Politics UK: Culloden

Full Version: Prevention of Terrorism Act 1992
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Mr. Speaker, 

I rise today to introduce to the House the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1992. 

In accordance with the second commitment included in the Joint Declaration on Northern Ireland the Government had hoped to sign alongside the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, we bring forth this legislation to show our resolute desire to make progress upon the initiatives we were prepared to support. 

This legislation has one very simple goal: to ensure that every person who considers supporting a terrorist organization in Britain knows they will end up behind bars for doing so. The Act alters the existing Prevention of Terrorism Act (1989) in two key ways. First, it increases the maximum possible sentences for both joining a terrorist organization, and providing support to a terrorist organization, from 10 years to life imprisonment. Second, it introduces mandatory minimum sentences for both of these offenses, which is to be a sentence of 5 years in prison. Consistent with previous legislation, we have made sentences for these two crimes consistent with one another in recognition that both membership and support of a terrorist organization can have an equally dangerous impact on British society. 

There are many ways that the Government intends to strengthen our resolve to fight terrorism, and this legislation is one key component of that plan. The Prevention of Terrorism Act 1992 ensures that judges and the criminal justice system have the full force of the law at their disposal to properly hold terrorists accountable, and to sentence them to a term in jail that is commensurate with the vile crimes they have committed. The financial backers of the IRA who made it possible for them to have the intelligence capabilities, weapons, and explosive materials necessary to commit the attack in Boyle should be held equally responsible for the crime as the actual terrorists themselves. In Britain we must have no tolerance for terrorists, or for those who seek to aid and abed them behind the scenes, and this legislation does just that. 

It is my hope that my colleagues across the aisle, in both the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties, will join the Government in supporting this decisive action. As I told the former Shadow Foreign Secretary just yesterday, despite the unsuccessful cross-party talks, it remains my genuine hope that on this matter we can find common ground. All of us were prepared to sign on to passing stricter counter terrorism legislation just a few days ago. For the British people, for the safety and security of Northern Ireland, let us all set aside our differences and commit to doing the work that must be done.
Mr speaker

I beg this bill be read and printed a time second
ORDER! Second reading
Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman opposite for his willingness to bring this needed multipartisan legislation to the floor. Acts of terror only set back the potential for progress in finding a solution to the Northern Irish question. As all of us in this House are, I'm sure, in favor of healing and reconciliation there, it is incumbent upon us to enshrine the appropriate penalties into law.
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