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Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill completes passage through Parliament

26 March 2021

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The Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill returned to the Lords for consideration of Commons amendments in ‘ping pong’ on Thursday 25 March.

Members discussed extention of time limits on Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs) notices.

Members also discussed the progress of the bill through the House at its conclusion of Lords stages.

As both Houses have agreed on the text of the bill it now awaits the final stage of Royal Assent. It will then become an Act of Parliament (law). 

A date for Royal Assent is yet to be scheduled. 

Third reading: Thursday 11 March

No changes to the wording of the bill were suggested ahead of third reading.

Members discussed the progress of the bill through the House at its conclusion of Lords stages.

Following completion of third reading, the bill passed to the Commons for consideration of Lords amendments. 

Report stage: Wednesday 3 March

Members discussed a range of topics including, including prison capacities and requirements for independent reviews on radicalisation, and asked the government to think again on time limits for Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs) notices.

There were four divisions (votes) on proposed amendments (changes) to the bill.

Trial of the issue

The first vote was on amendment 1, which requires that a trial of the issue be used to determine whether there is a terrorist connection in relation to an aggravated offence.

Members voted 126 in favour and 281 against, so the change was not made.

TPIM notices

The second vote was on amendment 16, which imposes a four-year limit on Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIM) notices.

Members voted 316 in favour and 267 against, so the change was made.

Residence measures

The third vote was on amendment 18, which removes a clause from the bill regarding TPIM residence measures.

Members voted 103 in favour and 300 against, so the change was not made.

Polygraph measures

The final vote was on amendment 21, which removes a clause from the bill regarding the TPIM polygraph measures.

Members voted 106 in favour and 292 against, so the change was not made.

Committee stage day two: Tuesday 9 February

Members discussed a range of topics, including radicalisation in prisons, polygraph testing on terrorist offenders and the Act's impact on the National Probation Service.

Committee stage day one: Tuesday 26 January

Members discussed a range of topics, including rehabilitation and de-radicalisation programmes, release of prisoners serving a serious terrorism sentence and polygraph testing.

Second reading: Monday 21 September

The purpose of the bill is to ensure that serious and dangerous terrorist offenders spend longer in custody, reflecting the seriousness of the offences they have committed.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Conservative), government spokesperson, opened the debate.

Members discussed its key areas including the sentencing of terrorist offenders, removal or restriction of early release for terrorist prisoners, terrorism prevention and investigation measures (TPIMs) and the Prevent strategy.

Speakers included a former deputy assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan Police and a former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation.

Lord Vaizey of Didcot (Conservative) and the Bishop of Manchester made their maiden speeches. 

Home Office Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford (Conservative), responded on behalf of the government.

Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill

This bill aims to:

  • create a new type of sentence for the most serious terrorist and terrorism-related offenders (aged 18 or over), with a minimum custodial term of 14 years and an extended licence period of between 7 and 25 years
  • remove the possibility of any early release from custody for dangerous terrorist offenders who have committed a serious terrorism offence and received an extended sentence
  • increase the maximum penalty available for particular terrorism offences.

Further information

Image: PA