Terrorism Bill — 14 Dec 1999
Order for Second Reading read.
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
The Bill provides for permanent anti-terrorist powers for the police, other law enforcement agencies and the courts. Let me first explain to the House why we judge that such powers--powers additional to those of the general criminal law--are needed.
Terrorism involves the threat or use of seriousviolence for political, religious or ideological ends. It is premeditated, and aims to create a climate of extreme fear. While the direct victims may be specific or symbolic targets, they may also be selected at random. In any event, terrorism is aimed at influencing a wider target than its immediate victims.
Although all crime to some degree plainly threatens the stability of the social and political order, terrorism differs from crime motivated solely by greed in that it is directed at undermining the foundations of government. It poses special difficulties for those of us who live in liberal democracies. Our sense of outrage is all the greater because in such democracies the overwhelming majority of the population believe that there are adequate non-violent means for expressing opposition and dissent. However, we will have handed the terrorists the victory that they seek if, in combating their threats and violence, we descend to their level and undermine the essential freedoms and rule of law that are the bedrock of our democracy.
Mr. Douglas Hogg (Sleaford and North Hykeham):
I accept the generality of the hon. Gentleman's comments, but will he help me on one point? Am I right in thinking that the actions of the Kosovo Liberation Army in combating the Serbs in Kosovo or, for that matter, those of the Kurds in fighting Saddam Hussein in north Iraq, fall within the scope of terrorism as defined in clauses 1 and 57?
Question put and agreed to.
Bill accordingly read a Second time.
Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 63(2),
That the Bill be committed to a Special Standing Committee.--[ Mr. Simon Hughes. ]
The House divided: Ayes 47, Noes 262.
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