BUSINESS QUESTION – SUPPORT FOR TERRORISM – 5 July 2007
Dr Julian Lewis: Yesterday I had the unforgettably sad privilege of attending the military funeral at Dover Castle of Corporal John Rigby, who was killed defending his men just outside Basra Palace. Having met his parents, Doug and Liz Rigby, and his twin brother Will, I can understand from where he derived his character, his courage and his reputation as one of the finest soldiers in the British Army. Today, on the “Today” programme, I heard a spokesman from Hizb ut-Tahrir saying that it was acceptable for British soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, like Corporal Rigby, to be killed. I do not know if that spokesman is a British citizen or not. If he is a British citizen, may we have a statement from a Home Office Minister explaining why he should not be put on trial for treason? If he is not a British citizen, may we have a statement from a Home Office Minister explaining why he is allowed to reside in this country?
[The Leader of the House of Commons (Ms Harriet Harman): I thank the hon. Gentleman for bringing two very important issues to the Floor of the House. I know that he is extremely assiduous as a Back Bencher in the House and a strong protagonist of the rights of Back Benchers, and I look forward to working with him. May I express my sincere condolence and sympathy to the family and friends of Corporal John Rigby. It was a tragic death and we all express our sympathy. I, too, heard the comments of Hizb ut-Tahrir this morning on the “Today” programme. I know that my colleagues in Government are extremely concerned to enforce rigorously the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 in respect of those who promote terrorism. They will have heard what was said. The matter is under continuous review. I had the bizarre experience of Hizb ut-Tahrir coming to see me, as a woman parliamentarian, in my constituency surgery and arguing to me that they would prefer to see a caliphate rather than a parliamentary democracy. They do not believe in women doing anything outside the home. We must be very concerned to make sure that subversion and support for terrorism are not fomented in this country, and my colleagues in Government are very much concerned with that.]