Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill 2014-15: Parliamentary stages

This Bill is now awaiting royal assent. This Note examines parliamentary scrutiny of the Bill. There have been a number of Government amendments detailed in the Note.

For full background on the Bill, see Research Paper 14/63 Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill. This Note examines the parliamentary scrutiny of the Bill. The Bill has seven parts:

Part 1 would introduce two new powers to place temporary restrictions on travel, including the seizure of passports and new Temporary Exclusion Orders. Part 2 would amend the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011, to introduce relocation into the TPIM system and a tighter test on their use;

Part 3 would amend the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014. Part 4 would allow the Secretary of State to introduce authority to carry schemes for aircraft, shipping and rail which would replace the current inbound arrangements with broader inbound and outbound arrangements;

Part 5 would put the Prevent Strategy on a statutory footing, Part 6 would amend Sections 15 to 18 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (which criminalise instances of terrorist financing) to make clear that insurers may not reimburse ransom payments made to terrorists. Part 7 would create a Privacy and Civil Liberties Board. It would also amend the Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act 1997.

Government amendments made in the Lords

There were no non-Government amendments and no divisions. On the first day of Lords committee stage, on 19 January 2015 the Government moved a series of amendments to allow for judicial oversight of the removal of passports and the imposition of a Temporary Exclusion Order. Another amendment allowed for civil legal aid to be made available at hearings of applications to extend the 14 day time period in which an individual’s travel documents may be retained in England and Wales The Government brought forward a new clause on monitoring the universities sector for compliance with statutory duties on Prevent on 28 January,

On Lords report on 2 February there was a Government amendment ensuring that the authority-to-carry scheme would be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure in both Houses.

On 4 February Government amendment 15D was passed which required universities to ‘have particular regard’ to s43 of the Education (no 2) Act 1986 on freedom of speech in the higher education sector. There were also Government amendments to ensure that the guidance issued under Clause 28 would be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. On 9 February on third reading a Government amendment made clear that the principle of academic freedom be explicitly referenced in the Bill.

Government amendments 16 to 21 inserted a new clause extending the powers of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism to other counter-terrorism legislation (Part 1 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 and Part 2 in relation to terrorism, Counter-terrorism Act 2008 and Part 1 of the current Bill) and to ensure that the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board could support him in reviewing the operation of these laws. The current requirement to review annually all legislation within his scope was also removed, apart from the Terrorism Act 2000 In respect of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, .the Independent Reviewer is given power to direct its work and a key role in appointments. A Government amendment on 9 February ensured that Northern Ireland would be brought within the scope of the amendment to allow civil legal aid for challenges to the temporary passport seizures power. Lords amendments were all accepted in the Commons

Scrutiny

In respect of committee scrutiny, the Independent Reviewer, David Anderson gave oral evidence on 27 November 2014 to the Joint Committee on Human Rights. The Committee also held oral evidence from James Brokenshire, Minister for Security and Immigration, on 3 December. The Home Affairs Select Committee took oral evidence from Metropolitan Police representatives, Shami Chakrabarti, Director, Liberty and David Anderson. The Lords Constitution Committee issued a report on 12 January 2015and the Joint Committee on Human Rights published their report on 7 January.

The first day in Commons committee (9 December) examined Parts 2 and 3. The Committee looked at Part 1 on 15 December and the remaining parts on 16 December. On 17 December four consultations on national security relevant to the Bill were published by the Home Office after Committee scrutiny had concluded.

Commons report stage and third reading took place on 6 and 7 January 2015. There were no major amendments. During the course of the debate the Minister, James Brokenshire said that he could “assure the House that the Government will look very carefully at the constructive suggestions from David Anderson [on judicial oversight of TEOs] and return to this issue in the other place” This commitment was repeated by Lord Bates on Lords second reading on 13 January.

The introduction of the so-called Snooper’s Charter clauses was discussed on second day of committee on 26 January by Lord King of Bridgewater, with the likelihood of further debate on report. For background see Library Standard Note 6373 Communications Data: The 2012 draft Bill and recent developments. Committee stage was largely taken up by debate on the university sector.

Lords report stage took place on 2 and 4 February 2015. Lords report stage took place on 2 and 4 February 2015. On the first day, attempts by Lord King of Bridgewater to bring forward amendments relating to the draft communications data bill were not pressed to a vote, when the Conservative minister indicated that they would form a manifesto commitment for the party. There were no divisions on third reading on 10 February, but further Government amendments set out above.

  • Commons Research Briefing SN07073
  • Author: Oonagh Gay
  • Topics: Security