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Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill: Briefing for Lords Stages

Published Wednesday, October 3, 2018

This House of Lords Library Briefing provides details on the provisions and House of Commons scrutiny of the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill ahead of its second reading on 9 October 2018. The provisions in the Bill follow the Government’s continuing commitment to review and update its counter-terrorism strategy, and have also been introduced in response to terrorist attacks in the UK over the last few years.

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The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill is a government bill which, having completed its legislative stages in the House of Commons, was introduced in the House of Lords on 12 September 2018. It is scheduled to have its second reading on 9 October 2018. The Bill contains a range of counter-terrorism measures, many of which update, amend and add to those already set out in existing legislation. For example, the Bill would:

  • make it an offence to express support for a proscribed terrorist organisation when the individual is “reckless” as to whether it would encourage parties to the expression to support such an organisation;
  • create an offence of streaming certain terrorism-related material over the internet;
  • make it an offence to enter or remain in certain areas as designated by the Secretary of State (eg areas controlled by certain terrorist groups);
  • extend extra-territorial jurisdiction and the maximum sentences applicable to certain offences;
  • extend the powers of local authorities in connection to the Prevent strategy; and
  • amend provisions in relation to retention of biometric data.

The provisions follow the Government’s commitment to review and update its counter-terrorism strategy, and are also a reaction to terrorist attacks in the UK over the last few years. In addition, the Bill would provide officials powers to stop, search and detain individuals at ports and borders to determine whether individuals are involved with, or have been involved with, “hostile state activity”. The Government has confirmed this is in response to the suspected involvement of Russia in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury in March 2018. Although the purpose of the Bill was largely supported by opposition parties in the House of Commons, concerns were raised over the operation and wording of several clauses, for example over the application of the port and border powers and over how some of the new or revised offences may effect innocent people.

This Briefing provides details on each of the Bill’s clauses (including consideration by the Joint Committee on Human Rights where applicable) and highlights some of the issues and amendments covered during the Bill’s House of Commons stages.

 

Lords Library notes LLN-2018-0097

Author: Russell Taylor

Topic: Terrorism

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House of Lords Library

The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.