The Terrorism bill passed its first hurdle in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
The proposed legislation is designed to outlaw “glorifying” terrorism and to make it an offence to commit acts “preparatory to terrorism”. Laudable enough – but some MP’s have concerns about a couple of aspects of the proposed law. The issue of intent was debated fiercely with many MP’s arguing against the bill as drafted. Similarly the increase in time police can hold terrorism suspects without charge was raised significant opposition.
Most official opposition members, led by home affairs spokesman David Davis, backed the bill, giving it a majority of 378.
Balancing civil liberties and protecting the lives of citizens at large is always going to be a difficult excercise though and the Government was forced to agree to reconsider the wording of the measure that outlaws comments or articles seen to encourage terrorism after MPs voted by 300 to 299 against an amendment to establish “intent” in the new offence.
Elements of the Stoposphere are gnashing their teeth at the news:
One vote. One poxy vote. Grrr. wails one Respect-supporting blogger.
Quite. The Respect Coalition have been campaigning hard against the propsed law for some time and exhorting members and supporters to lobby MP’s:
On 10 October, the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities issued a call for all who are concerned about civil liberties and human rights to lobby MPs urgently to ascertain the position of each MP with respect to fundamental civil liberties issues in the Bill and also to ask them to oppose any further erosion of civil liberties.
Interestingly the Guardian has a list of MP’s who voted on this important piece of legislation here.
Notice any missing MP’s?
Here’s a clue: He developed a reputation for loudly supporting those who blow up UN diplomats and Iraqi civilians looking for work. You’d think he’d have a personal interest in legislation which if passed would have such a direct impact on statements he has made even if being against the bill wasn’t the official policy of his party.
Still can’t guess? Of course you can it’s gorgeous George Galloway, leader of the Respect Coalition and sole representation of that outfit in parliament.
But what was he doing that was more important than representing his constituents and party in parliament?
Blairwatch has been emailing the Respect people to try to find out. he hasn’t received a reply yet but has his suspicions that this may have had something to do with Galloway’s absence from parliament.
Hamming it up on stage instead of voting on some of the most important legislation before parliament? Even the dimmer Respect supporters must be wondering whether hitching their wagon to such a leader isn’t by far the stupidest thing they’ve done in their lives and one that will continue to embarass them long into the future.
Hat tip:the collective commentariat of Harry’s Place who demanded to know ‘Where’s George?’