MP: Overturn time limit for glorifying terror offence

DUP MP Gavin Robinson.''Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
DUP MP Gavin Robinson.''Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

New counter-terrorism legislation should be amended to overturn guidance which suggests terrorist crimes can be glorified if they happened more than two decades ago, MPs have heard.

The DUP’s defence spokesman Gavin Robinson said a 20-year limit was introduced in guidance to police services for glorification of past offences when the 2006 Terrorism Act was brought forward.

He told the Commons it was “appalling” that people can “legally eulogise such vile acts” two decades on as he urged Security Minister Ben Wallace to rectify the situation in the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill.

Mr Robinson, speaking during the Bill’s second reading debate, said when the 2006 Act was enacted, there was “some discussion about not only encouraging those to engage in terrorism but glorification of past offences and a 20-year limit was put upon such provision”.

He explained it was “not in the legislation” but “spoken about openly” and “formed part of guidance to police services that it’s OK to glorify terrorist crimes as long as it was more than 20 years ago”.

“That can’t be right and I do hope that the minister will take this legislation and potentially accept amendments, whether it’s in committee stage or report stage, that will rectify that situation.

“It is appalling to me that people who were intent on removing life and destroying our society can legally eulogise such vile acts.”

Mr Robinson pointed to the 7/7 bombings in 2005 and said: “Can I ask anyone in this chamber whether they think it would be appropriate for any group in this country to memorialise or eulogise the perpetrators of that vile act?

“We’re seven years away from the potential for that happening if the 20-year guidance is accepted on historic acts from the 2006 Terrorism Act.

“That is something I think we should thoughtfully consider.”

Mr Wallace, summing up the debate, told Mr Robinson: “There is no 20-year bar on glorification of terrorism, nor will there be.”