New Forest East

HOME AFFAIRS – TREASON – 20 February 2019

Dr Julian Lewis: May I draw the attention of the Home Secretary and the House to an important article just published online in the Independent by the self-described liberal journalist Ahmed Aboudouh, who says that Egypt paid a terrible price in taking back jihadists who begged to be allowed home after the Afghan and Chechen campaigns? He points out that in November 1997, 58 western tourists were slaughtered in Luxor by returned jihadists who only a year earlier had been begging to come back. Clearly, there is a danger in letting radicalised people come back. However, given that not everyone can have their citizenship withdrawn and not everyone who has been out there can be successfully prosecuted because of the lack of evidence of what goes ​on in a place like that, does the solution not have to be a change in the law so that the act of giving support, aid and comfort to terrorist groups is itself a prosecutable offence?

[The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sajid Javid): I thank my right hon. Friend for drawing the attention of the House to that case in Egypt and for his question. He outlines that in cases – again, I am not talking about any particular case – where the only opportunity to keep out a dangerous individual is through deprivation, thereby preventing re-entry into the UK, then any Home Secretary would weigh that option very carefully. Ultimately, my No. 1 responsibility is to do everything I can to keep everyone who lives in Britain safe. The last thing anyone would want to see – he cited the example of Egypt – is a situation where someone returns who could not be kept out and goes on to kill, murder and destroy lives. The duty to keep their constituents safe should be paramount in the mind of every hon. Member. That is why the House has supported successive Acts of Parliament that allow deprivation. As I said, the Immigration Act 2014 – not that long ago – actually extended powers of deprivation. That was the will of the House. My right hon. Friend referred to changes in the law. I know he welcomes the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019, which became an Act just last week. That also gives the Government further powers to prosecute terrorists.]