Amber Rudd announces new counter-terror laws and warns more attacks are likely

Manchester: People caught repeatedly looking up terrorist content online will be jailed for up to 15 years, the British Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced.

The same jail term will apply to anyone who publishes information about police or armed forces as part of preparing a terrorist attack, in what the government said was a "tightening" of the country's counter-terror laws.

Speaking to the Tory party conference underway in Manchester, a city she said was "shrouded in grief" following the deaths of 22 people in the bombing of Manchester Arena earlier this year, Ms Rudd says the British had been through a testing year with five attacks across the country. She repeated the revelation made last week by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan that police had foiled a further seven plots intended for London this year.

"The toll of the those who have been victims of such violence this year is grim," said Ms Rudd.

"They have tested our resolve, it will likely be tested again," she said.

Two Australian women, Sara Zelenak and nurse Kirsty Boden, were killed on the attack on London Bridge and Borough Market in June. Ms Boden was killed rushing to help victims. Ms Rudd said it was actions like these that she chooses to remember over the horror.

She warned of further attacks and said the UK faced an "unpredictable threat from terrorism" with a trend in shorter timeframes between "aspiration and attacks."

"From 'lone wolf actors' to those radicalised online in their bedrooms, to Da'esh groups hiding in the ruins of Raqqa, we face random attacks at home, and well-planned threats to British nationals and our interests overseas."

She said she was introducing the punishments following a review of Britain's counter-terrorism powers and legislation and said she had identified a gap where people could be jailed for downloading or storing terrorist material but not for repeatedly viewing or streaming it online.

She also called on internet companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft to develop ways of ridding their platforms of terrorist content.

"Honour your moral obligations," she said.

But this year, Ms Rudd's speech was noticeably warmer in relation to migrants. She said she had commissioned two papers to explore the "the value that international students bring to our world class university sector" as well as the impact of free movement on the British economy.

She did not repeat the government's pledge to restrict net migration to the "tens of thousands."

Labour MP Stella Creasy said it showed the government's pledge was "in tatters," and illustrated why the Tories should drop the target, which they have never achieved, altogether.

"When the Home Secretary won't even mention the target in her keynote Conference speech, it's clear the policy has lost all credibility and Cabinet support," she said.

"It is encouraging that the Home Office is seeking evidence on the value of migration to Britain's businesses, public services and universities, although this is long overdue."

This story Amber Rudd announces new counter-terror laws and warns more attacks are likely first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.