Mike Gapes MP warned parliament on Tuesday (19th December) that more needs to be done to stop terrorist organisations from marching in London. Banners supporting proscribed terrorist organisations have been seen recently in the capital at parades and Mike Gapes MP made the point in parliament that simply proscribing a terrorist organisation may not be enough to help the authorities prosecute.
You can see Mike's question here or read it below.
Mike Gapes MP:
"I broadly support the Minister’s proposals, but how can we be sure that adding organisations to the list in any way makes our authorities effective in combating them, given that in the last few months terrorist organisations have been parading openly with their flags—in Arabic—in the centre of London, and prosecutions have not occurred?"
Ben Wallace MP, Minister of State (Home Office, Security):
"Proscription opens up a whole new level of offences for which people can be prosecuted. Proscribing an organisation allows asset-freezing and prosecution, but other offences can be linked to such activity. The hon. Gentleman is right to point out that it is often hard to prove membership—very few of these organisations have membership cards and joining ceremonies—but the order gives our law enforcement agencies more powers with which to prosecute a campaign against them.
The hon. Gentleman also mentioned flags, no doubt referring to Hezbollah and Hamas. Those organisations are not proscribed in their entirety. Their military wings are proscribed, but as Hezbollah forms part of the Government in Lebanon and Hamas plays an active role in its part of the region as a member of a Government, the proscription applies only to the military wing. In some cases the flags are identical, but that does not mean that if people participate in Hezbollah-supporting actions here that constitute terrorism or anything linked to it, our police and law enforcement agencies will not act. We have acted in respect of Hezbollah and Hamas in the past, either to disrupt activity or to bring prosecutions."