The Terrorist Asset-Freezing Bill received its second reading, a general debate on all aspects of the Bill, in the House of Lords on 27 July. Labour life Peers Baroness Hughes of Stretford and Lord Davies of Stamford (pictured) made their maiden speeches in the Lords during the debate.
The Bill makes provision for imposing financial restrictions on certain persons suspected of involvement in terrorist activities.
Baroness Hughes of Stretford
Baroness Hughes of Stretford spoke of her familiarity with the threat from terrorism faced by the United Kingdom as a former Minister responsible for counterterrorism and her involvement in the response to 9/11 by the previous Government. Baroness Hughes drew attention to the Bill's purpose of providing national legislation to give effect to international requirements under the United Nations' Security Council Resolution 1373, which requires that member states of the United Nations prevent the financing of terrorist acts. She said: 'Equally important is action at the level of locality and community. It was no accident that my full former title as a Minister at the Home Office was Minister for Counter-Terrorism and Community Cohesion.'
Lord Davies of Stamford
Lord Davies of Stamford's speech focused on what he described as 'the heart of the liberties of the subject'. He said the idea that, by executive order, a Treasury official could 'paralyse' an individual's assets was 'horrific' and 'in normal circumstances would be intolerable and inconceivable in a free society. Nevertheless, democracy is entitled to defend itself against existential threats, and the situation at present in relation to terrorism is anything but normal. So we have to look at this from the point of view of getting the right balance.' Lord Stamford also raised the issue of compensation in the case of an unjust or unreasonable freezing of assets.
The term 'maiden speech' refers to the first time a new Member gives a speech in the House of the Lords. A maiden speech normally takes place during a general debate and is uncontroversial.
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