Q397 Martin Salter: I think I will just give you an opportunity to clarify yourself here. On the Liberal Democrat website, it says: “Nick Clegg has spearheaded the Liberal Democrats’ defence of civil liberties, campaigning against excessive counter-terrorism legislation”. You have just said on record that there was no case at all for going to 28 days, yet you and your Party have acquiesced to 28 days and have moved no counter-amendments. Do you just want to clarify that because I do not think that is what you really mean to be saying?
Mr Clegg: We can play hypothetical games about what might have occurred in the past, but you know as well as I do, Mr Salter, that 28 days, the amendment tabled by Mr Winnick, was the only amendment, the only amendment, which realistically had a chance of restraining the Government’s maximalist push for a much, much longer period of detention without charge. You are absolutely right, if you are urging me or indeed my Party to have sat in sort of holier than thou purity and not engage in the political process, fine, but I would suggest, on something as vital as this, that it is the responsibility of an Opposition Government to play real politics and minimise the excessive, illiberal intentions of the Government, and that is precisely what we did on that debate.
Q398 Martin Salter: Could I then congratulate you and everybody else who supported 28 days because you were clearly right on the basis of fact and on the basis of evidence because you will be aware that, of the 204 people arrested under the Terrorism Act, 11 have actually been detained for periods between 14 and 28 days and eight of those 11 were subsequently charged with terrorism offences, so it is a matter of indisputable fact that Parliament gave the security services and the police the powers they need to bring people successfully to charge on serious terrorism offences.
What a load of rubbish.
All it means is that the police used the time they had at their disposal. No doubt if they had 56 days, 90 days, or whatever, you can bet your life that at least one person would have been charged during that period.
It proves nothing.