CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

HOME AFFAIRS – TERRORISM BILL – 16 March 2006

[The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr Charles Clarke): ... in light of the attention given to the issue of glorification, if we were now to remove it from the Bill the courts would be fully justified in reaching one obvious conclusion – that Parliament did not intend glorification of terrorism to fall within the scope of the encouragement offence. ...]

Dr Julian Lewis: Surely the Home Secretary's claim that judges will take it as a signal if this [the glorification of terrorism] is cut out has no merit. The judges will know perfectly well that it was cut out because it is unnecessary given that any offence that it would catch would be caught under existing legislation.

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Dr Lewis: Is it not bizarre that while the Home Secretary seems to think that the exclusion of the word "glorification" from the Bill will send a signal to judges – who ought to know better – that the House of Commons thinks that it is okay for people to glorify, he is not worried about the possibility that the inclusion of the word will send the communities to whom the Hon. Gentleman [Nick Clegg] referred a misleading signal that they should not dare to mention such subjects in a legitimate debate?

[Nick Clegg: That is an excellent point. The heavy-handed indifference to the effects on our culture of freedom of speech, and particularly the effects on certain communities, is both cavalier and dangerous. We are simply not going to win the battle against terrorism by driving debate underground. That is the fundamental problem with the Government's approach, and their insistence on the use of the word "glorification".]