Yesterday Sir Edward Garnier MP for Harborough, Oadby and Wigston spoke on Radio 4’s World at One Programme which looked at last week’s shootings in Paris and the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill currently passing through Parliament with particular reference to Temporary Exclusion Orders. The programme can be heard here with Sir Edward appearing at 18:44.
The text of Sir Edward’s interview can also be seen below:
Martha Kearney: The Security Agencies are also worried about what’s known as “blow-back”. That is extremists returning from Syria trying to carry out acts of terrorism here. One proposal going through Parliament at the moment is to give the Home Secretary the power for Temporary Exclusion Orders to disrupt and control the return to the UK of anyone suspected of involvement in terrorist activity abroad. But there are some people in Parliament who are uneasy about giving more powers to the Home Secretary or to the security agencies. This was highlighted in a report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights published today. One member of the Committee is the Conservative MP Sir Edward Garnier who was Solicitor General until 2012. I asked him if there is any danger in the wake of the Paris attacks of a kneejerk reaction:
Sir Edward Garnier: There is that danger. The thing that we need to keep an eye on is whether by doing something different or new or passing new legislation or giving the police or the security services more powers you end up by eroding the liberties that we want to prevent the terrorists from taking away from us. It's a matter of balance and of course those sitting around the table in Whitehall this morning will have had information which we don't have and they will have to make up their own mind about what is proportionate and appropriate to deal with the actual level of threat.
Martha Kearney: There is legislation going through Parliament at the moment on security, what are your thoughts about that?
Sir Edward Garnier: I spoke last week in the House of Commons in relation to temporary exclusion orders. They deal with people who've been suspected of going abroad to commit acts of terrorism or to associate with terrorists and who then wanted to come home. I don't have any principle objection to that, save that I think they should be better supervised by the courts, by the judiciary, rather than by executive order of the Home Secretary. These aren't temporary orders in my view. They can last for up to two years and can be renewed. So I think we need to keep a close eye on that. And indeed, the minister, in responding to the debate last week, indicated that the Government was going to amend the legislation in the House of Lords. So I look forward to the Government amendments in the Lords coming forward and I hope that they will introduce a far greater degree of judicial supervision.