Archbishop of York probes Government about new rules on visitors to detainees who are terminally ill

On 15th January 2019 the Government’s Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill was debated at its Third Reading in the House of Lords. The Archbishop of York, Most Revd John Sentamu, spoke during debate on a Government amendment to Clause 4 of the Bill, concerning whether a person might enter a ‘designated area’ to visit a detained relative who is  terminally ill.

The Archbishop of York: My Lords, will the Minister contemplate another example? Megrahi was sent from a Scottish jail back to Libya and expected to die within a short period, but he lived for longer than six months. What if someone was here and the same thing applied? President Pinochet was allowed to go back. Everybody expected him to die but he walked off the plane and lived for quite some time. So the six-month period could become a problem. One needs to find a way of describing it in another way. People have died within six months but some have lived longer. Can the noble Earl help us with that quandary?

Earl Howe: I am grateful to the most reverend Primate. Again, we come down to the words “reasonable belief”. If it is reasonable to believe that somebody is about to die within the six-month period, I feel sure that the police will not argue that point to the nth degree.