All 5 Lord Anderson of Ipswich contributions to the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill 2019-21

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Mon 21st Sep 2020
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2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & 2nd reading
Tue 26th Jan 2021
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Tue 9th Feb 2021
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Wed 3rd Mar 2021
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Report stage & Lords Hansard & Report stage
Thu 25th Mar 2021
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Consideration of Commons amendments & Consideration of Commons amendments

Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill Debate

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Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill

Lord Anderson of Ipswich Excerpts
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Monday 21st September 2020

(3 years, 8 months ago)

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Lord Anderson of Ipswich Portrait Lord Anderson of Ipswich (CB)
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My Lords, this is an important and well-prepared Bill, but not a perfect one. On Part 1, I respectfully adopt the points of sentencing so authoritatively made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd. On Part 2, I associate myself with the remarks of my noble friends Lord Ramsbotham and Lady Prashar, and the concerns expressed by my successor-but-one as Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Jonathan Hall QC, regarding the removal of Parole Board discretion. If the possibility of early release can encourage good behaviour and reform, we should think carefully indeed before discarding it.

I will focus on the changes to TPIMs, the successors to Labour’s control order regime of 2005 to 2011, proposed in Part 3 of the Bill. For six years, I closely monitored the operation of TPIMs. Like the Government, I believe they are unfortunate necessities for a small number of dangerous terrorists who cannot be detained for long periods under criminal investigation, as in some continental legal systems, and who cannot be placed on trial or convicted, because the intelligence that identified their plotting is insufficient to meet the criminal standard or cannot be publicly disclosed without endangering a human source or vital investigation technique.

TPIMs are severe measures and are designed to be so. They are imposed by the Home Secretary, who, in contrast to a criminal court, is not constrained as to the nature of the intelligence material she may take into account. Measures may include, among many, compulsory relocation to towns or cities far distant from the subject’s home. Relocation is harsh but effective. Removed by the coalition in 2011, it was reintroduced, on my recommendation, in 2015.

Any breach of any restriction, which would include, under Clauses 41 and 43, polygraph measures and drug-testing measures, can result in imprisonment for up to five years. Judicial review of TPIMs takes many months to come on, and since the intelligence relied on can often not be disclosed, it requires the subject to defend himself, without knowledge of the detailed case against him, through a special advocate who cannot take instructions from him.

That severity has, until now, been mitigated by two factors introduced by the coalition Government in 2011. First, TPIMs have a maximum duration of two years, save in exceptional cases—a limitation originally recommended by the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, in a report of February 2008. Secondly, the Home Secretary is required to have not just a “reasonable suspicion” of involvement in terrorism but “reasonable belief”, on the balance of probability, as it is now expressed.

The two-year limit is a reminder that executive constraints of this kind can be no substitute for the criminal process and no long-term solution, even if, as I said in 2013, echoing the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, five years earlier, it is tempting to wish for longer in the most serious cases. Each of those mitigating factors, as has been said, would be reversed by this Bill.

Let me offer a comparator, which, while not exact, may be illuminating: the reasonable suspicion required of the Home Secretary by Clause 37, is the same standard that must be reached by a police officer to justify an arrest. Yet arrest without charge, even in a terrorist case, is tolerated in this country for only four days, extendable to a maximum of 14 days by repeated permission of the court. Noble Lords will remember unsuccessful attempts to increase that maximum to 90 and then 42 days. Yet under this Bill, the reasonable suspicions of the Home Secretary would be sufficient if she judged it necessary for the protection of the public—a judgment unlikely to be effectively reviewable in any court— to justify a form of house arrest that can persist for many years.

The Government now have huge experience with these orders, including their possible imposition on more than 400 people having returned from Syria to this country. So, it is significant that the Minister Chris Philp candidly accepted on Report in the other place, consistent with evidence given by Assistant Chief Constable Tim Jacques in Committee, that

“there has not been an occasion on which the security services wanted to give a TPIM but could not do so because of the burden of proof.”—[Official Report, Commons, 21/7/20; col. 2093.]

We should investigate whether there is a better balance to be struck consistent with the enhanced public protection that the Bill aims to provide. Options, as the independent reviewer has suggested, include an upper limit in excess of two years and the retention of the current standard of proof, if not in all cases then at least beyond the initial period, which would take care of any valid concerns there may be about urgent cases.

I hope that the collective wisdom of the House will be brought to bear on the Bill in this respect.

Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill Debate

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Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill

Lord Anderson of Ipswich Excerpts
Committee stage & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Tuesday 26th January 2021

(3 years, 3 months ago)

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Lord Anderson of Ipswich Portrait Lord Anderson of Ipswich (CB) [V]
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My Lords, it was an honour to put my name to this amendment, moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Prashar, with her experience as a former executive chair of the Parole Board for England and Wales. As she said, Clause 27, which this amendment would replace, aims to remove the role of the Parole Board in the case of certain dangerous terrorist offenders who have been given a determinate sentence. Clause 27 would do this by amending Section 247A of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, itself dating from only last year, which currently requires the Secretary of State to refer terrorist offenders serving any determinate sentence to the Parole Board at the two-thirds point of the custodial term.

There are instinctive attractions—including, no doubt, electoral attractions—in providing for all dangerous terrorist offenders to serve their entire sentences in prison. But the notion that such offenders are uniquely incorrigible is not supported by the facts. I remind the Minister of a Written Answer that I received from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Keen, last February, revealing that, of the 196 terrorist offenders released from prison in England and Wales in the seven years from January 2013, only six—barely 3%—had committed another terrorist offence by the end of that period. This illustrates a pattern of surprisingly low terrorist recidivism rates around the world, expertly analysed by Andrew Silke and John Morrison in an ICCT policy brief of September 2020 aptly entitled Re-offending by Released Terrorist Prisoners: Separating Hype from Reality.

This is not an argument for complacency. It most certainly does not mean that all is well in our prisons, but it is something to consider before we dispense with the Parole Board in the circumstances that Clause 27 would effect.

My successor but one as Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Jonathan Hall QC, has been referred to today with wholly justified approval by at least two Ministers and numerous other noble Lords, so we should listen to the three reservations that he has voiced on Clause 27. First, it would remove the possibility of early release

“as a spur to good behaviour and reform for offenders who are going to spend the longest time in custody”.

At the same time, it would deprive the prison authorities of an important tool for prisoner management. Secondly, it would remove the opportunity to explore current and future risk at Parole Board hearings. Thirdly, it would remove the opportunity for early release of

“child terrorist offenders, whose risk may be considered most susceptible to change as they mature into adults”.

I endorse what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, said about that and the public safety implications in the last group.

Those reservations are addressed by this amendment and by the following group. I look forward to hearing what the Minister, whom I welcome warmly to his place, has to say about them.

Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord McNicol of West Kilbride) (Lab)
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We have been unable to reach the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, so we now move to the noble Lord, Lord Faulks.

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Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord McNicol of West Kilbride) (Lab)
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I call the next speaker, the noble Baroness, Lady Prashar. No? We will come back to her. Let us try the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich.

Lord Anderson of Ipswich Portrait Lord Anderson of Ipswich (CB) [V]
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My Lords, I have once again signed up to the amendments tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Prashar. I do not want to repeat what I said on the last grouping, so I will raise just two additional points. The first is the risk of inconsistency that Clause 27 and its companions could bring into the law. They of course apply only to determinate sentences, so does this not raise what the independent reviewer has described in a recent series of tweets as the

“uncomfortable possibility that offenders may be ‘better off’ if sentenced to life imprisonment than extended sentences”?

He illustrated that observation with the case of the Anzac Day plotter—recently released on the recommendation of the Parole Board, having been convicted at the age of 15—and the decision last week of the Court of Appeal in the case of the St Paul’s suicide bomb plotter. The Minister and others might want to reflect on those cases, and on the observations of the independent reviewer before Report, when I suspect that we may need to come back to this.

Secondly, since the Minister accepts that the prisoners who would be affected by Clause 27 are not always incorrigibly violent, and since he does not take issue with what I said about the very low terrorist recidivism rates, is he not tempted to accept that there might be cases—perhaps rare—in which the Parole Board would feel able to recommend their release?

Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord McNicol of West Kilbride) (Lab)
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We still cannot reach the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, so I call the noble Lord, Lord Naseby.

Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill Debate

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Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill

Lord Anderson of Ipswich Excerpts
Committee stage & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Tuesday 9th February 2021

(3 years, 3 months ago)

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Read Full debate Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill 2019-21 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 129-II Second marshalled list for Committee - (4 Feb 2021)
Moved by
27: Clause 37, page 34, line 35, leave out from “subsection (1)” to end of line 37 and insert “after “Secretary of State” leave out “is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities,” and insert—
“(a) for the first year of the TPIM, has reasonable grounds for suspecting; and(b) for any further years of the TPIM, is satisfied on the balance of probabilities,””Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment would leave in place the existing standard of proof for the second and subsequent years of any TPIM notice.
Lord Anderson of Ipswich Portrait Lord Anderson of Ipswich (CB) [V]
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My Lords, TPIMs, or terrorism prevention and investigation measures, are the successors to, and relatives of, control orders. They may be imposed at the discretion of the Secretary of State, unless a court, on a preliminary look, considers them “obviously flawed”, if specified criteria are satisfied. They are summarised like this in the March 2020 annual report of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation:

“There are up to 14 measures that can be imposed including overnight residence requirements; relocation to another part of the United Kingdom; police reporting; an electronic monitoring tag; exclusion from specific places; limits on association; limits on the use of financial services and use of telephones and computers; and a ban on holding travel documents. Breach of any measure is a criminal offence.”


It is common for all or substantially all of those measures to be imposed, severely limiting the basic freedoms of the subjects and impinging heavily on their families. Relocation—removed by the coalition in 2012—was reinstated in 2015. Additional measures are, of course, contained in the Bill.

The issue raised by Clause 37 and by these amendments, including Amendment 27 in my name and that of my noble and learned friend Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, is: how strongly must the Secretary of State suspect a person of involvement in terrorism before choosing to impose a TPIM on them? Since TPIMs succeeded control orders in 2012, the Secretary of State has been required to have a reasonable belief that the intended subject is or has been involved in terrorism-related activity—a belief, in other words, that the person has been involved in some capacity in the wide range of activity spelled out in Section 4 of the TPIM Act 2011. That range is not limited to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism; it extends also to those who encourage, support and assist such behaviour. Nor need any specific act of terrorism be in prospect.

The “reasonable belief” formulation was amended in 2015 to one of satisfaction on the balance of probabilities, but the meaning is to all intents and purposes the same. The bottom line is that, before imposing this most extreme of all executive measures, the Home Secretary needs to have formed the view only that someone is, or was, probably involved in terrorism. That is already an easy standard to satisfy in the case of anyone who is likely to be a candidate for a TPIM—resource-intensive measures, as they are, that are not lightly applied for.

It is not a court that has to apply the balance of probabilities, on the basis only of admissible evidence. The judgment is entrusted to the Secretary of State, and she makes it, crucially, on the basis not just of admissible evidence but of the intelligence assessments with which she is provided by the Security Service and others. Such intelligence far exceeds what could be placed before a civil or criminal court. It is likely to include intercept material, or material supplied by foreign liaison partners who are unwilling to see it deployed in a public setting, or reports from a covert human intelligence source, whose existence could never be publicly disclosed. The Secretary of State sees all that in the form of documents, which, when I reviewed these things, I repeatedly described as thorough and conscientious. Everything is available to her, and she is required to conclude only that it probably demonstrates some involvement, past or present, in terrorism-related activity.

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Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Portrait Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con)
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My Lords, there were a number of questions in the noble Lord’s intervention there. I certainly encourage him to reread the evidence given by ACC Jacques on 25 June 2020. Asked specifically about the proposal to change the burden of proof, he said:

“The Security Service points to three instances where it thinks this would have utility from an operational perspective.”—[Official Report, Commons, Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill Public Bill Committee, 25/6/20; col. 20]


He then outlined the three scenarios that I have just repeated—but it is certainly worth looking at his evidence in full.

We are not ignoring the views of Parliament; that is why we are here in Committee, rightly scrutinising this Bill. But I repeat that we are talking about a burden of proof that has previously existed and been enacted by your Lordships’ House and the other place; it was repeatedly tested in the courts and found to be compatible with the ECHR, so I am not sure that I agree with the characterisation that the noble Lord gives.

Lord Anderson of Ipswich Portrait Lord Anderson of Ipswich (CB) [V]
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I am grateful to the Minister for his courteous response. I do not think I ever had the pleasure of meeting him in Marsham Street, although I had a good deal of respect for his boss. I am also grateful to noble Lords from all three main parties, the Cross Benches and the Bench of Bishops, who made such interesting and supportive contributions to this debate.

Those speeches will repay careful study and, after my long opening speech, noble Lords would not thank me for revisiting their many highlights. I will say simply that it was striking to hear the observation of a former Lord Chief Justice that the change now proposed, described by the Minister as “marginal”, is “completely unacceptable in a civilised society”. I defer to the right reverend Prelate on the theological distinction between belief and suspicion, while making a mental note to ask him some time where faith fits into the spectrum.

The central question, to which, with respect to the Minister, I received no satisfactory answer, is this: if, as Chris Philp said in the Commons, the current standard of proof has, in almost 10 years, not stopped a desired TPIM from being granted, why do we need to change it? The Minister spoke of “hypothetical” cases of, for example, a returning Syrian fighter. Well, we have had 15 years-worth of real cases under control orders and TPIMS, including several hundred returned Syrian fighters who were screened and considered for these measures, and it remains the case that this issue has not posed any problem in practice.

The Minister spoke of “flexibility”. Well, most of us are flexible enough to countenance some compromise, even of basic freedoms, if there is a pressing reason for it, whether that be public health or public safety. However, until I have seen that pressing reason—or at least fully understood what it is supposed to be—I cannot support Clause 37.

The point was well made by the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, that the hypothetical cases put forward in support of 90-day police detention were without foundation. We have managed perfectly well in practice for 10 years with the 14-day limit introduced by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

No doubt we will come back to these issues at a later stage. Before that, I shall reflect on the fair challenge from both the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, that, in formulating Amendment 27, I may, in the absence of evidence for its position from the Government, have been too ready to compromise in respect of the first year. As to that first year, the Minister said nothing very specific—unless I missed it. However, for now, as is usual at this stage of the proceedings, I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment 27 withdrawn.
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Lord Anderson of Ipswich Portrait Lord Anderson of Ipswich (CB) [V]
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My Lords, I will speak in this group to Amendment 30, which I have signed, together with my noble and learned friend Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd. Clause 38, to which all these amendments relate, seeks to return in another respect to the days of control orders by removing the maximum time limit on TPIMs. Though I oppose Clause 38, as I did Clause 37 in the previous group, I would accept that the issues in this group are less clear-cut and the right solution less obvious.

In a report on the control order regime published in March 2012, shortly after that regime came to an end, I described control orders as an effective means of protecting the public from a small number of suspected terrorists who presented a substantial risk to national security but whom it was not feasible to prosecute. I observed a conscientious administrative procedure, coupled with close judicial scrutiny, which ensured a substantial degree of fairness to the subject. However, I added that those individuals were placed under extraordinary and intrusive restrictions; that this could go on indefinitely; that legal review was far from immediate; and that when the hearing did come around, controlled persons spent crucial parts of it excluded from the court, oblivious both of the detailed accusations made against them and of the submissions made by special advocates, who were able neither to communicate fully with them nor to call evidence on their behalf. I concluded that only in the face of strong necessity could it ever be justifiable for the individual to be placed in such a position by the state.

As will be the case if Clause 38 is enacted, there was no limit on the number of times a 12-month control order could be extended, so long as the statutory test continued to be met. During the currency of the control order regime, from 2005 to 2011, 15 persons were subject to control orders for more than two years—three of them for periods exceeding four years. Each of the four who had been subject to control orders for more than two years at the end of 2011 were transferred to TPIMs, where, as I recall, they served an additional two years, which was the maximum under that regime unless fresh evidence came to light—it rarely does.

Experience shows, therefore, that where the law has permitted it, Home Secretaries have considered it appropriate to keep British citizens who have never been convicted of a terrorist offence under these kinds of extreme constraints for periods in excess of five years. Indeed, had it not been for the introduction of the two-year limit, as originally recommended for all save exceptional cases by my noble friend Lord Carlile —my predecessor as Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation—it is fair to assume that some subjects could have been detained in this way for far longer periods. That has been the experience with other, less all-encompassing executive orders, such as terrorist asset freezes. After all, who wants to be the civil servant or the special adviser to recommend the discharge of a control order, and who wants to be the Secretary of State to agree to it?

At the monthly TPIM review group meetings, at which all subjects were discussed, it became evident to me that the new two-year maximum limit was bringing some benefits. Since it was no longer possible for a TPIM to be used to warehouse a subject indefinitely, more serious and connected thought started to be given to an exit strategy: a suitable job, a suitable course of study, and the forging of new relationships away from the subject’s previous associates. However, as will be equally obvious, there could still be subjects who use their two years to lie low and who might still be adjudged to pose a threat when their TPIM comes to an end. That was the reasoning of those who had requested, agreed to and endorsed control orders for much longer periods than two years. I reported myself in 2013, echoing my noble friend Lord Carlile, that it was tempting to wish for longer than two years in the most serious cases.

If the goal is to minimise the potential threat regardless of the cost to civil liberties, the Government are justified in imposing indefinite executive detention. Yet that goal could also be used to justify warrantless searches of the home and general, suspicionless stop and search. All of us, surely, would instinctively recoil at such measures. I also note that, although they are notionally available in Northern Ireland, no control order or TPIM has, for whatever reason, ever been imposed there. I accept that TPIMs, although so far imposed predominantly, if not exclusively, on Muslims, have so far been only a minor rallying point for grievance: the numbers of TPIMs have been small, and the vast majority of British Muslims are only too glad to see dangerous extremists firmly dealt with. But the echo of internment can still be heard in Northern Ireland, nearly half a century on—a reminder that excess of zeal in this sensitive area can quickly become counterproductive.

There is wisdom in the words of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Clarke of Nottingham, who wrote, when Justice Secretary, in 2011:

“The primary role of any government is to keep its citizens safe and free. That means both protecting them from harm and protecting their hard-won liberties.”


Where is the correct balance to be struck? We no longer live in times when a Conservative Government could come into power promising in relation to counterterrorism law, as they did in 2010,

“a correction in favour of liberty”.

So my amendment does not seek a perpetuation of the status quo. Indeed, it would double the current maximum limit, in the absence of additional evidence, to four years, allowing plenty of time to work on TPIM subjects, while still requiring the authorities to focus on an exit strategy. Coupled with the amendment that I have already moved on standard of proof, or one of the other amendments in the previous group, it would represent a toughening of the present regime, while still at least attempting to combine the two imperatives that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Clarke, identified.

Terrorism in this country has cost us almost 100 lives since 9/11, and the threat level, although reduced only yesterday, is still “substantial”. However, as this pandemic reminds us, the existence of a threat cannot by itself dictate where the balance should be struck. The balance is for Parliament, and I suggest that a maximum of four years for these unpalatable measures—tough as it undoubtedly is—gets it about right.

Lord Russell of Liverpool Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Russell of Liverpool) (CB)
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The noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh of Pickering, has withdrawn from this group, so I call the next speaker on the list, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd.

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Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Portrait Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, rather like the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, I am not sure that our two amendments have any connection whatever. None the less, it is a pleasure to be able to make this short intervention on the Bill and to probe just a little more than I did at Second Reading the role of police and crime commissioners.

I do support the strengthening of the TPIM provisions. That the Government would have to do so was entirely foreseeable in 2011, when the coalition Government insisted on the abolition of control orders, despite the warnings that I and other noble Lords gave at the time.

My amendment was drafted after discussions with the West Midlands police and crime commissioner, David Jamieson. Clearly, the provisions are potentially extremely resource-intensive and need to be used proportionately and only when absolutely necessary. I would like to make two specific comments.

As the thresholds for a TPIM are lowered and the range of measures extended, it is important that greater scrutiny and oversight are implemented to give reassurance to individuals and communities that the legislation is being used fairly. These are of course issues of grave national security concern. The oversight offered by a police and crime commissioner could help to give the Home Secretary reassurance that full consideration had been given ahead of any decision regarding a TPIM. Local oversight could also enhance the ability of the Home Secretary to make an informed decision when considering a TPIM application, variation or extension. It would enable PCCs to submit any additional information or make recommendations to the Home Secretary in respect of the community impact and the impact on local police force resources—which, as has already been discussed, can be intensive for a TPIM.

It is not entirely clear how police and crime commissioners are currently made aware of TPIMs within their local area. Certainly, the chief constable should advise the police and crime commissioner when a TPIM is being considered, but there are no clear guidelines on how this should take place. My amendment would formalise this process. We know that the number of TPIMs in place nationally is small, and therefore it should not be envisaged that this additional step in the process would present a burden for police and crime commissioners or forces. As part of this process, the information would of course have to be shared within the most appropriate, secure environment.

At Second Reading, the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, responded to that point by saying that the Home Office already works very closely with the police before a TPIM is imposed and during its lifetime. She went on to say:

“The process ensures that TPIMs are imposed only following engagement with the relevant local police force and that community impact assessments are kept up to date.”


She then said:

“The Bill already contains a clause that will allow a TPIM subject’s relocation measure to be varied where necessary on operational resource grounds.”


On those grounds, she considered that my

“proposed amendment for an additional role for PCCs … in TPIM processes is … not necessary.”—[Official Report, 21/9/20; col. 1653.]

That was disappointing. The key issue here is that TPIMs are an intervention that places significant restrictions on a person’s life, based on the balance of probabilities. Given that, PCCs could add value in the process by seeking reassurance that due process had been followed. I remind the Minister that they do this for other policing powers that might be regarded as controversial, including stop and search and the use of covert services, and it would be appropriate if it were extended to TPIMs. I commend the amendment and hope that the Minister will be sympathetic.

Lord Anderson of Ipswich Portrait Lord Anderson of Ipswich (CB) [V]
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My Lords, I have just a little to add to what has already been said about Clause 40.

The current requirement that a residence condition be “overnight” has acted as a limitation on the maximum length of the nightly period of house arrest that may be imposed under a TPIM; the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, referred to some of the case law on this subject. Confinement to the home during substantial parts of the day may sound almost familiar in times of Covid but it would represent a major reversal of past practice. I see that my own 2012 report, to which the Minister was kind enough to refer, confirms that even control orders featured curfews of only up to 16 hours.

In that context, I have three questions. First, if Clause 40 is passed into law, for how many hours a day will it be permissible to confine TPIM subjects to their designated residences if that is considered, in the Minister’s words, “necessary and proportionate”? Is there any reason why it should not be for 23 or, indeed, 24 hours?

Secondly, what are the specific circumstances that make it necessary for public safety to extend these already formidable powers in this way? If they are to be credible after 15 years of real-world experience, please may we have actual examples, even if they must be anonymised, rather than hypothetical ones?

Thirdly, and more generally, my sense from the last few debates is that the Government will have to work quite hard if they are to persuade noble Lords of the operational case for some of these changes—particularly as they appear not to have persuaded their own independent reviewer, with all his privileged access to classified material. What proposals does the Minister have in that regard?

Lord Bach Portrait Lord Bach (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, I declare my interest as the elected and serving police and crime commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. I have been in that post for nearly five years now but in three months’ time, if the 6 May elections take place as the Government propose, I will no longer have this interest to declare. I look forward to once again playing a greater role in your Lordships’ House.

However, when, as in this Bill, issues of delicate constitutional importance arise—issues that affect the relationship between the state, in the guise of the Home Secretary and the police, and the individual, in the guise here of the reasonably suspected person—surely it is important to examine with great care, as this House always does and clearly has done today, the implications for the rule of law and individual liberty. That is why I put my name to my noble friend Lord Hunt of Kings Heath’s Amendment 31, which, strangely, is in this group.

Amendment 31 suggests a practical and sensible way forward—one that balances the interests of all involved, I would argue. It suggests a role for police and crime commissioners that seems entirely appropriate and consistent with the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. When the coalition Government proposed the setting up of what I will call PCCs, they deliberately gave them considerable responsibilities and powers. Not only were they described as the “local policing body”; the Policing Protocol Order 2011 insisted that police and crime commissioners had a role in the “totality of policing”. Sometimes, it seems as though the then Government’s intentions, as contained in the Act passed by Parliament, have not always been fulfilled by succeeding Governments, who, although keen to support the legislation, seem to draw back from some of its consequences. I very much hope that the way in which the Minister deals with this amendment will show that I am wrong.

Of course, we all agree that strong powers are needed to protect society from those who would use, aid or support terrorism to get their own way. In this Bill, there is an obvious intention to strengthen the power of the state against the individual, pointed out repeatedly by noble Lords from all sides. This involves the removal of basic safeguards, as we have heard today: first, the need for there merely to be reasonable suspicion, rather than proof of a balance of probabilities, and, secondly, the open-ended nature of a TPIM. The dangers of that last approach were referred to by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas, in the context of recent public prevention legislation. Immense executive power attaches to the Home Secretary and the police, who are tasked with TPIM powers.

Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill Debate

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Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill

Lord Anderson of Ipswich Excerpts
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Wednesday 3rd March 2021

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The noble Lord, Lord Parkinson, said that in practice, the residence measure would likely—I stress likely—not exceed 16 hours a day without constituting an unlawful deprivation of liberty. We do not find “not likely” a reassurance, so this is also a part of the package on which we intend to divide the House.
Lord Anderson of Ipswich Portrait Lord Anderson of Ipswich (CB) [V]
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My Lords, nostalgia is the theme of the Government’s amendments in this group, because each of them takes us back to the wording of the original TPIM Act 2011. I am nostalgic enough for those days to have put my name to both amendments.

Amendment 14 on the standard of proof, in the name of the Minister, is a tribute to those noble Lords from all parts of the House who spoke so compellingly to the similar amendment that I had the privilege of moving in Committee. They include the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, each of whom advised—rightly as it turned out—that my amendment did more than was necessary to accommodate the Government’s legitimate concerns. Gift horses should not be looked in the mouth, still less kicked in the teeth. Ministers have listened and have acted decisively. I thank them for that and welcome the retention of a standard of proof, whether expressed as reasonable belief or as balance of probabilities—between which I see no real distinction in practice—that has by the Government’s own account caused no unnecessary difficulties and exposed us to no avoidable danger over the past 10 years.

With a little more hesitation, I put my name also to the Government’s Amendment 22. This reinstates the original requirement in Section 20 of the TPIM Act 2011 for an annual review of the operation of the Act by the independent reviewer, which in turn succeeded a similar requirement in relation to control orders. Section 20 was amended in 2015 to allow the independent reviewer an increased degree of discretion as to the timing of those reviews. That was not unwelcome to the independent reviewer at the time—I declare an interest—who had, as I recall, been given a number of commissions additional to his normal annual duties. However, I understand that the current independent reviewer is content, and on that basis I support Amendment 22 on two conditions. The first is that the independent reviewer should have the necessary resources to perform his various important tasks with the frequency that will now be required and with the promptness that is so desirable. The second condition is an acceptance that, useful as these reports are to those of us concerned with policy in this area, they can be no possible substitute for the scrutiny of individual cases on the evidence that is properly the function of the TPIM review group, to which the Minister alluded, and of the courts.

However, this group is concerned with more than nostalgia. TPIMs have moved on since 2011. These notably harsh measures are harsher than they were then and will soon become harsher still. The toughest measure of all, relocation, with or without one’s family, to a distant town or city—colourfully described by Liberty as “internal exile” and removed by the 2011 Act —was restored on my recommendation in 2015. A range of other new obligations has been added to the list of available measures. Assuming that Clause 37 goes through, notwithstanding Amendment 18, TPIM subjects will for the first time be able to be confined to their houses for substantial parts of the day, while no doubt being tagged, limited in their social contacts and obliged to report to the police station during the periods that they are allowed out. That is rather a different proposition from observing a night-time curfew only in one’s home borough, which is how things were in 2011.

The cumulative effect of numerous measures under a TPIM, even under the existing law, was explained in this way by LF—a TPIM subject, anonymised like the others into a pair of initials—in recent evidence to the High Court. That evidence was summarised by Mrs Justice Farbey in the judgment handed down on 10 February this year:

“He says that he felt as if he was being asked to do something which is not humanly possible: to fulfil multiple and often changing obligations over possibly a two-year period without making one single mistake. He felt as if he was in a trap: if he were to breach any of the TPIM, he would be convicted and imprisoned. The TPIM would then be re-imposed, perhaps with even more requirements, and he would once again be at risk of breaching them.”


For, of course, while the basis for a TPIM can include conduct falling short of the criminal threshold—support, assistance and encouragement more broadly understood than in the criminal law—even the most trivial breach of a curfew or reporting requirement is a criminal offence for which the maximum penalty is five years in prison.

That is the context in which we have to consider the remaining amendments, Amendments 16 and 17. Your Lordships have three options, and I emphasise that none of them is a liberalising option. The Liberal Democrats, with their Amendment 17, offer a continuation of the status quo: a two-year maximum limit in the absence of new intelligence, as initially proposed by my predecessor, the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, save in exceptional cases, and as supported by the current independent reviewer.

The Government, with Clause 35, offer an unlimited extension, which would allow radicalisers in particular—whom the Government told the independent reviewer are

“the likely targets of enduring TPIMs”—

quite simply to endure forever, even if the intensive monitoring of the subject turns up not a single scrap of evidence or intelligence suggestive of re-engagement.

My Amendment 16 takes the middle path. It recognises that, as I reported in 2013, it is tempting to wish for longer than two years in the most serious cases. However, it recognises also that TPIMs must not be allowed to become a more attractive option than prosecution, that the authorities must be incentivised to work on an exit strategy—and not simply to warehouse TPIM subjects—and that in a free country, our fellow citizens, however odious we might consider them, cannot be indefinitely confined by the state in the absence of any attempt to put them on trial.

It is said that TPIMs of indefinite duration will in reality be no such thing because Ministers will volunteer their discontinuance and because the courts can be counted on to intervene if they do not. Yet, with respect, the evidence casts doubt on both propositions. I understand from the independent reviewer, who on his own initiative asked officials about this, that every TPIM imposed since 2015, unless revoked for extraneous reasons, such as imprisonment or a court order, has been extended by the Secretary of State on the one and only occasion that this is normally permitted under the existing law. That is hardly surprising. If a released TPIM subject were subsequently to reoffend, who in active politics would want to be the Home Secretary who had chosen voluntarily to release him from constraint?

As to court proceedings, it is not just that closed material proceedings make them slow and cumbersome, that they do not allow the subject to instruct his special advocate or to call evidence on the full national security case against him, or that the Home Secretary asks for and is generally accorded—as her predecessor was by the Supreme Court last week in the Shamima Begum case—a high degree of judicial deference for her decisions relating to national security. There is also, most regrettably, a funding and hence an access to justice issue. I am again grateful to the independent reviewer for the information that of the handful of current TPIM subjects, no fewer than three—JD, HB and HC—sought funding from the Legal Aid Agency to enable them to be represented in review hearings but were turned down, after which they requested the court to discontinue those review hearings.

It is said that indefinite TPIMs will keep us safer. On that, I first invite noble Lords to reflect on the severity of my own amendment. It would mean that the Secretary of State’s initial belief that a subject has probably been involved in terrorism is enough to justify four years on a TPIM, with every move tagged and every conversation potentially monitored. If further intelligence emerges of involvement in terrorism, at any stage during those four years, under my amendment a fresh TPIM could still be imposed, again extendable up to a further four-year limit—and so on, ad infinitum. That, surely, is draconian enough.

Would we be kept safer by the indefinite warehousing of TPIM subjects beyond the four-year mark, without the need for intelligence derived from what is, after all, not just a terrorism prevention measure but a terrorism investigation measure? Such people could readily become martyrs to a certain audience as, in a small way, one or two control order subjects did. As my noble and learned friend Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd said in Committee, by reference to the IPP regime, of which he has great experience,

“indefinite detention often makes someone more dangerous because you take away hope.”—[Official Report, 9/2/21; col. 273.]

This country has a long tradition of combining high levels of national security with a vigorous defence of individual liberty. We never imposed indefinite house arrest, relocation and other similar restrictions on those who preached communist revolution, and we have never imposed TPIMs, although we have the power to do it, on radicalisers of the extreme right wing or the Irish republican persuasion. Nor are we where we were in 2005, when it was widely feared that al-Qaeda-directed plots would take tens of thousands of innocent British lives. Existing measures have helped ensure that the total death toll from terrorism this century, in Great Britain, stands at less than 100. To introduce indefinite executive detention in response to this miserable bunch of ideologues would, I suggest, be a signal not of strength but of what the terrorists most want to see from us: fear and overreaction.

National security law must be more than a series of proportionality assessments performed by the Executive and observed by respectful courts. Something more is needed—checks and not just balances—or how else can Parliament offer guidance on where the limits should be? Your Lordships’ House has already this year greatly improved the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill, whose original version suggested that this important truth may have been forgotten. This Bill, on a similar theme, was described by the independent reviewer as

“conspicuous for its lack of safeguards.”

Amendment 16 extends the reach of these always controversial TPIM measures, but it at least retains a tangible check on the executive power to constrain—a power of which the TPIM is the strongest example known to our law. I hope that the good sense of this amendment will commend it to your Lordships. With that in mind, my intention is to test the opinion of the House.

Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Portrait Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb (GP)
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My Lords, I feel much more educated than I did half an hour ago. Today, I found myself not only supporting but signing a government amendment, which is a first for me—what a pleasure. I was in the prestigious company of two QCs and a privy counsellor. I will support any and all amendments that are moved. I find the four-year limit a little tougher to accept than that of two years, but anything that is not indefinite is an improvement.

In normal times, this issue would get much more coverage, but Brexit, Covid and everything else are taking the public’s attention away from these issues. Anything that would implement unending government surveillance and intrusion on someone’s life is, frankly, terrifying.

The amendments of the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, to remove various clauses, and those of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, would significantly improve this Bill. I hope that noble Lords who have been involved in this Bill will continue to work with us. They have shown that they are prepared to improve the Bill and I think that further improvements are possible. I hope that they are listening and will accept these amendments.

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Moved by
16: Clause 35, page 29, line 28, leave out “one or more” and insert “up to three”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment would impose a four-year limit for TPIM notices.
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I anticipate withdrawing Amendment 19 at the end of the debate; I will not move Amendment 20, but we will move Amendment 21 when that point in the proceedings is reached. Let us see what the Government have to say.
Lord Anderson of Ipswich Portrait Lord Anderson of Ipswich (CB) [V]
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My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, appears to be right that the legislation in its current form does not place express limits on the use of information obtained from a polygraph for the purpose of extending a TPIM, yet my enthusiasm for Amendment 20 is limited. The reality is that TPIMs can be made and extended on the basis of a wide range of intelligence fragments, some of which may be little more than straws in the wind. It may none the less be important to take such matters into account. I think back to the Manchester Arena bomb and the ambiguous and potentially unreliable intelligence that, as I reported at the time, might, if it had been interpreted in a different way, have resulted in some sort of pre-emptive action.

An intelligence picture is typically a complex mosaic of multiple indications and assessments, of which polygraph material, depending on the circumstances, will not necessarily be the least reliable component. While it seems to me both unlikely and undesirable that a TPIM would ever be extended predominantly on the basis of polygraph material, I am wary of Parliament seeking to dictate the relative weight that is to be given to different sources of intelligence. The Executive and the courts are the bodies with expertise in this area, and I suspect that we should leave it to them.

I look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say about Amendment 19, which seems not without merit.

Lord Paddick Portrait Lord Paddick (LD) [V]
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My Lords, my noble friend Lady Hamwee has explained Amendments 19 and 20 to the House, and it would serve little purpose to repeat that as we will not be dividing the House on them.

As my noble friend has said, compulsory polygraph tests for those convicted on licence from prison are one thing, but such tests for those not convicted of any offence, who have a right to silence when being questioned, is quite another. It is a long-established principle that a suspect in criminal proceedings should be protected from any adverse consequences of remaining silent. Clause 38 allows the Secretary of State to impose a requirement for an individual subject to a TPIM to participate in polygraph sessions and to comply with instructions given to the individual by the polygraph operator. Although any statement made by the individual while participating in the polygraph session cannot be used against them in any proceedings for an offence, a failure to answer questions could be taken as contravening a measure specified in a TPIM notice—that is, to comply with the instructions of the polygraph operator, so, in this case, the instruction to answer questions. Remaining silent during a polygraph session could therefore be an offence under Section 23 of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011, for which the individual is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

If the person is convicted of a terrorism offence and is on licence and subject to a TPIM—unlikely but possible—it would be possible for them to be subjected to polygraph tests under Clause 32 of this Bill, and a failure to answer questions in those circumstances would be a breach of the licence. While we have reservations about that, we do not object to it being part of the Bill. However, if the person is not convicted and is subject to a TPIM, they have the right to silence and to be protected from any adverse consequences of remaining silent. Potentially being imprisoned for five years for failing to answer questions during a polygraph session is an adverse consequence, and we therefore intend to test the opinion of the House on whether Clause 38 should be part of the Bill.

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Lord Paddick Portrait Lord Paddick (LD) [V]
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My Lords, I move Amendment 23 in my name and that of my noble friend Lady Hamwee. This House voted for there to be a deadline for the publication of an independent review of the Government’s Prevent strategy in what became Section 20 of the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019. In this Bill, the Government seek to remove any deadline for the publication of this review. In Committee, the Minister said that the Government hoped that the report would be published in the autumn of this year and that he hoped to get confirmation of this from the newly appointed independent reviewer of Prevent. On the basis of the estimate given by the Government in Committee, our Amendment 23 seeks to reinstate the deadline but with a generous margin of publication by the end of the calendar year. I beg to move.

Lord Anderson of Ipswich Portrait Lord Anderson of Ipswich (CB) [V]
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My Lords, there seems to be a recurring issue with the timeliness of independent reviews in the field of national security. The chief problem as I observe it relates not to the speed with which independent reviewers do their job but to the speed with which those reviews are commissioned on the one hand, and the speed with which reports are published and laid before Parliament on the other.

As to delays in commissioning, in addition to the remarkably long time that it has taken to replace my noble friend Lord Carlile as the independent reviewer of Prevent, I note that it was only on 25 February this year that the long-awaited review was announced of closed material procedures under the Justice and Security Act 2013. That review was required by Section 13 of that Act to be completed as soon as reasonably practicable after June 2018. Yet, despite regular inquiries by the indefatigable Angus McCullough QC and others, and at least one Written Question in my own name, it was commissioned only two and a half years after that point. That seems simply unacceptable.

On the second of those points, there is the pre-election saga of the Russia report of the Intelligence and Security Committee, on which I made my views clear at the time, and an occasionally elastic interpretation of the Secretary of State’s statutory duty to lay reports of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation before Parliament “on receiving a report”.

In the Public Bill Committee on the original TPIM Bill in 2011, James Brokenshire, during his first stint as Security Minister, said on this subject:

“There is no desire to sit on reports. It would be foolish and inappropriate for Government to do so, particularly with a report from an independent reviewer … It is not our intention to sit on reports; that is not the practice. If it gives comfort to the Committee and to the public, reports received from the independent reviewer will be published on receipt or promptly—whatever the appropriate phrase is. That is what I expect to happen, and I would expect any successor of mine to take the same approach.”—[Official Report, Commons Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill Committee, 30/6/11; col. 253.]


Will the Minister take this opportunity to endorse the principled approach set out by James Brokenshire almost 10 years ago and apply it not only to reports of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation but to the report of the independent reviewer of Prevent? If he can, he will go some way to setting my mind at rest not only on the subject matter of this amendment but more generally.

Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill Debate

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Lord Anderson of Ipswich

Main Page: Lord Anderson of Ipswich (Crossbench - Life peer)

Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill

Lord Anderson of Ipswich Excerpts
Lord Anderson of Ipswich Portrait Lord Anderson of Ipswich (CB) [V]
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My Lords, behind today’s limited and so far rather civilised debate lies perhaps the most divisive and hard-fought civil liberties dispute of this century. In the frenzied weeks after 9/11, we saw the British answer to Guantanamo—a scheme of indefinite detention in Belmarsh prison at the behest of the Executive for foreign nationals who could be neither deported nor put on trial. When that scheme was declared by our highest court to discriminate unlawfully on grounds of nationality, the control order regime of 2005, applicable to British citizens also, was put in its place.

Control orders were replaced by the more liberal TPIMs regime in 2011, after intense debate within the coalition Government. Then the pendulum began to swing back: relocation of subjects was restored in 2015, and this Bill, as it was first presented to your Lordships, would have allowed these uniquely draconian measures, now including the possibility of daytime curfews, to be imposed indefinitely and on the basis of nothing more than a reasonable suspicion of involvement in activity only indirectly related to terrorism.

It is not fashionable to claim that the institutions of our liberal democracy are in good health but, on this occasion, I suggest that they have succeeded in their function of resolving strongly felt differences in public opinion decisively, firmly and in a rights-compliant manner. Let there be no mistake: the measures about to be passed into law are severe and indeed draconian, as public opinion no doubt demands. But it is at least something that a 20-year struggle to reconcile the requirements of security and civil liberties, a struggle in which Belmarsh, control orders and TPIMs have been on the very front line, has been reduced to a dry-sounding choice between Motion A and Motion A1 on the Marshalled List.

In supporting the Government on the compromise that is Motion A, I first acknowledge the consistency and moral force of the Liberal Democrat position. The addition of the fifth year to the maximum duration of a TPIM may have been the straw that broke their back, and, as I indicated to the Minister, it came close to breaking mine. However, I hope that the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, is consoled by the fact that during the passage of this Bill her party has helped to restore two of its earlier vital achievements in government: the time-limiting of TPIMs and the requirement of at least a reasonable belief that a TPIM subject should have been involved in terrorism-related activity.

I further thank the noble and learned Lord, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, for co-signing the relevant amendments, and the Labour Front Bench for their support and votes—not perhaps a foregone conclusion, given that it was Labour which devised the original control orders back in 2005. I thank the Government for the equal flexibility which they displayed when confronted with the mood of this House, for the important assurances given just now by the Minister, in particular for the assurance that five years will not become the new normal, and for the accessibility and courtesy of all Ministers towards me. On one call with the noble Lords, Lord Parkinson and Lord Wolfson, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Stewart, I was impressed to see that no less a figure than the noble Earl, Lord Howe, had also been fielded, presumably as a kind of sweeper in the event that any of his freshly capped young ministerial colleagues might be tempted to give away the ball. What drills are performed on the ministerial training ground I cannot know, but I mean it as a compliment to all concerned when I say that no intervention by the noble Earl came close to being needed.

I finish with a reference to the latest report of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, published on Tuesday and not, I think, previously brought to the attention of your Lordships’ House. Of Jonathan Hall QC’s 13 recommendations across the whole field of counter-terrorism law, numbers 9, 10 and 11 relate specifically to TPIMs. He recommended that the possibility of prosecuting TPIM subjects, not for breach of their TPIMs but for terrorism-related activity, be kept under closer review than is currently the case. He recommended that the cumulative period for which TPIM restrictions had already applied be expressly recognised as a factor going to their proportionality. He also recommended that legal funding be swiftly made available to all TPIM subjects for the purpose of participating in Section 9 review hearings, as appears, most unfortunately, not to be the case currently. That is the bare minimum, as he rightly recognised, for ensuring the access to court that can alone render these highly intrusive measures consistent with the rule of law.

Each of the independent reviewer’s concerns, as expressed in those three recommendations, can only be deepened by the extension to the maximum length of TPIMs that will be effected by this Bill. The Minister will, I am sure, tell us that the recommendations of the independent reviewer will receive careful consideration. But the Home Office has already had them for more than four months, and I notified the Minister this morning of my intention to mention them. I invite the Minister to go further this afternoon, by assuring the House that the Government accept these recommendations and will implement them.

Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd Portrait Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd (CB) [V]
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My Lords, in view of the eloquent and comprehensive speech of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, I can confine my remarks to three points. First, it seems to me that the position taken by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, must be right as a matter of principle. Both the areas which the House has examined in detail—namely the burden of proof required and the length of time—are essential for ensuring that this is a regime that does not disproportionately affect the fundamental right of liberty.

Secondly, the considerable importance of the current amendment is that we have moved away from the prospect of orders of an indefinite renewal period. Not only would those have been discouraging and demoralising to the individual and made it more difficult to ensure that he could, on removal of the TPIM, return as an ordinary member of society, but, as importantly, they would have been perceived as unfair by the community. The perception of fairness by the community safeguards us to a much more considerable extent than any other matters.

Thirdly, I profoundly welcome the pragmatic approach of the Minister, supported as he has been in this by the noble Lord, Lord Wolfson of Tredegar, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Stewart. It is wonderful that a proper compromise has been reached here and I thank them for their considerable part in bringing this about. It may not be perfect, but it gets rid of those areas that would have been most damaging to our civil liberties.