Aylesbury MP, Rob Butler, has spoken in Parliament today in strong support of the Government’s Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill, which aims to strengthen every stage in the process of dealing with terrorist offenders across the UK. Citing terrorism as “one of the most marked threats against the British people”, Rob said “the first duty of any government is to protect its people”.
The proposed new law follows recent attacks by terrorists who had been automatically released early from jail.
A key part of the legislation is the introduction of the Serious Terrorism Sentence which will ensure that the most serious and dangerous terrorist offenders spend a minimum of 14 years in prison. Rob welcomed this “wholly justified” step, saying that it is “right that the entire period should be spent in custody”.
Throughout his speech, Rob was unequivocal in his condemnation of terrorism, calling it “a particularly heinous offence”. He said “Those who contemplate committing such atrocities must be in no doubt of the revulsion right-minded people feel towards them; they must know that the law will categorically and clearly condemn their acts”.
Rob said longer sentences properly reflect the seriousness of the crimes committed by terrorist offenders, and provide more opportunities for rehabilitation and deradicalization. Rob welcomed the additional investment in this area and praised the work already being done by prison officers and probation staff. However, he said we need to “recognise that deradicalization programmes have not enjoyed as much success as we would have hoped”, emphasising that “where terrorist offenders are concerned, there can be no room for error.”
Rob ended his speech with a clear message reaffirming his support for the bill: “the will of Parliament is that terrorist offenders should face the harshest of sentences; that punishment for them is served only by an extremely long period in custody; and that this country led by this government, and backed across this parliament, will relentlessly and remorselessly take every possible action to protect the public from the horror of terrorist atrocities.”