Treason laws to be updated to cover ‘hostile state activity’
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has announced that treason laws are to be updated in the UK to cover terrorists and ‘hostile state activity’.
Forming part of a new Espionage Bill being drawn up in the wake of the novichok attacks in Salisbury, Javid said that the proposals were necessary to plug specific ‘gaps in current legislation’, and revealed that the government was considering a form of ‘foreign agent’ registration like that used in the US.
Saying that the issue should be a ‘post-Brexit priority’, Javid said that the UK needs to ensure it has ‘the necessary powers to meet the current and evolving threats to the UK, both domestically and overseas’, stressing that the Espionage Bill will bring together ‘new and modernised powers giving our security services the authority they need to tackle this threat’.
Javid said: “Our definition of terrorism is probably broad enough to cover those who betray our country by supporting terror abroad. But if updating the old offence of treason would help us counter hostile state activity, then there is merit in considering that too.”