Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill: second reading

06 October 2011

The Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (Amendment) Bill had its second reading – a general debate on main principles – in the House of Lords on Wednesday 5 October.

A date for committee stage has not as yet been scheduled.

Contributions to the debate

Members of the Lords who took part in the debate included (use links to listen to their contributions):

Other contributors included contemporary British historian, Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield; and barristers Lord Faulks and Lord Pannick.  

The Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (Amendment) Bill abolishes the system of control orders, established under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, and replaces it with a new regime – Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs ) – designed to protect the public from terrorism. Like control orders, TPIMs are measures designed to restrict the behaviour and activities of individuals suspected of involvement in terrorism, who, the Government argues, cannot be prosecuted or deported.

The Bill, which started in the Commons, had its first reading in the Lords on 6 September.

A Lords Library Note summarises proceedings on the Bill at report stage and third reading in the House of Commons.

Further information

The Lords Constitution Committee describes the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill as an "unsatisfactory compromise" in a report published on 15 September. The report says the proposed measures in the Bill do not adequately address a "serious and continuing failure of public policy" and questions whether the UK should adopt a permanent scheme of what are meant to be "extraordinary" powers for dealing with terrorist suspects.

A report of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, published on 19 July, says that criminal prosecution of terrorist suspects must be a priority. The Committee shares the concerns raised in Lord Macdonald's report (on the review of counter-terrorism and security powers) that TPIMs do not go far enough to bring restrictions on the freedoms of terrorist suspects into the domain of criminal due process, as part of a continuing criminal investigation into their activities.

The Committee is concerned by a significant fall in convictions for terrorism offences over the past four years while the ‘overriding purpose’ of the provisions in the Bill, as it currently stands, is prevention rather than investigation and prosecution.

The report recommends possible amendments to give effect to an alternative model Lord Macdonald proposes in his report, bringing TPIMs into the criminal justice process.

Second reading is the first opportunity for Members of the Lords to debate the main principles and purpose of the Bill, and to flag up concerns and areas where they think changes (amendments) are needed.

Image: Press Association 

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