The Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill 2019-21 has completed its Committee stage and is due to have its Report stage and Third Reading on Tuesday 21 July 2020.

The Counter Terrorism and Sentencing Bill 2019-21 was introduced in the House of Commons on 20 May 2020.

Second Reading took place on 9 June 2020. The Bill was considered by a Public Bill Committee over 8 sittings between 25 June and 7 July 2020.

The Committee took evidence from expert witnesses for the first three sittings, including Jonathan Hall QC, The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. A range of external stakeholders submitted written evidence to the Committee.

The only amendments made during Committee Stage were Government amendments, which were technical and were made without division.

There were 3 divisions:

  • on a new clause tabled by Labour to provide for a review of the impact of the Bill’s provisions on deradicalisation in prisons;
  • on an opposition amendment requiring additional consideration of an offender’s age where a court was considering imposing a serious terrorism sentence on an adult aged 18-21; and
  • on an opposition amendment that would have reinstated a statutory deadline for conducting a review of Prevent, as required by the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019.

None of the divisions resulted in amendments to the Bill.

The Government committed to make amendments concerning the interaction between the serious terrorism sentence and the order for lifelong restriction in Scotland.

Other issues that arose at Committee stage included:

  • the removal of the role of the Parole Board in the release of serious terrorist offenders;
  • the impact of the Bill’s provisions on children and young adults and on people with protected characteristics;
  • the impact of the removal of the possibility of early release for certain terrorist offenders;
  • the use of polygraphs in the criminal justice system;
  • lowering of the threshold for imposing a Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measure (TPIM);
  • removing the two year time limit for extending a TPIM.

The Bill, together with its Explanatory Notes and an overview of its parliamentary progress, is available on the Parliament website. Overarching documents are available on Gov.uk.

Full policy background to the Bill as introduced is set out in Library Briefing Paper, Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill 2019-21 prepared for Second Reading of the Bill.

Details of the members of the Public Bill Committee and a list of written evidence are provided on the Bill page on the Parliament website.

  • Commons Research Briefing CBP-8970
  • Authors: Jacqueline Beard, Joanna Dawson
  • Topics: Criminal law, Security