Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Thursday, 22 November 2012

MPs pass motion outlawing suspected terror group

On 22 November 2012, MPs passed a motion to outlaw the Nigeria-based al-Qaeda group, Ansaru, a suspected terrorist organisation.

The draft Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2012 was approved unopposed with a vote.

The motion is used to add terrorist groups to the Home Office list of proscribed organisations. Before a group can be added to the list, it must be debated in both Houses of Parliament.

Ansaru was formed in February. It is a breakaway faction of Islamist militant group Boko Haram - responsible for the 2011 bombing of UN headquarters in Abuja.

Home Office Minister Mark Harper told MPs: "Having carefully considered all the evidence, the home secretary firmly believes that Ansaru is concerned in terrorism."

He added: "They are motivated by both an anti-Nigerian government and anti-Western agenda and are broadly aligned with al Qaeda.

"They are also believed to be responsible for the murder of British national Christopher McManus and his Italian co-worker Franco Lamolinara in March 2012."

Labour commended the government on its "speedy action" and said it was satisfied Theresa May, the home secretary, was justified in adding the group to the list.

Labour MP Keith Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs Committee, said he fully supported the motion.

But he raised concerns that any proscription order was not time limited, and not revisited unless there was an application by the group concerned.

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