even security matters are sacrificed?

Lord Truscott Portrait Lord Truscott (Ind Lab) [V] - Hansard

My Lords, I support the order before your Lordships’ House proscribing the FKD. The FKD is clearly an odious, racist and anti-Semitic organisation which is a threat to our individual and collective security; it should be banned. For too long, the UK has tolerated fascist and terrorist groups in our midst, not only those like the FKD but Middle Eastern extreme Islamist groups. Unfortunately, the UK has had a long history of tolerating or even supporting such groups. A prime example was the UK’s and US’s support for Osama bin Laden and the mujaheddin in Afghanistan, which led to the foundation of al-Qaeda. Our meddling in the Middle East has not gone well—in Iraq, Libya or Syria. The UK has often granted asylum to terrorist groups or taken them in after ill-fated adventures. Today, we learned that Shamima Begum, and possibly other ISIS refugees and fighters, will be allowed back into the UK. Does the Minister have a comment on the Court of Appeal judgment, and will Her Majesty’s Government challenge it?

The UK has also funded and financially supported the White Helmets, despite that organisation operating only in terrorist-controlled areas of Syria. It has been filmed taking part in terrorist executions. The Netherlands and the United States withdrew their financial support but last year, the UK gave asylum to 100 members of the White Helmets and their families. Will Her Majesty’s Government now declare the White Helmets a proscribed organisation?

The UK faces many security threats, both externally and from within. I hope that Her Majesty’s Government will do everything necessary to protect our citizens from terrorist organisations that seek to destroy the cohesion and fabric of our society.

Baroness Altmann Portrait Baroness Altmann (Con) [V] - Hansard

My Lords, I support this instrument and the proscription of the Feuerkrieg Division, FKD, which has tried to stir up hatred reminiscent of Europe’s darkest times. I commend the Government on the work they are doing to stop the spread of the propaganda that cultivates the culture of hatred and division that we have worked so hard to overcome. It is important that we ensure the proscription of such groups—whether they are from the left or the right—which are all threats to our way of life and directly contrary to our core values.

Can my noble friend reassure the House that the police are resourced sufficiently to ensure that they can keep an eye on all the people involved in those activities? As other noble Lords have mentioned, this group was dissolved in February this year, but the people have not gone away. It is therefore vital that, regardless of the organisation’s name, we have in place ways in which we can sufficiently track the activities of such people and send a strong and unambiguous message that condoning or glorifying acts of terrorism will never be tolerated.

Clearly, it is difficult to act swiftly and also uphold the necessary due processes, but I hope that my noble friend the Minister can assure us that counterterrorism policing and its strategic partners have sufficient resources to deal with these challenges. I also add my support for the excellent work of HOPE not hate, which my noble friend Lord Bourne mentioned. Equally, I share the concern of my noble friend Lord Bowness about potentially departing from the EU without a deal and what that would mean for security co-operation. Can my noble friend the Minister give the House an idea of how much security co-operation from the EU fed into the process that led to the banning of the FKD under this order?

Lord Mann Portrait Lord Mann (Non-Afl) [V] - Hansard

I congratulate the Minister and the Home Secretary on their appropriate action in relation to FKD, and the Sonnenkrieg Division and the Atomwaffen Division previously. I also commend the Anti-Defamation League, in America, which has been critical in exposing both those organisations, and with which I have constant communication and contact.

Have there been discussions with Estonian ministerial counterparts, given that the FKD and the Sonnenkrieg Division appear to have strong Estonian links? If not, would the Government consider such discussions to see what we can learn about the reason for the growth in such organisations in the Baltics?

Baroness Hamwee Portrait Baroness Hamwee (LD) [V] - Hansard

My Lords, as other noble Lords have said, the question is not just “Why?” but “Why now?”; I am certainly satisfied as to the former. The FKD seems to be—or have been—a thoroughly nasty, dangerous extremist organisation and it is hard to find words to describe what one reads about it:

“A small international neo-Nazi organisation that embraces the most extreme interpretations of white supremacist ideology”

according to a website—not its website, obviously. Apparently, it

“criticises and demeans other white supremacist movements, such as the alt-right, for being too focused on public perception and unsuccessful in creating real societal change”—

a rather sinister application of “deeds not words”.

It says that there needs to be a war against a society controlled by Jews, and that that is inevitable and the only way to reset cultural and societal norms—“Black lives don’t matter”. I am sure that the Official Report will understand that those last four words are in quotes. It advocates killing and, as I think the Minister was alluding to, it targets teenagers and young adults.

I ask, “Why now?”, because the actions referred to in the Explanatory Memorandum and by the Minister have mostly been outside the UK and took place a little while ago. Activities in the UK, at least those cited, took place last autumn; there was one arrest without prosecution and one alleged offence, as I read it, although ironically, there was an announcement in February this year that the group would dissolve. I do not challenge the assessment that the group and its members remain active through channels other than Telegram, but would this order catch them? Can the Minister address this in her response? This links to the questions from the noble Lords, Lord Wood and Lord Bowness, and the noble Baroness, Lady Altmann. I am glad that they raised the international and EU dimensions.

The House has heard that a former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation described how the regime of proscription is undermined. More than that, the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, described it as

“an affront to the rule of law”

by keeping on the list organisations that have changed and are no longer concerned with terrorism. It is an affront, given the implications of proscription for freedom of speech and the penalties carried with it.

Yesterday, the campaigning organisation HOPE not hate—its name describes its purpose—welcomed this proscription but demanded to know why a group with only a handful of members in the UK was to be proscribed but not the Order of Nine Angles, which it says is a violent Nazi group actively organising in the UK whose beliefs have inspired several young people recently convicted of terrorism. Yesterday, HOPE not hate encouraged people to tweet the Home Office asking it to proscribe that group, which is still a threat to British people. Obviously, I do not expect the Minister to comment on that group; I do not know whether she has been briefed on those tweets.

There have now been many calls for regular and frequent proactive reviews of proscription orders by such reprobates as the current Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, the Home Affairs Select Committee and my noble friends Lord Paddick—during the passage of the then Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill—and Lady Ludford. I, too, take the view that the Government should have a duty to keep orders under review to bring this into line with sanctions and the designation of areas—so, a duty to deproscribe.

The noble Lord, Lord Bourne, referred to what I think is the standard paragraph—paragraph 14—about the right of a person affected by proscription to apply for deproscription. I seem to remember that, during the passage of the then Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill, we queried how realistic this was as the individual would draw attention to himself. I believe that the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, referred to Northern Irish groups having difficulty in pursuing this.

The Minister in the Commons talked about orders such as this

“ensuring that groups who call for violence and mass murder … are prevented from continuing to stir up hatred”.—[Official Report, Commons, 15/7/20; col. 1632.]

I wish that could be ensured. The orders are one tool to do so; of course, we do not oppose this order. Given how precious our freedoms are, again, we call for the most careful and well-justified use of powers to restrict those freedoms, as well as for the converse: the use of powers where that use defends those freedoms.

Lord Rosser Portrait Lord Rosser (Lab) [V] - Hansard

I thank the Minister for her explanation of the content and purpose of this order, which we support. It adds Feuerkrieg Division—FKD—to the list of proscribed organisations covered under Schedule 2 to the Terrorism Act 2000. This is, I believe, the 25th order under that Act. To pursue points made by others, can the Minister indicate how many organisations are still on the proscribed list, and confirm that the Government still consider that they all remain in existence and continue to be concerned in terrorism?

The Home Secretary can seek to have an organisation proscribed if, and only if, she believes that it is concerned in terrorism as defined in the Terrorism Act, and then decides to exercise her discretion to do so. Proscription means outlawing an organisation and preventing it operating in the United Kingdom; it then becomes a criminal offence to belong to or support such an organisation.

As has been said, the organisation we are discussing today is a white supremacist group founded less than two years ago. It has members in North America and Europe, and advocates the use of violence and mass murder in pursuit of an all-out race war. Most of its activity is online but it also distributes violent, racist and anti-Semitic propaganda.

As we know, right-wing terrorism is the fastest-growing terror threat in the United Kingdom, and indeed in other countries. The Government need a coherent and comprehensive strategy in place to tackle far-right extremism, including availability of resources. I hope that the Minister can outline in her response what that strategy is beyond proscription orders.

As the Minister said, FKD members have been arrested on terrorism charges both in the UK and overseas. Last year, US authorities charged several individuals with offences including weapons charges, plotting to bomb a synagogue, plotting attacks on the LGBT community, plotting to bomb a major news network and distributing information related to explosives and weapons of mass destruction. As we know, 10 months ago, police in this country apprehended a 16 year-old on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism, which led to the group urging members to carry out attacks in retaliation for the arrest of one of its followers. In October last year, a 21 year-old appeared in court charged with terror offences relating to his purported support for FKD after allegedly encouraging the mass murder of members of the Jewish and LGBT communities. Group members have also condoned and glorified acts of terrorism, including the Christchurch shooting.

In February this year, FKD announced that it would be dissolving but no reason was given and it is apparently considered that the group and its members remain active through other channels. As others have said, on the face of it, it is a little odd that when FKD did not seek to hide its existence, the Home Secretary did not take the necessary action to have it proscribed but once it claimed it would dissolve, the Home Secretary decided to act. Can the Minister comment on that in her response?

When the Government say that it is considered that the group and its members remain active through other channels, does that mean that it is suspected that the group has likely merged with another organisation; that it may have, in effect, simply renamed or unnamed itself and be operating exactly as before; or that it is operating in a different way, albeit continuing to be concerned in terrorism?

If FKD claims to be dissolving, does that claim also apply to the United States or is it only in this country or in Europe? If it does apply to the United States, do the US authorities also hold the view that the group and its members remain active through other channels? Can the Minister confirm that the Government do not consider that there would be any insuperable difficulty in proving membership of, or support for, FKD once it has been proscribed, despite its claim that it would be dissolving?

We support this order since we are committed to tackling all forms of terrorism and ensuring the safety of our nation and our citizens. We express our thanks to our police and security services for their work in this regard. I agree that there is a strong case to be made for FKD’s proscription. I accept that much of the information on which the Home Secretary has based her decision to pursue this order is likely to be of a nature and content that precludes it being disclosed for national security reasons. However, I hope that the Minister will be able to respond not only to my few brief questions but also to the questions asked and points made by the other noble Lords who have spoken in this debate.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford - Hansard

I thank all noble Lords for the points they have made on this proscription debate. I shall start with the last point made by the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, and confirm that if I cannot answer specific questions, it is because those answers cannot be disclosed. Similarly, on any decision that the Home Secretary might make about proscription, those sorts of decisions are not generally shared.

The noble Lord, Lord Rosser, mentioned the difficulty of deproscription applications, but last year, the Home Secretary deproscribed the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group following its application. Deproscription applications do work and it is a simple form that is used. The noble Lord asked about the number of groups that are currently proscribed: the number is 75, plus 14 Northern Ireland groups. As I said, I cannot go into details on the system by which decisions are made, but I can comfort noble Lords by confirming that the system is based on a range of evidence, and decisions are taken after extensive consideration and in light of a full assessment of that available information.

My noble friend Lord Bourne asked whether we can act swiftly on groups that pose a threat. Absolutely we can, but, given the impact this has on people, we need to be very careful to make the right decision based on all the evidence we have before us.

The noble Lord, Lord Hussain, referred to foreign Governments’ requests for proscription, deproscription and extradition, or any activity of that type. The Government do not and will not make decisions based on pressure from a foreign Government, or indeed political pressure; that would be quite against the democratic process. The Home Secretary makes decisions based on the facts before him or her.

A number of noble Lords have asked: why now and why? Why now? Because decisions of whether to proscribe this organisation have been taken after extensive consideration and in light of a full assessment of all available information.

The noble Lord, Lord Bowness, and my noble friend Lady Altmann asked what happens when we leave the EU and whether we will consult member states. We engage with other member states on intelligence-sharing; that will not change when we leave the European Union. In fact, I recall the noble Baroness, Lady Manningham-Buller, making that very point in this House. The intelligence sharing will always go on, within or without the EU.

The noble Lord, Lord Bowness, made the point that the group claims to have dissolved. We can be cynical about that, and what we require is evidence of ongoing threat or not. When we leave the European Union, we will want as robust a security arrangement as possible.

For reasons I have already outlined, I will not comment on the White Helmets or any other group, and I certainly will not be commenting on the Shamima Begum case; the Home Secretary will consider the court’s judgment, note it and decide on the next steps to take.

My noble friend Lady Altmann asked whether the police are adequately resourced to deal with groups such as this and about CT policing specifically. It is ring-fenced, and I am quite certain not only that CT police are adequately resourced but that the 20,000 new police officers will very adequately meet the changing demands of policing.

The noble Lord asked about ministerial discussion with Estonia. I have already said that we engage with other nations, but I cannot confirm whether we engage with Estonia on this particular case.

There was one final point I was going to make, which seems to have escaped me, but it might come back to me—I literally cannot remember. I think those are the main points, and with that, I beg to move.

Motion agreed.

Sitting suspended.