HOME OFFICE – DETENTION WITHOUT TRIAL – 26 January 2005

Dr Julian Lewis: Given that the most notorious of the detainees, Abu Qatada, has been described by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission as being

 "at the centre in the UK of terrorist activities associated with al Qa'eda",

and that it added:

 "He is a truly dangerous individual",

does the Home Secretary agree that it seems strange that there is no aspect of the anti-terrorism law that can be invoked to bring him before a court? Assuming that he and the others have to be let out of Belmarsh, how will it be practically possible to restrict access to telecommunications and the Internet unless they are confined in an individual premises and everybody going in to see them is searched and prevented from taking in such communications equipment with them?

[The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr Charles Clarke): On the hon. Gentleman's first point, the fact that judgments of the type that he described are reached does not say anything about the source of that judgment. The question is whether the source can be exposed in open court without risking people's lives, the national security system or whatever. That is the answer to his question. On the second part, he is right. The control order regime that I propose suggests a range of controls dealing with access to telecommunications equipment and so on, as I indicated, which will require policing to work effectively. Is it possible? Yes, it certainly is. Can we establish it? Yes, I am advised that we can. But are there issues that arise about it? Yes, there are. That is what we have to address when we consider the detail of the orders.]