» Wednesday, February 8, 2006


Asked that if the Government got its way, and the Bill reached royal assent, would it be retrospective, the PMOS said it tended to be the case that such legislation was not retrospective. The PMOS suggested that the journalist spoke to the Home Office to be sure.

Put that the Prime Minister had mentioned two points in PMQs, one was glorification, and the other was the describing of terror groups, and was there some clarification to be had on that, the PMOS said he had not seen the final transcript of the exchange, so could not comment further on it.

Asked whether on the glorification measure, would it affect people in Belfast who had murals on their houses that "did nothing if not glorified terrorism", the PMOS replied that what the legislation referred to was present terrorism, not past terrorism. In terms of Northern Ireland, as the IMC report said, the IRA leadership were delivering on the strategic intent to end paramilitarism. In those terms, the question therefore did not apply to that side. However, it was often the case that if someone happened to live in an gable-ended terrace house, there was not much choice about whether there was a mural painted on the wall or not. The PMOS said there was also not much choice to be had about who did it, either. The PMOS said it was clearly signalled that the measure referred to present terrorism.

Asked that if someone came in the middle of the night and painted an "Abu Hamza should be free" type mural on a house, would that be glorifying terrorism, the PMOS said that would be a matter for the police to decide.

Put that when the last Terrorism Bill was happening in November, the Prime Minister had said that it was better to be right than to win, and was this still his attitude, the PMOS replied that the Prime Minister hoped that he would win this. He believed that what the events of the last few days had underlined was the need to send a very clear signal that this country would not only not tolerate terrorism, but also, would not tolerate those who encouraged terrorism. Therefore the Prime Minister hoped that nothing would be done which diminished that clear signal.

Briefing took place at 8:00 | Search for related news

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