Monday, 6 October 2008

42 day pre-trial terror dead?

The Times is reporting that Gordon Brown will decline to use the Parliament Act to force the Terrorism Bill into law, should the House of Lords return its anticipated rejection of the legislation (H/T Tom Griffin on Our Kingdom). The bill returns to the Lords this week and, if the Times is correct, then defeat would spell the end of forty two day pre-charge detention, after it passed the House of Commons by nine votes, humiliatingly grovelled from the DUP.

As the paper observes, the measures have been strongly criticised by senior security figures. Andy Hayman, former Assistant Commissioner for Special Operations at Scotland Yard, is the latest to question the efficacy of the proposed legislation. His objections centre on the practicalities of seeking to detain a suspect for 42 days. Baroness Manningham-Buller, former director of MI5, argued the case against 42 day detention both on grounds of practicality and principle.

If this story is proved correct, not only will Gordon Brown have performed another humiliating climb down, but an attempt by Labour to further erode civil liberties will have been mitigated by a resurgent Conservative party, backed by a ground swell of public opinion which transcended traditional political allegiance. In addition, the importance of the House of Lords as a means by which to review bad and controversial legislation will be emphasised.

Let’s hope that this rumour proves to be well founded.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So what did the DUP sell their souls for? Something that is not going to happen.

Iris Robinson may come to regret her nine finger salute!