|Tue 21st July 2020||
Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill
3rd reading: House of Commons
Report stage: House of Commons
|12 interactions (1,710 words)|
|Tue 9th June 2020||
Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill
2nd reading: House of Commons
|41 interactions (5,591 words)|
Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill DebateFull Debate: Read Full Debate
Robert BucklandMain Page: Robert Buckland (Conservative) - South Swindon)
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This is an important Bill, which will have a significant impact on many aspects of the criminal justice system for many years to come. I wish to thank colleagues who contributed to the robust debates that we have had in Committee and on Report. In particular, I thank my colleague, my hon. Friend the Member for Stockton North (Alex Cunningham), who has made characteristically thoughtful contributions throughout the Bill’s passage. I thank also my colleague, my hon. Friend the Member for St Helens North (Conor McGinn), for his characteristic robust approach, and the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, the hon. Member for Torbay (Kevin Foster), who has been a pleasure to work with for the first time on the Front Bench. I also thank the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh South West (Joanna Cherry) for the joint working that we were able to do in opposition.
As I said on Second Reading, the Opposition fully accept that those who have committed serious terrorist offences should serve a sentence that fully represents the gravity of their actions. First and foremost, our approach has been an overarching commitment to keep the British public safe and to ensure that horrific terrorist attacks such as the ones at Fishmongers’ Hall and Streatham cannot be repeated. The Opposition also accept that when those who have committed the most serious terrorist offences are released, it is only right that, even if they are really sorry, they are subject to stringent licensing conditions that would allow their close supervision in the community.
We accept that the broad thrust of the Bill is necessary and proportionate. It would be a mistake to say, though, that the Bill is flawless, or that its provisions on their own can protect the public from the ever-present threat of radicalisation and serious terrorist atrocities. One of the greatest concerns that we have had, as an Opposition, since the emergence of the Bill is that the balance between the importance of punishment and the necessity to rehabilitate offenders has not been quite struck. At this stage, it is important to make one point perfectly clear: even offenders convicted of the most serious terrorist offences, those who are subject to extended sentences under the Bill, will at some point be released back into society. That is the reality that, wherever we sit in this House, we must accept. Although, as I have already pointed out, it is only right that the most serious terrorists serve extended sentences of up to 14 years, the Opposition also believe that we have a moral duty to ensure that offenders leave prison less dangerous and less willing to harm the fabric of our society than when they went in.
Failing to believe and invest in deradicalisation strategies not only fails society but actively puts members of society at increased risk. Although it is sadly true that most serious terrorist offenders will prove to be either unwilling or unable to reform, it is our duty to believe in hope over despair. It is simply not good enough to lock terrorists away for longer, put them out of our minds and hope for the best. As we have seen from the devastating attacks at Streatham and Fishmongers’ Hall, this approach does not work.
The Government cannot simply give up on rehabilitation, nor the ability of former offenders to reform, which is why it is so disappointing that so little in the Bill will do anything to strip terrorists of their hateful ideologies or to encourage them to rejoin society as reformed individuals. It is abundantly clear that we need a serious and comprehensive strategy on deradicalisation in prison, and the Opposition will hold the Government to account on that in the months and years to come.
That brings me to another issue that the Opposition have sought to recognise during the passage of the Bill: the importance of probation. We cannot begin to tackle terrorism without first recognising the important role played by the probation services. It is worth remembering that the role of probation is not just to monitor risk but to provide support to those who have been released from prison so that they are less likely to reoffend and can play an active role in society.
The provisions of this important Bill will mean that more people will serve longer behind bars, followed by hugely increased licence periods in the community. With that in mind, it is more important than ever for our probation services to be fully functioning and effective, yet we know that our probation services are already hopelessly overstretched and overworked.
In particular, Labour is concerned that the provisions of the Bill will place a huge burden on specialised probation officers, who are already very thin on the ground and hold very high terror-related caseloads. Research shows us that more time spent with offenders is essential to the carrying out of proper risk assessments, but that simply will not be possible with vastly increased workloads. The Government cannot simply increase the responsibilities placed on probation officers, increase their workload and consider the matter closed. It is vital that probation officers are given the resources that they need to do their job; the safety of the public depends on it. The Opposition will hold the Government to account if they fail to meet their obligations to the probation services.
Another concern that was stressed throughout Committee and on Report is the importance of recognising the difference between young offenders and adult offenders. Young offenders and adult offenders are inherently different: they think differently and make decisions in different ways but, most importantly, young offenders are much more capable of reform than older adults. As Jonathan Hall QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, rightly pointed out during his analysis of the Bill:
“The requirement of a minimum mandatory sentence for all adult offenders, however young,”
raises the question of
“an adult of 18 years and one month”
“any more mature than a child of 17 years and 11 months”.
The Opposition recognise that there are significant differences between adults over 21, those who are between 19 and 21, and those who are under 18. Members of each of those groups are at very different stages of their lives, and reviews, including my own, have recognised the need for different criminal justice approaches to different age groups. In order properly to reflect the difference between young offenders and adult offenders, the Opposition tabled an amendment that would require a pre-sentence report to be carried out that would take into consideration the age of the offender and whether options other than a serious terrorist offence might be more effective. It is a shame that the Government did not accept that amendment, but I hope that the Secretary of State will consider the Opposition’s concerns in the months and years ahead.
Let me finish where I started on Second Reading, first in paying tribute to a dear friend, James Adams, who was killed in the 7/7 bombings, but also in paying tribute to Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, who lost their lives in the attack on Fishmongers’ Hall. Both Jack and Saskia believed passionately that there can be a glimmer of light in even the darkest and most hardened of hearts. We on the Labour Benches share that optimism. Although it is only right that those who have committed the most heinous of crimes are subjected to extended sentences, we cannot give up hope of rehabilitation. If even the smallest chance of redemption exists, we owe it to the victims of Fishmongers’ Hall to try.
Throughout the passage of this Bill, the Opposition have sought to work constructively with the Government to ensure that the courts have the powers they need to meet the continual threat of terrorism and keep terrorists off the streets, and I assure the Secretary of State that I will continue to work constructively with him over the months and years ahead. This Bill goes some way to doing that, and therefore we will support it on Third Reading.
Break in Debate
I rise only briefly to state my strong support for the Bill. I should declare that prior to my election, I was the magistrate member of the Sentencing Council and a non-executive director of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. Accordingly, I was honoured to be a member of the Public Bill Committee for this legislation.
As we have heard several times during the debates on the Bill, the overarching responsibility of any Government is to keep their citizens safe, and one of the five set out purposes of sentencing is to protect the public, and that is rightly the priority of the Bill. Terrorist attacks cause carnage, murdering indiscriminately and injuring wantonly. The Bill sends a very powerful message to those who seek to bring terror to the lives of innocent people. It demonstrates the contempt in which we hold those who seek to kill and maim to further their warped ideologies. A minimum sentence of 14 years to be spent entirely in custody is a clear signal that if someone commits a serious offence linked to terrorism, they can expect to spend a hefty proportion of their life locked up, and rightly so.
I, too, am a firm believer in rehabilitation, and the Prison Service has worked incredibly hard to devise and implement deradicalisation programmes, but I think most people would acknowledge that there is considerable scope for further improvement. Several times during the Committee’s evidence sessions, we were told that the reoffending rate of terrorists is low—perhaps just 3% —somehow implying that we therefore do not need such lengthy sentences as proposed in the Bill, but that surely misses the point. Even one terrorist reoffending is one too many, because even one terrorist attack can kill hundreds of people. In cases of terrorism, we cannot take risks.
The Bill also sends a strong message to the public that this Government are absolutely committed to protecting lives and minimising the chance of terrorist attacks taking place. The changes to TPIMs reflect the needs of the Security Service to have every tool to keep us safe. When Assistant Chief Constable Tim Jacques, the deputy senior national co-ordinator in the UK’s counter-terrorism policing, gave evidence to the Public Bill Committee, he stated:
“Protecting the public is our No. 1 priority and sometimes that means we have to intervene regardless of evidence, because the risks to the public are so great.”––[Official Report, Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Public Bill Committee, 25 June 2020; c. 26, Q69.]
Our priority must be to support our Security Service and police in the heroic work they do day in, day out, often at considerable danger to themselves in their constant quest to thwart would-be terrorists from wreaking their havoc. We owe it to them to give them what they need to keep us safe.
Finally, it is vitally important that the courts take immediate note if and when the Bill is passed. I hope that sentencing guidelines can be introduced quickly to reflect the clear will of all sides of Parliament to ensure that dangerous terrorist offenders spend more time in prison.
I am grateful to the Lord Chancellor for reassuring me of that. I know from having served on the Sentencing Council that its members will diligently proceed with their efforts. That work will surely reflect, as I was saying, the clear will of Parliament to ensure that dangerous terrorist offenders spend more time in prison, to give greater opportunity for rehabilitation, to reflect the seriousness of their crime and, most importantly, to protect the British people.
May I say briefly that there are many MPs in this House who have been affected by terrorism? When I was talking to the hon. Member for Hertford and Stortford (Julie Marson) earlier, we were relating the stories of her friend and others. This Bill before us tonight cements and strengthens our position and offers us protection. We as MPs in Northern Ireland have felt the brunt of terrorism more than most. We know about it personally—I know about it. I often think of those whom I know who have given their lives. I think of my cousin Kenneth Smyth and his friend Daniel McCormick who were both murdered on 10 December 1971. I think of the four UDR men murdered at Ballydugan: young John Birch, Steven Smart—[Interruption.]
I thank the Secretary of State very much for intervening. I do recall John Birch, Steven Smart, Michael Adams and Lance Corporal Bradley. I often think of the families of those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and of those who were injured. We owe so much to those families. Every MP in this House has a responsibility to keep their constituents safe, as others have said, which we all adhere to and I thank them for that. Today, our Minister, the hon. Member for Croydon South (Chris Philp), who, I have to say, I am very impressed by—I mean that honestly—and also the Secretary of State have come in here and ensured that the protection of all the people of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been cemented in legislation, and I thank them for that. We welcome the Government’s commitment and we thank all in the Committee for their work and the Clerks for their administration to deliver the Bill. Madam Deputy Speaker, thank you.
Question put and agreed to.
Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.
Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill DebateFull Debate: Read Full Debate
Robert BucklandMain Page: Robert Buckland (Conservative) - South Swindon)
Department Debates - View all Robert Buckland's debates with the Ministry of Justice
Legislation Debates - View all Robert Buckland's contributions to the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill 2019-21
The Lord Chancellor mentions the importance of speed in dealing with these situations. Does he agree that we have perhaps not moved fast enough in, for example, proscribing some organisations? I am thinking particularly of extreme right-wing organisations that target the black community, other people of colour, the Jewish community and the gay community. It took years to get System Resistance Network and Sonnenkrieg Division banned by the Government, and there are other organisations out there, such as the Order of Nine Angles, that need to be banned. Does he agree that we need to move further and faster on proscription so that people involved in those organisations can receive the sentences that he is talking about in this legislation?
I am very conscious that although we are looking at the recent period, at those who were involved in ISIS and Daesh attacks in London and elsewhere, IRA terrorism is clearly a strong issue, as was illustrated last week when there was a bomb and arms find in Londonderry. When it comes to sentencing, I ask that those who are involved in IRA terrorism, who are convicted in this jurisdiction—on the mainland—will not receive any reduction in the sentences that they receive if they are transferred back to Northern Ireland, for instance. I seek that assurance from the Secretary of State—that IRA terrorists will get the full brunt of the law and not get away with a reduced sentence if they are sent back home.
My right hon. and learned Friend mentions a couple of cases, including Fishmongers’ Hall. Does that not illustrate the great range of problems that have to be addressed? In recent times, was there not a case where someone had to be released even though people were sure he would reoffend at the first opportunity—he did so, and had to be trailed and stopped by an MI5 team—whereas at Fishmongers’ Hall, was the problem not that the person had claimed to be reformed and that there was no reason, apparently, not to release him? It will have to be a very comprehensive piece of legislation to cope with such a wide range of problems.
Break in Debate
Madam Deputy Speaker, I endeavour to follow your instructions and I will do my best.
I seek assurance that those who are involved in terrorist activity, be it providing safe houses, physical assistance, cars or weapons, and who play a smaller role will also feel the brunt of the sentencing for their minor role in a bigger terrorist atrocity.
Is the Secretary of State aware of cases in respect of which he, the Home Secretary or others think that a TPIM should have been granted but could not be because the burden of proof was set at the wrong level?
I have a lot of sympathy with the point that my right hon. and learned Friend makes about the value that TPIMs can have as part of the armoury, so to speak, in dealing with these matters. May I draw him back to the point about the change in the burden of proof? The increase in the burden of proof to the current standard was specifically in response to a recommendation from the then independent reviewer, Lord Anderson. The current independent reviewer, Mr Hall QC, has made no such recommendation to reduce the burden proof, as is proposed here. That is a striking difference. What we are trying to get to is this: what is it that triggers this change in the burden of proof without some evidence, either by way of recommendation or some hard fact to demonstrate it?
I thank the right hon. and learned Gentleman for giving way. The point made by the Chair of the Justice Committee is very well made. Not only has the current independent reviewer of terrorism, Jonathan Hall QC, not recommended the change, but he has specifically questioned the basis for the change. So again, is the Lord Chancellor able to clearly articulate for us why this change in the burden of proof is necessary?
Can the Secretary of State explain, first, what additional resources will be made available within the prison system to ensure that those who commit terror offences are not then left there to radicalise other young offenders? That has been a huge concern, and the Government have been pretty lacklustre in dealing with it. Secondly, when they are released, what resources and support will be made available to local authorities and other partnerships to ensure that other young people are not susceptible to their influence? It is one thing to sentence, but quite another to deal with the underlying challenges in communities.
When I was Prisons Minister between 2010 and 2012, we abolished control orders, to which we are returning, because of the inflexibilities they created. I will speak on that in my main remarks. Will not the inflexibilities and the mandatory elements in the Bill make significantly more difficult the job of those most brilliant people in the Prison Service engaged in the rehabilitation of this most difficult class of offenders?
The Lord Chancellor is being incredibly generous in giving way. He will be aware of the tragic circumstances in which young people in my constituency were recruited to Daesh/ISIS, and that the perpetrator of neo-Nazi actions a couple of years ago in Grangetown was only 19. It is right to focus on issues that relate to young people, but will the right hon. and learned Gentleman say a little more about the specialist probation officers, and about what training skills they will be given to look at the increasingly sophisticated way that some of these individuals engage online? As he said, they might be superficially engaging in face-to-face conversations, but then having a completely different set of conversations online, including through gaming platforms.
Does the Lord Chancellor recognise that, despite supporting the Bill overall, the Minister for Justice in Northern Ireland has expressed some concerns about the extension of those provisions to Northern Ireland, and raised some potential inadvertent and unintended consequences that would be undesirable?
I apologise to you, Madam Deputy Speaker, and to the Chamber for arriving late. I was at a Defence Committee meeting. My right hon. and learned Friend will know that the post-covid world we enter will be very different security-wise from the one we left. That distraction is being used by our adversaries, including terrorists, to regroup, rearm and retrain. Does he agree that this is not the time to reduce our security or defence budgets and that we must remain on our guard?
The point of terror attacks is to make us despair, but the public’s response to them shows us why we are still right to believe in hope. We saw that clearly in the attack on Fishmongers’ Hall on 29 November last year. I will not name the attacker, but I will praise the bravery of the Polish porter, Łukasz Koczocik, who risked his own life to help overpower the terrorist with a narwhal tusk. Two former offenders, James Ford and Marc Conway, also became heroes when they helped tackle the attacker to the ground. I also pay special tribute to Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, who dedicated their young lives to seeing the best in people, working in offender rehabilitation only to be killed in the most bitter twist of fate.
That terrorist attack, like another on Streatham High Road on 2 February this year, was committed by an individual who was already convicted as a terrorist offender, but who had been released automatically at just past the halfway point of their sentence. They were neither de-radicalised nor deterred by their time in prison. In fact, their time at Her Majesty’s pleasure may have made them worse.
There are two possible conclusions we can draw from those harrowing stories. First, prison sentences for terrorists are not long enough and, secondly, deradicalisation programmes in prison are not working. The Government, with the support of the Opposition, went some way to addressing the first of those concerns with emergency legislation passed earlier this year. The Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Act 2020 ensured that terrorist offenders sentenced to a determinate sentence could not be released before the end of their custodial sentence without the agreement of the Parole Board.
The measures in today’s legislation build on the emergency legislation. They, too, are based on the conclusion that there remain some terrorism offences where the maximum penalty is not sufficient for the gravity of the offence. The Opposition will not be seeking a Division on Second Reading, but we will scrutinise the Bill as it moves through the House into Committee and on Third Reading.
We understand that the terrorism threat level in the UK remains substantial. We also note that the threat does not come from Islamic extremists only. As Britain’s top counter-terrorism police officer, Neil Basu, has warned, the fastest-growing terrorist threat comes from the far right. Of the 224 people in prison for terror-related offences, 173 are Islamic extremists and 38 are far-right ideologues. Of the 16 plots foiled by the end of 2018, four were from the far-right community. In a world that is increasingly tribal, the Opposition believe that the broad thrust of these changes is needed. Labour’s priority is to keep the British public safe.
Break in Debate
That is very generous—characteristically so—of the right hon. Gentleman. This is something that, as he rightly observes, has nothing to do with party. Any of us who has lived in any of our great cities has lived with the reality of that risk from time to time. That is why, to return to my point, we must try to get the detail right as well as the broad thrust.
There is much in the Bill that I support, and I shall certainly support it on Second Reading. I think we all accept that, precisely because of the particular nature of Islamist terrorism, the threat of which we now have to confront—the way it seems to warp an ideology even more particularly and more deep-rootedly than many other political motivations—it requires particular care in its handling.
There is no doubt—we have seen it in some of the cases that have been referred to, and it is well established by those who have researched these matters—that those who have been attracted to that ideology frequently present as particularly manipulative and are sometimes adept, as the Lord Chancellor has observed in previous debates, at hiding their motivations for a considerable time. It is therefore is all the harder for the authorities to make an assessment about when it is safe for them to be released, so it is not at all unreasonable that we should have particular types of regimes for sentencing, rehabilitation and release to deal with the particular types of threat that can arise from this particular class of offending.
That said, there are legitimate concerns, which must be raised, about whether we are still getting this right. I do not think any Government have ever got it wholly right. We always have to learn as we go along, as greater awareness and understanding become apparent. That is no criticism of anyone in this context.
I agree with the point that the right hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr Lammy) made about the work of Ian Acheson. Mr Acheson’s report was most important and significant and, I think, extremely valuable. He gave compelling evidence to the Justice Committee at the time he brought it out. I have always regarded it as a matter of regret that that report was not more fully implemented. Much of it was, but I still think that there may be bits that we ought to look at.
I am grateful to the Lord Chancellor for that intervention. I know that he takes this immensely seriously on a personal level as well as an official level. We ought to be prepared to engage with all expertise in this field. He is right to keep things under review, and I hope that he will continue to use the expertise of Mr Acheson and others who worked with him on that report to inform our best practice.
I visited a young offenders institution where a young girl who had been suborned into this dreadful ideology was being held on remand. She was no doubt going to receive a very substantial sentence, such was the gravity of the matters in which she had become involved, but because of her age, it was inevitable that at some point she would have to be released. Having a means of doing that safely is profoundly important, but I accept also that it is profoundly difficult because it is well established that the pre-indicators that we find in relation to general criminality are often not available to be picked up in this type of case. So I totally understand where the Government are coming from in that regard. That is why, as I said, I do not have a problem with the basic thrust of the changes to the regime that the Bill proposes.
The other point, which has been picked up in the debate by Members on both sides of the House and in interventions, is that the whole purpose of our standing up against terrorism, from whatever source it comes, is to protect our basic values as a society, which are underpinned, perhaps more fundamentally than almost anything else, by a commitment to the rule of law. Anything that seeks to drive us away from that, or inadvertently causes us to move away from that, ironically serves in its own insidious way to assist the terrorist cause rather than our own. I do not think for one second that any Government—none of the Governments who have had to confront this going back to the time I was talking about when I was a young man—have ever sought to do that deliberately.
We have to be particularly alert to that risk, and that is why I hope that when we look at the detail of the Bill we will take on board the need to ensure that we continue safeguards in this regard. That is one reason why it was a good thing that we appointed an independent reviewer of terrorism in the first place. I am a great believer in independent inspectorates, be they of the Prison Service, probation, the Crown Prosecution Service or education services. The same applies to the desirability of having a robust independent reviewer, and we have always had those in the shape of distinguished lawyers. That is why I have a concern about the burden of proof in relation to terrorism prevention and investigation measures. The initial changes were driven, as has been pointed out and I said in my intervention, in response to specific recommendations from the independent reviewer.
The current independent reviewer, Mr Jonathan Hall, QC, supports and endorses a number of changes that the Bill makes, and I think that is powerful evidence in the Lord Chancellor’s favour in relation to many elements of the Bill. But that actually makes it all the more striking that the change to the burden of proof in relation to TPIMs does not arise from anything that the independent reviewer has sought, or anything that the independent reviewer has advocated. His silence on that point, as opposed to other areas where I would suggest that he has given valuable external support to the Government’s position, is therefore striking, and that is why we must be particularly careful about how we deal with this matter. It is a little bit like putting the other side to proof, if I can put it that way.
There may well be a good reason for that, and I am sure that the Lord Chancellor would not reinforce the proposal unless he genuinely believed there was, but I think we have to be able to set a reason before the public as well. I accept that there are pressures in terms of resource and the amount of time it takes to bring forward one of these measures. I accept, too, that the Lord Chancellor observes that it is therefore not done lightly. That is all perfectly fair, but if we are going to make that change—after all, I was a junior member of the coalition Government who made the change in the opposite direction, away from control orders, as has already been observed—we ought always to be able to do it on the basis of the clearest evidence. With every respect, I am not quite sure that we have yet got the clarity of evidence that I would like to see to satisfy me on that point.
The Lord Chancellor makes the point very clearly, and I fully understand that, but I do just juxtapose it with the observation by Mr Hall, QC, in his note dated 2 June, in which he says:
“In these circumstances it is not clear why there is any need to change the law in the manner proposed. Steps to reduce the resource burden of obtaining TPIMs are already in hand. The courts have not found that the current approach is wrong.”
There may be an argument for flexibility, but we cannot say that it comes from the independent reviewer, so I wonder where it does come from.
Break in Debate
There is when the TPIMs are first set out—the hon. Gentleman is right about that. My argument about the control orders at the beginning, where I thought they should have been amended back in 2011, was for introducing stronger safeguards. I have always believed that we need stronger safeguards in place, but the Bill does not include any safeguards for judicial scrutiny after two years if these measures are going to be extended—if they are going to be for longer. The independent reviewer, Jonathan Hall, has suggested a solution would be to require the Secretary of State to seek the court’s permission for any extension beyond two years, in the same way that she currently does when a TPIM is first made. That would seem to be a sensible additional safeguard to put in if those TPIMs are to be extended.
In addition, no explanation has been given about the burden of proof. I asked the Minister to tell me, hand on heart, whether he knew of cases—I do not ask for the detail—where he believes the wrong decision has been made not to put somebody on a TPIM because of the burden of proof, and he was not able to do so. I am therefore really concerned that there is not the evidence to justify lowering the burden of proof in this way. He referred to the idea that we somehow need greater “flexibility”. I hope he will reconsider his use of that word, because the powers are flexible; they can be used to apply to all sorts of different circumstances and different kinds of threats that an individual might pose. He should not use the word “flexibility” to apply to the burden of proof. We do not apply flexibility to proof, just as we do not apply it to truth.
I appreciate that, but I think that also makes clear the gap in the right hon. and learned Gentleman’s case, because operational flexibility still should not apply to the burden of proof—the evidence required in order to justify applying measures that are for particularly extreme circumstances. The independent reviewer, Jonathan Hall, has said that
“administrative convenience does not appear to provide a basis for reversing the safeguard of a higher standard of proof.”
We cannot justify saying that in order to somehow reduce the paperwork, we want to reduce the burden of proof to use such measures. His predecessor, Lord David Anderson, who argued for bringing back relocation and who has been a supporter of strong powers, has agreed with him on this matter. Initially he argued for increasing the burden of proof, and he has said that the Home Secretary should at least have to “believe” someone is a terrorist, not just “suspect” it. That is the important criterion if these powers are to be used. I urge the Government to rethink these safeguards. If we are to have these strong powers to keep us all safe, prevent terrorist attacks, and protect us from people who may be immensely dangerous, we should also ensure the right kinds of safeguards to make sure that those powers are not misused, abused, or used in the wrong cases.
On the Government’s Prevent programme and the review of it, I am disappointed that there is now no date in the Bill—it has been removed altogether. It is clear that we still have no reviewer in place for the Prevent programme, so they will obviously not complete the review by August, but that in itself is a huge disappointment. The timetable has been extended again, as has the application process. There is no deadline at all, and it is immensely important that the review is not just chucked into the long grass. Will the Minister include an alternative date? A date was included for a good reason, after debates about previous legislation, to ensure that the review happened. A programme that is so important and has had different questions about it raised, should be effectively reviewed to see how it should work.
Finally, we should also be looking at deradicalisation more widely, both as part of the Prevent programme and in our prisons, as well as at how we can do more to prevent extremism and radicalisation, and at how to turn people back towards a better course once things have gone wrong.