UK Liberty

Will 42 days be binned?

Posted in detention without charge, politicians on liberty by ukliberty on October 6, 2008

The Times says yes:

Gordon Brown is preparing for a humiliating climbdown over his proposal to hold terrorist suspects for 42 days after being told that it will be defeated in the House of Lords.

Ministers admit privately that there is not “a cat in Hell’s chance” of the legislation, which returns to the Lords this week, being passed into law….

The Government says no:

Downing Street insists it is pushing ahead with attempts to extend terror detention without charge to 42 days.

Gordon Brown’s official spokesman said the prime minister believed this was the “right thing to do”.  (the BBC)

By the way, I’d like to point out that it isn’t merely an argument about the number of days one may be held without charge – already the longest period in the free world – but also the process, particularly the involvement of the Commons (a legislative body) in what should be a purely judicial function.

The complexity of the process gives Andy Hayman “a headache”. He also writes that,

The debate over 90 days was fierce, the Metropolitan Police got drawn in and we had our fingers badly burnt.

It didn’t seem that the Met was so much drawn in but rather that some chief officers leapt forward to support it (Andy Hayman wrote a peculiar letter).  I suppose it didn’t help that Tony Blair & co. demanded asked chief constables for their support thoughts.

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