Under-Secretary of State Sidesteps Lord Singh’s Question:
In a debate in the Lords, The Conservative Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Office Lord Bates, repeated the Home Secretary’s statement on the Paris terror attacks.
A number of Peers joined the debate in condemnation of the brutal murder of journalists from the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Baroness Smith of Basildon raised the issue of British born jihadists returning from Syria, she said: “While some of those will have become seriously disillusioned and will have rejected radicalism, others will have returned to the UK more dangerous.”
Lord Davies of Stamford talked about steps to cancel or withdraw passports of British citizens enlisting in terrorist organisations. He asked: “Is there not a real danger that, if hundreds more people in this category come back to this country, the additional strain placed on our security services of monitoring them may be such as to create a significantly enhanced risk of an oversight at some point which could cost a lot of lives?”
Lord Singh of Wimbledon raised the issue of the boundaries of free speech, he said: “My Lords, much has been said since the attacks in Paris about the right to offend. If there is a right to offend, there is a right to be offended. People react to offence in different ways. Some will turn the other cheek, some will come out with expletives and some will resort to violence. Does the Minister believe that there is any merit in deliberately antagonising people?”
Although Lord Bates acknowledged the question posed by The Director of The Network of Sikh Organisations “goes to the heart”, rather than responding, he chose not to answer the question, reverting to another topic.